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Union At All Costs:

From Confederation to Consolidation

Alabama native son John M. Taylor (Alexander City) has penned a ‘must read’ for all who want to advance their understanding of our morphing from a voluntary collation of sovereign States to the forced consolidation imposed via war 1861-5 and tyrannical years of ‘reconstruction’ to follow. A well seasoned backlog of Taylor’s short articles dating back to the early 1990’s, were the starting point of the project. I was delighted Johnny asked my input over the years and truly honored when asked to write the Foreword where I attempt to set the tone for the book, which includes transportation, economic and historical inferences to the Orwellian style ‘political correctness’ used to aid and abet the transition from our course toward liberty to a command economy.

Prefaced with a reference to one of Taylor’s Confederate ancestors (Henry Hodnett) his Mother was born in 1914 who knew Henry (her Great Grandfather) well and was greatly influenced by him. She was almost fourteen when Henry passed away in 1928. Taylor’s transportation experience clearly improves the text, making the usual distortion of history and corruption of morals via the media more understandable to the ‘layman’ reader.

Divided into general sections, the first three chapters deal with opposing views of the Declaration of Independence and State sovereignty as the colonies seceded from England. For example, Lincoln’s view of the Declaration is contrasted with the Jeffersonian view widely accepted in the South. Added to this ideological mix Taylor explains differences in agrarian-dominated and industry-dominated economies, relative to tariffs, trade, banking, and labor.

Chapters Four and Five introduce Abraham Lincoln more prominently into the ongoing transition. This includes a look at Lincoln’s youth and his interest in politics and transportation. His early identification with the Whig Party is well documented, especially his support for protective tariffs, internal improvements, and a national bank. Lincoln was an ideological disciple of Alexander Hamilton and Henry Clay.

Chapters Six through Nine address the intimate connection between Lincoln and the railroad industry, his political ascension, and the peculiar array of groups that supported him. Lincoln handled numerous legal cases which benefitted the railroads; some of the most important cases are covered. Also, Lincoln’s cunning and successful manipulative strategy in winning the 1860 Republican nomination is discussed on his path to election as the 16th US President.

In Chapters Ten through Thirteen, multiple Southern peace efforts are discussed. From the outset, the Confederate States sought peaceful co-existence, perhaps naively believing it was a possibility. Lincoln never had any intentions of recognizing the Confederacy; he claimed the Union existed before the colonies were generally referred to as States via the 1774 Articles of Association. Keeping the South in the Union was critical to Northern industry and their economic prosperity. A review of the Confederate Constitution (expressly forbidding the use of tariffs to foster one branch of industry over another) includes the list of grievances and how they were addressed. Most are never taught the two Constitutions are almost identical. With this in mind, Mr. Taylor makes his point well that the “age-old Just-War Theory” is shown to coincide with the Southern cause and actions. Finally, there is detailed information about Col. John Baldwin’s April 4, 1861, encounter with Lincoln and a couple of lesser-known meetings of a similar nature (Stuart, Preston, and Randolph on April 12, 1861 and Dr. Richard Fuller and associates on April 22, 1861) to avoid war.

Chapters Fourteen through Twenty-Six cover the numerous constitutional violations committed by Lincoln and his administration. Lincoln insisted the Southern States never actually left the Union. This includes Fort Sumter, coercion, the blockade, suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, suppression of press and speech in the North, Vallandigham’s arrest, the invasion of Maryland, the Fugitive Slave Law, West Virginia, the Trent Affair, and the Emancipation Proclamation(s). Part of this program was the invention of presidential war powers. After these abuses were enacted, Lincoln’s 1864 election assured the war against the Southern States would continue.

In Chapters Twenty-Seven through Thirty, the tactics used to subdue the South are examined including the basic right of the South to govern itself and whether or not the South is any way, shape, or form better off having lost a war which devastated the region. There is an examination of Jefferson Davis’ insistence that the Union is a voluntary coalition of States—not a Soviet-styled forced Union. Finally, there is a summary of the beliefs of Robert E. Lee and Lord Acton, including their dire and prophetically accurate predictions about forced consolidation of power and the inevitable results.

Chapter Thirty-One covers the Just War Theory and how it applied to the schism between the North and the South. Chapter Thirty-Two explores the tremendous amount of skepticism from many prominent Northerners as to the legitimacy of government by force as well as the tactics used. Chapters Thirty-Three through Thirty-Five delve into how and why Lincoln had to be reinvented to fit the PC narrative. This includes a look at Lincoln’s patently collectivist ideology, his so-called religion, and the apotheosis that was required to cement his martyrdom and adequately cover the tracks as to what had actually transpired. The Conclusion summarizes all subjects covered, including Orwell’s chilling comment about who controls the future.

Asserting the South had a legitimate position will likely stir up the usual catch phrases: “Southern apologist,” “revisionist,” “neo-Confederate,” “the Lost Cause,” etc. Also wise to write-off most modern entertainers, coaches, NASCAR drivers, etc., - esp. those completely ignorant about Southern history simply repeating what their corporate owners tell them to say. The best way to counter the demonization of Confederate ancestors is to simply tell the truth as Taylor does in his well documented book.

