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The real causes of the American Civil War, the doctrine
of nullification, secession, and relevance to us today.

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.
                                                                                                                                Oscar Wilde

Why This Is Being Presented

The American Civil War was a monstrous waste of a nation's people and resources.   The criminals that were responsible set a precedent that has resulted in expanded activity of the same nature until we have arrived at a point where we can no longer ignore the problem.   It is imperative that we examine what happened in the years prior to, during, and after the Civil War if we are to recover from our downward plunge.   We can no longer afford to be peacefully and ignorantly slumbering.

The words beginning with "South" and "North", the word "State", and the word "Federal" will be capitalized because that is the way they were presented in the older writings.   In direct quotes, the politically incorrect word "negro" is used because that is what the blacks were called then.

It was almost immediately after the American Revolution that some men became so interested in forwarding their own goals that they ignored the Constitution.   The most extreme crimes were those perpetrated by members of Congress and various Presidents.   The crimes were putting forth unconstitutional legislation, and using executive orders or their equivalent to expand the power of the executive branch of our government.   The Supreme Court was also involved because certain of its members had their own agendas and used their power to increase the powers of the federal government far in excess of those powers or rights that the Sovereign States had granted it.   Usually, it was the commerce clause in the Constitution that was used as an excuse to do this.

The criminals who began to ruin the nation had motives that were usually monetary (they were greedy), but at times were ideological (they thought they were doing right or excused their actions in this manner).   However, each time the Constitution was ignored America was taken farther into the abyss of stealing power from the States and individual Americans.

The "Civil War" is used to illustrate the preceding because it was the most extreme example of government corruption and the culmination of corruption which began at least as early as 1816.   Bear in mind that even today there is nothing in the Constitution that prevents nullification or secession by a Sovereign State.   The founding fathers deliberately created a Constitution which allowed any State to nullify an unconstitutional law or to secede when it was being bullied unmercifully by the federal government.   This was another part of the checks and balances that were meant to prevent unconstitutional legislation and bullying.

The Other Balance from the Founding Fathers

The Founding Fathers presented a constitution that was a contract between the Sovereign States rather than a dictatorial document for a strong federal government.   The States would never have ratified the Constitution had it been a document to force States to remain in the Union.   At the time the Union was formed the States were very leery of strong central government, so the Constitution was a document designed to protect the rights of individuals and the States from a strong central government.

It was also a document designed to prevent any part of the federal government from becoming dictatorial.   So we have a legislature (Congress) made of two houses.  : One is the House of Reprentatives with representation based upon population (this favors the States with the largest populations).   The other is the Senate with the same representation for each State (this gives the smaller states the same power as the larger States).   Most legislation has to be passed by both houses to become law (this protects the rights of the smaller States).

If legislation is passed by both houses, it must be signed by the President (executive branch).   If the President does not agree, he can veto the bill and it will not become law.   On the other hand, the President cannot legally do very much without the consent of Congress. There is a Supreme Court which can decide if a law is constitutional, and can declare the law null and void even if it has been passed by Congress and signed by the President.

But there is another balance of power that is not blatantly presented and yet very necessary.   The Constitution has nothing in it that prevents a State from nullifying an unconstitutional law.   Nullification means that the State refuses to accept or abide by such a law.   There have been many examples of the creation of unconstitutional laws since the Constitution was signed, and the Supreme Court has failed to strike these laws down.   The Obama healthcare law is one of the most recent examples of such a law passed and signed.   With the current number of anti-constitutional judges (at least four of the nine at this time), the law could still be upheld.   Unconstitutional executive orders have been introduced.   Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation was an example and Obama has produced a number of them.

Should a State or a section of States be bullied by the rest, there is nothing in the Constitution to prevent one or more States from seceding.   Indeed, to keep such States in the Union is no different than what the Soviet Union did when it existed, and what Russia is doing today to keep its states in line (through extortion).   So the final balance needed for a healthy Union was the threat of States leaving that Union.   How would you feel if you joined a club or an organization that began to steal your money but would not let you resign?   The Founding Fathers knew that the final part of a necessary balance was the right of a State to leave the Union peacably when threatened by the others.

The actions of the industrial North to subjugate the South, steal from it, and then ruin it with an unjust war will come back to haunt the nation even more than as it has already.   Those actions were all caused by people who were greedy to the point of total corruption.   Those people were the descendants in spirit (if not genetically) of those in the Federal Reserve, much of Congress, and of George Soros and his minions today.   Obama is a merely consequence - a symptom - of the legacy that greed and corruption have spawned.


Most of the information which follows comes from a set of Encyclopedia Americana published in 1960 before there was excessive tampering with historical facts.   Within a set of older encyclopediae are the works of many researchers and authors with slightly different ways of expressing themselves on the same subjects.   One would not think that there would be very much disregarding of the truth.   Even so, about one-third of the authors of the articles in the set were either incompetent or deliberately leaving out facts so as to whitewash or slant certain issues, indicating the use of propaganda regarding the American Civil War being put forth even as late as 1960.   One of the most credible authorities with the most pertinent facts per page, the best organization of those facts, and the least "beating around the bush" was Brigadier General Joseph Wheeler, author of Military History of Alabama.



The American Civil War

(2) The Slavery Issue       Brigadier General Joseph Wheeler       (3) The History of Slavery

(4) Nullification       (5) Causes of Secession       (6) The Doctrine of Secession

(7) Secession       (8) Lessons for Today       (9) The Emancipation Proclamation

The American Civil War (1861-1865) was not a civil war in the usual sense of the word.   The opposing sides were not fighting for control of the government, but over an attempt of one of them to become a separate nation - much the same as frequently happened in the Soviet Union when one nation wanted its independence from tyrannical Russian rule.   The Confederate States of America was an organized, responsible government, possessed of the attributes of sovereignty.

The war was the largest the world had ever known at the time.   The dead on the Union side, from all causes, came to 360,222 and the wounded 275,175.   There were at least 258,000 dead on the Confederate side and one will never know the number of wounded.   Bear in mind that the Confederate side was greatly outnumbered which meant that fewer dead would have been recorded.   Also, the dead on the Confederate side, from all causes, included many from disease, lack of medical supplies, lack of adequate clothing, and lack of adequate food.   If the numbers seem small when compared to our world wars, remember that the population of the United States at that time was much smaller than it is today and the number of casualties was a very large percent of the male population.

The trigger for the war was secession, but the underlying cause was more deeply hidden. and was very similar to the problems we have in the nation today.   The conflict, according to the "victors" (actually everyone lost), settled the questions of secession and slavery.   But did it really?   The North and East gained in numbers, wealth, and power, while the South plunged into greater depths of economic and political subserviency.

The Civil War failed to resolve many old issues and created countless new ones.   From the advantages gained by big business during the war and in the reconstruction period after, were to arise many of the states' major domestic problems that beset the nation for many decades to come.   The conflict was the most sensational illustration of the notorious corruption in government before, during, and after it.   The war did not secure for the blacks a full participation in a free society.   It left a legacy of hatred between the combatants which was used by many for selfish ends - and lasted for generations.   It sacrificed sons, fathers, husbands, and brothers.   However, the major problem that has plagued us since that time is corruption created by the excessively wealthy and the precedent they set in breaking the contract between the States by unconstitutional action which led to the Federal government exceeding its authority over and over again in the years following the Civil War.

Those ultimately responsible for the war are only partly exposed today because much information has been lost or deliberately suppressed in the passage of time.   However, some of these men are known - those who were in the "pursuit of happiness" for themselves at the expense of nation - for their dirty and often illegal political actions.   An example follows.

Patrick Tracy Jackson (1780 - 1847) was the son of Jonathan Jackson, a broker and member of the Continental Congress.   Patrick managed to accumulate some capital from his shipping business which he invested along with Nathan Appleton and others to form the Boston Manufacturing Company, using power looms designed and built by his brother-in-law, Francis Cabot Lowell.   The company was started in 1813 after the War of 1812 began to seriously affect Jackson's shipping business.   It began with a worth of $300,000 which in that day was a huge some of money - and in 20 years, its worth was $1 million.   It was the first company to take raw cotton and turn it into textiles - a complete start to finish operation.

This was the American dream come true and it started a means of textile manufacture which was a large part of the industrial age.   However, large companies often begin to meddle in politics in ways that promote their own interests at the expense of many others.   Jackson and Lowell began to "buy" their own legislators which they used to create the tariff of 1816 upon imported textiles.   This tariff protected their company from lower-priced imported cotton fabrics and allowed their company to sell their products at higher prices so that they could grow.   However, it adversely affected the Southern states which had no factories and could not gain from the tariff.   The Federal government of the United States enjoyed income from the tariff and were in favor of it.   The textile industry and others with their own manufactured items gained from the tariff and were very much in favor of it.   However, the South with its raw materials for the industrial North found the tariff to be a burdensome tax.   This was the beginning of the Shadow Party in the United States.   George Soros is only one of many excessively wealthy men today who adversely affect politics for their own ends.

At first, the tariff was not excessive enough to cause the South to take extreme measures, and the Southern States bore the burden.   However, power often corrupts and the tariff began to increase.   The surplus dollars that resulted in the government were used for various purposes and the politicians did not want to reduce the tariff.   Needless to say, the industrialists did not want the tariff to be reduced either - and the South began to suffer.   In 1828, a protective tariff was enacted which became known as "The Tariff of Abomination".   This tariff was especially bad, increasing duties on some items up to 30 percent.

When the South began to protest in earnest, the issue of slavery was used as means to threaten the Southern States.


Introduction       (1) The American Civil War

The Slavery Issue


Brigadier General Joseph Wheeler       (3) The History of Slavery       (4) Nullification

(5) Causes of Secession       (6) The Doctrine of Secession       (7) Secession

(8) Lessons for Today       (9) The Emancipation Proclamation

From multiple sources within Encyopedia Americana

The first blacks brought from Africa to the American colonists were landed at Jamestown, Virginia in 1619, by a Dutch slave trader.   They were purchased as servants who were indentured for life and their legal status was not yet that of slaves.   Massachusetts had received its first slave shipment from the West Indies in 1536.   From 1650 on, there was accelerated demand for black field workers on tobacco farms, cotton plantations, and other agricultural enterprises.

In 1776, slavery was legal in all thirteen States that comprised the nation.   The term, "slave States" came into common usage in the 20 year period before the Civil War.   Before the Civil War, only one out of four Southerners owned slaves, but slaves were necessary for the Southern economy which was agricultural in nature as opposed to the growing industrial nature of the Northern economy.   The cotton plantations in the South required non-skilled workers - the tobacco farmers needed them less but chose to breed slaves to sell to those who needed slaves for their cotton.   In the North, skilled workers were needed and slaves were not economical, so the Northern States gradually stopped using slaves.

Between 1841 and 1861, two major developments dominated politics.   There was an expansion of the plantation-slaveholding system in the South and rising anti-slavery and abolitionist opinion in the North.   This was coupled with the expansion of American territory which raised the question of whether or not slavery should be expanded into these territories.

