In response to the guest column by Jack Evins ("Diverse opinions are what support democracy," The Daily News, Aug. 22): He isn't completely right about the Civil War being a notable exception.

The cause of the secession was yankee greed. The South was paying three-fourths of the taxes when a new tax went in effect in September of 1860, increasing the amount they paid. These taxes were being used only to help the North. But when the South seceded, most of the North was willing to let them go; therefore, there should have been no war.

When Lincoln found out the South had seceded his first statement was "then where shall we get our revenue?"

The cause of that illegal war was Lincoln's greed — and that was the only cause. Lincoln's ideology went uncontested, which resulted in thousands of needless deaths. His actions were unconstitutional, and he should have been removed from office.

Robert Hart

Hitchcock

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(53) comments

Michael Bishop

A slavery and treason apologist making a moral argument, pathetic.

Bailey Jones

We don't need to speculate about the reasons for the civil war - we have them on paper. Read the DECLARATION OF CAUSES: February 2, 1861
A declaration of the causes which impel the State of Texas to secede from the Federal Union, from the Secession Convention of Texas 1861.

Here's a snippet:

"We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.

That in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding States."

The word "tax" does not appear in this document.

Or we can read the "cornerstone" speech of Alexander Stephens (VP of the confederacy) :

"The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution African slavery as it exists amongst us; the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the 'rock upon which the old Union would split'. He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with, but the general opinion of the men of that day was that, somehow or other in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away.
This idea, though not incorporated in the constitution, was the prevailing idea at that time. The constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly urged against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the government built upon it fell when the 'storm came and the wind blew'.
Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition. "

To be fair, Stephens does mention taxation - not as the reason for secession as you suggest, but as the the reason for the US objection to secession (as though somehow opposing treason for its own sake wasn't sufficient).

Carlos Ponce

The causes for the Civil War are multi-faceted with economic being one of them. The rallying cry was to abolish slavery which was frowned upon by many Northern newspapers. One would hope the goal was this was to remove the evils of slavery from our land but Northern thinking was the elimination of slavery and repatriation of former slaves to Africa would be economically devastating to the South. One must recall the 1860 Republican platform:
"Freedom, the Normal Condition of Territories.
8. That the normal condition of all the territory of the United States is that of Freedom: That as our Republican fathers, when they had abolished slavery in all our national territory, ordained that “no person should be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law,” it becomes our duty, by legislation, whenever such legislation is necessary, to maintain this provision of the Constitution against all attempts to violate it; and we deny the authority of Congress, of a territorial legislature, or of any individuals, to give legal existence to slavery in any Territory o4f the United States.
The African Slave Trade.
9. That we brand the recent re-opening of the African Slave Trade, under the cover of our national flag, aided by perversions of judicial power, as a crime against humanity and a burning shame to our country and age; and we call upon Congress to take prompt and efficient measures for the total and final suppression of that execrable traffic."
In the 1850s, Abraham Lincoln was accused of being an abolitionist. But in Howard Jones book "Abraham Lincoln and a new birth of Freedom" he notes, "Lincoln believed it prudent to administer a slow death to slavery through gradual emancipation and voluntary colonization rather than to follow the abolitionist and demanding an immediate end to slavery without compensation to owners."
And it is doubtful Lincoln said "then where shall we get our revenue?" That is a summation from the "Baltimore Exchange" newspaper April 23, 1861, Page One:
"Mr. Lincoln replied that, mathematically speaking, the troops could not crawl under Maryland, nor could they fly over it, and consequently they would have to come through it. If he was to follow the advice of Dr. Fuller, he would have no Government at all. France and England would recognize the Southern Confederacy, and his revenues would be broken up, and the Government would be worth nothing."

Emile Pope

One cause for the Civil War...Slavery. And long winded explanations based on nothing won't change that...

Carlos Ponce

I guess you weren't paying attention in school, Emile.
From the Texas TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills):
7th Grade Texas History. The student understands how events and issues shaped the history of Texas during the Civil War and Reconstruction. The student is expected to explain reasons for the involvement of Texas in the Civil War such as states' rights, slavery, sectionalism, and tariffs.
8th Grade US History. The student understands individuals, issues, and events of the Civil War. The student is expected to explain the causes of the Civil War, including sectionalism, states' rights, and slavery.
http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/chapter113/ch113b.html
While the TEKS were not in place when you were in school the topics were included in the 7th and 8th grade textbooks. I learned the same in 1968.
If your 8th grade US History teacher is still with us ask him or her. You did pass history, right?????

