Disunion, Slavery, and the Causes of the Civil War By Steven Calabresi in Reason.com

The post Disunion, Slavery, and the Causes of the Civil War appeared first on Reason.com.

Nikki Haley recently downplayed the role of slavery in the actual starting of the Civil War.  Technically, she is absolutely right.  President Abraham Lincoln in his First Inaugural Address said that he would fight to keep the Union together, and that he would ban slavery in the western territories, but he pledged to forever protect slavery in the southern States that had it, and Lincoln even endorsed the infamous Corwin Amendment that would have forbade by constitutional amendments that would outlaw slavery altogether.  …

Consider what Lincoln said when he took the oath of office on March 4, 1861:

“Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States that by the accession of a Republican Administration their property and their peace and personal security are to be endangered. There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed and been open to their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of him who now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare that–

I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.

Those who nominated and elected me did so with full knowledge that I had made this and many similar declarations and had never recanted them; and more than this, they placed in the platform for my acceptance, and as a law to themselves and to me, the clear and emphatic resolution which I now read:

Resolved, That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of power on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend; and we denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.

I now reiterate these sentiments, and in doing so I only press upon the public attention the most conclusive evidence of which the case is susceptible that the property, peace, and security of no section are to be in any wise endangered by the now incoming Administration. I add, too, that all the protection which, consistently with the Constitution and the laws, can be given will be cheerfully given to all the States when lawfully demanded, for whatever cause–as cheerfully to one section as to another.”

For Lincoln, his first priority even ahead of abolishing slavery was avoiding disunion.  As a man from Illinois, he was acutely aware of the fact that all the Midwest’s farm produce floated by barge down the Ohio, Missouri, and Mississippi River to New Orleans. If Louisiana seceded, the economy of the Union would be at her disposal. It was essential to prevent this result.

In pledging to outlaw slavery in the Western territories, Lincoln was girdling the tree of slavery in the southern states where it existed in 1861.  Such a strategy would end slavery in 100 years but not sooner.

In September 1862, the United Kingdom considered recognizing the independence of the Confederacy, exchanging ambassadors, and resuming trade and commerce with the South.  But, Lincoln knew that anti-slavery opinion was very strong in the U.K., so he announced in September 1862 that all three million slaves in areas still in rebellion against the Union as of January 1, 1863 would be emancipated by presidential executive order thus turning the Civil War from being a war about keeping the Union together into a war to free the enslaved people.  And, all four millions enslaved people were freed when Lincoln helped steer the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery to passage in Congress and after Lincoln’s assassination in April 1865.  The U.K. DID, as Lincoln predicted it would, stay out of the Civil War once it became a war to free the slaves, which is undoubtedly what Lincoln hoped would happen.

Slavery was the root cause of the Civil War, but Nikki Haley is right that from March 4, 1861 to January 1, 1863, the Civil War was about keeping the Union together. Only after Emancipation did the Civil War became a fight to end enslavement in the United States.  And, at that point the U.S. was on the North’s side of the fight.

Nevertheless, anti-slavery sentiment was strong in the north and likely provided the affective motivation for many Puritan-descended intellectuals who were quite influential at the time. From Chapter 6 of Individualism and the Western Liberal Tradition:

Whereas in the Puritan settlements of Massachusetts the moral fervor was directed at keeping fellow Puritans in line, in the nineteenth century it was directed at the entire country. The moral fervor that had inspired Puritan preachers and magistrates to rigidly enforce laws on fornication, adultery, sleeping in church, or criticizing preachers was universalized and aimed at correcting the perceived ills of capitalism and slavery.

Puritans waged holy war on behalf of moral righteousness even against their own cousins—perhaps a form of altruistic punishment as discussed in Chapter 3. Whatever the political and economic complexities that led to the Civil War, it was the Yankee moral condemnation of slavery that inspired and justified the massive carnage of closely related Anglo-Americans on behalf of slaves from Africa. Militarily, the war with the Confederacy was the greatest sacrifice in lives and property ever made by Americans.[1] Puritan moral fervor and punitiveness are also evident in the call of the Congregationalist minister at Henry Ward Beecher’s Old Plymouth Church in New York during World War II for “exterminating the German people . . . the sterilization of 10,000,000 German soldiers and the segregation of the woman.”[2]

[1] Phillips, The Cousins’ Wars, 477.

[2] Ibid., 556.

4 replies
  1. Kal S.
    Kal S. says:

    Now the US is importing hundreds of thousands of more people every month, especially from south of our border, which will bring about yet another civil war.

    Which is just want the race mongers and Globalists want.

  2. Mark Engholm
    Mark Engholm says:


    Vegetarian Hunt rejects alcohol because it means losing control. He has reasons for this, because in a drunken stupor he would only whine like a kicked dog. Although every fool feels his dependence on his “goddesses” (most of all the goddesses themselves), which oozes out of his every pore like the purest fear of loss (“love death anxiety”).

    Mr. Hunt prefers to be addicted to women, whom he willingly lays power in their laps. He clings to them like a drowning man to a lifebuoy. And has done so for decades. That’s where his pathetic dependency problem lies, which he still hasn’t admitted to himself.

    When is a man a man? According to “Mr” Hunt, when he crawls after women, worships them, idolizes them in a childlike way, pees sitting down and eats grains instead of beef jerky. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7veHxU6UCk


    This unfortunate worm actually believes he can foist his obvious weakness of character on people as a “virtue”! Either he seriously believes that the world is as stupid as he is, or he has the gall to think his readers are complete idiots! His followers certainly are.

    • Joe
      Joe says:

      How is this comment relevant to the article? And what evidence do you have to back up your claim he is ‘addicted’ to women? Why did you post this here and not under his article?

  3. James Bowery
    James Bowery says:

    A good model for hijacking the nervous systems of highly indoctrinable* peoples to do damage to themselves is extended phenotypic dominance to parasitically castrate themselves and produce sterile workers to feed the reproductive caste. The Africans that sold slaves to Jews to in turn sell to Tidewater Anglicans that, ultimately, dominated the Scotch Irish military backbone is one such dominance hierarchy. The other hierarchy involved Cromwell’s Jews dominating the Puritans which was more typical of what we see nowadays with Jews pitting blacks (and others) against the working class white backbone of the US military (still substantially Scotch Irish).


    *Indoctrinability comes in 2 different flavors of a radically different character: European indoctrinability is primarily aimed at childhood adoption of vertically transmitted cultural norms that, once adulthood is reached and the reproductive instincts kick in, cause departure from the “protected nest” (see EO WIlson’s “The evolution of eusociality”) to form a simple household. At that point adulthood is defined by the ability to not only question but violate cultural norms out of necessity. Jewish indoctrinability — and that of any culture that is less likely to have simple households with independent subsistence — is more persistent into adulthood, hence is more compatible with eusociality.

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