There was no civil war

We are currently reorganizing our library and having fun discovering long-lost books along the way.  Wait – that’s misleading.  Reorganizing suggests that it was organized at some point in the past.  At any rate, I had at least one ulterior motive: I’m pleased that my nefarious plan to get our kids to voluntarily read some non-fiction is working.

That’s why I found The Politically Incorrect Guide to the South
lying open this morning.  This is all a lead-up to the following quote, which I couldn’t help but share:

There was no civil war

On strict definition, a civil war is between at least two political factions trying to take over the same government by violent means.  The South had no intention of taking over the government of the United States when eleven states left the Union between December 1860 and May 1861.  The Southern states’ intention was to establish a confederacy of slaveholding governments that would peacefully co-exist with the United States on its northern border.  The new Confederate leaders wanted peace, not war, and they believed the United States Constitution was written as a compact among states from which secession was an obvious option if the central government seemed overbearing.  In other words, they did not think the Union was irrevocable.

Did you know that?  Did you learn that in your history class?  I didn’t think so.  Regardless of how you feel about the the War Between the States, there is unquestionably some historical revision going on in our nation’s textbooks.  After all, the side that won the war gets to write the history.

Comments

  1. An advantage of being homeschooled. I did learn this in my high school. 🙂

  2. Jess, exactly! I was told when I was young that slavery had nothing to do with it since the majority of confederates owned no slaves.

    But the economic reality was that the majority of confederates were dependent on a slave based economy- people without slaves relied on plantation owners with slaves for their business- they sold things to the plantations owners that these buyers would not need and could not afford without slave labour building their wealth. Those without slaves still handled transactions, brokered deals, handled investments, ran transportation businesses, exported products produced by the slave economy, imported products purchased by slave owners (books, silks, fancy wall papers, porcelains, much of the fine decor in the homes of the wealthy).

    People who did own slaves would ‘rent them out’ to people who didn’t own them, meaning that incredibly cheap labor based on slavery was available to- and commonly used by- those who didn’t own them. This ‘commodity’ was incredibly helpful to those who did not technically own slaves. They could hire some on when there was plenty of work to be done, paying the owner a fraction of the cost of paying a freeman a living wage, and when there was no work, send them back to the owner who would then bear the burden of feeding and clothing them, or they would hire them on, contracting for their labor a year at a time, while the owner still held his investment in his property- he could get loans based on his slave collateral while the slaves were actually working elsewhere.

    This economic reality was well recognized by Thomas Jefferson (and other Southern Statesmen who, like him, owned slaves while insisting slavery was a terrible thing)- Jefferson basically said that economically, all slaves needed to be freed at the same time. I think it’s a shame he had not the courage of his moral convictions, but he well recognized the economic reality that acting on the conviction that slavery was an evil would place him at a distinct economic disadvantage in the South.

    The States’ Rights claim, one with which I have the utmost sympathy, was also, by and large, subject to the biases of those making the claim. There are two points here that are important to understand- one is that in reality, not that many people were making the States Right claim until several decades AFTER the war, when it was too embarrassing to admit how much slavery had to do with it. But if you read, as I suggested, the actual statements from the seceding states about why they were seceding and the Confederate constitution, you see much about slavery and very little about States’ Rights.
    That’s not say that this had nothing to do with it- it did- as I said, I do believe that is what mattered most to Lee. But it was not the foremost argument actually being made *at the time.*

    There was a little double standard issue with the South making that argument at that time. The Fugitive Slave Law was a grotesque violation of both States Rights and the religious convictions of those who believed man-stealing (the word used for slavery in the New Testament) was an evil, and who also believed that since the Old Testament actually FORBADE returning runaway slaves, they were breaking the laws of God by doing so in any way- and the law required not just that northerners hand over runaway slaves ( or those white southeners claimed were slaves), but further required that Northern lawmen facilitate those hunting for runaways, actively helping them to *find* runaways and secure them for transport south. There were also well known cases of free blacks in the North being kidnapped and taken to a slavery they had never previously known. The Fugitive Slave Law was so grotesque a violation of common decency, let alone States’ Rights, such a horrendous imposition on those of the North that they would have scoffed at the notion that a people who could impose that travesty of justice on those in northern states really believed in independent Sovereign States.

