Category Archives: secession

▶ Secession Begins at Home | Jeff Deist

Published on Jan 29, 2015

The growing number of secession movements around the world gives rise to our topic: breaking away from current government structures that do so much harm to liberty, peace, and prosperity. Recorded at “Breaking Away: The Case for Secession”—the Mises Circle in Houston, Texas, on 24 January 2015.

via ▶ Secession Begins at Home | Jeff Deist – YouTube.

Confused History-Fascism and Secession

As Mr. Benson underscores below, it’s the Quantity of government that the people will tolerate which determines individual liberties. The amount of freedom is bound by the people in a Form of government. Let’s not put our cart before our mule.

In essence, the message sent out by the southern states secession was to establish the same form of government, but separate from the usurpers of their liberties.

From all American historical perspectives Americans were happy under their Constitution. Thus, it will be determined by the people the method used to return to it. 

by Al Benson Jr.

The other night I ran across some sort of forum on the Internet, and one of the contributors to it asked the question: What if? Abraham Lincoln goes Fascist instead of socialist. At this point, I can’t recall what the entire forum was all about and I only printed off the one page that had that comment on it. The person who asked the question seemed willing to acknowledge that Mr. Lincoln could fall into the socialist camp, which is more than many are willing to do. 

But they also considered the possibility that he might end up in the Fascist camp. This might seem an interesting argument to some folks, and I don’t doubt the sincerity of those debating this possibility, but I do have a problem with their conclusions, in that, from my understanding of the political spectrum Fascism is not a rightist, but rather a leftist position–therefore it belongs over there on the left next to socialism and communism.

Fascism, like communism and/or socialism, is a system of collectivism and government control, thus it belongs on the left side of the political spectrum, not on the right. If you are going to view the entire political spectrum from left to right, then you need to place all political systems with total government on the left, and on the right are systems with no government–anarchy–where everyone does that which is right in his own eyes, and that, in a sense, is almost as bad as the leftist position, due to the fact that man is a sinner and, if left to his own devices, he will trample the rights of others for his own personal benefit. And so there needs to be some government, but again, because man is a sinner, the amount of government needs to be limited and defined as to exactly what government can and should do (protection of life and property) and what it is not permitted to do.
So, in a sense, wondering if Lincoln would have ended up as a socialist or a Fascist is almost like saying “Would Lincoln have ended up in socialist party A or socialist party B?” Many forget that the term Nazi stood for “National Socialist.” The main difference between fascists and socialists or communists was that the Fascists were more concerned (at least theoretically) with practicing their total control in a nationalist venue, whereas the communist/socialist had bigger plans and he wanted (and still wants) to do it all on an international scale. Had Lincoln chosen Fascism he would still have been a socialist, just a little different kind than those friends of his that Donnie Kennedy and I wrote about in our book Lincoln’s Marxists.
The same night, I also came across an informative article by Tom DiLorenzo, originally published on back in July of 2013. For those who may not know, Tom DiLorenzo is an economics professor at Loyola College in Maryland and is the author of several books, among which are The Real Lincoln and Lincoln Unmasked. 

In this article Professor DiLorenzo made several comments pertaining to the Declaration of Independence. He stated: “The first several generations of Americans understood that the Declaration of Independence was the ultimate states’ rights document. The citizens of the states would delegate certain powers to a central government in their Constitution and these powers (mostly for national defense and foreign policy purposes) would hopefully be exercised for the benefit of the citizens of the ‘free and independent’ states, as they are called in the Declaration…If the day ever came that the national government became the sole arbiter of the limits of its own powers, then Americans would live under a tyranny as bad or worse than the one the colonists fought a revolution against.” 

Folks, I hate to have to say it, but that day has arrived, if only we will take our heads out of the sand and confront the sad fact. Ahhh, but it’s so much easier to just watch the Reality shows and tune all that nasty stuff out. And the Christians will agree and say “Well, we don’t need to worry about all that. The Lord will return anytime now (momentarily if not sooner) and rapture us all out of this mess so we don’t have to deal with it. We don’t have to get involved. After all, politics is a dirty business anyway.” The fact that it might be a little less dirty if Christians had stayed involved instead of tucking tail and running, is a concept that totally eludes them. But I’m getting carried away here with one of my main concerns–Christian couch potatoes.

Professor DiLorenzo continued: “This was the fundamental understanding of the Declaration of Independence–that it was a Declaration of Secession from the British Empire-…” We seem to have lost that concept today. People don’t even want to think about it. I’ve been taken to task for even saying it in some quarters.
Interestingly enough, Professor DiLorenzo quotes the Kenosha, Wisconsin Democrat

for January 11, 1861, where it said: “The founders of our government were constant secessionists. They not only claimed the right for themselves, but conceded it to others. They were not only secessionists in theory, but in practice.” Such an editorial would never make it into a newspaper today–it would be considered “politically incorrect” and the vast majority of newspapers in our day strictly adhere to political correctness (Cultural Marxism).
Also quoted by Professor DiLorenzo was an editorial from the Washington, D.C. States and Union newspaper for March 21, 1861, which said: “The people are the ruling judges, the States independent sovereigns. Where the people chose to change their political condition, as our own Declaration of Independence first promulgated, they have a right to do so. If the doctrine was good then, it is good now. Call that by whatever name you please, secession or revolution, it makes no sort of difference.”
And then DiLorenzo carefully noted: “This last sentence was in response to the Republican Party propaganda machine of the day that invented the theory that the Declaration allows for a ‘right of revoluton’ but not a right of ‘secession.’ The States and Union recognized immediately that this non-distinction was nothing more than a rhetorical flimflam designed to deceive the public about the meaning of their own Declaration of Independence. It is a piece of lying propaganda that is repeated to this day by apologists for the American welfare/’warfare’police state, especially the Lincoln-worshipping neocons at National Revue, the Claremont Institute, and other appendages of the Republican Party.”
That’s a pretty telling analysis of something that has been used since the days of “Father Abraham” right up to and including our day, when we are informed that we have a “right to revolution” but no right to secession. I’m sorry, but I have to consider that rationale to be a pile of high-grade cow chips.

Source revisedhistory

Secession Wasn’t Treason and It Still Isn’t

by Al Benson Jr.