Raymond Lewis

And Mr. Ponce, as a teacher i'm sure you are aware by now that a number of Texas history books and how the subject of slavery was taught was just plain wrong with many facts we now know to have been omitted.

Jim Forsythe

Emile said "One cause for the Civil War...Slavery" which you agreed with.
Emile did not say the only reason.

Carlos Ponce

Galveston County public schools also go by a list of textbooks approved by the state both now and in the past. There are many textbooks approved in other states that don't make it to Texas' list. Bottom line is that it is the teacher's responsibility to make certain everything essential is covered. Problem is that so much PC stuff has crept into today's curriculum leaving precious little room for the "essentials".

Carlos Ponce

Jim posts: "Emile did not say the only reason."
He did in previous posts on various GCDN forums.

Emile Pope

Textbooks don't decide what's the truth. Saying that something is true simply because a textbook says so is laughable. The Confederate president and vice president, the ones that started the war, gave the reason. They should know better than a textbook written decades later by apologists...

Carlos Ponce

Newspapers written at the time disagree with you, Emile.

Emile Pope

No they didn't. Another example of making something up...

Carlos Ponce

Wrong Emile. Look them up:
Boston Post Thursday, June 6, 1861
Boston Post Wednesday, May 29, 1861
Cedar Valley Times Thursday, May 23, 1861
Boston Post Tuesday, May 21, 1861
Little Rock Arkansas State Gazette Saturday, April 20, 1861
Weekly Standard Wednesday, January 23, 1861, Raleigh, North Carolina
Harrisonburg Rockingham Register and Advertiser Friday, May 31, 1861, Harrisonburg, Virginia
Sandusky Daily Commercial Register Friday, January 4, 1861, Sandusky, Ohio
Wheeling Daily Intelligencer Saturday, February 2, 1861, Wheeling, West Virginia
Philadelphia Inquirer Monday, January 28, 1861, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Inquirer Friday, June 7, 1861
Hundreds more. Most are page long stories. Start reading.

Carlos Ponce

For a closer to home edition read "The Galveston Civilian" Page 1 Column 2, Tuesday February 19, 1861

Emile Pope

So newspapers know the reason for the Civil War more than the people who declared and waged the war? How ridiculous! So media knows the reason for the war more that the people who stated in writing in their own hand the reason they were fighting. That is so ridiculous that it's laughable. I don't have to look up anything. The words of the actual participants means more than tabloids...

Carlos Ponce

"So newspapers know the reason for the Civil War more than the people who declared and waged the war?" FINALLY, HIS EYES OPEN!!!!!!
The authors are from the North and the South, editors, writers, people who actually lived at the time who took an objective look at what was happening. Funny you don't accept the printed word today from politicos but you do from politicos from the 1860s. Time to get the WHOLE picture, Emile.

Emile Pope

I take the word of the people who started the war, the statements that they made, and what they wrote when they started the war. Your arguments are inane...

Emile Pope

What a joke. I can't remember the last time something happened and someone said "Ignore what the people who did it said and wrote, let's check what the tabloids wrote". How ridiculous...

Carlos Ponce

Emile, bottom line is that slavery is one important cause of the Civil War but not the only one. You can either learn history or not. If you don't that's your loss.
Point to ponder: Slavery existed for 85 years in the United States prior to the Civil War. If slavery was the SOLE reason then the Civil War would have occurred much earlier. There must have been other reasons. Slavery was a major cause but not the catalyst.

Carlos Ponce

"Tabloids"???? They are key to learning history. Try learning history some time. Learning is the antidote for ignorance.

Emile Pope

"Space aliens kidnap Jefferson Davis" by the Virginia Enquirer...lol

Carlos Ponce

Sorry, Emile there was NEVER a newspaper called the "Virginia Enquirer". There was a "Richmond Enquirer" in publication from 1815 to 1867 but the article you mention does not appear in it. NewspaperArchive .com reports "We found 0 results for space aliens".

Gary Miller

So many reasons but no answers. For the abolitionsts slavery was the reason. For bureaucrats dividing the power of government was the reason. For southern politicians state rights, as enumerated in the constitution, were the reason. Who was taxed and who spent the taxes was a reason. No reason was the real reason and all reasons are the real reason, nothing as senseless as the civil war could ever have a real reason. Both good and bad were served. Slavery was ended but the Democrat party was created. Bad won more than good.

