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Robert E. Lee

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Causes of the War

Before you read this section I suggest you read the quote section because I refer to it in this section as proof of what I am saying or to make my point. You may not agree with me, but that is one reason this country is so great. My sources and basis for conclusions also provide additional information since I have studied this subject since 1980.

Why does the South talk about the war. The North says that it is over, about 140 years ago, and they won, get over it. Well that is all true except for one thing. Remember Pearl Harbor, or the day Kennedy was shot, MLK, Oklahoma City bombing, or 9/11? That is what went on in the South almost daily during the war. The South had close to 4.5 million white people in 1860 and in 1870 about 3.9 million whites. The Afro-American population fell some but that may be to the movement west. Most Southerners who moved went to Texas and about 300 families went to South America. Therefore the South was not only empty shells of buildings, land left/abandoned, or a large number of graves as well. People don't forget things like that very quickly. In my family tree I have at least 3 direct and 4 indirect ancestors who wore gray, and a couple who wore blue. Of the 7 who wore gray 4 didn't come home. Not one of these 7 people had a slave! So, why were they fighting? The answer took me 25 years to find because it isn't written down where one can find it easily, and the answer is not going to make anyone happy. Weather you are from the North or the South you will not like what I am going to tell you when it comes to the reasons why this country split. Yet, it must be remembered that there was no conspiracy on either side or by any one group. All of this happens out of circumstance.
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Cause 1: Sectionalism
Cause 2: States Rights
Cause 3: The Tariff
Cause 4: Loss of Political Power by the South
Cause 5: Failed Compromises
Cause 6: Slavery

Cause number one: Sectionalism, connections with a past.

In 1607, the colony of Jamestown was founded on the Virginia cost . The men that came to settle this spot were gentlemen of the court. They were adventurers who had never had to work in their life and were more interested in finding wealth then food. They brought with them this idea that there were people better then you were and that there are people who can be a King. They will bring this view with them and even though they will drop their titles and leave them in Europe, they will still think that a person can rise above the common people. Captain John Smith, a commoner, would save this colony by forcing the people to work. � If you don't work you don't eat.� he said. This made these small nobles mad, so they shot Captain Smith, and he was taken back to England with a leg wound. But the philosophy of nobility would move west from all the southern colonies.

In 1620, one of my forefathers would step off the Mayflower, and help settle New England. These people were not nobles (they were middle class), and they came to worship the way they wanted to worship. When they got here they said anyone who followed them to had to worship the way they worshipped. This holier then thou, do as I say, not as I do, philosophy will fill the North with it's attitude. It is a small difference in high handness, but this small difference will be the start of sectionalism in the country. This sectionalism will slowly pull the country apart as other differences are added to the mix of the United States.

Past war - These two groups of people will fight each other in England in what is called the English Civil War. It is a true Civil War. Our war is not a civil war! A Civil War is were two groups of people are fighting for the control of the government of the country. Our war had two groups of people fighting each other, one to force the other back into the Union and the other trying to become a free and independent country. The 13 colonies trying to gain their freedom is not called a civil war, is it? Lincoln calls it a Civil War to try to keep others out of the conflict, and to use as propaganda. He can then claim that the war was for one thing and one thing only and stop outsiders from coming in on the side of the South. Smart thinking, but very harmful to the Southern people as a whole. It has branded them all as evil people and frankly we are getting tired of it.

Back to England's Civil War. The King said that God had made him king and he was going to rule by divine right. Parliament said that he would not rule that way, and they went to war. Parliament (House of Commons) was composed of upper middle class Puritans, lead by a man by the name of Cromwell, and because of their haircuts, were called Roundheads. The people who supported the King, were called Royalist or Cavaliers.

During our war the North had a large number of infantry companies that called themselves Roundheads, and the 100th Penn. Vol. Infantry call themselves Roundheads. All the Confederate Cavalry was called Cavaliers and today the University of Virginia's mascot is The Cavaliers. There is the quote from the movie �Glory� were there is a comment by the drill instructor about Bonnie Prince Charles. This reference is to the son of the King and points out Roundhead thinking. The king, had his head removed by the men of Parliament, and then when Cromwell rules as a protector of the country, Cromwell would do the same things the king had done. Remember what I said about the Mayflower people? Then there is this quote taken from a yankee, who writes in a letter the following:

�Your very interesting letter, with the �lines,� which I hereby acknowledge duly to have received this time, reached this knighted region last Thursday and my humble self shortly after. {Halsey always referred to Virginia as the �knighted region� with sarcasm or wrote that he was on �sacred soil� to poke fun at the haughtiness of the �cavalier� attitude he felt most Virginians carried.}

When New Jersey passes a peace resolution he writes;

�agreeing to support what they consider constitutional measures made the thing a party slur unworthy to issue from the state which furnished the heroes of Gaines Hill, Crampton�s Pass, or Williamsburg. I can see now Cromwell�s excuse for his hasty or too often condensed style of timing and the long parliament.

