Debunking the Civil War Tariff Myth

aliberalthinker:

Another great article debunking the myth of tariffs having caused the civil war. I recommend you check it out.

Originally posted on Imperial & Global Forum:

tornintwo

Marc-William Palen
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

The outbreak of the American Civil War is now more than 150 years past. All the while, the question of what caused the conflict continues to spark disagreement, this despite a longstanding consensus among specialists that slavery – a cultural, political, ideological, and economic institution that permeated (and divided) mid-19th-century American society – was the primary cause of the war. One of the most egregious of the so-called Lost Cause narratives instead suggests that it was not slavery, but a protective tariff that sparked the Civil War.

On 2 March 1861, the Morrill Tariff was signed into law by outgoing Democratic President James Buchanan to protect northern infant industries. A pernicious lie quickly formed around the tariff’s passage, a lie suggesting that somehow this tariff had caused the US Civil War. By ignoring slavery’s central role in precipitating secession and Civil War, this tariff myth has survived in…

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Reminding Confederate Revisionists about the facts of the civil war part 2

Fact 2# Tariffs had little to do with Confederate secession

This is a common misconception about the civil war. This is not to say that tariffs and taxes were not cited as a grievance at all, infact taxes were mentioned on occasion as one of reasons by secessionists. It was mentioned once in the South Carolina declaration of immediate causes, but there is very little evidence to demonstrate that it caused the civil war. The argument is, secession at core was motivated by the tariff issue, and these is very little evidence to support this. It is understandable why some would like to make the tariff issue the main cause for secession. One obvious reason is that it is viewed as a noble reason to secede given it’s about taxes. It appeals to a conservative audience, the main political position of political revisionists. Another obvious reason is that it takes away the (often awkward) requirement of civil war revisionists to defend the institution of slavery in the south. Regardless. there is very little evidence to point to the tariff matter as being the straw that broke the camels back.

Linking the 1828 Nullification Crises to the civil war

Where do we start? Well we can start with the Tariff of 1828 which involved a protective tariff passed by the United States congress. This protective tariff, while it benefitted many Northern states, cost many of the Southern states whom had relied heavily on the importation and international trade of their industries. The Tariff of 1828 lead to a number of objections by southern delegates and the eventual nullification crises that lead to one of those States, South Carolina, threatening to seceed. The thing is that the nullification crises actually ended in 1833 after negotiations were made to modify the tariff law to the satisfaction of South Carolinian representitives.

The nullification crises did not happen during the civil war, the events of the nullification crises occured close to 30 years prior to the events of the civil war and were resolved well before those events.

Fort Sumter was not a tariff collections port

(Courtesy of a post from the Civil war forums)

There is a historical myth circulating on the internet that Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor was a “tax collection fort” and thus the first shots of the Civil War fired in April 1861 were somehow connected to the newly enacted Morrill Tariff.

First of all, Fort Sumter had nothing to do with “tax collection.” The fort had been constructed for coastal defense following the War of 1812, a conflict which saw the city of Washington burned and Baltimore shelled by a British fleet.

And the conflict over Fort Sumter which culminated in April 1861 actually began the previous December, months before the Morrill Tariff became law.

The commander of the federal garrison in Charleston, feeling threatened by the secessionist fever overtaking the city, moved his troops to Fort Sumter on the day after Christmas 1860. Up to that point the fort was essentially deserted. It was certainly not a “tax collection fort.”

The Morrill Tariff

Civil war revisionists often point to the Morrill Tariff as evidence that the tariff issue was the core cause for secession. What was the Morrill Tariff? The Morrill Tariff was a law adopted on March 2nd 1961 which increased the tariff in the United States. The issue with pointing to the Morrill Tariff as the cause for Confederate secession is obvious. The Morrill Act was passed on March 2nd 1861, nearly 4 months following secession of the first states. Ironically the only reason it managed to pass was because of the absence of Southern Democratic representitives in congress at the time due to, wait for it, secession.

