Civil War, 1861-1865

List of American Civil War battles.

Lawrence Massacre, 1863, Lawrence, Kansas.

Bleeding Kansas, 1854-1861.  Wikipedia reports, 

Bleeding KansasBloody Kansas or the Border War was a series of violent civil confrontations in the United States between 1854 and 1861 which emerged from a political and ideological debate over the legality of slavery in the proposed state of Kansas. The conflict was characterized by years of electoral fraud, raids, assaults, and retributive murders carried out in Kansas and neighboring Missouri by pro-slavery “Border Ruffiansand anti-slavery “Free-Staters“.


from Gary North . . .

His book on the Secret Six gained positive reviews from a few people, but it enraged the Left. The book is a detailed account of the terrorist and the six New England abolitionists who financed him after he savagely murdered an innocent family in Kansas. They knew what he had done. They did not care.

Scott’s contribution was unique. As a journalist, he understood the power of the press. He showed how parts of the Northern press elevated Brown to a saint. This persuaded the South that the North was ready to invade. Brown self-consciously was trying to foment a slave rebellion at Harper’s Ferry in 1859. The South became paranoid. Scott said the power of the American press to support revolution began in 1859. Chamberlain wrote:

To Mr. Scott, the real scandal of the whole Brown story was the behavior of the Massachusetts intellectuals. The Concord group was particularly blameworthy for making Brown a hero. Ralph Waldo Emerson excused the Kansas violence by saying “better that a whole generation of men, women and children should pass away by a violent death, than that one word” of the Golden Rule and the Declaration of Independence “should be violated in this country.” Henry David Thoreau agreed with Emerson that Brown was a “transcendentalist saint.”

This image of Brown as a messiah figure was exactly what Brown had created. His final words to the court before he was hanged were masterful in their rhetoric, an astounding performance from a man without formal education or previous literary experience. His “last will and testament” was reprinted all over the North.

This court acknowledges, as I suppose, the validity of the law of God. I see a book kissed here which I suppose to be the Bible, or at least the New Testament. That teaches me that all things whatsoever I would that men should do to me, I should do even so to them. It teaches me, further, to “remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them.” I endeavored to act up to that instruction. I say, I am yet too young to understand that God is any respecter of persons. I believe that to have interfered as I have done as I have always freely admitted I have done in behalf of His despised poor, was not wrong, but right. Now, if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments, I submit; so let it be done!

This was all a pose for public relations purposes. There had been no trace of Christianity in his life, yet Northern radicals, then and now, have presented him as a pious Christian seeking justice.

More than any man in American history, John Brown was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Northern abolitionists accepted his own self-assessment as gospel. This is what frightened the South. It made the leaders ready for secession after Lincoln’s election less than a year later. This led to the deaths of 750,000 men and the abolition of slavery in 1865. Brown got what he wanted: social revolution.

John Brown and the Legend of Fifty-Six, James Claude Malin, 1942.

Lincoln was a man of his age, and it was an age of unashamed empire building and of the coercion of independent political societies into consolidated unions.

When the Yankees Shut Down the 1st Amendment,” John Taylor, Abbeville Institute, September 12, 2018.


From Tom Woods’ “Significance of the Civil War,” 2004.  It looks like one goal of the war was the federal capture of small-town America and institute a modern state, one centrally controlled by a federal authority like the presidency and other departments of the federal government.  This seems to me to be accurate, given all of the rhetoric of revolution which is directed at the federal government.  America’s brilliance was always about self-government, not a state=planned government.

Donald Livingston, professor of philosophy at Emory University, has identified one of these larger issues, and it was one that Southerners did indeed appreciate. In the modern age, Livingston observes, we have seen federative polities giving way to modern states. A federative polity is one in which a variety of smaller jurisdictions exist — like families, voluntary organizations, towns and states, and in medieval Europe institutions like guilds, universities, and the Church. Each of these social authorities has powers and rights of its own that the central government cannot overturn. Each of them is also a potential source of corporate resistance to the central government. Prior to the rise of the modern state, political leaders who desired centralization, therefore, found themselves up against the historic liberties of towns, guilds, universities, the Church, and similar corporate bodies.

Thomas Hobbes, on the other hand, set out parameters for the modern state in Leviathan (1651) that developed into unexamined premises that later thinkers (even putative opponents like John Locke) all but took for granted. The modern state about which Hobbes theorized is one in which the central government is absolutely supreme, and in which society is thought of as being composed not of independent social authorities, as in a federative polity, but of a simple aggregate of individuals. There are no truly independent social authorities in the modern state because nothing is thought to be independent of or prior to the central government. All potential for corporate resistance is gone; mere individuals, by contrast, are typically helpless against a strong central government.


From Donald Livingston’s “The American Genius for Self-Government,” 2013.

Likewise, it is wrong to describe the conflict of 1861–1865 as the “Civil War.” The exemplar of a civil war is the English Civil War. That war was a struggle, within a modern state, by two factions (Crown and Parliament) for control of the same government. But the federation of American states was not itself a modern state any more than the European Union is a modern state. Its central government had only enumerated powers delegated to it by the sovereign states.

. . . the struggle that occurred was not between two factions seeking control of the same government. Rather, it was between one group of states exercising their federative power to withdraw from the federation and govern themselves, and another group of states seeking to conquer and govern them. The Great Seal of the Confederacy bears an equestrian statue of George Washington, the symbol of secession from the British empire. Just as the break with Britain was not a revolution but an act of secession, so the break with the North was not an act of treason issuing in civil war, but an act of secession issuing in conquest by the North. That both conflicts are frequently misdescribed points again to the under-theorized character of secession.

Fascinating . . . 

Of those southerners who were opposed to secession, including Robert E. Lee, the great majority of them recognized the legitimacy of the conventions and supported their states, to which, under the compact theory of the Constitution, they owed their primary allegiance.

. . . 

With the orderly, legal secession of the southern states, the American genius for self-government reached its highest moral expression. Here was something unprecedented in history; a vast continental empire of republics torn by sectional, economic, and moral conflicts seeking to settle its differences not by war, but by peaceful secession of eleven contiguous republics, legitimated by the consent of the people. This was the very thing that, in 1840, John Quincy Adams said might be necessary in the future, and which the American commitment to self-government of peoples would legitimate, rather than a Union held together by bayonets. It was this also that President Buchanan had in mind when, although opposed to secession, he declared that the central government had no authority to coerce a seceding state. The same doctrine was asserted by Madison and Hamilton in the Federalist. Lincoln, however, like George III, was determined on coercion, but unlike the latter, he was also prepared to launch total war against the civilian population of the South to achieve the goal of a consolidated nationalism.

. . . With Lincoln, then, a radical break occurs between the older Americanism that was grounded in the natural rights of substantial moral communities to govern themselves and a new Americanism grounded in the centralization and consolidation of power, and like the French Revolution, dedicated to an egalitarian doctrine of individualism. This doctrine, wherever it has been applied in the world, has required the destruction of independent social authorities and moral communities and the massive consolidation of power needed to achieve such destruction. Lincoln was a man of his age, and it was an age of unashamed empire building and of the coercion of independent political societies into consolidated unions. What Bismarck was accomplishing in Germany with a policy of “blood and iron,” and what Lenin would accomplish in Russia, Lincoln had accomplished in America. Lincoln did not preserve an organic indivisible union from destruction because he did not inherit one; rather, like Bismarck, he created one.