Civil War: We are still paying the price . . .
Shelby Foote  in an interview with the Academy of Achievement said “This country has two great sins on its very soul. One is slavery, which we’ll never get out of our history and our conscience and everything else, the marrow of our bones. The other one is emancipation. They told four million people, “You are free. Hit the road.” Two-thirds of them couldn’t read or write. Very few of them had any trade except farming, and they went back into a sharecropper system that closely resembled peonage. I’m not saying emancipation is a sin, for God’s sakes, and I’m not saying there shouldn’t have been emancipation, but it should have been an emancipation that brought those people into society without all these handicaps on their head. And that now, my black friends, they are tremendously protective about slavery. They don’t want to hear the word. The opposite of the Jews, who are very proud of coming out of Egypt. And it was this short-circuiting, of instant emancipation, that certainly was a good thing, but it had a very bad effect on them.”
He was also quoted by PBS Newshour “Before the war, it was said “the United States are.” Grammatically, it was spoken that way and thought of as a collection of independent states. And after the war [Civil War], it was always “the United States is,” as we say to day without being self-conscious at all. And that’s sums up what the war accomplished. It made us an “is.”
It has been some 150 years since the Civil War ended and there is no sign in sight that white Americans of today will be let off the hook for sins of our forefathers. Unlike the “Jews, who are very proud of coming out of Egypt” the blacks today seem more proud to use slavery as an excuse for all failings. The progressives aid black Americans in this philosophy of “less than” and the result is a cult of victimization. A cult that runs counter to “we shall overcome”.
The idea “the United states are” instead “is” most perceptive. We are living under this legacy in a most unfortunate way. We could say today that the concept of a Republic was lost once the Civil War ended.
I, like Shelby Foote once stated, am of the opinion that the Civil War could have been avoided. I also believe that the institution of slavery would have dissolved overtime and the negro ‘might’ have been integrated into society less painfully. Truth is that repatriation to a foreign homeland was on peoples mind then as a more acceptable solution, including Abe Lincoln.
Even men like Thomas Jefferson, a founding father and a slaveholder, believed emancipation of the institution of slaves would occur overtime, it was inevitable.
Slavery was discouraged in the Western Territories. Recall that slavery was collapsing in the North. States such as New Jersey was willing to free slaves overtime, some had already been freed. Little Rhode Island who had one family that was the largest traffickers of slaves to the North was in law forced to shut down importation. Of course RI while willing to buckle to abolitionist were not as a whole wanting to have free blacks living among them. That is also true for the most part from sea to shining sea.
From a writing from the Historical Review an article titled The ‘Great Emancipator’ and the Issue of Race: Abraham Lincoln’s Program of Black Resettlement by Robert Morgan he stated “While it is true that Lincoln regarded slavery as an evil and harmful institution, it is also true that he shared the conviction of most Americans of his time, and of many prominent statesmen before and after him, that blacks could not be assimilated into white society. He rejected the notion of social equality of the races, and held to the view that blacks should be resettled abroad. As President, he supported projects to remove blacks from the United States.”
Mr. Morgan goes on to quote Lincoln in his own words “If all earthly power were given me,” said Lincoln in a speech delivered in Peoria, Illinois, on October 16, 1854, “I should not know what to do, as to the existing institution [of slavery]. My first impulse would be to free all the slaves, and send them to Liberia, to their own native land.” After acknowledging that this plan’s “sudden execution is impossible,” he asked whether freed blacks should be made “politically and socially our equals?” “My own feelings will not admit of this,” he said, “and [even] if mine would, we well know that those of the great mass of white people will not … We can not, then, make them equals.”
Morgan further writes “One of Lincoln’s most representative public statements on the question of racial relations was given in a speech at Springfield, Illinois, on June 26, 1857. In this address, he [Lincoln] explained why he opposed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which would have admitted Kansas into the Union as a slave state: There is a natural disgust in the minds of nearly all white people to the idea of indiscriminate amalgamation of the white and black races … A separation of the races is the only perfect preventive of amalgamation, but as an immediate separation is impossible, the next best thing is to keep them apart where they are not already together. If white and black people never get together in Kansas, they will never mix blood in Kansas … Racial separation, Lincoln went on to say, “must be effected by colonization” of the country’s blacks to a foreign land. “The enterprise is a difficult one,” he acknowledged, but “where there is a will there is a way,” and what colonization needs most is a hearty will. Will springs from the two elements of moral sense and self-interest. Let us be brought to believe it is morally right, and, at the same time, favorable to, or, at least, not against, our interest, to transfer the African to his native clime, and we shall find a way to do it, however great the task may be.
