Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Karl Marx's Letter To Abraham Lincoln

Address of the International Working Men's Association to Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America

Presented to U.S. Ambassador Charles Francis Adams
January 28, 1865


We congratulate the American people upon your re-election by a large majority. If resistance to the Slave Power was the reserved watchword of your first election, the triumphant war cry of your re-election is Death to Slavery.

From the commencement of the titanic American strife the workingmen of Europe felt instinctively that the star-spangled banner carried the destiny of their class. The contest for the territories which opened the dire epopee, was it not to decide whether the virgin soil of immense tracts should be wedded to the labor of the emigrant or prostituted by the tramp of the slave driver?

When an oligarchy of 300,000 slaveholders dared to inscribe, for the first time in the annals of the world, "slavery" on the banner of Armed Revolt, when on the very spots where hardly a century ago the idea of one great Democratic Republic had first sprung up, whence the first Declaration of the Rights of Man was issued, and the first impulse given to the European revolution of the eighteenth century; when on those very spots counterrevolution, with systematic thoroughness, gloried in rescinding "the ideas entertained at the time of the formation of the old constitution", and maintained slavery to be "a beneficent institution", indeed, the old solution of the great problem of "the relation of capital to labor", and cynically proclaimed property in man "the cornerstone of the new edifice" — then the working classes of Europe understood at once, even before the fanatic partisanship of the upper classes for the Confederate gentry had given its dismal warning, that the slaveholders' rebellion was to sound the tocsin for a general holy crusade of property against labor, and that for the men of labor, with their hopes for the future, even their past conquests were at stake in that tremendous conflict on the other side of the Atlantic. Everywhere they bore therefore patiently the hardships imposed upon them by the cotton crisis, opposed enthusiastically the proslavery intervention of their betters — and, from most parts of Europe, contributed their quota of blood to the good cause.

While the workingmen, the true political powers of the North, allowed slavery to defile their own republic, while before the Negro, mastered and sold without his concurrence, they boasted it the highest prerogative of the white-skinned laborer to sell himself and choose his own master, they were unable to attain the true freedom of labor, or to support their European brethren in their struggle for emancipation; but this barrier to progress has been swept off by the red sea of civil war.

The workingmen of Europe feel sure that, as the American War of Independence initiated a new era of ascendancy for the middle class, so the American Antislavery War will do for the working classes. They consider it an earnest of the epoch to come that it fell to the lot of Abraham Lincoln, the single-minded son of the working class, to lead his country through the matchless struggle for the rescue of an enchained race and the reconstruction of a social world. [B]

Signed on behalf of the International Workingmen's Association, the Central Council:

Longmaid, Worley, Whitlock, Fox, Blackmore, Hartwell, Pidgeon, Lucraft, Weston, Dell, Nieass, Shaw, Lake, Buckley, Osbourne, Howell, Carter, Wheeler, Stainsby, Morgan, Grossmith, Dick, Denoual, Jourdain, Morrissot, Leroux, Bordage, Bocquet, Talandier, Dupont, L.Wolff, Aldovrandi, Lama, Solustri, Nusperli, Eccarius, Wolff, Lessner, Pfander, Lochner, Kaub, Bolleter, Rybczinski, Hansen, Schantzenbach, Smales, Cornelius, Petersen, Otto, Bagnagatti, Setacci;

George Odger, President of the Council; P.V. Lubez, Corresponding Secretary for France; Karl Marx, Corresponding Secretary for Germany; G.P. Fontana, Corresponding Secretary for Italy; J.E. Holtorp, Corresponding Secretary for Poland; H.F. Jung, Corresponding Secretary for Switzerland; William R. Cremer, Honorary General Secretary.

18 Greek Street, Soho.

credit: The Red Mantis



ajohnstone said...

Not intending to make any political point but just to add a bit personal background , and that is Marx brother in law and regular visitor to the house and regaler of stories to the girls about the Wild West , Jenny Westphalen brother fought on the side of the Confederacy during the American Civi War .

MC Fanon said...

Thank you for the nod. Abraham Lincoln was the most revolutionary President in American history and is undoubtedly one of the greatest leaders of all time. It has become common to criticize him for not going far enough and everyone can nitpick quotes from him that indicate a less-extreme position on abolition. At the end though, we judge a man based on his actions and how his ideas influenced those actions. Lincoln will and should continue to be remembered as a strong advocate for freedom from all kinds of oppression.

Foxessa said...