Slavery was originally forced upon the colonists by the English Crown, Parliament, and the business interests of England - before the Revolution.   The details of the the struggle to avoid slavery and the English enforcement of it will be found farther on.   England made money from the slave trade and the various products that slaves allowed the colonists to economically produce (especially cotton and tobacco).   Although there were states in the North that were also slave States, most of the economy of the plantation States in the South was based upon slave labor by the time of the Revolution, and a lot of money was invested in the slaves themselves.

People today do not realize that the United States began as an independent nation through having slave labor.   There were no machines to compete with a slave economy and attempting to use other means on plantations would not allow the nation to be economically independent.   In other words, unpleasant as the reality of slavery is, the slaves were a necessary part of our growth as a nation and must be commended as such.   They were a link in a chain that eventually led to national greatness.   The freeing of the slaves was not to be done by reimbursement of the slave owners, and the cotton gin had recently arrived on the scene.   In a short time, it is likely that new machines would have made slavery uneconomical even for cotton plantation owners, and there would have been a gradual freeing of slaves that would not have upset the Southern economy.   However, the Northern politicians and their industrial constituents had been using anti-slavery propaganda to bludgeon the South into submission.

Until 1854, there had been a careful balance between the number of States with slaves and those without.   This balance kept the number of Senators of each side equal so that neither those for freeing the slaves nor those for holding them could maintain a political advantage.   The Missouri Compromise of 1820 and the Compromise of 1850 had settled the slavery issue for a time.   New Mexico and Utah were organized as territories in 1850.   The compromise consisted of the provision that when these territories came to be admitted as states, they should come in with constitutions in which their own people would choose either to have or not to have slavery.

Legally, the Southern States would have had little to concern them because the Constitution allowed slavery to exist and the Federal government, according to the Constitution, allowed the States to keep any powers that had not been granted by the States to the Federal government.   However, the dirty politics of the Northern textile kings and others, with their oppression of the South through tariffs and their threat of abolishing slavery, gave the South cause to be concerned.

In 1854, Stephen A. Douglas, now a Democratic leader in the Senate, brought about the repeal of a crucial section of the Missouri Compromise.   This section prohibited slavery in the Lousiana Purchase north of the latitude of 36 degrees, 30 minutes.   The details follow.

In the session of Congress of December 1853, Senator Dodge of Iowa, a co-adjutor with Douglas, introduced a bill to organize the Territory of Nebraska.   This bill originally contained no reference to slavery, but by amendment became the Kansas-Nebraska Bill.   On January 4, 1854, the Senate Committee on Territories, through Douglas, reported a substitute for the Dodge Bill which contained the compromise provision of the New Mexico and Utah Acts - that the Territory of Nebraska shall be received into the Union with or without slavery according to the wishes of the their citizens.   In 1854, Stephen A. Douglas, now a Democratic leader in the Senate, in a report, pointed out that emminent statesmen hold that Congress is invested with a rightful authority to legislate upon the subject of slavery in the Territories, and that therefore the 8th section of the Missouri Compromise is null and void; while the prevailing sentiment in large sections of the Union sustains the doctrine that the Constitution of the United States secures to every citizen the inalienable right to move into any of the Territories with his property of whatever kind or description [including slaves], and to hold and enjoy the same under the sanction of law.

The report pointed out also that under this section it was a disputed point whether slavery was prohibited in the new country by valid enactment, and advised against the undertaking by Congress to decide these disputed questions.   The bill was further amended so as to provide that all questions pertaining to slavery in the Territories and the new States to be formed therefrom be left to the courts of the people residing therein; that cases involving title to slaves be left to the courts; and that the provision of the Constitution in respect to fugitive slaves should be carried out in the Territories the same as in the states.   On January 16, Senator Dixon of Kentucky offered an amendment, which was accepted by Douglas, expressly repealing the slavery restrictions clause of the Missouri Compromise, and the bill passed with these amendments and became law on May 30, 1854.

The repeal of the Missouri Compromise restriction was hotly denounced by the anti-slavery element and was seized and used with great effect as a political weapon by agitators and politicians.   Douglas was savagely attacked for "selfish subserviency to the South for the sake of winning the Presidency".   Douglas and his allies ably and plausibly defended the repeal.   Douglas believed that he as the leader of the dominant party, and having regard for the preservation of the Union as well as to the vexations of the slavery question, had made the safest and best terms practicable in securing the right of the people to decide the question of slavery for themselves.   In the course of the debate on the bill, both Douglas and Thomas H. Benton who was opposed to the repeal of the Missouri restriction, insisted that left to the people slavery could never be successfully introduced into either Kansas or Nebraska.

The passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Bill and the debates preceding its passage energized the opponents of slavery in the North including the radical abolitionists.   Their aggressive actions either caused or hastened the secession of the South.   Perhaps the best summary of the slavery issue comes from the following two paragraphs.

Moral antipathy toward slavery existed both in the South and in the North.   Southerners however, were concerned with it mainly as a social problem, though the economic value of the institution had been revived by the invention of the cotton gin and by the extension of cotton into the southwest.   Parity between free and slave states had been maintained by the practice of admitting free and slave states in pairs [such as Maine from Massachusetts as a free state and Missouri as a slave state], but because of greater growth of population in the North by 1920, that section was easily able to control the House.   Many Northerners resented the fact that the federal ratio in the Constitution, which counted a slave as three-fifths of a white man for purposes of representation, gave the South 20 seats in Congress; the Tallmadge Amendment was designed to wrest power from the "Virginia Dynasty".   The power of Congress to exclude slavery in the territories (not States) had been exercised since the passage of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787; by mutual consent of the sections, the foreign slave trade had been abolished in 1808.

The Tallmadge Amendment set off a series of bitter debates in and out of Congress.   Constitutional and other arguments were advanced on both sides, both factions threatened secession and certain Northern and Southern politicians fanned prejudices for their own purposes.   Some Southerners apologized for their peculiar institution, but insisted that its social consequences would be worsened were it not permitted to spread; others insisted that slavery was clearly recognized by the Constitution [which it was at that time] and that it was unwise to start the practice of placing restrictions upon the admission of new States.

It must be emphasized that slaves at that time were investments of their owners that in many instances were great enough to cause financial ruin were their slaves to be freed.   (The abolitionists and other anti-slavery politicians were NOT advocating payment to the slaveholders in return for the freeing of the slaves.)   The slaveholders were afraid of a majority in the Senate for the anti-slavery factions.   One way to insure that this majority did not happen was to have new States entering as slave States.   The northern industrialists were interested in their own accumulation of wealth and power rather than the health of the nation - just as some billionaires today are frequently more interested in gaining more wealth and power for themselves.   There was also the issue of what could be done with the slaves once they were free.   Many had never been educated and could not easily handle life well as free men, bearing in mind that freedom is only the freedom of meeting life's challenges without having them get the upper hand.

The slavery issue brought a gradual transition in the Democratic Party.   Its power base continued to embrace farm support in the West, along with support from newly prosperous business groups and among urbanites, particularly Irish and other immigrants.   On the other hand, the slaveholders in the South continued to retain the major power in the party.   With public opinion being divided in regard to slavery, a tripartite factionalism (1844 - 1854) characterized the Democratic coalition.   There was an agrarian group which did not want slavery, a slavery-extensionist group, and a center group.   However, despite the factionalism, the Democrats were generally in power from 1841 to 1861.

"Whig" is a word of British origin and was used for many years to designate members of a particular political party.   It had been used in America in the colonial and Revolutionary times by those who opposed the attempts of the British Crown to deprive Americans of their political and commercial rights.   After the Revolution, the name disappeared until the National Republicans, successors to the Federalists, adopted it.   Those Whigs who considered the slavery question settled by the Compromise of 1850 were called in Massachusetts "Cotton Whigs" and in New York "Silver Grays".   The Whigs continued to exist as one of the two great parties until the election of 1852, which was followed by a division on the slavery issue.   The Northern Whigs joined the new Republican Party, the Southern Whigs joined the Democratic Party, and rest joined the Know-Nothings.   With the splitting of the Whigs and the splitting of the Republicans in 1856, the Democrats succeeding in remaining the dominant party under President James Buchanan.

Abraham Lincoln entered the national political arena as a Whig congressman in 1846.   The Whigs were a minority party at that time with the democrats as the majority party.   The Democrats in general were the party favoring the South and very much in favor of keeping the slaves, which were a necessary means of support for the Southern economy.   However, there were anti-slavery Democrats as well.   Lincoln began as a conscientious freshman in Congress.   When annexations of the new territory from Mexico brought up the question of slavery, he voted for measures which kept slavery within the current U.S. boundaries.

The old party lines were disrupted during the campaigns of 1856 and 1858.   The various anti-slavery factions in the North gradually coalesced to form a new party which took the name Republican.   Lincoln remained aloof from this new party at first, fearing that it would be dominated by the radical rather than the anti-slavery element.   When Lincoln challenged Douglas in 1858, he ran as one who wanted to keep the Union intact.   In the Presidential election of 1860, Lincoln was reluctant to run but was persuaded to do so when the Republican convention met and decided that Lincoln's chances were better than what had been supposed.   The Democrats had split into two major factions and the Republicans enjoyed a majority on the slave issue.   Lincoln won easily with 180 electoral votes to Breckenridge' 72, Bell's 39, and Douglas' 12.

While Lincoln waited to take office, seven Southern states seceded and others wavered as various compromise measures were proposed and rejected.   When Lincoln left Springfield on February 11, 1861, he declared from the rear platform of the train that he faced a task sterner than Washington's.   In his inaugural address, he promised to pursue a moderate course, but his hopes for a peaceful settlement appeared to be lost when the North perpetrated an act of war by attempting to reinforce a fort which existed within the new Southern nation.   Lincoln's chief desire was to maintain the Union, regardless of the legal issues involved.   He called for troops to engage the South, and four more Southern States seceded while the border States of Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri remained with the Union.


Introduction       (1) The American Civil War       (2) The Slavery Issue

(3) The History of Slavery       (4) Nullification       (5) Causes of Secession

(6) The Doctrine of Secession       (7) Secession       (8) Lessons for Today

(9) The Emancipation Proclamation

The articles which follow were written by Brigadier General Joseph Wheeler - also known as Fightin' Joe Wheeler.   He was born near Augusta, Georgia, on September 10, 1836.   In 1859, he graduated from West Point.   Subsequently, he served in the United States Army until 1861 when he resigned and joined the Confederate Army. With the Confederates, he commanded a brigade at Shiloh (April 6-7 1962) and a rear guard when the Confederates retired from the field.   He was awarded for his services by an appointment as the commander of the cavalry of the Army of the Mississippi.   In the ensuing three years be rose to the rank of brigadier general, major general, and then lieutenant general.   He displayed great energy and skill as leader of the cavalry, and wrote Cavalry Tactics in 1863.   His army career was exemplary and too detailed to go into here.   After the war, he settled in New Orleans and then moved to Wheeler, Alabama, which was named in his honor.   He became a planter and a lawyer, and in 1881 was elected a Democratic representative in the 47th Congress, unseated shortly thereafter and then reseated.   He was re-elected to the 49th Congress, but volunteered for duty in the Spanish-American War and was commissioned as a major general of the United States Volunteers, assigned to command the cavalry division of Shafter's Santiago expedition.   Again, he had a detailed and exemplary second military career until his retirement in 1900. He died in Brooklyn, New York, in 1905 and was buried in Arlington Cemetery.   His writing is excellent, well documented, and covers a time when he was there to view it all happening.   It is doubtful that a more accurate account of such subject material is to be found.


