Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Lincoln and the Bill of Rights

Though Lincoln paid lip service to the Constitution, his actions showed that he had little respect for it - especially the Bill of Rights. Let's look at the historical record to see what Lincoln thought of the Bill of Rights.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. 

Lincoln definitely abridged the right to freedom of speech and the press by shutting down hundreds of newspapers that disagreed with him and jailing state legislators that disagreed with him. Here is one example:

You will take possession by military force, of the printing establishments of the New York World and Journal of Commerce… and prohibit any further publication thereof….you are therefore commanded forthwith to arrest and imprison…the editors, proprietors and publishers of the aforesaid newspapers.
~Order from Abraham Lincoln to General John Dix, May 18, 1864

Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. 

As part of Lincoln’s plan to squelch all opposition, he did try to confiscate firearms and of course, opposed any who took up arms to protect their homes and land.

Amendment III

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law. 

Considering that Lincoln insisted that the South was still part of the Union, he violated this one by quartering Federal troops in Southern homes. There are hundreds of stories of civilians’ homes occupied, trashed and even burned to the ground by Lincoln’s troops. In fact, General Wade Hampton’s home here in South Carolina was one of the places that met this sad fate.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. 

Lincoln definitely violated this one by arresting without probable cause many who disagreed with him. Here is an example:

One victim of Lincoln’s suppression of Northern newspapers was Francis Key Howard of Baltimore, the grandson of Francis Scott key. Howard was imprisoned in Fort McHenry, the very spot where his grandfather composed “The Star Spangled Banner,” after the newspaper he edited criticized Lincoln’s decision to invade the South without the consent of Congress and his suppression of civil liberties in Maryland. After spending nearly two years in a military prison without being charge and without a trial of any kind, Howard wrote a book about his experiences title “The American Bastille.” (from The Real Lincoln, by Thomas DiLorenzo, p. 134)

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. 

Lincoln suspended habeas corpus on April 27, 1861 and ordered the military to enforce his suspension. This was such a flagrant violation of the Constitution that Chief Justice Roger B. Taney responded and issued an opinion saying the president had no lawful power to suspend habeas corpus. Lincoln promptly issued an arrest warrant for the Chief Justice, but it was never carried out as Lincoln couldn’t find a federal marshal with the nerve to do such an unconstitutional act as arresting the Chief Justice.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense. 

Lincoln did not give speedy trial to many of the people he jailed, as evidenced by the example of Francis Key Howard above.

Amendment VII

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law. 

This may be one of the only amendments in the Bill of Rights that Lincoln did not violate.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. 

As an example of a violation of this amendment, Congressman Vallindigham was deported from the United States for daring to declare his opposition to Lincoln’s policies. If being torn from your own country, property, and family isn’t cruel and unusual punishment, then it's difficult to imagine what would be.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. 

Lincoln denied many rights to many people, whether they were enumerated in the Constitution or not.

Amendment X

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

Lincoln’s plan (which ultimately succeeded through the 14th amendment) was to take power from the people back to the Federal government. He was a proponent of big, centralized government. He inherited his views from Henry Clay, whom he greatly admired, and the Whig party which eventually became the early Republican party.

In summary:

Even though the large majority of Americans, North and South, believed in a right of secession as of 1861, upon taking office Lincoln implemented a series of unconstitutional acts, including launching an invasion of the South without consulting Congress, as required by the Constitution; declaring martial law; blockading the Southern ports; suspending the writ of habeas corpus for the duration of his administration; imprisoning without trial thousands of Northern citizens; arresting and imprisoning newspaper publishers who were critical of him; censoring all telegraph communication; nationalizing the railroads; creating several new states without the consent of the citizens of those states; ordering Federal troops to interfere with elections in the North by intimidating Democratic voters; deporting a member of Congress, Clement L. Vallangidham of Ohio, for criticizing the administration’s income tax proposal at a Democratic Party rally; confiscating private property; confiscating firearms in violation of the Second Amendment to the Constitution, among other things.
(from the Real Lincoln, by Thomas DiLorenzo, p. 132)

In other words, Lincoln trashed the Constitution and the Bill of Rights!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Communism and Reconstruction

Page from Marx's
"Communist Manifesto"
The Communist Manifesto was written by Karl Marx and Fredrich Engels in 1847. This Manifesto spawned a series of Communist revolts throughout Europe in 1848. These revolts failed and many of the Communists fled Europe and came to the United States. Nearly all of them supported the North during the War for Southern Independence, many of them joining the Union army. In fact, throughout the war Marx was a contributor to the New York Tribune, a strongly pro-Union paper in New York City. Marx and Engels also contributed articles that supported the Union position to newspapers throughout Europe during the war. Marx was an admirer of Abraham Lincoln.