The writing of Marx on the South and his reporting on the Civil War are fascinating reading from this era's point of view.

Love, C.

Anonymous said...

625,000 Americans died ending that peculiar institution of slavery, and you feel good about yourself because a handful of commies sent a letter to Lincoln?

No wonder you feel so damn morally 'superior'.

Anonymous said...

...and no wonder you feel compelled to put down "Republicans" in particular.

"Talk" is "cheap".

MC Fanon said...

FJ: This letter was never meant to atone for the deaths of those who perished in the civil war. It isn't meant to cast the left in a more positive light necessarily either (there are many who would [inaccurately] tell you that Lincoln was a tyrant in the same vein as Stalin or Lenin). The letter indicates that Karl Marx supported the work of Abraham Lincoln because his actions went beyond the "talk" of freedom and equality. Lincoln had to make the difficult decision to wage a war in defense of the union and the principles which held the union together in the first place and Marx, as well as many of the working people in Europe, recognized it as such.

Perhaps it would be prudent in the future to not mischaracterize a reposted letter and attempt to draw conclusions about the posters' intent.

Mad Zionist said...

Marx was right to support Lincoln's effort to end private slave ownership. The next step in Marx's development would have been to also support freedom from government enslavement. Sadly, he came up short.

Frank Partisan said...

ajohnstone: You can't pick your relatives.

Dave: I think if you look at American history, from a dialectical and historical materialist approach, Lincoln despite imperfections, was the best president along with Jefferson. You are correct about Lincoln. He made more correct than incorrect decisions.

Foxessa: Marx would have liked a certain book about New Orleans.

FJ: 625,000 Americans died ending that peculiar institution of slavery, and you feel good about yourself because a handful of commies sent a letter to Lincoln?

No wonder you feel so damn morally 'superior'.
I don't have a clue as to what you mean.

...and no wonder you feel compelled to put down "Republicans" in particular.

"Talk" is "cheap".

Read my blog. I'm consistently more critical of Democrats, particularly recently.

Bush and Rove's strategy has hurt the Republicans, for generations to come. My attacks are against Democrats, since they fool more of my base.

I don't see the point of being contrary for the sake of being contrary.

MC Fanon said...

Lincoln acted in much the same way a revolutionary workers state would in the face of an insurrection. The Civil War was undoubtedly a revolutionary war; though many [aptly] recognize that it was waged to preserve liberal revolutionary gains (i.e. the Union), in a broader historical sense it was a war waged to end a form of existing oppression under the current capitalist system.

I read a paper some time back on Marx's civil war analysis that I might repost on my blog sometime. One of the points made is that the South can hardly be considered as having used a slave mode of production at the time of the Civil war, at least not in the same manner Rome or Babylon did. It was more or less an aberration of the capitalist system, albeit one unnatural to the very basis of capitalism.

On the same token, I have always found the idea of the Southern states undergoing a rapid period of historical revolution to have merit: Slavery in plantations giving rise to a quasi-feudal system after the war, a la sharecropping, which would later give rise to a capitalist system following the civil rights reforms. Though crude, parts of it add up.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Ren, but I can assure you that Abraham Lincoln would REJECT Karl Marx's political endorsement w/o reservation. As for his personal sentiments...

Legation of the United States
London, 28th January, 1865


I am directed to inform you that the address of the Central Council of your Association, which was duly transmitted through this Legation to the President of the United [States], has been received by him.

So far as the sentiments expressed by it are personal, they are accepted by him with a sincere and anxious desire that he may be able to prove himself not unworthy of the confidence which has been recently extended to him by his fellow citizens and by so many of the friends of humanity and progress throughout the world.

The Government of the United States has a clear consciousness that its policy neither is nor could be reactionary, but at the same time it adheres to the course which it adopted at the beginning, of abstaining everywhere from propagandism and unlawful intervention. It strives to do equal and exact justice to all states and to all men and it relies upon the beneficial results of that effort for support at home and for respect and good will throughout the world.

Nations do not exist for themselves alone, but to promote the welfare and happiness of mankind by benevolent intercourse and example. It is in this relation that the United States regard their cause in the present conflict with slavery, maintaining insurgence as the cause of human nature, and they derive new encouragements to persevere from the testimony of the workingmen of Europe that the national attitude is favored with their enlightened approval and earnest sympathies.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,

Charles Francis Adams

MC Fanon said...