You will find that revisionist will often point to the Morrill Tariff having passed congress in 1859 as evidence that the tariff issue sparked secession in the following year, 1860. The problem with this is that the bill that passed congress in 1859, which was eventually vetoed by the then Democratic president James Buchanan, had nothing to do with the tariff. The Morrill Act was a bill related to the funding of colleges:

Morrill decided to introduce a bill on his and Turner’s idea. The bill passed Congress, but President Buchanan vetoed the bill on February 26, 1859. Buchanan said that the colleges would be unsuccessful and that agriculture and mechanics were not college degree fields. Although disappointed, Morrill did not stop. He changed the bill only slightly and presented it to Congress for a second time. Finally, on July 2, 1862, President Lincoln, who had been influenced by Turner while still in Springfield, signed the legislation. It declared that states would receive special land paid for by the federal government to construct a state college. This college was mainly to teach agriculture and mechanics. As the years went by many colleges went on to develop many other fields, which in the long run have helped our country grow and prosper (4).

So you see, the Morril Tariff on 1862 had nothing to do with the Morrill act of 1859 which was vetoed anyway by president Buchanan.

So no, there is very little evidence which supports the argument the Morril Tariff caused secession.

Tariffs were at their lowest levels prior to Confederate secession

The final nail to this myth and that’s the Tariff rate leading up to the civil war. Tariffs were at their lowest rates in decades leading up to the civil and this was thanks to the Tariff Act of 1857:

The Tariff of 1857 was a major tax reduction in the United States. It created a mid-century low point for tariffs. It amended the Walker Tariff of 1846 by lowering tax rates around 17 percent (5).

Fact 3# Anthony Johnson, a black man, was not responsible for bringing about the institution of slavery to America.

This is a relatively new argument brought up by revisionists in regards to slavery. The argument goes that the first person to legally own slaves was a black man by the name of Anthony Johnson in the 17th century. There are a number of reasons why revisionists will argue this in a debate surrounding the civil war. Part of the motivation is to show that slavery wasn’t necessarily rooted in racism as ‘the blacks’ did it too. Another motivation for bringing this up is to put blame on ‘the blacks’ ath the time for causing slavery itself. It’s obviously meant to derail any argument that slavery itself was the main motivation for the secession of the Confederacy. As with many arguments from revisionists, it holds little water.

Who was Anthony Johnson? Anthony Johnson was an african, an Angolan to be exact, held as an indentured servant in the colony of Virginia in 1621. He achieved freedom after 7 years of fulfilling his contract and was legally recognized as a ‘free negro where he went on to run a successful farm. Anthony Johnson himself purchased another black indentured servant from another owner but there was a dispute in regards to whether he legally owned that person and this lead to the Casor suit:

Johnson ultimately won the case, and not only did he get his servant back, but Casor became Johnson’s slave for life as Johnson had said he was. This officially made Johnson the first legal slave owner in the colonies that would eventually become the United States. (There were other slaves before this, just not ones that were legal in the British colonies under common law) (6).

This lawsuit happened in 1654 and while it was a significant point in history for the institution of slavery in America, it didn’t bring about legalization of the institution. Slavery was already legally recognized in the colonies prior to this lawsuit:

In 1641, Massachusetts became the first colony to legally recognize slavery. Other states, such as Virginia, followed. In 1662, Virginia decided all children born in the colony to a slave mother would be enslaved. Slavery was not only a life-long condition; now it could be passed, like skin color, from generation to generation(7).

There is uncertainty as to when the first slaves exactly arrived on American soil. However there is plenty of evidence pointing to legal slave ownership well before the Casor suit in Virginia:

Massachusetts was the first slave-holding colony in New England, though the exact beginning of black slavery in what became Massachusetts cannot be dated exactly. Slavery there is said to have predated the settlement of Massachusetts Bay colony in 1629, and circumstantial evidence gives a date of 1624-1629 for the first slaves. “Samuel Maverick, apparently New England’s first slaveholder, arrived in Massachusetts in 1624[/quote] (8).

So no, Anthony Johnson did not bring about legalized slavery in the United States. It’s also highly questionable to argue he was the first legal slave holder in the United States as well considering there were other accounts of legal slave ownership that predates the Casor case. Namely Samuel Maverick, a colonist, whom purchased black slaves in 1638 in Massachusetts, the first state to legalize it 3 years after.