These quotes come from the book, Brother Against Brother, The Lost Civil War Diary of Lt. Edmund Halsey. He is the grandfather of the World War II naval hero Admiral William �Bull� Halsey. Lt. Halsey�s brother will wear gray and become friends with Robert E. Lee.

It is clear that the English Civil War was a war over how the country of England was to be ruled. It is clear that the philosophies that brought on that war, and had been brought to this country by the two groups, will again fight it out here in the 1860�s.

This sectionalism will push the sections wider apart until the nation splits. During the War of 1812, the quote (in the quote section), by Webster, was spoken. At that time, New England was being blockaded by England, and New England was saying they would leave the Union if the war was not stopped. The war ended within a few weeks but the words were already spoken. They would be a reminder to Webster each time the North did something that hurt the South. It illuminates that the split in the Union could have happened sooner and was over more then one cause. It also proves that the people in the north do have the mind set of, do as I say not as I do.

As I said, this will not make anyone happy. The North will not like this already because they are seeing that there is some blame for the war, which they have, for so long, been told was over other things and they were �saving� the Union. Get over it, I have. But this is not the whole story. The South will not like it for other reasons that will appear latter.


Cause Number Two - States Rights

States Rights, is connected to the Constitution and to the fact that each colony became a member of this country as a �state.� The word �state� means country. Therefore each colony felt that is was a country by itself and joined the United States because there was strength in numbers. As a free state they felt that they should hold on to some of the power they had and not give all of that power to the central government in whatever form it would take. We therefore get the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution which reads as follows:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the States or to the people.

After the war the Tenth amendment goes away, like a salt pill dropped into a glass of water. It is not removed by the people, it just goes away, because the power in the country totally shifts to the Federal government and we lost control in our states when it happened. We also have the nullification problem in 1832, which nearly came to blows without the argument over slavery being anywhere near this but was a state's rights issiue.


States Rights can be described in the following manner. Alpine, Texas is over 250 miles from where I live. I think that someone who is elected to state government from Alpine, Texas, and sets in Austin, knows more about what I need as a citizen of this state, then someone elected in L.A., New York, or Boston, to set in the government, in Washington, D. C. Read that again and let it sink in. They know more about spending my tax money here then those people there. The problems at Little Rock High School in 1954 were racial and states rights. It was not the school board, or the local government, or the state government that ordered the desegregation of the school district. It was a ruling that came from the Federal Courts, and ordered by someone from who-knows-where, out of Washington, D.C. This does not mean that the order should not have been given, it was about time, but it shows that the states right is still one of the issues. Look for a Myth Section on this web site in the future and there will be more on understanding the complex problems we face today from all of this.

Not long ago someone made a comment on how we handle murders in Texas. We (the state government) kills some of them. It does not stop murder, it is not vengeance, it is the price you pay for doing the crime you did in this state. The crime was so bad that we don't want you around to do it again. It is our business what we do here not yours. If you do not like it, just thank God it is not your state and go on. And I do not necessarily want to hear your opinion, you are not my neighbor or my conscience.

We want to believe that we are a free people and have a large amount of control on our own lives. But when the Federal Government controls all, as it has since the war, we have a great deal less power over our affairs then we believe. If you do not believe me just ask someone who has had an IRS audit, or was pulled into court by some group who wants to save a bird, which isn�t endangered in the first place. Or told they can not build that home of their dreams because of the last reason. Do not put words into my mouth; I did not say that we should kill off any group of animals, but that the same time we must use good thinking, not knee jerk reactions.

