The Americans of 1860

An honest appraisal of events leading up to the national convulsion of 1860-1865 begins with understanding the American mind of that era. The literature is clear that Northerners rid themselves of slaves in their midst by selling them southward and did not want the black man among them – but restricted to the South. Northern workingmen too feared black freedmen coming northward seeking employment at wages less than that which white men would accept. But war came and the black man solved Lincoln’s dwindling enlistment problem as refugee freedmen were put in the ranks; white veterans were showered with generous bounties after 1863 to reenlist and eventually muster out – if they lived – rather wealthy men.

The Americans of 1860

“There is no evidence to show that the American people of 1860, not only those living in slaveholding States, but also the vast majority of Americans living in the former slaveholding States of the north and others, thought the Negro capable of skipping over the tendencies which the white man had derived from thousands of years of his well-developed civilization, and passing with or without a few years training, from the mental condition and inheritance of barbarians and slaves into full equality with the free citizens of a self-governing republic, whose laws, traditions, habits and customs were totally alien, far more alien than those of the Japanese and Chinese.

The Americans of that day did not feel that a mere statute law permitting the Negro to equal the white man in autonomous government could enable him to do so. The slave system was considered fundamentally not as a matter of morals, of right and wrong, but merely as an economic arrangement which was essentially the outgrowth of an inequality and difference in inheritance between the average white and black man.

It is safe to say that all of the Southerners and most of the Northerners knew that the Negroes were not a race resembling angels in ability, to pass from one extreme to the other without passing through the middle.

Therefore, it cannot be said that there was a basic antagonism between the Northern and Southern people in regard to the slavery question in the Southern States. If there was any real vital difference between the North and South, it was on what constituted a sectional control of the federal government. And Northerners in 1860 failed to realize that the Republican party of 1860 answered perfectly to Washington’s definition of a geographical party against the formation of which he solemnly warned his fellow-countrymen in his Farewell Address.”

(The Peaceable Americans of 1860-1861: A Study in Public Opinion. Mary Scrugham, Columbia University, 1921, pp. 57-60)

Nov 20, 2022 - Aftermath: Despotism, Pathways to Central Planning, Toward One World Government    Comments Off on Changing Place Names to Honor the Demi-god

Changing Place Names to Honor the Demi-god

“When truth was a luxury, any careless word or act would be seen as an attack on the state’s monopoly of truth.”

Changing Place Names to Honor the Demi-god

“Soon after Lenin’s death the dubious practice of had grown of giving the names of the party faithful and state figures to towns, regions, factories, educational facilities, theaters and so on. It had become the norm for state-run newspapers to help implement these desires of Party leadership. Trotsky himself had received a request from the citizens of Kochetovka, Zosimov District, Tambov Province, who had requested permission to call our village “Trotskoe,” in honor of our leader and inspirer of the Red Army, Trotsky.

By early 1925, Stalin had agreed to Molotov’s proposal to perpetuate his name by printing his collected works. After this it was decided to rename the town, province and railway station of Tsaritsyn to “Stalingrad.” The factories, parks, newspapers, ships and palaces of culture bearing his name would now embody his claim to eternity.

By the end of the 1920s there was virtually no district where Stalin’s name had not been adopted by one administrative, production or cultural body or another. By this means the people were surreptitiously imbued with the idea of the exceptional role that Stalin played in the nation’s destiny. The glorification of the Leader would be heard in every routine press report or speech by which the local “leader” would see that some of the glory was reflected upon himself.

The impression was inevitably gained that, having given up belief in God in heaven, the people were creating his replacement on earth. By August or 1931 and before the personal cult of Stalin had reached its zenith, there were attempts to immortalize Stalin in works of political biography. Everything he said, wrote or formulated was immutable, true, and in no need of actual evidence. In other words, Stalin was a demi-god – an all-wise man whose intellect was capable of answering all questions of the past, understanding the present and peering into the future.”

(Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy, Dimitri Volkogonov, Prima Publishing, 1991)

The Timeworn Stereotype of the South

In the following paper historian Frank L. Owsley refutes the claim that the North fought the war to preserve democratic government in America. He asserted that on the surface the South sought to establish its independence while the North fought to deny this desire. Owsley wrote that by early 1861 the Southern people “felt it both abhorrent and dangerous to continue to live under the same government with the people of the North. And so profound was this feeling among the bulk of the Southern population that they were prepared to fight a long and devastation war to accomplish a separation. On the other hand, the North was willing to fight a war to retain their fellow citizens under the same government with themselves.”

The Timeworn Stereotype of the South

“The Civil War was not a struggle on the part of the South to destroy free government and personal liberty, nor on the part of the North to preserve them.