References

(1) http://www.ucs.louisiana.edu/~ras2777/amgov/davis2.html
(2) http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/jdmess.html
(3) http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/military/jan-june11/civilwar_04-12.html
(4) http://www.lib.niu.edu/2001/ihy010240.html
(5) http://www.monacorarecoins.com/rare-coin-articles/panic-of-1857-tariff-act-of-1857/
(6) http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2013/08/the-first-legal-slave-owner-in-what-would-become-the-united-states-was-a-black-man/
(7) http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part1/1narr3.html
(8) http://slavenorth.com/massachusetts.htm

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Making sense of the gun debate: The numbers


Another day and another gun massacre in the United states. On May 23rd 2014 we saw a gun massacre occur in Santa Barbara California, another one added to the long lists of massacres. We saw another sympathetic speech from the president over the issue, another gun debate on the mainstream media, another hysterical warning that the government was going to take guns away from rightwing conspiracy theorists. It all seems like a never ending cycle of gun violence in the U.S and a never ending debate to boot and it seems like every man and his dog is coming out with ‘the answer’ to the matter. I’ve followed the gun debate since the Columbine shooting back in 1999 and over the years I have tried to make sense of the matter. It is difficult however to get around to understanding the gun issue as a whole as it is a complex issue that stems back to the founding days of the United States. It is an issue that spans a number of other issues, it spans ideologies and national culture. It is difficult for me to fit the entire gun debate into one article so in this one I will start off with mostly the statistics of it all.

 

The stats: Guns in the United States
First off let’s look at the statistics of guns and gun violence in the United States against the rest of world. As of April 2013 there were approximately 88.8 firearms to every 100 persons in the United States (1) compared to Switzerland and Finland which come up at just over 45 firearms to every 100 persons (1). The United States is well ahead of the rest of the world for firearm related deaths where there are 10.2 incidences per 100,000 in the United States in comparison to 3.84 incidences in Switzerland which comes in second. More americans have died at the hands of guns on U.S soil than all the wars since 1968 (2). In 2011, the latest piece of data I could find on this, 8,583 americans were murdered by use of guns, this takes 67.7% of weapons used in murders (3) in the United States. In comparison, death by cutting or stabbing (involving knives) amounted to 1,694 or 13.3% of all murders in the United States as of 2011 (3). So it is a matter of fact that guns are the main instrument of murder used in the United States, it by far outweighs the use of other tools to commit murder. It’s also evident that the United States seems to have more of a problem with gun related crimes in comparison to the rest of the world, the stats clearly indicate so.

 

Gun access
Let’s start with one sobering reality, gun numbers. In 2012 the congressional Research service found that there were 310 million non-military firearms in the United States (4). That’s about a gun to every single person in the United States from new borns to elderly. Add to that the fact that it is fairly easy to legally get access to a gun in many states in the United States. We can compare this to India which has the second largest number of non-military owned firearms, 46 million (7) and what’s more, they have 1.2 billion people sp per capita, it is about a fraction that of the United States. In Alaska for example a permit is not required to purchase a gun (5) and Arizona takes this a step further by not requiring a permit to carry one in public provided you’re 21 or over (5). In many of the States that do require permits to carry weapons, getting them are relatively easy and what’s more in Utah for example, by getting a gun permit there you can use your permit in 32 other states (6).
Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the pair responsible for the heinous act committed at Columbine Highschool in 1999 were both underaged (under 18) to acquire the arms used in the shootings. However they were able to get a friend (former prom date of Dylan Klebold) who was 18 years old at the time was able to purchase the weapons for them instead (8). Seung-Hui Cho, responsible for the Virginia Tech massacre, was able to acquire his weapons from a pawnbroker and a gun dealer despite his history of mental illness (9). Cho apparently had to go through backround checks to acquire these weapons (10) however these backround checks did not include the fact a Virginia Court ordered him to undergo treatment at a mental facility. Cho however was obligated to mention this in the backround questionnaire but did not do so.