    Another little known event leading up to the war is that for thirty years before the war, a Southern led Congress had been blatantly violating the first amendment- specifically the right of people to petition the government. This right means little to us in this day and age where all adults have the vote. But at that time, it was a much cherished freedom, since women and others (including slaves) who could not vote legally could petition the government and the government was obliged to at least hear those petitions.

    The Southern led Congress passed a ruling that no petition that so much as mentioned slavery would be heard- these petitions were thrown out, tossed on the floor unread without regard for the first amendment.

    The South also sought control of the mails- they wanted postmasters to have the right to read all mails and burn as seditious any letters or other documents that so much as mentioned the idea that freeing the slaves might be a good idea- it did not matter how mild the suggestion might be or how private – a letter from one sister to another, a letter from a husband to his wife explaining the concept of gradual emancipation, the South wanted the local postmasters to have the right to read all private mails and censor any mention of freeing slaves.

    Given these issues, and considering that the South had condemned as traitors in no uncertain terms those minority of NOrtherners who suggested it might be necessary to secede over the war of 1812, it is understandable that those in the North would have looked upon any argument of states’ rights from the South as political posturing from people who cherished states rights when it was advantageous to them and they were in power, but not otherwise.

    The issues were complex and intermingled, and people changed and developed their opinions as the war progressed, but slavery cannot be extricated or isolated from the mixture.

    .

  3. I knew most of that stuff, (although I learned a few things from the Deputy Headmistress) and I am a public school educated Canadian. I remember my high school teacher admonishing “it’s never just about one thing, and it usually involves money.”

  4. I went to school in Virginia and was taught the war was over states rights and the economy. Then I went to college and was taught you can’t extricate slavery from the southern economy. They needed the slaves in order to produce cheap cotten and tobacco. Recognizing it, the Confederates wrote into their constituion taht no slave could leave their service unless a master set them free, therby codifying into to law the practice of slavery.

    And as for the states rights, once you secede from the united states and create your own rogue nation then technically you cease to have states rights under the united states constitution. You’ve become part of annother country. And said country is roughly a third of the US’s former land mass. There were no treaties between the US and confederacy. Ergo the US was free to invade and take back their land. Lincoln took the high road and said the states were in Rebellion.

  5. I’m proud to say that many, if not all, of the above comments were discussed in my public high school U.S. History classroom. I had a teacher who’s genuis was to argue every point you made. We watched the entire Ken Burns series, not as a cop-out, but with frequent pauses to discuss issues. Thanks, Mr. Blair!

  6. Cara,

    Thanks for the reply! Yes, there were evils on both sides of the fence and lots of shades of grey through it all. The story of forgiveness you mentioned is beautiful, thanks for sharing! Blessings.

  7. Dalas,

    Your mention of our history with Japan made me think of two personal observations. We lived there too (for 3 years). By and large, we found the Japanese people to be kind and gracious toward us. Some of my favorite memories were events that I attended as a result in participating with the Cultural Exchange Club. BUT, when we visited Hiroshima during a family vacation, I could feel the stares of the elderly Japanese women. What happened at Hiroshima was horrible (one only needs to visit there to be convinced of it), so I don’t really blame them.

    On the other side of the fence, we have an elderly friend who fought in the war against Japan. He saw things no one should ever see. People tend to be very narrow-minded where we live, especially if they have not traveled much. Several years ago, our missionary friend from Japan (Japanese, but completed his Bible studies in the US) came to visit. and spoke about his work . We were not sure how our elderly friend would react to having the “enemy” in his church. In one of the sweetest gestures of forgiveness I have ever (personally) witnessed, our elderly friend reached into his pocket and gave our Japanese friend money for gas for his trip. He then shook his hand and wished him well. I still tear up to think of it.

    In Christ,
    Cara (aka Temberton)

  8. Sandy, you wrote: “He brought about the situation so that others for whom Christ died might have access to salvation.” Are you saying that enslaved peoples had no access to salvation? The slaves were some of the most fervent Christians of their day!

    We with our riches and our freedom struggle mightily to enjoy the spiritual zeal and joy of our Christian brothers and sisters who live in persecution and captivity. God’s hand is moving throughout all of history, but He certainly had no need to start a war for the eternal salvation of this people group.

