Category Archives: Southern History

A Must Read: The Lord is in Control, So Don’t Worry (and above all, don’t DO anything)

 “The Neutralizers” subverting the Christian South: Evangelists Glenn Beck, John Hagee, Dave Barton

by Al Benson Jr.

There seems to be a mindset in the evangelical community today, (though it’s not really new, it’s been there for 150 years) which, to me, seems like the great neutralizer of the church. It seems to be most prevalent in those you could wish would be more active and concerned, but are not. They seem to be possessed of the concept that if God is in control of all things, which He is, then there are some areas where believers just don’t need to get involved.
Should you become involved in one of these “forbidden” areas they will question you about any comments you happen to make. The question they usually start out with is “Do you believe God is in control of all things?” If you answer “yes” to that they will bombard you, almost immediately with the next question which will be “Then what are you so upset about?” 

The result of this is, in many cases, to shut down your complaint so you will feel a bit foolish trying to carry it any further, especially if you are in a group setting, and at that point, you are supposed to quietly bow out and allow the discussion to return to such important topics as “personal holiness.” 

Why discuss politics, education, the state of the culture or anything along those lines when you can just ignore all that and dwell on personal holiness? This somehow becomes the end-all of all discussion. It all amounts to personal holiness (pietism) and nothing else. I can’t count the times I have had this done to me and I am sure most of the folks that have done it were not real happy with me, because I refused to play the game and shut up.

Let me state here, before someone jumps up screaming, that I am not opposed to personal holiness. The Scriptures enjoin us to seek to live holy lives, to treat others as we would be treated, and, realizing we simply cannot do that in our own strength, we must admit that we need a Savior  who has already done all this perfectly for us and now sits at the right hand of God, Jesus, the God-man.

Along with this, at least for those of us in Reformed circles, there should come a certain outlook, a certain worldview if you will. Part of that worldview is that God is very concerned with what goes on here on earth and He wants His people to be concerned about it also. We are not just supposed to “get saved so we can go to Heaven” and that’s all there is.  Since “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof” I believe He wants us to be concerned about all areas of life–education, culture, art, music, –and the most dreaded of all for Christians–politics. God wants His people to be involved in what is happening in the world. He wants them to be concerned about it and He wants them to be knowledgeable about it. We are not just supposed to be so concerned with our own personal holiness that we let the world go to hell.

Many of our problems in this country today, along with our lack of repentance, are present just because Christians don’t want to be bothered. It’s really too much trouble to learn about a problem and why it exists, so why bother? If the Lord is in control, He’ll take care of it all, so I don’t need to do anything about it, or know anything about it. All I have to do is “trust God” and go on my merry way. Oh, there is one other thing I must do. Should someone come along that points out a particular problem, I need to try to keep their comments to a bare minimum so no one really gets shook up over this (especially me)!

The evangelical protests against any action at all run the gamut from “If God’s in control why worry about it” to “You’re not showing much love talking about all this stuff.” The idea being that if your were just a little more “loving” you would be content to give evil politicians or public school “change agents” a pass. The novel concept that Christians could also be “loving” by seeking to expose evil has never occurred to them, and probably won’t, as long as they can keep those who question what goes on quiet enough.

Many of these are the same folks that tell you that Romans 13 means that you must give unquestioning obedience to whatever government, at any level, wants to do. Government has the “authority” so you just cave in. After all, it’s what they do.The concept that governments are responsible to God, and that, under God, their authority is limited, is something that never seems to occur to them. It’s lots easier just to knuckle under than it is to find out what government has the legitimate authority to do or to require of you and what it does not. No one questions that where government performs its God-given functions it should be obeyed.  

Dave Barton at the RNC in Philadelphia, 2000

I am not preaching anarchy here. But what’s to be done when government starts usurping functions it has no right to? That’s another question–and one many in the evangelical community would prefer not to have to deal with–so just do whatever they tell you to do and shut up–after all, it is the government. I wonder how many Christians realize that in taking such an attitude what they are doing is reauthorizing the “divine right of kings” (or presidents) to do whatever they want.