Emile Pope

Actually the people who started the war gave the reason. But since some people try to sugarcoat the truth they try to give other reasons for the war. There was only one reason: Slavery. Trying to say anything else may make some people feel better but it's false.

Carlos Ponce

But Jim Forsythe posted, "Emile did not say the only reason." Emile posts, "There was only one reason: Slavery."
Thank you Emile for clarifying the issue. Newspaper articles from the 1860s show otherwise, though.

Emile Pope

Wrong

Carlos Ponce

There are hundreds of newspapers from the 1860s that say I'm right. And you?

Emile Pope

What garbage. The people who STARTED THE WAR gave the reason. You are obviously immune to logic.

Carlos Ponce

No "garbage" Emile. There are sources from BOTH sides of the Mason Dixon line. You are obviously immune to truth - but that's keeping in character.

George Croix

This is 2018.
Who CARES about the darn Civil War.
It was over 150 years ago.
If the excuse for every ill or failure or slight is the Civil War, then the problem is in the mirror.....
MOVE ON....!!!!

Rusty Schroeder

Exactly, all I know is I have never owned a slave and history is history. To be remembered and studied, but not as a basis of discussion on todays society. Next there will be another exhausting editorial and discussion on reparation.

Dan Freeman

William Faulkner: “The past is never dead. It's not even past.” Requiem for a Nun, 1951

Steve Fouga

Several causes for the Civil War have been listed. But by far the overarching reason, the biggest difference between the Northern section and the Southern section, was slavery. This is often couched in the term "states rights," but the primary right referred to was the sanctity of personal property -- a noble cause, except in this case it meant slaves.

To get an excellent feel for how things stood between the North and the South in the years preceding the Civil War, and during the war itself, I'd suggest reading 'Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,' by Doris Kearns; and 'Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era,' by James McPherson.

We can parse the words of people of that era, of historians trying to make sense of the senseless, and of latter day apologists. But at the end of the day, the primary cause of the Civil War was slavery.

George Croix

The past is PAST.
It was a very bad time, and it's over. Looooonnnggg over.....
It should exist in history books and lesson plans and as a reminder of "Don't Do This Again". Now, it's main uses besides not repeating it range from misplaced or falxely assigfned guilt to an excuse crutch for pretty much every ill, slight, or failure, NOT ONE person ever having lived through a single second of any of that time.
Enough, is enough.......you wanna feel guilty or aggreived your whole life based on stuff that never happened IN your life, have at it, but sell it to someone else because I'm not buying.....
But, that's just me.....
Oddly, some of the very same folks who can't go 5 minutes without talking about slavery in this country also support many Muslim countries and some in Africa where slavery is alive and well TODAY. There's also the sex slavery rings as we've found with some of the 'escorted children' crossing our borders illegally, yet that is buried under the 'separation from parents' dodge.....
BOTH of those issues show a significant inner conflict with reality...or even sanity.....

Jarvis Buckley

And all this time through high school as well as college I was taught it was a states right issue.

Steve Fouga

Yes, Jarvis, states' rights. By far the most important and divisive right they are talking about is the right of Southern citizens to own slaves.

Carlos Ponce

State's Rights is derived from the Tenth Amendment: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Jarvis Buckley

Steve my point being it was not all about greed as the article stated. It had more to do with states rights.
I am so grateful slavery has passed us by. But it wasn't all about greed & it wasn't only the south.

Steve Fouga

Got it. I misunderstood what you were objecting to. I agree with you; it had nothing to do with greed.

C. Neal LaCroix

We don't need anyones conjecture about why the confederate states declared independence from the United States. As mentioned above, the reasons were listed plainly and boldly for the whole world to see and the document needs no interpellation.
A specific and particular grievance was had to do with the Fugitive Slave Act and the perceived inability of the federal governments lack of enforcement. Read for yourself, here, direct text from the Confederate Declaration:
"These ends it endeavored to accomplish by a Federal Government, in which each State was recognized as an equal, and had separate control over its own institutions. The right of property in slaves was recognized by giving to free persons distinct political rights, by giving them the right to represent, and burthening them with direct taxes for three-fifths of their slaves; by authorizing the importation of slaves for twenty years; and by stipulating for the rendition of fugitives from labor.

We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.