How does the letter you posted in any way warrant your claim? Furthermore, was it not Lincoln who said: "To secure to each laborer the whole product of his labor as nearly as possible is a worthy object of any good government."

Anonymous said...

So far as the sentiments expressed by it are personal, they are accepted by him...

...so far as they are NOT 'personal', take your communist piece of crap organization and shove it where the sun don't shine.

MC Fanon said...

You cannot draw that conclusion at all from the letter, as Lincoln's reaction if it is 'not personal' is never stated.

No one is trying to make the claim that Lincoln was a closet communist and that Marx and Lincoln forged a back-room deal. What is being pointed out is that (1) Marx viewed Lincoln and his handling of the civil war/the slave question in a positive light and (2) many of Lincoln's policies during this time were extremely progressive and revolutionary.

Frank Partisan said...

This morning when I saw FJ's post, I wondered did he have a bombshell, to repudiate the post. Instead it was just a neutral reply.

FJ: I agree with Dave's conclusions.

roman said...


This letter is an utterly fascinating and revealing insight into the early stages of the communist construct. The Workingmen's national chapters threw their weight behind a cause that was just and prescient.
It is also revealing that Lincoln was "cautious" in his dealings with this early socialist construct by virtue of his limited acceptance of the encouragement presented.
The phrase So far as the sentiments expressed by it are personal, they are accepted by him... speaks volumes.
Fascinating indeed!

Foxessa said...

Ren -- Am not so sure; Marx was a pretty cranky guy, and doubtless he'd have found enormous problems with the book to which you referred.

As for Marxist labor analysis re the the American South and slavery: there is something so inherently different with the U.S. slavery conditions as to make slavery there truly what the Confederacy called it: "Our Peculiar Institution."

There was a psycho-sexual component to slavery in the Old South of the U.S. that you just don't find anywhere else with slavery, and which became part of the dogma of the South, which exists, still today.

Totally creepy -- as opposed to kinky. Sexually creepy. A big component of our national masculine eroticism to this day.

Love, C.

Foxessa said...

P.S. I don't think Jefferson was a great prez at all!

Love, C.

steven rix said...

There were like 300,000 slaves owners in the US, if I have a good memory, for 35 million people. "Slaves" (I hate this word) were working for cotton and sugar, among other activities. During the XIXth century people in the US were not very used to digest sugar and it could give them a huge buz in their head. (physiology changed since then).

steven rix said...

When an oligarchy of 300,000 slaveholders dared to inscribe
Okay I have the same number too.

Frank Partisan said...

Roman: I think Lincoln was incorrectly dismissed by the Black Power Movement of the 60-70s. If you analyze without taking class into account, it is possible.

Foxessa: You are correct about slavery in the south. It's outside of Marx's realm to see it, particularly with atitudes in his time.

What's your take on Jefferson?

politiques USA: That sugar buzz information, marx could never of conceived of writing about.

thr said...

Very interesting post. If anything, it shows how reactionary contemporary politicians in the US have become.

michael greenwell said...

interesting letter that.

i wonder if lincoln actually read it?

b.f. said...

If you check out Howard Zinn's take on Lincoln in his chapter on the civil war in A People's History, it sounds like Lincoln was more of a mixed bag politically than this quote from Marx would indicate.

Initially, Marx apparently criticized Lincoln (as did abolitionists like Garrison and Wendell Phillips and Frederick Douglass, I think) for not moving rapidly enough to abolish slavery. But as the quote indicates, by the end of the Civil War Marx's historical evaluation of Lincoln had apparently become much more positive.

steven rix said...

I've always heard that the US constitution failed to mention the word "equality" because they needed the South to support the US constitution. In the sugar plantations in the Americas, the average life expectancy of a slave was around 7 years.

Some fact you may not know:
* Marx always argued that the successor state to slavery was serfdom.
* Adam Smith was also an outspoken critic of slavery in his book "theory of moral sentiment", but I suspect that the right who cheers free trade nowadays in this world never read his book.
* The word "slave" was in the Bible and it was replaced later by the word "servant"
* Slavery is not only a white thing. The Arabs took part to the slave trade as well. Actually the conditions of the black minorities in the Middle-East are far worse than the ones in the western world.
* Brazil was also a slave trade destination, but interracial mixing was allowed over there, while it was not allowed in the USA because it was all white and black in the US
* In the USA the mentality was to separate slaves and families to make them easier to manage. It's the only country that did that during slave trades.
* The servants in the USA also existed, it's rarely mentionned, and they were white. Their status was better than slaves for sure, but they did not have the same status than Americans.
* Slaves did not participate in the Civil War because the stupid lil white men did not want them to carry weapons
* The South of the Americas was spanish while the North was English. Why? Back then in the earlier 1700s the maps of the Americas was not developed yet so one of the Pope decided to trace an imaginary line for the english/spanish disputes and gave everything for the North to the English and everything for the south to the spanish. Brazil became portuguese, by chance, because their ship was set to go to China and when they decided to take another road, they landed on the future Rio de Janeiro.

