It has been nearly 15 decades since the carnival of blood, euphemistically called the American “Civil War” came to a close. Incredibly expensive, yet it enabled Northern politicians, industrialists, merchants, bankers and their International Banking handlers to amass immense wealth. They were living the dream of Hamilton’s, Clay’s and the 16th President’s American System; and while they grew prosperous they were conscientiously devoted to the business, so we are told, of “Saving the Union”.
620,000 soldiers died in the struggle, tens of thousands were maimed for life and the prostrate South was left in ashes, devastation, poverty, debt, dislocated families and graves. Thousands of wives, mothers, sisters and sweethearts who worked in the cotton industry were arrested, placed in railroad cattle cars and shipped North. Many of whom perished and many more became lost forever from their loved ones; pregnant girls either miscarried or died from the harsh journey. Two hundred and twenty thousand prisoners of war were mercilessly mistreated in Northern military prisons, denied adequate food, medicine, and clothing; many froze to death or died from scurvy, fever or infection. Northern civilians were also not exempt from the wholesale disregard of basic human rights as over forty thousand elected public officials, legislators, civil servants, businessmen, newspaper editors, clergy, judges, professionals, tradesmen and farmers were summarily arrested by the military and placed into military prisons without an arrest warrant or hearing of any kind. Indeed, over 300 Northern newspapers were padlocked and their editors secreted away. Scores of cities and towns, Atlanta and Columbia for example, were systematically looted, depopulated, then burned while the refugees (women, children, elderly & infirm) hovelled for crumbs and shelter, their lives forever erased. Even uglier was the wanton rape of women and girls, and intentional desecration, looting and burning of Churches, Covenants, Seminaries and Colleges. We have been told that all of this was necessary to “Save the Union”.
We have been thoroughly instructed, through systematic repetition, for almost 15 decades that the war of 1861-1865 was vitally necessary to “Save the Union”. Then about four or five decades ago we began to hear a new mantra, a better reason; “A War to Free the Slaves”. Which was it? “Save the Union” or “Free the Slaves”? The Virginian Thomas Jefferson, second Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia and third President of the United States, who authored the Declaration of Independence, reminds us that “it is error alone that needs the force of government, truth can stand by itself.” Overwhelming government/academic propaganda today forbids even the remote location of truth without diligence. Truth is virtually forbidden in public.
New Yorker and former U.S. Senator William H. Seward (1801-1872), Secretary of State in the administration of the 16th President, bragged to the British Ambassador that he had more power than the Queen of England in that he could press a bell (telegraph key) and have any citizen summarily arrested. How can the summary arrest of Northern citizens by the military “Save the Union”?
Former Ohio Governor and Senator Salmon P. Chase (1808-1873), Secretary of the Treasury for the 16th President, failed in his attempt to be nominated on the party ticket for President in 1860; but that did not deter his ambition to “Save the Union”. His lust for power became so great that the 16th President appointed him Chief Justice to the Supreme Court in 1864 (to remove him from the political arena during the election of 1864) and it was his decision as Chief Justice in Texas v. White 74 US 700 (1869) that produced the arbitrary decision based upon no previous ruling that secession was unconstitutional. This single decision set in stone the absolute rule of man over the Rule of Law from which we as subjects have been obliged to curry favor ever since.
Thaddeus Stevens (1792-1872), U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania and a leader of the House proclaimed upon the House Floor, “The Union as it was, and the Constitution as it is—God forbid it! We must conquer the Southern States and hold them as conquered provinces.” After the shooting stopped in 1865, the looting and terror continued until the last conquered province was permitted to enter the new Union in 1877.
The 16th President who took the solemn Oath of Office on March 4, 1861, repeatedly refused to meet with Southern Peace Commissioners or anyone who offered to mediate the differences and it was understood by his Cabinet and close confidants that war would be instigated by, or soon after, April 1st. All of this we have been instructed was to “Save the Union”.
For 150 years, every agent of government from the kindergarten teacher to the President has repeated that the war of 1861-1865 was necessary in order to “Save the Union”. My question has always been: Save the Union from what and from whom?
The men who knowingly instigated animosity and then encouraged South Carolina to fire upon Fort Sumter anticipated incredible profits and long term power resulting from the conflict. Their Union was not one of Sovereign States and independent citizens in control of their own destiny, but rather a homogenous mixture of peoples in political districts who would succumb to their authority in order to project Empire and provide for them as subjects under a new Union of higher law. Higher law was the euphemism for “make the law up as you go” and the Bible refers to it as men doing what seems right in their own eyes (Proverbs 12:15, 14:12, 16:25, 21:2). Thus in four years of blood we were reduced from sovereign citizens to subjects; and from the sanctity of the Rule of Law to the whim of the rule of man.