  9. Oops! That wasn’t as teeny and tiny as I thought it was going to be…. but I also wanted to share a couple more thoughts about the whole revisionist history side of it. As someone who studied history in the north as well as in the south, I was surprised to find how differently one can look at the Civil War! There were heroes and there were evils on both sides of the fence. History is certainly not black and white, but shades of grey.

    Also, let’s not decieve ourselves into thinking we’re the only ones! Being blessed to have lived in Japan for a few years, I came to the realization that they write their own history too! And boy… can you imagine the picture that is painted of the United States in their history books? According to some accounts, we started the war! So yes, we are probably all guilty of tweaking historical accounts (our nations and our own) so we can sound a bit better than we really are.

    Praise God that He gave us His Son, Jesus Christ, to die and rise again, so that we have been completely absolved of our deceitful tendencies!

  10. A few years ago my daughter, a Californian, paid a campus visit to a university in TN which had offered her a scholarship. She sat in on an American history class and was extremely confused by the references to the War of Northern Aggression until she figured out what they were talking about! It was the first time we’d ever heard the term, and I was a U.S. history major.

    Best wishes,
    Laura

  11. I believe God cared more about His Blood bought children, than about state rights. The inhumane institution had gone on long enough, and He bought about the situation so that others for whom Christ died might have access to salvation. Whether you call it Civil War, or War between the States, God was in control, and the “books” won’t say that. “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Both sides suffered great loss, but more so the side that had the least justice, and mercy.

  12. I do love a good debate, and I do want to offer up one teeny tiny response to something that Charlotte posted a while back (or should I say up?). Charlotte you said:

    “This is some of the most racist stuff I have seen in a long time! What are you guys thinking? People were being held as slaves! If that doesn’t provoke a war in this country, then what should?”

    I completely agree with you that slavery is wrong and it was right of us to abolish it. But it is completely uncalled for to accuse those who fall on the side of approving a peaceful secession, rather than war, to be racist simply because the war helped to end slavery. Two wrongs does not make a right.

    In our country today we have far more vile evils going on than slavery. Instead of enslaving a people group we are committing genocide against the youngest and most vulnerable of our citizens: the unborn. Millions are killed each year, making abortion the number one killer of children in our time.

    Abortion is a menacing shame on our country, just as slavery was in our forefather’s day. And how many people do you know who fervently pro-life that are conspiring against our government to go to war? That doesn’t mean that we are any less in love with the precious lives being thrown away; it simply means we have peaceful means of fighting for them.

    Just as this is true, it is also true that simply because one does not agree with the violence of the civil war does not mean they are on board with slavery.

  13. Genna Joy says:

    Thank you Deputy Headmistress, they were two great posts!

  14. South started the war. For the Abolitionists, the War WAS about slavery and anyone who “doesn’t believe in slavery ” but “rescued two slaves” (which he then owned…) well, at the very least he wasn’t walking his talk. Like someone that doesn’t believe in pornography but owns some porn.
    And, correct me if I’m wrong, but the released slaves had some choice in fighting slavery. The North didn’t divide families when they sold off parts of them….Ah, the luxury of being white – getting to rewrite history to suit yourselves (including the dictionary too, it turns out. )

  15. I don’t believe that secession in itself is evil. I think that very few people before the war would have agreed with you.
    Actually, that’s not true, historically, either. While there were people on both sides who thought secession was legal, there were more people on both sides who thought it was illegal- before the war.

    During the War of 1812, a war the northern states largely viewed as one imposed on them by the South for the benefit of the South, the secession word was bandied about by hotheads in the north. The South denied the North had any right to secede. Most northerors thought that was going too far as well.
    Then there was a convention, The Hartford Convention. When I first learned about it, I learned about it from southern apologists, and I believed what I read- that Northerners seriously discussed secession and it was hypocritical to refuse the South that same right later.
    But that’s only part of the story. Yes, there were some northern politicians who hinted at secession (mostly they were afraid to use the word outright). At the Hartford Convention that element and the idea itself was firmly dismissed as unconstitutional, radical, and extremely irresponsible. A whiff of association with the secessionist sentiments ruined political careers- that’s how unpopular a notion it was. And it was the beginning of the end of the Federalist Party, the political party associated with secession. It would never, ever regain the credibility it lost by being associated with secession, even though this was only a fringe element of the party.

