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The War Nerd / April 3, 2011
By Gary Brecher

Thaddeus Stevens: Weird-looking, huh? That’s because he was a real American. Extinct now.

Looks like they’re starting to find the mass graves in Ivory Coast right on schedule, but I’m going to leave the hard war news for the five weekday blogs. Weekends are for digressin’ and avengin’.

Today I want to do a little of both by quoting something amazing I found rereading a classic one-volume history of the Civil War, James McPherson’s Battle Cry of Freedom.

If you don’t know anything about the Civil War, McPherson’s book is a good place to start…although that raises kind of a more urgent type question, i.e.: If you don’t know anything about the Civil War, what the Hell’s wrong with you?
He’s especially good about the buildup, the incredible concessions the North made, all but grovelling to the plantation-massa lunatics who ruled the South and had been intimidating the North for decades, basically threatening to jump off a cliff and take the rest of the country with them if anybody even dared to maybe suggest that the whole slave economy thing was a bad idea and wasn’t doing our image any good.

I guess my own attitude is probably clear by now, but in case there’s any doubt I’ll tell you plain: I’m a Union man and a serious militarist about it. Sherman was just getting warmed up as far as I’m concerned. In fact when I read about how shocked the people of Columbia, SC, were that he burned half their town I have to laugh. Americans need to get out more, especially Southerners. If they had any notion of what the province that talked all the others into a dimwitted, doomed rebellion would’ve had in store for it anywhere else in the world, they would’ve thanked Sherman’s bummers on their knees for being so lenient. Sherman’s way of making war was so mild by world standards that if a panel of military CEOs from all of history had watched him march through Georgia and the Carolinas, there’d have been some serious tsk-ing about what a wuss he was. The consensus by all those Roman, British and Mongol ghosts would have been that the North should have expelled the whole white population of the South like the Brits did the Acadians—a way more harmless bunch—or sold them into slavery in West Africa, a nice bit of poetic justice. “How much am I bid for this fine specimen of Tideland gentry, ladies and paramount chiefs?”

The US benefited just from having four years when those jerks weren’t part of American politics. That’s what most surprised me when I went over McPherson’s book: how damn generous Northern law got as soon as the damn Planters were taken out of the political system. When you hear all these neocons talking about Lincoln’s administration as evil and totalitarian, what they mean is that without having to cave to the slave-owning loonies down south, Northern law started showing this incredible respect for the working people. Seriously, the laws they were enacting then would get Rush, Sean and Glenn screaming about Communism today. Take the Internal Revenue Act of 1862; it wouldn’t have a chance of passing today, because it’s way too sympathetic to the working people and doesn’t suck up to the super rich the way we do today. It was one of those laws made by the radical Republicans, back when “radical Republican” meant you wanted ex-slaves to have land to work and the right to vote, crazy socialistic stuff like that. Here’s McPherson’s summary of the new law:

“The Internal Revenue Act…expanded the progressive aspects…by exempting the first $600, levying three percent on incomes between $600 and $10,000, and five percent on incomes over $10,000. The first $1000 of any legacy was exempt from the inheritance tax. Businesses worth less than $600 were exempt from the value-added and receipts taxes. Excise taxes fell most heavily on products purchased by the affluent. In explanation of these progressive features, Chairman Thaddeus Stevens of the House Ways and Means Committee said, ‘While the rich and the thrifty will be obliged to contribute largely from the abundance of their means…no burdens have been imposed on the industrious laborer and mechanic…The food of the poor is untaxed; and…no one will be affected by the provisions of this bill whose living depends solely on his manual labor.’”

Incredible, isn’t it? That’s a congressman from 1862 talking. He couldn’t be elected now; they’d call him a commie and he’d be lucky to stay out of jail. Why, he doesn’t even suck up to the super-rich, the freak. That’s what America was like for a little while when the crazy white South went off on its big tantrum. Just imagine what the place could have been like if they’d stayed gone. Actually, you don’t have to imagine, because Grant laid out what would have happened to the two parts of the Union with his standard cold hard sense:

“The South was more to be benefited by its defeat than the North. [The North] had the people, the institutions, and the territory to make a great and prosperous nation. [The South] was burdened with an institution abhorrent to all civilized people not brought up under it, and one which degraded labor, kept it in ignorance, and enervated the governing class. With the outside world at war with this institution, they could not have extended their territory. The labor of the country was not skilled, nor allowed to become so. The whites could not toil without becoming degraded, and those who did were denominated “poor white trash.” The system of labor would have soon exhausted the soil and left the people poor. The non-slaveholders would have left the country, and the small slaveholder must have sold out to his more fortunate neighbor. Soon the slaves would have outnumbered the masters, and, not being in sympathy with them, would have risen in their might and exterminated them. The war was expensive to the South as well as to the North, both in blood and treasure, but it was worth all it cost.”

Sounds like a happy ending to me. Too bad we spent all that blood and treasure dragging them back into the family. Might as well lose an arm or a leg dragging your crazy bipolar brother-in-law back. In fact, I agree with every word Grant says there, up to the “but” in the last sentence. Good policy, probably: believe everything up to the “but.”

Would you like to know more? Gary Brecher is the author of the War Nerd. Send your comments to Read Gary Brecher’s first ever War Nerd column by clicking here.

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Add your own

  • 1. Soj  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 7:23 am

    “How much am I bid for this fine specimen of Tideland gentry?” = BEST LINE EVER 😀

  • 2. IHTG  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 7:56 am

    Psst. It’s not the neocons who are anti-Lincoln, it’s the paleocons. Many of whom are fans of yours.

  • 3. spark  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 7:57 am

    Fucking A.

    I’ve got my great-great-grandfather’s Army Colt 1860 right here on my desk. When I hear of the latest antics of our Neo-Con(federate) Party, it does my blood pressure good to imagine him pistol-whipping a Reb or ordering his cavalry unit to burn a farm to the ground.

    Loving this blog lately. It has gone from “niche-interest” to “must read”.

  • 4. William  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 8:13 am


  • 5. Peter  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 8:19 am

    In my life so far, I’ve lived in Massachusetts, Vermont and New York (yeah yeah East Coasters are slow and dumb I know the Exile house position on the matter; I guess if we were fast and dumb like the West Coast, we’d get more respect?) and somehow, SOMEHOW I find myself in a position where I need to defend the Union position like three times a year. Sometimes from particularly brain-poisoned libertarians, sometimes from southerners who wound up in my space somehow, and the last time from this one chick whose only history was Howard Zinn and who went on and on about how I only supported the North because of “propaganda.”

    Then there’s the Northern rednecks who put confederate flags on their cars, despite the fact most of them are old-stock Anglo crackers whose ancestors were much more likely to have fought for the North than the micks, Italians, Jews etc. they live around.

    The point is, can we get another Sherman/Stevens combo? And can they do the whole country this time?

  • 6. Bane  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 8:28 am

    Second post missing its title “War in Libya”. Just rename next one to “US history”.

  • 7. Neil Templeton  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 8:33 am

    I think something should be said for the spirit and independence of the Cracker class, who fought and died primarily on principle. Not to defend slavery, but rather to preserve their freedom from interference by northern busybodies.

  • 8. Doug M.  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 8:37 am

    Don’t forget the Morrill Act, which created the Land Grant colleges.

    Big Eight? Big Ten? got a degree from anything in the University of California system? Cal Tech, University of Illinois, Cornell?

    All land grant colleges. All created thanks to the Morrill Act.

    Morrill was a Republican from Vermont who’d been pushing for federal support of higher education since 1850. The southern planters stood firmly in his way — they could afford to send their sons to Yale, and they didn’t care about anyone else. God forbid the federal government should spend resources on educating the sons of greasy mechanics.

    Then the planters left the building. Boom, 1862, the Morrill Act gets signed into law. It committed the US government to hand immense tracts of federal land over to state university systems. If the state didn’t want the lands, fine — it didn’t compel anyone. But it was this great, once in a century deal that made setting up a world-class university system incredibly easy and cheap.

    The explosion of American science and technology after 1870 or so? That lifted us from being a backwards appendage of western civilization, sort of like Russia, to being the world’s engine of innovation? Thank Senator Morrill and Abraham Lincoln.

    Doug M.

  • 9. empire in decline  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 8:45 am

    It’s interesting to note that a disproportionate amount of current soldiers come from the South.

    It’s amazing how they can talk about how that mean large standing army of the federal government infringed on their rights during the War of Northern Aggression, but when the United States tortures, imprisons and kills people who have no legal or political rights or voice or representation in this country, those hypocrites are the first to sign up to be a part of it and the first to hate and ostracize anyone who questions it.

    Really, letting Southerns gain the political influence they have is going to be as disasterous to the United States as the Marian reforms were to the Roman Republic. The Northerners were the patricians who used to be the tough fighters who littered the battlefields for the sake of the republic but now the Southerners are the better lower class warriors who come along and fuck everything up by demanding political influence in compensation for their fighting prowess.

  • 10. Connor K.  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 9:18 am


  • 11. postman  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Dear All,

    The saddest thing resulting in the victory of the North in the whole slavery issue, is the PC guilt-tripping the American white man have to suffer 24/7, at least it looks like this from Eastern Europe.
    I mean, providing full-time employment for the Afro-Americans, with catering and housing was a Good Thing compared to today, wasn’t it? At least they did not have the energy at the end of the day to have a go in a gang at 11 years old Texan girls, did they?
    All this big democracy and equality will work only as long as the American white man are in majority, but I seriously wonder: if they become a minority, will their generous favour be returned by the poor oppressed colored new majority?
    The funniest thing I ever heard of is the “white privilege”. There is no white privilege, as in privilege of white christian men. The privileged white men has a different name where I am coming from…

  • 12. J.T. Patton  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 9:57 am

    “Americans need to get out more, especially Southerners” !!! I love it!

  • 13. Mudhead  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 10:25 am

    I’m with the WN all the way here. The North should have laid waste to the South. Grant should have gotten the ball rolling by hanging the arch-traitor Lee the moment the surrender was complete. Every Southern officer should have shared Massa Robert’s fate, and the politicians? Lynching would have been good idea.

  • 14. robotslave  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 10:30 am

    The whites could not toil without becoming degraded, and those who did were denominated “poor white trash.”

    Clearly, Grant had no idea what he was talking about. If there’s one thing your southern white trash would go to war again to avoid, it’s “toil.”

  • 15. Nestor  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Well, I’m a foreigner so I’m not required to know anything about your Civil War, though I recall my teachers weren’t too keen on exploring the more recent local one either (The Spanish one, that is)

    I did watch that North & South TV series when I was a kid though, the one with Patrick Swayze. I hope that counts.