Secession and the knee-jerk reactions to it have been of interest to me ever since I started doing historical research. Yankee/Marxist politicians, in 1861, sought to portray secession by the Southern states as the most monstrous of crimes ever perpetrated on the human race. 

The fact that some Northern states had threatened secession and actually sent delegates to Hartford, Connecticut in 1814 to consider the issue was a historical fact that was lost on them, and they hoped on everyone else too. Somehow, when the Northern states considered it, it was not treason. That was only the case when Southern states did it.

Between 1814 and 1860, secession went from being a favored possibility to a horrendous crime, most notably if the South did it. Even, and especially, in our day, many of our crop of “historians” absolutely howl about how secession was treason and how the Confederate States were seeking to overthrow the United States government–all of which is complete bovine fertilizer–and don’t think they don’t know it. 

All the Southern states wanted were to be able to go in peace. 

They had no interest whatever in overthrowing the federal government in Washington; they just wanted to depart and set up their own government. However, Mr. Lincoln and his erstwhile collectivist friends couldn’t allow that, as the Southern states paid the lion’s share of the tariff for the whole country and if they were allowed to depart, why the Northern states might have to start ponying up their share of the tariff because the South would no longer be there to pay over 80% of it.

When the shooting part of the War of Northern Aggression was over and the Confederate States, which never officially surrendered, by the way, were in ruins, the benevolent Yankee/Marxist government took Jeff Davis, who, with his cabinet, had fled rather than surrender, and they tossed him into prison at Fortress Monroe in Virginia for two years, planning at the outset to bring him to trial for treason and secession, which they claimed were one in the same. 

After two years of prisoner abuse and political horseplay, the Union government finally decided, rather reluctantly, that it could not afford to bring Davis to trial because, should that event transpire, it might well be proven in court that Davis and the South had been right–secession was not at all illegal, nor was it unconstitutional. After all, what did they think the Declaration of Independence was other than a secession document?

Several years back now, 1995 I think it was, I wrote a short 26 page booklet on secession. It has since become one of the booklets I offer in my home school mini-history course. In that booklet I quoted an author, James Street, who had written a book entitled simply “The Civil War.” Mr. Street had a few comments about what happened to Jeff Davis at the end of the War. He said: “The North didn’t dare give him a trial, knowing that a trial would establish that secession was not unconstitutional, that there had been no ‘rebellion’ and that the South had got a raw deal.” You can’t say it much plainer than that.

Later, I picked up another book, written by Burke Davis (no relative to Jeff that I know of), entitled “The Long Surrender.” It dealt with much of what happened with the people involved during the final days of the Confederacy, when Richmond fell, and Jeff Davis and the Confederate government fled the city and tried to set up somewhere else in order that they might carry on the struggle.

After Jeff Davis was captured, the vindictive and radical Yankee/Marxist Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, (who many feel may have known more about the Lincoln assassination than is admitted) wanted to implicate Davis both as a co-conspirator in Lincoln’s assassination and as a traitor for being the head of the secessionist government in Richmond, even though secession had not been original with Davis. 

Try as they might, the radical leftist Republicans in Washington couldn’t quite bring it off. Burke Davis noted, on page 204 of his book, a quote by Chief Justice Salmon P Chase, telling Stanton “If you bring these leaders to trial, it will condemn the North, for by the Constitution, secession is not rebellion…His (Jeff Davis’) capture was a mistake. His trial will be a greater one. We cannot convict him of treason. Secession is settled. Let it stay settled.” Only it wasn’t–and isn’t. Burke Davis continued on page 214 of his book, noting that a congressional committee proposed a special court for Davis’ trial, headed by Franz Lieber. Again, Davis noted: 

“After studying more than 270,000 Confederate documents seeking evidence against Davis, this court discouraged the War Department: ‘Davis will be found not guilty,’ Lieber reported, ‘and we shall stand there completely beaten’.”

What the radical, Yankee/Marxist politicians were admitting among themselves (they’d never say it anywhere else) was that they had just fought a “civil war” that had taken or maimed the lives of over 600,000 Americans, both North and South, and that they had no constitutional justification whatever for having done so, nor had they any constitutional right to have impeded the Southern states when they chose to withdraw from the constitutional compact. They had fought solely for the right to keep an empire together. Call is “Manifest Destiny” or whatever noble-sounding euphemism you want to tack onto it, either way, they had been wrong. 

Now they could ill afford to let Jeff Davis go to trial, else their grievous crime would become public knowledge and beget them even more problems in the future, and that would have given them problems as they sought to redistribute among their friends whatever wealth remained in the South.

Needless to say, you probably have not read about any of this in what passes for “history” books in the last 150 years. As the narrator at the beginning of the movie “Braveheart” so correctly stated: “History is written by those who’ve hanged heroes.”

Real human rights in both North and South had been trampled on, and have continued to be up until and including today. What the Lincoln administration and early Marxist Republicans started and kept up during “reconstruction” has finally come to full fruition in our day, with such legislation as the “Patriot Act” and Obamacare, which effectively cancel out much of the Bill of Rights–as was intended and still is.

The War of Northern Aggression started the trend in this country in which leftist politicians have ever sought to usurp the rights of individual Americans, and to rule over us rather than to represent us as they were originally delegated to do. Truly, there is nothing new under the sun. And now, with secessionist sentiment running rampant all over the world, the politicians are getting a bit nervous.

If you want some of the real history of that period in this country I would recommend James and Walter Kennedy’s book “The South Was Right,” Frank Conner’s book “The South Under Siege–1830-2000,” and Walter Kennedy’s and my book “Lincoln’s Marxists.”

