Articles by " Circa1865"

The War Against the States

“[The] fact remains that that the Civil War was a political and constitutional watershed in United States history. Although the Civil War draft was primarily an inducement to volunteering [with ample financial incentives], the arbitrary arrests [of civilians] and first use of [a clearly unconstitutional] national conscription established important precedents. Economically, power shifted toward the industrialized North.  Moreover, at war’s end the very concept of State sovereignty established by the Founders had little meaning.

As Professor William B. Hesseltine said many years later, it was a “war against the States, both North and South. Within half a century after Appomattox, the federal government began to regulate certain businesses and introduced a graduated income tax. These innovations would have been inconceivable prior to 1860.” Larry Gara, Wilmington College.

(Review of “The North Fights the Civil War: The Home Front,” J. Matthew Gallman (Dee Publishing, 1994. Published in Civil War History – A Journal of the Middle Period, Vol. 42, No. 3. September 1996).

Sherman’s Final Solution

The following is excerpted from a review of author Michael Fellman’s “Citizen Sherman: A Life of William Tecumseh Sherman (Random House, 1995). The reviewer is John Y. Simon of the Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, 1996.

Sherman’s Final Solution

“In 1875, a fellow officer reported to [General] Sherman that Indians in Florida were receiving training as soldiers and might eventually return to police their tribes [out West]. Sherman wrote in response that this experiment, if successful, might present a “final solution to the Indian problem.” (pg. 260). Sherman could write that that some Indians were “more to be pitied than dreaded” and others deserved pursuit with “vindictive earnestness” to the point of “extermination, men, women and children.” (pg. 264).

Apr 4, 2024 - America Transformed, Historical Accuracy, Myth of Saving the Union    Comments Off on What the Civil War Was Really All About

What the Civil War Was Really All About

What the Civil War Was Really All About

“The national government stopped paying any attention to the Constitution with the election of Lincoln. That’s what the war was really all about. The South wanted the constitutional republic, which strictly limited the powers of the federal government. The North wanted a centralized national government, which would itself define the limits of its powers – or, to put it another way, would have unlimited powers. That was an old argument that had begun at the Constitutional Convention, and it ended at Appomattox.”   Orlando Sentinel Columnist Charley Reese, 1937-2013

“This Country Splitting Business”

After the Japanese capitulation in 1945 the US government stymied an already-existing pan-Korean government, albeit leftist, in favor of installing Syngman Rhee, who ruled the south as a virtual dictator. The latter used former Japanese soldiers as police and government officials, with the support of the Americans. The 1950 war, which many believe was initiated by Rhee, cost the lives of a million Koreans and virtually leveled the country with bombing. Today, North Korea is the real Korea and ruled by Koreans; and South Korea remains a US-controlled colony.

“This Country Splitting Business”

“Senator Stuart Symington: ‘We go into this country splitting business . . . First, we split Germany. Then we split China. We stay with billions and billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of people in the case of Germany; China we stay with billions and billions of dollars and thousands of people. Then we split Korea and stay there with billions of dollars and tens of thousands of military [troops], all at heavy cost to the American taxpayer. Then we split Vietnam . . . now we split Laos . . . Do you know of any other country we plan to split pretty soon?

Mr. [William J.] Porter (US Ambassador to South Korea): No sir.

Senator Symington: This has been quite an interesting policy, hasn’t it, over the years? Our allies don’t do [this], nor do our possible enemies. We do it all over the world . . . ‘

(Hearings before the Subcommittee on US Security Agreements and Commitments Abroad of the Committee on Foreign Relations, US Senate, 91st Congress, 2nd Session, 1970, pp. 1579-82)

 

$300 Patriots and Deserters

$300 Patriots and Deserters

“As a sideline to his regular clothing business, [John N.] Eitel was a recruitment broker. During the Civil War, recruitment for the [north’s] armed services fell largely into private hands. The government itself at first encouraged private recruiting by offering a two-dollar premium to any person who brought in a recruit who was accepted into service.