This book is purposefully designed not to be part of the standard fare included in most histories of the life and times of Abe Lincoln. Mr. Taylor’s goal is to offer abundant evidence and first hand accounts of how Abraham Lincoln was not a Godly, nor morally righteous individual. Lincoln was an alleged atheist and well recorded religious cynic who scoffed Christianity, a typical political creature driven by power and influence, more specifically a puppet of Northern manufacturers. In order to ‘broker’ the wealth transfer to industrialists, he was willing to “throw a bone” to the South with bargains like the Corwin Amendment. Few think of Lincoln’s character and beliefs lauded by the likes of Lenin and Marx but as the reader proceeds through the chapters they will understand the actions and motives of this 16th US President who ended our voluntary union of sovereign States to set in blood the forced coalition of states we observe today.

Despite the “bring it on” attitude of Ruffin, Yancey, et al types so often cited, many other Southerners knew they were ill-prepared to fight and did everything in their legal power to avoid war between the States. Some States simply wanted to continue under the letter and Spirit of the voluntary Republic and adhere to the Constitution. It was understood each State may voluntarily leave the compact under the “Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union,” to re-confederate under the US Constitution. There was no reason to assert it couldn’t be done again four score or so years later - that is, unless you adhere to Lincolnian beliefs and rhetoric to facilitate the wealth transfers and coercion he championed.

Mr. Taylor’s work is one of the best I’ve read (on par with Prof. Charles Adams; For Good and Evil: the impact of taxes on the course of civilization, Those Dirty Rotten Taxes, When in the Course of Human Events) to illustrate the degree to which Lincoln would go - regardless of his oath. Oaths mean nothing to persons of poor character, even ones of highest intelligence and political acumen as Lincoln and Taylor does a splendid job addressing ten major violations of the Constitution with examples to explain each violation to illustrate Lincoln’s blatant disregard for rule of law, voluntary government, etc. In short, Lincoln’s usurpation of rights, both North & South, were only limited by all means made available to him (authorised or unauthorised) to accomplish his end of a powerful centralized command and control government.

The text doesn’t shy from the brutality and inhumanity of this unjust/illegal war waged upon the people of the South, including destruction of lives, property, legitimate government and the pursuit of freedom. He includes how the South is made worse off as a result of invasion and how Jefferson Davis stood on firm constitutional grounds (rooted in Christian principles of self-government) stating he would do it all again. Furthermore, Jefferson Davis longed to have his day in court to demonstrate he was not a traitor in violation of the US Constitution, but a trial would not be allowed to underscore Lincoln’s actions as treason according to Article 3, Section 3. As Sir John Harrington wrote, “Treason doth never prosper: what’s the reason? Why, if it prosper, none dare call it Treason.”

The direly prophetic predictions of Robert E. Lee and Lord Acton have come to their fruition as Mr. Taylor shows the modern ‘Soviet style’ US as “despotic at home and aggressive abroad” increasingly more accepted as what our Nation was supposed to become under the Lincolnian vision. Lincoln’s 1861 vision is antithetical to Mr. Washington’s hard fought and won vision of 1783. Too bad DC no longer lives up to the city’s namesake and the promise of liberty as modern history unfolds under our post-Lincoln forced coalition of states.

Many readers interested in this era will find Mr. Taylor’s work a ‘page turner’ if for no other reason than to contemplate how well the States under the Constitution were dealing with issues the Republicans used to enslave the Nation. Peacefully ending importation of slaves in 1808 and State emancipations are offered as a much more efficient method than the War’s 5 years of death and destruction. Few seem to know there were many who had already been emancipated by their masters or even the former slave’s own efforts to acquire their freedom (in my home state of Maryland, 49% of blacks were free in 1860) well before Mr. Lincoln’s political legerdemain in the Emancipation Proclamations, leaving us his dysfunctional legacy still reverberating today.

I find Taylor most compelling when reading Lincoln’s calculated efforts to hide his distain for God and religion to establish his god, that is, command and control government to reverse the course of a nation of sovereign States well on the path toward freedom. Lincoln knew it would take time to separate the people from God for his Marxian style command economy to become well rooted in America. It seems increasingly more of the population has indeed embraced government as their god 150 years later.

If you want to understand Lincoln’s playbook (still used by politicos from both parties today) to set our nation on the course and outcomes we observe today - read Mr. Taylor’s “Union at All Costs.” These cost of Lincoln remain profound today, we ignore them at our own peril. If our nation does not learn from works of this sort, then the only rational forecast is we will be cast upon the junk heap of history along will all the other failed strongly centralized command and control economies which made government their god to inevitably turn despotic. Lincoln’s more recent iteration is nothing new since the days of Nimrod. Without the efforts of modern authors like Messrs Adams and Taylor, we are certain to have many more iterations of this sort (as Shakespeare penned in Julius Caesar) until these lessons are re-learned well and not forgotten. It is heartening to see authors like DiLorenzo, Ekelund, Thornton, Taylor, Woods et al scholars picking up the effort as giants like Charles Adams pass.

Postscript: in full disclosure, I must type Taylor cites my Alabama Gazette column on the timing of the emancipation proclamations I’ve wanted to see addressed in a sound scholarly work like this for many years. Sadly, pop press outlets will not print things too controversial/non PC. The only way this sort of economic history will get into print is when courageous writers like Taylor do so on their own purse. If you’d like to purchase a copy of Union at All Costs, below are links I’ve found where it is currently available:

Booklocker link: is now available at the following URLs:

Amazon Store:

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