10 Causes Of The Civil War
THE 10 CAUSES OF THE WAR BETWEEN THE STATES
Historians have long debated the causes of the war and the Southern perspective
differs greatly from the Northern perspective. Based upon the study of original
documents of the
War Between The States (Civil War) era and facts and information published by
Confederate Veterans, Confederate Chaplains, Southern writers and Southern Historians
before, during, and after the war, I present the facts, opinions, and conclusions
stated in the following article.
I respectfully disagree with those who claim that the War Between the States was
fought over slavery or that the abolition of slavery in the Revolutionary Era
or early Federal period would have prevented war. It is my opinion that war was
inevitable between the North and South due to complex political and personal differences.
The famous Englishman Winston Churchill stated that the war between the North
and South was one of the most unpreventable wars in history. The Cause that the
Confederate States of America fought for (1861-1865) was Southern Independence
from the United States of America. Many parallels exist between the War for American
Independence ( 1775-1783 ) and the War for Southern Independence.
There were 10 political causes of the war —one of which was slavery– which
was a scapegoat for all the differences that existed between the North and South.
The Northern industrialists had wanted a war since about 1830 to get the South’s
resources ( land-cotton-coal-timber-minerals ) for pennies on the dollar. All
wars are economic and are always between centralists and decentralists.The North
would have found an excuse to invade the South even if slavery had never existed.
A war almost occurred during 1828-1832 over the tariff when South Carolina passed
nullification laws. The U.S. congress had increased the tariff rate on imported
products to 40% ( known as the tariff of abominations in Southern States ). This
crisis had nothing to do with slavery. If slavery had never existed –period–or
had been eliminated at the time the Declaration of Independence was written in
1776 or anytime prior to 1860 it is my opinion that there would still have been
a war sooner or later.
On a human level there were 4 causes of the war–New England Greed–New England
Fanatics–New England Zealots–and New England Hypocrites. During "So Called
Reconstruction" ( 1865-1877 ) the New England Industrialists got what they
had really wanted for 40 years–THE SOUTH’S RESOURCES FOR PENNIES ON THE DOLLAR.
It was a political coalition between the New England economic interests and the
New England fanatics and zealots that caused Southern secession to be necessary
for economic survival and safety of the population.
1. TARIFF–Prior to the war about 75% of the money to operate the Federal Government
was derived from the Southern States via an unfair sectional tariff on imported
goods and 50% of the total 75% was from just 4 Southern states–Virginia-North
Carolina–South Carolina and Georgia. Only 10%–20% of this tax money was being
returned to the South. The Southern states were being treated as an agricultural
colony of the North and bled dry. John Randolph of Virginia’s remarks in opposition
to the tariff of 1820 demonstrates that fact. The North claimed that they fought
the war to preserve the Union but the New England Industrialists who were in
control of the North were actually supporting preservation of the Union to maintain
and increase revenue from the tariff. The industrialists wanted the South to
pay for the industrialization of America at no expense to themselves. Revenue
bills introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives prior to the War Between
the States were biased, unfair and inflammatory to the South. Abraham Lincoln
had promised the Northern industrialists that he would increase the tariff rate
if he was elected president of the United States. Lincoln increased the rate
to a level that exceeded even the "Tariff of Abominations" 40% rate
that had so infuriated the South during the 1828-1832 era ( between 50 and 51%
on iron goods). The election of a president that was Anti-Southern on all issues
and politically associated with the New England industrialists, fanatics, and
zealots brought about the Southern secession movement.
2. CENTRALIZATION VERSUS STATES RIGHTS—The United States of America was founded
as a Constitutional Federal Republic in 1789 composed of a Limited Federal Government
and Sovereign States. The North wanted to and did alter the form of Government
this nation was founded upon. The Confederate States of America fought to preserve
Constitutional Limited Federal Government as established by America’s
founding fathers who were primarily Southern Gentlemen from Virginia. Thus Confederate
soldiers were fighting for rights that had been paid for in blood by their forefathers
upon the battlefields of the American Revolution. Abraham Lincoln had a blatant
disregard for The Constitution of the United States of America. His War of aggression
Against the South changed America from a Constitutional Federal Republic to
a Democracy ( with Socialist leanings ) and broke the original Constitution.
The infamous Socialist Karl Marx sent Lincoln a letter of congratulations after
his reelection in 1864. A considerable number of European Socialists came to
America and fought for the Union (North).
3. CHRISTIANITY VERSUS SECULAR HUMANISM–The South believed in basic Christianity
as presented in the Holy Bible.The North had many Secular Humanists ( atheists,
transcendentalists and non-Christians ). Southerners were afraid of what kind
of country America might become if the North had its way. Secular Humanism is
the belief that there is no God and that man,science and government can solve
all problems. This philosophy advocates human rather than religious values.