Looked at from the present perspective of the worldwide attempt of totalitarians to erase free governments and nations living under such governments from the face of the earth, the timeworn stereotype that the South was attempting the destruction of free government and the North was fighting to preserve it, seems very unrealistic and downright silly.

Indeed, both Northern and Southern people in 1861 were alike profoundly attached to the principles of free government which is substantiated by period newspapers, diaries, letters and speeches give irrefutable evidence in support of this assertion. Their ideology was democratic and identical.

By 1860 the northeastern section of the United States had already assumed its modern outlines of a capitalist-industrial society where the means of production were owned by a relatively few. That is to say that New England and the middle States were fast becoming in essence a plutocracy with the lower classes dependent upon those who owned the tools of production.

Turning to the South, which was primarily agricultural, we find the situation completely contradictory to what has usually been assumed. The so-called slave-oligarchy of the South owned scarcely any of the land outside the black belt and only about 25 percent of the land inside the black belt. Actually, the basic means of production in the black belt and in the South as a whole was well-distributed among all classes of the population. The overwhelming majority of Southern families in 1860 owned their farms and livestock; about 90 percent of the slaveholders and about 70 percent of the non-slaveholders owned the land on which they farmed.

And it is important to note that the bulk of slaveholders were small farmers and not oligarchs – the majority of whom owned from one to four slaves and less than three hundred acres of land.

Thus, unlike the industrial population of the East, the overwhelming majority of white families in the South, owned the means of production. In other words, the average Southerner like the average Westerner possessed economic independence and held on strongly to its democratic ideology and sound economic foundation of a free government.”

(The Fundamental Cause of the Civil War, Frank L. Owsley. Journal of Southern History, Vol. 7, No. 1, February 1941. pp. 5-6)

Nov 10, 2022 - Costs of War    Comments Off on War and Change

War and Change

“Of all the enemies of public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it compromises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies, from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few . . . No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” James Madison, 1795.

War and Change

“The North’s defeat of the American South’s bid for independence decisively settled the question of whether or not the 1789 agreement between the States was dissoluble. By confirming the permanence and supremacy of federal power, the war had shifted the basis of national legitimacy at least partly back toward its Hamiltonian and Federalist roots.

The Civil War prefigured not only the massive firepower, extended fronts and complex logistics of World War One, but also the economic mobilization integral to that war. By penetrating the American economy in previously untried ways, Lincoln significantly altered the relationship between the economy and his government. Prior to 1861, the federal government had been a minor purchaser in the American economy; during the war it had become the largest single purchaser and a catalyst of rapid growth in key industries such as iron, textiles, shoes, and meat packing.

The war also spawned a revolution in taxation that permanently altered the structure of American federalism. Prior to war over 80 percent of federal revenue had come from customs duties, which of course could not sustain Lincoln’s war economy. In early August 1861 the first income tax appeared, soon followed by the Internal Revenue Act of 1862 which levied many taxes on stamps, luxuries, inheritance, and manufactured goods.

Beyond taxation the northern public experienced federal intrusion such as Lincoln’s arbitrary suspension of habeas corpus resulting in thousands of arrests without judicial process. Anyone could be arrested or detained simply for suspicion of “disloyal practice” with trial before military commissions. Lincoln’s imposition of national conscription, which even Horace Greeley decried as slavery, ignited the largest civil insurrection in American history. The riots and violence in northern cities had to be suppressed with military units pulled from the front lines.”

With the South’s independence crushed, the Radical Republicans began remaking the South in the image of the North as Congress imposed military rule on the South And mandated a rewriting of State constitutions on northern models. The Radicals main agents of change were the coercive arms of the Freedmen’s Bureau – to ensure freedmen did not align with their former owners – and the US Army. The seemingly peaceful Union League, a postwar political arm of the Republican party in the South, politicized the freedmen against their white neighbors, and in the process created the Ku Klux Klan.

In the early 1870s, two former Confederate generals testified before Congress that if the Union League were disbanded, the Klan would disappear.

(War and the Rise of the State, Bruce D. Porter. The Free Press, 1994. pp. 258-263)

Nov 9, 2022 - Memorials to the Past, Southern Heroism    Comments Off on A Constitutional Struggle

A Constitutional Struggle

Moses Jacob Ezekiel was sculptor of the magnificent Monument to Confederate War Dead in Arlington Cemetery, dedicated in June 1914. As a young Virginia Military Institute cadet in early May 1864, he and his fellow classmates were summoned to battle in the Shenandoah Valley to repel Virginia’s invaders. Their bravery in the attack resulted in the capture of an enemy artillery battery. In 1869 Ezekiel studied under a Berlin sculptor renowned for his Classical style, then returned to America.