 

Gun fluidity

Gun proponents have argued the futility of tough gun laws and have pointed to this as evidence that tighter gun control is not the answer. They further argue that because gun laws have done little to change the mass shootings that have occured over the years and that this is indicative of their argument that the issue has little to nothing to do with gun accessibility. Firstly the gun proponents are correct in the argument that gun laws have done little to prevent the occurence of mass shootings over the years. Connecticut is one such example where the Sunnyhook shootings took place. It has been rated as having one of the toughest gun laws in the United States by the pro-gun control Brady campaign (11). California has been rated as number one for tough gun control laws in the United States (12) yet we had the more recent Santa Barbara shooting occur. While I give gun proponents a fact check approval on that argument, it’s important to understand the context behind why these laws have not been effective.
In a country like the United States with some 300 million guns within it’s borders alone, it is very hard for any state to prevent the flow of weapons coming in and out. The same could be said for cities and counties. Chicago is a city well known for its restrictive gun laws yet more gun were seized for unpermitted use there than New York and Los Angeles (13). Gun violence in Chicago is higher than most other cities. So given this fact, why has Chicago struggled more so with gun violence than many other cities despite it’s restrictive gun laws? Well as a concerned Chicago christian minister, Reverend Ira Icree, put it to the New York times:

“Chicago is like a house with two parents that may try to have good rules and do what they can, but it’s like you’ve got this single house sitting on a whole block where there’s anarchy,” (13)

In 2013 Chicago police recovered some 50,000 guns from various crime scenes and criminals and of that number 15,000 were traced outside of Illinois state lines (14). In 2012 in New York about 9,000 guns were recovered and seized by New York police. Only a fraction of that number, 1,595 guns, were traced within New York State lines (15). That’s about 80% of guns having originated from outside New York state borders used in crime. In 2011 that figure was higher in New York where approximately 90% of guns used in crimes were traced out of State (16). Putting aside the reality that gun flow is relatively free and unopposed in the United States regardless of State, even the most restrictive State laws do little to hinder gun access in my analysis of ‘gun access’. Despite California’s tough gun law Elliot Rodgers, the shooter in the recent Isla Vista massacre, was still able to purchase a number of handguns in California. Despite his mental history Elliot was still able to pass through California background checks, the fact he didn’t have a criminal history was not a factor at all (17).

“Even a diagnosis of serious mental illness, in itself, would not have prevented Rodger from buying a gun under California law, said Lindsay Nichols, staff attorney with the advocacy group Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.” (17)

So even the so called toughest of gun laws have not been tough enough in preventing the mass shootings that have occured.
To be continued.
References:

(1) http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2013/09/19/u-s-has-more-guns-and-gun-deaths-than-any-other-country-study-finds/
(2) http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2013/jan/18/mark-shields/pbs-commentator-mark-shields-says-more-killed-guns/
(3) http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0004888.html
(4) Congressional Research Service, Krouse, W (November 14, 2012), Gun Control Legislation. pp 8 http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL32842.pdf
(5) http://weapons.about.com/od/gunlaws/tp/top-gun-friendly-states.htm
(6) http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/57214669-90/utah-permits-permit-gun.html.csp
(7) http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2012/jul/22/gun-homicides-ownership-world-list
(8) http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=93525
(9) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/17/AR2007041701885.html
(10) http://www.cbsnews.com/news/gunmans-background-check-came-back-clean/
(11) http://www.eveningsun.com/politics-national/2012/12/connecticut-gun-laws-among-the-toughest-in-the-u-s/
(12) http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-pc-california-has-toughest-gun-laws-in-country-study-finds-20131209-story.html
(13) http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/30/us/strict-chicago-gun-laws-cant-stem-fatal-shots.html?pagewanted=all
(14) http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/01/29/us/where-50000-guns-in-chicago-came-from.html
(15) http://www.thenewyorkworld.com/2012/08/01/virginia-remains-top-gun-source/
(16) http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/out-of-state-guns-ny-gun-crimes-article-1.1414139
(17) http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-isla-vista-suspect-bought-guns-despite-mental-health-problems-20140526-story.html

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I’m back

So I’ve been busy for the past year or so… a lot of changes in my life. Regardless, I’ve found time and interest once again to resume my posts. I plan on posting a few new articles so stay tuned!

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Reminding revisionists about the facts of the civil war, part 1

Fact 1# Slavery was the core cause of the American civil war.

The reason for Confederate secession has been a source of much heated debate surrounding the American civil war over the years. It seems to be obvious to any objective historian researching this matter over what that motivation really was, but to many others, there are different reasons. To put it straight, the core grievence for Confederate secession surrounded that of the institution of Slavery. While the preservation of “States rights” is the term used by many to explain the motivation for secession of the Confederate States, that “States right” in question goes right back to the institution of Slavery.