  • 16. messner  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 11:00 am

    I love it .. Gary you made my day … again and again … keep up the good work …

  • 17. Blaster99  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 11:15 am

    I’ve met a minority of libertarians who condemn Lincoln for launching a war of agression. They say slavery would have been abolished anyway because it was inefficient.

  • 18. Carpenter  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 11:23 am

    “and had been intimidating the North for decades”

    The South had a fifth of the population, but they were the evil controllers of the central government? Right.

    In fact, tariff money from Southern ports was used to pay for the industrialization in the North. It was a crooked economy, where a railroad lawyer like Lincoln fit right in.

    Lincoln became a Whig, the party of the industrial elite. As soon as he entered the Illinois legislature he led a successful effort to appropriate some $12 million in taxpayer subsidies for railroad and canal-building corporations.

    He also urged the legislature to print paper money to finance railroads, canals etc in Illinois – his personal secretaries Nicolay and Hay later said this was “a disaster to the state.”

    And so it went. This was the corrupt system in the North where money from the South disappeared. With their limited population and votes the South could never hope to change all this. All they could do was use their legal right to secede – as legal as leaving the European Union today.

  • 19. burbl  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 11:24 am

    So you are a fucking commie?
    What’s the point reveling in the butchery of the downtrodden if you love them?
    Oh! I see, you are ALSO a sadomasochistic fuckwit!

  • 20. dfasd  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 11:26 am

    War nerd you used to stay away from the screeching politics of the rest of the site. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit disappointed.

  • 21. Carpenter  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 11:27 am

    What if Mediterranean countries tried to leave the EU now, and a mad EU “President” (what the head of the EU Commission is now called) ordered them to be invaded. Then halfway through the war blamed it on Mediterranean resistance to immigration, to make it sound noble. Even if the President himself had earlier been a strong supporter of anti-immigration laws. (Like Lincoln was a strong supporter of anti-Black laws. Until the end of his life he was a member of the African Colonization Society, and argued for the sending of Blacks back to Africa. He told a delegation of free Blacks that they and Whites could never leave together, because they were too different.)

    As for slavery – some fought for and against slavery. But are we seriously meant to believe that the vast number of Southerners fought to maintain slaves? Only a small percent had slaves. They fought for the South, which had its own culture, its own identity, and a legal right to secede. Up until the war there were Northern states that also considered secession.

    Nor did the average Northerner fight to free slaves, they fought for having a big empire on the continent. If you’d have told them they should fight to make Blacks their equals, they would have laughed out loud.

    Across the world slavery disappeared without wars, from Australia to Brazil. Thanks to Western ideas about political freedom, which was something unique – the British had to force African tribes to give up slavery at gunpoint. Slavery would have disappeared in the Southern states too in time, and there were signs that it was already on its way out in the northern South.

  • 22. Carpenter  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Lincoln fought for the Northern industralists and the Corporativist economic-political system. The South’s tariff money was instrumental for this, when there was no income tax. To preserve corporativism he made himself a de facto dictator and ruled by decree. Like Arab dictators today, he had gangs in the streets intimidating opponents. They smashed printing presses and beat up editors. He even imprisoned a Senator opposed to the war, without a trial, and handed him over to the South by the border in a big propaganda stunt – the Senator had nothing to do with the Southerners, and he went to Canada instead.

    Speaking of trials: after the war there was talk about putting Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, on trial. But this was quietly abandoned, because he did not break the law by secession. Just like an EU country would not break the law be seceding from the EU today, it was not illegal for the South to secede.

  • 23. Carpenter  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 11:59 am

    From “Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men, by Jeffrey Rogers Hummel:

    “The Lincoln Administration imprisoned at least 14,000 (Northern) civilians throughout the course of the war. … The federal government simultaneously monitored and censored both the mails and telegraphs. … It also suppressed newspapers. Over three hundred, including the Chicago Times, the New York World, and the Philadelphia Evening Journal, had to cease publication for varying periods.”

    (Ah, what a great precedent for freedom! Lincoln would certainly have approved of Guantanamo Bay today.)

    A quote from Lincoln that we never hear:

    “This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing Government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.
    Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most sacred right—a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people that can, may revolutionize, and make their own, of so much territory as they inhabit.

    Lincoln on black people:

    “When asked by Confederate Vice President Alexander Stepehens at the 1865 Hampton Roads ‘peace’ conference what would become of the freedmen without property or education, Lincoln sarcastically recited the words to a popular minstrel song, ‘root, hog or die.'”

    “I cannot make it better known than it already is, that I strongly favor colonization.” (shipping the slaves to Africa)

    “Send them to Liberia, to their own native land. But free them and make them politically and socially our equals? My own feelings will not admit this.”

    “Negro Equality! Fudge!! How long in the government of a God, great enough to make and maintain this Universe, shall there continue knaves to vend, and fools to gulp, so low a piece of demagoguism as this?”

    “Judge Douglas has said to you that he has not been able to get from me an answer to the question whether I am in favor of negro citizenship. So far as I know, the Judge never asked me the question before. (Applause.) He shall have no occasion to ever ask it again, for I tell him very frankly that I am not in favor of negro citizenship.” (Renewed applause)

    “I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the White and black races, (Applause) – that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurers of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, not to intermarry with White people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the White and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on equal terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the White race…”

    “You and we are different races. We have between us a broader difference than exists between almost any other two races. Whether it is right or wrong I need not discuss, but this physical difference is a great disadvantage to us both, as I think your race suffer very greatly,many of them living among us, while ours suffer from your presence. In a word we suffer on each side. If this is admitted, it affords a reason at least why we should be separated.”

    No, the war was not about slavery. Slavery was used as a propaganda trick when necessary, to rally those who wanted “a river of blood” to float through the land. Slavery would have disappeared anyway, like everywhere else in the world. The war was about those who financed Lincoln: the industrial elite in the Northern states, who profited from the order where the South’s money was used to finance their corporations.

  • 24. Dejo  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    It’s too bad King George didn’t make his own Emancipation Proclamation during the so-called American Revolution. That would’ve been the ultimate propaganda manoeuvre. But I guess him and his boys were far too naive for politics. Lincoln wasn’t naive, because Lincoln was a Machiavellian connoisseur. Lincoln was smart, Davis wasn’t. Lincoln won, Davis didn’t. Debating which side had a righteous cause is really trying to decipher the mountain of propaganda everybody made during the war. And who is so masochistic as to do such a thing?

  • 25. spark  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    “…As for slavery – some fought for and against slavery. But are we seriously meant to believe that the vast number of Southerners fought to maintain slaves? Only a small percent had slaves….”

    Who gives a damn why the average Confederate soldier fought?

    Pick a random private out of the Wermacht in 1941—he probably didn’t care much about the motivations of the Nazi elite.

  • 26. Brian  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Hey great article, though still waiting for you to explain why some fight and some run away and what it takes to get your side to fight

  • 27. swr  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    I have to laugh when slavery apologists quote some less than politically correct things Lincoln said about blacks.

    They’re really just the mirror image of the extreme left, which judges Lincoln for having opinions unacceptable in 2011.

    Fact: Lincoln stuck his neck out to sign the Emancipation Proclamation. He refused to rescind it in 1864 when it looked like he was going to lose to McClellan.

    Any 19 year old private in the Union army, as politically correct as some of his opinions may have been, was ready to die to end slavery. This doesn’t mean he wasn’t a racist or that he liked blacks. It DID mean he didn’t want to live in a system where unpaid black labor could undercut his own livelihood.

    Had it not been put down, slavery wouldn’t have withered away. It would have expanded into the rest of the country, and probably would have eventually included white immigrants.

  • 28. allen  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    I’m not an American, but I do enjoy the history of the American Civil War; I have also enjoyed the Nerd’s thoughts about it in the past.

    I have no comment on the civil war, except to say good article.

    About Libya:

    Al Jazeera is reporting that some rebels have said U.S. and Egyptian special forces are training the “better” rebel troups at a secret location in Eastern Libya for a more credible push. (Please note this would be the exact opposite of what the administration claims it is doing, not that that should be shocking or a surprise to anyone.)

    They also claim that better versions of soviet type weaponry are starting to come in from the same source. (It’s pretty standard for the U.S. to provide Soviet/Russian arms when it doesn’t want its actions to be obvious.) These include “heat-seeking” katyushka rockets — I had no idea such a thing even existed, and, naturally of course, it could be horse shit.

    It’s interesting to speculate over the Obama administration’s hand in all of this, especially giving the supposed America-Egpyt pairing. That makes a lot more sense than the uniformed might think. A key turning point in the Egyptian uprising was the military’s non-intervention, and what no Western news sources bothered to mention is just how close the Egyptian military is to the American one. Arguably way closer than Israel’s is to the U.S. — as in the U.S. trained Egypt’s officers, and they know whose orders to follow …

    And now look, they may be back in action, again. All secret like.

  • 29. super390  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Carpenter, you don’t know anything about how the South’s “sacred” traditions were cynically manufactured. Read about Bacon’s Rebellion of 1676 and how it was used to give poor whites a freedom predicated on black slavery. Truly my Southern ancestors made the Devil’s deal: they would support the English corporations and landowners in exchange for getting to hold the whip.

    Slavery was not on the way out, because Southern entrepreneurs were already experimenting with slaves in manufacturing. Don’t strut around like a fashionable US-bashing Communist but then claim that slavery is impossible in an industrialized capitalist society. Ask the South Africans how close they came to slavery. But worst of all, consider how Albert Speer reorganized German war production.

    All we need to bring back slavery in America is the erosion of restrictions on prison slave labor, which a business lobbying group called ALEC is hard at work at – the same group that wrote the Arizona anti-Mexican law. They have no intention of catching illegals to send them home; they’re already planning the labor camps. Then it’s a short step to arresting any black guy on the street for vagrancy and extracting free labor from him.

    And yet, Carpenter, it will be right-wingers and Southerners who will support this, because it was the South that relied on prison slave labor for 70 years after the War. That’s why they’re busting the unions, destroying public schools and universities, closing libraries, and wiping out groups like ACORN that could mobilize black resistance. The Right never explains its plan for how it will make America competitive by restoring 19th century law, but the answer is obvious. They will do it by restoring 19th century wages – as low as zero.

    And all your bullshit traditional values and states’ rights and limited government and white solidarity will be back to perform the function they were originally manufactured to perform: to enforce oligarchy.