More later, perhaps.

steven rix said...

Another thing: in the South of the USA people picked up cotton in the fields until the 80s, yes, 1980!

steven rix said...

PS: the sugar plantations started around 1640 exactly. It's a very important date, because this period had already started with the colonizations. In Europe, it is the demand of sugar, that switched from the rich to the poor, that boosted slavery, particularly with one ideal spot in the Carribeans. The Dutch dominated the slave trade during this frametime, then the french took over in 1664 (they were buying slaves from Portugal at this time).

John Locke - prestigious philosopher - was also an investor in an english slaves' company, and it's during this period that "free trade" in slaves started between different countries, and the slave trade culminated to a major activity around the 1680s (it was representing up to 80% of their incomes) with a big demand in the British North America, and the french had already an ugly futuristic vision of the European Union when they instaured a "European common market im slaves" in the 1700s. I still don't know the exact number of slaves that were traded. I heard around hundreds of thousands in the US but I am not convinced by this number. Anyone got an idea on the exact number? Internationally it's been millions of them.

PS2: the 1st country that abolished slavery was France, until it was restored under the asshole of Napoleon.

PS3: I have nothing to say on Karl Marx. I'll only notice that the colonizations that took place during the XVIIth century left Germany behind among the "great" european nations (they also call them "leaders") until Hitler decided to change the future of Germany. Thus, these are the european colonizations in the rest of the world that pushed Germany to go ahead of the international scene in the 30s. What we usually call "prestige" anytime in history always turns into a nitemare.

PS4: Morrocco owned white slaves from Europe during the XVIIth century. It means that slaves and every type of slaves are the representation of the color of skin. Every people in their own skin think they are better than other people of a different color of skin, and I don't think we'll ever be able to get rid of racism on this planet. In the US I do feel racial tensions, and in some States until this very day I'm horribly disappointed to see that some people are treated like shit because they have a different color of skin.
As my african-american friend Stan told me one day: "The american dream belongs to the 1st person that will screw up the others".

PS5: all people are born equal in rights, but some people are more equal in rights than others until these days, and it pisses me off. If only I could punch these guys in the nose...

Vive la revolution

Ok that's all for today.

steven rix said...

The damages sought were in dollars that were to be time valued, so that each dollar that should have been paid to a slave would now be worth over $400,000. There was criticism that such damages would be difficult to prove and that identifying descendants would pose hurdles. The suit against the New York Life Insurance Company, called the Nautilus Insurance Company before the Civil War, involved its practice of insuring the lives of slaves. One Virginia slave owner paid a premium of $5.81 to insure the life of a slave for $412, which would be worth about $8,800 today. Large newspapers were accused of having published advertisements for return of escaped slaves. FleetBoston, which traces its beginnings to Providence Bank, which was chartered in 1791, was under attack because it had been controlled by a slave trader, John Brown, at the time it was founded. Lehman Brothers was charged with having been started by family members who owned slaves. Brown Brothers was accused of making loans to plantation owners and executing judgments against slaves and other assets when loans were defaulted. Various railroads were accused of using slave labor to build their roadbeds. Westpoint Stevens, a textile maker, was claimed to have made rough clothing purchased by slave owners for their slaves. A federal judge in Chicago dismissed the reparations claims.
@ page 533 in "a financial History of modern US Corporates Scandal".

Many major actual US financial companies had ties with the slaves trade. I think we should start boycotting them. Also we have a movement in the US called the Black Panthers v2.0 in case you have problems with the legal US justice system (justice is only blind from one eye). I know there are very active in Houston area, quite different from the 60s movement.