Reference : Frank Conner’s book “The South Under Siege 1830-2000.”
4. CULTURAL DIFFERENCES–Southerners and Northerners were of different Genetic
Lineages. Southerners were primarily of Western English (original Britons),Scottish,and
Irish linage (Celtic) whereas Northerners tended to be of Anglo-Saxon and Danish
(Viking) extraction. The two cultures had been at war and at odds for over 1000
years before they arrived in America. Our ancient ancestors in Western England
under King Arthur humbled the Saxon princes at the battle of Baden Hill ( circa
497 AD –516 AD ). The cultural differences that contributed to the War Between
the States (1861-1865 ) had existed for 1500 years or more.
5. CONTROL OF WESTERN TERRITORIES–The North wanted to control Western States
and Territories such as Kansas and Nebraska. New England formed Immigrant Aid
Societies and sent settlers to these areas that were politically attached to
the North. They passed laws against slavery that Southerners considered punitive.
These political actions told Southerners they were not welcome in the new states
and territories. It was all about control–slavery was a scapegoat.
6. NORTHERN INDUSTRIALISTS WANTED THE SOUTH’S RESOURCES. The Northern Industrialists
wanted a war to use as an excuse to get the South’s resources for pennies on
the dollar. They began a campaign about 1830 that would influence the common
people of the North and create enmity that would allow them to go to war against
the South. These Northern Industrialists brought up a morality claim against
the South alleging the evils of slavery. The Northern Hypocrites conveniently
neglected to publicize the fact that 5 New England States ( Massachusetts, Connecticut,
New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and New York ) were primarily responsible for the
importation of most of the slaves from Africa to America. These states had both
private and state owned fleets of ships.
7. SLANDER OF THE SOUTH BY NORTHERN NEWSPAPERS. This political cause ties in
to the above listed efforts by New England Industrialists. Beginning about 1830
the Northern Newspapers began to slander the South. The Industrialists used
this tool to indoctrinate the common people of the North. They used slavery
as a scapegoat and brought the morality claim up to a feverish pitch. Southerners
became tired of reading in the Northern Newspapers about what bad and evil people
they were just because their neighbor down the road had a few slaves. This propaganda
campaign created hostility between the ordinary citizens of the two regions
and created the animosity necessary for war. The Northern Industrialists worked
poor whites in the factories of the North under terrible conditions for 18 hours
a day ( including children ). When the workers became old and infirm they were
fired. It is a historical fact that during this era there were thousands of
old people living homeless on the streets in the cities of the North. In the
South a slave was cared for from birth to death. Also the diet and living conditions
of Southern slaves was superior to that of most white Northern factory workers.
Southerners deeply resented this New England hypocrisy and slander.
8. NEW ENGLANDERS ATTEMPTED TO INSTIGATE MASSIVE SLAVE REBELLIONS IN THE SOUTH.
Abolitionists were a small but vocal and militant group in New England who demanded
instant abolition of slavery in the South. These fanatics and zealots were calling
for massive slave uprisings that would result in the murder of Southern men,
women and children. Southerners were aware that such an uprising had occurred
in Santa Domingo in the 1790 era and that the French (white) population had
been massacred. The abolitionists published a terrorist manifesto and tried
to smuggle 100,000 copies into the South showing slaves how to murder their
masters at night. Then when John Brown raided Harpers Ferry,Virginia in 1859
the political situation became inflammatory. Prior to this event there had been
five times as many abolition societies in the South as in the North. Lincoln
and most of the Republican Party ( 64 members of congress ) had adopted a political
platform in support of terrorist acts against the South. Some (allegedly including
Lincoln) had contributed monetarily as supporters of John Browns terrorist activities..
Again slavery was used as a scapegoat for all differences that existed between
the North and South.
9. SLAVERY. Indirectly slavery was a cause of the war. Most Southerners did
not own slaves and would not have fought for the protection of slavery. However
they believed that the North had no Constitutional right to free slaves held
by citizens of Sovereign Southern States. Prior to the war there were five times
as many abolition societies in the South as in the North. Virtually all educated
Southerners were in favor of gradual emancipation of slaves. Gradual emancipation
would have allowed the economy and labor system of the South to gradually adjust
to a free paid labor system without economic collapse. Furthermore, since the
New England States were responsible for the development of slavery in America,
Southerners saw the morality claims by the North as blatant hypocrisy. The first
state to legalize slavery had been Massachusetts in 1641 and this law was directed
primarily at Indians. In colonial times the economic infrastructure of the port
cities of the North was dependent upon the slave trade. The first slave ship
in America, "THE DESIRE", was fitted out in Marblehead, Massachusetts.