A Constitutional Struggle

“In reality, no one in the South would have raised an arm to fight for slavery. It was an evil we had inherited and wanted to get rid of. Our struggle was simply a constitutional one, based upon State’s right, and especially on free trade, and no tariff.”

Moses Jacob Ezekiel, sculptor of the Monument to Confederate War Dead, Arlington, Virginia. Dedicated June 1914.

Oct 29, 2022 - Black Soldiers, Lincoln's Grand Army, Northern Culture Laid Bare, Race and the North, Tales of Jim Crow    Comments Off on “Wouldn’t Command Negroes in Service”

“Wouldn’t Command Negroes in Service”

Antebellum Pennsylvanians in general did not want black people living within State borders and “free” black people there led circumscribed lives. We recall that William Penn himself was a slaveholder and the State formerly slaveholding; Frederick Douglass believed Philadelphia the most segregated city in the US, and Pennsylvania troops expressed concern that freedmen might journey northward and take their place in the workplace.

“Wouldn’t Command Negroes in Service”

“On August 16, 1862, in the battle of Deep River Run, Virginia, Company F of the 85th Pennsylvania assaulted and drove the Confederates from their intrenchments. Ed Leonard, of said company, had fired at the retreating Southern color bearer. When his gun was empty, he ordered the color bearer to halt which he refused to do.

Leonard threw his gun at him thinking he would knock him down with it – but he was just far enough away for the gun to turn once and the bayonet went through the body of the color bearer, killing him. Leonard picked up the flagstaff, tore the flag from it, and concealed it about his person, intending to send it home. But the hidden flag was discovered, and he was required to turn it into headquarters.

For this act of bravery Leonard was commissioned a captain. When assigned to his new command, he found it was a Negro company; he then returned the commission and went back to his company as a private.”

(“Wouldn’t Command Negroes in Service,” W.T. Rogers, Knoxville, Tennessee, Confederate Veteran Magazine, May 1912, page 213)

Oct 29, 2022 - Historians on History    Comments Off on Possibly Other Motives

Possibly Other Motives

“I have always been struck by the intensity of the feelings generated against slavery and slaveholders in men who had no direct or first-hand contact with either. Yet there was much about their actions and reactions which suggested something more real and personal. I have suggested the possibility that behind the determination to put slavery on the road to ultimate extinction there may have lain drives that had little to do with Negro slavery or the American South . . .”  Historian Avery O. Craven

Unable to Settle the Great Differences

“The South in 1860 knew only that the party which was hotly intolerant of the whole body of Southern institutions and interests had triumphed in the elections and was about to take possession of the government, and that it was morally impossible to preserve the Union any longer.

“If you who represent the stronger portion,” Senator John C. Calhoun stated in 1850, in words which perfectly convey this feeling in their quiet cadences, cannot agree to settle the great questions at issue on the broad principle of justice and duty, say so; and let the States we both represent agree to separate and depart in peace.”  (Division and Reunion, 1829-1909. Woodrow Wilson. Longmans, Green and Co., 1912; pp. 209-210)

Deconstructing Historical Memory

Like the Russian Bolsheviks before them, the African National Congress regime in New South Africa renamed established cities and roadways for heroes of its communist revolution. In post-revolution Russia, the Society of Marxist Historians “demanded a review of all existing historical literature,” with students at the Institute of Red Professors formed into brigades preparing assessments of large portions of existing literature for publication in the press. The same process of assessment moves forward in New South Africa, as it does in the United States.

Deconstructing Historical Memory

“It may be a trifling issue to deracinated sophisticates, but landmarks in the country’s founding history are slowly being erased, as demonstrated by the ANC’s decision to give an African name to Potchefstroom, a town founded in 1838 by the Vortrekkers.  Pretoria is now called Tshwane.  Nelspruit, founded by the Nel family (they were not Xhosa), and once the seat of the South African Republic’s government during the first Boer War, has been renamed Mbombela. Polokwane was formerly Pietersburg.  Durban’s Moore Road (after Sir John Moore, the hero of the Battle of Corunna, fought in 1808 during the Napoleonic Wars) is Che Guevarra Road; Kensington Drive, [now] Fidel Castro Drive.

Perhaps the ultimate in tastelessly hip nomenclature is Yasser Arafat Highway, down which the motorist can careen on the way to the Durban airport.