Gradually this led to private brokers all but taking over the supply side of the recruiting system. And nowhere were they more active than New York City, where the New York County Board of Supervisors offered a $300 bounty for volunteers and permitted another committee to use private brokers for distribution of the bounties. When a man volunteered in New York, the broker who brought him in paid the soldier a part of the bounty price agreed upon beforehand. Then the soldier would assign the whole bounty to the broker, who would collect $300 from the New York County committee. Three hundred dollars constituted a substantial sum of money in those days, and there were thousands of recruits, the bloodiest war in American history.

Opportunities for fraud were abundant in this system not only because of the middlemen and the vast sums of money involved, but also because of the rather primitive record keeping. War Department Detective Col. Lafayette Baker wrote: “Another manner of desertion, and by far more generally practiced [between May and October 1864], was by permitting recruits to desert in transit from the rendezvous in New York to the Island or receiving ships.”

The problem of northern draftees buying substitutes in 1863 bedeviled Lincoln’s unending need for troops. Historian William Marvel writes: By early September administration officials claimed that a thousand conscripts a day were arriving in the national capital, but those men came under increasingly heavy guard. Most of them had enlisted as substitutes [and were described by one New York captain as ‘the ugliest set of Devils that ever went unhung’. Thieves thickly seeded every lot, ready to stomp or stab anyone who resisted their pilfering. Sergeants were soon tying or locking up many of the rest to prevent them from running off, but they still drained away to the rear – or to the enemy.” (Lincoln’s Mercenaries, Marvel, pg. 191).

(The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties. Mark E. Neely, Jr. Oxford University Press. 1991, pp. 95-96)

Aggressive Abroad, Despotic at Home

On December 15, 1866, Gen. Robert E. Lee wrote Britain’s Lord Acton that he believed the victorious North’s consolidation of all the American States into “one vast republic . . . will be the certain precursor to ruin which has overwhelmed all those that have preceded it.” Lee. Like many others, saw the authority reserved to the States and the people, now destroyed by the war, had been “the only safeguard to the continuance of free government.”

Below, author Gore Vidal wrote in 2002 of the national security state’s creation by Harry Truman, though it was certainly put into motion first by Lincoln, reinforced by Woodrow Wilson and perfected by Roosevelt the Second. Unfortunately, Vidal’s research does not reveal the military-industrial, security state apparatus created by Lincoln.

Aggressive Abroad and Despotic at Home

“Fifty years ago, Harry Truman replaced the old republic with a national security state whose sole purpose is to wage perpetual wars, hot, cold and tepid. Exact date of replacement? February 27, 1947. Place: White House Cabinet Room. Cast: Truman, Undersecretary of State Dean Acheson, and a handful of congressional leaders.

Republican Senator Arthur Vandenburg told Truman he could have his militarized economy only if he first “scared the hell out of the American people” that the Russians were coming. Truman obliged.

The perpetual war began. Representative government of, by and for the people is now a faded memory. Only corporate America enjoys representation by the Congresses and presidents that it pays for in an arrangement where no one is entirely accountable because those who have bought the government also own the media.

Now with the revolt of the Praetorian Guard at the Pentagon, we are entering a new and dangerous phase. Although we regularly stigmatize other societies as rogue states, we ourselves have become the largest rogue state of all. We honor no treaties. We spurn international courts. We strike unilaterally whenever we choose. We give orders to the United Nations but do not pay our dues. We complain of terrorism, yet our empire is now the greatest terrorist of all. We bomb, invade, subvert other states.

We have allowed our institutions to be taken over in the name of a globalized American empire that is totally alien in concept to anything our Founders had in mind.”

(Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: How We Got to be So Hated. Gore Vidal. Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2002, pp. 158-159)

American Civilians Suffer Total War

What is termed “total war” can be said to begin with the birth of the modern state, in which war became an instrument of national policy. Though the north’s “Lieber Code” of early 1863 clearly protected civilians from the barbarous acts of invading northern armies, senior officers such as Sherman had evolved their own personal philosophy of war clearly at variance with official pronouncements. Despite the “Code”, Sherman’s brutal conduct found no opposition from Lincoln or Grant.

Americans Civilians Suffer Total War

“The march of the Federals into our State,” says a writer in the Columbia [South Carolina] Phoenix, “was characterized by such scenes of license, plunder and conflagration as showed that the threats of the northern press, and that of their soldiery, were not to be regarded as mere brutum fulmen.