The following ten points are from Part II of the Communist Manifesto. This is the list of measures Marx and Engels said must be carried out within a country to transform it into a communist society. Remarks below each point show to what extent these measures were imposed on South Carolina during the 'reconstruction' years of 1865 to 1877. It is clear that eight of the ten were implemented in some fashion during the so-called 'reconstruction' era.

"1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes."
At the state level the primary means of raising revenue was the property tax. State property taxes during 'reconstruction' were shifted to focus on land instead of industrial and commercial assets. In addition, the tax rate was dramatically increased. This resulted in a massive confiscation of land due to the inability of owners to pay taxes. For instance, in 1873 there were 270,000 acres seized and in 1874 over 500,000 acres were seized for failure to pay taxes. South Carolina still has property taxes today.

"2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax."
A graduated income tax was implemented in the Union in 1862 in order to raise money to fight the War for Southern Independence. The tax rates for this tax were increased in 1864, although at this time an exemption was included for all Federal salaries. Following the end of the war this tax was imposed on South Carolinians during 'reconstruction.' This tax was repealed in 1872. However, the 16th amendment to the Constitution was passed in 1913, which ensured that a progressive income tax was legal. A progressive income tax has been in force ever since.

"3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance."
A graduated inheritance tax was implemented in the Union in 1862 in order to raise money to fight the War for Southern Independence. The tax rates in this tax were increased in 1864. Following the end of the war, this tax was imposed on South Carolinians during 'reconstruction.' The tax was repealed in 1870. However, the tax was reinstated in 1916 and remains in force today.

"4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels."
The Union government passed the First Confiscation Act in 1861 and the Second Confiscation Act in 1862 authorizing the military and civilian authorities to confiscate the property of anyone supporting the Confederacy. These acts were not strictly enforced until after the war. A former Confederate had to sign the Oath of Allegiance and request a pardon from the President in order not to have their property confiscated. President Johnson refused pardons to many Confederate leaders and wealthy businessmen and confiscated their property.

"5. Centralization of credit in the banks of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly."
The National Banking Acts of 1863 and 1864 in the Union created a national currency and introduced the chartering of national banks. In addition, these acts levied taxes on state bank currency, effectively eliminating state bank control of the money supply. Following the end of the war, this system was imposed on South Carolina during 'reconstruction,' thus eliminating nearly all state banks in the state. This system continues in force today.

"6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the state."
During 'reconstruction' there was an attempt by factions within the Federal government to put railroads and the telegraph under government control. This failed. In 1887, after 'reconstruction,' congress passed an Act to Regulate Commerce, which created the Interstate Commerce Commission. This commission and the regulations it issued created partial government control over rail and truck transportation. This continues through today.

"7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan."

Central planning of the South Carolina economy was one of the few government controls not attempted during 'reconstruction.' Nor did the government take direct control of industrial or commercial enterprises. However, Lincoln did implement the US Department of Agriculture in 1862 which has grown into a burdensome regulatory system.

"8. Equal obligation of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture."
In 1865 congress created an arm of the Federal Army called the Freedmen's Bureau, which was to assist former slaves and both white and black refugees recover economically. The Freedmen's Bureau applied equally to men and women who had to join this arm of the army and agree to work to get benefits. Freedmen's Bureau representatives developed and enforced labor contracts between landowners and laborers. The Freedmen's Bureau was disbanded in 1868 due to corruption. By then sharecropping had begun to be the dominate form for the employment of labor in South Carolina. Sharecroppers were obliged to work in order to receive a share of the crops.

"9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country."
During the war, the two major urban centers in the state, Charleston and Columbia, were virtually destroyed by Union forces. Reconstruction policies urged freed slaves to stay at their former plantations and work as sharecroppers. During reconstruction the port of Charleston was not rebuilt, so there was little work to be had in Charleston. Population density data is only available for the years in which a national census took place. In 1870 during reconstruction the percent of South Carolina population in urban areas was 8.6%. By 1880, after seven additional years of reconstruction, the urban population in South Carolina had dropped to 7.5%

"10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc."
The reconstruction-era South Carolina Constitution of 1868 established the requirement for the state to provide free public schools for students to receive government education and created the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. This agency continues to this day.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Red Shirt

When the War for Southern Independence ended in 1865, the "Second War For South Carolina's Independence" began.

This war was conducted during the dubious time of "re-construction." Under Union occupation, forty percent of South Carolina's women wore black; 48,000 of South Carolina's men were dead, disabled, or disenfranchised; and hundreds of thousands of acres of land were stolen from landowners by corrupt carpetbaggers and politicians who had infiltrated the state. Such strife gave no bias to race or gender, as both black and white families suffered in abject poverty at the hands of corrupt legislators and governors.