This mindset, carried to its logical conclusion in this country, would leave us still as subjects of Great Britain and that Christian patriot, Patrick Henry, would never have gotten to say “give me liberty or give me death.” Or better yet, would Martin Luther have even dared to nail up his 95 theses on the door of the cathedral? After all, the Pope might not have liked it. Once you allow any government, church government or civil government unrestrained power they will do whatever they want, no matter how evil, until they are resisted.

Our current regime tells us we are being forced to buy “health care” and it has performed, along with the regimes before it, many unconstitutional actions.  The usual evangelical response to this is “God’s in control, so what are you upset about?”
The thought comes to mind that, possibly, God has allowed some of what has happened to occur in order to provoke a response from His people–repentance, yes, but also resistance to evil.  And the response for most of the church today is still “Hey, the Lord’s in control, just don’t worry about any of this (and certainly don’t ever try to DO anything about any of it).” And some tend to look down their noses at you for being such a cretin as to even dare to bring up some of these things. You’re just supposed to be silent, cave in to tyranny, all the time seeking more “personal holiness.”

Another thing we (are supposed to learn) in Reformed circles is that God works in history and that He is often please to use “means” (people) to do some of what He wants done. You can ask, what would have happened to the kids in public schools in West Virginia 40 years ago if their parents had not risen up and fought the corrupt school system and the rotten books it tried to foist on the kids? Would those kids have been better off if their Christian parents had just practiced “personal piety” and said nothing about the horrible textbooks? You know the answer to that one.

What if the Lord decides to use people to upset evil politicians, corrupt “educators” and others who do what they shouldn’t? Oh, I know, we don’t discuss all that. That’s not a debatable topic. That might require getting involved and learning something new, and we’re not sure we’re ready for that, so throttle the one who makes such an absurd suggestion and let’s all get back to personal pietism.

Now you might think I sound a little ticked at some of my fellow believers for their almost total lack of response in areas I feel they ought to be concerned about. You’d probably be somewhat correct in that assumption. I’ve been listening to evangelical responses in some areas for almost four decades, and most of it boils down to “Why are you telling us about the current Marxist in the White House when, in love, we should just be ignoring what he is doing to the country and loving him?” I often wonder if many evangelicals have ever (probably not) come up with the possible thought that “loving” whoever the current occupant of the Oval Office is might just entail exposing some of what he is doing and calling him to repentance for it. And this doesn’t just apply to whoever is currently the president, or the governor, or the head of the local school board.

After all, they don’t call Washington “Sodom on the Potomac” for nothing, and the same thing could probably be said for a number of state capitals.

As long as we continue to play the “just love ‘em and don’t get upset over anything” game, nothing will change.  The country will be judged and go down the tubes and the church will be judged also. What about the possibility that the Lord would like a response from His people to what is happening, and He’s not getting it?

SOURCE revisedhistory

Why Historical Revisionism Matters

Mises Daily:Tuesday, September 23, 2014 by

The King of Prussia, Frederick II (“the Great”), confessed that he had seized the province of Silesia from the Empress Maria Theresa in 1740 because, as a newcomer to the throne, he had to make a name for himself. 

This caused a war with Austria that developed into a worldwide war (in North America, the French and Indian War), and went on to 1763. Of course, many tens of thousands died in that series of wars.

In general, though, states have been much more circumspect about revealing the true reasons for their wars as well as the methods by which they conduct them. Pretexts and evasions have proliferated. In democratic societies, these are endorsed — often invented — by compliant writers and intellectuals.

The unmasking of such excuses for war and war-making is called historical revisionism, or simply revisionism.

Revisionism and classical liberalism (what is today called libertarianism) have always been closely linked.

