Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Both Lincoln and the Confederacy Were Awful

Yes, yes, yes. Finally, a commentator with the perspicacity to inject some actual common sense into this argument. Most of the arguments that are made against Confederate monuments could be made against other monuments commemorating US history as well. Many of the founders of the USA were slaveholders. Where do people think Grant’s armies went after the Confederate secession was put down? They went westward and continued the conquest of the Indian territories. Most nations have a similar or comparable history because all states are ultimately founded on conquest. That’s just how the world works. You could complain about someone flying a Chinese flag outside a Chinese restaurant by pointing out the body count generated by Maoism.

By Tom Mullen

Foundation for Economic Education

We’re fighting the Civil War again. Whenever both major parties drop any pretense of addressing the real problems facing American taxpayers, their constituents revert to having at each other in “the culture wars.” And no culture war would be complete without relitigating what should now be settled history: the reasons for the Civil War.

Americans sympathetic to the Union generally believe the war was fought to end slavery or to “rescue the slaves” from political kidnapping by the slave states, that seceded from the Union to avoid impending abolition.

“No,” say those sympathetic to the Confederacy. The states seceded over states’ rights, particularly their right not to be victimized by high protectionist tariffs, paid mostly by southern states, but spent mostly on what we’d now call corporate welfare and infrastructure projects in the north.

That the states seceded for a different reason than the war was fought seems to elude everyone.

There is plenty of secondary literature presenting evidence on both sides, which is why Americans are still arguing this tired point over 150 years after the war ended. But there is a pretty simple way to clear the air. Just read the primary sources and take everyone at his word.


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