  • 30. Karel  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    It sounds that the status quo prevails then…

  • 31. vortexgods  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    It’s interesting, how neo-confederate propagandists infest the comments for this article.

    I’d consider it amusing, if they weren’t winning their war to take this country back to legalized slavery.

  • 32. Doug  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    I’m surprised Gary’s so anti-slavery, for someone who’s unflinchingly looked at history from so many eras, without the nauseating rose-colored glasses of our current era. The simple truth of the matter is that slavery is an institution that has existed in 99% of human societies. Slavery was such a basic and fundamental institution to the Greeks that Aristotle rooted his entire political philosophy in the relation between master and slave.

    Like Gary pointed out with public-relations warfare in Libya, it’s our current era’s lack of slavery that makes it such a strange little time. But also like superpowers exercising restrained “friendly” warfare against puny countries, my guess is that the guaranteed self-ownership of all grown men is something that will not survive the next couple thousand years.

    Especially if history is any guide. After all I would expect a far-future society removed from this one to look a lot more like the median society from history rather than particularly resembling this one.

    The sheer fact of the matter is that a person with a below 75 IQ has a massively difficult time scraping out an existence, let alone thriving as a freeman. Especially in a technological, increasingly robotized economy. The other difficult, but true fact is that the proportion of those under 75 IQ (in medical terms, the idiots, morons and imbeciles), are not evenly distributed across different human populations…

    Already society employs an increasingly wider array of pseudo-slavery like institutions to manage the teeming, unproductive masses. A high incarceration rate with an even higher number on probation/parole, aggressive immigration control, dependency inducing welfare combined with segregated public housing, a heavy police presence in poor areas, etc.

    In fact the biggest move the West might be making back towards slavery is the debt system. Increasingly the astronomical levels of debt, combined with a more favorable legal climate for lenders vs debtors make many Western consumers look pretty close to slaves. Someone who makes $25k a year and has $100k of credit card or student debt (both of which are nearly impossible to discharge, even in bankruptcy) is pretty damn close to a slave anyway. Pretty much all his earnings above subsistence are remitted back to his creditors, and he has a next to nil chance of ever fully paying back the loans.

    The only difference is that creditors cannot currently command his economic affairs (i.e. order him to go to work; the indebted can always choose not to work and just rack ever higher debt). But I doubt that even this arrangement will exist for very long. My bet would be that within 10-20 years, especially if the consumer credit crisis remains this bad, that courts and legislators will grant creditors the right to demand that the indebted work at jobs (potentially even dangerous jobs because they pay higher), to make good on their debt. And at that point you pretty much have a straight out slave.

  • 33. jonnym  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Hey, how come any time some apologist for the failure that was the Confederacy pops up, they always do the same shit that poster #22 does? Cherry pick one or two lines and act like that proves that the North was somehow equally or more immoral, then proceed as if the point they tried to make was completely closed to discussion?

    That’s called bad arguing — if Southern apologists can’t do any better than that, I think that says it all. But I guess they’re gonna believe whatever helps ’em sleep better at night.

    Just like when I was a kid & lost bad at sports, or I couldn’t beat a video game. I’d tell myself that it was someone else’s fault — over and over until I believed it (kinda). Only difference is, I stopped doing that crap when I matured. You get Southern guys who are like 50 and still pulling this teenage crap when the Civil War comes up. Pathetic, embarrassing and ridiculous. More so when they start playing the Patriot card; yeah, they love this country so much they lionize the people who betrayed it 150 years ago.

  • 34. Hellspawn of the New South  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    RE: #7, Neil Tempelton: “I think something should be said for the spirit and independence of the Cracker class, who fought and died primarily on principle. Not to defend slavery, but rather to preserve their freedom from interference by northern busybodies.”

    Very well, then. As a Southerner from Columbia, SC, who grew up listening to the most insanely twisted rationales for slavery, along with the whining about getting the city burned down (you started the war, assholes, Sherman was just finishing it for you), I’ll say it: what a bunch of goddamned chumps. They died for the right of rich parasites to own other people like property. The very same rich parasites who sneered at them for being red-skinned from the sun and called them “white trash” caught bullets, bled and died while the parasites held cotillions for their spoiled-stupid little princesses. We know these rubes today as “rank-and-file conservatives,” and they’re as proud as ever to suck a billionaire robber baron’s cock for a pat on the head. Piss on ’em.

  • 35. Peter  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Have any of your southern twits ever read any of the secession documents? The majority of them make it entirely clear that the point of secession is to preserve slavery. Slavery meant more to them than their country did (and don’t give me that bullshit about Virginia being Lee’s country, he was in the federal army for decades).

    And even if secession was legal, is firing on federal troops, when they’re on federal property, legal? ‘Cause that’s what actually started the war.

    The pro-confederate arguments here are the best way to prove WN and Grant’s point. Look at how pissy you’re all getting over an article that agrees we should’ve let you cunts go (to become a banana republic and probably a debt-bitch to the British, but all the same).

  • 36. Jesse the Scout  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Why is it people will in one breath complain about civil rights violations committed by the North during wartime and in the next dismiss slavery’s significance since “it was going to go away eventually anyway”?

    That sounds like some nice consolation for a slave. 10, maybe 50 more years and it’ll be over, bro, don’t sweat it.

  • 37. gc  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    Oh, this article has got the libertarians SQUEALING; it’s beautiful.

    One disagreement: Letting the south secede would have been even worse for the north than keeping it in the union.

    First, we’d have had a failed state on our border. We would either have had to deal with a constant stream of useless immigrants and criminals coming over. (i.e. What Republicans accuse the Mexicans of being, even though they aren’t.)

    Second, Britain and/or Germany would have had an ally on our side of the Atlantic ocean.

    Besides which, we’d have been leaving the slaves to the tender mercies of their Confederate masters.

  • 38. bud  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Since the U.S Civil was is such a favorite topic for you, I was wondering if you would care to comment on how southerners today are trying to rewrite the history of the civil war by renaming it the “War of Northern Aggression”? Just google it and you will see that there are a lot of people calling it that. What do you think, Gary? Was it the War of Northern Aggression?

  • 39. allen  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    (TLDR: Fuck the South)
    The sheer fact of the matter is that a person with a below 75 IQ has a massively difficult time scraping out an existence, let alone thriving as a freeman.

    People with an IQ of 75 are borderline retarded, and they would make even terrible slaves — forget about them “existing as freemen”.

    In our society anyone with an IQ south of about 105 is almost certainly destined for a life of economic slavery, as are many of their brighter counter parts — barring that these people are not the sons of the wealthy, then they can just go about destroying their legacy slowly in freedom.

    That’s capitalism. I’m not claiming there’s an easy alternative.


    It’s not an excuse for the Antebellum South’s decadent regime based on a ruling class trying to uphold a worthless feudal model, and their privilege, almost three centuries after a new economic system had already come along and put the writing on the wall as regards such arrangements.


    The Antebellum South’s version of slavery was one of the most cruel and vile ever known to mankind, with white slaveholder’s basically impregnating their female workforce and enslaving their own children (hence why slavery was the one thing you inherited from your mother’s side).

    And that’s to say nothing of the viciousness involved in maintaining such a system — which was decrepit and would have guaranteed poverty and stagnation for the South anyway (except, perhaps, for a gilded class of slave owners and then only for a while …)

    I’m with the Nerd, Sherman didn’t go far enough. The South really deserved to suffer more than it did, and it should be thankful.
    &As a side note, I would actually go so far as to call the Civil War one of the last battles confirming the victory of the industrial-capitalist order, which, despite the problems inherent therein, was still a step forward for humanity compared to all of the “human history”, which the quoted poster mentioned.

    “Force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one.”

  • 40. Doug  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    I think it’s pretty crazy that everyone here is taking it for such granted that US slavery was the “most awful thing ever.” Please explain why it was better than the alternatives? Do you think the standard of living of those slaves was better or worse than their compatriots in Africa. I bet even today in modern West Africa, the typical person has a lower life expectancy, lower caloric intake and higher parasite load than the American Southern slave of 1840. Not to mention that they didn’t live under the constant threat of violence and political instability.

    Furthermore remember that the African slaves sold to Americans were already enslaved in Africa. Had Europeans not bought them to import into America they would have been A) killed or B) sold as slaves to Arabs. Either scenario would have been far worse than being an American slave. The institution of slavery in the New World allowed millions of Africans to escape starvation and ever-present violence.

    Even in America the standard of living of the typical slave was not much lower than the industrial Northern worker. Historical reconstructions estimate that Southern slaves consumed 10% more calories than Northern workers, and only 15% less meat. In many metrics: food consumption, life expectancy, economic consumption levels, there was less difference between whites and blacks in 1850 than there is today in America. Yeah slaves lives were shit back then, but guess what so was everyone’s.

    If anyone is to blame for the particularly bad conditions that certain slaves experiences (but by no means all), it was the Northern states as much as the Southern states. By failing to recognize the legitimacy of Southern slave ownership it provided a very high economic incentive to stop slaves from escaping. If a slave ran away and crossed the border, you as a slave owner just lost your principal on a very expensive investment. Consequently slaveowners had to lock down and tightly control their slaves. If instead the North agreed to return fugitive slaves it would have allowed Southern owners to grant their slaves a much higher degree of autonomy and personal freedom, as was seen in Brazil, where the level of slave brutality was far lower.

  • 41. Hannibal  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Hey, Brecher: when d’ya think the Second American Civil War will commence? What will trigger it? How will it unfold? You have to have thought about this already…

  • 42. Dejo  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    I’ve noticed Americans have a habit of mislabelling things. Like the American Revolution and the America Civil War. The American Revolution wasn’t a revolution and the American Civil War wasn’t a civil war. In both cases it was a revolt. Or a secession, if you think the revolting party had legitimacy. I’m not even going to bother with the countless police actions, peacekeeping missions and whatnot. Truly, Americans have raised bullshitting to an artform.

  • 43. Luis Felipe  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    Apropos of Lincoln in the article and the libertards who have infested these comments, I present to you The American Lenin, a textbook example of libertard ignorance and stupidity.

  • 44. Dejo  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Libertarians can’t appreciate Lincoln’s political savvy. They’re still butthurt about his suspending habeas copras, his introducing conscription, his waging total war on his own countrymen and a whole bunch of other things they view as tyrannical. Libertarians are far too principled to enjoy history or to come to the right conclusions. That said, they’re much more thorough in their disseminations of historical leaders than those poised to worship said leaders. It would be nice to have a hybrid school of thought.

  • 45. Neil Templeton  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    RE: #34 If a man fights, and his effort benefits his neighbor; this implies neither that he fought to benefit his neighbor, nor that he counts himself a servant of his neighbor.