The greatest classical liberal thinker on international affairs was Richard Cobden, whose crusade against the Corn Laws, brought free trade and prosperity to England in 1846. 

Cobden’s two-volume Political Writings (reprinted by Garland Publishing in 1973) all deal with British foreign policy.

Cobden maintained that, “The middle and industrious classes of England can have no interest apart from the preservation of peace. The honours, the fame, the emoluments of war belong not to them; the battle-plain is the harvest-field of the aristocracy, watered by the blood of the people.” He looked forward to a time when the slogan “no foreign politics” would become the watchword of all who claimed to be representatives of a free people. Cobden went so far as to trace the calamitous English wars against revolutionary France — which ended only at Waterloo — to the fear and hostility of the British upper classes to the anti-aristocratic policies of the French.

Castigating the aristocracy for its alleged war lust was standard for liberal writers of earlier generations. But Cobden’s views began to change when he observed the intense popular enthusiasm for the Crimean War, against Russia and on behalf of the Ottoman Turks. His outspoken opposition to that war, seconded by his friend and co-leader of the Manchester School, John Bright, cost both of them their seats in the Commons at the next election.

Bright outlived his colleague by twenty years, witnessing the growing passion for empire in his country. In 1884, the famous liberal Prime Minister, William Gladstone, ordered the British Navy to bombard Alexandria, to recover the debts owed by the Egyptians to British investors. Bright scornfully dismissed it as “a jobbers’ war,” and resigned from the Cabinet. But he never forgot what had started him on the road to anti-imperialism. When Bright passed with his young grandson in front of the statue in London, labeled “Crimea,” the boy asked the meaning of the memorial. Bright replied, simply, “A Crime.”

Herbert Spencer, the most widely read philosopher of his time, was squarely in the classical liberal tradition. His hostility to statism is exemplified by his assertion that, “Be it or be it not true that Man is shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin, it is unquestionably true that Government is begotten of aggression and by aggression.” While noting the state’s inborn tendency toward “militancy” — as opposed to the peaceful intercourse of civil society—Spencer denounced the various apologias for his country’s wars in his lifetime, in China, South Africa, and elsewhere.

In the United States, author and activist Lysander Spooner was a renowned abolitionist, even conspiring with John Brown to promote a servile insurrection in the South. Yet he bitterly opposed the Civil War, arguing that it violated the right of the southern states to secede from a union that no longer represented them. E. L. Godkin, influential editor of The Nation magazine, opposed US imperialism to the end of his life, condemning the war against Spain. Like Godkin, William Graham Sumner was a firm proponent of free trade and the gold standard and a foe of socialism. He held the first professorship in sociology (at Yale) and authored a great many books. But his most enduring work is his essay, “The Conquest of the United States by Spain,” reprinted many times and today even available online. In this ironically titled work, Sumner portrayed the savage US war against the Philippines, which cost some 200,000 Filipino lives, as an American version of the imperialism and lust for colonies that had brought Spain the sorry state of his own time. Finish reading

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?

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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.

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.

How the Confederacy Armed its Soldiers

75th Reunion at Gettysburg, 1938;
Former Enemies, Confederate and
Union, Stand Shoulder to Shoulder
in Friendship

Really got wrapped up in this site of discovery. It’s remarkable trek for the American history buffs. I clipped this one short account of how the Confederacy armed itself. It begins about halfway down.

Warning: this Civil War site Confederate Veteran can tie you up for hours! Here ya go -> Confederate Veteran

The Civil War and the Southern Belle


August 18, 2014 7:01 pmAugust 18, 2014 7:01 pm

Disunion follows the Civil War as it unfolded.
In the beginning of the war, Southern women wanted their men to leave — in droves, and as quickly as possible. They were the Confederate Army’s most persuasive and effective recruitment officers, shaming anyone who shirked his duty to fight. A young English immigrant in Arkansas enlisted after being accosted at a recruitment meeting. “If every man did not hasten to battle, they vowed they would themselves rush out and meet the Yankee vandals,” he wrote of Southern women. “In a land where women are worshipped by men, such language made them war-mad.”