    I think we like our history tied up nicely in neat, tidy, orderly parcels, and the truth is it is far more complex than that.
    There is no one reason for the War, and there isn’t even only one reason for any given person. Often somebody would enter the War because they believed in States’ Rights, or preserving the Union, or preserving the peculiar institution of slavery, or aboloshing slavery, and end with a different reason.
    Some fought to abolish slavery not because they cared about slaves, but because they resented the South/North, or hated the economic disadvantage they felt the South gained through slavery instead of paying workers a living wage, or because they were furious about how the South’s passage of the Fugitive Slave Act violated States’ Rights in the NORTH (and sanctioned the kidnapping of free northern blacks), or they were worried about the South’s willingness to intercept the mails, violating first amendment rights, or because they were worried that the North would have them all killed in their beds through irresponsible abolitionist insurrectionist talk.

    It’s absolutely true, for instance, that Lincoln’s only goal at the beginning of the War was the preservation of the Union. He saw that as totally his responsibility as the President.. He did not care nearly so much about whether or not slavery existed in the Union, he just wanted the Union to remain a Union

    His ‘a house divided against itself’ speech was not an abolitionist speech, as I learned only recently when I finally read the entire thing instead of the excerpts we have all been fed (in both north and south)
    However, as the war progressed, I think the evidence is also clear that his views changed, and he came to believe that the only way to preserve the Union was to end slavery, that slavery itself had brought God’s judgment on the nation- we can argue about whether or not he was right, whether his reasoning was based on sound premises, but what is not debatable is that his beliefs about the issues changed during the course of the war, so that what he believed about slavery at the beginning of the war is not what he believed at the end.

    On the other side, I firmly believe that Robert E. Lee cared as little about slavery one way or the other as Lincoln did- Lee’s passion was state’s rights, and he was concerned about Tarrifs and other forms of encroachment. But Lee’s wasn’t the only viewpoint in the South. Jefferson Davis, elected President of the Confederacy (and many other leaders), made it quite plain the States’ Right he cared most about was slavery.

    It’s like the causes and issues in that war are actually a giant soup, and people from the North want to pick out the carrots and say “This is what it was really all about, carrots, and only carrots, nothing else” and people from the South are picking out the potatoes and saying, “No, it was only about potatoes. There were no carrots involved at all.”

    But just as the foods in a stew flavor one another, the issues in that war were far more complex and interconnected.

  16. Wait a minute. Grant had slaves but Lee didn’t?

    I don’t want to refight the war, but I do like history and know something about it, and this statement doesn’t really reflect the complex issues and reality of the time.

    Grant and Lee *both* had slaves,- except Grant ‘had’ four or five, actually owned by his father in law, and Lee had over a thousand, actually owned by his father in law (and he inherited others from his mother). Lincoln’s wife also had a slave or two of her own- Lincoln wanted her to free them, but Mary Todd wouldn’t. Legally, he could have done it himself, but in spite of revisionist feminist history, many men of the time felt chary of dispensing with ‘property’ that they believed was morally their wives’.

    Grant’s wife was given the use of four of her father’s slaves when she married Grant, but it’s not clear that the Grants ever actually owned them. These slaves were eventually freed, and the Grants hired one of them to work for them (I think a nursery maid).
    .
    General Grant did buy one slave of his own- he bought him from his wife’s family (I have read from his father in law, and then I read from his brother in law). And he freed him rather than sell him, even though he could have used the money- in 1859.

    Lee also owned slaves of his own through inheritance and purchase from relatives, and after his father-in-law died, Lee took over managing the plantations and slaves, and he did eventually free the slaves, as instructed by his father-in-law’s will. However, the directions in the will were to manumit all the slaves within five years. Lee did eventually free them all, but some not until the last minute I would say he owned those slaves in the same way Grant owned his- except Lee had more control than Grant did, and a thousand is certainly far more significant than 4 or 5!

    I do recognize that responsibly freeing slaves is something that would take time- not all would have wanted to go immediately, they would need time to build resources and make plans on where to go and how to live, and quite often elderly slaves who could no longer work naturally did not want to leave the only lives and source of food or shelter they had known.

