July 1, 2023 | View PDF
Following the suggestion of a fellow Alabama Gazette columnist, I read through “Let’s celebrate the real history of Jefferson Davis”, by Josh Moon. No surprise—it is just more “Righteous Cause” blather.
The sub-title claims the South fought to “protect” slavery, yet the institution was constitutionally legal and Abe Lincoln and the Republicans stated ad nauseum that they had no intention or authority to interfere with slavery where it existed. A central reason for Republican opposition to slavery expansion was clearly explained by Horace Greeley: “All the unoccupied territory…shall be preserved for the benefit of the White Caucasian race—a thing which cannot be except by the exclusion of slavery.”
Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and Oregon enacted laws that partially or totally restricted Blacks from living in those States yet we are supposed to believe they were fighting to end slavery. Both Alexander Stephens and abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison understood that remaining in the Union was the best way to protect slavery.
Jefferson Davis believed in federalism (States’ Rights) and understood the U.S. Constitution is a compact among sovereign States, i.e., a voluntary federal republic. To reiterate a point made in a previous article, in 1846 Davis succinctly described the only legitimate federal powers are those delegated by the States.
Conscription was used on both sides. “Drafts” have been implemented as far back as ancient Egypt. However, the Union went far beyond conscription. Approximately 500,000 Union soldiers were foreigners. They scoured Europe to “recruit”, sometimes offering financial incentives. Many “Union recruits” were actually mercenaries and some were literally criminals. The July 1863 New York Draft Riots--the most violent riot in American history--came about as a result of many Irish and German immigrants (largely Catholic) being forced into Union service. Most came to America for opportunity, not to join a fight they had no interest in. The Draft Riots resulted in massive property damage, assaults, and the hanging of the largest number of Blacks in American history.
Both sides also offered exemptions. Lincoln made sure his son, Robert, was never in danger of serving in combat. Most of those representing the corporate and banking interests who waged war against the South never wore a Union uniform. Conversely, a large number of affluent Southerners served in the Confederate military.
The article claimed the South committed treason. The Southern States held conventions and voted on secession, essentially reversing the process in which they joined the Union. Article 3, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution describes treason in plural form – they and their – this references the States (uninvited invasion of a State is treason). There is a strong argument that Lincoln committed treason by calling for 75,000 volunteers to invade the seceded States and a clearer case when he authorized the invasion of Maryland in September 1861. Under Article IV, Section 4, of the U.S. Constitution, the federal government does not have authority to enter a State unless invited by the governor or the legislature.
Jefferson Davis was held in prison for two years awaiting a trial over treason. Davis wanted a trial; his primary representative was the renowned New York attorney, Charles O’Connor. On the Union side, there was considerable trepidation about a possible trial. U.S. Chief Justice Chase and Judge Franz Lieber warned it would be a mistake to put Davis on trial since, as Chase noted, from a constitutional standpoint, “secession is not rebellion” and “We cannot convict him of treason.” Lieber said “Davis will be found not guilty.”
Slavery was a point of contention; however, the war was fought over secession. Once the North realized the Confederate Constitution’s low import duties would attract trade to Southern ports, the powers that be envisioned financial ruin. Multiple editorials in Northern newspapers referenced this impending calamity. This is exactly what Lincoln told Southern peace representatives: John Brown Baldwin on April 4, 1861; George Randolph, A.H.H. Stuart, and William B. Preston on April 12-13, 1861; and Rev. Richard Fuller and his associates on April 22, 1861. Lyon Gardner Tyler, son of President John Tyler, referenced the three meetings and Lincoln’s commentary (What about my tariff?) as the tipping point. Lincoln also emphasized revenue collection (not slavery) as being paramount in his March 4, 1861, First Inaugural Address and in the Blockade Proclamation.
Jefferson and Varina Davis “adopted” a young Black child name Jim Limber Davis – he was eventually taken away by Union soldiers from Michigan. In addition, research by Phillip Magness and Sebastian Page discovered records in the British Archives revealing Lincoln’s continued attempt to deport Blacks from the U.S. virtually until the day he died.
Rather than the so-called “Real Jefferson Davis”, we should study the “Real Abraham Lincoln.” Rest assured the Lincoln Cultists will do everything possible to demonize anyone who dares to expose the Real Lincoln.
Sources: Emancipation after Colonization: Lincoln and the Movement for Black Resettlement, by Phillip Magness and Sebastian Page; The Long Surrender, by Burke Davis; Copperhead Chronicles, by Al Benson, from freerepublic.com; A Confederate Catechism, by Lyon Gardiner Tyler; The “Righteous Cause Myth” has been detailed by Brion McClanahan and others associated with the Abbeville Institute. The Josh Moon piece appeared in the Alabama Political Reporter. NOTE: Author Dr. Jeffery D. Addicott stated approximately 800,000 immigrants were in Union service. Remember, July 4th symbolizes the successful secession from the British Empire.