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Is Obama our Gorbachev?

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  • #31
    Re: Is Obama our Gorbachev?

    Originally posted by jpatter666 View Post
    Yep, and I had *exactly* that time frame in mind. After all, one of the reasons they called it "The War Between the States" was over who had the ultimate power -- the individual states or the central government.

    In the end, even the Northern States got way more than they bargained for....things were never the same afterword.
    You bet. An awful lot of folks still believe the revisionist propaganda that the war was fought to end slavery. You have it right. It was fought to forcibly establish federal hegemony over the states, overriding the Constitution on the matter. Few folks know that Lincoln even tried to have the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court jailed.

    The view we were taught in elementary school doesn’t explain why, if it was really about slavery, that the war broke out at duty collection post. Fort Sumter. The southern states were resisting collecting tariffs that the northern industrialists, which controlled the federal government, wanted in order to force the South into buying more of its production as opposed to Europe’s. Nor does it explain why, if it was really about slavery, that Lincoln did not come out with his famous Emancipation Proclamation until two years after the war had started. Nor that the Proclamation only freed the slaves in those states that were in rebellion. No, the slavery story was really an after-the-fact bit of war propaganda calculated to deter the Europeans from coming to the aid of the South. The Europeans had reasoned that if independence was so good in 1776, then why not in 1860 (your teacher every explain that one to you?). Also the Europeans were economically sympathetic to the South because of the aforementioned trade.

    But the Europeans had just recently rid themselves of slavery, and Lincoln’s tactic was successful, making it politically difficult for the Europeans to come to the aid of the South. Also noteworthy is that that slavery had been abolished peacefully in Europe. It was simply an idea whose time had come. It was not at all necessary to have a war to do away with slavery; the successful European strategy had just not been tried in the US.

    Lincoln was a master politician. Even as he proclaimed he was fighting a war to preserve government by the consent of the governed, he was doing away with it. In its place was government by military conquest.

    Of course that was hardly the end of the story. The US Constitution suffered further setbacks circa WWI under Wilson and his "fight to make the world safe for democracy". The income tax and the Federal Reserve were established in that dark chapter of American history. And the decline of the erstwhile Land Of The Free continues to this day.


    • #32
      Re: Is Obama our Gorbachev?

      If the civil war was fought over states rights, why wasn't it fought when the articles of confederation were abandoned for a new, highly centralized constitution? Yes, there's revisionist history going on for sure.

      John Brown (May 9, 1800 December 2, 1859) was an American abolitionist, who advocated and practiced armed insurrection as a means to end all slavery. He led the Pottawatomie Massacre in 1856 in Bleeding Kansas and made his name in the unsuccessful raid at Harpers Ferry in 1859.
      President Abraham Lincoln said he was a "misguided fanatic" and Brown has been called "the most controversial of all 19th-century Americans."[1] Brown's actions are often referred to as "patriotic treason", depicting both sides of the argument.
      John Brown's attempt in 1859 to start a liberation movement among enslaved African Americans in Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia) electrified the nation. He was tried for treason against the state of Virginia, the murder of five proslavery Southerners, and inciting a slave insurrection and was subsequently hanged. Southerners alleged that his rebellion was the tip of the abolitionist iceberg and represented the wishes of the Republican Party. Historians agree that the Harpers Ferry raid in 1859 escalated tensions that, a year later, led to secession and the American Civil War.


      • #33
        Re: Is Obama our Gorbachev?

        Originally posted by we_are_toast View Post
        If the civil war was fought over states rights, why wasn't it fought when the articles of confederation were abandoned for a new, highly centralized constitution? Yes, there's revisionist history going on for sure.

        No one is going to claim that slavery wasn't a big factor (probably THE factor) behind the Civil War. The Articles of Confederation proved to be too weak to keep the states together which is why they moved to the Constitution. And you are also correct in stating that a powerful, centralized government began there. But it didn't appear overnight. It gained power over the decades.

        In the timespan before the War, while the legislature tended to stay in Northern hands (if for no other reasons than population and number of states), the Presidency stayed in Southern hands. A very tenuous balance of power. When the Presidency also went into Northern hands, the South felt it had nothing to lose.

        Also remember that it almost *was* two different countries back then. Most people never left their state and felt highly attached to it. Loyalty to the Union was second to the State -- that was the main reason Robert Lee gave; he could not fight Virginia. And Virginia did not leave the Union at first -- a full third only left after the opening shots were fired.

        What is ironic to me in that by the end of the War, the Confederate government had seized far more power than the Federal government had at the beginning of the war.

        OK, no need to start a flame war here, I'm done. There's been tons of books written on this for all to pore over....


        • #34
          Re: Is Obama our Gorbachev?

          Originally posted by we_are_toast View Post
          If the civil war was fought over states rights, why wasn't it fought when the articles of confederation were abandoned for a new, highly centralized constitution? Yes, there's revisionist history going on for sure.
          Because legal recourses from the Anti-Federalists were enough to establish the Bill of Rights as the first ten Amendments to the Constitution, and they had the effect of calming the fear of an over-reaching Federal authority.

