Falsifying History In Behalf Of Agendas
Paul Craig Roberts
In an article on April 13 ( http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2015/04/13/power-lies/ ) I used the so-called Civil War and the myths
with which court historians have encumbered that war to show how history is
falsified in order to serve agendas. I pointed out that it was a war of
secession, not a civil war as the South was not fighting the North for control
of the government in Washington. As for the matter of slavery, all of Lincoln’s
statements prove that he was neither for the blacks nor against slavery. Yet he
has been turned into a civil rights hero, and a war of northern aggression,
whose purpose Lincoln stated over and over was “to preserve the union” (the
empire), has been converted into a war to free the slaves.
As for the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln said it
was “a practical war measure” that would help in defeating the South and would
convince Europe, which was considering recognizing the Confederacy, that
Washington was motivated by “something more than ambition.” The proclamation
only freed slaves in the Confederacy, not in the Union. As Lincoln’s Secretary
of State put it: “we emancipated slaves where we cannot reach them and hold
them in bondage where we can set them free.”
A few readers took exception to the truth and
misconstrued a statement of historical facts as a racist defense of slavery. In
the article below, the well-known African-American, Walter Williams, points out
that the war was about money, not slavery. Just as Jews who tell the truth about
Israel’s policies are called “self-hating Jews,” will Walter Williams be called
a “self-hating black?” Invective is used as a defense against truth.
Racist explanations can be very misleading. For
example, it is now a given that the police are racists because they kill
without cause black Americans and almost always get away with it. Here is a
case of a true fact being dangerously misconstrued. In actual fact, the police
kill more whites than blacks, and they get away with these murders also. So how
is race the explanation?
The real explanation is that the police have been
militarized and trained to view the public as enemy who must first be subdued
with force and then questioned. This is the reason that so many innocent
people, of every race, are brutalized and killed. No doubt some police are
racists, but overall their attitude toward the public is a brutal attitude
toward all races, genders, and ages. The police are a danger to everyone, not
only to blacks.
We see the same kind of mistake made with the Confederate
Battle Flag. Reading some of the accounts of the recent Charleston church
shootings, I got the impression that the Confederate Battle Flag, not Dylann
Roof, was responsible for the murders. Those declaring the flag to be a “symbol
of hate” might be correct. Possibly it is a symbol of their hatred of the
“white South,” a hatred that dates from the mischaracterization of what is
called the “Civil War.” As one commentator pointed out, if flying over slavery
for four years makes the Confederate flag a symbol of hate, what does that make
the U.S. flag, which flew over slavery for 88 years?
Flags on a battlefield are information devices to show
soldiers where their lines are. In the days of black powder, battles produced
enormous clouds of smoke that obscured the line between opposing forces. In the
first battle of Bull Run confusion resulted from the similarity of the flags.
Thus, the Confederate Battle Flag was born. It had nothing to do with hate.
Americans born into the centralized state are unaware that
their forebears regarded themselves principally as residents of states, and not
as Americans. Their loyalty was to their state. When Robert E. Lee was offered
command in the Union Army, he declined on the grounds that he was a Virginian
and could not go to war against his native country of Virginia.
A nonsensical myth has been created that Southerners
made blacks into slaves because Southerners are racist. The fact of the matter
is that slaves were brought to the new world as a labor force for large scale
agriculture. The first slaves were whites sentenced to slavery under European
penal codes. Encyclopedia Virginia reports that “convict
laborers could be purchased for a lower price than indentured white or enslaved
African laborers, and because they already existed outside society’s rules,
they could be more easily exploited.”
White slavery also took the form of indentured
servants in which whites served under contract as slaves for a limited time.
Native Indians were enslaved. But whites and native Indians proved to be
unsatisfactory labor forces for large scale agriculture. The whites had no
resistance to malaria and yellow fever. It was discovered that some Africans
did, and Africans were also accustomed to hot climates. Favored by superior
survivability, Africans became the labor force of choice.