The Scottish Secession Vote, Election Fraud, and Secession

by Al Benson
Well, the vote on Scotland’s secession from the United Kingdom has come and gone, and has gone pretty much as I expected. I could not honestly picture England letting Scotland go, but it had to at least look like a legitimate vote and so, as with American elections, they went through the charade.
I have read several accounts of how there was vote fraud in this secession vote, how lots of “yes” votes ended up on the “no” side of the column, and what I have read is plausible enough that, let’s just say, I don’t doubt it. The One World Ruling Elite didn’t want this to happen so it didn’t. However you look at it, though, 45% of the Scottish voters, at least (and maybe more) voted for secession. That’s a pretty good chunk of the population.
As far as vote fraud goes though, England has a long way to go before they will match some of what we have done in this country. 
We are the nation where the dead resurrect every election day and they vote early and often. Our last two presidential elections had such creative voting that they will have to go down in history as among the most creative elections known to man. 
I’ve often wondered how, in 2012, Obama got 140% of the vote in some places and 100% of it in many other places. Almost no Romney voters many places north of the Ohio river I guess. I have also wondered why the Republicans never seemed to have any problems with those numbers, but, then, if you can manage to steal ten states off Ron Paul so your weak sister, Romney, can get in there and lose to Obama then I guess nothing surprises you anymore. But, 140% of the vote some places and the Republicans never complained above the roar of a church mouse! That says something to me and it should to you. It’s called “creative voting.” Sounds like the kind of numbers that would be part of a “Commie Core” math problem. How can 140% of anything be 100%? And after the kid gives an answer the teacher says “he might have gotten it wrong but he gave a beautiful explanation as to how he got his answer, and besides, he only missed the right answer by 20!” But I digress.
But the Scottish vote will give you some inkling of how future secession votes will go, even in this country. They will go the same way our presidential races go–even if a candidate ends up with 75% of the vote, if he is not the right candidate, then his opposition will win with 25%.
But secession is an issue that just won’t go away. From time to time it rears its head and scares the living daylights out of the Establishment, and the numbers are increasing. When I first started talking about secession back when we lived in Illinois about nineteen years ago people laughed in my face. They thought the idea was ridiculous and told me so in no uncertain terms. A poll at that time revealed that about 9% of the public would be open to secession–and given 150 years of anti-secession propaganda posing as history, I thought even that was pretty good.
Since then there has been a close secession vote in Quebec and parts of several other countries, notably Spain recently, want to secede. There seems to be a growing opposition in many areas to being part of a Leviathan state, even if it is not the world’s biggest Leviathan. People feel their cultures, their identities, and their heritages all tend to get lost when they are part of the Leviathan state and they don’t want to lose all that. And I can’t blame them. I don’t want the various parts of this country to lose their cultural distinctives either. We should not all be just one huge glob of “pop culture.” That’s what the elites want us to be and we should resist that, especially since their pop culture leaves no place for the Christian faith or any place for any cultural differences between Yankees and Southern folks or between Northeasterners and Westerners. The present Regime here is trying to squeeze all of us into a “one size fits all” mentality. 
Again, we should resist.
Last evening someone sent me an article from Reuters in England. The title of it was “Exclusive: Angry with Washington, 1 in 4 Americans open to secession.” The article noted, in part, “Some 23.9% of American polled from Aug. 23 through Sept 16 said they strongly supported or tended to support the idea of a state breaking away, while 53.3%…strongly opposed or tended to oppose the notion. The urge to sever ties with Washington cuts across party lines and regions, though Republicans and residents of rural Western states are generally warmer to the idea than Democrats and Northeasterners, according to the poll…others said long-running Washington gridlock had prompted them to wonder if their states would be better off striking out on their own…”
And some folks are starting to wake up. Some favor secession because they are starting to realize that, no matter which party is in office, nothing gets done and the agenda doesn’t seem to change all that much. Although most of these folks don’t yet realize it, they are beginning to ascertain that both parties are controlled by one elite cabal and nothing will change until that changes. One man said “I have totally, completely lost faith in the federal government, the people running it, whether Republican, Democrat, independent, whatever.”
Interestingly, secession sentiment was highest in the Southwest, where 34.1% of poll respondents backed the idea. So 34% in the West would support secession. That’s a big jump from 9% almost 20 years ago. Given the One World socialist worldview of those that control both major parties, if they continue on their present course for another 20 years, what percentage will favor secession at that point?
Of course by that time they may figure they will have the country all sewed up and potential resistance all taken care of–and I don’t doubt, with all that ammunition the feds have bought, they will try. But what if they can’t–quite? What if the Lord won’t let them pull it off–quite? There are some folks out here that are praying to the Lord that He will restrain their enemies and His from doing all they want to do. If you believe in the power of prayer, then why not join us?

view article

Angry with Washington, 1 in 4 Americans Open to Secession

Posted September 19, 2014 1:38 pm by PatriotRising

Can you begin to understand now why the Conspiracy regards it essential that the respective state national guards be deployed overseas whenever possible? Hmmm? Ironically, the St. Andrews cross flew across the US southern seceding states heralds back to Scotland!

Some 23.9 percent of Americans said they strongly supported or tended to support idea of their state breaking away.
South Carolina Sovereignty Flag
While the South had support all over the Union this was raised over the Alumni Hall at Yale University by Southern sympathizers on 20 January 1861.  This is also claimed that this was an early flag to be the flag flown in South Carolina shortly after her secession on 20th December 1860. (More secession flags here)

The failed Scottish vote to pull out from the United Kingdom stirred secessionist hopes for some in the United States, where almost a quarter of people are open to their states leaving the union, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll found.
Some 23.9 percent of Americans polled from Aug. 23 through Sept. 16 said they strongly supported or tended to support the idea of their state breaking away, while 53.3 percent of the 8,952 respondents strongly opposed or tended to oppose the notion.
The urge to sever ties with Washington cuts across party lines and regions, though Republicans and residents of rural Western states are generally warmer to the idea than Democrats and Northeasterners, according to the poll.
Anger with President Barack Obama’s handling of issues ranging from healthcare reform to the rise of Islamic State militants drives some of the feeling, with Republican respondents citing dissatisfaction with his administration as coloring their thinking.
But others said long-running Washington gridlock had prompted them to wonder if their states would be better off striking out on their own, a move no U.S. state has tried in the 150 years since the bloody Civil War that led to the end of slavery in the South.
“I don’t think it makes a whole lot of difference anymore which political party is running things. Nothing gets done,” said Roy Gustafson, 61, of Camden, South Carolina, who lives on disability payments. “The state would be better off handling things on its own.”
Scottish unionists won by a wider-than-expected 10-percentage-point margin.
Falling public approval of the Obama administration, attention to the Scottish vote and the success of activists who accuse the U.S. government of overstepping its authority – such as the self-proclaimed militia members who flocked to Nevada’s Bundy ranch earlier this year during a standoff over grazing rights – is driving up interest in secession, experts said.
“It seems to have heated up, especially since the election of President Obama,” said Mordecai Lee, a professor of governmental affairs at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, who has studied secessionist movements.