  • 46. Homer Erotic  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    Apologies if somebody already said this (t-storm coming and I want to quick shut off the puter before it gets here, so I can’t read all the other comments just now), but I’ve long thought that we would have a National Health Service of some kind by now if the South would have been allowed to secede.

  • 47. swr  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    All of the libertarian apologists for slavery have to read Ron Chernow’s biography of George Washington.

    He was relatively enlightened as far as slave masters went. And EVERY slave (save one, Billy Lee, his personal slave) he owned who had a chance to escape did.

    And to respond to “Doug” the slaves most likely to try to escape from Washington’s plantation were the ones who had the most personal freedom.

    I know this is hard for a “libertarian” to understand, but they valued “freedom” more than 10% more calories.

  • 48. swr  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    Had the south suceeded, the British would have simply played divide and conquer.

    The aristocrats who led the secession in 1861 wanted the South to become a resource colony of Great Britain.

    They were traitors who wanted to see their country turn into a divided, third world shithole in order that a few upper class turds could keep raping their slaves.

    The only mistake Lincoln made, as far as I’m concerned, was in not giving Billy Sherman nukes.

  • 49. PT Barnum  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    The Southerners generally rave insanely cause they rely on the threat of immediate violence to intimidate those they rave at.

    Stuff like this:

    A Honorable Man suprise attacked another man with a weapon… the other man was unarmed.

    Meanwhile, he had a friend hold a gun on other people to stop them from intervening.

    Southern pull that with the wrong people, both of them would have been hung, and rightly so.

  • 50. allen  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    How the hell can a Libertarian defend slavery? I thought all your ilk loved John Locke. (I know many of you actually love thinkers that loved Locke, but I digress.)

    Slavery is property violation because all property starts with owning yourself and your own labour power. In fact, it is justified to kill anybody that tries to enslave you; that is tyranny according to Locke … who is taught at pretty much every American University.

    Arguments over “clories” or “living conditions” aren’t libertarian, so I really hope there are not any “libertarians” arguing this shit. That would be very sad.

    (Also I would like to clarify that I am not a libertarian.)

  • 51. Doug  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Everyone here has been so scared of the Kock boogeyman that they assume that those who disagree with them must be libertarians. Hello, I just wrote a post defending goddamn slavery. That’s pretty much the least libertarian position that you can get.

    I guarantee you that the typical libertarian has far more in common with the average reader of this site than me. Including both having a decidedly unrealistic romanticism with “people power.” I’m a hard-line reactionary that value power and authority for its own think. Both libertarians and leftists are deluded into thinking that somehow they can fight the “tyranny,” they just have somewhat slightly different views about the source of said tyranny.

    Everyone needs to face that fact that from the dawn of time to the burn out of the sun the strong will dominate the weak. There is a natural division between the naturally destined to be leaders, and those naturally destined to be followers. This was well understood in pretty much every civilization, but our own, whether it was the Greeks with their notion of citizen, heliot and barbarian, the Elizabethan great chain of being, or Confucianism exam-based sorting of people.

    The sooner the dredges recognize that not only will they never escape their betters, but that they’re actively worse off when they try to, the better things will get. When we try to pretend in such ridiculous notions as “all men are born equal” or self-determination for loser nations pretty soon you end up with some crazy fucking absurdities. Like third world tin-pot dictators propping up corpses in front of schools and hospitals because the most powerful nation on Earth feels guilty about using its power.

    Anyway, the libertarians might be useful allies on many fronts for us reactionaries, but by no means do we have similar ultimate goals. Your typical libertarian would like to restore us back to the post-Revolutionary age and government of the US. Me personally, I think we all would have been better off had Britain thrown that loser/traitor Howe out of office, took off the kid gloves like they did in the Boer war and hang every last one of the rebel scoundrels. Libertarian’s heroes are guys like Jefferson, Warren Harding, and Gandhi. My heroes are people like Prince von Metternich, Louis XIV and Augustus Caesar.

    Similarly I don’t begrudge Lincoln, Sherman or Grant for going apeshit on the South. Power will do what power wants. No point crying about that. However I will say that there’s no point pretending like the Civil War was some great exercise in the “people’s liberation movement.” It was simply one group exercising complete and utter dominance over another, and had nothing to do with the progress of man, the march of freedom, the zeitgest or any liberal nonsense like that.

  • 52. debaser  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    I would much rather read about whats CURRENTLY going on in the WORLD. America Is Not The World. With so much bullshit coming at people from the government and mainstream media, spin-free news and information is an asset to the sort of people who read blogs like this. Step up Brecher and fulfill the role you have cast for yourself.

  • 53. gc  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    “Everyone here has been so scared of the Kock boogeyman that they assume that those who disagree with them must be libertarians. Hello, I just wrote a post defending goddamn slavery. That’s pretty much the least libertarian position that you can get.”

    This pre-supposes that libertarians are not hypocrites. Incorrectly.

    (I realize that Doug is probably a troll, but I can still use him as an excuse to make serious points.)

  • 54. Mason C  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    These posts are awesome. Many thanks Gary.

    1) Today’s reminds me of a history prof at a community college in Massachusetts, an exceptional teacher who also was known for his “Let the Sisters Go” argument about the South, which went something like “Forget the ‘abolish slavery’ nonsense – the South was economically doomed and they should have been left to rot.”

    2) I once visited a former HQ of Gen’l Stonewall “No, shoot THEM, you ass!” Jackson in Winchester, VA. The guide was sorta OK until he heard I was from The Great Northern Satan. He and some hubby ‘n’ wife team tried their damndest to get a rise out of me, but I wouldn’t even smirk. “Some say the wrong side won the war,” said bucktooth beau. “Ever seen this kind of musket? Ever shot one? Hmmm?” said malodorous host, as I closely admired the counterfeit Confederate ration coupons, asking “Why did they need these, sir?” Finally, I bought a model siege mortar and commented “This will make a fine pencil holder.” Fuckin’ morans…but there was a nice Napoleon 12-pounder in the front yard. And my people didn’t even arrive in the US until 30 years after their barefoot, starving kin were brought to heel at Appomattox.

  • 55. David  |  April 4th, 2011 at 12:04 am

    >If you don’t know anything about the Civil War, what the Hell’s wrong with you?

    Well, I’m Canadian. That’s one reason.

  • 56. bullet  |  April 4th, 2011 at 1:00 am

    “If they had any notion of what the province that talked all the others into a dimwitted, doomed rebellion would’ve had in store for it anywhere else in the world, they would’ve thanked Sherman’s bummers on their knees for being so lenient.”- Like I said before I’d like to see a column on the Sepoy Mutiny. No Southern prisoner got chained to a cannon muzzle as far as I know…

  • 57. Jesse the Scout  |  April 4th, 2011 at 3:27 am

    #51 – No, life does NOT have to be the strong devouring the weak. (Ignoring how faulty that premise is in the first place for the moment) That’s the whole point. For hundreds of years societies have been moving away from that basis and continue to do so, but as soon as you accept the wretched justification of inevitability you create a self fulfilling prophecy.

    Civility, justice, all that stuff is a product of an advanced society. It has to be cared for and maintained, it’s not a natural order like the food chain. Central heat and Pop Tarts aren’t natural either, but people don’t seem to have a problem with unnatural improvements over a painful and primitive existence when it doesn’t involve the option of abusing and controlling others for personal gain.

    Civility can only survive in a civil climate. To act with a sense of integrity, honesty, and justice in an environment which shuns those things is to invite disaster upon yourself as aggressors exploit tactics against you which cannot be stopped without matching them. What often goes misunderstood by left and libertard alike is that means when things get ugly you have to get ugly too. Whine asses bitch about dropping the bomb on Japan, burning down the South, every instance where to protect civilization the good guys couldn’t afford to wring their hands and play nice because the other side would rip them apart like a pack of wolves. The bitching lefties are overly naive and the libertards are always rooting for team evil as if the rest of us are too stupid to read them.

    When we nuked Japan we also rebuilt it. We never wanted a war. A group merely out to exercise dominance looks for wars, wins, and then sucks the loser dry. The US didn’t do that to Japan and it didn’t do that in the South either. Good guys have to play by bad guy rules at times because that’s what the bad guys force. The difference is when good guys get handed total power over the lives of others after a victory they don’t greedily devour it like the bad guys do. Although given some of that tentacle rape anime crap that comes out Japan these days maybe we should have considered it.

  • 58. Michael  |  April 4th, 2011 at 5:19 am

    Everytime he does a story on the American Civil War, I end up with IcedEarth’s 3part Gettysburg sonng stuck in my head. Beats Haddaway’s “What is love?”.

  • 59. baron ungern von sternberg  |  April 4th, 2011 at 6:14 am

    disappointing you arent above typical us-hypocrisy. “freeing” slaves to ensure fullblown industrial slavery and modernday elitist corruption. it was old europe centered culture of the south against new industrial, robberbaron wealth. btw, many of the “freed” slaves later only wished for a return to the old days. seems anonymous slavery with all the abuse it entailed wasnt so much better after all.

  • 60. pimp of the Balkans  |  April 4th, 2011 at 6:35 am

    Crowing about the results of 19th century wars is frankly, well, boring. Dixie sux, yeah, yeah, we get it. You said it before. You said all of this before.

    Get with the program, WN. You know what we want from you. You know what your job is. A hint – it’s not blathering on about workers’ rights in 1865. Don’t make us come over there and CUT that pretty face.

  • 61. jonnym  |  April 4th, 2011 at 6:49 am

    @59: you shouldn’t be disappointed. War Nerd is about making military analysis fun and interesting. Some wars can be analyzed without getting into the sociopolitical aspects that caused & motivated them. Some can’t. The US Civil War is one of those. (The Israel/Palestine stuff is another — Brecher has often interjected his personal views into those conflicts too, if you’ve read his articles on them.)

  • 62. Homer Erotic  |  April 4th, 2011 at 7:11 am

    The neo-Confederate apologist is correct in stating that the polity of the post-Revolutionary War era didn’t preclude secession, but the South’s problem was that encroaching industrialism changed the politics. Industrial societies are inherently centralizing and unitary, so a nascent industrial power simply can’t afford to tolerate would-be break-away provinces if it wants to continue to grow and develop as such. This echoes what other commentors are saying about the War Between the States (a more accurate name for the conflict, IMHO) having been a battle between capitalist industrialism and the traditionalist feudal-agrarian model of society that emphasizes preserving the existing social order over other priorities.