"For twenty-five years this agitation has been steadily increasing, until it has now secured to its aid the power of the common Government. Observing the forms of the Constitution, a sectional party has found within that Article establishing the Executive Department, the means of subverting the Constitution itself. A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that "Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free," and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction."
Mr. Hart, you are either ignorant of history and want to proclaim loudly your inability to google simple facts or you do know your history and want to spread falsehoods. Either way, I implore you to stop with the attempt to miseducate those around you.

George Croix

Maybe it's about time to forget about a war so long ago nobody's great grandparents even had anything to do with it and concentrate on figuring out why we're at war with ourselves right now......

Emile Pope

Maybe it would be easier if there wasn't a monument to those traitors perched at the courthouse...

Carlos Ponce

There were good men who fought to protect their homes, some who never saw a slave. And there were some African-Americans included who fought for the South. Don't look too far on your own family tree. You might find a Confederate soldier there.

Emile Pope

Being immune from the truth is not an asset...

Carlos Ponce

"Being immune from the truth is not an asset..." Heed your own words.

C. Neal LaCroix

forgetting history is a recipe for social unraveling. there is no good argument for forgetting a war and it's prime drivers that very nearly tore this country apart and caused the deaths of more Americans than any other war. By your logic, we should forget the Vietnam war? The world wars? Revolutionary war? When exactly is the cut off line for "remembering" major lessons in humanity?
This apparent desire to be averse to hard discussions because it causes ouchy feelings speaks of an emotional maturity that has yet to be realized in some people.

C. Neal LaCroix

In case you need it--
Below is language from the TEXAS declaration of succession. Mr. Hart, your own state explicitly fought in the Civil War for the ability to hold other humans as property and implicitly believed in white supremacy.
"We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable."

— Texas Secession Convention, A Declaration of the Causes which Impel the State of Texas to Secede from the Federal Union, (February 1861).[3]

Carlos Ponce

Secession was a reason for the Civil War. Slave owner Governor Houston was against secession. The issue of slavery led to secession for Texas. Secession led to the Civil War. As I stated the reasons for the Civil war were multifaceted.
But you neglect the ENTIRE text of the Texas Declaration of Secession. Reasons other than the slave issue are given as well. Slavery was a key factor but there were other reasons for secession that led eventually to the Civil War.
https://www.tsl.texas.gov/ref/abouttx/secession/2feb1861.html
They have proclaimed, and at the ballot box sustained, the revolutionary doctrine that there is a "higher law" than the constitution and laws of our Federal Union, and virtually that they will disregard their oaths and trample upon our rights.
They have invaded Southern soil and murdered unoffending citizens, and through the press their leading men and a fanatical pulpit have bestowed praise upon the actors and assassins in these crimes, while the governors of several of their States have refused to deliver parties implicated and indicted for participation in such offences, upon the legal demands of the States aggrieved.
They have, through the mails and hired emissaries, sent seditious pamphlets and papers among us to stir up servile insurrection and bring blood and carnage to our firesides.

C. Neal LaCroix

What the losing side called secession the winning side called rebellion. The south rebelled against a sovereign nation explicitly to uphold a cruel and oppressive slave society. All other grievances were pablum.

Emile Pope

You've lost the discussion. Now it's just looking sad...

Carlos Ponce

No Emile, The Texas Declaration of Secession reveals more than just slavery as a reason. You CAN read, can't you????

George Croix

OK.
I didn't think it necessary to explain that we should not actually forget it, as in "Uh, I can't seem to recall...."
Forget it as a daily excuse for Something or Other.
Forget it as pretending that 'slavery' of the 1800's had squat to do with the people of 2018.
Eventually, we all have to live now, nit way back when....

C. Neal LaCroix

i agree with your instinct, if it is such, that we should not "live in the past' as it is said. meaning to not be obsessed with an act or thought that has preceded. that would be extreme. also extreme would be to willfully ignore or downplay one of the single largest events in human history and it's continued significance today. The enslavement of humans in the 1800's still DOES have squat to do with people of 2018 due to the threads of institutional racism that can be traced all the way back to the apologists of the confederacy. Should folks use slavery as an excuse for not contributing to today's society? No. Should folks make excuses for or downplay the antebellum south's gross and obscene practice of enslaving fellow humans? No. And Mr. Hart's terrible premise that slavery was not the reason for the civil war is a blatant misrepresentation of reality that must be stood up against. What Mr. Hart postulates-to use a phrase that is so often loved by the contrarians of history and apologists of bigotry--is "fake news".

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