William Howard Russell (1820-1907), was a Times of London correspondent and in his article that appeared May 28, 1861 he observed: “ The New Englander must have something to persecute, and as he has hunted down all the Indians, burnt all the witches, and persecuted all his opponents to death, he has invented Abolitionism as the sole source left to him for the gratification of his favored passion. Next to this motive principle is his desire to make money dishonestly, trickily, meanly, and shabbily. He has acted on it in all his relations with the South, and has cheated and plundered her in all his dealings by villainous tariffs.”
Our Northern brethren attempted to secede from the Union on four occasions. Their right to do so was never denied them. In 1803, 1811, 1814 and 1844 they exercised their franchise to remove their delegated powers from the Federal Government; and in each instance the citizens of those States would not bow to the will of those political demagogues who were eager to carve their own empires. Beginning in December of 1860 Southern States held legal referendums and the citizens voted to revoke their delegated powers. The various State Legislatures approved their Articles of Secession and issued the requisite legal documents. Suddenly, the Union from which plunder and largesse had become a way of life was about to end; of course the answer was to “Save the Union”.
The South provided eighty seven percent of Federal income, eighty percent of which was spent on New England and northern internal improvements (public works jobs). Men whose lives and fortunes were made from pilfering the treasury of others were confronted with the hard fact that their gravy train was about to be derailed! Naturally their human response was to energetically endeavor to “Save the Union”. The 16th President was reasonably wealthy from representing North Eastern railroad interests and those interests were desperate to see that their Hamiltonian American System of looting the National Treasury not be interrupted. Thus they selected, financed and promoted their man whom they knew would be obedient to their interests.
The Constitution of the United States is nothing more than an elaboration of the specifics of their Power of Attorney which was given by the Sovereign States to the Federal Government for the accomplishment of those certain tasks best provided enmasse; like the common defense & border security, the minting of money and the resolution of dispute among States. Amendment X of the Constitution clearly states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” You see, delegated powers are simply powers on loan for a purpose.
The Union of States comprising the United States of America legally began June 21, 1788 when the New Hampshire Legislature approved the delegation of powers by a vote of 57 to 47 and the Federal Government was officially begun. The United States consisted of 9 States. The Union was established without Virginia, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Louisiana, Indiana, Mississippi, Illinois, Alabama, Maine, Missouri, Arkansas, Michigan, Florida, Texas, Iowa, Wisconsin, California and Minnesota. Had none or some of these States not delegated power the Union would have existed none-the-less. What would not have existed is that vast resource of other peoples money from which pandering yankee political demigods could repeatedly siphon and skim; not for the good of all but for the enrichment of themselves and their associates. Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850), the brilliant French economic journalist keenly observed, “When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.” This was the Union of 1860, the Hamiltonian, Clay, Whig “American System” of big government and free money. That system had gripped the imagination of scores of empire building aspirants; men without virtue seeking power and wealth over civic duty, sacrifice and personal responsibility. Success in that system is based upon pride, greed, lust, ambition and force.
Seldom (if ever) since 1860, has a National officeholder left office less wealthy than when he started. The sheer size of the National Treasure Cookie Jar is too great to resist. Accepted terms such as pork barrel, revolving door, and double dipping attest to the acceptability of the system of thievery. The solemn oath to defend the Constitution has become a meaningless formality, given with a wink while Legislators and high officeholders are routinely exempt from many of the burdensome laws, rules and regulations we subjects are expected to follow under penalty of fine or imprisonment.
Imagine you are in an abusive marriage and you determine to end your relationship and leave, then your spouse threatens your life so convincingly you become forced to remain in the marriage. Could your abusive spouse then claim to have saved the marriage?
Imagine you provide your power of attorney to an individual in another region for the sole purpose of a specific transaction. In time you learn that the individual is conducting, in your name, assorted businesses and transactions. You revoke your power of attorney and the individual threatens your life so thoroughly that you bend to his wishes. Can either party then say the relationship was saved?
The Southern States of the American Union found themselves in an abusive, one sided relationship. Southern men founded the Union and made the western territory, donated by Virginia, safe to settle. Southern Statesmen held the Federal Government to the Rule of Law and the Constitution. When it became obvious that legislatively the South was outnumbered and destined to become a resource for legal plunder the collective decision was made by the sovereign citizens to withdrawal their delegated powers and go their own way. The South had no designs on Washington and the Union as it existed.
The Sesquicentennial of the Civil War should, for patriotic Americans, be a time of remembrance of what precious liberties were lost for the wealth and power of a few. As Stubb’s so eloquently states in his Constitutional History of England, “Nothing in the past is dead to the man who would learn how the present came to be what it is.”
Crossroads Country Store, Harrisonburg, Virginia ©2011 Rex Miller