    The European Union isn’t a good example, though, because it isn’t working as an integrated economy. Some European economies are wealthier and more developed than others, and that’s why you have these poltical and economic imbalances that are threatening the stability of the EU and its currency.

  • 63. pimp of the Balkans  |  April 4th, 2011 at 7:25 am

    Also, would it be possible to lay off the intra-American partisan scuffles for a bit? The Exile published some of the most amazing content on the net, ever, but lately everything seems to have something to do with libertarians, either in the articles themselves or in the eyes of the readers. All this Long Ears vs Short Ears stuff may be fascinating to you fkin savages, but it’s tedious for the rest of us.

  • 64. Jack Boot  |  April 4th, 2011 at 8:09 am

    Adolf said it best: “Success is the sole Earthly judge of right and wrong.” (And boy, did he prove it)

    If you win, you’re a hero; if you lose, you’re a heel – and that’s as it should be: A failed ideology is clearly maladaptive…

    Just a few comments on the above posts:

    1) True enough, most Confederate soldiers did not own slaves – but they sure hoped to.
    Every white peckerwood dreamed of becoming a plantation owner; rich & idle enough to devote himself full-time to huntin’, gamblin’, duellin’ & whorin’.
    Alas, their hopes were dashed – aw, shuckins!

    2) A successful Southern revolt would have set a major precedent. Other regions of the USA might very well have seceded in turn.
    The political map of North America might have come to resemble that of South America – a half-dozen or more squabbling statelets waging futile border wars, and subject to all manner of outside meddling.
    This might not have been altogether a good thing…

    3) Some posts have discussed the possible return of slavery to the USA. If it happens, I suspect it will take the form of indentured servitude. (Of course, it shan’t be called that)

    We’ll see…

  • 65. The Dark Avenger  |  April 4th, 2011 at 8:31 am

    There were some Southerners who got it before the Civil War, but as in this case, the warnings fell on deaf ears:

    “To secede from the Union and set up another government would cause war. If you go to war with the United States, you will never conquer her, as she has the money and the men. If she does not whip you by guns, powder, and steel, she will starve you to death. It will take the flower of the country-the young men.”

    “In the name of the constitution of Texas, which has been trampled upon, I refuse to take this oath. I love Texas too well to bring civil strife and bloodshed upon her.”

    “I declare that civil war is inevitable and is near at hand. When it comes the descendants of the heros of Lexington and Bunker Hill will be found equal in patriotism, courage and heroic endurance with the descendants of the heroes of Cowpens and Yorktown. For this reason I predict the civil war which is now at hand will be stubborn and of long duration.”

    Sam Houston

  • 66. Parl  |  April 4th, 2011 at 8:47 am

    So the War Nerd is a sandal wearing progressive now? Hey I know, lets all hold hands as we sing a Pete Seger medley! Because progressive taxation is why we read the War Nerd for.

  • 67. freeman  |  April 4th, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Talk about the clueless…
    first of all, dems/liberals favor domination of people (control) by the state for “equality” (ie: take from the rich and give to the lazy/inept/unlucky…of course the rich buy the politicians, so they end up taking from the middle class). Call it Socialism.
    The repubs/cons favor domination of people by the state for control: ie: take from everybody (taxes) and give it to the rich through corporate welfare -who buy their politicians- again, the poor don’t have much to take and the tax laws favor the rich, so it all comes from the middle class- call it fascism. Both are domination of the people by the state.
    If you value freedom, then being a slave of the state is no better than being the slave of another individual. Those who favor a strong state are slaves to that state…
    Big “L” Libertarians are trying to have a strong state militarily while recognizing people’s rights. They are fools…empire requires power and it has to be paid for by either hypocrisy or taxation…ie: the state has the power over the people.
    Small “l” libertarians tend to believe that the state should have virtually NO power over it’s citizens: ie: what our Constitution and Bill of Rights originally spelled out but which has since been ignored by virtually every politician that got into office. Yea, you don’t get to run around the world kicking ass, but your country becomes very wealthy from low/no taxes. (Not to say that you can’t have good -indeed, the best!- self defense, but that’s different than “projecting power” all over the world. For what we’ve spent on military, we should have better civil defense than the Swiss and the best military money can buy. Unfortunately it gets pissed away in hell-holes all over the world.
    Those of you who cheer that aren’t lovers of freedom. You’re happy to be on your knees as long as it’s to the state controlled by a winning team. You’ve drank the koolaid, soon you’ll see what it’s led to.

  • 68. freeman  |  April 4th, 2011 at 9:17 am

    Re: the civil war.
    Reality: The north was raping the south in taxes and tarrifs.
    The south got tired of it.
    The north didn’t like slavery because it took jobs from white people. Note that they DID have indentured servants whose lot was -in theory- better than that of a slave, but in reality only slightly if at all…do you treat a rental car the way that you do your own?
    A few things about the southern slaves that get glossed over:
    In several of the northern states, a black man couldn’t live at all…(well, except for the northern slave states…Know which ones they were?)
    In the south, a free black could live wherever he could afford.
    (the biggest free black slaveholder had his plantation next door to the governor of Louisiana. He was quite wealthy and was in court (mostly) over business reasons over 100X
    and won the majority of his lawsuits. In many states up north, a black man was not allowed to testify in court at all.
    During the civil war, black soldiers on the confederate side had the same rations/pay/medical treatment as the white ones. There were black nco’s and officers. In the Union army, blacks got much worse pay/food/treatment than the whites. Virtually no blacks made any upper rank.
    So which side was the most “prejudiced”?
    Yea, ugly things happened to some slaves, but ugly things happened to a lot of whites too, it was an ugly/brutal time.

    Speaking further of that, note that the “buffalo soldiers” (black Union army) were the ones that helped the north in it’s attempt to exterminate the red man. Note that they came right out and said that they were trying to wipe them out completely…and these are the people who went to war against slavery due to their “moral” principles? Cry a river over the plight of the slaves, but screw those indians…that double-standard and hypocrisy
    are typical for both liberal and conservative alike…

    Wake up and smell the coffee…the idea that the war was over slavery was to whitewash the fact that the South could legally seceed and the north prevented it through military force. Propaganda at it’s finest…and still in use today…”we have to bomb their country to rubble to save them from oppression”. Buncha chumps….

  • 69. Captain Prickhard  |  April 4th, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Read these contemporary reports on the US Civil War by Karl Marx:

    He concludes in 1861 that a march through Georgia is needed:

    And clearly sees the issue is the expansion of slavery to the territories, not tariffs or taxes:

  • 70. Onarag Dickshit  |  April 4th, 2011 at 10:58 am

    “With charity toward none, with Sonderbehaldung toward all” is what Abe should have said to the Southern whites.

  • 71. Connor K.  |  April 4th, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    @#49 PT Barnum

    That little episode gets even more pathetic. Cowardly fucking Confeds, to the end:

    “One of the bitterest critics of the attack was Sumner’s fellow New Englander, Congressman Anson Burlingame. When Burlingame denounced Brooks as a coward on the floor of the House, Brooks challenged him to a duel, and Burlingame accepted the challenge. Burlingame, as the challenged party, specified rifles as the weapons, and to get around American anti-dueling laws he named the Navy Yard on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls as the site. Brooks, reportedly dismayed by both Burlingame’s unexpectedly enthusiastic acceptance and his reputation as a crack shot, neglected to show up, instead citing unspecified risks to his safety if he was to cross “hostile country” (the Northern states) in order to reach Canada.”

    And in regards to this whole “it’s the north’s fault/they leeched off of the south/slavery wasn’t so bad” shit that’s spreading in the comments here, all I can say is that it’s sad to see how successful the Lost Cause bullshit’s been in this country–I guess the libertards picked up where the Klan left off. Just totally fucking pathetic.

  • 72. swr  |  April 4th, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    During the civil war, black soldiers on the confederate side had the same rations/pay/medical treatment as the white ones. There were black nco’s and officers. In the Union arm

    You’re just lying. There were some very light skinned blacks mustered into some kind of corps in French Louisiana.

    They never served. They were never used.

    What’s more, Patrick Cleburne, a southern general, and a very good one (he managed to fight Sherman to a draw behind Missionary Ridge) wrote up a plan to use slaves in the Confederate army.

    The plan was hidden away and only discovered by accident in the late 1800s. Cleburne’s military career was effectively destroyed.

  • 73. baron ungern von sternberg  |  April 4th, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    freeman, thumbs up for a nice summing up and cutting through the propaganda.

  • 74. Andy  |  April 4th, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    swr, like the typical Confederate apologist, is wrong. Black Union soldiers fought effectively. Confederates committed atrocities against black troops “whose very humanity the Confederate army frequently disdained.” Check out “The Mind of the Master Class” to discover that the South believed the Bible sanctioned slavery–literal word of god!–and once they were no longer slaves, blacks were good only for debt peonage or lynching.

  • 75. super390  |  April 4th, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    My God, if all these neo-secessionists here got their way, how many minutes would it be before their new country began to pass poll taxes and grandfather clauses and photo ID voting bills that function only to give whites a monopoly on the vote?

    Similarly, why would anyone be talking about repealing the 14th Amendment unless the very first thing he intends to do once he gets it is get a bill going in the state legislature taking the right to vote away from the people he hates? And why would Lincoln have pushed for the 14th Amendment unless his views on white supremacy had evolved over time – meaning he may have been a racist, but he was sure less of a racist than everyone who wants to repeal it now?

    And yes, I’d kill over that. I’d kill you over that. Since I’m in Texas, I’m willing to kill Texans if they secede. I’m only half-white, and I don’t have any illusions about how long I’d be allowed to have any voice in the kind of country the maniacs around here would create.

    To answer several non-Americans in this thread, that’s the reason we Americans still argue about the Civil War. We can still have another one; all the dogmas needed to create a new slaveocracy are still here because we didn’t have a 1945 to purge them from our consciousness. As Barbara Fields said in Ken Burns’ series, “If some live in houses and others live in the street, the Civil War is still going on, and it still can be lost.”

  • 76. Connor K.  |  April 4th, 2011 at 6:26 pm


    Are you fucking kidding me? Everything that freeman guy wrote is neo-Confederate bullshit.

  • 77. swr  |  April 4th, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    Black Union soldiers fought effectively.

    I never said that they didn’t. I wasn’t even addressing the union army. I was simply calling bullshit on the idea that blacks served in the Confederate army. They didn’t.

    What the neo-confederates do is to promote blacks in the Confederate army who were brought along as slaves to soldiers.