Introduction       (1) The American Civil War       (2) The Slavery Issue

Brigadier General Joseph Wheeler


(4) Nullification       (5) Causes of Secession       (6) The Doctrine of Secession

(7) Secession       (8) Lessons for Today       (9) The Emancipation Proclamation

The History of Slavery

by Brigadier General Joseph Wheeler

Slavery was not only a heritage from the mother country, but the history of early colonial times shows that it was a forced heritage that was resisted and opposed by the colonies.   In the same spirit the Southern people opposed slavery at the time of the Declaration of Independence and were vigorous in resisting the further importation of slaves from Africa.   The wise men of that day foresaw the evils attending such a traffic.   Its enormous profits would cause a further great influx of people hardly removed from savagery.   But when slavery became a fixed institution, recognized, guaranteed, and protected by the Constitution, the people of the South sought to ameliorate, so far as possible, all the evils attending it.

Slavery was part of the common law of England prior to the settlement of the first colonies in America, and became the common law of the colonies; and at the time of the Declaration of Independence existed in each of the 13 colonies.   As above stated, this condition existed despite the efforts of some of the colonies to terminate it.   Judge Cooley in his continuation of Story's Commentaries on the Constitution, says: No colony was so persistent in its efforts to check the [slave] trade as Virginia, and Judge Tucker enumerates 23 acts on the subject, beginning with 1699.

Georgia, under Oglethorpe, prohibited the importation of slaves until 1752, when the proprietors surrendered the charter and the colony became part of the royal government; when the power of the colonists to prevent the importation of slaves ceased, the Crown prohibiting the exercise of any such power by the colonists.   In 1760, South Carolina passed an act prohibiting the further importation of African slaves.   The act was rejected by the Crown; the governor was reprimanded; and a circular was sent to all governors of the colonies warning them against presuming to countenance such legislation.

England not only considered the slave trade beneficial, and fostered and protected it, but had actually inaugurated and established it.   Its first appearance in history is in the grant of a character by Queen Elizabeth to a company formed to supply African slaves to the Spanish-American colonies - the queen herself being a shareholder in the company.   In 9th and 10th William III an act was passed reciting that the trade was highly beneficial and advantageous to the kingdom.   In 1708 the House of Commons resolved That the trade was important, and ought to be free and open to all the Queen's subjects trading from Great Britain.   And as late as 1775 the Earl of Dartmouth, in answer to a remonstrance from the agent of the colonies, said We cannot allow the colonies to check or discourage to in any degree a traffic so beneficial to the nation.   And so popular was this traffic that slaves were openly sold in the public squares of London.   Thus were the efforts of the colonies, led by Virginia, Georgia, Maryland, and South Carolina, to put an end to the traffic, thwarted by the greed of the traders in the mother country.

The first African slaves imported into America were landed by a Dutch trading vessel at Jamestown in 1620, and from that time the traffic became general throughout all the colonies.   Pecuniary profit to the traders and need of the negro as a laborer were not the only incentives to this traffic.   The press and even the pulpit contended that it was humane and Christian to bring these "heathen savage negroes to the protective care of civilized people".

Slaves were imported in large numbers into New England until it became apparent that they were not fitted to the rigorous climate of the North.   Importation into the Northern colonies and States gradually diminished and finally ceased, but in New England shipowners continued for many years to be actively engaged in the business of importing and selling slaves.

Notwithstanding the reasons in favor of this business, the leaders among the Southern colonists continued to fight against this traffic, and Jefferson, in his first draft of the Declaration of Independence, brought forth, as one of the counts in his indictment of the king, this cruel war against human nature itself... this piratical warfare, and charged that the king had prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or restrain this execrable commerce in order to keep open a market for the sale of human beings.   Jefferson gave, among othe reasons for omitting this clause from the final draft of the Declaration: Our Northen brethren also, I believe, felt a little tender under those censures; for, although their people had very few slaves, yet they had pretty considerable carriers of them to others.   This traffic against which the colonies had waged war for a century continued to exist at the time of the Declaration of Independence; and when the Constitution was adopted slavery existed in every colony with the possible exception of Massachusetts, where in 1781, not by legislative enactment, but by a decision of the Supreme Court of that colony, it was declared inconsistent with the declaration of the Bill of Rights that "all men are born free and equal".

The framers of the Constitution realized the sensitive and delicate nature of the question of slavery, and wisely left it untouched except to protect the property rights of the slaveholders and to give Congress the power to prohibit the importation of slaves after a certain date.   The third paragraph of Section 2 of Article IV of the Constitution provided that no person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from from such service or labor, but shall be delivered upon claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.   Under this clause the Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Law of 1793.   The first paragraph of Section 9 of Article I of the Constitution provided: The migration or importation of such persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit shall not be prohibited by Congress prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each person.

The history of the adoption of this clause sheds much light upon the attitude of the southern slaveholders.   The first draft provided: No tax or duty shall be laid, etc., on the migration or importation of such persons as the several States shall think proper to admit; nor shall such migration or importation be prohibited.   South Carolina and Georgia insisted that the freedom of importation should be limited, and insisted upon a limitation as a condition of the Union; and the clause limiting until 1808 the prohibition against Congress of preventing such importation was finally adopted.

During the period from 1787 to 1808, the question of prohibiting the importation of slaves was entirely under the control of the States, and every southern state which had not already done so enacted laws prohibiting further importation of slaves.   Jefferson's earnestness in opposing the traffic has already been noticed, and Virginia was the first state to prohibit it.   Georgia was the first state to incorporate such a prohibition in the Constitution.   Henry Laurens of South Carolina writing to his son, 14 August 1776, said: You know, my dear son, I abhor slavery.   I was born in a country where slavery had been established by British kings and parliaments, as by the laws of that country, ages before my existence... Not less than 20,000 pounds sterling would all my negroes produce, if sold at public auction tomorrow.   I am not the man who enslaved them; they are indebted to Englishmen for that favor; nevertheless I am advising means for manumitting many of them, and for cutting off the entail of slavery... I perceive the work before me is great.

Mr. Lowndes of South Carolina, speaking in the House of Representatives on 14 February 1804, of the impossibility of prohibiting the importation of slaves in his state, said: With navigable rivers running into the heart of it, it was impossible for us, with our means, to prevent our eastern brethren from introducing them (the negroes) into the country.   The law was completely evaded.

In 1807, Congress passed an act prohibiting the importation of slaves into any part of the United States after 1 January 1808.   The vote in the House of Representatives was almost unanimous, being 113 against 5.   Of the five, who voted against it only three were from the South, one being from the Portsmouth district, New Hampshire, and one from Vermont.   Mr. Betton from New Hampshire represented large shipping interests; and that the vote of Mr. Crittenden of Vermont was approved by the people of his state is shown by the fact he was three times re-elected to Congress, and was subsequently elected governor and judge.   This vote shows the absence of any sectional division of sentiment on the subject.

In the meantime in 1784, Virginia had ceded to the United States the great Northwest Territory, and in 1787, before the adoption of the Constitution, the Congress had adopted the Ordinance for the Government of the Northwest Territory.   This was adopted at the instance of Virginia, and its Sixth Article provided that there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said Territory, otherwise than in punishments of crimes whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.

In December 1805, the legislative council and house of representatives of the Indian Territory petitioned Congress to suspend the operation of the Sixth Article, and petitions of numerous inhabitants of the Territory, together with a letter of William Henry Harrison, governor of the Territory, of the same purport, were forwarded to Congress.   These petitions were referred to a committee of seven members consisting of representatives from Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Kentucky, and South Carolina [One appears to have been left out as only six states are mentioned.], who reported favorably to the petition, but no final action was taken by Congress.   In January 1807, a letter from Governor Harrison enclosing resolutions unanimously adopted by the legislative council and house of representatives of Indiana, petitioning for the suspension of the Sixth Article and for the introduction of slavery, was laid out before Congress.   The matter was again referred to a committee whose members were drawn from various sections of the country.   The committee again reported favorably, the House adopted a resolution suspending the article, but the Senate failed to concur in it and the matter was dropped.

Although the importation of slaves was prohibited, the institution of slavery became more intrenched in the slave-holding States, and at the same time a sentiment in favor of its abolition grew stronger in non-slave-holding States.   In 1819 a violent dispute arose between the North and South, the occasion being the proposal to admit Missouri as a State.   After a year of bitter controversy, as settlement was reached in a compromise whereby Missouri, with a constitution permitting slavery, was admitted, but as to the remaining portion of the territory in the United States lying north of latitude 36 degrees, 20 minutes North, it was provided that slavery should be prohibited.

In the North, the compromise was exceedingly unpopular, and a general movement looking toward the abolition of slavery was commenced.   In 1840 and in 1844, the anti-slavery party had Presidential candidates in the field.   The annexation of Texas, the war with Mexico, and the further acquisition of territory furnished cause for additional controversy.   In 1848, the anti-slavery party showed growing strength, and political campaigns took on increasing bitterness.   The one side depended upon the guarantees of the Constitution to protect its property rights; the other side insisted upon their right to prevent the extension of slavery, "while conceding", as Judge Cooley admits, "that the federal government was powerless to disturb it in the States".

During these times of fierce controversy, the greatest minds from all the sections of the country devoted their efforts to securing peace.   Clay, Webster, Cass, and Benton met in harmony and their united efforts secured the compromise of 1850 by which California was admitted as a free State, new States were permitted to be carved out of Texas, the slave trade was prohibited in the District of Columbia, and new territories were to be organized without either expressly permitting or prohibiting slavery.   But these compromises and all the efforts of the peacemakers were futile.   The Missouri Compromise was repealed, the Fugitive Slave Law was nullified in the North, in Kansas armed conflicts occurred between opposing factions, and in October 1859 John Brown with a band of Northerners made a raid into Virginia in an endeavor to incite the negroes of the South into insurrection, rapine, and bloodshed.   [The raid failed to gain its objective.]

The almost unanimous sentiment, North and South, about the question of re-opening the African slave trade is shown by the vote on the following resolution introduced in the House of Representatives by Mr. Orr of South Carolina, on December 15 1856: Resolved, That it is inexpedient, unwise, and contrary to the settled policy of the United States to repeal the laws prohibiting the African slave trade.   This resolution was adopted by a vote of 183 to 8, and most of those voting against it explained their votes by stating that no proposition looking into the opening of the slave trade having been presented the resolution was out of place.

