The American Civil War was absolutely not about slavery.
However, the Alt-Left wants a statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia removed because it upsets them.
On the 12th August 2017, chaos descended on Charlottesville, Virginia.
A rally in protest at the decision to remove the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee turned violent.
An angry far-left mob, who want the statue removed, started to attack those who want the statue to stay.
Three people died, and many were seriously injured.
The American Civil War (1861-1865)
The war was between the Northern (Union) states and the Southern (Confederate) states.
Many believe that it’s better to use the phrase ‘The War for Southern Independence’ rather than ‘The American Civil War’.
There is a huge debate about the causes of this war.
Some believe it was all about slavery.
Others say it was about States having the right to secede from a Union.
No war in American history has been more generally misunderstood or more persistently misrepresented.
How best to counteract over 150 years of biased information?
One way to do it is to use the facts, and a good place to start is by reading what President Abraham Lincoln and others said at the time.
Was slavery the cause of the American Civil War?
Abraham Lincoln, in his Inaugural Address on the Capitol steps, 1861:
“I have no purpose directly or indirectly to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists.
I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.”
Furthermore, Simon Cameron, Lincoln’s Secretary of War, wrote to General Butler in New Orleans:
“President Lincoln desires the right to hold slaves to be fully recognized.
The war is prosecuted for the Union hence no question concerning slavery will arise.”
President Lincoln put a slaveholder, General Ulysses S. Grant, in command of the Union Army.
The Southern States put General Robert E. Lee (who had freed his slaves) in command of the Confederate Army.
General Ulysses S. Grant said:
“Should I become convinced that the object of the Government is to execute the wishes of the abolitionists, I pledge you my honor as a man and a soldier I would resign my commission and carry my sword to the other side.”
The Real Reason for the American Civil War
From the beginning, Southerners and Northerners were not congenial.
The North became a manufacturing section.
The South turned to agriculture.
Congress invented a “protective tariff” to increase the profits of Northern factories.
Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican Party President, and he wanted to increase this tariff which was crippling the Southern States.
It was mainly due to the unfair tariff and the vitriolic abuse of Northern Puritans that the Southern states seceded from the Union.
The people who settled in the North (New England States) were of a different character from those who settled in the South.
Most of the emigrants who settled in the New England States were religious malcontents.
These Puritans had the memory of Oliver Cromwell and the execution of King Charles still fresh in their minds.
They began to despise the liberal and free civilisation that was developing in the Southern States.
The Confederates believed that if the Declaration of Independence justified the secession of 3 million colonists in 1776, then they did not understand why the Constitution should not justify the breakaway of five million Southerners in 1861.
Many Southerners still regard themselves as different to Northerners, and many Southerners still fly the Confederate flag.
American Civil War Myths
Of course, slavery was an ugly scar on American history.
It was wrong then, and it is wrong now, but the North and South were both to blame.
Myth: Slavery was a Southern institution
6% of Southerners owned slaves; this means that 94% of Southerners did not own slaves.
Also, the overwhelming majority of Confederate soldiers did not come from families that owned slaves.
Furthermore, not one Southern man owned or commanded a slave ship
Myth: The North ended slavery for moral reasons
People overlook the North’s participation in slavery.
Slavery played an important part in the early development of the North.
British, Dutch, and Northern-owned American ships brought slaves to America.
In 1776, The American Declaration of Independence (1776) was signed in Philadelphia.
There were 700 slaves in Philadelphia in 1776.
Therefore, the city forever associated with the signing of the Declaration of Independence was one of the biggest slave cities in the North.
Every American state that had declared its independence in 1776 was a ‘slave state’.
In 1790 (71 years before the 1861-1865 Civil War), there were over 22,000 Northern slaves in New York State, 12,500 Northern slaves in New Jersey, and 5,300 Northern slaves in Massachusetts.
Slavery in the North ended for economic reasons, not moral reasons
Only after there was no need for the North to have slaves, did slavery in the North diminish.
The main reasons why slavery came to an end in the North were industrialisation and the fact that white workers refused to allow competition from slaves.
Also, slavery came to an end in the North only after Northern slave owners got their money back by selling their slaves to the South.
Myth: Slavery was the cause of the American Civil War.
Correlation is not causation.
Because the Confederate states had slaves, it does not follow that the 1861-1865 War (for Southern Independence) was about slavery.
General Robert E. Lee, at great personal cost to himself, freed his slaves several years before the Civil War started.
Also, in 1856 Robert E. Lee wrote:
“… slavery as an institution is a moral & political evil in any Country.”
Unfortunately, there are still many who believe that the Confederate States went to war for the right to have slaves.
Also, they believe that the Union states went to war to stop the Confederacy having slaves.
General Ulysses S Grant said that slavery was not the cause of the American Civil War.
It’s a safe bet to say that Ulysses S Grant knew more about the reasons for the Civil War than any student from a left-wing University such as The University of Virginia or The University of California, Berkeley.
Pandering to the prejudices of the ill-informed and the ignorant will result in a total debasement of people’s collective culture and history.
Therefore, the statue of General Robert E. Lee must stay where it is.
If some are upset by the sight of it, then so be it.