By 1876, South Carolinians had enough and decided to cast off the yoke of oppression. Led by former Confederate officers, both black and white South Carolinians joined together to rid the state of the regime that had caused "more destruction than the entire four years of war." They called themselves "The Red Shirts." And in just one night, from the coast to the mountains of South Carolina, one hundred thousand red shirts were sewn, dyed, and distributed to a waiting "army."

Through heroic efforts and, at times, bloody sacrifices, the Red Shirts drove the invaders from South Carolina's soil, placed General Wade Hampton in office as Governor, and instituted the democratic rule of government that exists today.

In our museum, a red shirt is on display that was worn by "Colonel" Thomas Bissell Crews who was a Confederate cavalry officer in Hampton's Legion for four years. He was also a prominent newspaper editor and legislator from upstate South Carolina. Colonel Crews was but one of many who led South Carolina out of the greatest suffering in the state's history.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Museum Welcomes New Cannon

On Sunday, November 15, 2015, the Museum held a dedication ceremony for its newly installed 1857 12-pound Napoleon cannon. The 16th SC Color Guard of honor posted the colors. Camp 36 Chaplain Mark Evans gave the invocation. Museum Director Michael Couch welcomed everyone and explained the events surround the acquisition and installation of the cannon.

Dr. Terry Rude was the main speaker and provided the dedication for the cannon. The attendees then sang "Dixie" and the benediction was pronounced by Chaplain Evans. The guests were then treated to a reception provided by ladies of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Order of the Confederate Rose.

The cannon and carriage were constructed by Stafford Wheel and Carriage Company in Coatesville, Pennsylvania. The cannon is a Model 1857 12-pound Napoleon. Its bore is 4.62" and its barrel weight is 1220 pounds. The carriage is a #2 gun carriage with a wheel size of 57" diameter, 250 pounds per wheel. The total weight is 2380 pounds. Its maximum range is 1800 yards. The load is 2.5 pounds of black powder. the types of ammunition for this cannon are solid shot, exploding shell, exploding case shot, grape shot, canister, and double canister.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Come to "Christmas in Dixie!"

You are cordially invited to the Museum's free "Christmas in Dixie" live concerts!

The first three Fridays in December will feature an evening of live music, free refreshments, and docents in 1860s attire. A children's story hour will be provided by Terry Grissop from 6-7 pm. Then from 7-9 pm upstate musicians will feature traditional Christmas music and carol singing.

Friday, December 4
Lucy Allen and Marshall Goer
Facebook Event Page

Lucy Allen and Marshall Goers combine blues, bluegrass, old-time, and folk music with stirring songwriting and performance skills for a memorable music experience. Their soulful performances connect with the audience until performer and listener are intertwined in the story, distilling the essence of an experience into song. You're sure to enjoy their live performance at the museum!

Friday, December 11
Heather & Raquelle Sheen of Joyful Harps
Facebook Event Page

Heather & Raquelle combine history, humor and beautiful music on their twin celtic harps to create a memorable musical experience. Their relaxing yet sparkling take on traditional Christmas and Civil War music will provide the perfect touch to your holiday. In addition to playing their harps, Heather & Raquelle will perform on the museum's 1860 piano/melodeon. Come enjoy the music - and sing along!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Maxcy Gregg: Lawyer, Scholar, “Fire Eater”, Gallant Soldier, and Confederate Brigadier General

Maxcy Gregg was born in Columbia, South Carolina, and was the great-grandson of Esek Hopkins, a commodore of the Continental Navy, and grandson of Jonathan Maxcy, the first president of South Carolina College (now called the University of South Carolina). Gregg attended South Carolina College, and graduated 1st in his class in 1836. He then studied law, was admitted to the South Carolina bar in 1839, and settled into practicing law with his father. Gregg was considered a man of “keen intellect” and followed many scholarly pursuits, coming to be considered an authority in ornithology, botany, and astronomy (having his own private observatory built to study the constellations). He was a very respected member of Columbia society.

From 1839 until the outbreak of the WBTS, Gregg was very active in state and regional politics. He served in the Mexican War as a major in the 12th U. S. Infantry, but saw no action, and returned to his law practice in South Carolina at its conclusion.

Always a strong advocate for States Rights, he was considered to be one of South Carolina’s “Fire Eaters”. In 1858, he authored a pamphlet entitled “An Appeal to the States Rights Party of South Carolina”, which became a “secessionists’ manifesto”. It rejected incorporation into the Democratic Party over the tariff controversy. A major proponent of secession, Gregg was a member of the state secession convention and “jubilantly voted to leave the Union in December 1860.”

Maxcy Gregg’s War Years: From Secession till Fredericksburg

The following information is taken from – findagrave.com [FG] and civilwarreference.com [CWR].