In 1856 the anti-slavery party had made great progress and came near electing their candidate for President.   It was hoped that the decision of the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case would put an end to the political agitation, but the decision being adverse to the theories of the abolitionists added fuel to the flame.   The Supreme Court and the venerable chief justice became objects of the most venomous abuse.   In the controversy which now raged, moderation and reason seemed annihilated in the bitterness of feeling.   The ablest minds of the North were exercised in constructing arguments to justify the coercive policy.   Floods of anti-slavery literature were poured out before the impressionable youth.   The pulpit and the lecture hall rang with appeals in which slander and denunciations were the key-notes, and the press took up and echoed their appeals.

While many people in the North were actuated solely by the belief that slavery was a wrong that should be abolished, yet it was not until the question became one of national and political importance that the party opposed to the one in power used it as a means to control the government.   Like all other questions which become political, misrepresentations of the grossest character were made in order to attain political ends.   Therefore, the pictures of slavery as represented to the Northern mind were in marked contrast to actual conditions as seen by those who were surrounded by them.

It is true that there were exceptional cases where there was apparent cruelty, and in some cases where the slaves endured real hardships; and these cases were almost exclusively confined to the Mississippi and other alluvial bottom lands where the slaves were removed from the care and protection of their masters and were controlled by overseers, whose sole effort was each year to attain the highest financial results for their employers.   But while the cases of hardship were few in number they were seized upon by, colored, exaggerated in order to, so far as possible, inflame the Northern mind against the institution.

The conditions as they appeared to the Southern people were, with rare exceptions, in marked contrast to the tales spread in the North.   The planter of the South, or his ancestors, had seen the most degraded of human beings brought from Africa.   Most of them had been, in their native land, slaves of tyrannical and cruel negro masters.   They had become the property and in a certain sense members of humane, Christian families.   The instincts of humanity and the interests of ownership had combined to lift these negro slaves from the lowest conditions of savagery into a state of civilization, where they were well fed, well clothed, protected and all their physical wants attended to, and furthermore where they were uplifted morally, surrounded by Christian influences and given Christian instruction.   While slavery had its evils, history has record of no people who made so rapid an advance from a low condition of savagery and immorality to one of comparative civilization and moral responsibility as was shown by the improvement in the condition of the savage negroes that were brought to this country by the slave-traders.

It has been charged that the Southern people took care of their slaves only because they were property and because the loss of a slave was a monetary loss.   This charge is unjust in the extreme, and is in line with other calumnies which would deny all humanity to the slave-holding Southerners.   The Southern people as a class cared well for their slaves, not only because they were property, but also because there was a real bond of affection between master and slave, and between all the members of the master's family and all the slaves in his house or on his plantation.   Proof of the real conditions can be found in the following extract from Booker T. Washington's Up from Slavery. [which follows]

One may get the idea, from what I have said, that there was bitter feeling toward the white people on the part of my race, because of the fact that most of the white population was away fighting in a war which would result in keeping the negro in slavery if the South was successful.

In the case of the slaves on our place, this was not true, and it was not true of any large portion of the slave population in the South where the negro was treated with anything like decency.   During the Civil War one of my young masters was killed and two were severely wounded.   I recall the feeling of sorrow which existed among the slaves when they heard of the death of "Marse Billy".   It was no sham sorrow; but real.   Some of the slaves had nursed "Marse Billy"; others had played with him when a child.   "Marse Billy" had begged for mercy in the case of others when the overseer or master was thrashing them.   The sorrow in the slave quarter was only second to that in the "big house".

When the two young masters were brought home wounded, the sympathy of the slaves was shown in many ways.   They were just as anxious to assist in the nursing as the family relatives of the wounded.   Some of the slaves would even beg for the privilege of sitting up all night to nurse their wounded masters.   This tenderness and sympathy on the part of those held in bondage was a result of their kindly and generous natures.

In order to defend and protect the women and children who were left on the plantations when the white males went to war, the slaves would have laid down their lives.   The slave who was selected to sleep in the "big house" during the absence of the males was considered to have the place of honor.   Anyone attempting to harm "young mistress" or "old mistress" during the night would have had to cross the dead body of the slave to do so.   I do not know how many have noticed it, but I think that it will be found to be true that there are few instances, either in slavery of freedom, in which a member of my race has been known to betray a specific trust.

As a rule, not only did the members of my race entertain no feelings of bitterness against the whites before and during the the war, but there are many instances of negroes tenderly caring for their former masters and mistresses.

As a general rule (the exception being in the bottom lands where but few white people lived except overseers, and where the worst and most untractable negroes were sent) the virtue of the negro women was carefully guarded by the slave-owners, and for several reasons.   First, the Southern people were, as they are today, essentially religious and, as above stated, took great care of the moral training of the negroes.   In most of the small establishments the mistress of the house assumed this as one of her duties, and on most of the large plantations where there were from 100 to 1,000 slaves, a chapel was provided and a minister employed to teach religion and morals.   A plantation upon which there were not mulatto children was the more valuable and conveyed an idea of commendation which attached to all who were connected with it.   In the third place, marriage and chastity among the slaves were fostered and promoted for property reasons.   So far did the Southern people go in protecting the female slaves that regular patrols were organized for the purpose of arresting and punishing the lower class of white men who prowled around at night among the negro cabins.

Of course the Southern people were greatly incensed by the gross misrepresentations as to their cruelty and immorality, and believed that the object of these misrepresentations was to arouse a sentiment which would lead to the attempt of the Northern people, acting through the national government, to interfere with the right of self-government guaranteed by the Constitution, and to deprive them of their property.   And the feelings of resentment which naturally followed widened the breach day by day, month by month, and year by year; until it became apparent that only a cessation of the agitation could prevent complete separation of the two sections.   So that from the moment of the John Brown raid into Virginia the South saw the necessity of preparing to protect its rights and property - in the Union if possible - out of it if necessary.

These were the conditions when, in 1860, the anti-slavery Republican Party elected its candidate, not so much by the strength in the North of its own following as by the division among the Democrats.   By the vote which elected Mr. Lincoln the South was given to understand that the Constitution was to be disregarded and slavery destroyed, and so destroyed as to bring financial ruin, if not utter annihilation upon the South, for Wendell Phillips, a recognized leader, has said The state of things is just what we have attempted to bring about... The Republican Party is a party of the North, pledged against the South.   And the Southern people turned to the remedy which for three-quarters of a century they had believed to be the legal and proper one for denial of rights by the national government, namely, withdrawal from the union - secession.


Introduction       (1) The American Civil War       (2) The Slavery Issue

Brigadier General Joseph Wheeler       (3) The History of Slavery

(5) Causes of Secession       (6) The Doctrine of Secession       (7) Secession

(8) Lessons for Today       (9) The Emancipation Proclamation


Partly from information in
The Gun Owners
Volume dated July 27, 2009.

When the federal government passed the Alien and Sedition Acts - a series of laws which amounted to unconstitutional restrictions on the freedom of the press - Thomas Jefferson and James Madison authored protest resolutions in the states of Virginia and Kentucky.

The resolutions essentially said that if Congress did not repeal the objectionable laws, the states would "interpose" themselves and "nullify" these laws.   The Alien and Sedition Acts produced a classic conflict between the federal government and the states at a time when the federal government was exceeding its limits according to the contract we know as the Constitution.   In other words, the federal government was making the Constitution - as a contract between the sovereign states - null and void.

Madison, who would later become the fourth President of our country and the man known as the Father of the Constitution, gave constitutional reasons for why the states should ultimately decide such a conflict.   The states, then, being the parties to the constitutional compact, and in their sovereign capacity, it follows of necessity, that there can be no tribunal above their authority to decide, in the last resort, whether the compact made by them be violated...   Consequently, that, as the parties to [the Constitution], they [the states] must themselves decide, in the last resort, such questions as may be of sufficient magnitude to require their interposition.

The Alien and Sedition Acts were passed by the Federalist Party.   Today, we have even more unconstitutional legislation passed by the Democratic Party (actually communists and their "useful idiots").   In the election of 1800, angry voters heralded the death knell of the Federalists and their candidate John Adams.   The nation elected Thomas Jefferson and catapulted the new party - the Democratic-Republicans - to the forefront.   Perhaps history will repeat itself today and shirk off the efforts of the communist-dominated federal government of today.


Mostly from material by H. W. Caldwell
Law Professor of American History
University of Nebraska

In American history the formal suspension of a federal law by a state within its territorial jurisdiction is called "nullification".   This doctrine was first suggested in the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions.   The former had been drawn up by James Madison, often styled the father of the Constitution.   The Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 were put forth by Thomas Jefferson.   Alexander Hamilton, in The Federalist, frequently spoke of the United States as a "Confederate Republic" and a "Confederacy" and called the Constitution a "compact".   George Washington often referred to the Constitution as a "compact" and spoke of the union as a "Confederated Republic".   At the time of the Louisiana Purchase, Timothy Pickering of Massachusetts advocated the right and advisability of secession and Josiah Quincy of the same State expressed similar views in 1811.   The fundamental principle of nullification was accepted by the Hartford Convention of 1814, but it was not until 1832 that the theory was fully developed by Vice President John C. Calhoun and acted upon by South Carolina in its Ordinance of Nullification of November 24 of that year.   When South Carolina adopted Calhoun's paper, it was called The South Carolina Exposition.

Today, the word "compact" has been replaced for the most part by "contract".   There can be no doubt that the Constitution is a contract among the States and has been signed by representatives of the States.   Contracts must be kept as fully retained promises to remain in force.   When one party to the contract fails to meet its obligations or attempts to overstep its bounds, this is known as a "breach of contract" and makes the entire contract null and void.

In the opinion of some - often due to political agendas - the Constitution recognized both the Federal government and the States as bearers of power but did not clearly apportion that power between them, nor determine, in cases of disputed claims, which was the final arbiter.   However, the powers of the Federal government are clearly expressed in the Constitution and all other powers are reserved by the States.   The nation possesses only delegated authority, while the States retain the residuary powers.   Calhoun in elaborating this doctrine, realized that historically the States came into being first and were the creators of the Union, the grantors of power to their agent, the Federal government.   It follows as a natural consequence, that the final judge in the amount of power granted could not lie with the created - the agent - but must remain with the States as the creators.   Also at this point, the question arises in regard to the remedy should the agent of the States exceed the authority delegated, and pass laws that are contrary to the reserved rights of the partners in the Union.   The fundamental basis then of nullification is State Sovereignty.