NB: Karl Marx hasn't been liberated yet ;) I just don't know what to say about this letter. That was an imaginary letter I think. Karl Marx was literally obsessed with revolutions but he never felt any revolution in the black community in the US, so instead of that, since his judgements were based on equality he came up with this letter, and it was absolutely normal in the european thought because most european countries had already given up on the slaves' trade. It was even more normal in the german thought because Germany never thought about doing such a practice until Hitler's times.
During the colonization's times, no country really worried about the slaves, to the exception of one country that was Portugal. The Portuguese were more interested in developing the african countries unlike their european partners. It's a good characteristic about the Portuguese, although they represented a huge activity is the slaves' trade (I think the golden award goes to the Dutch first). For sure the portuguese society was very emancipated in the XVIIth century compared to other european countries, so the black community was able to elevate itself in countries such as Brazil, because interracial weddings were allowed only in the portuguese society. That was the only way to escape slavery or just running away. That's the only good thing, the rest is just pure nitemare, the West anyway still thinks in terms of black and white unfortunately.

Frank Partisan said...

THR: Lincoln made important decisions, more correctly than not.

Michael G: Lincoln read the letter. See FJ's comments.

Bob Feldman 68: Marx's analysis is quite good, if you consider your remark about earlier being impatient with Lincoln,

Politiques: After the Civil War, the slaves expropriated plantations. As part of Reconstruction, each freed slave, was promised '40 acres and a mule."

Eventually it transitioned into sharecropping. capitalism couldn't accept equality, and Jim Crow was created.

steven rix said...

Read the book called "capitalism and slavery" from Eric Williams who analysed the links between the "Transatlantic Slave Agreement" (I would call it NASTA). It is indirectly the explosion of slavery that contributed to the industrial revolution in England in London, Liverpool and Bristol.
Until this very day, there has not been an apology whatsoever for England because they just don't want to deal with their ancestors. They did it in the USA and France.
Blame the Dutch, the whole idea came from them, then the whole village idiots from Europe followed so that they can make money.

Foxessa said...

Ren -- My take on Jefferson as prez is all right there in The World That Made New Orleans; since that book went to press though, my opinion of Jefferson as prez has fallen even further. All the positive parts of his career were accomplished during the Revolutionary era. He was a disaster, actually, as president, particularly in his determination to expand slavery via every bit of new territory he could manage to annex, buy, conquer, etc.

Scholars tend to agree that:

[ Most plantations were owner-operated and the planters themselves often worked in the fields. Of the total southern white population of 8,099,760 in 1860, only 384,000 owned slaves. Of these, 10,780 owned fifty or more. It was calculated that about 88 per cent of America's slave-owners owned twenty slaves or less. ]

The number of slaveowners who owned a hundred or more slaves, and in whose hands most of the wealth of the Confederacy was concentrated, was no larger than a thousand.

Yet they got all those other millions to go to war to preserve their way of life.

Correction to a poster above who stated the average life span of a sugar plantation slave in the Caribbean or Brasil was 7 years -- it was about 10. And their nutrition was far less than the miserable stuff available to slaves in North America, and there were more slave women in North America, whereas, especially in the first 100 years, the Caribbean and Latin American sugar latifundias had baracoons of male slaves, but no women -- thus, between the lack of nutrition and women, their slave populations were not able to grow indigenously, as they did in North America. It was cheaper to replace a slave every ten years than to feed him and allow him to reproduce 'useless' mouths.

Love, C.

Anonymous said...

Fear not Comrades, our long struggle is almost complete. We simply need put all our efforts into this one last push, and victory will be ours.

Long live the revolutionary vanguard and progressive elements of the Democratic Party!

Frank Partisan said...

Barry: I saw your blog. I never saw anyone troll their own blog as you do.

Foxessa: I knew your reply would be interesting. I'm glad you replied, because I was really interested.

Politiques: Has the UK ever apologized for anything in its history?

I wouls like to see you post at your blog, about your method for researching a topic.

Anonymous said...

Fortunately, we no longer have need for crypto-revolutionaries. The real thing is just round the corner. Then we'll see just how much you've managed to really learn, and how much was just smoke.

K. said...

This is a wonderful piece of history, Ren. When the Army of Northern Virginia advanced into Pennsylvania in 1863, the rank-and-file soldiers were stunned by the prosperity wrought by free labor. I've always wondered what messages they took back to the South with them after Gettysburg.

Re presidents, don't forget about Washington. He rejected a kingship, possibly the best and most critical decision by any of our presidents. It enabled a peaceful transfer of power outside of a hereditary line for the first time in modern Western history.

steven rix said...