The Civil War years where 1861 – 1865. The Thirteenth Amendment was ratified in 1865.
President Lincoln came to office on the coat tails of abolitionist. The National Constitution Center said “When he first became president, Lincoln supported a Thirteenth Amendment that would have protected slavery in the states where it existed, but over the course of the Civil War his thinking changed and he became committed to immediate abolition. After signing the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, Lincoln championed a Thirteenth Amendment to abolish slavery permanently in the United States. The Emancipation Proclamation freed only those slaves in states still at war. As a wartime order, it could subsequently be reversed by presidential decree or congressional legislation. Ending slavery forever required a constitutional amendment, and securing its passage
became Lincoln’s highest legislative priority.”
His change in thinking during the course of the war, to me, may have been heartfelt but like all ruthless politicians, which I view Lincoln as one, securing ratification had a lot to do with winning a political battle. Lincoln used the Emancipation Proclamation – 1863, Executive Order 4, as a political tool and to secure more troops for the Union.
Executive Orders were not numbered in early history of this nation. They were retroactively numbered from Lincoln’s presidency onward. There are now over 13,600.
Lincoln was re-elected to his second term in 1864. Folks in the North were not that pleased with Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation which they felt changed the war from one of reunification to a crusade to destroy slavery. At this point Lincoln needed to prove that both were achievable. For Lincoln it became an all or nothing — win both at all cost.
After the war the Reconstruction Era coupled with the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment sealed, in my way of thinking, that the pain of slavery would live and thrive in America’s marrow.
Please do not miss interrupt that I believe in any way that slavery did not have to be abolished as a statement in law but understand instead that how the Thirteenth came to be and the Reconstruction Era that followed left the negro in an untenable state and the South destroyed not only in wealth but spirit. The negro was thrown to the wolves.
No plans existed beyond winning the war and political battles to solve the issues faced not only by the freed slave but to guide the populace into acceptance. No concrete plans for repatriation was forth coming. Understand that repatriation would have been an act of throwing former slaves to the wolves as well.
The Thirteenth Amendment states “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude” shall exist in the United States” yet it has. Servitude comes in many forms. Servitude to the welfare state or a domestic indentured who works for prominent families to pay off help securing entry to the USA still exist. For many women and children they are victims of sexual slavery. Just as white tenant farmers existed before and after the Civil War, sharecropping and tenant farming is still alive today. We today have a mix which includes the day laborer, using workers hired by the hour, week or month.
Sadly we see the US workforce moving to part-time employment, low pay and predictably slave to the national government and industry.
Pre Civil War the poor whites were by-and-large the tenant and sharecropper and both negro and white would be the tenant and sharecropper after the war. We will see that this pool will be displaced more by the worker from South of the Border.
We romanticize the politician such as Lincoln as the ‘Great Emancipator’, Lyndon Johnson and ‘the Civil Rights Act – 1964’ and Ted Kennedy for ‘being on the side of the working man’ and we soon forget that each were power hungry politicians. The words ‘ruthless politicians’ come to mind. Each president looks for a signature piece of legislation that will ensure them a legacy and this legacy is often secured at great negative costs to society.
The politician at the time before the Civil War was the educated and wealthy. Voting was restricted mainly to the wealthy who owned property. The fate of the nation rested in their hands and as far as I am concerned they blew their responsibility and cost some 1.5 million deaths, untold numbers of maimed and left us a legacy that the politician uses today to divide and conquer.
If men of goodwill who held country above all else existed then the Civil War could have been prevented. Politics and self interest assured it would not be avoided.
Today the stakes are even higher — the wealthy globalist, the UN and international bodies along with their mates the politically powerful in various countries will make decisions in the global more so than ever before in history. Sacrifices will be born by the same people as during the Civil War, the average Joe/Jane and the poor.
All wars in history are a gage to inform us today of consequences. The Civil War warns us of what may be in store for us in the future domestically.
Domestic rebellion is likely and will be more costly in lives and treasure than that of the Civil War. Will we the people revolt? Yes to some extend but we may eat each other before trying to go after the real culprits.
I believe the power elite understand this all too well. They are preparing. Liberty, privacy and walking around freedom are being taken. We are witnessing a move towards one party rule and that means a totalitarian state.
In a real sense the next Civil War has already begun.
If you read this far you may be interested in viewing from the National Archives, Pictures of the Civil War.
 Shelby Foote, is a Civil War historian. It took Foote 20 years to pen a three-volume, 3,000 page history of the Civil War. It was called simply “The Civil War: A Narrative.” The final volume was published in 1974. He is also the author of the vintage novel, Shiloh and others as well.