Walkabout In The Weminuche Wilderness

Herschel Smith · 05 Aug 2018 · 40 Comments

"There are no socialists in the bush" - HPS All of my physical training only barely prepared me for the difficulty of the Weminuche Wilderness (pronounced with the "e" silent).  It's National Forest land, not National Park.  The Department of Agriculture no longer prints maps of the area, so we relied on NatGeo for the map, and it's good, but not perfect. We have a lot of ground to cover, including traveling with firearms, the modification I made to one of my guns for the trip, the actors…… [read more]

The Causes Of The War Between The States

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 12 months ago

Richmond-Times Dispatch:

In an interview, Crompton falsely said the Confederate states seceded because of heavy taxation and “tyranny” by the federal government, not slavery. “They were overtaxing the South and the South got fed up with it,” he said. “Slavery was not a factor.”

Let’s cover this one more time for good measure.  The thinking in the South was based on who did the thinking.  If you were among the more educated, such as preachers and pastors, you would have seen the war between the states as a theological conflict.  My former professor, Dr. C. Gregg Singer, stated that “The Southern Presbyterian Church saw the war as a humanistic revolt against Christianity and the world and life view of the Scriptures” (A Theological Interpretation of American History, 86-87).

R. J. Rushdoony, citing Benjamin Palmer, stated that “Indeed an important aspect of the Civil War was the Unitarian statist drive for an assault on its Calvinist enemy, the South…  The gathering conflict (South Carolina had moved as early as November 16, 1860) Palmer saw as forces of a false theology, of atheism and of the French Revolution, of the religion of humanity, in short, arrayed against a Christian people dedicated to faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and to Constitutional government.  These forces sought to frame “mischief by law” (The Nature of the American System, 58-59).

Men like they cite – Palmer, Plumer, Thornwell, Dabney – were in the pulpits or seminaries informing men how to think.  Being “churched” today may not be a thing like it was 150 years ago, but the place for philosophy was in the pulpit.  On the other hand, on a more pedestrian level, there was the burdensome taxation and tariffs set in place by the Congress.

Although they opposed permanent tariffs, political expedience in spite of sound economics prompted the Founding Fathers to pass the first U.S. tariff act. For 72 years, Northern special interest groups used these protective tariffs to exploit the South for their own benefit. Finally in 1861, the oppression of those import duties started the Civil War.

In addition to generating revenue, a tariff hurts the ability of foreigners to sell in domestic markets. An affordable or high-quality foreign good is dangerous competition for an expensive or low-quality domestic one. But when a tariff bumps up the price of the foreign good, it gives the domestic one a price advantage. The rate of the tariff varies by industry.

If the tariff is high enough, even an inefficient domestic company can compete with a vastly superior foreign company. It is the industry’s consumers who ultimately pay this tax and the industry’s producers who benefit in profits.

As early as the Revolutionary War, the South primarily produced cotton, rice, sugar, indigo and tobacco. The North purchased these raw materials and turned them into manufactured goods. By 1828, foreign manufactured goods faced high import taxes. Foreign raw materials, however, were free of tariffs.

Thus the domestic manufacturing industries of the North benefited twice, once as the producers enjoying the protection of high manufacturing tariffs and once as consumers with a free raw materials market. The raw materials industries of the South were left to struggle against foreign competition.

Because manufactured goods were not produced in the South, they had to either be imported or shipped down from the North. Either way, a large expense, be it shipping fees or the federal tariff, was added to the price of manufactured goods only for Southerners. Because importation was often cheaper than shipping from the North, the South paid most of the federal tariffs.

Much of the tariff revenue collected from Southern consumers was used to build railroads and canals in the North. Between 1830 and 1850, 30,000 miles of track were laid. At their best, these tracks benefited the North. Many rail lines had no economic effect at all. Many of the schemes to lay track were simply a way to get government subsidies. Fraud and corruption were rampant.

With most of the tariff revenue collected in the South and then spent in the North, the South rightly felt exploited. At the time, 90 percent of the federal government’s annual revenue came from these taxes on imports.

These ideas don’t conflict.  In fact, they dovetail together as a real example of statism and its effects.  While the pastors were philosophically training the men who would ultimately decide on war, these same men were suffering under the yoke of financing an entire country due to protective tariffs.  You can believe they heard from their countrymen, their neighbors and their wives about the yoke of burden they felt.

War ensued.  If anyone tells you that the war was fought over slavery, he is lying to you.  That’s revisionist history, a version of events that has no basis in the primary source documents of the time (newspapers, sermons, etc.).  Idiot “journalists” today may not know history, but you need to be better than that.

UPDATE:  Frank Clarke sends the following note.

For those who say the Civil (sic) War was “all about slavery”, I like to point out that slaves in the South were “identified as free” by the Emancipation Proclamation — issued two years after a war that was “all about slavery” started — but weren’t actually free because there were no blue-clad troops to spring them.  Slaves in DC were freed by ordinance in 1864.  Slaves elsewhere had to wait until the 13th amendment in December 1865, 8 months after a war that was all about slavery ended.  It appears the DC politicians didn’t get the memo about the war being all about slavery, and Lincoln, himself, didn’t realize it for two whole years.

The Emancipation Proclamation, America’s first major PR effort, was (much more likely) a ploy to “make the war about slavery” which would operate to bring lots of Northern abolitionists down to the recruiting stations.  This, in turn, would beef up the ranks of the Union army which was then getting its clock cleaned.

Had Lincoln been keen to erase slavery, he could have done it far cheaper than ruining the South’s economy and threatening the North’s — at a cost of 620,000 dead — had he done it the way the Brits had 30 years prior; he certainly had to know about that.  The Brits outlawed slavery, then bought out all the slaveholders for cash.  It was a good deal for anyone who could see the onrushing Industrial Revolution, an event which would, in short order, make human chattel slavery an economic dead-end.

But Lincoln was not keen to empower the South with such a scheme.  Lincoln wanted to OWN the South.  The tariffs had done that.  If the South rendered itself immune to the tariffs, the Northern economy would crash.  This could not be allowed to happen.  It is related that one reporter asked Lincoln “Why not just let them depart?” and Lincoln’s answer was “Then who would pay for the government?”  That was Lincoln’s (and the North’s) motive.

Foreign newspapers of the day, Corriere della Sera, Le Monde, The Times of London, and others, universally saw the conflict as economic and not connected to slavery.  As disinterested spectators, their views are telling.


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