I know it’s not the kind of thing most people think about, but have you ever stopped to look back on our nation’s history and wonder at what point in time we veered off the path our Founders established for us? A case could be made that from the moment our government went into effect in 1789 that it has been seeking to expand its powers beyond those given it by the Constitution; but what I’m talking about is a major turning point after which everything went downhill after that. The War of Northern Aggression or what you call the Civil Was was one such event.
To understand the repercussions of the Civil War you must first understand a few crucial facts. First and foremost is the fact that the federal government is not our master, it is our servant; it has only those powers given it by consent of the people as declared in the Constitution. Any power exercised beyond those specifically granted is usurpation, tyranny, or whatever other word you might choose to describe an unlawful exercise of power and authority over a people.
Secondly, and this ties in to the first point, the federal government was established to represent not only the people of this country, but the various States which comprise it as well. Why would our Founders establish a Senate whose members were chosen by the State Legislatures if the States were not to have a say in what laws the federal government enacted? Although the 17th Amendment may have officially transferred the power of choosing Senators to the people, it was the Civil War which opened that can of worms that lead to the eventual loss of the States having any say in what our government can and cannot do.
I know a good many of you have seen either the Matrix or the Terminator movies where man creates Artificial Intelligence and then these A.I. entities seek to eliminate or control their creators. Science fiction, right? Well if government is a creation of man and then government seeks to deprive man of the very things that it was established to protect, or to control their lives down to the minutest detail, how far from the Terminator or Matrix analogy is government?
How can an entity created by man, (such as our government), tell the entities it represents that they must continue to utilize its services, or be subservient to it and yet not be called tyrannical? Yet after South Carolina seceded from the Union on December 20, 1860, quickly followed by Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and then Texas, that is exactly what the federal government said; they told them it was not within their right to leave the Union, and they raised an army to force them to comply to their demand to remain a part of the Union.
It is of note to remember the Virginia did not secede from the Union until after Abraham Lincoln called for troops to force those States which had already seceded into remaining in the Union. Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky quickly followed suit and declared their secession AFTER the federal government declared its intent to use force to compel obedience to its dictates.
The question then is, was secession a right which the States held after the Constitution went into effect, or did the States, by their ratifying it, give up their right to leave the Union? In Federalist 3 James Madison said, “Each State, in ratifying the Constitution, is considered as a sovereign body, independent of all others, and only to be bound by its own voluntary act.”
During the Constitutional Convention a proposal was made which would put a clause into the Constitution authorizing the government to suppress a seceding State. James Madison argued against it, saying it “…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.”
In 1839 the former President John Quincy Adams declared, “The indissoluble link of union between the people of 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 interests shall fester into hatred, the bands of political associations will not long hold together parties no longer attracted by the magnetism of conciliated interests and kindly sympathies; 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 could no longer bind, and to leave the separated parts to be reunited by the law of political gravitation to the center.”
In 1867 Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase declared, “If you bring these [Confederate] leaders to trial it will condemn the North, for by the Constitution secession is not rebellion.” Had Jefferson Davis stood trial the matter of secession would have become a pronouncement of guilt upon Abraham Lincoln’s aggression against the South. That is why Jefferson Davis never stood trial; for had he stood trial the North blame for the whole war, and all the war crimes committed by the North against the South, would have fallen squarely upon the shoulders of Abraham Lincoln.
Then there is this, by the author of Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville, “The Union was formed by the voluntary agreement of the States; and in uniting together they have not forfeited their nationality, nor have they been reduced to the condition of one and the same people. If one of the states chooses to withdraw from the compact, it would be difficult to disprove its right of doing so, and the Federal Government would have no means of maintaining its claims either by force or right.“ (My emphasis)
Believe me, I could go on with quote after quote supporting a States right to leave the Union, but I believe I have made my point. If you deny the principle of a State’s right to secede from its system of government, (for that is what the South was actually doing), then you deny the very principles contained in our Declaration of Independence.
The problem with people today is they focus upon the sole subject of slavery, and not on the bigger picture; the federal governments use of force to compel a State into obeying its demands. I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it until it sinks in: Slavery was not the cause of the Civil War! The interference in the institution of slavery by the North was but one of the reasons some of the Southern States chose to leave the Union, BUT IT WAS NOT THE CAUSE OF THE WAR!!! The war would not have happened had Abraham Lincoln let the Southern States leave the Union in peace.
Lincoln himself called the secession of the Southern States a rebellion. If I may be so bold to ask, a rebellion against what? Did the South take up arms against its government? Did they attack positions in the North? The attack upon Fort Sumter is heralded as being the first shot of the Civil War, but Fort Sumter was on South Carolina soil, and therefore it was their sovereign territory. They did not fire upon it until the federal government attempted to resupply it; considering it an act of war against them as a sovereign and independent nation.
No, Abraham Lincoln raised the army to invade the South for the sole purpose of using force against them to compel their obedience to his interpretation of the powers he held over the States. The Civil War was an attack by the federal government upon the authority and right of a State to leave a voluntary Union with the other States. The loss of the Civil War did not end slavery; that came later with the ratification of the 13th Amendment. Even then, that was forced upon the South against their will; as was the 14th Amendment.
If slavery truly was the sole reason that war was fought, (as so many believe), why in God’s name would they choose war to protect slavery, when to do so all they would have to do is to ratify an existing proposed Constitutional Amendment which would have done the same?
The Corwin Amendment had already passed both houses of Congress and only required ratification by the States, and then slavery would have been forever protected as an institution by Constitutional Amendment. (Bet you’re not taught that in school) No, the Civil War was about much more than protecting the institution of slavery.
Confederate President Jefferson Davis once said, “I tried all in my power to avert this war. I saw it coming, for twelve years I worked night and day to prevent it, but I could not. The North was mad and blind; it would not let us govern ourselves, and so the war came, and now it must go on unless you acknowledge our right to self government. We are not fighting for slavery. We are fighting for Independence.” When the South lost the principle that a State held the right to leave a voluntary union of States died with their surrender at Appomattox Courthouse.
The victory of the North was a victory of government established by the people over the people’s right to “…alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” (Declaration of Independence)
The outcome of the Civil War is best summed up by two quotes from Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson. The first states, “If the North triumphs, it is not alone the destruction of our property. It is the prelude to anarchy, infidelity… …the loss of free and responsible government. It is the triumph of commerce. The banks, factories.”
Jackson is also quoted as saying, “If the Republicans lose their little war they’re voted out in the next elections and they return to their homes in New York or Massachusetts or Illinois fat with their war profits. If we lose, we lose our country, we lose our independence, we lose it all.”
Tell me, with all the influence wielded by special interests and their lobbyists, do not Jackson’s words have a ring of truth to them? By the federal government triumphing over a State’s ability to choose to leave the Union, the federal government found itself elevated from servant of the States and the people to their master; and it has all been downhill ever since.
And that, my friends, is the reason I harp so much about the Civil War, to dispel the lies you have been taught and give those men who fought America’s Second War for Independence the honor they so rightfully deserve.
April 5, 2017
~ The Author ~
Neal Ross, Student of history, politics, patriot and staunch supporter of the 2nd Amendment. Send all comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you liked Neal’s latest column, maybe you’ll like his latest booklet: The Civil War: (The Truth You Have Not Been Told) AND don’t forget to pick up your copy of ROSS: Unmasked – An Angry American Speaks Out – and stay tuned – Neal has a new, greatly expanded book coming soon dealing with the harsh truths about the so-called American Civil War of 1861-1865. Life continues to expand for this prolific writer and guardian of TRUE American history.