Police Investigating Alleged Vote Fraud In Glasgow

Annabelle BamforthSep 19, 2014

Officials in Glasgow are investigating ten suspected cases of electoral fraud following the historic Scottish independence referendum on Thursday.

Colin Edgar of the Glasgow city council said that police were called in after ten occurrences of alleged fraud took place.

“We’ve had a number of suggestions over the course of the day that people have turned up at the polling station to vote and they appear to have voted already,” said Edgar. “So what’s happening tonight is we know which boxes those votes went into and we know the numbers on the votes, so the police have asked us to identify those votes, to take them away, keep them for evidence and hand them to them.”

Edgar said that fraud could have taken place because voters are not required to present identification at polling places in UK elections.

 “Somebody turned up to vote, they gave their name, the presiding officer went to cross off their name on their list of voters to give them a ballot paper and found that their name had already been crossed off and a ballot paper already issued to somebody who apparently had the same name,” Edgar said.

“We contacted police straight away. The police asked us if we could recover the ballot papers, which we can because we know which box they’re in and we know the number on the ballot paper.”

Edgar stated that the ballots will be traced and secured before handing them to police. Each ballot contains an individual number, so staff members will be searching through the ballots to find the ten in question. If found, they will be separated from the hundreds of thousands of other ballots.

A spokesman for Police Scotland said the agency “takes the safety and security of the independence referendum extremely seriously and is working with partner agencies including local authorities and the chief counting officer to ensure the integrity of the ballot”.

Annabelle Bamforth is a New Hampshire-based writer focused on promoting liberty through new media and local politics. Have a tip? Contact

Hats Off to the Tri-Corner Hat and the 1st War of Secession


17th & 18th century progression of pirate (gentleman of fortune) headwear


Prologue: Pieces of History »

Today’s post comes from Marisa Hawley, intern in the National Archives Strategy and Communications office.
As part of the “six weeks of style” celebration to recognize the Foundation for the National Archives’ partnership with DC Fashion Week, we are showcasing fashion-related records from our holdings. This week’s fashion theme is the Revolutionary War: Fashion during America’s Fight for Freedom
Perhaps one of the most iconic—and easily recognized—pieces of clothing from the colonial era is the tri-corner hat, or more simply known as the tricorn. Although the style originated in Europe, it is now associated with the American Revolutionary War and our nation’s fight for freedom.
St. Leger, Barry (bust). (National Archives Identifier 530964)
St. Leger, Barry (bust). (National 
Archives Identifier 530964)

In 17th-century America, hats with tall crowns and wide brims, like the steeple hats worn by the Puritans, started to go out of style. They were thought to spoil the appearance of and look precarious atop a wig, which was the newest fashion trend for men at the time.

The tri-corner, however, had three sides of the brim turned up, either pinned or buttoned in place to form a triangle around the wearer’s head—”like a mince pie,” to quote the vernacular of the time. This style then allowed the wearer to show off his latest wig fashion underneath, and thus his social status.

Also, the tricorn was smaller in size due to the folded brim and was more easily tucked under the arm when entering a building, a gesture that displayed the proper social etiquette of the time.

Jones, John Paul (bust), 1781. (National Archives Identifier 512987)
Jones, John Paul (bust), 1781.
(National Archives Identifier

The style of the tricorn ranged from the very simple to extravagant hats embellished with feathers and trim. Hat brims themselves could also be left plain or dressed with a variety of trims. Although the most common trim was a worsted wool hat braid in black or white, there were also brocades, metallic, and silk trims in various colors depending on personal preference. Black, grey, and “tobacco,” or tan, were popular choices for the hat’s body color.

At the height of its popularity, the tricorn hat was worn by not only the aristocracy but also by common civilians and members of the military. It was typically made of animal fiber and fashioned with the point facing forward.

For soldiers who often rested a musket or rifle on their left shoulder, however, the tricorn was usually worn with the front corner directly above their left eyebrow for better clearance. The most common military version had a brim of five inches in the back and four inches in the front.

Washington, George, the Virginia Colonel (3/4 length), 1772. (National Archives Identifier 532861)
Washington, George, the 
Virginia Colonel (3/4 length), 
1772. (National Archives
Identifier 532861)

On August 20, 1776, supreme commander Gen. George Washington issued general orders that included instructions detailing the use of cockades. A cockade is a rosette, feather, or knot of ribbon usually worn on a hat as part of a uniform or as a badge of office.

At the time, the Continental Army did not have a uniform, and these cockades served as identification among military personnel. Field officers were to don pink ones, captains to wear white ones, and subalterns were to attach green ones to their headwear. It was not until 1783 that an official “Union Cockade” was issued to be worn on the left breast.

[I believe the cockade was not considered “union” made until the 2nd American Secession of 1860, and then only by the northern Union Army. Certainly not reverently called “union” by southerners. Echoing their use when Americans rebelled against Britain, cockades – usually made with blue ribbons and worn on clothing or hats – were widespread tokens of southern support for secession preceding the American Civil War of 1861–1865. [1]  ….Editor, CV]

The tricorn hat is more than just a historical fashion statement—it is a historic element of the character and pride of our Revolutionary Army. It only seems fitting that we take our “hats off” to one of our favorite headpieces in our nation’s history. Huzzah!

Examine more “signature styles” and history-making signatures in our current exhibition, “Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures,” in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC.

Post updated 8-18-2014Posted by on August 18, 2014, under – Revolutionary War, News and Events.

PTSD and the Civil War


New York State Lunatic Asylum, Utica, NY, date unk, prob. late 19th century


August 13, 2014 12:15 pm

​ ​

August 13, 2014 4:34 pm NYTimes

Disunion follows the Civil War as it unfolded.