    It’s a bit like saying that Polish and Dutch slave laborers in Germay in 1943 were serving the Third Reich. Sure, Polish, French and Dutch slave laborers may have contributed to Hitler’s war machine but….

    FWIW, the Union Army was more segregated in 1865 than the Continental army was in 1776.
    little better in some ways. The Continental Army under George Washington had more black soldiers than the Union army did. Some New England regiments had black officers.

    The Union army was a step back from the Continental army.

    It was actually the political generals (Banks and Ben Butler) not the West Pointers (Sherman and Grant) who had a more enlightened view on using black troops.

  • 78. swr  |  April 4th, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    To answer several non-Americans in this thread

    To add to your answer, Europeans in the 1860s saw the Civil War as a decisive event for European democracy.

    The Republican Party in 1861 was roughly the equivalent of a radical, non-socialist left party in France or Germany. The fact that Lincoln was able to suppress the aristocratic slave owners was very much the equivalent of a middle-class party in European suppressing their own aristocracy.

    Marx wrote extensively on the Civil War. The English radicals were emboldened by the Union victory. The Paris Commune came only 5 years later.

    The American Civil War as as much a world event as the French or Russian revolution.

  • 79. baron ungern von sternberg  |  April 5th, 2011 at 12:13 am

    how wonderful a place the world might have become had the south won that war and america thus live a prosperous life of its own means and limits in peace with the rest of the world.

  • 80. Miramar Ghaddafi  |  April 5th, 2011 at 12:20 am

    The price of gas here in Tripoli . . . ? It, like, totally sucks! Pops wants to throw the whole autocrat business in the shitter, provided he gets two things: 1) he wants to take his Toyotas, Balenciagas, and Bob the nubile Nubian with him; and 2) he’s gonna hang around until WN finishes the current series about cool war shit.

    What? That may be awhile?

  • 81. bullet  |  April 5th, 2011 at 7:27 am

    78– I’d say the franco prussian war has more political, historic resonance, it also makes a fine war game subject. Though I will admit there is a reason why the ACW is a frequent topic of war games clubs around the world.
    Unfortunately the 1871 conflict had so truly awful consequences- part of the gamble that is mass war.
    Marx was rooting for the Prussians- side picking was his game. It’s irony to progressives probably Marx sounds more like Naill Fergusson than say Chomsky- He would have probably been pro-US during Vietnam say.

  • 82. freeman  |  April 5th, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Sorry charlie, calling me a liar doesn’t change the facts in the slightest.

    less than 5% of southern whites owned one or more slaves,25% of free blacks owned 10 or more slaves. In New orleans, of the 10K+ free blacks, 28% owned slaves.
    As a group, free blacks tended to be more successful financially than whites.
    Finacially success trumped skin color in the South. Note too that there were plenty of slaves in the Northern/Union states…
    and they weren’t freed until well AFTER the war was over. The Emancipation Proclimation was only for the slaves in the Confederacy,
    it didn’t apply to those in the Union. Look it up.

    Re: blacks in the confederate army, The numbers of black nco’s and officers
    in both confederate and union army is a matter of record, as is their
    treatment. It is true that a significant number of black troups were in the Union
    army and fewer were “officially” fighting with the confederate (Davis stupidly didn’t
    approve recruitment of slaves until it was too late to make much difference, although his officers in the field did so throughout the war and significant numbers of black
    confederate soldiers served and fought with distinction as both support and combat troops. They did so both in the Confederate and Union armies.) Equally true is that the union army showed significant discrimination against the blacks in ranks while the confederate army did not.

    The actions of the buffalo soldiers and the union army against the red man is also a
    matter of record. (Which is worse? Slavery or genocide?)

    Look it up. There’s plenty of good documentation out there if you go to
    a little bit of effort. Of course, you’ve got to have the guts to have your stereotypes/beliefs challenged. Most people have been swallowing the koolaid far too long and don’t want to be confused with facts, their minds are already made up.

    Hello! The government has lied to you about that just like it does everything else!
    And they did it for the usual reason…to make themselves and their actions look better and to justify expansion of their power. (Why is it that people believe the
    government when it’s about something they already agree with but acknowledge
    that they’re being lied to when they don’t?)

    Bottom line is that what you’re taught in school has little to do with reality, both about the civil war and everything else.
    Were there racists and bigots in the south? Of course! Were there racists and bigots in the north? Damn straight! Was ANYBODY at that time NOT racist/bigots by our standards?
    Virtually nobody! Note that blacks had no problem helping the whites attempt
    to wipe out the “dirty redskins”.
    The world at that time was much different than we’re taught to believe….
    better and worse….and DIFFERENT.
    By the way, anyone who thinks that racism exists only in the south nowadays,
    is invited to take a walk across Detroit, or south Dallas, or the “wrong part”
    of any big city. If you’re a person of color, you might make it. Even if you’re
    in the wrong white neighborhood, you’ll only get a funny look, or -at worst-
    a few questions from the local police. If you’re “white” and in the wrong
    neighborhood, you can’t carry enough firepower to get out alive.
    So spare me the whining about “southern racists”. (And white racism is
    far worse up north. Been in all parts of the country. Seen it. )

    FWIW, anyone who’s interested in this subject would make a good start by
    googling (April) William Ellison. Then look for “black confederate soldiers” and “black slaveholders”. You’ll learn that the world back then is not what you’ve been taught to believe.
    Note: You’ll find documentation that supports both sides of the argument.
    One appears to be much better documented and makes more sense than the other. Read it all and make your own conclusions.

    Disclaimer: The only relatives I have that fought in the civil war fought on the Union side. Great-grandfather and grandfather married AmerIndian women and were basically thrown out of the family for doing so…in union Michigan..

    Re: liberal/conservative politicians
    Don’t listen to what they say, watch what they DO. Notice there’s usually a BIG difference…and it’s true for all the
    factions of the Big Government Party. Their REAL goal is to expand their power over the people of this country. Note that it gets stronger every year no matter who’s in office. Note that they keep us all at each other’s throats by blaming the other guy. Note too that they sit behind their closed doors laughing at the chumps who swallowed the latest bunch of crap that they’ve shoveled out to us.

  • 83. super390  |  April 5th, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    The primary form of tyranny that most human beings have suffered under for the last several thousand years has not been that of government, but of landlords and slaveowners. Read Edgar Snow’s books about life in China before the revolution.

    That was the reason Marx saw the overthrow of feudalism by capitalism as an advance. Several of his followers who immigrated to Wisconsin helped to form the Republican Party there on Marx’s principle that a bourgeoise revolution against the slaveowners had to come before a worker’s revolution. Funny how the Wisconsin GOP has turned out.

    Yet in fact it happened as he predicted; the capitalists and the factory workers overthrew the “traditional values”, “limited government” crowd – the landowners – and then the capitalists put themselves on top and the workers had to battle them. Not just in America, but all over Europe, even Japan’s Meiji Restoration.

    So despite the seeming fashion of anti-imperialists to embrace the slave Confederacy as the good guys just to spite the USA, both the capitalist war against slavery and the proletarian war against capitalism are part of the same process. Effective, non-pussy radicals like Frederick Douglass understood that you crush the worst inequalities first to build up the power base to go after the rest.

    180,000 African-Americans served in the US Army, most of them freed Southerners. The anecdotes about loyal Confederate blacks are scattered and only tell us that a few slaves can be brainwashed to do anything, regardless of skin color. Since there don’t seem to be any blacks on this thread, will any of you volunteer to survey black people – not a few subsidized trolls, but the actual 40,000,000 African-Americans – how they feel about slavery vs sharecropping, having no vote vs having a vote (until the states rights limited govt gang stole it again), being in chains vs being able to move to Chicago, and how many of them would pick up a gun now if the Confederate flag were to be raised over their state capitals?

  • 84. CB  |  April 5th, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    BWA HA HA!

    It’s so awesome seeing all these fools finding out (again) that the War Nerd isn’t racist.

    “With the way he always talks so unflinchingly about the brutality in Africa, I just assumed he agreed it was due to the inherent inferiority of the Negro sub-human species! Not, like, what is actually normal for all peoples with very few exceptions in all of history including my own! And then he talks smack about the South, says they got off easy?! Why, I have been betrayed! Gary has betrayed us, his own people!”

    HA HA HA!

    On a different note, it’s funny how when I was a kid I was taught the Civil War was all about slavery. Then I got older, and I learned that really the reason the war was fought, and the reason the south seceded, wasn’t about slavery at all. Oh ho! But then when I was older still, and looked deeper into all of the issues that brought about the civil war, the reasons for them, their histories running back to before the Constitution was even written (and why it was written the way it was), and it all comes back to slavery, slavery, slavery. The proximate causes were really just proxy battles over the real, ultimate issue, and everyone at the time knew it even if you pretend it ain’t so today.

    That’s why false equivalences like “Oh but there were bigots on both sides!” are so hilariously out of touch.

    super390 had it right: Sure, by the standards of today there were precious few non-racists back then. But by the standards of today, there were a hell of a lot of people less racist than ya’ll.

  • 85. successfulbuild  |  April 6th, 2011 at 12:17 am

    allen #50: “How the hell can a Libertarian defend slavery? I thought all your ilk loved John Locke.”

    They aren’t mutually exclusive. John Locke invested in the slave trade through the Royal Africa Company. The Fundamental Constitution of the Carolinas created a feudal aristocracy and left slaves under the control of their masters.

    Doug, #40 “Furthermore remember that the African slaves sold to Americans were already enslaved in Africa. Had Europeans not bought them to import into America they would have been A) killed or B) sold as slaves to Arabs. Either scenario would have been far worse than being an American slave.”

    “Their helplessness made enslavement easier. The Indians were on their own land. The whites were in their own European culture. The blacks had been torn from their land and culture, forced into a situation where the heritage of language, dress, custom, family relations, was bit by bit obliterated except for remnants that blacks could hold on to by sheer, extraordinary persistence.

    “Was their culture inferior—and so subject to easy destruction? Inferior in military capability, yes —vulnerable to whites with guns and ships. But in no other way—except that cultures that are different are often taken as inferior, especially when such a judgment is practical and profitable. Even militarily, while the Westerners could secure forts on the African coast, they were unable to subdue the interior and had to come to terms with its chiefs.

    “The African civilization was as advanced in its own way as that of Europe. In certain ways, it was more admirable; but it also included cruelties, hierarchical privilege, and the readiness to sacrifice human lives for religion or profit. It was a civilization of 100 million people, using iron implements and skilled in farming. It had large urban centers and remarkable achievements in weaving, ceramics, sculpture.

