Joe Meglen: Lincoln’s birthday
“History is written by the victor …”
Feb. 12, the anniversary of Lincoln’s birthday, is an appropriate time to examine some uncomfortable facts. The sculptures of Franklin and Lincoln opposite each other outside the Wild Horse Gallery represent opposing visions of America. One represents the founder’s vision of a Republic established with the consent of the governed. The other represents despotic top-down government completely at odds with the founder’s vision.
The government’s version of history is that the “Civil” War was about preserving the Union and the noble goal of abolishing slavery. No serious historian today claims that the invasion of the South was about freeing slaves.
The War of Northern Aggression was about money and power. The South was being looted, forced to pay the majority of import tariffs, which represented 90 percent of government revenues for the benefit of northern industries. Lincoln was invested in the American System, also known as mercantilism. The American system favors high tariffs, high taxes and nationalizing the money supply all to subsidize favored industries
Lincoln spent most of his career as a lawyer and lobbyist for the railroads. Northern interests that profited from the economic plundering of the South put Lincoln in power. Lincoln ran on the Republican platform promising to double tariffs. He was elected and the Southern states thought that they had no choice but secession.
The United States was a voluntary compact formed through acts of secession, first from Great Britain in 1776 and again from itself in 1781. This compact, the Constitution, implied the right to secede when government usurped constitutional rights.
The Confederacy correctly recognized the need for additional checks on the federal government’s power to tax. The Confederate Constitution, nearly identical to the original, prohibited tariffs and subsidies protecting specific industries. Tariffs were lowered, applied uniformly making Southern ports free trade zones. Trade would naturally flow south if Northern manufacturers wouldn’t compete in a free market system.
When the Southern states seceded, everything Lincoln worked for was lost. The South didn’t want, and was not prepared, for war. They tried to secede peacefully simply asking to be left alone.
In response Lincoln, without the consent of Congress, raised an army, invaded the South, ordering his generals to wage a total war to include innocent civilians. He suspended habeas corpus, imprisoned thousands of Northerners without trial, closed dozens of Northern newspapers, imprisoning the publishers for opposing the war, violated the 2nd Amendment, confiscating firearms, issued an arrest warrant for Chief Justice Taney for daring to rule that Lincoln’s actions were unconstitutional. He arrested and deported a member of Congress for his opposition to a tax funding Lincoln’s war.
Lincoln is responsible for the slaughter of more than 700,000 Americans, 50,000 of which were women, children, free blacks and slaves. Women were raped in mass by the Federal Army occupying Southern cities. The looting and subjugation continued for 12 years following the war during the Republican Party’s “Reconstruction.” The Southern economy didn’t recover for 100 years following Lincoln’s scorched earth war.
If the war had turned out differently, Lincoln, along with generals Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, Butler and Pope would have been tried and correctly found guilty as war criminals. Instead, the war policy of Southern genocide was refocused West with ethnic genocide of the Plains Indians on behalf of railroads and empire.
The Civil War was a tragic event for America. Lincoln achieved his goal of destroying federalism, state’s rights and the individual liberty established by the Founders. Lincoln paved the way for the federal leviathan that enslaves Americans today.
There is nothing to celebrate.
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