Daniel Folsom, a tinsmith from northern New York, enlisted in the Union Army just days after the fall of Fort Sumter. His exemplary service through years of long marches and hard battles led to two promotions, but during the Battle of Fredericksburg in late 1862, something changed. Folsom seemed uneasy. He was still troubled months later when the regiment mustered out. He returned home, opened his own tin shop and tried to focus on work.

As time passed, Folsom’s motivation to work waned. He neglected the tin shop and wandered, aimless, around the village. In July 1863, when the first men in his neighborhood were called by the draft, Folsom snapped. Terrified that he would be sent back to the Army, he became sleepless and manic, and then fell into a severe depression. When he attempted suicide, his family had him committed to the State Lunatic Asylum in Utica. In the asylum, the young veteran grappled with his paranoia and guilt. At times, he begged the attendants to kill him.

Eventually, Folsom slowly began to improve. “I am not injoying myself much at presen,” he wrote to his sister in the spring of 1864. Still, he assured her, he had recovered, and implored her to persuade their father to retrieve him from the asylum. Folsom was especially concerned about finding work. It seemed to him that the longer he was institutionalized, the less likely it would be for him to succeed in business. “I should like to get out of this city [and] go into business iff I stay here any longer the world will be a blank,” he wrote. “I really think there is a chance for me yet.”


Civil War veterans in 1884, with William T. Sherman in the front row center

Civil War veterans in 1884, with William T. Sherman in the front row center Credit Library of Congress

Folsom was not alone: Tens of thousands of veterans damaged by the war had to learn how to live and work with their wounded bodies. In much the same way, Folsom had to adapt to life with a wounded mind. His illness – what today we would likely call post-traumatic stress disorder – had damaged his reputation, but he might be able to prove himself through clean living and dedication.

Folsom’s difficulty was compounded by a stigma that held that mental illness was a personal failing and should be kept secret. That stigma has proved difficult to kill. Even today, the case files of the men and women treated in New York State’s asylums during the 19th century are restricted in the name of patient privacy. Thus, the names of the soldiers in this article have been replaced with pseudonyms, and other identifying markers have been removed.

The psychological implications of the Civil War have been long debated by historians. Statistically speaking, insanity was not a major cause of discharge for the Union Army. “The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion,” an official report by the War Department, lists only 853 discharges by reason of insanity during the war years, accounting for less than 1 percent of total discharges. Terms used to describe mental illness during the 19th century, however, such as neuralgia, nostalgia, headache and sunstroke, were counted separately, which suggests the possibility of a higher number. Of course, officers wanted to maintain as strong a fighting force as possible, so soldiers could be discharged for insanity only if their commanding officers, in addition to medical staff members, agreed that their symptoms were obvious and disruptive. Only the most disturbed soldiers, therefore, received discharges. Moreover, after the autumn of 1863, soldiers could be discharged for insanity only after the physicians at the Government Hospital for the Insane in Washington examined them and declared them too insane for duty.

There are no statistics that can tell us how many soldiers experienced moments of panic and helplessness, or how many feared they might be losing control. There is also nothing to teach us about the experiences of most of the soldiers after they were discharged. Asylum records, like those of Daniel Folsom, allow us a glimpse into the lives of such veterans and to see the ways the traumas of war affected their ability to navigate the day-to-day obligations of their lives.

Folsom, as it turns out, was fortunate – as he indicated to his sister, he did still have a chance. As a postscript to his letter, he made a promise: “I shall try and be a man.” His way of keeping his word was by re-enlisting in the Union Army upon his release, hoping to reaffirm his manhood through battle. He received a commission as a first lieutenant in a New York regiment. When the war ended, Folsom enjoyed success as a tinsmith. He even married and fathered six daughters.

For other soldiers, the distress of war had more sinister consequences. Many soldiers had difficulty letting go of the rage that had been vital in battle. When they returned home, this anger was sometimes channeled into domestic violence. Clinton Moore came home bitter and restless after he was discharged. He drank heavily, beat his wife and terrorized his neighbors. When the local constable came to arrest him, Moore hurled a stove down the stairs and wounded the officer in the head. The disgruntled constable, upon finally delivering Moore to Utica, described the former soldier as “3 parts ugly and 1 part crazy.”
Moore soon escaped. He returned home and spent the next several months menacing his family and neighbors before returning to Utica. After his return, Moore seemed ready for a change. He wrote to Dr. John P. Gray, the superintendent of the asylum, promising he would find honest work if he could only be released, even insisting that he would “let Licker alone entirely.” Unwilling to wait for the superintendent’s assent, Moore escaped again in late summer, and from that point disappears from historical record. Whether he was able to change or find work is unknown.

Some soldiers were entirely undone by the war. Andrew Hamilton returned home a changed man in June 1864. He had survived the horrors of Chancellorsville and Lookout Mountain and bouts with camp diseases. He had survived prison and hundreds of miles of marching, but when he got home, though his body seemed strong, his mind was altered. He raved about the war. He had insomnia and refused to eat. Hoping for a cure, his family committed Hamilton to the asylum at Utica.

Utica Crib, Utica Lunatic Asylum!

Attendants confined the frantic young man to a “Utica crib,” a bedlike wooden cage used to restrain and ostensibly calm patients. But Hamilton could not be soothed. He beat against the bars until his arms and legs were bruised. He shouted orders to phantom soldiers and drove teams of invisible horses. By mid-July, at only 23 years old, Hamilton was dead. 

During the dark days of war, soldiers fantasized about their return home, imagining it would be the moment their troubles would end. Daniel Folsom certainly did. “I thought I had got through the hardest of my life when I got through solgerin’,” he wrote his sister. But for Folsom, and the many other soldiers who bore the psychic scars of war, their troubles had only just begun.

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Sources: Jeffrey Allen Smith and B. Christopher Frueh, “Minds at War,” New York Times Disunion, March 20, 2013; Eric Dean, “Shook Over Hell: Post-Traumatic Stress, Vietnam and the Civil War”; Joseph K. Barnes, “The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion”; New York State Archives, “Utica State Hospital Patient Case Files, 1843-1898;” and genealogical records of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; 1880 United States Federal Census.

Sarah Handley-Cousins is a graduate student in history at the University at Buffalo.