    “A Dutch report, around 1602, on the West African kingdom of Benin, said: “The Towne seemeth to be very great, when you enter it. You go into a great broad street, not paved, which seemeth to be seven or eight times broader than the Warmoes Street in Amsterdam. …The Houses in this Towne stand in good order, one close and even with the other, as the Houses in Holland stand.

    “In his book The African Slave Trade, Basil Davidson contrasts law in the Congo in the early sixteenth century with law in Portugal and England. In those European countries, where the idea of private property was becoming powerful, theft was punished brutally. In England, even as late as 1740, a child could be hanged for stealing a rag of cotton. But in the Congo, communal life persisted, the idea of private property was a strange one, and thefts were punished with fines or various degrees of servitude. A Congolese leader, told of the Portuguese legal codes, asked a Portuguese once, teasingly: “What is the penalty in Portugal for anyone who puts his feet on the ground?

    “Slavery existed in the African states, and it was sometimes used by Europeans to justify their own slave trade. But, as Davidson points out, the “slaves” of Africa were more like the serfs of Europe —in other words, like most of the population of Europe. It was a harsh servitude, but but they had rights which slaves brought to America did not have, and they were “altogether different from the human cattle of the slave ships and the American plantations.” In the Ashanti Kingdom of West Africa, one observer noted that “a slave might marry; own property; himself own a slave; swear an oath; be a competent witness and ultimately become heir to his master… An Ashanti slave, nine cases out of ten, possibly became an adopted member of the family, and in time his descendants so merged and intermarried with the owner’s kinsmen that only a few would know their origin.” “

  • 86. successfulbuild  |  April 6th, 2011 at 12:25 am

    #5 Peter: “Howard Zinn and who went on and on about how I only supported the North because of “propaganda””

    It’s interesting that someone who has read Zinn would be sympathetic to the protection of anybody who supported the type of slavery that existed in America as he believed this “capitalist slavery” was the worst in history:

    “African slavery is hardly to be praised. But it was far different from plantation or mining slavery in the Americas, which was lifelong, morally crippling, destructive of family ties, without hope of any future. African slavery lacked two elements that made American slavery the most cruel form of slavery in history: the frenzy for limitless profit that comes from capitalistic agriculture; the reduction of the slave to less than human status by the use of racial hatred, with that relentless clarity based on color, where white was master, black was slave. ” –A People’s History, p. 28

    Probably a mainstream history like the one mentioned in the article would be better than Zinn, though, regarding the Civil War. He had his oddities, such as defending Koresh and so on.

    It’s great that this article came out at the same time so many right-wing nuts are running around trying to re-justify “the most cruel form of slavery in history” – not only in regards to the Civil War but as the entire basis for their so-called Libertarian philosophy. You are choosing the right battles in fighting it.

  • 87. Jesse the Scout  |  April 6th, 2011 at 5:00 am

    The late era sort of slavery that the US knew has always seemed more vicious and cruel than the sort of slavery you saw throughout the world such as in Greece and Rome. The real difference seems to be racial, when they don’t even look like you it becomes easier to see them as subhuman. When a Greek owned a Greek he couldn’t just say, “that’s the way it is, Greeks are barely above animals” and get to rapin’.

  • 88. freeman  |  April 6th, 2011 at 11:48 am

    “…how many of them would pick up a gun now if the Confederate flag were to be raised over their state capitals?”

    Maybe the question should be “how many of them would pick up a gun if DC sent in troops to burn the cities that they live in after the state those cities are located in refused to pay federal taxes?” (much closer to what happened during the civil war). How do you feel about your taxes going to the well-connected’s pockets with the “bailouts”? Some people are rightfully po’ed about it. What happens when the economy tanks as a result of the DC crowd’s merchantilist (NOT capitalist) policies? Have you seen farrakhan’s comments to obama? Almost sounded like he’d be standing there with the white militias at least until they delt with what they precieve as their common “problem”.
    Given that scenario, yes, I think we WOULD see the black man standing up to protect his turf along with the white crackers who share it with him…nothing like a common enemy to unite old enemies….we’re seeing it happen overseas every day.

    Keep in mind, in those days people didn’t think of themselves as “Americans” so much as “Virginians” “Texans”, etc. Ie: they thought of their state the way we think of our country today.

    No apology for slavery here, just trying to point out that people thought differently back then. The slave issue existed, but lincoln and davis didn’t go to war over slavery, that issue/excuse came after the war was started/finished. They went to war bc the south didn’t want to pay the tarrifs that was being given to the business owners in the north with fed gov contracts (sound familiar?). Again, keep in mind that there were slave states in the north too and black people were not welcome at all in many parts of the north. To paint the south as a bunch of racists and the north as a bunch of “progressives” is just silly. It wasn’t so.

  • 89. CB  |  April 6th, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Freeman, you need to look deeper into the proximate causes of the war. You’re looking one layer deep and deciding you’ve reached the end. You have to look at why the taxes and tariffs were arranged the way they were, why a wide variety of laws were passed, why certain compromises were made over decades, why the Constitution was written the way it was. It was all a proxy fight over the real issue, a battle that started before the U.S. began. When you trace all the proximate issues back to root causes, you find that the Civil War is just the final resolution of a conflict over slavery that they deliberately put a lid on, and let boil beneath the surface, so that the union could even form.

    And like any conflict that was held under wraps for many years, the events that finally cause it to boil over are nowhere near as important as what caused the issue in the first place. Saying the Civil War was over tariffs is like looking at WWII and concluding it was caused by the German invasion of Poland, case closed.

    You’re right of course that there were slave states in the north, and that many in the north hated blacks. What’s interesting is the politically significant fraction that were as racist as all get out, yet still found the institution of slavery abhorrent.

    So yeah. It’s silly and wrong to paint the entire north as “progressive” and south as “racist”. Yet it’s also silly and wrong to ignore the major differences between them, and the obvious course the political waters were flowing. Everyone at the time knew it, and knew what they were really fighting over.

    The “Oh it was all because of tariffs, slavery had nothing to do with it” excuse came later.

  • 90. freeman  |  April 7th, 2011 at 6:15 am

    Well said CB. And quite true. Very basic diffs between north and south economy. Big diff between early America, America after the Articles of Confederation and America after the Constitution…I understand a majority of the big plantations were owned by former french/brit aristocracy…similar to what was happening in south america (where most slaves were shipped anyway). While the slave issue was part of what was going on (needed slaves in the south for large scale labor-intensive planting ops vs north where it wasn’t as economically viable and where they were often not welcome as they were seen as competing for white man’s jobs ), the tariff issue appears to be the breaking point. And “freeing the slaves” sure goes over better than “collecting taxes”. That said, I agree that there is MUCH more involved than simply tariff vs slavery. Just not quite the forum for that sort of discussion…my main reason for throwing my 2 cents in was for a bit of balance against the “it was all about the racist southern slavers” comments. Again, thanks for the well-thought comment.

  • 91. freeman  |  April 7th, 2011 at 6:25 am

    as another thought:
    I doubt that most southern men were fighting bc some rich plantation owners had to pay more taxes. Even more, I doubt that they were fighting for the 6% who owned a slave or 2
    (let alone the small percentage that owned a large number for field work). I figure they were primarily fighting because someone was invading their country (state). I have less of a handle on why the average northerner was fighting…both sides had serious dissent that was smacked down by the govt….moreso in the north. The average northern soldier had less reason to fight than the average southern soldier (in that day and age the slavery issue would not have motivated very many people to actually go out and fight…again, things were different at that time…) Preserving the Union even seems a bit thin given that -legally- the states should have been allowed to secede. Suspect that this was primarily a war between the powers that be that was sold to the people in a variety of ways…like most of them.

  • 92. Jesse the Scout  |  April 7th, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    BTW, I don’t know where you’re getting this 6% figure but Wikipedia seems to disagree.

    “As of 1860 the percentage of Southern families that owned slaves has been estimated to be 43 percent in the lower South, 36 percent in the upper South and 22 percent in the border states that fought mostly for the Union.[27] Half the owners had one to four slaves. A total of 8000 planters owned 50 or more slaves in 1850 and only 1800 planters owned 100 or more; of the latter, 85% lived in the lower South, as opposed to one percent in the border states.[28] According to the 1860 U.S. census, 393,975 individuals, representing 8 percent of all US families, owned 3,950,528 slaves.”

    If we paralleled it with the modern day it sounds more like boat ownership, the middle class was getting a cut and the wealthy were swimming in them.

    Slavery back then was like American businesses shipping jobs to overseas sweat shops today. It’s morally disgusting and we’re even hurting ourselves economically in the process while a few people get filthy rich from it. Like slavery I imagine we’ll eventually take the issue seriously enough to change it, though the rich guys profiteering won’t go without another fight.

  • 93. R. Green  |  April 7th, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    I am really enjoying this post-a-day business… I’ve even turned off my adblocker for exiled this month, keep it up and you might even get a couple clickthroughs. wink, wink.

    I’ve been a very long-time reader but, unfortunately for you, the poor student type that can’t afford books.

  • 94. freeman  |  April 7th, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Thanks for the additional comment. The 6% figure came from census records from that time (have seen them quoted in both pro and anti confederate sites, so assume that they are probably correct). Given that a “prime field slave” was running appox $1800 in 1860 (double the price in 1800) and the estate of the average person ran appox double that, it would seem unlikely that a majority of people could afford to own even one slave…giving support to the 6% figure. Only the upper middle class could own a slave given those figures. I have seen websites that showed figures as low as $300, but the figures I’m going by came from sales records from the time. The 43% figure seems far too high…it would indicate that there were almost as many slaves as free whites in the south…just doesn’t ring true and doesn’t match the census records at all.

  • 95. freeman  |  April 7th, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    Additional comment: we’d probably have to go to original sources to know what the real numbers were…too much bogus info floating around out here…

  • 96. Neil Templeton  |  April 7th, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    @ 91: All that fightin’ might be due in part to a rapidly expanding population. Lots of young guys 16-30 with property owned primarily by older men. Of course they could have moved west…but I think fighting is a common tactic to improve one’s status among cohort and community. Maybe it was more about competition for rank and sex than political philosophy and economics. At least in the beginning. To keep marching, killing, and dying for five years is something else altogether.

  • 97. andros  |  April 8th, 2011 at 12:03 am

    You have to laugh, by the way, at these retards who simultaneously argue that the South’s “tariffs” funded Northern industrialization but that slavery was economically inviable and on the verge of withering away. Which is it, morons?

