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“Gotcha“?!? Sorry, I didn’t realize we were playing “gotcha” games here in the Forum against one another. But since the game is on, I’ll be sure to add that to my list of things to accomplish here, i.e. watch what Whirlibird posts, so I can first even the score, and then score a decisive lead. [No, of course I won’t. I value this Forum more than engaging in petty gotchagames.] So, I move back to the first point:

You mean when the southern cowards didn’t want to pay their share?

Wow! Defending redistribution of wealth, are we? All you needed there was the insertion of the word “fair” immediately prior to the word “share.” The argument then was not whether the South would pay their share, but what percentage was a fair share.

Perhaps a real time view of the conflict might be helpful, at least to some. From Richard M. Weaver’s “The Southern Tradition at Bay: A History of Postbellum Thought,” we find the following statement by the Vice President of the Confederate States of America, Alexander Stephens:

If centralism is ultimately to prevail; if our entire system of free Institutions as established by our common ancestors is to be subverted, and an Empire is to be established in their stead; if that is to be the last scene of the great tragic drama now being enacted: then, be assured, that we of the South will be acquitted, not only in our own consciences, but in the judgment of mankind, of all responsibility for so terrible a catastrophe, and from all guilt of so great a crime against humanity.”

To which I’d add the following from Britain’s libertarian, Lord Acton, contained in a letter to Robert E. Lee in 1866:

I saw in States’ rights the only availing check upon the absolutism of the sovereign will, and secession filled me with hope, not as the destruction but as the redemption of Democracy. … Therefore, I deemed that you were fighting the battles of our liberty, our progress, and our civilization, and I mourn for the stake which was lost at Richmond more deeply than I rejoice over that which was saved at Waterloo.”

Finally, we have the chillingly prophetic statement from that anti-slavery Southern general whose statues now must be obliterated from the land, to Lord Acton on 15 December 1866:

I yet believe that the maintenance of the rights and authority reserved to the states and to the people, not only are essential to the adjustment and balance of the general system, but the safeguard to the continuance of a free government. I consider it as the chief source of stability to our political system, whereas the consolidation of the states into one vast republic, sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home, will be the certain precursor of that ruin which has overwhelmed all those that have preceded it.”

I’ll let those that there were there, then, with personal stakes in the issues of the day, speak in my behalf. If they wish to claim a counter-gotcha, that’s up to them. But amazingly, their issues seemed also to be our issues of today as well.