So the question then becomes, how do we know that Slavery was the core reason for Southern secession? Well let’s go back in time and ask those very same people who pushed for secession from the Union in the first place. A great place to start is with the ordinances of secession and Declaration of immediate causes from those States whom declared secession between 1860-1861:

Texas ordinances of secession on February 2nd, 1861:

Texas abandoned her separate national existence and consented to become one of the Confederated States to promote her welfare, insure domestic tranquillity and secure more substantially the blessings of peace and liberty to her people. She was received into the confederacy with her own constitution under the guarantee of the federal constitution and the compact of annexation, that she should enjoy these blessings. She was received as a commonwealth holding, maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery–the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits–a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time
http://www.lsjunction.com/docs/secesson.htm

South Carolina declaration of immediate causes, December 24th, 1860:

The General Government, as the common agent, passed laws to carry into effect these stipulations of the States. For many years these laws were executed. But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery, has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the General Government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution.

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/csa_scarsec.asp

Mississippi declaration of immediate causes:

Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth.
http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/csa_missec.asp
Note that slavery and/or slaves are mentioned first as a grievence for secession and mentioned a total of 7 times. “Non-slaveholding States” are mentioned a total of 7 times . Tariffs are mentioned a total of “0” times and “taxes” are mentioned a total of “0” times.”Black race” is mentioned once.

Georgia declaration of immediate causes, 29th January 1861

The people of Georgia having dissolved their political connection with the Government of the United States of America, present to their confederates and the world the causes which have led to the separation. For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery.

http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/reasons.html#Georgia

Alabama ordinance to dissolve the Union, 11th January 1861

Be it further declared and ordained by the people of the State of Alabama in Convention assembled, That all powers over the Territory of said State, and over the people thereof, heretofore delegated to the Government of the United States of America, be and they are hereby withdrawn from said Government, and are hereby resumed and vested in the people of the State of Alabama. And as it is the desire and purpose of the people of Alabama to meet the slaveholding States of the South,
http://www.civil-war.net/pages/ordinances_secession.asp

Below is a letter sent by Alabama Commissioner, Stephen Hale, directed toward the then Kentucky Governor Beriah Magoffin, 27th December, 1860, concerning the stance of the CSA In the civil war:

“Upon the principles then announced by Mr. Lincoln and his leading friends, we are bound to expect his administration to be conducted. Hence it is, that in high places, among the Republican party, the election of Mr. Lincoln is hailed, not simply as a change of Administration, but as the inauguration of new principles, and a new theory of Government, and even as the downfall of slavery. Therefore it is that the election of Mr. Lincoln cannot be regarded otherwise than a solemn declaration, on the part of a great majority of the Northern people, of hostility to the South, her property and her institutions — nothing less than an open declaration of war”

http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=1959

So what about Florida, Louisiana, Virgina, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee?

They don’t mention slavery in either of their ordinances or immediate causes? Well the fact of the matter is that not every Confederate State came up with their own declaration of immediate causes. Some Confederate States used declarations of Immediate causes and ordinances to voice out their grievences while others merely allowed their delegations to speak about those grievances among their State legislators. We can only refer to the comments and accounts of and from the governors and the southern representitives of those States at that time on how they viewed what the motivation for secession was:
Louisiana Governor Thomas Moore, 1860-1864:

“I do not think it comports with the honor and respect of Louisiana, as a slaveholding state, to live under the government of a black Republican”

http://www.knowla.org/entry.php?rec=937
Florida Governor Madison Starke Perry, 1857-1861

“A President has recently been elected, an obscure and illiterate man without experience in public affairs or any general reputation mainly if not exclusively on account of a settled and often proclaimed hostility to our institutions and a fixed purpose to abolish them. It is denied that it is the purpose of the party soon to enter into the possession of the powers of the Federal Government to abolish slavery by any direct legislative act. This has never been charged by any one. But it has been announced by all the leading men and presses of the party that the ultimate accomplishment of this result is its settled purpose and great central principle.”

http://civilwarcauses.org/florida-dec.htm
Virginia Governor John Letcher, 1861-1865