Slaves were more prominent in the Southern colonies
than in the north, because the land in the South was more suitable for large
scale agriculture. By the time of the American Revolution, the South was specialized
in agriculture, and slavery was an inherited institution that long pre-dated
both the United States and the Confederate States of America. The percentage of
slave owners in the population was very small, because slavery was associated
with large land holdings that produced export crops.
The motive behind slavery was to have a labor force in
order to exploit the land. Those with large land holdings wanted labor and did
not care about its color. Trial and error revealed that some Africans had
superior survivability to malaria, and thus Africans became the labor force of
choice. There was no free labor market. The expanding frontier offered poor
whites land of their own, which they preferred to wages as agricultural
A racist explanation of slavery and the Confederacy
satisfies some agendas, but it is ahistorical.
Explanations are not justifications. Every
institution, every vice, every virtue, and language itself has roots. Every
institution and every cause has vested interests defending them. There have
been a few efforts, such as the French Revolution and the Bolshevik Revolution,
to remake the world in a day by casting off all existing institutions, but
these attempts came a cropper.
Constant charges of racism can both create and
perpetuate racism, just as the constant propaganda out of Washington is
creating Islamophobia and Russophobia in the American population. We should be
careful about the words we use and reject agenda-driven explanations.
Readers are forever asking me, “what can we do.” The
answer is always the same. We can’t do anything unless we are informed.
By Walter E. Williams
July 21, 2015
We call the war of 1861 the Civil War. But is that
right? A civil war is a struggle between two or more entities trying to take
over the central government. Confederate President Jefferson Davis no more
sought to take over Washington, D.C., than George Washington sought to take
over London in 1776. Both wars, those of 1776 and 1861, were wars of
independence. Such a recognition does not require one to sanction the horrors
of slavery. We might ask, How much of the war was about slavery?
Was President Abraham Lincoln really for outlawing
slavery? Let’s look at his words. In an 1858 letter, Lincoln said, “I have
declared a thousand times, and now repeat that, in my opinion neither the General
Government, nor any other power outside of the slave states, can
constitutionally or rightfully interfere with slaves or slavery where it
already exists.” In a Springfield, Illinois, speech, he explained: “My
declarations upon this subject of Negro slavery may be misrepresented but
cannot be misunderstood. I have said that I do not understand the Declaration
(of Independence) to mean that all men were created equal in all respects.”
Debating Sen. Stephen Douglas, Lincoln said, “I am not, nor ever have been, in
favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes nor of qualifying them to hold
office nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this
that there is a physical difference between the white and black races, which I
believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social
and political equality.”
What about Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation? Here
are his words: “I view the matter (of slaves’ emancipation) as a practical war
measure, to be decided upon according to the advantages or disadvantages it may
offer to the suppression of the rebellion.” He also wrote: “I will also concede
that emancipation would help us in Europe, and convince them that we are
incited by something more than ambition.” When Lincoln first drafted the
proclamation, war was going badly for the Union. London and Paris were
considering recognizing the Confederacy and assisting it in its war against the
The Emancipation Proclamation was not a universal
declaration. It specifically detailed where slaves were to be freed: only in
those states “in rebellion against the United States.” Slaves remained slaves
in states not in rebellion — such as Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware and Missouri.
The hypocrisy of the Emancipation Proclamation came in for heavy criticism.
Lincoln’s own secretary of state, William Seward, sarcastically said, “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 did articulate a view of secession that would
have been heartily endorsed by the Confederacy: “Any people anywhere, being
inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the
existing government and form a new one that suits them better. … Nor is this
right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may
choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people that can may revolutionize
and make their own of so much of the territory as they inhabit.” Lincoln
expressed that view in an 1848 speech in the U.S. House of Representatives,
supporting the war with Mexico and the secession of Texas [from Mexico].
Why didn’t Lincoln share the same feelings about
Southern secession? Following the money might help with an answer. Throughout
most of our nation’s history, the only sources of federal revenue were excise
taxes and tariffs. During the 1850s, tariffs amounted to 90 percent of federal
revenue. Southern ports paid 75 percent of tariffs in 1859. What “responsible”
politician would let that much revenue go?