by Al Benson Jr.
Member, Board of Directors, Confederate Society of America
Years ago, in Hot Springs, Arkansas, I heard Professor Donald Livingston from Georgia give a speech in which he stated “Lincoln wanted a war.” Some who heard the speech may have been a bit shocked, but Dr. Livingston was right on the money. Lincoln did, indeed, want a war and he gave the country one in such a way as to make the South appear to be the aggressor. A master stroke on his part, but then he was devious, whereas most of the Southern politicians that had to try to deal with him were not.
Gene Kizer Jr. in his authoritative book Slavery Was Not the Cause of the War Between the States noted, on page 87, “Lincoln needed to start a war as fast as he could before Southerners completed trade and military alliances with England and other European countries, which they had been pursuing with great enthusiasm for months. With every second that went by the South got stronger and the North got weaker…He also worried about free states joining the South. The Confederate Constitution allowed it. Slavery was not required. Slavery was up to an individual state, and Southerners anticipated that many free states with economic ties to the South, especially along the Mississippi and in the West, would join the Confederacy.”
Kizer continued: “The South wanted to be Independent just as the colonists had wanted to be independent in 1776. The South wanted freedom and self-government. It was tired of 10 years of Northern hatred and terrorism…Lincoln knew that sending his warships and soldiers to Charleston during the most critical hour in American history would start the war. That’s why it was well publicized nationally, so everyone could get ready. He hoped the Confederates would fire first. Everything he did was designed to get the result.”
On page 223 he asked the rhetorical question “Could the Southerners be induced to attack Sumter, to assume the aggressive and thus put themselves in the wrong in the eyes of the North and of the world?” It would appear, from footnote 178 on page 223 that there were, indeed, some on the North, along with Lincoln, who hoped for just such an occurrence.
So the evidence begins to mount that it was really Lincoln and some of this political cronies that wanted a war, and not the South, even though they were conned into firing the first shot.
Just today, 6/29, I read a penetrating article by Professor Thomas DiLorenzo which dealt with the book A Disease in the Public Mind–A New Understanding of Why We Fought the Civil War, written by historian Thomas Fleming. Professor DiLorenzo noted in his article: “So, why was there a war, according to Thomas Fleming? First, there was an extreme ‘malevolent envy’ of Southerners by the New England ‘Yankees’ who believed they were God’s chosen people entitled to rule over not only America but the world. Today, such people would be called ‘neocons.’ Second, there were twenty-five or so wealthy and very influential New England abolitionists who had abandoned Christianity, condemned Jesus Christ, and adopted the mentally deranged murderer of innocents, John Brown, a self-described communist, as their ‘savior,’ funding his terroristic bloodbaths.” Brown killed all manner of people in Kansas as a protest against slaveowners. Most of those he killed owned no slaves, but Brown planned on leaving a message, so they died anyway.
DiLorenzo then notes the similarities between Brown and those who supported him and today’s leftist revolutionaries and their mode of operation. The similarities between the two are striking. The leftists in Brown’s day wanted to destabilize the South. Today’s lefties want to destabilize the Trump administration and drive Trump from office The agenda is pretty much the same in both cases.
Whether we could end up with another “civil war” over this is something that remains to be seen, but I am afraid it is not out of the question.