Part of States Rights was the right to own a slave, and a slave was considered property. I do not like the fact that at one time our government and its people believed that a human being could be called property, but that is the way it was. In the 5th Amendment it is written that the government can not take your property without due process of law and just compensation. This means there must be a process of courts and hearings which will determine what happens to what you own and then, if the government takes your property they must pay you a just and fair market price for said property. If the government can just take away a slave owners slaves, without the above, when will it happen that they come for anything else they deem harmful to the country? They tried it with beer and failed, they are trying it with drugs, and are failing, they are trying with guns and are having some success, they are, with the help of the non-believers, trying to take our faith and our customs of faith out of our lives and are having some success. I am not saying that the end of slavery was a bad thing. It was how it was ended, because once the government gets a right to do something�.let�s just say it is hard to put the cat back into the bag once he gets out.




Cause Number Three: The Tariff

The argument over the tariff (import tax) lasted nearly 60 years. The South supported Northern business by supporting a small tariff. The southern congressmen have gone down on record for a 30% tax on a number of items. That means that thirty cents was needed to import a item with a value of one dollar. The north would try to raise that tax every chance they could. Now if you have read my quotes you know that the south was paying about 70% of the taxes collected by the Federal Government by paying that tariff. When the north was by itself during the conflict, the north raised that tax to about 80% on most items. It was part of the Republican Party Platform of 1860.

The problem with this tariff is that it caused inflated prices for all buyers. Let us say that you wanted to buy a plow, and all the plows made in the U.S. are being sold at $100.00. Since they have been in business for a much longer time period, the plows in England are cheaper. The land, building, and machinery have been paid for and their price is $90.00. So U.S. manufactures get congress to pass a 30% tax on plows. That means that the English plow is now priced at $120.00. The new price for the U.S. made plow is $115.00. The price went up for no reason other then the tariff was put into place. Being that most industry was in the North, that had the tendency to make the south believe that the North was just picking their pocket. And for the people of the South the Northern was believed to be a thief.


Understand that most of the problems listed were not a joint effort by any group. All this happened more or less by accident. The northern business men nor the congressmen got together and said we are going to make the South so upset they will leave the Union and then we will go beat them up. The plow example is just an example were North and South working together, to help each other, really hurt each other. So in the long run this tax thing helped in the mistrust between the sections.


Cause Number Four: Loss of Political Power by the South

If you have forgotten your civics lessons from high school we get one seat in the House of Representatives for X number of people in the state. When the Erie Canal was completed the draw to New York increased for nearly all emigrants who came to the U.S. That cause the population of the North to surpass the South by 1840. That put control of the House in Northern pockets. If the Democratic Party had not voted across sectional lines, the South would have had no power in the House. In 1845, Texas became a state and soon we were at war with Mexico. From that war we got a large part of the Southwest United States. Which brought on the California gold rush, and in 1850 that state entered the Union. With that the South lost power in the Senate of the United States. Each state gets two senators and there were 30 states in 1849. When California started voting with the North, (there were 32 votes vs. 30) the South lost all power in Congress. As time progressed, even the Democratic Party crossing the sectional lines (on a rare occasion) would not keep the South from the realization that they had lost all power in Congress. That shows up in the money spending department. Most of the Federal Budget was spent in the North and the South was not happy about it. You have heard of �taxation without representation,� how about �taxation regardless of representation.� It does not help to have a person in congress if they have nothing more then a place to set while those who have power rule. Is there any surprise, now that you know this, that the South tried to break away from the Union and form a new country? Just like the colonies tried to break away from England to form a new country.

Now, it has been asked how could the South fight to be free when they had slaves? The answer is: the same way the original colonies, all 13, fought for freedom, with slaves in each one.

There is one other thing that is built within our government, and it was the final reason the South broke from the Union. Every four years we elect a President; sort of. We vote and then the Electoral College is who elects the President. (They need 270 votes today to get the office.) The number of seats in the House is the same as the number of seats in the Collage. When the South loss power in the House, it also lost the power to have a voice in electing the President. Lincoln will not be on the ballot in the South for there is no Republican Party in the South. In fact, historians in the past have said that Lincoln won because the Democratic Party was split three ways. That isn�t really the reason Lincoln won. He gets 38.2% of the popular vote. That means 6 out of 10 voters, voted for someone else. But Lincoln gets 56% of the Electoral College. That means that the Democratic Party could be running God for President, and God would not have won. As long as Lincoln gets his 4 out of 10 votes, he wins! That is not majority rule. ( By the way, Bush's red states, are the same states that voted for the Democratic Party in 1860, plus two that voted for Lincoln. Those two states were Ohio and Indiana. If those two states had voted for Kerry in 2004, Kerry would have won with the same states that Lincoln won, and he would be the President.) California, and those states between the Atlantic Ocean, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, and Canada is all a candidate needs even today to become the President of the United States. Nearly all the West and all the South doesn't need to vote. When did this country become a country of the North? My vote still doesn�t count unless who I vote for is able to break up the Blue states. ( Funny thing is that on maps of the war, the south is usually red and the North is usually blue.)

