Sesquicentennial celebration of Southern secession is stupid


I see by the calendar on the wall that we’re coming up on the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War — or the “War of Northern Aggression,” as some of our neo-Confederate friends laughably prefer to call it.

The departure of Southern states from the Union began on Dec. 20, 1860, when South Carolina formally adopted (above) an Ordinance of Secession (see HERE). Four days later, South Carolina adopted a Declaration of Causes for its secession, lest anyone doubt that the issue of slavery was a paramount consideration (see HERE).

Indeed, all of the secession resolutions adopted by the states that comprised the Confederacy made prominent mention of slavery. Yet, for many years now, historical revisionists have pretended that slavery was not the principal cause of the Civil War. They want us to believe that the war was fought over the philosophical abstraction of “states’ rights.”

This revisionist rationale still persists in some quarters, especially in the South. Consider, for example, the upcoming sesquicentennial celebrations sponsored by a group that calls itself the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Yesterday’s edition of The New York Times had an ARTICLE about these observances, which included this pathetic passage:

“We in the South, who have been kicked around for an awfully long time and are accused of being racist, we would just like the truth to be known,” said Michael Givens, commander-in-chief of the Sons, explaining the reason for the television ads. While there were many causes of the war, he said, “our people were only fighting to protect themselves from an invasion and for their independence.”



  1. the primary cause of the war was financial…..the southern economy couldn’t function successfully without slave labor, and the southerners knew it….

  2. doa: Notions of white supremacy took precedence over economic considerations among residents of the Confederacy. The inherent racism in the Southern culture was evidenced by 100 years of segregation after the Civil War.

  3. doa: I should also point out that Abraham Lincoln, in his Second Inaugural Address just before the end of the Civil War, cited slavery as the cause of the war.

    Here’s what he said:

    “One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it.”

    Notice that Lincoln referred to the war’s “cause” — singular. Any argument that there were other causes is simply not true.

  4. PubliusIntelius

    Anniversary of Lincoln’s war. I have been researching Tariffs and the origina of the war, specifically the Morrill Tariff. Until the 1920s, most historians agreed that the cause of the war was the struggle over tariffs, not slavery. In fact, the Lincoln Republicans were unpopular in the midwest and virtually everywhere outside of New England until wheat was exempted from the tariff. Given that the country was largely a producer of agricultural products, and successfully so, in the Jeffersonian 19th Century, the Morrill Tariff was all but guaranteed to initiate secession. James K. Polk had effectively abolished the Tariff a decade and a half before, which was enormously successful since America was predominantly an exporter of ag produicts.

    Here’s the interesing part: A vast majority of British were against the Tariff and the war, yet there were a few who were actively arguing/reporting that it was because of slavery. Karl Marx had lived in Britain for several decades prior to the Civil War, probably prior to the writing of his Manifesto. Marx was a foreign correspondent for the predeceasor to the New York Times. Marx was actively refuting the opinions of the British. The British were not particularly master-friendly, either, since they had abolished the trading of slaves some time before the War.

    I’m sure that Marx absolutely despised Jeffersonian democracy, which he would refer to as Yeoman farming. What was there for Marx to want, but to essentially collectivize the Jeffersonian farmer and create an industrial proletariat? Most Confederate soldiers didn’t even own slaves, but were small Yeoman farmers.

    This was widely known until the 1930s. A historian at Columbia University, who was a member of the Communist Party, began arguing that the primary source history of the 1850s and 60s was not important. Instead, he argued that the truth should just be ignored and that it was only about slavery.

  5. PubliusIntelius – You’re loco.

    Read Pat’s link again about South Carlina’s reason’s for leaving. Here is again:

    This sectional combination for the submersion of the Constitution, has been aided in some of the States by elevating to citizenship, persons who, by the supreme law of the land, are incapable of becoming citizens; and their votes have been used to inaugurate a new policy, hostile to the South, and destructive of its beliefs and safety.

    It doesn’t get any more clear than that. South Carolina was ticked off because the Northern states wanted everyone to become citizens, and they didn’t like it. Pat is right. It was entirely about slavery.

  6. Neftali: PubliusIntelius is actually our old friend Mr. Funfsinn. And his little screed here about the Brits and Karl Marx and the Civil War is a big pile of crap. There are so many factual errors in his comment that I can’t even count them all.

    Here are just a few, in no particular order:

    Marx did not live in Britain “for several decades prior to the Civil War.” Nor did he live in Britain for any extended before before he wrote the Communist Manifesto.

    Marx was not “a foreign correspondent for the predeceasor [sic] to the New York Times.”

    As for the Morrill Tariff, it wasn’t nearly the issue among Southern secessionists that Funfsinn makes it out to be. Nor was it anywhere near the motivating factor for secession that slavery was.

    As we see in Wikipedia:

    “Libertarian historian and economist Thomas DiLorenzo asserts that the tariff was the primary cause of the Civil War. Nearly all Civil War historians disagree. Allan Nevins and James M. McPherson downplay the significance of the tariff dispute, arguing that it was peripheral to the issue of slavery. They note that slavery dominated the secessionist declarations, speeches, and pamphlets. Nevins also points to the argument of [Confederate Vice President] Alexander Stephens, who disputed [Sen. Robert] Toombs’ claims about the severity of the Morrill tariff. Though initially a unionist, Stephens would later cite slavery as the “cornerstone” reason behind his support of the secessionist cause.

    But, then, I’m not surprised to see PubliusFunfsinn try to suggest that Karl Marx pioneered the theory that slavery was the cause of the Civil War. Talk about red-baiting!

    Let’s not forget that Funfsinn also is one of our most reliable global-warming deniers. So, facts don’t much matter to him.

  7. shawnnews

    Next time I hear someone talk about libertarian thinkers I’ll know to giggle.

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