          Yes, the issues of slavery and abolition were substantial, but to say they were the cause for the Civil War is naive and a misread of history. The Simpsons covered it pretty well.
          Proctor: All right, here's your last question. What was the cause of
          the Civil War?
          Apu: Actually, there were numerous causes. Aside from the obvious
          schism between the abolitionists and the anti-abolitionists,
          there were economic factors, both domestic and inter--
          Proctor: Wait, wait... just say slavery.
          Apu: Slavery it is, sir.
          -- "Much Apu About Nothing"
          As Finster said, slavery ended peacefully in Europe. Why were we the only nation in history to fight a Civil War over slavery? Ans.: we didn't, so no nation in history has fought a civil war for that reason. We fought the American Civil War for similar reasons that all civil wars are fought--power, territory, and structure of government. There's nothing magical or mystical about our Civil War.


          • #35
            Re: Is Obama our Gorbachev?

            Lincoln was an asshole.

            Did you know that Lincoln asked Lee to be his general in the Civil War? Lee, being a Virginian, refused out of conscience.

            In revenge Lincoln expropriated Lee's family property and converted it into Arlington National Cemetary so that he could every day look out and see Lee's ancestral home desecrated with Union corpses:


            Arlington House

            On a Virginia hillside rising above the Potomac River and overlooking Washington, D.C., stands Arlington House. The 19th-century mansion seems out of place amid the more than 250,000 military grave sites that stretch out around it. Yet, when construction began in 1802, the estate was not intended to be a national cemetery.

            Arlington House "Custis-Lee Mansion"

            The mansion, which was intended as a living memorial to George Washington, was owned and constructed by the first president's adopted grandson, George Washington Parke Custis, son of John Parke Custis who himself was a child of Martha Washington by her first marriage and a ward of George Washington. Arlington won out as a name over Mount Washington, which is what George Washington Parke Custis first intended calling the 1,100-acre tract of land that he had inherited at the death of his father when he was 3.

            Arlington won out because it was the name of the Custis family ancestral estate in the Virginia tidewater area.

            Custis hired George Hadfield, an English architect who came to Washington in 1785 to help construct the U.S. Capitol, to design his estate.The Greek revival structure which Hadfield designed took Custis 16 years to complete.

            The north wing was the first structure completed in 1802. It was in this building that Custis made his home, with a significant portion of it used to store George Washington memorabilia Custis was acquiring with regularity. Among the items purchased and stored in the north wing were portraits, Washington's personal papers and clothes, and the command tent which the president had used at Yorktown.

            Even after the completion of the south wing in 1804, Arlington House was still only a set of detached buildings. With the completion of the central section in 1818, the house stretched 140 feet from the north to the south wing. The central section contained a formal dining room and sitting room, a large hall and a parlor. One of the most recognizable of the section's features are the eight columns of the exterior portico, each 5 feet in diameter at the base.

            George Washington Parke Custis and his wife, Mary Lee Fitzhugh (whom he had married in 1804), lived in Arlington House for the rest of their lives and were buried together on the property after their deaths in 1857 and 1853, respectively. They are buried in their original graves in Section 13, at map grid N-30. On June 30, 1831, Custis' only child, Mary Anna Randolph Custis, married her childhood friend and distant cousin, Robert E. Lee. Lee was the son of former three-term Virginia Governor Henry ("Light Horse Harry") Lee and was himself a graduate of West Point.


            • #36
              Re: Is Obama our Gorbachev?

              Very selective quoting. Suggest you read the REST of it.

              And this is coming from a Lee descendant....


              • #37
                Re: Is Obama our Gorbachev?

                The rest of the page:

                Please illuminate how my understanding is wrong:

                1) That the property was taken for taxes not paid DURING the Civil War.

                2) And that it was judged unlawful confiscation 18 years later.

                3) And that it was specifically turned into something uninhabitable.

                The only part not explicitly spelled out is Lincoln's role.

                Perhaps you can elucidate.

                Arlington National Cemetery was established by Brig. Gen. Montgomery C. Meigs, who commanded the garrison at Arlington House, appropriated the grounds June 15, 1864, for use as a military cemetery. His intention was to render the house uninhabitable should the Lee family ever attempt to return. A stone and masonry burial vault in the rose garden, 20 feet wide and 10 feet deep, and containing the remains of 1,800 Bull Run casualties, was among the first monuments to Union dead erected under Meigs' orders. Meigs himself was later buried within 100 yards of Arlington House with his wife, father and son; the final statement to his original order.
                The federal government dedicated a model community for freed slaves, Freedman's Village, near the current Memorial Amphitheater, on Dec. 4, 1863. More than 1,100 freed slaves were given land by the government, where they farmed and lived during and after the Civil War.
                Neither Robert E. Lee, nor his wife, as title holder, ever attempted to publicly recover control of Arlington House. They were buried at Washington University (later renamed Washington and Lee University) where Lee had served as president. The couple never returned to the home George Washington Parke Custis had built and treasured. After Gen. Lee's death in 1870, George Washington Custis Lee brought an action for ejectment in the Circuit Court of Alexandria (today Arlington) County, Va. Custis Lee, as eldest son of Gen. and Mrs. Lee, claimed that the land had been illegally confiscated and that, according to his grandfather's will, he was the legal owner. In December 1882, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, returned the property to Custis Lee, stating that it had been confiscated without due process


                • #38
                  Re: Is Obama our Gorbachev?

