by Al Benson Jr.
Member, Board of Directors, Confederate Society of America
It has been over a decade now since Donnie Kennedy and I got the first edition of our book Lincoln’s Marxists published and over six years since the second edition was published by Pelican Publishing. Doesn’t really seem that long, but, then, time flies when you are having fun. Anyway, it has been long enough that I thought it might not hurt to do a little recap of some of what we covered because unless some things are repeated, folks tend to forget.
Given the far-Left tilt of much of our current House of Representatives we might be approaching the point where some will say “Well, communists and socialists supported Lincoln and the North? So what? It’s no different today.” Well, it is and it isn’t. The problem today is that so many of our younger generation have been “educated” in government schools that they don’t properly understand the true nature of communism. “Our” schools have taught them that socialism is a worthy goal where everyone shares equally in big slices of the American pie. Pardon my being so blunt, but that is a damned lie.” Socialism and communism have never worked that way except in the febrile minds of those professors that teach how great it is.
So I am going to go back and recover a little of our history that those professors would rather you were ignorant of.
Many today would be surprised to learn how deeply concerned Karl Marx was regarding the War of Northern Aggression. Marx was an avid supporter of the North in that revolution–yes, that’s right–I said the War of Northern Aggression was a revolution, a revolution that had overwhelming Leftist support.
And what better way to promote the agenda of the Leftists than to have one of their chief propagandists writing for one of the major establishment newspapers in the country before the war commenced? That’s exactly what happened. It should be common knowledge, if it isn’t, that Karl Marx was a regular contributor of articles to Horace Greeley’s paper, the New York Tribune. I can count on the fingers of one hand the history books I have even seen this mentioned in. And, with the exception of one, I have never seen a history book that told us that Horace Greeley was a utopian socialist. But he was. In the book Karl Marx–Biographical Memoirs by Wilhelm Liebknecht (Charles H. Kerr Co., 1904) the author stated: “For the New York Tribune he (Marx) wrote as a regular contributor a long series of brilliant articles on political conditions and economic questions…”
The book Friedrich Engels by Gustav Mayer (Alfred A. Knopf, 1936) amplified this even further. On page 143 Mayer stated: “It must have been a welcome stroke of good luck for Marx, when in 1851, the ‘New York Tribune” (through its managing editor, C. A. dana) offered him the post of regular correspondent.” The question should arise (but don’t wait for the “historians” to ask it) why should an American newspaper in 1851 be willing to hire this communist revolutionary to write articles for consumption by the American public? Take a look at Greeley’s background and you may begin to get a hint. Then take a look at Dana’s background and you will be doubly sure!
As the “Revolution of Northern Aggression” clamped its vice-grip on an unsuspecting American public, both North and South, Karl Marx and his sidekick, Friedrich Engels, literally panted for a Union victory. In Mayer’s book on Engels, a hint is subtly dropped for us as to the make-up of a significant part of the Union army at that period. Marx and Engels were both sorely distressed that it seemed to be taking the North so very long to get organized militarily.
But then Engels pointed out (and get this folks, don’t miss it) that “Had it not been for the experienced soldiers who had entered America after the European revolution (1848)–especially from Germany–the organization of the Union army would have taken still longer than it did.” Do you realize just what Engels is intimating here? The real backbone of the Union army just before the start of the War of Northern Aggression was, according to Engels, the 1848 socialist revolutionaries from Europe! If he was accurate, and if such is true, how come our so-called “history” books have never seen fit to mention this fact? Engels was saying that without the socialist revolutionaries from Europe, the North would not have gotten their military act together as quickly as they did.
Northern defeats disturbed Engels. He didn’t feel the North pressed toward its goal with sufficient “revolutionary energy.” At the same time he lamented the “deadly earnestness” of the South. He informed Marx in 1862 that until the North put on its “revolutionary colours” it would continue to be beaten. Marx blamed the North for attempting to carry on constitutionally a war that should have been waged in a revolutionary manner. And while Marx was more than a little bit off on the so-called “constitutionality” of the Northern war effort, he and Engels both viewed Lincoln’s “Emancipation Proclamation” as a truly revolutionary act. Although that action made them both deliriously happy, Engels continued to be pessimistic about the war’s outcome until Ulysses S. Grant became more prominent. Mayer did not inform his readers as to the reason Engels had such confidence in Grant, only that he did. But you have to wonder why. What did Engels know about Grant that no one else seemed to?
Two other socialist revolutionaries we mentioned in Lincoln’s Marxists were Carl Schurz and Franz Sigel. The conditions of their coming to America were very similar. Schurz ended up commanding a division under the radical Leftist abolitionist John Fremont, the so-called “pathfinder.” Actually, Fremont’s scout, Kit Carson did most of the pathfinding. And Schurz ended up in Sigel’s corps. So the two served in close proximity to one another.
After the War, Schurz was also a correspondent for the New York Tribune, as his acquaintance, Marx, had been before the War. Greeley’s newspaper could almost be said to have been a major drawing card for European revolutionaries.
And then there was Greeley’s managing editor, Charles A. Dana (a Leftist luminary if ever there was one), the man that hired Marx to write for the paper. He was fired by Greeley in 1862. Whereupon he was hired by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton as a “special investigating agent” whatever that meant. According to a little newspaper, The Councilor, published in Shreveport, Louisiana, the August 1979 issue stated: “It was Dana, the friend of Karl Marx, who urged placement of General Grant in supreme command of all armies in the field.” Why did these socialist revolutionaries want Grant so badly? Again, what did they know about him that we don’t?
Also, reading General George McClellan’s autobiography, we are told that a group of New York bankers wanted Edwin M. Stanton as Secretary of War instead of Simon Cameron. What did the New York bankers know about Stanton that our history books have forgotten to mention? By now interested readers should have begun to realize that our “Civil War” was never what the history books have told us it was.
The Union army was hardly the selfless body it has been portrayed as in the Unitarian “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” That’s not to say there were not good men in the Union army. There were good men in both armies, sincere men who believed in what they were doing. But, I have to ask, to what degree did the radicals and revolutionaries from Europe use the Union army as a vehicle for class struggle against a basically orthodox Christian South?