“The Northern States must strike from their statute books their personal liberty bills, and fulfill their consitutional obligations in regard to fugitive slaves and fugitives from justice. If our slaves escape into non-slaveholding states, they must be delivered up”

http://civilwarcauses.org/letcher.htm
North Carolina Governor John Ellis, 1859-1861

“Such, gentlemen, are the parties to the contest. The issue between them should be clearly understood, especially here at the South. I assert, and shall maintain it with the proofs, that this issue is, whether African slavery shall be abolished here in the States, where it now exists? Let us not be deceived upon this point. Men may talk about our rights in the territories, but depend upon it they are not the questions now in issue. The abolition of slavery here at home is the design of our opponents. This is the bond that cements all the anti-slavery elements in one solid column against us.”

http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/ellis/ellis.html

Arkansas Governor Henry Rector, 1860-1862

“Is it to be the Union without slavery,” he asked, “or slavery without the Union?”
“In answer to your requisition for troops from Arkansas to subjugate the Southern States, I have to that none will be furnished. The demand is only adding insult to injury. The people of this commonwealth are freemen, not slaves, and will defend, to the last extremity, their honor, lives and property against Northern mendacity and usurpation.”

http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=marcwheat&id=I04885
http://www.oldstatehouse.com/exhibits/virtual/governors/civil_war_and_reconstruction/rector4.aspx

Tennessee Governor Isham Harris, 1857-1862 7th January, 1861

“The systematic, wanton, and long continued agitation of the slavery question, with the actual and threatened aggressions of the Northern States and a portion of their people, upon the well-defined constitutional rights of the Southern citizen; the rapid growth and increase, in all the elements of power, of a purely sectional party, whose bond of union is uncompromising hostility to the rights and institutions of the fifteen Southern States, have produced a crisis in the affairs of the country, unparalleled in the history of the past, resulting already in the withdrawal from the Confederacy of one of the sovereignties which composed it”

http://americancivilwar.com/documents/isham_harris.html

What about the president of the Confederate States of America?

In 1861, Jefferson Davis, prior to assuming the role of president for the future Confederacy, made a farewell speech in front of the senate chamber on the 21st of January 1861. In that speech he made it clear that the motivation for secession was based on what he viewed as an attack on Southern Social institutions. Jefferson then narrowed down that specific social institution that was under attack by stating that:

‘our Constitution was formed, the same idea was rendered more palpable, for there we find provision made for that very class of persons as property; they were not put upon the footing of equality with white men’ (1).

Just over 4 months after making that speech, by that time as president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis again made it clear what the civil war was about and what the motivation of Southern secession was about:

‘In twelve out of the thirteen States negro slavery existed, and the right of property in slaves was protected by law. This property was recognized in the Constitution, and provision was made against its loss by the escape of the slave’ (2).

So Jefferson made his view rather clear on what the core motivation for secession was.
Accusations against Lincoln and the Republicans of an abolitionist plot.

Even prior to the civil war, southern governors and representitives accused Lincoln and the Republican party of planning to enforce a Federal ban on slavery once they assume office. They warned that if Lincoln were to win the elections (which he eventually did) secession would be the only viable option given the abolishonist sentiment in that party:

The straw that broke the Southern camel’s back was the election of Abraham Lincoln, a Republican and avowed opponent of slavery who was supported by many vocal abolitionists. Fearful that the North, which was richer, more populous, and industrial, would even more insistently impose its will against them, the Southern states felt they had no recourse but to pull away from the Union and form their own nation.

http://www.netplaces.com/american-civil-war/causes-of-the-civil-war/secession.htm

Abraham Lincoln actually went on record prior to the elections stating that the institution of slavery would be preserved under his administration, however this could not quell the secessionist sentiment:

The Southern image of Lincoln began as a mere sectional stereotype, and Southern hostility to his presidential candidacy was largely impersonal. Secession, although undertaken in response to the outcome of the election of 1860, had nothing to do with the particular qualities and qualifications of the man elected. It was the “Black Republican party” that Southerners hated and feared, whoever might happen to be the party’s official leader.

http://quod.lib.umich.edu/j/jala/2629860.0004.103?rgn=main;view=fulltext
What do the Historians have to say?

