Browsing "Northern Culture Laid Bare"

Lincoln & Seward’s Military Coup

In 1863 Republican Senator John Sherman recalled that it was William H. Seward rather than Lincoln who ordered the seizure of Maryland’s legislators in 1861, that “the high-handed proceeding was the work of Mr. Seward, of his own mere motion, without the knowledge of Lincoln.” Seward later told a British official that the arrests had been made to influence coming Maryland elections as well. Frederick (below) was Seward’s son.

Lincoln & Seward’s Military Coup

“The Lincoln administration believed, according to Frederick Seward, that “a disunion majority” in the Maryland State house would pass an ordinance to withdraw from the Union in September 1861. Lincoln had resolved to keep that from happening. Seward recalled: “[The military was] instructed to carefully watch the movements of members of the [Maryland] Legislature . . . Loyal Union members would not be interfered with . . . but “disunion” members would be turned back toward their homes and would not reach Frederick City at all. The views of each member were well-known . . . so there would be little difficulty, as Mr. Lincoln remarked, in “separating the sheep from the goats.”

[Seward continued]: “When the time arrived . . . it was found that not only was no secession ordinance likely to be adopted, but that there seemed to be no Secessionists to present one. The two generals had carried out their instructions faithfully, and with tact and discretion . . . No ordinance was adopted, Baltimore remained quiet, and Maryland stayed in the Union.”

Many arrests of northerners at that time involved freedom of speech and freedom of the press with Seward’s State Department records citing “treasonable language, “Southern sympathizer,” secessionist” and “disloyalty” as standard reasons for arrest and confinement. Additionally, even more serious-sounding arrest reasons were vague and sometimes denoted offensive words rather than deeds: “aiding and abetting the enemy,” threatening Unionists,” or “inducing desertion,” for example. A man in Cincinnati was arrested for selling envelopes and stationery with Confederate mottoes printed on them.

When an old associate of Seward came to Washington to plead for the release of a political prisoner from Kentucky held in Fort Lafayette, the secretary of state readily admitted that no charges were on file against the prisoner. When asked whether he intended to keep citizens imprisoned against whom no charge had been made, Seward apparently answered: “I don’t care a d—n whether they are guilty or innocent. I saved Maryland by similar arrests, and so I mean to hold Kentucky.”

(The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties. Mark E. Neely, Jr. Oxford University Press. 1991, pp. 15-16; 27-30)

The North’s War Against Free Trade

The unbridled pursuit of financial gain in America was no surprise to Englishmen and simply “a distasteful feature of democracy.” The British noted the widespread corruption in American political life and the rise of low men to power, while those better educated and unwilling to play the demagogue were not sought out. The British saw, especially in Northern States, an unwholesome tyranny of the democratic mob which eventually would break apart and replaced with an aristocracy or monarchy of better men.

The North’s War Against Free Trade

“The United States Senate, after fourteen Southern members had withdrawn (as their States had withdrawn from the United States), passed with a majority of eleven votes the almost prohibitive Morrill Tariff; the Confederate States adopted a constitution forbidding any tariff except for revenue – a denial, that is, of the principle of protection (for select industries).

From the economic point of view, which to some students of history is the only point of view, a major issue became perfectly clear. The North stood for protection, the South for free trade.

And for Englishmen . . . certain conclusions were obvious. “This [tariff] was the first use the North made of its victory [in the Senate]”, said one Englishman in a pamphlet . . .” The contrast between North and South was real and unambiguous, and so too were England’s free-trade convictions.

With those convictions and after these events, it was natural that many Englishmen . . . should readily embrace the theory of the South’s seceding because of economic oppression – since there had to be a reason for secession and both sides agreed that slavery was not the reason. As one of the ablest of the “Southern” Englishmen, James Spence, said, the South had long been convinced “that the Union was worked to the profit of the North and their own loss. [And] consider that the immediate cause of the revolt of those 13 colonies from this country was a duty of 3d. per pound on tea . . .”