So what we have is a election that proved to the south that they had no power to elect or defeat any thing the North wanted. And all the tax money the South was putting into the government was being spent in the North. How long would you stay in this type of Union? How long would you stand for someone punching you before you strike back? And the South still has little or no power in the government, today.

Cause Number Five: Compromises that fail in the long run.

When we study history high school, or middle school history on the United States we find the books tell the students about the compromises of 1820, 1850, and 1854. The teachers tell the students that compromise shows that our government works, and that is a good sign for the world.

That is a feel good lie about the compromises that we had in the 1800�s. There were more the 10 other compromises that are not studied by the students because they have nothing to do with slavery and don't prove Reconstructionist History as it is in the history book. (I call it a lie because it is a half truth, and a half truth is a whole lie.) So, let us look at what a compromise really is. For this, let us say that I am going into business and plan to make millions of dollars by the time I die. I tell you and someone else, that I will give you two million dollars each when I die. About six months later, while in New York on business, I meet Mr. Bus. Thump, thump!!! The will is read, and it says that you and the other person was to get two million dollars each on my death. When you check the bank account there is only two million dollars there. What do you do? Split the money, and each gets a million dollars. But are you really happy? You compromised and are you happy with what you got. Yes, that is more then what you would have had and your happy about that, but it is not the two million dollars, which would have paid the taxes and left you with a great deal more. So your really not happy, but you do what a forefathers did, get out the drum, light up the torches, march around the town, cheering about how good we are to each other, and then put away the drum, put out the torches, go home and sulk.

Cause Number Six: Slavery

Everyone has by now read the quote in my quote section from Lincoln, during �The Debates.� It shows that Lincoln was a racist in today�s terms and that on the issue of slavery the North is not as clean as they would like everyone to believe. They were up to their ears in the slave trade. One the eve of the war, January 1, 1860 to August 31, 1861, a thousand slave ships left New York Harbor to bring slaves to the �New World� slave market. The U.S. had a treaty with England (1847) which called for the posting of armed ships off the African coast to stop that trade and hang anyone shipping slaves on the high sea. In 1863, at the height of the war, one man was hung for trying to sneak slaves into New York. The last ship, flying the U.S. flag to go get slaves for Brazil, did so in 1880. The war was over in 1865.

The textbooks in public schools teach students about slave codes in the South, but don�t say a word about the slave codes in the North. Lincoln�s own state had a slave code that was somewhat enforced so that in 1860 there were fewer then 750 �Freemen� in the state. Virginia had a slave code like that also, but choose not to enforce it. In 1860 there were 53,000 �Freemen� living in Virginia. In the North before the war a person of "color" wasn't allowed to vote, hold office, set on a jury, set at a lunch counter with whites or live in the white section of town. In short, that is "Jim Crow" in the North. To their credit they end it with the passing of the 13th Admendment in December of 1865. At that time the last slave owner freed his wife's slaves. That was Union General U.S. Grant, who when ask why he was so slow stated, "Good labor is hard to find."

College Text books gives us the number of actual people who owned a slave in 1850 at or about .08% of the total Southern White population. Most people say we need to count the family members, but then you hear of Mary Chestnut who calls slavery an evil, and the twin girls (name slips me right now) who leave their fathers plantation and joins the fight to end slavery. So who we count and don't count is a problem. The Federal Government has used the term "household" and claims 40% of the households have slaves. That isn't really right either. Why?.... A boarding house owned by a slave owner has 4 "free soil" families living there and by government standards are now slave owners.


Textbooks tell of Jim Crow laws coming into effect in the South during Reconstruction. Well let�s see, during Reconstruction the former Confederates did not have any power in their own state. The state governments were ran by �carpet baggers� (northern people who came south with nothing more then a carpet bag full of clothes) and pro northern southerners. They were not the majority. So northern people with the pro north southerner put Jim Crow in, not." The South". Because the Black was getting the blame for all the Southern problems the reconstructionist governments could do little but put Jim Crow into effect.