The vast majority of historians agree that slavery was the core grievence for Southern secession. In 2011 on a panel discussion held by PBS with three Civil War historians, Drew Gilpin Faust, the president of Harvard University, Edna Medford from Howard University and professor Walter Edgar at the University of South Carolina, all three agreed that the civil war was sparked over the issue of Slavery (3).

‘historians are pretty united on the cause of the Civil War being slavery.

And the kind of research that historians have undertaken, especially in the years since the centennial, when there has been so much interest in this question of the role of race and slavery in the United States, that research has shown pretty decisively that, when the various states announced their plans for secession, they uniformly said that the main motivating factor was to defend slavery’

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/military/jan-june11/civilwar_04-12.html

Ralph Mann is an associate professor of history at the University of Colorado:

“The war was about slavery,” Mann says.

http://artsandsciences.colorado.edu/magazine/2011/08/historians-public-still-wrangling-over-civil-war/

Princeton professor James McPherson:

‘Everything stemmed from the slavery issue,’

David Blight of Yale:

‘No matter what we do or the overwhelming consensus among historians, out in the public mind, there is still this need to deny that slavery was the cause of the war.’

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2063869,00.html#ixzz2Ga5q2avc

So what can we conclude from all the evidence piled up above?

1. That slavery is clearly made the core grievence in the immediate causes of ordinances of secession.
2. That Southern Governors went on record both before and after the 1860 elections, citing slavery, and a fear of a black Republican party, as the core reason for secession. CSA president Andrew Jackson made slavery the key motivation as well.
3. That warnings were made of secession if Lincoln won the 1860 general elections due to his abolitionist support.
4. That the vast majority of historians have concluded that the cause of the American civil war was about the institution of slavery.

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Catching up with those Tea Party freshmen

 

Remember those Congressional freshman and veteran lawmakers who were endorsed by Tea Party groups? The ones who pledged to change Washington from the status quo and vote independently? Well what happened to them? This is a very good question, and one that should be answered 2 years following those 2010 midterm elections. First of all, let me explain who the Tea partiers are and what the Tea Party movement is for those of you not unfamiliar.

Tea Partiers are conservative political advocates who form the Tea Party Movement. The Tea Partiers distinguish themselves from those establishment Republicans and other politicians in the mainstream over the basis of their belief in fiscal responsibility and the upholding of the constitution. Tea partiers insisted that their movement is purely grassroots, that it is a non-cohesive movement of different people of all back rounds. Essentially Tea partiers market themselves in the same way that Barack Obama did in 2008, you know, about “change” and restoring American and all that jazz. Tea Partiers claim that they are purely concerned with small government, fiscal restraint and the restoration of the American constitution. The Tea party movement only really became a nationwide movement after the election of Barack Obama in 2009 on Tax day, April 15th. However the movement can be traced back to before Barack Obama was elected, however prior to that it was a movement restricted to that of the Ron Paul Campaign of 2008 (2). You also had many tea partiers insist that their movement was not about the fact that Obama and the Democrats won the elections in 2008, but that it is purely about restoring the country supposedly to what the Founders intended it to be. So when the 2010 midterm elections came about, one would have really expected the Tea Party movement to change the old guard of congress as they so insisted was their intentions. It didn’t turn out that way.

To start, Tea party groups only really mounted support and endorsed Republican candidates in 2010. Many of these candidates were freshman politicians coming into congress for the first time and others were veterans, incumbents, riding the tea party movement for re-election. A total of 130 politicians running for the House of representatives were endorsed by the tea parties, but in the end only 40 tea party candidates were able to successfully win in their elections (1), all of them were Republican. Out of 10 Tea party United States Senate candidates endorsed by the tea parties, only 5 ended up winning those election seats. So the question is, what differences have those Tea Party endorsed politicians made in congress since coming off the wheels of “change” and the “constitution” in 2010? Did they really bring any change to Washington DC or within the Republican Party itself? Well the internet is a wonderful piece of technology and there is ample information to show the voting records of these politicians.

