The Coming Second American Civil War (5 of 14)

For a full version of this study go to Shapinghowwethink.com, click on “University”, then click on “History”, then click on “Political History” and finally click on “The Coming Second American Civil War”. Or just click HERE.

5.

THREE HISTORICAL PORTRAITS OF ME

1776

In the fight between the Americans and the Brits the Brits saw it as a rebellion and the Americans saw it as a revolution. We don’t need to go too far away from the simple here. It began as a rebellion against an overzealous ruling hand of the Brits over a people they had given limited autonomy to rule themselves. It began as a rebellion to force the governing hand of King George and the Parliament to return local power to the Americans who still for the most part thought of themselves as Brits. When the Americans realized they would never win back their full rights, rebellion changed to revolution, the end game now to drive out all British rule and become an independent sovereign nation.

It is said, and I’ll go with it, that one-third of Americans were in favor of the Declaration of Independence and wanted, even at the cost of war, to fight for a new nation. One-third thought of themselves as diehard British and they joined the British side to stop the revolution. And one-third didn’t care either way.

If I were to assume I was alive in 1776 and living in one of the colonies which third of the population would I be a part of? For the revolution? Against it? Didn’t care? When we play this game with history we typically go back in time with the same characteristics we now have. That would be rewriting history from a false place, making judgments from material that would have no meaning in 1776. This isn’t to say that no judgments can be made because in terms of principles their universal qualities would continue onward through successive generations. For instance, the Ten Commandments mean the same as when God gave them to Moses as they do for me today. That’s why I can say that today there is no Biblical justification for slavery and be transported back to the days of slavery in America and condemn Biblical justification for slavery. The God Moses knew was the same God the Colonial Americans knew and the same God I know.

Let me get back to how I would choose which path I would follow. I have two motivational tools to use in making my decision: reason and emotion. I have these words of Thomas Jefferson tattooed on the inside of my eyelids: Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear.

I’m aided by the fact I have the greatest rational argument for the Revolution from the majority hand of Thomas Jefferson: the Declaration of Independence. It is divided into two arguments: the philosophical argument and the pragmatic argument. The pragmatic argument begins after these words: The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world. From here we have the listing of the “Facts”. My process will be to go through each of the facts to prove them out and decide for myself if they are strong enough to conclude with revolution, asking: Are they reasoned truths or feelings? That one or more “facts” are really feelings of wrongdoing, not specific wrongdoing, doesn’t mean they are lies and to be outright rejected, however I move forward knowing they are feelings and not treat them as facts. What I’m asking about the facts is this; are they real or manipulated misleading my feelings wrongly?

Now we get into the area of propaganda. There is a propaganda component to every war. Some of you who know me know that my specialty in the Army was psywar (psychological warfare—propaganda). Our motto was: The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword. In war it’s counterproductive to make sophisticated complex arguments. KISS is our other motto (keep it simple, stupid). Emotion, not reason, is the art of propaganda. There are three ways to do this: 1) telling the full truth; 2) telling the full lie; 3) but the best manipulation comes in telling the partial truth covering a host of mostly lies. The goal of the propagandist is to motivate/manipulate your side into to believing you’re absolutely right and the other side is absolutely wrong.

As I wrote, propaganda can be used both to motivate and to manipulate. These first two images were used to motivate:

       

“Join, or Die” was drawn and published by Benjamin Franklin in 1751 as a motivation to the Colonies to support the struggle of the Colonies in the French and Indian War encouraging the colonies to remember that divided you fall, united you stand. The second image, the Gadsden Flag, was created by Continental Colonel Christopher Gadsden in 1775 and placed on Navy ships with the warning to all enemies “Don’t Tread On Me”, we’ll bite back with all harshness. They were symbols making a positive statement.

On the manipulative side are these two propaganda pieces:

    

On the left was, again, a statement by Ben Franklin against the Stamp Act intended to drive everyone’s emotions against it. On the right, propaganda art by Paul Revere, a sensationalized depiction of the “Boston Massacre” (a real event) from 1770, and rallied anti-British sentiment with a false depiction of what really happened. It was, if you will, fake news. The British equally used propaganda in its campaign against the Americans, again fake news.

If I’m going to draw an honest conclusion I cannot take anything at face value, but as Jefferson wrote, “Question with boldness . .  .” Time is not always a luxury, but then many things were leading up to a possible revolution so I better be doing my due diligence on the road there.

Okay, it turns out that the me in 1776 resembles me in 2018 in that I try not to be too naïve and easily manipulated, use reason as my guide, have a strong belief in God and there is Right and Wrong and I want to be on the side of Right, and decide I need to join the side of forming a new nation. I take my stand as a revolutionary Patriot arguing the cause, even fighting the one-third who favor Britton.

1861

The nation that was formed in 1776 had its roots back in the early 1600s when Western Europeans (mostly) began settling this land for themselves and they (mostly) were English, or as we would later identify them, from the U.K. (United Kingdom encompassing England, Wales on the western shore, and Scotland to the north of the giant island, and Ireland who at different times were either in or out.)