DeBow’s Review: NATIONAL NOTES VS. LABOR, 1864

DeBow’s Review
Serial: The Old guard.
Title: National Notes vs. Labor [pp. 8-12], January, 1864

James D. B. DeBow

THE most direct and wanton attack that has been made upon the rights of independent States, and the interests of the sovereign people, by the present party in power at Washington, is, beyond all question, the political scheme of Mr. Chase to consolidate political power through the operation of some 3,000 issuers of irredeemable paper, which he calls ” a national currency,” but which are, in fact, cheats to rob the working man of the proceeds of his daily labor. The issue of any kind of paper promise to circulate as money, is a fraud upon the producer, because its tendency is to give him less of money’s worth than he would get if he was paid in specie. This is so well known, that even the advocates of the old United States Bank scheme, which was opposed by Mr. Chase before love of place tempted him to use the paper system as a means of personal advancement, were not slow in denouncing it. Daniel Webster, the earnest champion of the Bank, exclaimed, “Of all the schemes for making the poor poorer, and the rich richer, for getting the produce of the laborer and giving it to the schemer and the idler, irredeemable paper money is the most insidious, as it is the most effective.” 

 Seven-Thirties Three year Treasury Notes bearing interest at a rate of 7.30% (seven-thirty) were first authorized by the Act of July 17, 1861 to help finance the Civil War.[10] These notes are payable to order, but the Treasury would issue them in blank form if requested. Secretary of the Treasury Chase suggested this rate of interest in hopes that the ease of interest calculation (a $50 note would accrue interest at one cent per day) would give the notes an opportunity to circulate as money, but apparently this did not prove to be the case.[11] Further issues of Seven-Thirties were made in 1864 and 1865. The issue of 1861, which preceded the First Legal Tender Act, paid interest in gold, but the government reserved the right to pay the interest of the 1864 and 1865 issues in either United States Notes or gold. (Source: Goldologist)

 Comparison of a $5 Demand Note (upper image) and an 1862 issue $5 United States Note (lower image). Note the removal of the words “On Demand” and of the phrase “Receivable in Payment of All Public Dues”. Also note the Treasury Seal added to the United States Note.