Daily, long trains of fugitives lined the roads, with wives and children, and horses and stock and cattle, seeking refuge from their pursuers. Long lines of wagons covered the highways. Half-naked people cowered from the winter under bush-tents in the thickets, under the eaves of houses, under the railroad sheds and in old cars left along the route. All these repeated the same story of suffering, violence, poverty and nakedness. Habitation after habitation, village after village – one sending up its signal flames to the other, presaging for it the same fate – lighted the winter and midnight sky with crimson horrors.

“No language can describe, not can any catalogue furnish, an adequate detail of the widespread destruction of homes and property. Granaries were emptied, and where the grain was not carried off, it was strewn to waste under the feet of the [Yankee] cavalry, or consigned to the fire which consumed the dwelling. The negroes were robbed equally with the whites of food and clothing. The roads were covered with butchered cattle, hogs, mules, and the costliest furniture. Valuable cabinets, rich pianos, were not only hewn to pieces, but bottles of ink, turpentine, oil, whatever could efface or destroy, were employed to defile and ruin. Horses were ridden into the houses.

“The beautiful homesteads of the parish country . . . were ruined; ancient dwellings of black cypress, one hundred years old, which had been reared by the fathers of the Republic – men whose names were famous in Revolutionary history – were given to the torch as recklessly as were the rude hovels; choice pictures and works of art from Europe, select and numerous libraries, were all destroyed.

The inhabitants, black no less than white, were left to starve, compelled to feed only upon the garbage to be found in the abandoned camps of the northern soldiers. The corn scraped up from the spots where the horses fed has been the only means of life left to thousands but lately in affluence.”

(The Desolate South, 1865-1866. John T. Trowbridge; Gordon Carroll, ed. Little, Brown and Company, 1956, pp. 294-296)

Lincoln’s Tariff War

Lincoln, in his first inaugural address, promised no interference with the South’s labor system and admitted that a president lacked the authority to do so. But he did threaten to invade any State that failed to collect federal tariff revenues – despite the US Constitution’s Article III, Section 3, declaring treason to be waging war against one of “Them”, the States, or adhering to their enemy, giving them aid and comfort.

Lincoln’s Tariff War

“Once the Republicans were confident that Lincoln would win the 1860 election, and especially once the Southern Democrats began leaving the U.S. Congress, they did what they had been dreaming of doing for decades: They went on a protectionist frenzy that lasted for decades after the war.

The Morrill Tariff was passed by the House of Representatives in May 1860 and by the Senate in March 1861, just prior to Lincoln’s inauguration. Thus, the apparatus of protectionism was initiated before Fort Sumter and before the war. The Morrill Tariff was not passed to finance the war; it was passed because the old-line Whigs, who were now Republicans [including Lincoln], finally had the power to do it.

Even though it was passed before Lincoln officially took office, it is important to note that, as the Republicans’ presidential candidate, he was the leader of the party and, as such, most likely had a great deal to do with the political maneuvering on behalf of the tariff.

[In his classic 1931 book, “The Tariff History of the United States”] Frank Taussig explains that “in the next regular [congressional] session, in December 1861, a still further increase of [tariff] duties was made. From that time until 1865, no session, indeed, hardly a month of any session, passed in which some increase in of duties on imports were not made.” By 1862, the average tariff rate had crept up to 47.06 percent which “established protective duties [for Northern industries] more extreme than had been ventured on in any previous tariff act in our country’s history.”

The Republicans openly admitted that the purpose of their protectionist policy was not necessarily to raise money to finance the war but to pay off Northern manufacturers for their political support. The manufacturers were being taxed explicitly (through excise taxes) to help finance the war, and the tariff was a way to offset those losses.  Congress enacted and Lincoln signed into law tariff legislation “whose chief effect was to bring money into the pockets of private individuals.”

Long after the war, Taussig concluded, “almost every increase in duties demanded by domestic producers was readily made” and “great forces were made by changes in legislation urged and brought about by those who were benefited by them.”