  • 98. Jesse the Scout  |  April 8th, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    In regards to slave cost and ownership, I would think as slave prices went up (as to be expected once the trade from Africa was outlawed in 1808) you would see a gradual shift in slave populations from widespread ownership to being more concentrated in the hands of the wealthy. Good old supply and demand, the price goes up and only the rich get it.

    While it would become more and more profitable to own slaves (and thus “breed” more like cattle for resale at fat profit) small owners would see times they would need to sell their increasingly valuable commodities regardless of their investment potential simple due to practical considerations such as financial difficulties. This would be especially true if you couldn’t afford to get into the “breeding” side of slave profiteering. It would generally take a larger number of slaves to make it in the breeding business, one death in childbirth and you’re financially ruined. Plus, you can only inbreed so much before they start coming out all googly-eyed.

    I suspect this is a lot of where the average southern boy got his willingness to fight. He remembered having a slave or two growing up, heard non stop how the north killed his family’s most valuable asset in the long run by walling slavery in with the intent of watching it wither and die. By the time the south fired the first shot there had to be a lot of very angry good ol’ boys who remembered how good they had it before the northern noose started strangling their golden goose. And god knows how rednecks get when some one messes with their property, even if that property is a person. They’re pretty greedy little fucks as a rule.

  • 99. freeman  |  April 8th, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    During the early days in America, fighting was sop…more than one account by europeans mentioned the number of one-eyed men walking around (eye-gouging was very common during fights). The idea of backing down from a fight was considered the mark of a coward from childhood on throughout this country.

    FWIW, slave breeding was illegal in the south…not that it didn’t happen (the black slaver mentioned earlier got taken to court over it more than once -some of the few lawsuits that he lost btw-). Note too that in the south (and to a lesser extent in the north), duals were VERY common…”honor” and respect in the community were considered assets well worth fighting over.

    Re: anger at tariffs that primarily targeted the southern cotton-producing states vs slavery dying out…no conflict there…indeed, if anything, it was yet another reason for the south to have issue with the increased tariffs that had been funneling money from the agricultural south to the industrializing north for decades…if you can’t see that connection, maybe you should keep the “retard” and “moron” comments for yourself.

    I still notice that more than one of the posters out here keep ignoring the fact that more than one northern state allowed slavery (and continued to do so until well after the war was over). And that many of the northern states that didn’t allow slavery did all they could to keep free blacks out entirely (didn’t like the competition).

    A little bit of seaching on comments by lincoln will show that he really could care less about slavery…again, I don’t see that slavery would be a primary reason to fight the war as much as a reason to put a better face on it after the fact.

    Re: rednecks being “greedy fucks”…compare that to the many progressives who feel that they should get a cut of someone else’s success since that success supposedly had to be on the backs of people who were basically unproductive…(might be true for the super-rich, but they pay virtually nothing in taxes anyway…and they put the politicians in office who write/approve the tax laws…and any taxes at the corporate level just get passed on to the consumer anyway…of course, most people don’t understand the difference between capitalism vs merchantilism, but that’s another issue that’s really off topic here). besides, I don’t see that many successful “progressives” being all that willing to share their wealth either. That goes all the way back to that era and earlier…southern hospitality vs new england “thriftyness”…having lived poor in both parts of the country, I’d have to say that it’s still in effect at the personal level even these days.

  • 100. freeman  |  April 8th, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Besides, I find it hard to see a people literally up in arms about the morality of slavery being ok with the attempted genocide of the native american indians that came shortly after the war (and the goal was specifically stated as such). Bit of a cognitive disconnect there…

  • 101. Hazard Circular  |  April 11th, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Was slavery really abolished? Has it ever been? Will it ever be? I could spent time writing a long bit on this topic, but I’ll just toss out one interesting term. “Wage slave.”

    Of these I am one, since I couldn’t build a home upon my own land, like the real Americans of old, who might begin with a one room shack, and then enlarge and add on year by year, as funds allowed. No. I couldn’t build a simple, mostly water-tight home like Lincoln’s birthplace, etc. We must build to “code,” which means spending a LOT of money which we don’t have because we’re paying rent. Why? Why can’t I live in a shack? Maybe because the shack can’t be sold when they take it away from you.

    So it’s a shopping we must go… shopping for a mortgage. But oh, look: you generally need a JOB to get one, so I took a job. And I got a mortgage. And the interest. So now I’ll pay much, MUCH more than the money I borrowed to buy the home built to “code.”

    But who really cares because in the long run we’ll all be dead. And “Dancing With The Stars” in showing on the telvitz box.

    Have a nice day all you liberals, conned-servatives, unprincipled libertarians, and other flotsam and jetsam on the national “see.”

  • 102. freeman  |  April 12th, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    BRAVO! Out of all of these posters someone finally noticed! 100% correct! The slaves in the south were “freed” as the result of the war. One single man could no longer be owned by another in this country (or rather, that became law after the war was over, took awhile for the northern slave states to get the word). HOWEVER, that was a very visible turning point where the people of this country -black, white, red, etc- became slaves of the state…a state which -during said war- left no question of limits on it’s own power (as listed in the Constitution that defines the government) or inalienable “rights” (as enumerated in the Bill of Rights). It showed very clearly that it would do whatever those in office wanted to do (or rather, what their big-money backers wanted them to do) and would pretty it up after the fact. Feel any better being the slave of a group of bureaucrats? Does it really make a difference if they have a little D or R or even C next to their name? At least if an individual has you enslaved, you can knock him off and escape…possibly making your way to someplace that doesn’t allow such a disgusting practice. Can’t do that if you’re a slave to a government that treats you like livestock, with every action regulated and requiring a permit and you having to pay a very significant percentage of your labor for the privilege of taking care of yourself by working for your living, for owning transportation, for owning property, and for doing almost anything you can name….Of course, they peddle the line that they’re essential for you to do these things, but it’s nothing more than a con that they run for very obvious reasons. The day people wake up is the day that the unspeakably incompetent clowns in office have to work for a living (if they’re lucky).

  • 103. eudaimonic  |  April 15th, 2011 at 12:01 am

    Ok, let’s go to the primary documents and see what secessionists, in their own words, declared were their reasons for secession, shall we?

    Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas’ declarations of secession, on one handy text-searchable page:

    Number of times the documents use the word “tariffs” – 0
    “tax” – 1, in reference to the fact that slaves were actually taxed as 3/5s of a person.
    “slave” – Too many to count. No really, I’m too lazy to count because they litter the documents from beginning to end.

    The southern whites were slaveholding bastards and stupid white trash that were duped into defending slaveholding bastards (or in some cases fighting to make sure that the darkies were kept in their place so there’d at least be someone below them in the class heirarchy). All it takes is for us to read what the southern whites themselves wrote were their justification to come to this conclusion.

  • 104. freeman  |  April 15th, 2011 at 9:00 am

    Well, that’s 4 states out of how many?
    Did the south’s declaration of secession occur when lincoln declared that the slaves must be freed?
    No, it occured when he doubled the tarrif.
    When did the NORTHERN slaveholding states free their slaves?
    Was it prior to the war?
    No, it was after the war was over (the emancipation proclamation only applied to the southern states).
    Was the motto of the Union army “free the slaves”?
    No, it was “preserve the Union”.
    Was lincoln a fan of abolition of slavery?
    No, in fact he came very close to having the institution of slavery written into the Constitution. (from a speech in NYCity: “we have abolitionists in Illinois; we shot one the other day.” Plenty more out there on lincoln’s real stand on slavery and the black issue…also in his own words.)
    Was the north so moral that it simply couldn’t abide slavery?
    No, more than one northern state was a slaveholding state and -again- they had no issue with committing genocide against the native American indians.
    (In fact Grant himself was a major slave owner with over 800 slaves that he didn’t free until after the war was over and the 13th amendment forced him to do so. Lee did not own slaves and, when he inherited slaves, he freed them. Davis had a black foster son that he raised as his own. His foster child was taken by Union soldiers and they never returned him to his family.)
    Were northerners big fans of diversity and equality?
    No, more than one northern state allowed slavery, in others, free blacks were not allowed at all, were not allowed to live around whites, and were not allowed to testify in court.
    In the south, free blacks were often allowed to live where they wanted, work at whatever jobs they wanted (getting paid what their labor was worth, often more than that of their less capable white coworkers), and were allowed to testify in court. Again, look up April William Ellison, a free black who was extremely successful, who lived next to white aristocrats, had a front pew in a white church, and who took white men to court and won numerous times…so which side demonstrated more color-based prejudice than the other? The one that had blacks cooking their food, raising their children, and living, working, and going to church among them? or the one that didn’t allow blacks at all?
    (Note that -by our standards- virtually everyone in the country was prejudiced.)

    No, the slavery issue was an after-the-fact way to whitewash the real reason for the the war being started -money- and the fact that the limits of government under the Constitution were overturned by the powers-that-be in the name of taking money from one group and distributing it to another. Something that continues to this day.

    (Note: I scoffed at this myself when I was first exposed to it. Then, after going to original sources and getting the WHOLE story, I had to change my mind. Too much evidence to ignore unless your mind is made up and you don’t want to be confused with facts. That and if you’re just prejudiced against people who live somewhere else or have a different heritage. BTW, that’s called bigotry. No, there’s very good reason to question the “accepted” story. And good reason to be po’ed, both about being lied to and the reasons for those lies.)

  • 105. Tom  |  September 1st, 2011 at 8:42 am

    Yes, those horrible southern people (moron). Imagine, where did they get their insurance for the slave ships? Lloyds of London. And where did they get their insurance for the slaves? From the insurance companies up north in New York (and also Baltimore, which is in the south in case you didn’t know, but which was part of the union and had slaves (also Delaware, etc. etc.). Its always fun when dysfunctional people try to write about history and input their ideology on history. Its almost as dumb as thinking that voting for a certain candidate would somehow get the U.S. to bring home our troops. Haha! The big O just signed off on keeping our troops in Afghanistan until 2024. Great job! Whoo hoo, now THAT is anti-war. Bombing Libya, we’re still in Iraq, pushing the war into Pakistan with drone attacks and special forces, and now 6,000 U.S. Marines sitting off the coast of Syria. Way to go you guys!
    I wonder what Ron Paul would think about that? Thats ok, you just keep pulling the wool over your eyes.

  • 106. Rudy  |  September 17th, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    “When you hear all these neocons talking about Lincoln’s administration as evil and totalitarian”. I am not an American, but the neoconservatives I have heard of (those who write for national newspapers) often seem to hold a generally positive view of Lincoln. If I am not mistaken, non-neoconservative conservatives (Ron Paul, Buchanan) are more likely to have southern centric views of history.

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