In cases where the nation is encroaching on the reserved rights of the States, nullification within the State or States of the encroaching Federal legislation is a peacable remedy.   Thus secession or revolution is unnecessary and the Union would be as perfect after as before the nullification.   All rights and duties of the States and Union would remain unchanged except in regard to the one nullified and therefore void by law.   Should any of the States desire to test the matter, a constitutional convention might be called, and the question be settled by process of amending the Constitution, but till overruled this way, the encroaching law would be void in the nullifying State.   [Actually, even an amendment should not affect the the right of nullification of any State unless it agrees to submit to the new "contract" - because ex post facto laws are constitutionally illegal and the original Constitution without the amendment is what the States agreed to honor.]

The cause of nullification was put forth when the protective tariff became a problem.   Then the popular issue of slavery began to affect it as well.   As late is 1816, the South was not radically opposed to a protective tariff.   But in the South with its agricultural economy, manufacturing and commerce did not develop.   The South, therefore, could not profit by the protective system and eventually was paying three-quarters of the revenue collected from the tariff.   The problem was most acute in South Carolina.

By 1832, the national debt was paid and the South began to demand a lower tariff, insisting that the payment of the public debt removed all excuses for the continuance of high duties on imports.   Instead, the interests of the Northern and Eastern industrialists, affecting the political scene, caused the tariff to be revised to be become permanent.   In South Carolina, there had been a struggle for some years between the proponents of nullification and those of anti-nullification.   The tariff of 1832, for the first time, gave the necessary two-thirds majority to the nullifiers, and on October 24, the State Senate by a vote of 30 to 13 and the State House by a vote of 99 to 25, resolved to call a convention to meet on November 19.   Those at the convention voted 136 to 26 to declare the tariff acts of 1828 and 1832 null and void - because they were beyond the powers delegated to the Federal government.   The convention also authorized the legislature to pass all laws necessary to enforce the ordinance of nullification.   Laws were accordingly passed to prevent the collection of the tariff within the State, to give to the governor the power to call out the militia, and to give the State courts full control of all cases involved under the tariff laws.

President Andrew Jackson, in his Proclamation of December 10,1832, denied the possibility of nullification being a peacable remedy.   There was an ongoing feud between Jackson and Vice President Calhoun, and Jackson refused to listen to Calhoun's reasoning.   Jackson asserted that the Nation was supreme (a fascist doctrine as we see this view today) regardless of the terms of the Constitution.   A discussion between Calhoun and Webster in the Senate followed, Webster supporting Jackson's views.   Webster presented the Supreme Court as the final arbiter of such matters.   Calhoun showed (rightly so) that this would make the agent the judge of his own powers - like having the fox in charge of the hen house.

Jackson requested that he be granted more power which met with the introduction of the Force Bill of January 21 which made no progress until the introduction of Clay's Compromise Tariff Bill of February 12.   The two bills then moved forward in step with one another.   The first gave the President power to collect the revenues in South Carolina, using the whole power of the Federal government if necessary.   The second provided for a gradual reduction of the tariff duties until by 1842, no duty should exceed 20 percent.   Jackson signed the bills on March 2, 1833, and on March 16, South Carolina was forced to repeal her nullification.   This did not, however, make the doctrine of nullification void.   It was a bullying President pushed on by powerful industrialists that forced the issue - rather than reason and justice.   Furthermore, the increase in Jackson's power was unconstitutional and therefore illegal.

Calhoun became so incensed at the attitude of Jackson that he resigned as Vice President and became a senator, later proposing that there be a dual executive in the government rather than one President.   One was to be from the North and the other from the South - each with the power to veto any legislation than offended the section he represented.

The Constitution clearly states what the powers of the United States government are - and all other powers reserved are for the States.   The Constitution was ratified by the States as a contract among them.   When a would-be dictator or a rogue congress attempts to usurp the States' rights, the only remedies the States have are (1) to invoke nullification, (2) to secede, and (3) to defend themselves by force if all else fails.   Bear in mind that there is nothing in the Constitution - nor has there ever been anything in the Constitution - that says that a State cannot secede from the union.   To force a State that is being abused to remain in the union is the tactic of a fascist and has no place in a free country.   To say that the State must not use peaceful remedies is to remove all means of preventing abuse and violence.


Introduction       (1) The American Civil War       (2) The Slavery Issue

Brigadier General Joseph Wheeler       (3) The History of Slavery       (4) Nullification

Causes of Secession

by Brigadier General Joseph Wheeler
(6) The Doctrine of Secession       (7) Secession       (8) Lessons for Today

(9) The Emancipation Proclamation

To properly understand the causes which led to secession of the Southern States in 1861 and the reasons which actuated those by whom such action was advocated, we must confine our investigations to the history of the country and the conditions which existed prior to the date when the seceding States withdrew from the Union.   If we look back from the standpoint of today, we see but little of the picture which was presented at that period.   We must study the theory of the Constitution as understood and explained by its creators, and the history of the period prior to 1861, at least so far as it relates to constitutional rights and construction.

It will also be interesting to consider the views entertained by advocates of the States' rights doctrine as distinguished from the views of the extreme nationalists, and we must also become informed regarding the long-continued struggle between the leaders of the two parties.   In 1860 not only the leaders but the Southern people generally were firm in the belief that a State had the legal right to secede from the Federal union.   This was the natural result of the teachings of more than half a century.   Whatever opposition existed in the several state conventions or among the people of the seceding States arose not on the question of the principle of secession, the right to secede, but upon the expediency of seceding.

Perhaps the most conspicuous example of the unity of the people of the seceding States is to be found in proceedings of the Alabama Convention. A very large minority of this convention, for a while supposed to be a majority, was elected on the following platform: That we hold it to be our duty, first, to use all honorable exertions to secure our rights in the Union, and if we should fail in this, we will maintain our rights out of the Union; for, as citizens of Alabama, we owe our allegiance first to the State; and we will support her in whatever course she may adopt.

With rare exceptions, the arguments against such action were on the ground that it was inexpedient and inadvisable, but when the act was consummated it was generally recognized in the seceded States as the supreme law of the land, the exceptions being for the most part confined to a few counties in East Tennessee and the sparsely inhabited strip of mountainland known as the southwestern part of the Alleghanies.   In this connection, it is important to state that in 1861 and for years prior to that time, this belief in the right of secession was by no means confined to the South, or to the so-called pro-slavery party.   Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, was outspoken in upholding the right of secession, and for months after the establishment of the Confederate government, army officers from the South openly discussed the question of remaining in the Union army or joining the Confederacy, and those who decided upon the latter course were allowed to go freely.

General Joseph E. Johnston and Colonel Robert E. Lee both continued in the performance of their army duties in Washington for nearly two months after the inauguration of President Lincoln, the former holding the all-important position of quartermaster-general of the army of the United States; and it was after it was generally known that Colonel, afterward known as General, Lee had decided that it was his duty to give his fealty to his native state, Virginia, that Mr. Lincoln offered him the appointment as commander-in-chief of all the armies of the United States.

At that time the authorities in Washington did not use the words "treason" and "traitors" in referring to the Southern officers who resigned their commissions and joined the Confederate army.   But the results of the appeal to arms whereby the advocates of secession were overwhelmed have clouded and caused to be utterly forgotten the legal and logical principles for which the States Rights party had contended for three-quarters of a century.

Greeley said in 1860: War is a hideous necessity at best, and a civil conflict, a war of estranged and embittered fellow countrymen, is the most hideous of all wars.   And his words were prophetic.   In the terrible internecine war of four years more than 1,000,000 human beings, most of whom were the youth of the land, fell in battle or succumbed to disease and the hardships of campaign, or were wounded and maimed; while in nearly every home, North and South, heartbroken mourners were crushed by the awful sacrifice to the God of battles.

During and at the close of the war every branch of government was under the control of those responsible for the coercive policy which brought it on.   With rare exceptions the press of the Northern states and its literature were dominated by the same influences.   The chief executive and all his subordinates in the government with one acclaim pronounced the edict that those who had not supported their views should be made odious to the American people, and from that time the teaching to the youth of the land has been of this character.   The causes which influenced the action of those who brought about the secession of the Southern States became utterly obscured and forgotten.

The general assumption that slavery was the sole cause of secession and the war that followed is very far from correct.   It is clearly to be seen that far away and beyond the question of slavery, even in the very earliest days of the life of the nation, the two parties began the struggle - the one to maintain the unrelinquished rights of the States, and the other to establish and vest greater power in the central government.   But although this leading question, and other cognate questions were really at issue in this conflict, slavery was the proximate occasion of the Civil War.   The anti-slavery agitation focused and brought into active operation the theories of the extreme nationalists that the central government had the right to go into the domain of the State governments and regulate their domestic affairs.   And the threats of the abolitionists awoke the Southern people to the realization that the guarantees of the Constitution for the protection of slave property were to be nullified and, at least to that extent, the rights of the States destroyed.   It is, therefore, necessary to review the history of this contributing, if not paramount, cause, without entering upon any discussion of the question of slavery itself.


Introduction       (1) The American Civil War       (2) The Slavery Issue

Brigadier General Joseph Wheeler       (3) The History of Slavery       (4) Nullification

(5) Causes of Secession

The Doctrine of Secession

by Brigadier General Joseph Wheeler
(7) Secession       (8) Lessons for Today       (9) The Emancipation Proclamation

As stated from the foundation of the Federal government until until 1861, and even at that date, the right of secession was insisted upon not only in the South but in the North.   In fact New England had been the first to advocate and threaten [to exercise] it.   To discover the basis of this doctrine the history of the Federal government must be briefly reviewed.

The colonies were settled by the Cavaliers in Virginia, the Puritans in New England, the Hollanders in New York, the Catholics in Maryland, the Quakers in Pennsylvania, the Huguenots in South Carolina, and the followers of Oglethorpe in Georgia.   The colonists of New England whose descendants spread westward were very different in their ancestry, their education, their beliefs, and their customs, from those who settled the South and whose descendants spread over the Southwest.   Those of New England were largely the descendants of the Roundheads of England, and entertained ideas similar to theirs.   Those of the South sprang from the Cavalier class of England and France.

The colonial States when they renounced their allegiance to Great Britain were separate and distinct commonwealths, entirely independent of one another.   The desire for complete independence was the claim that welded their union in their efforts to achieve their common end.   The political union of these independent colonies was based solely upon the terms of agreement and compact entered into by these separate and distinct bodies.   The first union of this character was that formed by the 13 colonies in 1774, which was followed by the union of the States under the Articles of Confederation of 1777 (Maryland being the last State to ratify them, in 1781).   On 4 July 1776, the colonies declared that they are and of right ought to be Free and Independent States - that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of the ends for which it was established, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government.

In the Articles of Confederation, the States, while agreeing to clothe the Congress with the powers of a common agent, expressly stipulated that each State retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence - and every power and right which is not, by this Confederation, expressly delegated to the United States in Congress assembled.   Great Britain in Article I of the treaty of 3 September 1783, acknowledges the said United States, namely (mentioning each of the 13 States), to be Free, Sovereign, and Independent States.   The Confederation under the Articles of 1777 was succeeded by the Union under the Constitution adopted by the 12 States assembled in Constitutional Convention (Rhode Island holding aloof) and subsequently ratified by all the States.   It is to be remembered that until North Carolina ratified the Constitution in November 1789, and Rhode Island ratified it in May 1790, these two States were considered as entirely independent commonwealths.

