As I get older, I realize that I don’t have the physical or mental powers I had when I was young. My health isn’t as good as it was. My left hip is certainly weaker than it was in my youth. Age does have one thing going for it, though, perspective. I didn’t just read about history in books. For the past 73 years, I lived it. I’ve seen things.
After World War II, Russia annexed a bunch of countries as satellite countries. The satellite nations of the Soviet Union were Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, and East Germany, which all became communist and members of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance.
Was it was wrong for the Soviets to forcibly control their “satellite nations,” and to refuse to let them be independent from Russia? Did we feel that the Soviet Union was right in holding onto these countries? Hell No. We protested and wound up in a cold war with the Soviet Union. President Reagan, echoed our feelings about the iron curtain at the Berlin Wall when he famously appealed to the Soviet Premier, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”
By this same logic, though, it was wrong for the U.S. to use force to prevent the Southern States from seceding from the Union in 1860. President Buchanan, a Constitutional lawyer, knew this and he let them go. When Lincoln became President, though, the old wrestler chose rather to fight. He wanted war, because he thought it would be won easily.
It’s also funny how he felt that the South had no right to secede from the Union, but West Virginia had every right to secede from Virginia?
Do you want to claim that the South took a vow to stay in the union when they ratified the Constitution? Let me remind you that 41% of first marriages end in divorce, even though both parties take a sacred vow before God, Family, and Country to remain together in sickness or health, richer, poorer, etc. until death do they part.
Break-ups happen. When Great Britain announced that it was leaving the European Union, did the European Union send troops into Britain to change their mind. No, but Lincoln sent troops into the South to change their mind. This presence of troops did force border states to remain in the union even though they had slaves and probably sided with the Confederacy.
There are those who scream that secession was not about State’s Rights. It was about Slavery. They say that the South seceded so that they could have slavery. This is just a big lie. The South already had slavery, and not only did they have it, but that “peculiar institution” was protected by the Constitution of the United States and the decision of the Supreme Court ( i.e. the Dred Scott decision). Remaining in the Union would have protected the institution of slavery for decades, because to amend the Constitution requires the approval of ¾ of the States. Before the South seceded, there were 33 states, 18 free and 15 slave states. So, that means that 25 states would have to vote for any amendment to the Constitution. The abolitionists were 7 states short. The Institution of Slavery was, therefore, protected by the U.S. Constitution. If Lincoln had allowed the 11 Confederate States to leave the Union, there would only have been 22 states in the Union, and they would only need 17 of those states to pass an amendment against slavery. They had 18 states ready to pass such an Amendment. The Civil War was not about ending slavery. It was about punishing the slave holders.
If Lincoln’s chief goal was to end slavery, they could have ended it quickly with the approval of Congress and 17 states. Instead, it was four years before the 13th Amendment was finally passed. 650,000 Americans were killed in the Civil War, and a century and a half later, resentment still exists between the two areas of the country. Just look at all the Trumpees waving Confederate flags.
The Civil War was not fought to end slavery. It was fought to preserve the Union. Lincoln himself said, “If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it. And if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.” So, ending slavery was not The Great Emancipator’s main goal. Preventing the South from leaving the Union was his primary goal. Dominion by force over a weaker opponent was his goal.
Slavery was illegal in Mexico at the time. If slavery was also made illegal in the Union States, the newly-formed Southern Confederacy would have instantly been between a rock and a hard place. As long as the South stayed in the Union, though, the slaves couldn’t even run away. The Fugitive Slave Law required that escaped slaves must be returned to their “masters.” If the 13th Amendment had been pursued instead of Civil War, the Fugitive Slave Act would be revoked and slaves could have escaped to Mexico or the Union, without any risk of being returned to their “masters.”
When the South seceded from the Union, they did not attack it, nor declare war against it. They didn’t storm Washington, D.C. They resigned their positions in Government, left the North, and went home to form their own country. The Northern armies chased after them. South Carolina seceded from the Union on December 20, 1860. The Union soldiers, however refused to leave Fort Sumpter, South Carolina. That made them trespassers in the eyes of the Confederacy. Lincoln refused to pull the troops out and in early April actually attempted to reinforce the troops. Shots were then fired on Fort Sumter on April 12th. Nobody was killed. (One horse died.) When the union soldiers surrendered the fort, they were not taken as prisoners of war. The South had not declared war on the U.S. They sent the troops back North. Then Lincoln declared war against the South, because he felt that with his superior army and factories he could whip the South in just a few short months. The people of Washington even brought picnic lunches to watch the first battles. Like we learned in Vietnam and the Middle East, though, it is not so easy to defeat a people who are defending their homeland.
Was slavery wrong? Looking at it with modern eyes, of course it was. Even back then, country after country was realizing that it was wrong and they were outlawing it (Haiti, 1793; Spain, 1811; Canada, 1819; Mexico, 1829; U.K., 1823; Sweden, 1847; Denmark, 1848; France, 1848; and Portugal, 1858). But the south wasn’t fighting for slavery. They already had that, and, like I said, it was protected by the Constitution of the United States. They were fighting for freedom from the Union., freedom from a President that they felt was a tyrant, which may be why John Wilkes Booth yelled the motto of the State of Virginia, “Sic semper tyrannis,” when he shot Lincoln. Thus, always to tyrants.
By the way, slaves were considered property back then. So, when Great Britain outlawed slavery, they compensated the slave owners for their loss of property. It cost England 20 million pounds sterling, but they bought every slave on British soil, and freed them instantly. One of the big reasons that the South seceded from the Union was economics. Lincoln and the Abolitionists wanted to free all 4 million slaves in the South without giving slave owners a dime in compensation. In 1862, Lincoln did, however, pay off slave owners $300 for every slave they had in Washington, D.C. only because he was embarrassed that there were slave auctions in the nation’s capital.
To put this in terms everyone will understand. Imagine, that instead of buying a slave you just bought a brand new automobile and then the government overnight passed environmental legislation that outlawed gas-powered vehicles and they confiscated your car without giving you any compensation. That’s what Lincoln was planning for the slave owners.
Similarly, if the government passed anti-gun legislation and confiscated all the guns, I’m sure there would be serious trouble, even if they compensated the gun owners.
So, in my many years on this planet, I have learned that history is simply his story, the story written by the winners. If you read the writings on the left, the people who stormed the Capitol on January 6th were guilty of violent sedition against the United States. If you read the writings on the right, they were patriotic tourists. The history will be written by the ultimate winners. I’m glad that I have the perspective to take all my American history with a large grain of salt.
Peace & Love, and all of the above,
3 thoughts on “Perspective”
Always leaning something new
We are all getting older….as I get older I understand more and more about what went on back in days, sure I learned about “history” in grade school but to be honest at the time it did not matter to me sad to say.
Thanks for taking the time to write your Perspective it was great lesson in history. As you wish
Integrated Brokerages Svcs. Inc.
Thanks Linda. When the song came out, “Don’t know much about History…” I didn’t. Little by little, through reading, though, I’m learning.