The Confederate States were well aware of the appeal of economic facts. Their Secretary of State instructed James Mason on his mission to England to stress the free trade commitment of his government, as well as the British people’s “deep political and commercial interest in the establishment of the independence of the Confederate States.”

(The Glittering Illusion: English Sympathy for the Southern Confederacy. Sheldon Vanauken. Regnery Gateway, 1989. pp. 48-49)

Thomas Jefferson’s “Rupture”

Author Roger Lowenstein writes that on Christmas Eve, 1825, “Thomas Jefferson let out an anguished cry. The government of the country he had helped to found, half a century earlier, was causing him great distress. It was assuming vast powers, specifically the right to construct canals and roads, and to effect other improvements. Jefferson thought of the federal government in the most restrictive terms: as a “compact” or a “confederated fabric” – that is, a loose affiliation of practically sovereign States.”

Thomas Jefferson’s “Rupture”

“He was roused at the age of eighty-two to issue a “Solemn Declaration and Protest” against what he termed the “usurpation” of power by the federal branch. Jefferson was so agitated that he declared that the “rupture” of the United States would be, although a calamity, not the greatest calamity. Even worse, reckoned the sage of Monticello, would be “submission to a government of unlimited powers.”

Though Federalists led by Alexander Hamilton had sought to establish a strong central government, Jeffersonians adamantly objected. No fewer than six of President Jefferson’s successors vetoed or thwarted federal legislation to build roads and canals, improve harbors and riverways, maintain a national bank, [and] fund education . . .”

Had Jefferson survived until 1860, the federal government of that day would not have displeased him. Its main vocation was operating the postal service and collecting customs duties at ports, [and] its army consisted of merely sixteen thousand troops scattered mostly among a series of isolated forts west of the Mississippi. The federal payroll was modest . . . the civilian bureaucracy in Washington consisted of a mere two thousand employees.

The modest federal purse was supported by tariff duties and a smattering of land sales. Federal taxes (an unpleasant reminder of the English Parliament) were reflexively scorned. Then came the “rupture.”

The Republicans – [Lincoln elected in November 1860] – vastly enlarged the federal government . . . [and] accomplished a revolution that has been largely overlooked.”

(Ways and Means: Lincoln and His Cabinet and the Financing of the Civil War. Roger Lowenstein, Penguin Books, 2022. pp. 1-2)

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).

$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)

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)

“Supposed Desecrating Hands of Pre-Judged Thieving Rebels”

From the wartime diary of George M. Neese, an artilleryman assigned to Chew’s Battery, Gen. JEB Stuart’s Horse Artillery.

“Supposed Desecrating Hands of Prejudged Thieving Rebels”

“July 4, 1863: The arduous and responsible duty devolving on the Confederate cavalry during [Lee’s retreat from Gettysburg] was to guard and defend the retiring trains of wagons and ambulances against all inroads and attempts the Federal cavalry were liable to make for their capture and destruction, and more especially to strenuously oppose and foil all efforts of the enemy to make any advantageous interposition between General Lee’s army and the Potomac.

Today while we were at Fairfield a drenching thundershower passed over, and we went in a stable for shelter from the rain. While we were in there some of our boys’ played marbles for amusement. Eventually one of the marbles rolled through a crack in the floor, and in order to get it we raised one of the boards, and under there we found a large store-box full of good, clean, nice bed clothes, sheets, blankets, counterpanes [bed spreads] as white as snow, and beautiful quilts, all of which had been recently hidden from the supposed desecrating hands of prejudged thieving rebels.

We left everything in the box and reported our find to the family that owned the stable and told them to move their goods to the house and fear no danger of being molested. The family seemed to be astonished at our find and utterly surprised into coyish silence to learn that their goods were safe even when discovered by the dreaded Rebels.

I am almost convinced that a strong sentiment prevails throughout the whole North that the Southern army is composed of thieves and robbers mixed with barbarians and savages and this malignant spirit is instilled into the populace and encouraged by irresponsible, mean, lying newspapers that are published by men who have never been south of Mason and Dixon’s line.”

(Three Years in the Confederate Horse Artillery. George M. Neese. Neale Publishing Company, 1911, pp. 190-191)

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