In the Constitutional Convention, and therefore until 1861, the Supreme Court of United States and the highest courts of the several States maintained in their decisions the principle of the unrelinquished sovereignty of each State, all holding that the central government had no right to exercise any powers, except such as were expressly delegated, or Congress to enact any laws except in pursuance of an express right granted by the States through the Constitution.   This doctrine was formally enunciated in the tenth amendment to the Constitution: 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.

The question of coercion of a State was raised in the Constitutional Convention and was quickly disposed of.   When a proposition was made to empower Congress to call forth the force of the Union against any member (meaning State) of the Union failing to fulfill its duty under articles thereof Mr. Madison said that a union of the States containing such an ingredient seemed to provide for its own destruction.   The use of force against a State would look more like a declaration of war than an infliction of punishment and would probably be considered by the party attacked as a dissolution of all previous compacts by which it might be bound.   He hoped that such a system would be framed as might render this recourse unnecessary, and moved the clause be postponed.   Madison's motion prevailed unanimously.   Every similar proposition was rejected.   George Mason said of such a proposition: Will not the citizens of the invaded State assist one another, until they rise up as one man and shake off the Union altogether?   Oliver Ellsworth in speaking to the Connecticut Convention said: This Constitution does not attempt to coerce sovereign bodies, States, in their political capacity.   Alexander Hamilton said in the New York Ratifying Convention: To coerce the States is one of the maddest projects that was ever devised.   Edmund Randolph, one of the most advanced of the Federalists, said that coercion was out of the question.

When the States ratified the Constitution they expressed in no uncertain terms their insistence that the State could not be coerced and could at any time withdraw from the confederation and retake the powers granted to the Federal government.   New York and Rhode Island said that the powers of government may be reassumed by the people whenever it shall become necessary to their happiness.   Virgnina in ratifying did declare and make known that the powers granted under the Constitution being derived from the people of the United States, may be reassumed by them, whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression, and that every power not granted thereby remains with them and at their will.   The principle of the right of secession had always been sanctioned by the people of Massachusetts.   When it was proposed to annex Louisiana to the Federal Union, the legislature of Massachusetts passed the following resolution: That the annexation of Louisiana to the Union transcends the Constitutional power of the government of the United States.   It formed a new confederacy, to which the States united by the former compact are not bound to adhere.   And in 1844 and again in 1845 the same legislature resolved: That the project of the annexation of Texas, unless arrested on the threshold, may drive these States into a dissolution of the Union.

Alexander Hamilton was without question one of the most extreme advocates of a strong central national government, but even he expressed himself emphatically that any attempt on the part of Congress to enact a law which involved the exercise of power which was not granted by the Constitution would be an invasion of the power reserved to the States.   He discussed this question in the 31st number of the Federalist, and concludes in these words: Hence we perceive that the clause which declares the supremacy of the laws of the Union, like the one we have just considered, only declares a truth which flows immediately and necessarily from the institution of a Federal government.   It will not, I presume, have escaped observation, that it expressly confines this supremacy to the laws made pursuant to the Constitution.   At the time of the adoption of the Constitution, during the period of ratification and for many years thereafter this principle was not questioned.   It was so thoroughly recognized that so long as any memhers of the Constitutional Convention remained members of Congress, and for a long period thereafter, that body confined its acts to expressly granted powers; and the messages of the Executive to Congress were only explanations of the condition and state of the Union - so very different from the messages since 1865 which are largely devoted to proposed policies of the administration, and exact from the President's party loyal obedience thereto.

In 1839 John Quincy Adams in his speech on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of our government under the Constitution said:

But the indissoluble union between the several States of this confederated nation is, after all, not in the right but in the heart.   If the day should ever come (may Heaven avert it) when the affections of the people of these States shall be alienated from each other; when the fraternal spirit shall give way to cold indifference, or collision of interest shall fester into hatred, the bonds of political asseveration will not long hold together parties no longer attracted by the magnetism of conciliated interests and kindly sympathies; and far better will it be for the people of the disunited States to part in friendship from each other than to be held together by constraint.   Then will be the time for reverting to the precedents which occurred at the formation and adoption of the Constitution to form again a more perfect Union by dissolving that which can no longer bind, and to leave the separated parts to be reunited by the law of political gravitation to the centre.

That Mr. Adams felt that these views were consistent with a true interpretation of the original compact which bound the people together is shown by the fact that three years later, 24 January 1842, he presented to Congress a secession petition from citizens of Haverhill, Massachusetts.   In the Congressional Globe (Volume II, page 977) appears the following:

Monday, January 24 - In the House Mr. Adams presented the petition of sundry citizens of Haverhill, in the State of Massachusetts, praying that Congress will immediately adopt measures, peacably to dissolve the Union of these States: First, because no union can be agreeable or permanent which does not present prospects of reciprocal benefits; second, because a vast proportion of the revenues of one section of the Union is annually drained to sustain the views and course of another section, without any adequate return; third, because, judging from the history of past nations, that Union, if persisted in in the present state of things, will certainly overwhelm the whole nation in destruction.

On the question of the reception of the petition, there were 40 votes in favor of it and 166 against.   The following resolution was then introduced: Resolved: That in presenting to the consideration of this House a petition for the dissolution of the Union, the member from Massachusetts (Mr. Adams) has justly incurred the censure of this House.   Another resolution was introduced declaring that Mr. Adams had offered the deepest indignity to the House and an insult to the people of the United States.   In defending his position, Mr. Adams said:

I hold that it is no perjury, that it is no high treason, but the exercise of a sacred right to offer such a petition, and that it is as false in morals as it is inhuman to fasten that charge on men who, under the countenance of such declarations as I have here quoted, come and ask this House to redress grievances.   And if they do mistake their remedy, this government should not turn them away and charge them with high treason and subornation of perjury; but ought to take it up, to weigh the consideration which can be urged in their favor; and if there be none but those which are so eloquently set forth in the pamphlet I have quoted, these should be considered.   If they have mistaken their remedy, the House should do as the gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. Marshall) told us he was ready to do - admit the facts.

The trial of Mr. Adams, to the exclusion of all other business, commenced on 25 January, and terminated on 7 February, when the whole proceedings were laid on the table without deciding a single question.   This action of the House was construed by some as admission that circumstances might arise which would justify States in withdrawing from the Union.   Daniel Webster in his speech at Buffalo on 22 May 1851, denounced the anti-slavery agitators who were opposing the enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law, and demanded that they should observe the laws and the Constitution.   And a little later, at Capron Springs, he said:

How absurd it is to suppose that when different parties enter into a compact for certain purposes, either can disregard any one provision, and expect, nevertheless, the other to observe the rest... I have not hesitated to say, and I repeat, that if the northern States refuse wilfully and deliberately to carry into effect that part of the Constitution which respects the restoration of fugitive slaves, and Congress provide no remedy, the South would no longer be bound to observe the compact.   A bargain cannot be broken on one side and still bind on the other side.   I say to you, gentlemen of Virginia, as I said on the shores of Lake Erie and in the city of Boston, as I may say again in that city or elsewhere in the North, that you of the South have as much right to receive your fugitive slaves as the North has to any of its rights and privileges of navigation and commerce... I am as ready to fight and fall for the constitutional rights of Virginia as I am for those of Massachusetts.

Horace Greeley, the abolitionist, strongly insisted, in 1860, upon the right of the Southern States to secede, as the following extracts from the Tribune show:

New York Tribune, 9 November 1860 - If the cotton States shall become satisfied that they can do better out of the Union than in it, we insist on letting them go in peace.   The right to secede may be a revolutionary one, but it exists nevertheless.

And again in the same issue of his widely circulated and influential paper, Mr. Greeley said: We must ever resist the asserted right of any State to remain in the Union and nullify or defy the laws thereof.   To withdraw from the Union is quite another matter: and whenever a considerable section of our Union shall deliberately resolve to go out, we shall resist all coercive measures designed to keep it in.

New York Tribune, 16 November 1860 - Still we say, in all earnestness and good faith, whenever a whole section of this republic, whether a half, a third, or only a fourth, shall truly desire and demand a separation from the residue, we shall earnestly favor such separation.   If the fifteen slave States, or even the eight cotton States alone, shall quietly, decisively, say to the rest, "We prefer to be henceforth separated from you", we shall insist they be permitted to go in peace.

New York Tribune, 19 November 1860 - Now we believe and maintain that the Union is to be preserved only so long as it is beneficial and satisfactory to all parties concerned.   We do not believe that any man, any neighborhood, town, county, or even State may break up the Union in any transient gust of passion; we fully comprehend that secession is an extreme, an ultimate resort - not a constitutional but a revolutionary remedy.   But we insist that this Union shall not be held together by force whenever it shall have ceased to cohere by the mutual attraction of its parts; and whenever the slave States or the cotton States only shall unitedly and coolly say to the rest, "We want to get out of the Union", we shall urge that their request be acceded to.

New York Tribune, 30 November 1860 - Are We Going to Fight? - But if the cotton States generally unite with her in seceding, we insist that they cannot be prevented, and that the attempt must not be made.

New York Tribune, 24 December 1860 - Most certainly we believe that governments are made for the peoples, not peoples for the governments; that the latter derive their just power from the consent of the governed; and whenever a portion of this Union, large enough to form an independent self-sustaining nation, shall show that, and say authentically to the residue, "We want to get away from you", I shall say, and we trust self-respect, if not regard for the principles of self-government, will constrain the residue of the American people to say, "Go".

New York Tribune, 28 December 1860 - ... Nor is it treason for a State to hate the Union and seek its disruption.   A State, a whole section, may come to regard the Union as a blight upon its prosperity, an obstacle to its progress, and be fully justified in seeking its dissolution.   And in spite of the adverse clamor, we insist that if ever a third or even a fourth of these States shall have deliberately concluded that the Union is injurious to them, and that their vital interests require their separation from it, they will have a perfect right to seek separation; and should they do so with reasonable patience and due regard for the rights and interests of those they leave behind, we shall feel bound to urge and insist that their wishes be granted - their demand conceded.

During the time the States were seceding Mr. Greeley published many similar statements.   Nor was the Tribune alone, for much of the New York press and prominent journalists and able editors in many of the Northern States coincided in these views.   Wayward sisters, go in peace was the cry on every hand, echoed from the lips of the general of the army, with the refrain uttered by the imminent Republican leader Salmon P. Chase: The South is not worth fighting for; let them alone.