    Lee also inherited slaves from his mother’s will. His mother owned thirty slaves at her death, and these slaves, along with parcels of land, were divided among her children. The Lee brothers, Carter, Smith, and Robert, sold some of the slaves outright and kept others, hiring them out for profit. They paid the back taxes on the land and thus kept title to it. See Emory M. Thomas, _Robert E. Lee: A Biography._ There are existing receipts in the Lee family papers showing Lee’s agreements to hire out some of the slaves he had inherited, so he clearly owned them.

    His will also mentions a slave woman and her children, whom he owned at the time he wrote that will.

    Source documents are amazingly instructive- as a family we changed our views on the causes of the War when we began researching the actual statements from the Southern states about why they had seceded, and the Constitution of the Confederate states is must reading as well.

  17. I am not going to comment on the Civil War, the War Between the States, or even the War of Northern Aggression. Isn’t that refreshing?

    Anyway, I’m in the process of “organizing” my library too. Actually, to call it a library seems a lie. It is an ever-increasing collection of piles of books that threatens to overtake every room in this house. I wish it were a library – a nice, large room with wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling shelves! I like your nefarious plan though. I shall undertake it myself!

    Blessings,
    Cara

  18. Oh, these “War of Northern Aggression” debates annoy me to no end. I doubt you would be able to find a single war in the world’s history in which one side was 100 percent right. The South weren’t the “bad guys” and the North weren’t the “good guys” – that’s why history book after history book describes the Civil War as “brother against brother.” It was messy. It was ugly. It tore families – and a nation – apart.

    But, when it all comes down, the North won. It’s over – long gone. And regardless of how it all came about, good eventually came out of it. The wicked institution of slavery was put to an end and the U.S. was saved from fragmentation. Lincoln was probably wrong about a lot of things – we all are – but he knew that the U.S. needed to stick together if our freedoms were to have any chance of preservation.

    And I think it’s pretty clear that God was on the North’s side. 😉 (Just kidding – but I had to throw that in there!)

  19. As with everything in life all we can do is gather information/research and then form our individual opinions on any given subject.

    As an athiest, pro-choice, bi-sexual, socialist, there was much said here that made me go ARGH! But out of respect for you, Kim, I’m keeping those thoughts to myself!

    I really enjoy reading about your life and have learned a few tips along the way. Despite our many differences I can respect what you say and how you live your life.

  20. I did learn in my public school that Lincoln wanted to preserve the union at all costs, but believed that the expansion of slavery into the new territories was unacceptable and that this was the issue of secession. Lincoln was ok with allowing slavery to continue in states where it already existed. The conferderate states were not. I think Lincoln said it best in his Second Inaugural concerning the responsibility on both sides for the devastation of the War. (Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish . . . )

    As a child I was fascinated with the Civil War and my family visited many battlefield sites because of this. Even as a proud New Englander, I was sympathetic to the Southern Generals (and completely fascinated with General Lee) who were fighting for their way of life. As an adult, I believe that they were wrong. You cannot escape the role of slavery in secession even if the Confederacy wanted peace. The country may not have been ready at the beginning of the war to free the slaves, but Lincoln was right to oppose it expansion and right to eventually free the slaves. (He was wrong on habeas corpus.) Others may focus on states rights and they will continue to do so, but I will focus on the wrongs of slavery (and the role that my church had in opposing it even before the War).

    I also learned in my school that the South fired on Fort Sumter.

  21. Christine,
    I have to respectfully disagree with you.
    I don’t believe that secession in itself is evil. I think that very few people before the war would have agreed with you.
    Lincoln among others thought secession was fine. In 1848, long before the war started (1861), Lincoln said this:
    “Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable – a most sacred right – a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world. Nor, is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people that can, may revolutionize, and make their own, of so much of the territory as they inhabit.”

  22. Dear Kim
    I am knew to blogging and found you through Technorati as I was signing up there myself..what a fun and spunky blog you have…I look forward to visiting with you again..
    In Christ

  23. Love it ,good job Kim. We must educate ourselves on the polluted ideas of politically correct public (northern written) text book education. It was and will always be the war of Northern aggression.Remember these are the same people that teach that we come from apes, and pond scum.