I would like to see you post at your blog, about your method for researching a topic
2 months ago I gave you the title of a good book to read and it is called "from slavery to citizenship". You'll find some of the facts in this book, but not all of them. For example the life's expectation in the sugar's plantations of the Carribean comes from the dutch statistics, and people in Europe say the life's expectancy was 7 years (source BBC in the 90s), I'm sure 100%. Either way, 7 or 10 years, it's a very low number.

I'm not working lately, so I spend my time reading. I don't know how long it will last, because I have to pay my bills ($2000 a month); that said I am lucky not to work for the capitalist system. I experienced it, with US corporations, and I just don't understand why they allow these companies to do business. They are a bunch of thieves.
So I have to keep myself busy, and I have to look at the Universe to understand the meaning of life. "One day we'll all die, and we are lucky to die, because we know we were born. The only ones who don't die are the ones that were never born (Richard Dawkins)".
The human being has to learn from his experience and other people's, learning is a good way to accept our mortality.

Frank Partisan said...

K: Washington's role is contradictory. He was atleast smart enough, to allow better generals, to plan strategy.

Barry: You're over my head.

Politiques: Learning or God is how we accept our mortality. I would add artistic legacy.

steven rix said...

Learning of God is how we accept our mortality
It's unfortunately very true, we all know we are going to die, and it's one of the driving force of religion. Personally I don't have this thought, I think that we have to learn as much as possible in life to feel comfortable the day we'll die, and it does not disable me not to read theology books to look for imaginary answers. IMO this is the purpose and meaning of life that should excite us, I don't see any kind of morality in believing in God in a realistic way, maybe it's a placebo medication to make you feel happy in life, but once you're gone, there is nothing on the other side.
That said I do believe the US has been on the wrong track since the 60s in the religion field ("In God we trust").

Foxessa said...

Washington remains one of the very few that I consider a hero. He's also mysterious.

I don't think there's another historical figure who 'won' a land via military means and who then voluntarily left public life. One reason for this may well have been that he was sensitive and intelligent enough to know that generally speaking, militarily, he wasn't very good. He did, after all, in a colossally consequential moment of bad judgment, start what we call in this country, the French and Indian War. He fired the first shot. He also lost every battle he fought long into the War for Independence. He also wasn't able to take the final redoubt (outside of NY), Richmond. He had no knowledge of all as to siege techniques, and certainly not the equipment for it. The French navy, as the French one way another kept him going (Jefferson and Franklin!), took Richmond for him, and he was wise enough to know this. Nor by any document I've ever looked at, did he resent it. He's a truly interesting person.

Love, C.

K. said...

Washington discovered early on when he failed to hold New York that the Continental Army could not successfully engage British regulars in a set-piece battle. He did grasp the strategic importance of holding the army together, though, which brought on his engage-and-retreat tactics. His also understood, which the British really never did, how to take advantage of the sheer size of the colonies. The British could chase him forever; so long as the army existed, they couldn't win militarily. That last part sounds familiar.

Frank Partisan said...

This post has had a good discussion. I believe I'll do a Tom Paine post soon.

steven rix said...

I believe I'll do a Tom Paine post soon
Please do.

Larry Gambone said...

Once again the Farmer shows his ignorance of history. He calls the First international "A bunch of commies". Not at all true. The group around Marx were only a minority of the organization. Most members of the FI were simple trade unionists, liberal nationalists, mutualist anarchists and Lassalean social democrats.

Nicholas said...

Thanks Ren! This is one of the best of the letters. Almost as good as the letter "Marx to Meyer and Vogt” in Letters to Americans (New York, 1953) p. 78. I'll post it if I can find the full text on MIA. But I'm sure you know this one.

Rob said...

The South's economy in the 19th century (prior to the end of the Civil War) depended on free market-based plantations and farming industry, which the Southers does not believe the federal government or its big industrial allies should have any say over its economy. The North depends on industrial capacities, mass production and the emerging growth of the railroad industry, many had ties to the federal government for lucrative government contracts and territorial holdings in the West.

That is why the Civil War was known, from the Southern perspective, as the war for "Southern independence" against "Northern aggression" and it had nothing to do with the emancipating slaves or ending class struggle. The southern states' secession from the Union had an entirely justifiable basis: they were following the 10th Amendment of the US Constitution to the letter. In a nutshell, they don't like to be scolded and dictated by the big, overbearing Federal gov't.

Unfortunately, history has been written and revised by the victors as they see fit, de-legitimizing the losers' valid and sounded arguments.

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