The [South Carolina state secession] convention authorized a 6 month regiment, giving the command to him [Gregg], with the rank of Colonel. After he and his volunteers participated in the bombardment of Fort Sumter, in April 1861, they moved north to Virginia, where they spent the spring months drilling and picketing. When their term expired, many in the regiment returned to their homes, missing the First Bull Run Campaign [First Manassas, July 21, 1861]. [FG]

At the expiration of the term of enlistment [Gregg] reorganized his regiment in South Carolina, and returning to Virginia was stationed at Suffolk. In December, 1861, he was promoted to brigadier-general and ordered to South Carolina, where he took command of a brigade composed of the First, Twelfth, Thirteenth and Fourteenth regiments. With this brigade he was attached to the famous light division of A. P. Hill for the Seven Days' campaign before Richmond. He led the advance of the division at Cold Harbor [also called the Battle of Gaines’ Mill, on the third day of the Seven Days Campaign], crossing the creek under fire made what Hill pronounced "the handsomest charge in line I have seen during the war," and during the remainder of the battle displayed undaunted bravery. At Frayser's Farm [on the sixth day of the Seven Days Campaign] he charged and captured a Federal battery. [CWR]

It should be noted the men in [Gregg’s] brigade were men of privileged backgrounds, including doctors, and lawyers. In the Seven Days' Campaign his South Carolinians suffered more casualties than any other brigade in Major General Ambrose P. Hill's Light Division. [FG]

Assigned a reserve role at Cedar Mountain, on August 9 [1862], the brigade fought tenaciously 3 weeks later at Second Bull Run [Second Manassas, August 28-30, 1862]. During this searing battle, he walked along the brigade's line, fearlessly exposing himself and encouraging his men. His conduct moved Hill to say that "he is the man for me." He became one of only 2 brigadiers, (Dorsey Pender was the other), who had free access to Hill. [FG]

At the battle of August 29th, on the plains of Manassas, he with his comrades of the division, fought "with a heroic courage and obstinacy almost beyond parallel," repelling six determined assaults of the enemy, who sought to overwhelm Jackson's corps before Longstreet could arrive. Hill reported: "The reply of the gallant Gregg to a message of mine is worthy of note: 'Tell General Hill that my ammunition is exhausted, but that I will hold my position with the bayonet.'" In the battle of the 30th and at Ox Hill on September 1st, he was again distinguished. [CWR]

At Antietam on September 17 he was slightly wounded by the Federal volley that killed Brigadier General Lawrence O. Branch. [FG] [Gregg found the bullet the next morning at breakfast when he opened his handkerchief.]

He [Gregg] participated in the capture of Harper's Ferry [September12-15,1862], at Sharpsburg [September 17, 1862] shared with distinguished gallantry in the heroic work of the Light division, which reached the field in time to save the Confederate right, and was wounded in the fight; and at Shepherdstown [September 19-20, 1862], after the crossing of the Potomac by the army, commanded the line of three brigades which drove back and terribly punished the enemy's forces, which had the temerity to pursue the lion-hearted veterans of Lee's army. [CWR]

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Emancipation Proclamation: Freedom or Fraud?

Following is the actual wording of the Emancipation Proclamation, a most famous document that did not free a single slave.

By the President of the United States of America: A Proclamation.

Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:

That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall on that day be, in good faith, represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State, and the people thereof, are not then in rebellion against the United States."

Now, therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief, of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days, from the day first above mentioned, order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively, are this day in rebellion against the United States, the following, to wit: Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, (except the Parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the City of New Orleans) Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth), and which excepted parts, are for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.

And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.

And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defense; and I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.

And I further declare and make known, that such persons of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.

And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the City of Washington, this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-seventh.

By the President: ABRAHAM LINCOLN
WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State

Despite its expansive wording, the Emancipation Proclamation did not free all of the slaves in the United States. Rather, it applied only to states that had seceded and were not under Union control. It took effect January 1, 1863, several years after the Confederate States of America had become a separate nation. It also expressly exempted parts of the Confederacy that had come under the control of the Union Army (Tennessee, parts of Louisiana, parts of Virginia). In fact, in those areas, slaves that had been freed by the Union army were re-enslaved under the Emancipation Proclamation.

William Seward, Lincoln's secretary of state, commented, "We show our sympathy with slavery by emancipating slaves where we cannot reach them and holding them in bondage where we can set them free." Lincoln was fully aware of the hypocrisy, but he did not want to antagonize the slave states loyal to the Union by setting their slaves free. The proclamation was merely a political ploy to stave off help for the Confederacy from European nations.

Slavery was actually officially ended on Dec. 18, 1865 - eight months after Lincoln's assassination - when the Constitution's 13th Amendment was ratified.

By Holly Sheen