    I can see Arizona following the southern states example in fighting for states’ rights.

  24. Jessica Young says:

    Hmm. The short definition of civil war from 2 different dictionaries ran along the lines of this : a war between opposing groups of citizens of the same country. Seems like calling it The Civil War fits that definition.
    Also, the situation was not very clear cut, was it? Southern States with everyone of it’s citizens wanting to leave? Ah, no. How would Union sympathizers get their land back from the Confederacy. Should counties have seceded from states? It’s hard to find easy answers for “brother against brother”.
    I am pretty sure that if slavery was not abolished, we would be bemoaning the lack of concern and cowardliness that did not deal with it. Yes, it was state’s rights that the war was over- a state’s right to own slaves. (It seems like the slave states were willing to pay a high price for their wickedness.) I sure wouldn’t want a state to say they have the right to homosexual unions, or prostitution, drug use, no religious freedom. We are very happy when Congress, or the Supreme Court- our Federal government- strikes those things down. Sadly, few things are done perfectly and I am not saying that Lincoln or the North even did things well, but I am not going to let my current dissatisfaction with the state of my country make me align myself with a make-believe cause. I am not going to take a criminal’s side because the police roughed him up and didn’t read him his rights.
    Ironically, much of this retro-bitterness would probably not exist if Lincoln hadn’t been murdered. He wanted to mend fences as soon as possible. The harsh treatment that the South received, as well as the South’s continued mistreatment of the recently freed slaves, I believe, has prevented a complete healing of the wounds. (My hometown is Charleston, SC!) Sorry for all the running on!

  25. Secession isn’t seeming like such a bad idea these days 🙂 . I have several Texas secession t-shirts and they always garner attention when I’m out and about.

    Celee

  26. Charlotte says:

    This is some of the most racist stuff I have seen in a long time! What are you guys thinking? People were being held as slaves! If that doesn’t provoke a war in this country, then what should? And what does it mean to be a confederate? Besides racist. Whatever

    • Charlotte,
      I completely agree that American slavery was a perverted thing. But I completely disagree that the war started over the issue of slavery. During the war slaves were freed and used for the Union’s own purpose, to fight the war. To prove my point here is a quote on the subject from Ulysses S. Grant, a Union General “If I thought this war was to abolish slavery, I would resign my commission and offer my sword to the other side.” If Ulysses Grant a General for the Union army held slaves after the war ended (and he did), after the union won the war, how can you say that the war was over slavery? According to a letter that Abe Lincoln wrote he was not against slavery either. He says in reply to an editorial by Horace Greeley in the New York Tribune, ” If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union…” So you see the abolition of slavery was a tool and weapon that they used against the South, not an issue they went to war over.

  27. Christine says:

    I just had to respectfully disagree with the line of comments. Who cares if it was called the civil war or war between the states? to secede from the union is to, in effect, attempt to usurp the authority of that union and establish one’s own government. one side fought to preserve one government and the other to make a new one. That is a civil war.
    and state’s rights? state’s rights to have an economy based on slave labor. that is not consistent with the freedom our country was founded on. i am shocked and confounded to read these comments on this site.

  28. i think it’s also interesting that the federal government was more than willing to aid Texas in its fight to suceed from Mexico, even though one of the major reasons it wanted to do so was to keep it’s slave-holding status after Mexico outlawed slavery. I certainly didn’t learn that in school either – that “Remember the Alamo” was a direct result of “we want to keep our slaves”. It seems that in both the Texas War for Independence and the War Between the States that the constant was the desire of the federal governent to expand its territory. “War is the health of the state” – so true.

  29. Here in Memphis, in Christian school in the 60s, we studied about the War Between the States. Have you checked your pocket constitution lately? Article 3, section 3 states:”Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” Note the plural “them” refering to “the United States”. Isn’t that pretty much exactly what Lincoln did? No, I didn’t learn that in school, and I didn’t learn about Lincoln’s personal railroad investments either, which also seemed to play a part in his determination to keep the union together. I make no excuses for slavery in the South – I believe every human on this earth was made in God’s own image, whether black, white, or brown, whether Christian, Jew, or Muslim, or any other religion for that matter. No one has the right to enslave any other person in this life, whether by means of chattel slavery or debt or taxation. Nevertheless, one wrong does not excuse another, and Lincoln’s attack of the suceeding Southern states was most certainly wrong on many levels. And yes, there was a great deal of opposition to the war, even in the North. But Lincoln ignored those voices, threw dissentors in prison, and confiscated wealth and drafted soldiers to fight his war. It was one of many shameful episodes in our national history, proving once again that Satan is the prince of this world.

