The Spectre of Lincoln In New York Politics
By Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D. August 14, 2020
To escape the highest rent district in the nation, rich millennials, multi-millionaires and even Wall Street bankers are fleeing New York for more affordable states. Others have retreated to second homes in states that are not locked down. With few customers during the lockdown, many posh businesses and restaurants faced with ongoing astronomical costs to do business in the Big Apple have abandoned the state.
Governor Cuomo is in a panic because one percenters who pay nearly 50 percent of the state’s taxes just may not return to New York as they settle in somewhere else and get their kids in private schools or pods. To lure them back, he has offered dinner and drinks. His real concern is that the high income tax will drive them out permanently. “And you know what else they’re thinking? ‘If I stay there, I’ll pay a lower income tax,’ because they don’t pay the New York City surcharge.”
And Mayor deBlasio reaction to New Yorkers fleeing his state? Instead of wooing them back, he lamblasted the rich for being “fairweather friends.” Doubling down, de Blasio called a press conference to announce a raise in already sky high taxes for the very richest just because he thinks they can afford it.
It seems that petty little dictators believe they can run roughshod over people without a backlash or losing their heads at the guillotine. Just as New Yorkers are leaving the state over financial reasons, so did mid-19th century Southerners leave a government that forced them to shoulder most of the cost to run the federal government. DeBlasio's ruthless tactics are a stark reminder of Lincoln's often cruel tactics as he tried to bully Southerners back into the Union for further Northern rape of their economy. Southern generals were accused of being "treasonous" but they were not according to our Constitution.
For nearly a half century after our nation’s founding, the prevailing political sentiment was that any state could secede without it being treasonous. In the North, combinations of New England states threatened secession five times because they believed the government’s policies were detrimental to their financial interests.
Secession was defended in both houses of Congress with Abraham Lincoln skillfully arguing for the right to secede. Thirteen years later when the South wanted to exercise its right to secede from the federal government, Lincoln and the New England states screamed treason and blasted the South for wanting to destroy the Union. Why the change in their view?
Prior to the Civil War, 95% of the federal revenue came from a protective tariff on imported goods. Though it had only 29% of the nation’s population, the South provided 83% of the tariff’s revenue. Four out of every five dollars were used for Northern improvements.
A protective tariff was not needed by the South because it purchased finished products from England and, in turn, sold most of its cotton to them. Because the North could produce most of its own finished products, it wanted a protective tariff as a hedge against England’s lesser expensive products. The South would be forced to buy inferior Northern products at inflated prices but still lower than those of competitors.
Northern capitalists pressured the federal government to pass legislation that would allow for industrialization of the nation at the expense of the agrarian South. Northern manufacturers needed a high protective tariff, a taxpayer funded national transportation network, taxpayer funded subsidies to protect North industries, and changes in the banking laws that would give preference to industries.
To achieve this lofty goal, a far more powerful federal government was required along with more Whig party (replaced by Republican party with socialist roots) lawmakers in the U.S. House to introduce revenue bills, a sympathetic president, and a high protective tariff on imported goods.
The new Morrill Tariff increased rates dramatically – from 24% to 47% – to speed up industrialization of the North. Via the tariff, the North was forcing the South to pay most of the cost for the government’s industrialization program.
The South had threatened secession over the tariff for several decades. Now with the passage of the Morrill Tariff and the election of Lincoln who supported the tariff, the Southern states knew they faced financial doom if they remained in the Union.
Contrary to the liberal myth that the South seceded to keep slavery, the fact is that slavery was not banned under the Constitution so there was no need to secede. Rather, the South seceded from a Union changing from our Founder's limited government to a nation-state operated for the benefit of a vested Northern interest.
Lincoln implemented his State of the Union promise immediately to enforce collection of the tariff from any states that seceded. After manipulating the South to fire on the tariff collection facility of Fort Sumter in April 1861, he ignored Congress and the Constitution and initiated war himself. With an executive order, he called for an army of 75,000 volunteers to invade a now foreign nation to put down the “insurrection” against the U.S. government. Lincoln gambled that his threat would tamp down secession. Instead his actions alarmed other Southern states and 11 seceded.
Lincoln could not admit to Americans that a war was required to force the Confederate states back into the Union to protect the fortunes of Northern capitalists and provide tariff revenue to run the government. Congress would not have declared war for such a purpose. To protect his political career, Lincoln needed cover for his unconstitutional action. Nearly two years after the beginning of the war, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation which freed slaves only in states that had seceded, not in slave states that remained in the Union nor in northern states where slavery existed.
Lincoln recklessly started an expensive and savage war at the hand of a Northern army that went after civilians and their property while pillaging and destroying cities, infrastructure, and businesses.
Contrary to liberal myth, Lincoln did not save our Union nor end slavery. Instead, he destroyed the Constitution of our Founding Fathers and fundamentally transformed America through the bayonet from a limited government where states had the right to leave the Union to a bloated federal bureaucracy that has assumed near dictatorial powers.
We can see the impact of Lincoln’s policies and actions on our nation today with the grabbing of power by closet dictators.
For further reading: War Between the States, America's Uncivil War -- by John J. Dwyer
War histories can be quite boring, but this book is hard to put down. Written from a biblical world view, it's an excellent resource for homeschools, high schools, academy, junior college, and families who want to re-educate themselves and their children about this complex period of our history.