Slavery was one of the reasons for the war, as well as the argument over slavery. The South had a tiger by the tail and could not let go of it. The South was in debt for the slave, and it really is a question of who was more a slave to the system, the master or the slave himself. With that said, it must be said that only one of four families had slaves, and that 56% of all slave owners had five or less slaves. Drop two percent and the number of slaves drop to 4 or less. That means that most slave owners were in the field working next to his slave. That when lunch was on the table the slave would have eaten with the master. That the slave would more then likely slept in the same house as the master. Since rich families tend to have fewer children then poor families, it is reasoned that there would be four to six kids at the slave owners house and six, eight, to twelve kids at the non slave owner house. What that means is that it is more then likely that 75% of the South had no slaves and therefore would not have fought and died as they did if this war was just about slavery. Even the North did not fight this war because of slavery. Check out the quote from Grant, in the quote section. With that said, Slavery was still one of the causes of the War. I told you the South would not like this, either. Most Southern whites even today don't face the problem of slavey head on, but then the Black doesn't either. This is also taking place through out the country so race problems are going to be the elephant in the room as long as no one wants to really set down and talk frankly about the problems.

We find slavery being defended in the South by those who held political office, because they were the slave owners who had the time to play in politics (the other 44% of the slave owners). Jeff Davis had three plantations with over 800 slaves in 1860 (two were rented, while he was buying the other). They would also be the people who held office in state government and local post. So they will argue and make speeches that slavery was good. Your average Southern was not making any speeches and was not much better then Lincoln in his attitude toward the Black.  It isn�t clear what most people in the South thought by what has been written, because there were not enough people of lower standing to record their feelings. What was recorded was the troops saying it was a "rich man's war and a poor man's fight." That bears witness to what I have said. What is clear is there were just enough slave revolts that the South feared the slave as much as they need him to work in the fields. (As it is a surprise to some that many slaves had guns to hunt with and did so on some regular bases. They were old guns and only the most trusted slave on the plantation, and sometimes there was not even a shotgun in the big house.) So things in the South were strange and not quiet what we have been given to believe in movies and in some text books. For example, many of the slave owners in some parts of the South were black, and a number were female. As true as all of this is, it still isn't right to own somebody. And the South must face that fact. Does not mean we still can't have some pride in our people as a whole, in our section, in our courage, or in our past, Black or White. There is no shame in having a slave in the family tree. Most all whites were tax paying slaves, called serfs, and later were endentured "servants" but as long as someone has the right to run your life, they were endentured slaves. A name used in England but dropped over here to mark a difference between the White and Black slave.

The only thing to add is that I don't believe in slavery, it is wrong, and I think at anyone who is born in this country should have all the rights I have.


So, we have a two sections of the country that has pulled itself apart trying to help each other. They went as far as compromise after compromise, failing to please themselves, much less the other. They argued over taxation, and slaves while one section was losing power and becoming nothing more then a step child to the bigger section. Lincoln's election was the last straw for the South, and they left the Union. (Jeff Davis quote in my quote section.)

Here is the kicker to the whole picture. If the South becomes a free country, freeing the slave becomes a moot point (means ending slavery is not the factor.) So the number one war aim of the North is and always has been, to force the South back into the Union at the point of a gun. But this brings up a very important question. Where is the land of the free and home of the brave, if it takes a gun to keep it together?

At the start of this I said no one will like this. The South will have to face the fact that slavery did have something to do with the war. It is a cause and not the smallest one at that. The North will not like this because it will have to take on the responsibility for what it did to the South and for it's actions that helped bring the war on as well. There were some minor things not mentioned like the book Uncle Tom's Cabin, but that was just another problem in the problem of slavery, as is John Brown, Dred Scott, and several other items that were connected to slavery.

So this is how I break it down.

Sectionalism (which is �blown up� like a balloon by all the problems) 15%
The Tariff, arguments over 60 years 15%
Slavery and the arguments over slavery 20%
Loss of political power by the South 25%
Failure of the Compromises in Congress 05%
States Rights 20%

I will say right now most of you reading this are in total disagreement with it. Your not happy with what has been written, but I told you so.



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