It will take a long time to go through voting records on all the bills introduced through congress since the beginning of session in 2011. Instead I have chosen to focus on three controversial bills and how each of these Tea Party politicians had voted on them. I chose to focus on the National Defence Authorization Act because of the additional powers it granted to the Federal government to indefinitely detain suspected American citizens (3). I also focused on the Patriot Act extension, because this bill continued the powers given to the government earlier during the Bush administration, powers to ease drop on suspected American citizens without much need for a warrant. Lastly I decided to trace the voting records of these politicians on their positions concerning military aid to Israel.  Since 2001 the United States had spent more that $15 billion on military Aid to Israel (4), money that could have instead been spent on other costs concerning American citizens. There’s nothing fiscally responsible about sending billions of dollars to a country half way around the world for a military agenda, especially when that military agenda serves a country that does not abide by American law. So what did we find?

 TeaPartyPoliticians.png

Overall, Tea Party politicians consistently vote by party lines on these bills. In fact there were more establishment Republicans that broke from party lines on these policies than that of Tea Party endorsed Republicans. This is evident from the chart and in many of the other bills voted on since the first session of congress for 2011 (5). For example, looking at the chart itself, when it came to the extension of the Patriot act, a total of 27 Republicans broke off party lines to vote against it (the Patriot act was initially introduced and staunchly supported by the GOP). Only 8 of those who voted against its extension were Tea Party endorsed Republicans, 8 out of 27 Republicans.

Aside from the fact that these Tea Party lawmakers have evidently continued the status quo in Washington through their voting records, other issues further illustrate that they offer little change. 10 Tea Party freshman were found to have benefited a total of $169,499 in lobbying from Political action groups (6). The $169,499 from these Political Action groups was sourced from bailed out banks like JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, according to a report from the Financial Services Committee (6). According to the House of Representatives Statement of Disbursements, 7 Tea Party Freshman were recorded spending more than $100,000 on personal cars.  Considering that the average salary for congressman is that of $174,000 (7), one would have to question why tax payer money needed to be spent for personal vehicles?

But they’ll just be voted out again anyway? Right?

Not necessarily. It is a reality that every once in a while politicians will fall back on most of what they initially promised on. However in these cases we expect their constituents to take the appropriate actions and voice their concerns (provided they are genuinely dissatisfied with their representatives). This is not the same case for Tea Parties and Tea Party groups. The fact these lawmakers voted to continue the Patriot act, the NDAA, is of little concern to the vast majority of Tea partiers and Tea Party groups. Why would that be? Well the simple answer is that most Tea Partiers are not all that concerned with the size of government, but rather with the fact that the Democrats are in power, and that Barack Obama is still president.

There’s a reason why the Tea party movement did not start during the Bush administration when record spending occurred, when laws the likes of the Patriot act were introduced, where 1000’s of soldiers were killed off in an unjustified war. So long as Republicans supported religious teachings in school, so long as non-white peoples were targeted as terrorists in other countries, there was little concern from self described conservatives. Any “concern” for government spending and responsibility came about when the Democrats came in power and when it became a reality that either *gasp* Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama would become president. The Tea Party movement is an Astroturf campaign, it is a rebranding of the Republican Party. It is not a genuine movement and their lawmakers have no intention of bringing about true freedom and small government, as demonstrated by the examples above. The only things Tea Partiers are concerned about is as to how Barack Obama will be removed from the presidency, how the Democrats will be removed from power, and how prayer could be established in public schools. While there are a small minority of Tea Partiers out there were real concerns (I’ll credit some Ron Paul Supporters), the vast majority have purely partisan concerns as evident by their continued support of lawmakers who continue to vote the status quo.

Reference:

(1)    http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/11/03/5403120-just-32-of-tea-party-candidates-win

(2)    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2011/05/10/juan-williams-surprising-rise-rep-ron-paul/

(3)    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/jan/02/ndaa-historic-assault-american-liberty

(4)    http://www.worldpolicy.org/projects/arms/reports/israel.lebanon.FINAL2.pdf

(5)    http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr1540

(6)    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-30/tea-party-congressmen-accept-cash-from-bailed-out-bankers.html

(7)     http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/uscongress/a/congresspay.htm

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Is there a correlation between drilling permits and the cost of crude?

After searching various sources and comparing numbers, I’ve come up with a nifty chart showing the amount of drilling permits under president compared to the cost of crude oil.

I’ll let the readers intepret this data themselves, personally I don’t see much of a correlation between the increase of drilling permits and the cost of crude oil. There is some correlation but it is not all that solid in my personal opinion. Hopefully this chart will serve useful to any readers wishing use a reference of some sort:

Image

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