Further proof that Southerners were not fighting to preserve slavery is found
in the diary of an officer in the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. He
stated that "he had never met a man in the Army of Northern Virginia that
claimed he was fighting to preserve slavery". If the war had been over
slavery, the composition of the politicians, officers, enlisted men, and even
African Americans would have been different. Confederate General Robert E. Lee
had freed his slaves (Custis estate) prior to 1863 whereas Union General Grant’s
wife Julia did not free her slaves until after the war when forced to do so
by the 13th amendment to the constitution and court action. Grant even stated
that if the abolitionists claimed he was fighting to free slaves that he would
offer his services to the South. Mildred Lewis Rutherford ( 1852-1928 ) was
for many years the historian for the United Daughters Of The Confederacy (UDC).
In her book Truths Of History she stated that there were more slaveholders in
the Union Army ( 315,000 ) than the Confederate Army ( 200,000 ). Statistics
also show that about 300,000 blacks supported the Confederacy versus about 200,000
for the Union. Clearly the war would have been fought along different lines
if it had been fought over slavery. The famous English author Charles Dickens
stated “ the Northern onslaught upon Southern slavery is a specious piece
of humbug designed to mask their desire for the economic control of the Southern
10, NORTHERN AGGRESSION AGAINST SOUTHERN STATES, Proof that Abraham Lincoln
wanted war may be found in the manner he handled the Fort Sumter incident. Original
correspondence between Lincoln and Naval Captain G.V.Fox shows proof that Lincoln
acted with deceit and willfully provoked South Carolina into firing on the fort
( A TARIFF COLLECTION FACILITY ). It was politically important that the South
be provoked into firing the first shot so that Lincoln could claim the Confederacy
started the war. Additional proof that Lincoln wanted war is the fact that Lincoln
refused to meet with a Confederate peace delegation. They remained in Washington
for 30 days and returned to Richmond only after it became apparent that Lincoln
wanted war and refused to meet and discuss a peace agreement. After setting
up the Fort Sumter incident for the purpose of starting a war, Lincoln called
for 75,000 troops to put down what he called a rebellion. He intended to march
Union troops across Virginia and North Carolina to attack South Carolina. Virginia
and North Carolina were not going to allow such an unconstitutional and criminal
act of aggression against a sovereign sister Southern State. Lincoln’s act of
aggression caused the secession of the upper Southern States.
On April 17th 1861, Governor Letcher of Virginia sent this message to Washington
DC: “ I have only to say that the militia of Virginia will not be furnished
to the powers of Washington for any such use or purpose as they have in view.
Your object is to subjugate the Southern states and the requisition made upon
me for such a object-an object in my judgement not within the purview of the
constitution or the act of 1795, will not be complied with. You have chosen
to inaugurate civil war; having done so we will meet you in a spirit as determined
as the administration has exhibited toward the South.”
The WAR BETWEEN THE STATES 1861-1865 occurred due to many complex causes and
factors as enumerated above. Those who make claims that "the war was over
slavery" or that if slavery had been abolished in 1776 when the Declaration
of Independence was signed or in 1789 when The Constitution of the United States
of America was signed, that war would not have occurred between North and South
are being very simplistic in their views and opinions.
The Union victory in 1865 destroyed the right of secession in America,which
had been so cherished by America’s founding fathers as the principle of their
revolution. British historian and political philosopher Lord Acton, one of the
most intellectual figures in Victorian England, understood the deeper meaning
of Southern defeat. In a letter to former Confederate General Robert E. Lee
dated November 4,1866, Lord Acton wrote " I saw in States Rights the only
available check upon the absolutism of the sovereign will, and secession filled
me with hope, not as the destruction but as the redemption of Democracy. I deemed
you were fighting the battles of our liberty, our progress, and our civilization
and I mourn for that which was lost at Richmond more deeply than I rejoice over
that which was saved at Waterloo (defeat of Napoleon). As Illinois Governor
Richard Yates stated in a message to his state assembly on January 2,1865, the
war had " tended, more than any other event in the history of the country,
to militate against the Jeffersonian Ideal ( Thomas Jefferson ) that the best
government is that which governs least.
Years after the war former Confederate president Jefferson Davis stated "
I Am saddened to Hear Southerners Apologize For Fighting To Preserve Our Inheritance".
Some years later former U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt stated " Those
Who Will Not Fight For The Graves Of Their Ancestors Are Beyond Redemption".
James W. King
Commander Camp 141
Lt. Col. Thomas M. Nelson
Sons of Confederate Veterans
PO Box 70577 Albany, Georgia 31708
Copyright 2006 – Fayette Publishing, Inc
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