The Afrikaans tongue, in particular, has come under the ANC’s attack, as the government attempts to compel Afrikaans schools to adopt English. Afrikaans-speaking universities have been labeled as “racist” in the New South Africa, and have been forced to merge with “third-rate black institutions so that campuses may be swamped by blacks demanding instruction in English.”

On the supplanting of the Afrikaans language, Dan Roodt relates: “Not so long ago, and Indian employee at my local branch of the Absa Bank demanded to know if I was a legal resident in South Africa upon hearing me speak a foreign language, Afrikaans.”

The ANC’s attempt to tame and claim South African history mimics the effort by American elites to deconstruct American history and memory, documented by Samuel Huntington in “Who Are We?”  Wishing to purge America of her “sinful European inheritance,” bureaucrats, mediacrats, educrats, assorted policy wonks and intellectuals trashed the concept of America as melting pot.

In its place, they insisted on ensconcing multiculturalism, inherent in which is a denunciation of America’s Western foundation and a glorification of non-Western cultures.  This mindset does not permit pedagogues to reject faux Afrocentric faux history outright.  They dare not – not if the goal of education is to be achieved, and that goal is an increase in self-esteem among young Africans, in particular.

Other self-styled victim groups, notably natives and women, have had their suppurating historical wounds similarly tended with curricular concessions. Thus, of the 670 stories and articles in “twenty-two readers for grades three and six published in the 1970s and early 1980s . . . none had anything to do with American history since 1780.” The trend, documented by Huntington, accelerated well into the year 2000, when Congress, alarmed by the nation’s historical Alzheimer’s, made an anemic effort to correct decades of deconstruction. It allocated more funds to the Department of Education, which is a lot like letting the proverbial fox guard the historical henhouse.”

(Into the Cannibal’s Pot, Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa, Ilana Mercer, Stairway Press, 2011, pp. 80-81)

Black Recruits Unwelcome in Philadelphia

The North’s use of generous bounties for paid volunteers and resorting to the of black slaves as troops was an unmistakable admission that popular support for the war against the American South was nearly extinct by 1863.  Once Lincoln allowed dislocated and captured slaves to be counted against States troop quotas, Northern State agents swarmed into the occupied South in search of (and arguing over) black recruits who would leave white Northern men safe from Lincoln’s threat of conscription.

It is ironic that a Pennsylvania training camp for black recruits was named “Camp William Penn,” a slaveholder who founded the colony which bears his name.

Black Recruits Unwelcome in Philadelphia

“In spite of announcements assuring blacks of pay equal to that of the white soldier, actual practice belied this promise. White enlisted men received thirteen dollars a month with a clothing allowance of an additional three dollars and fifty cents. Black soldiers, however, were paid only ten dollars per month, three dollars of which might be deducted for clothing.

Blacks were also generally denied bounties. Bounties were cash bonuses paid to volunteers by federal, State, or local authorities as an incentive to enlist. These bounties often totaled more than five hundred dollars or more, a generous amount exceeding the average annual wages for a Northern worker.  The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania eventually contributed a token bounty of ten dollars to each black recruit.

The War Department had also refused to commission black officers. A manyfold rationale stood behind this decision. First, the concept of black troops would be more acceptable [in the North] if white men exclusively were permitted to become officers in such units. Organizing “colored” regiments would create thousands of new positions for regimental officers. The awarding of these commissions to whites could create more support for the program and could reward those who had already shown support.

The [black recruits] of Camp William Penn constantly experienced another reminder of their inferior status through the discriminatory policy of the streetcars of Philadelphia. Of the nineteen streetcar and suburban railroad companies that operated in and around Philadelphia, eleven outright refused to permit blacks to ride.  The other eight tolerated black riders but required them to stand on the front platform with the driver.”

The “Grand Review” and battalion drills had all been executed in the friendly confines of the training camp itself. Colonel Wagner and the other [white] commanders recognized the risks they would face when their units left their camp. Earlier in the year, on September 18, the 3rd Regiment of US Colored Infantry marched through Philadelphia on its way to war. At that time the mayor and concerned officials compelled them to march unarmed and in civilian clothes.

[An] underlying tension still simmered because of the many residents who harbored deep prejudices.  This threatening situation had caused the mayor to delay an earlier planned parade of the 3rd US Colored Troops even after it had been publicly advertised.  During the 6th’s [US Colored Regiment] parade the fear of violence prompted marching officers to carry loaded revolvers to be used in an emergency. The enlisted [black] men, carrying musket and bayonet, “were not trusted with any ammunition.”

(Strike the Blow for Freedom, The 6th US Colored Infantry in the Civil War, James M. Paradis, White Mane Books, 1998, pp. 17-29)

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