This is undoubtedly the effect of the paper system; but its first effect is to cause an appearance of prosperity, which lasts a little while, until revulsion ensues. It is for this object that Mr. Chase projected it. He calculates that the stage of inflation will last until he can reach the Presidential chair. What future ruin may then overwhelm the people is to his cold and selfish heart a matter of supreme indifference. The poor may groan for centuries in debt; the country languish in decay, and our institutions change to any form of despotism, but what is all that to S. P. Chase? It is for this alone that the National Banking plan has been projected. We may briefly state some of its features:
1. The notes are issued to the amount of 90 per cent. of the market value of the bank’s capital.
2. They are not redeemed in specie at all.
3. They are redeemed only in greenbacks.
4. They are a legal tender between the Government and its creditors, except wealthy stockholders, who get coin.
5. The issuers may be made depositors of the government money, at the will of Mr. Chase, and during his pleasure.
6. The capital ($300,000,000) authorized, is one-half to be apportioned by Mr. Chase, at his pleasure.
7. All the public expenditures are to be made in these notes.
8. The law requires 25 per cent. lawful money to be kept on hand by each bank, but its own notes, deposited in another national bank, may be called lawful money on hand.
The distinguishing features of the new bank scheme is, that no prudent capitalist will touch it, unless drawn into it from political obligations while, on the other hand, schemers and adventurers rush into it, because they have everything to gain and nothing to lose. This is a time of great paper inflation, when it is dangerous to lend, because values on which credits are based will collapse and ruin the lenders. The banking law, without doubt, will be set aside as unconstitutional, or repealed by the first Congress possessed of its senses. Either of these events will leave the stockholders in the position of individual partners, each liable for all the debts, notes, and all payable in specie, and hundreds may be ruined. These are some of the contingencies that business men will not encounter, even for the bribes of public deposits. When, therefore, Mr. Chase desired to get up a tax bank in New York, the attempt failed repeatedly. Finally, the order went forth that the Government defendants should be whipped in and compelled to start the bank. The subscription books were closed Dec. 17, and Mr. Opdyke, the dispenser of Astor-House patronage, the eminent shoddy commissioner, the gun contractor, and Treasury parasite-general, was compelled to take the Presidency, and the list was filled out with the names of Treasury brokers, stock agents, and speculators, who hope to use the Government money in stock gambling; each putting down his name with fear and trembling, only anxious to dispose of his stock as soon as possible, and get clear of the scrape. The other side of the question is that of irresponsible bankers. Thus, the law allows a capital of fifty thousand dollars, one-third, or sixteen thousand dollars must be paid up; one-third of that, or say six thousand dollars must be expended for United States 6 per cent. stock, to be deposited with the Treasury. The banker gets in return five thousand four hundred dollars in circulating notes; with these he buys as much more stock, and receives four thousand six hundred and sixty dollars more notes, with which he again buys stock. This process, repeated seven times, gives the banker thirty thousand dollars 6 per cent. stock, deposited with the Treasury, on which he draws 6 per cent for interest in gold, or one thousand eight hundred dollars, and the people hold $27,396 of his notes, which are redeemable only in greenbacks at the banker’s counter. But the bank may be located in some inaccessible spot, and the notes can then be redeemed only at a broker’s at a discount. This “broker is the issuer himself, and he will charge from 2 to 5 discount. He may redeem the whole six times in a year, giving him, perhaps, 20 per cent. on his circulation. His profits will then be, on an investment of one thousand six hundred dollars, as follows:
$30,000 Stock, interest in gold – – – – $1,800
27,896 Notes, redemptions – – – –   5,478
10,000 Capital, in 5 per cent legal
tenders, for reserve – – – – – – – 500
Profits on $16,000, 48 per cent. – – – – $7,778. This Secretary calls an “indispensable permanent currency.” It is evident that this depends entirely upon continued suspension of specie payments. Hence, the whole herd of new banks form an interest to perpetual suspension.
These features, it will be seen at a glance, constitute the characteristics of a mere irredeemable bubble currency. Every bank is the creature of Mr. Chase, and lives on his pleasure, since he may give or withhold the public year are already $975,000,000. It is intended that the whole of this shall be paid out in the notes of these banks. Thus, soldiers, contractors, jobbers, officers, will all be distributors of these bubble bills through the whole mass of the people.
The paper flood starting from those banks will pour through countless channels over the land, in payment for every article of manufacture and production, and is to return to the Treasury through the hands of Mr. Chase’s tax-gatherers, to be lodged with his pet banks appointed by him to receive it. Thus the thousand millions flow out through Mr. Chase’s agents rob the people of the proceeds of their labor, by depreciation, and flow back into the hands of another set of Mr. Chase’s agents, to be by them used in every county of all the States, as a political fund to further Mr. Chase’s personal schemes.
This is the plot. Now, if we recur to the reasons for this foul and fraudulent issue of irredeemable paper, we shall hardly know which most to admire, the hardihood of the scheme itself, or the effrontery of the excuses made for it. The only reason given by Mr. Chase’s fugleman, Mr. McCulloch, was that the heavy taxation made necessary by the war, “rendered it necessary that there should be provided for the people a circulation which the Government could receive with safety.”
This is the whole story-the only plea given for the setting up of a permanent irredeemable paper system for the people, while the stock-jobbers, and these pet banks themselves, get their interest in coin. Now, the currency of this country, in times of high prosperity and peace, was composed of $300,000,000 of specie, and $200,000,000 of bank notes. This sufficed for the whole business of the whole country. There was no want of circulation; but, on the other hand, we exported $40,000,000 of gold per annum to make coin for other nations. When the war began, Congress authorized $50,000,000 of notes, payable in coin on demand. Mfr. Chase failed to meet the demand; he never paid a dollar. Congress then authorized $600,000,000 of greenbacks, as a legal tender currency. Mr. Chase has issued $450,000,000 of these, which, with the bank notes, make $600,000,000 of circulation. This is a pretty abundant currency, and the fact that it is so is manifest every day in its depreciation. For instance, in Canada flour is $4 25 per bbl., in coin; ten miles south of Canada, the same flour is $6 75 per bbl., in paper. The consumer is robbed of $250 by the depreciation of the paper, showing its superabundance. Those greenbacks are, however, the money of the Government. They are its own promise, and therefore can be “taken by it with safety.” The Constitutionality of the legal tender is yet to be settled. Nevertheless, money is abundant, and safe for the Government to take, since it compels all people to take it, except those who are rich, and they get gold for their interest.
Now, if that paper is abundant, is safe and legal, what more does Mr. Chase want? What can he have to do with any bank scheme? The answer is plain. The manufacture of these notes involves no very considerable patronage, and, therefore, is of no political service. There are above deposits. The expenses of the Government are one thousand millions per annum. The appropriations this 1500 banks created by State laws, that comprise a large and powerful interest, if they can be combined under one head. Happily, they are not now so combined. Each State has, since the formation of the Government, had its own laws to regulate its own local business. Each has perfected a banking system, and in some of them, New York and New Jersey in particular, the people, in the exercise of their sovereign power, the powers declared reserved to them in the Federal Constitution, have delegated to their State legislators, by the State Constitution, declared that no bank shall do business within the State, without first ” giving ample security for the payment of their notes in specie.”
The issue of greenbacks by the Federal Government does not attack this right; but if the Treasury can go a step further, and force upon each State banks under Mr. Chase, and which do not pretend ever to pay a dollar in specie, then the State sovereignty and State banks fall together to the ground, and the whole banking system and money power of the country becomes consolidated in the hands of Mr. Chase, with “power to bind or to loose,” to give or withhold Government patronage. The whole machinery will be in his hands, and $300,000,000 of irredeemable paper may be issued at his bidding. This political scheming has evidently been well advanced; but what has the Treasury gained? Instead of six hundred million dollars of greenbacks, legal tenders issued direct from the Treasury, we have some three hundred million dollars of greenback shadows, issued by three thousand banks, not a legal tender, but redeemable in greenbacks. There will be gold for the rich, greenbacks for the pet banks, and greenbacks diluted for the people.
The depreciation will be greater, because the notes, at a discount from the place of redemption, will be at a discount even for greenbacks. Thus, suppose Mr. Chase has given Mr. Opdyke a contract for army blankets: to make them, the wool must be bought; Mr. Chase gives him in payment Oregon national bank notes; Mr. Opdyke gives those to the farmer for the wool; the farmer wants the pay in negotiable money, at a moment when, as now, greenbacks are scarce; he must lose the discount, or expense of sending these notes to Oregon for redemption in greenbacks, probably 2 per cent. Thus Mr. Opdyke draws interest on his own stock, for his own use, in gold from the Treasury. He receives, in pay for his army contract, greenbacks that are at a discount of 36 per cent. today, for gold, and pays to the farmer national notes that are at a discount of 2 per cent. for greenbacks. The diluting scale runs down as we approach the producer of wealth. This is what the people get. Now let us see what the Treasury gets. In order to issue notes the banker must deposit United States stock, and he does so and receives 90 per cent. of the market value in circulation notes. If he deposits 6’s of 1881, he gets for each one thousand dollar bond one thousand dollars in notes to circulate, and he also draws $60 per annum interest in gold, on his bond deposited. This is equal to 9 14 per cent. per annum in paper, and he lends his circulating notes at 7 per cent., making 16 1-4 per cent. per annum, which the producer must pay.
The Treasury, on an issue of three hundred million of dollars, now authorized, will have to pay eighteen million of dollars per annum interest, in gold, to Mr. Chase’s pet banks, for the privilege of issuing the notes redeemable in greenbacks, instead of issuing the greenbacks themselves. Why should the country pay eighteen millions of dollars in gold per annum to issue paper, which may be done without any expense at all but the printing? The whole operation is a barefaced robbery of the public, to build up a political scaffolding for Mr. Chase’s individual aggrandizement.
The pestilent issues should be scouted from every neighborhood; each State should make it a misdemeanor to attempt to pass one of the notes. Every farmer, working man, mechanic, should demand pay in gold, Constitutional coin, for what he has to sell, whether labor or produce. There are now twenty million dollars in gold lying idle in Wall street, while Mr. Chase is organizing banks to supply a currency. In Canada, on the occasion of every bargain, it is stipulated that part pay shall be taken in United States coin, and yet here the people are compelled to strike for more pay, because they get nothing but Mr. Chase’s fraudulent promises, and he is putting out millions more of even less value. Let there be one universal strike among all people, and that simply the demand to be paid in gold and silver. It is the only way to save the Government, which is jeopardized by the infamous schemers who have brought on this war, and who seek through paper money to destroy, not only the Union, but what remains of popular rights, even the right to live by labor.