                  Lincoln was not directly responsible as you imply -- please state what document you gather that from. As you state, Lincoln had originally offered supreme command of the Union armies to Lee (this was before Virginia joined the Confederacy as I recall).

                  And yes, a Union general deliberately took the property and converted it to a military cemetery. It still surprises me they didn't raze the place, especially given the timeframe -- this was during the March to the Sea, the burning of the Shenendoah Valley. Lee was the TOP Confederate general, responsible for well over 100K direct in battle Union deaths by 1864, not including wounded or dead by illness. This particular event was a pimple on a warthog.

                  The court ruling IMO was not so much based on legality (hey, it was war!) as the following:
                  1 ) Reconstruction was over
                  2 ) Lee had passed on, rehabilitating his image over time, the legend was in full bloom by 1882
                  3 ) Southern politicians were again exhibiting influence (since #1)


                  • #39
                    Re: Is Obama our Gorbachev?

                    Originally posted by jpatter666
                    Lincoln was not directly responsible as you imply -- please state what document you gather that from. As you state, Lincoln had originally offered supreme command of the Union armies to Lee (this was before Virginia joined the Confederacy as I recall).
                    Is there a document where Lincoln states such an intention?

                    No, of course not. While of course I start to diverge into the conspiracy theory area, I present this instead:

                    1) Meigs was a captain at the start of the Civil War
                    2) Meigs and Lincoln worked directly together on at least one documented occasion: the relief of Fort Pickens


                    That might have been the end of Montgomery Meigs’ military career, and he might have retired as an obscure officer, but for the coincidence of powerful forces. Abraham Lincoln was elected, South Carolina adopted the Ordinance of Secession, Secretary Floyd resigned to join the Confederacy, Fort Sumter was fired upon, and war suddenly became imminent.
                    Almost immediately after Floyd resigned, Meigs was restored to his old assignment on the aqueduct project and, two months later, when the siege of Fort Sumter underlined the grave danger to all federal fortifications in the South, Captain Meigs found himself involved in an extraordinary plan to relieve the garrison of Fort Pickens, at Pensacola.
                    Extraordinary is scarcely an adequate word to describe this operation. Just how extraordinary it was can be appreciated when it is noted that the principal-if not the only-planners were President Lincoln, Captain Meigs, Secretary of State Seward, and a Naval lieutenant, and that neither the Secretaries of War or Navy knew anything about it! Captain Meigs it seems, was destined to operate outside of the regular channels.
                    Followed by a jump from captain, to colonel, to general in 24 hours

                    Nevertheless, this unorthodox project paid off. Meigs became a full colonel on May 14, 1861, and-twenty-four hours later-was nominated as Quartermaster General of the Army, with the rank of Brevet Brigadier General.
                    There probably was no direct connection between the sudden elevation and Meigs’ letter to the Secretary of State a month earlier, but you cannot escape the feeling that these two facts somehow were related. After all, Meigs was a 45-year-old captain with no immediate prospects of going much higher before retirement. Certainly this must have colored his thoughts when on April 7 he wrote to Seward that you will find the Army and Navy clogged at the head with men, excellent patriotic men, men who were soldiers and sailors forty years ago, but who now merely keep active men out of the places in which they could serve the country.
                    Thus I think it is quite fair to say that Meigs had a very close relationship with Lincoln, and furthermore it seems odd that the Quartermaster General of the entire Union Army would take charge of a cemetary.

                    It is also fair to say that Lincoln must have known about General Lee's property as it overlooks Washington DC - and Lee as the ranking member of the US military had direct contact with Lincoln regularly.

                    The official story says that what happened to Robert E. Lee's estate was due to Meigs' revenge over the death of his son, but that is wrong because General Meigs' son was not killed until after the property was seized by the federal government and also after Meigs assumed command of this otherwise unremarkable land (unremarkable compared to all the OTHER seized property other than its owner.

                    What the general did not say, however, was that the war became a very personal matter to him after his son, Captain John R. Meigs, was killed at Harrisonburg, Virginia, in October 1864, less than two years after his graduation from West Point.
                    So why indeed would Montgomery Meigs take personal command of a cemetary? 4 months BEFORE his son was killed?

                    An individual with a past history of doing 'out of chain of command' tasks for Lincoln?


                    • #40
                      Re: Is Obama our Gorbachev?

                      A final footnote which may or may not be relevant: after ownership of Arlington was returned to the family, Lincoln's son bought it 6 months later for $150,000

                      The CPI calculator doesn't go back to the 1880s, but it is probably safe to say that this was an enormous sum: at least $5M in today's terms, in turn even more due to the relative lack of cash in the gold-backed era: 75000 ounces of gold = $8.5M+

                      Thus Lincoln's association with Arlington/Robert E. Lee's/Custis' ancestral estate is manyfold. Said son is also buried there.