(Abraham Lincon and the Triumph of Mercantilism, Thomas J. DiLorenzo. Reassessing the Presidency. John V. Denson, ed., Mises Institute Press, 2001, pp. 220-221)

The Cornerstone of the Republican Party

By mid-1862, the advance of the northern invasion had accumulated thousands of “contrabands” left homeless from overrun and destroyed plantations. Lincoln and his cabinet were already in talks with the Danes, Dutch and Swedes to take the contrabands to their Caribbean colonies. By the end of that year and with northern enlistments at a virtual standstill without exorbitant financial incentives, Lincoln was advised to use contrabands against the South as soldiers. His Quartermaster-General Meigs, under the interesting impression that all Southern soldiers owned plantations, believed ‘colored labor allows the rebel to leave his plantation to fight, build fortifications, cook and aid him on picket by rare skill with the rifle.”  Secretary of War Stanton wrote in a rather Marxist vein that “By striking down this system of compulsory labor, which enables the leaders of the rebellion to control the resources of the people, the rebellion would die of itself.”

The Cornerstone of the Republican Party

When northern Negroes asked Free-Soilers what they thought should be done for them or what course they should follow, the recommendation was always the same: separatism, and usually colonization in some other country as well, though the Free-Soil politicians were careful to point out that they meant voluntary separatism or colonization and not forced measures.

When the newly formed Republican party created a truly northern political organization, there was pressure from those who wanted it to take an anti-slavery stance stronger than mere free-soil, and from those who feared it would do just that.

Many Republicans clung to the idea of colonization and for some, at least, it was basic to their policy. Colonization “is the key of the whole question,” commented one. “The exclusion of slavery from the territories is only an incidental part of a general policy of which colonization is the corner stone.”

The Republicans might hope to appeal to non-slaveholders in the South as well as to northern voters if they presented the question properly as a “question of the white man against the Ethiopian.” Though the anticipated support from Southern unionists did not materialize, the narrow issue of slavery exclusion remained the sole antislavery plank in the Republican political program. The combination of anti-slave power and anti-Negro sentiment was a powerful attraction in both the Free Soil and Republican programs.”

(Slavery and the Slave Power – A Crucial Distinction. Larry Gara. Civil War History – A Journal of the Middle Period, March 1969, Volume 15, No. 1. pp. 16-17)

A Land as Silent as a Graveyard

A Land as Silent as a Graveyard

“The raids and rumors of raids were so traumatic to Clarissa Bowen that the tired, terrified woman miscarried. “All was over and we knew that God had taken from us the desire from our hearts – our much prayed for and longed for treasure,” the South Carolinian wrote in her journal, June 1865. “O, it was hard, very, very hard to give up . . . My recovery had been slow, being constantly retarded by fear of the Yankees.”

“Still another batch of Yankees . . .,” a weary Eliza Andrews scribbled in her diary. “One of them proceeded to distinguish himself at once, by ‘capturing’ a Negro’s watch. They carry out their principles by robbing impartially, without regard to race, color or previous condition. Ginny Dick has kept his watch and chain hid ever since the bluecoats put forth this act of philanthropy, and . . . old Maum Betsy says that she has “knowed white folks all her life an’ some mighty mean ones, but Yankees is de fust ever she seed mean enough to steal from n******.”

Not surprisingly, after suffering through several such visits, most plantations and farms had little more to offer. “We were left almost destitute,” said one stunned and suddenly impoverished lady. “Our poverty,” noted another victim, “is now our protection.”

Eventually, the highways of the South began to resemble scenes from antiquity and the plundering hordes of Mongolia. Observed one man:

“The road was filled with an indiscriminate mass of armed men on horseback and on foot, carts, wagons, cannon and caissons, rolling along in most tumultuous disorder, while to the right and to the left, joining the mass, and detaching from it, singly and in groups, were hundreds [of soldiers] going empty-handed and returning laden. Country carts, horses, mules and oxen, followed by Negro men, women and even children, (who were pressed into service to carry plunder) laden with every conceivable object, were approaching and mingling in mass from every side.

When the blue tide finally receded and moved off to garrison the cities and towns of the South, it left behind in its wake a land “as silent as a graveyard.”

(The Day Dixie Died – Southern Occupation 1865-1866. Thomas and Debra Goodrich. Stackpole Books, 2001, pp. 100-101)

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