The Supreme Court under Chief Justice Samuel P. Chase. The Chase court presided over many important decisions during Radical Reconstruction following the Civil War. (Source)

The Jeffersonian Secessionist Tradition – Thomas J. DiLorenzo

The greatest horror our domestic enemies will experience is Americans rediscovering and re-living their Constitution…CV

Mises Daily: Wednesday, July 09, 2014 by

Thomas Jefferson, the author of America’s July 4, 1776 Declaration of Secession from the British empire, was a lifelong advocate of both the voluntary union of the free, independent, and sovereign states, and of the right of secession. “If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form,” he said in his first inaugural address in 1801, “let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left to combat it.”

In a January 29, 1804 letter to Dr. Joseph Priestley, who had asked Jefferson his opinion of the New England secession movement that was gaining momentum, he wrote: “Whether we remain in one confederacy, or form into Atlantic and Mississippi confederacies, I believe not very important to the happiness of either part. Those of the western confederacy will be as much our children & descendants as those of the eastern . . . and did I now foresee a separation at some future day, yet should feel the duty & the desire to promote the western interests as zealously as the eastern, doing all the good for both portions of our future family…” Jefferson offered the same opinion to John C. Breckinridge on August 12, 1803 when New Englanders were threatening secession after the Louisiana purchase. If there were a “separation,” he wrote, “God bless them both & keep them in the union if it be for their good, but separate them, if it be better.”

Everyone understood that the union of the states was voluntary and that, as Virginia, Rhode Island, and New York stated in their constitutional ratification documents, each state had a right to withdraw from the union at some future date if that union became harmful to its interests. So when New Englanders began plotting secession barely twenty years after the end of the American Revolution, their leader, Massachusetts Senator Timothy Pickering (who was also George Washington’s secretary of war and secretary of state) stated that “the principles of our Revolution point to the remedy – a separation. That this can be accomplished without spilling one drop of blood, I have little doubt” (In Henry Adams, editor, Documents Relating to New-England Federalism, 1800-1815, p. 338). The New England plot to secede from the union culminated in the Hartford Secession Convention of 1814, where they ultimately decided to remain in the union and to try to dominate it politically instead. (They of course succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, beginning in April of 1865 up to the present day.)

John Quincy Adams, the quintessential New England Yankee, echoed these Jeffersonian sentiments in an 1839 speech in which he said that if different states or groups of states came into irrepressible conflict, then that “will be the time for reverting to the precedents which occurred at the formation and adoption of the Constitution, to form again a more perfect union by dissolving that which could no longer bind, and to leave the separated parts to be reunited by the law of political gravitation…” (John Quincy Adams,>The Jubilee of the Constitution, 1939, pp. 66-69).

There is a long history of American newspapers endorsing the Jeffersonian secessionist tradition. The following are just a few examples.

The Bangor, Maine Daily Union once editorialized that the union of Maine with the other states “rests and depends for its continuance on the free consent and will of the sovereign people of each. When that consent and will is withdrawn on either part, their Union is gone, and no power exterior to the withdrawing [state] can ever restore it.” Moreover, a state can never be a true equal member of the American union if forced into it by military aggression, the Maine editors wrote.

“A war … is a thousand times worse evil than the loss of a State, or a dozen States” the Indianapolis Daily Journal once wrote. “The very freedom claimed by every individual citizen, precludes the idea of compulsory association, as individuals, as communities, or as States,” wrote the Kenosha, Wisconsin Democrat. “The very germ of liberty is the right of forming our own governments, enacting our own laws, and choosing or own political associates … The right of secession inheres to the people of every sovereign state.”

Using violence to force any state to remain in the union, once said the New York Journal of Commerce, would “change our government from a voluntary one, in which the people are sovereigns, to a despotism” where one part of the people are “slaves.” The Washington (D.C.) Constitution concurred, calling a coerced union held together at gunpoint (like the Soviet Union, for instance) “the extreme of wickedness and the acme of folly.”

“The great principle embodied by Jefferson in the Declaration of American Independence, that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed,” the New York Daily Tribune once wrote, “is sound and just,” so that if any state wanted to secede peacefully from the union, it has “a clear moral right to do so.”

A union maintained by military force, Soviet style, would be “mad and Quixotic” as well as “tyrannical and unjust” and “worse than a mockery,” editorialized the Trenton (N.J.) True American. Echoing Jefferson’s letter to John C. Breckinridge, the Cincinnati Daily Commercial once editorialized that “there is room for several flourishing nations on this continent; and the sun will shine brightly and the rivers run as clear” if one or more states were to peacefully secede.

All of these Northern state editorials were published in the first three months of 1861 and are published in Howard Cecil Perkins, editor, Northern Editorials on Secession (Gloucester, Mass.: 1964). They illustrate how the truths penned by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence — that the states were considered to be free, independent, and sovereign in the same sense that England and France were; that the union was voluntary; that using invasion, bloodshed, and mass murder to force a state into the union would be an abomination and a universal moral outrage; and that a free society is required to revere freedom of association — were still alive and well until April of 1865 when the Lincoln regime invented and adopted the novel new theory that: 1) the states were never sovereign; 2) the union was not voluntary; and 3) the federal government had the “right” to prove that propositions 1 and 2 are right by means murdering hundreds of thousands of fellow citizens by waging total war on the entire civilian population of the Southern states, bombing and burning its cities and towns into a smoldering ruin, and calling it all “the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

[, July 4, 2014]
Thomas DiLorenzo is professor of economics at Loyola University Maryland and a member of the senior faculty of the Mises Institute. He is the author of The Real Lincoln; Lincoln Unmasked; How Capitalism Saved America; and Hamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution — And What It Means for Americans Today. Send him mail. See Thomas J. DiLorenzo’s article archives.