The New York Herald, a journal which claimed to be independent of all party influences, said on 25 November 1860: Coercion in any event is out of the question.   A Union held together by the bayonet would be nothing better than a military despotism.   And the same paper said: Each State is organized as a complete government, holding the purse and wielding the sword, possessing the right to break the tie of the confederation, and to repel invasion... Coercion, if it were possible, is out of the question.   The New York Times of 3 and 4 December 1860 appealed to the people of the North to repeal the State laws preventing the return of fugitive slaves and by moderation and forbearance to prevent the threatened and almost inevitable dissolution of the Union.   In March 1861, after Lincoln's inauguration, the Commercial, the leading Republican paper said:

We are not in favor of blockading the southern coast.   We are not in favor of retaking by force the property of the United States now in possession of the seceders.   We would recognize the existence of a government formed of all the slaveholding States and attempt to cultivate amicable relations with it.

In January 1861, after six States had seceded, James S. Thayer said, at a great meeting in New York:

We can at least, in an authoritative manner, arrive at the basis of a peacable separation... The public mind will bear an avowal, and let us make it, - that if a revolution of force is to begin, it shall be inaugurated at home.   And if the incoming administration shall attempt to carry out the line of policy that has been foreshadowed, we announce that, when the hand of black Republicanism turns to blood-red, and seeks from the fragments of the Constitution to construct a scaffolding for coercion - another name for execution - we will reverse the order of the French Revolution, and save the blood of the people by making those who would inaugurate a reign of terror the first victims of a national guillotine!

These expressions were received with enthusiastic applause.   At the same meeting ex-Governor Horatio Seymour asked whether successful coercion by the North is less revolutionary than successful secession by the South?   At the same meeting, ex-Chancellor Walworth said: It would be brutal, in my opinion, to send men to butcher our own brothers of the Southern States as it would be to massacre them in the Northern States.   Other distinguished speakers and editors throughout the North and West repeatedly expressed the same sentiments.   Even Mr. Lincoln, when delivering his inaugural address on 4 March 1861, although arguing the right to secede, did not openly enunciate the right of coercion, and while asserting his intention to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the government, and collect the duties and imposts, said that beyond what is necessary for these objects there will be no invasion, no using force, against or among the people anywhere.

[It should be noted that occupying military installations or other properties in the South as Lincoln presumed to do - supposedly in peaceful fashion - would alarm and intrude upon the sovereign Southern nation.   The result would certainly be forceful taking back of property which by right belonged to the South.   Assuming that Lincoln was not a complete idiot, he must have known this.   Furthermore, as an lawyer, he must have known that the Constitution is a contract among the sovereign States and that the States delegated to the Federal government only those rights that are mentioned in the Constitution itself - reserving all other rights for themselves - which means that the States have the right to secede and take back any rights that were granted by them to the Federal goverment.   This is especially true when the Federal government had broken the contract, making it null and void.   Thus, Lincoln was first and foremost a canny politician rather than someone to be revered as a very wise man.   Of course, when reading the opinion of Lincoln in the South, it is apparent that the Southerners already realize this.]


Introduction       (1) The American Civil War       (2) The Slavery Issue

Brigadier General Joseph Wheeler       (3) The History of Slavery       (4) Nullification

(5) Causes of Secession       (6) The Doctrine of Secession

(8) Lessons for Today       (9) The Emancipation Proclamation

Even as secession became the only apparent remedy for the South, there were still efforts to avoid it.   On 19 January, 1861, the legislature of Virginia in extraordinary session passed a resolution requesting all the States to send delegates to Washington to meet in convention on 4 February to confer upon some feasible and possible plan upon which to settle the difficulties between the North and the South.   The body which is known in history as the Peace Conference sat in Washington from 4 to 27 February, but accomplished nothing.   Five Northern States were not represented, and while there still existed a very conciliatory spirit in many parts of the North, it was unfortunate that many prominent men were bitterly opposed to the slightest concessions to the South.   The speech of Judge Chase of Ohio, afterward Chief Justice of the United States, distinctly gave it to be understood that the Northern States would make no concessions.   He said:

The result of the national canvas which recently terminated in the election of Mr. Lincoln, has been spoken of by some as the effect of a sudden impulse or of some irregular excitement of the popular mind; and it has been somewhat confidently asserted that, upon reflection and consideration, the hastily formed opinions which brought about that election will be changed...   I cannot take this view of the result of the Presidential election.   I believe, and the belief amounts to absolute conviction, that the election must be regarded as a triumph of principles cherished in the hearts of the people of the free States...   We have elected him [Mr. Lincoln].   After many years of earnest advocacy and of severe trial we have achieved the triumph of that principle.   By a fair and unquestioned majority we have secured that triumph.   Do you think the people will sustain us if we undertake to throw it away?   I must speak to you plainly, gentlemen of the South.   It is not in my heart to deceive you.. therefore tell you explicitly that if we of the North and West would consent to throw away all that has been gained in recent triumph of our principles, the people would not sustain us, and so, the consent would avail you nothing.

Note that the following was the reality of the time.
1.   Lincoln was elected because the split in Democratic Party allowed the new Republican Party to win - even though the majority of the people were against them.   So the Judge was lying.
2.   The "principles cherished" were emotional and brought on largely from propaganda.   The Federal Government had been greatly exceeding its power and ignoring the fact that it was formed only to exercise the powers delegated to it by the sovereign States.   Constitutional law was being violated by the Republican Party then in power in the government.
3.   The judge was a politician as was Lincoln - they were not statesmen.   And they were interested primarily in being re-elected.   Truth was not considered important to the judge.
4.   The judge was most willing to go to war because the South was outnumbered over ten to one, and the industrial might was in the North.   Ruining the South was a small price to pay for a political victory.

It was the tariffs, followed by the threat to end slavery, that caused the final countdown to the American Civil War.   Rather than have her economy ruined by the North and being forced into near poverty, the South chose to act in her own defense.   Having been denied the procedure of nullification, South Carolina initiated secession on December 20, 1860; followed by Mississippi on January 9, 1861; Florida, January 10; Alabama, January 11; Georgia, January 19; Louisiana, January 26; Texas, February 1; Virginia, April 17; Arkansas, May 6; and Tennessee, May 7; and North Carolina, May 20.   The secession ordinances were ratified by popular vote in Texas on February 23; Virginia, May 23; and Tennessee, June 8.   Kentucky and Missouri were also represented by stars in the Confederate flag in the Southern Congress, but the secessionist governments in these states were soon forced into exile by their stronger rivals.

As the states withdrew they began to raise troops and take over government forts, arsenals, and customs houses located within their boundaries.   On January 9, 1861, the Star of the West, a Union vessel, was attempting to deliver provisions to the federal garrison which Major Robert Anderson had moved from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.   As this was an act of aggression on the part of the Union, the South Carolina batteries fired on the ship.   The Union refused to withdraw and continued to gain popular support by using anti-slavery propaganda and failing to mention the real causes of the conflict.   The Civil War had begun.


The American "Civil War" was not a civil war.   It was a war between an aggressive, bullying, greedy Northern nation and a weaker and unwilling Southern nation.   Since the "winner" writes most of the history books, popular opinion of the "Civil War" is usually in favor of the bully who "won".   There were no winners, and the truth is still there for those who can do the research necessary to discover the facts.   Today we complain because Russia created the Soviet Union through conquest, North Korea attempted to take over South Korea through conquest, and North Vietnam used conquest to take over South Vietnam - and there are other examples.   Actually, the corruption in our own nation created the conquest of the South by the North and put our nation back for many years after the disaster called the American Civil War.   Perhaps we should complain about that too.

1.   England forced slavery upon all the colonies against their wishes.

2.   Cotton and wool became a major part of the Southern economy while their use in the textile industry created the industrial North.

3.   The Northern industrialists, through political means, created tariffs on textiles to aid their textile industry.   The tariffs became a means of causing the South to eventually pay 3/4 of the revenues to the Federal Government.   The tariffs enriched the North at the expense of the South.   At one point they exceeded 30 percent of the cost of the product being imported.

4.   Slavery was essentially eliminated in the North because Africans could not easily adapt to the Northern climate and were too unskilled to be useful.   Yet, the Northern shipping interests were still doing all they could to sell slaves to the South.

5.   Slavery became an essential part of the Southern economy in which those with slaves had a major investment.   The slaves were economically feasible in the cotton plantations and tobacco farms.   The Southern economy was kept down by the North and this contributed to the need to keep the slaves.   Regardless. the importation of slaves was outlawed by all the Southern States by 1808.

6.   The North eventually dominated the Federal Government and used emancipation (freeing the slaves) as a threat to prevent the South from complaining about their economic difficulties with the tariffs.   Before there was secession, there was extreme corruption in the Federal Government and economic exploitation of the South.   The South had a choice between being raped and plundered without a fight or being raped and plundered after losing a battle with a bully who was much wealthier and who outnumbered them over ten to one.

7.   President Jackson threatened martial law when nullification was attempted.   Jackson was perhaps the first blatant example of someone who increased the power of the executive branch of the United States government well beyond that allowed by the Constitution.   Jackson was a virtual dictator.

8.   Lincoln was elected when the opposing party split into two factions and allowed the numerically weaker Republican Party to win.   He used his election as a mandate (which was a lie) to maintain an occupying army in the South which had become a sovereign nation.   Lincoln ignored the legalities according the Constitution and used slavery as a propaganda ploy to start a war with the weaker South.

9.   Lincoln acted as Commander-in-Chief to oversee the rape and plunder of the South - especially the "march" that left a wide swath of devastation across it.   When it appeared the the South was winning, Lincoln used the Emancipation Proclamation to help destroy the South - and in doing so, continued the increasing of power of the executive branch of the U.S. government beyond what was granted by the Constitution - but then Lincoln was never very fond of the Constitution and the war itself was an example of unconstitutional government.

10.   After the South was defeated, the rape and plunder continued unabated, and the blacks were left to fend for themselves with almost no education.

11.   Today, we have a Communist government which was elected through nefarious means, and claims a mandate to turn the U.S. into a Communist nation.   The same choices may eventually be those given to the States today as were given to the Southern States before the "Civil War".   We should understand that the Constitution does not give the power to the Federal Government to prevent either nullification or secession.   This is especially true today after the many years that our Federal Government has illegally taken power from the States.

Fascism is forceful taking of power or using power to enforce the will of the government.   Communism has used fascist means in every country it has taken over.   We need to stop the fascism that has been our lot since the fascism that caused the "Civil War" began.   Then we need to deal with the Communists in our government.


Introduction       (1) The American Civil War       (2) The Slavery Issue

Brigadier General Joseph Wheeler       (3) The History of Slavery       (4) Nullification

(5) Causes of Secession       (6) The Doctrine of Secession       (7) Secession

Lessons for Today
(9) The Emancipation Proclamation

In the years prior to 1861, the South was being abused by the tariffs and villified by the anti-slavery movement in the North.   Her economy was being unjustly threatened.   When President Jackson and his allies in Congress exceeded the powers granted to the executive branch by the Constitution, there was an obvious deviation from the Constitution which constituted a breach of contract.   Succeeding actions by the proponents of a dominating central government advocating actions illegal under the Constitution led to the need for the South to secede - and the North illegally attempted to force the South to remain in a Union adverse to Southern interests.   In the war that followed the South was badly mauled and nation crippled for years afterward with bitterness, loss of manpower it would otherwise have enjoyed, and a new precedent of fascism from the Federal government.

