South seeks payback for Civil-War ‘injustices’
Group claims Union guilty of wanton ‘crimes in violation of the Constitution’
Posted: April 8, 2001
By Jon Dougherty
A southern heritage group is planning to petition Congress to conduct "a
thorough, non-partisan" review of what it says are "neglected injustices"
committed by Union troops and generals in the South during the 1861-65 American
The League of the South said in a statement released Thursday that many of
the acts committed by Union forces and, by default, President Abraham Lincoln,
were little more than "war crimes … in violation of the Constitution,
the Law of Nations" and other rules of conduct that were widely accepted
and practiced in war in the mid-19th century.
In the statement, league president Dr. Michael Hill said that during the war,
"the private property of non-combatants was ravaged, burned, stolen and
destroyed as a deliberate policy of an unconstitutional war of invasion, conquest
"The Union war policy was based on something called the ‘Lieber Code,’"
Hill told WorldNetDaily, "which was developed about 1863 and issued to
the Union armies as ‘Executive Order 100’ by Lincoln. Basically, it laid out
the type of warfare that was to be carried out against the South, and it was
based to some degree on the Law of Nations," he said. "Obviously it
was violated left and right almost immediately after it was issued."
Among other provisions, the Law of Nations required nations to recognize each
other’s "natural right" to sovereignty, peace and the desire to govern
themselves. Under guidelines, nations were not permitted to arbitrarily change
the rules "by agreement, nor individually or mutually release themselves
from it," according to "Law of Nations: An Introduction."
For this reason, many pro-South organizations have often called Lincoln’s actions
to prevent the Confederacy from seceding illegal.
Author Charles Adams, in his new book, "When In the Course of Human Events:
Arguing the Case for Southern Secession, agrees.
"And in fact the degree of violence against the civilian population of
the Confederacy by the Union Army leads Adams to conclude that the orders of
the Northern generals ‘made their behavior criminal by the laws of nations.
… In fact, it will be hard to not call what he [Lincoln] did a crime against
the laws of war and nations, making Lincoln, as painful as it may be, a war
criminal,’" said a review of the book by Richard M. Ebeling, the Ludwig
von Mises Institute Professor of Economics at Hillsdale College and vice president
of academic affairs for The Future of Freedom Foundation.
According to the League’s statement, the group is in the process of gathering
signatures for a petition "asking the League … to represent" concerned
citizens in a possible class-action lawsuit against the federal government "for
"We anticipate a thorough and impartial congressional investigation will
reveal the necessity for a long overdue compensatory program of justice for
people of all races in the South," the statement said, "who were subjected
to treatment during and after the War Between the States that resulted in little
less than the barbaric dispossession and destruction of the Southern people
and their way of life."
The group’s request for Congress to examine its charges, along with consideration
of a suit to force the payment of reparations to people of historic Southern
ancestry, comes alongside the issue of paying reparations to blacks for years
of slavery, which was declared illegal by Lincoln in 1863.
"The shame of war crimes and acts of vengeance against southern Americans
in action [is] perhaps best described by [Union] Gen. William T. Sherman, who
said: ‘… about 20 percent of our effort (in Georgia and South Carolina) was
against military objectives. The rest [80 percent] was sheer waste and destruction.’"
"Sadly, such unconscionable depredations were all too common across the
South during both the war and Reconstruction," the statement said.
"The League of the South now seeks reparations from the United States
… for all Southerners and their families who suffered atrocities during the
war and the years of military occupation that followed," said the statement.
Hill said hundreds of people have already signed the group’s online petition.
He also told WND he had yet to receive any negative feedback.
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