  30. This is why I like to refer to it as the War of Northern Aggression. And I’m no fan of Lincoln either – he ran roughshod over much of our Constitution and was one of the worst Presidents we’ve ever had.

    The Catholic Church quietly supported the Confederacy as well (Blessed Pope Piux IX made a crown of thorns with his own hands and gave it as a gift to Jefferson Davis).

    Our modern Presidency in the United States has far more power than any King ever had, and far less formation or accountability. This is why I support a Catholic monarchy and a government that recognizes the Social Reign of Christ the King. Until we acknowledge our Lord’s rightful authority over every area of our life, we are doomed to fail as a society, as a culture, and as a country.

  31. Thanks to a Believing history teacher, in a conserative area (W.MI) I WAS taught this in my PUBLIC middle school, where I learned most of my U.S. history!
    I agree that it is important to dig deeper and look at many different sides when learning history -all history carries the bias of the one(s) who write it!

  32. By the way. I am a confederate living in the NORTH! Wiscony (tee hee) to be exact, in the very north of it! Ha!

  33. Wow! I am so glad to hear that I am not the only one who has (very) strong options on the Civil (or otherwise) war. I to tend to lean to the southern side of things…ok…I am not a Confederate sympathizer, I am a Confederate. I don’t like slavery though, but neither did Stonewall (one of my heros) or Lee (another one of my heros). They didn’t have slaves (well, Stonewall had two, but he had rescued them) Grant DID! No one teaches that, but Grant had slaves! I could talk forever on this stuff, but I wont. I firmly believe it is (or was) perfect lawful (by the constitution and the Bible) to leave if the government is oppressing you. The South didn’t want to have a big fight over the matter, but the North did. As much as I think Lincoln was a good man, (perhaps even a Christian by some standpoints) I do think he was confused (willfully or otherwise) on a few things. Dad says that when he chose to ‘preserve the union at all costs’ it was ALL costs. I’m not the only one of my friends who thinks the ‘civil’ war wasn’t necessary, or right. the Abolitionists made it up to be all about slavery, but it WASN’T! Slavery was part of it to some, it certainly made the North more Angry at the South, but the war was really about the right of the state. After the war, the government became more centralized, the effects of which are swirling around us today.
    I was really interested to hear about this book by the way. As a 14 year old Homeschooler, I love to read and find out the truth. Thanks for this post! God bless you! (and the newest little one!)

  34. Living in the south (Georgia to be exact), that is familiar to me (and many of those around me). But I should add that I was home schooled and have always loved history!

  35. Mary Bailey is right. I think in the day it was The War Between the States. That is exactly what it was. When was it first termed The Civil War? That is a misnomer (sp?).

  36. Great point!! I will filing this thought away and sharing it often, I’m sure.

  37. LOL! Everyone in the South knows that. As we like to say, “There was nothing civil about it.” That’s why it was the War Between the States, not the Civil War. 🙂

  38. History Teacher says:

    Hmmmmmm, who’s re-writing history here. While the South had many valid arguements for wanting to secede there was not much peace going on ANYWHERE!!! The fight began over expansion and which states would be free states or slave states. Not just a few states “establishing a confederacy of slaveholding governments that would peacefully co-exist with the United States on its northern border. ”

    It’s too easy to look at one secondary source and form an opinion. I encourage my students to study many sources and form their own opinions. If we always accept what we are spoon fed we give up our freedom to think for ourselves.

    History is and will always be based on perspective, and I have never met anyone who saw, heard and thought the same things. It is impossible we are humans.

  39. Great explanation of one of the reasons behind the war. Our books focused more on the economic factors as opposed to the ideas of secession and union.

  40. Wow, thanks for sharing that… adding that one to my list of books to get!

  41. I would love to see a list of the books that you have on your shelf. You come across some of the greatest stuff. So great to learn!

Don't just think it: say it!

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