Our legacy has been expanding central government usurping more and more States' rights, extreme bureaucracy and taxes to support it, excessive pork-barrel spending by a Congress that believes they are our royalty rather than our servants, and generations brainwashed into believing that this is way we are supposed to live.   If this view seems to be extreme to some, perhaps they should read the Constitution and discover for themselves how much has been taken away from us by our Federal government.   And in the last century, the principles of Karl Marx have become a blight upon the world, that has infected the United States.

Today, June of 2009, the Federal government of the United States from the President on down has been usurped by hostile agents.   All of them have covered their tracks as much as humanly possible so as not to awaken the public to the danger that they pose.   All have used subterfuge, a communist-dominated media, and new names to mask the fact that they are, in fact, communists with the common goal of taking us first to socialism to be followed by subservience to a communist world dictatorship.   They have called themselves progressives, radicals, liberals, socialists, and other names.   Some of them do not even know that they are communist pawns who ultimately take their bidding from either Communist China, Russia, or the Shadow Party of billionaires and their minions.   Behind most of the facade are the Shadow Party members who began in the United States when the wealthy industrialists and bankers began to buy into politics sometime after the War of 1812.

There is a concerted effort to awaken a somnambulent public to the threat that would have been seen long ago were it not for the brainwashing in our schools and in the media.   If enough of us awaken in time we will be able to save our nation.   However, we are quickly arriving at a time when states not dominated by communists must take action to save themselves.   It would appear that the proper course of action initially should be nullification.   Should this be defeated by fascist martial law, we must look at our remaining options.   However, for the sake of our children, we must not fail.


Introduction       (1) The American Civil War       (2) The Slavery Issue

Brigadier General Joseph Wheeler       (3) The History of Slavery       (4) Nullification

(5) Causes of Secession       (6) The Doctrine of Secession       (7) Secession

(8) Lessons for Today

The Emancipation Proclamation

To the victor goes the spoils, but even more profound is the the statement: The victor writes the history.   The Republican Party today was the party which started the so-called American Civil War.   The North, with Lincoln as the Commander-in-Chief was the victor (if there can really be a victor).   When looked upon without the emotion achieved through propaganda, the war was an embarrassment for the North and for the Republicans.   So in most of the nation's history books, Lincoln is a hero and the North freed the slaves.   The true cause of the war, economic bullying and occupation of the South by the North has been stricken from most books - with only a few in the South to tell the true story.

To aid the myth mentioned above, it is usually implied, if not actually stated, that the Emancipation Proclamation came before the war and was the cause of the war with the South being the aggressor.   These is an outright lie.   From the sections of this document shown above, one can easily see the vast number of lies that have been foisted upon us about the "Civil War."   Lincoln was only a politician who wished to go against the Constitution because (1) he wanted a strong federal government with no means for the Sovereign States to secede, (2) as a secondary consideration he believed that the slaves should be freed, and (3) he was an opportunist who could take advantage of his position to further his ends without substantial consideration of the consequences for future generations.

It must be understood that:

1.   The rights of the individual are given by God.   NOT by government.

2.   The Constitution is a covenant between the Sovereign States that grants only certain powers to the federal government.

3.   Under the Constitution, the Sovereign States keep all other powers - except that the states have no power to deny those rights, listed in the Bill of Rights in the Constitution, to any individual.   And there are other unspoken rights of the individual which neither a Sovereign State or the federal government can usurp.

4.   To have a strong nation, there can be no bullying of any Sovereign State or section of Sovereign States by other Sovereign States or sections of Sovereign States.   The Constitution has no power to deny nullification of unfair or unconstitutional laws, or to deny secession.   The founding fathers knew that to prevent such bullying, a state must retain the God-given right to nullify an unfair or unconstitutional law, and the right to secede.   Otherwise, there can be no peaceful recourse by a state against an out-of-control federal government.   In other words, the threat of nullification or secession satisfies a necessary balance of power not unlike the balance between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government - and in the covenant known as the Constitution, the Soveign States did not give the federal government the right to bully a state or to keep a state in the Union.   The "Civil War" was an example of a majority forcing a minority to pay the majority's taxes.

What follows was written for Encyclopedia Americana by R. H. Gabriel, Professor of History at Yale University.

The Emancipation Proclamation, is a proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln on Jan. 1, 1863, abolishing slavery throughout the embattled South. save for certain designated areas.

After the fall of Fort Sumter political and constitutional, as well as moral considerations, conditioned Lincoln's thought on the question of what to do about slavery.   During 1861, the political implications of emancipation predominated.   The dramatic breakup of the nation and the war that followed made it imperative for the President to foster unity in the North and prevent such border states as Kentucky and Maryland from seceding.   The Northern states, especially those along the Ohio River, contained many persons who sympathized with the Southern cause.   Lincoln tried to keep the issue of the conflict merely that of suppression of armed insurrection and the restoration of national unity.   On two occasions, in August 1861 and May 1862, he countermanded orders by generals in the field who had proclaimed emancipation in the areas where they commanded.   The Commander-in-Chief kept the decision as to freeing the slaves in his own hands.   By so doing, he lessened tensions in the border states.

By the spring of 1862 events had made clear to the governments and people of both sides that the war called for major efforts and that the struggle might be a long one.   For the federal government the strengthening of the will to win on the part of the citizens of the North became a prime necessity.   Lincoln had always opposed slavery on moral grounds.   In the North the minority of active abolitionists demanded emancipation with increasing public clamor.   They took the unassailable position that the existence of slavery was the ultimate cause of the war. [untrue fact - the position was definitely assailable according to the Constitution as it was at that time.]   Moderate anti-slavery opinion in the North tended to swing to support of the abolitionist position.

Lincoln, of course, agreed.   In the summer of the second year of the war, after the Union advance on Richmond had been stopped with bloody fighting, the President shifted his strategy, "It had got to be midsummer of 1862," he said later, "Things had gone from bad to worse, until I felt we had reached the end of our rope on the plan we had been pursuing; that we had about played our last card, and must change our tactics or lose the game.   I now determined upon the adoption of the emancipation policy; and without consultation with, or the knowledge of, the Cabinet meeting upon the subject."

Actually, the writing took much time.   In June and July, while Gen. George B. McClellan's Peninsular campaign ground to a halt, and the Union armies began to regroup in front of the victorious Robert E. Lee, Lincoln spent much time in the cipher room of the War Department telegraph office.   In that room, freed from interruptions of the White House, he slowly and carefully composed the proclamation.

Having made his political decision, Lincoln studied the constitutional implications of emancipation.   The United States Constitution by indirection recognized slavery.   The supreme law gave the federal government no power to abolish that institution, which, in fact, rested on the laws of the states.   Lincoln in no aspect of his career displayed more clearly his genius than in his realization, from the fall of Sumter onward, that the crisis required an unprecedented expansion of the powers of the executive.   From the beginning of hostilities, Lincoln, unlike either of the two war Presidents, James Madison and James K. Polk, who had preceded him, explored and expanded the war powers of the President.   The nation has followed the path he blazed in subsequent crises.   Lincoln found the legal basis for the Emancipation Proclamation in the fact that it was a necessary war measure issued by the authority of the Commander-in-Chief.

The President disclosed his decision to the cabinet on July 22, 1862.   Secretary of State William H. Seward advised waiting until a victory raised the sagging prestige of the government.   Lincoln agreed and laid aside the document for a propitious moment.

After the President had begun to work on the proclamation, but while his decision was still secret, he had to face and turn aside with noncommittal answers mounting demands for emancipation from anti-slavery leaders in the North.   During this trying interim, while Lincoln waited for a victory and had to deal, instead, with the disaster of the Second Battle of Bull Run, Horace Greeley, nationally famous editor of the New York Tribune, published an imperious editorial demanding that the slaves be freed, entitling his piece "The Prayer of Twenty Millions."   The Greeley editorial evoked from the President a response that became famous: "My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery."

On Wednesday, September 17, McClellan turned back Lee's invasion of the North at Antietam.   On the following Monday, Lincoln read his proclamation to a full meeting of the Cabinet.   His advisers approved, though Montgomery Blair, the Postmaster General, warned that the document might have unhappy political results for the Republican Party in the border states.   The proclamation of Sept. 22, 1862, warned the world that on Jan.1, 1863, emancipation would go into effect.   The President held fast to his purpose in spite of the fact that in December Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside had been defeated at Fredericksburg with heavy losses.

The two proclamations (of September 22 and January 1) must be read together. The combined documents included five points.   The legal justification lay in the fact that the action was a war measure issued under the authority of the Commander-in-Chief.   The proclamation applied to all communities in rebellion against the United States, save those specifically exempted, namely, the State of Tennessee and regions in Virginia and Louisiana where Union armed forces held control.   In the communities where it applied, the proclamation declared the slaves to be free but enjoined to the new freedmen to abstain from violence, save in self-defense, and urged them to labor for reasonable wages.   The proclamation announced that freedmen would be received into armed forces of the United States.   The concluding sentence read: "And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgement of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God."

Note in the above that Lincoln was an excellent propagandist - as is any politician as opposed to a statesman.   He calls the self-defense of the South a "rebellion".   He calls the unconstitutional freeing of the slaves an "act of justice."   He shows his decision as a "gracious favor of God."   Yet his decision was not motivated by his desire to free the slaves.   It was motivated by his desire to win the war that the North had started against a Sovereign Nation that was weaker (about 1/10 the manpower and with essentially no factories to produce arms), and struggling from economic deprivation caused by the bullying Northern industrial states.   Furthermore, he knew at the time that what he was doing was unconstitutional and an expansion of the powers of the executive branch of our government.

It is true that the slaves should have been freed, and in fact they were being freed in a gradual manner that would not upset the economy of the South.   The freeing of the slaves by what was, in effect, an executive order was a measure designed to cripple the South.   As has been the case in many unconstitutional actions, including those of Obama today, the motive was to gain power for (1) the perpetrator, and (2) the federal government.

It is true that the victor can write the history books.   However, sooner or later the truth comes out - perhaps too late to embarrass the individuals who were the worst of the criminals (they are usually dead), but sometimes there are people like our Republicans and Democrats today who are more interested in party loyalty than national loyalty.   The truth about the so-called American Civil War tends to embarrass the Republicans today so they keep the truth away from the public as best they can - and show Lincoln as a hero and the North as emancipators.   Nor are they willing to tell the truth about the demise of the Native Americans in times past, the broken treaties, and the corruption in Indian affairs by agents of our government today.

Until our politicians become statesmen and begin to tell the truth, we are in trouble.   Meantime, we must catch them in their lies and publish the fact that they lie.


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