By the time of Jefferson, Madison, Washington, both Adams, Franklin, a new American culture and paradigm had been building, to include two different cultures divided by north and south colonies that later as a nation would still find itself divided between northern and southern states.

In making any judgments we cannot forget that while all 13 colonies were ultimately British colonies they were separate and sovereign colonies one from another. While citizens of Boston could freely travel to New York City, commerce between the colonies and cities were taxed and regulated at the borders of each respective colony (hence the need for the Commerce Clause). While each of the 13 colonies were generally under British Common Law, each colony could also independently decide who they were as a colony and make laws accordingly. All this was materializing in the 100+ years they were forming before they united as the United States, at first very loosely defined under the Articles of Confederation, then slightly more tightly defined under the Constitution of the United States.

What happened in 1776 (Articles of Confederation), then refined in 1789 (the Constitution) and again in 1791 (the Bill of Rights) was all a glorious experiment never before undertaken in history; limited government of the people, by the people, and for the people, formed solely by the consent of the people. WE THE PEOPLE, not we the Royal Class, not we the strongest of the fittest, defined for ourselves our life, liberty, and property (happiness).

 

The above graphic depicts the political makeup intended. The Constitution only slightly moved the line of federal government from the Articles of Confederation while our experience today finds the Central Government nearly dominating everything.

As this nation was establishing itself as colonies in the early 1600s, some of the colonies accepted the idea of and the practice of holding slaves. By the time of the Revolution it was a practice well established in the Southern Colonies. For anyone today to argue that it was a practice accepted universally throughout all the colonies is historically foolish. It was argued against and hated by many and in the Second Continental Congress in 1787 was passed the Northwest Ordinance, part of the reason for this was to prevent new territory that would become a State from owning slaves.

So in writing the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution why didn’t they just outlaw slavery universally in the United States? To answer this good question is not within the scope of this study. For all their reasoning rightly and wrongly made, the can was kicked down the road. It was what it was, and brings me now to the me in 1861 when the “can” was stopped by a road block, abolitionists.

The Revolution was Americans at war with the British government. Now we Americans were about to go to war with fellow Americans. A civil war comes about when we are in conflict with ourselves and demand major changes in ourselves and one side wants that change, the other doesn’t.

As the me in 1776 had to do, I have to decide if the causes for civil war are justified to take up my gun or don’t rise to the level of such drastic actions. What didn’t happen is that one day we all woke up and said, “Let’s have a revolution!” And neither did we wake up one day and say, “Let’s have a civil war!” The adage that Rome wasn’t built in a day applies to war; little actions never corrected fester, they build until one day someone says, “Too many, we can’t keep allowing this,” and then someone intending to or not lights the fuse and it’s on.

The me in 1776 didn’t want to be one of the one-third who didn’t care, nor did I in 1861. I cared. The principles I followed in my personal life were also fundamental Judeo/Christian principles this nation was built upon that helped me make my decision over becoming a patriot or a supporter of King George. Ninety years later this new version of me had the same guiding principles that guided both the questions I asked and the answers I accepted.

The idea of taking up arms against a foreign nation (and by now in 1776 England was thought of as a foreign nation by American Patriots) was one thing, but in 1861 it was all about taking up arms against fellow Americans. The stakes were just as high, the difference being about the establishment of a new nation and now the continuance of this nation, now grown from 13 to 34 States.

By 1861, 11 states had actually seceded: “The eleven statesof the CSA, in order of secession, were: South Carolina (secededDecember 20, 1860), Mississippi (secededJanuary 9, 1861), Florida (secededJanuary 10, 1861), Alabama (secededJanuary 11, 1861), Georgia (secededJanuary 19, 1861), Louisiana (secededJanuary 26, 1861), Texas (secededFebruary 1, 1861. The border slave states of Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky, and Missouri remained with the Union, although they all contributed volunteers to the Confederacy. Fifty counties of western Virginia were loyal to the Union government, and in 1863 this area was constituted the separate state of West Virginia.”

The success the original Thirteen States had in expanding to 34 stood to be lost in the breakup of the Union. Franklin’s encouraging cartoon in the French and Indian War, “Unite, or Die,” could be recast as “Disunite, or Die,” because if the Confederate States of America won, it would be a serious blow economically, politically, and culturally to both nations. And what would it say about the CSA to be predicated on slavery? If one could look forward you would see the nation of South Africa, a nation predicated on slavery.

As for me in 1861 I had to ask honest questions, fight my way through the propaganda, the fake news both sides would be promoting to win their side to determine for myself Truth to make me the human being I believed myself to be. As my life, then, as it was in 1776, was predicated on Judeo/Christian principles in the end I would have concluded no person, certainly no State, had the right to enslave another person. The second thing I would have to decide would be, Would the cost be worth the fight and death it would bring to win my point?

I couldn’t make my choice which side to support until I asked honest questions, waded through all the emotion and found enough Truth to support my conclusions. I had to whittle away the lies before I could say, “Now, I understand the truth, now I can with clear conscience take the drastic action to put my life on the line and fight against slavery, even if the result is a physical civil war.