Newspapers printed gender-bending cartoons that drove the point home. In one, a musket-wielding woman dressed in trousers and a kepi looms over her cowering beau, insisting, “Either you or I, sir.” One Alabama schoolgirl spoke for many of her peers when she declared, “I would not marry a coward.” At balls and parties girls linked arms and sang, “I am Bound to be a Soldier’s Wife or Die an Old Maid.” One belle, upon hearing that her fiancé refused to enlist, sent her slave to deliver a package enclosing a note. The package contained a skirt and crinoline, and the note these terse words: “Wear these, or volunteer.” He volunteered.


A Winslow Homer drawing from 1865 showing a captain, who lost an arm, with his newly independent wife.

A Winslow Homer drawing from 1865 showing a captain, who lost an arm, with his newly independent wife.Credit Brooklyn Museum

In the sudden absence of husbands, fathers, brothers and beaus, white Southern women discovered a newfound freedom — one that simultaneously granted them more power in relationships and increased their likelihood of heartbreak. Gone were the traditions of antebellum courtships, where family connections and wealth were paramount and a closed circle of friends and neighbors scrutinized potential mates, a process that could last for years. The war’s disruptions forced elite Southern parents to loosen rules regarding chaperoning and coquetry, which one prominent lecturer called “an artful mixture of hypocrisy, fraud, treachery and falsehood” that risked tarnishing a girl’s reputation. 
The girls themselves relinquished the anticipation, instilled since birth, that they would one day assume their positions as wives, mothers and slave mistresses, that their lives would be steeped in every privilege and comfort. The war ultimately challenged not only long-held traditions of courtship and marriage, but the expectation that one might wed at all.
At least in cities where the Confederate Army established a base of operations, young women were overwhelmed by the number of prospective suitors. Thousands of men flocked to the Confederate capital of Richmond, prepared to work in one of the government departments or to train for duty in the Army. The Central Fair Grounds just west of the city were transformed into “Camp Lee,” where the new recruits set up tents and conducted military drills. “Between eight and ten thousand men went down Main St. this afternoon,” wrote a 16-year-old Richmond diarist. “It was very tantalizing to me to hear the drum and the cheering and to be able to see nothing but their bayonets and the tops of their heads. It is wicked in me to wish that I had gone out so that I might see them, and not to wish that I had gone to church, but I love the soldiers so much, that I forget almost everything else when I get to thinking about them.”

Troops marching through the capital blew kisses to the Richmond belles, who returned the attention with unprecedented abandon, waving handkerchiefs and tossing pocket Bibles and pincushions. In the antebellum years, new acquaintances required a formal letter of introduction, but the war allowed for association with complete strangers, men whose names they didn’t even know. The women took unchaperoned trips to Confederate campgrounds, going on horseback rides and picnics, allowing uniformed men to serenade them and plant lingering kisses on their hands — all activities once restricted to engaged couples. Even their style of banter changed, turning aggressive and overtly political, a rebellion against their old identities as genteel Southern ladies. “I confess myself a rebel, body and soul,” declared a Louisiana girl, adding, “Confess? I glory in it!” Union soldiers occupying Southern towns complained of “she-rebels” who spat at them and emptied the contents of chamber pots on their heads.

The relaxed wartime atmosphere led to increased physical intimacy, although in letters and diaries Southern women admitted only to flirting. Casual relationships, and even casual engagements — “slight, silly love affairs,” as one woman called them — flourished. Both women and men kept engagements secret, sometimes specifying that each was still free to see others. “Neither of us is to consider this engagement binding,” wrote a Georgia belle to her betrothed, a Confederate lieutenant. “If another is loved, no sense of honor will prevent our immediately letting the other know of it — so you are still at liberty to fall in love with whom you please, without considering me at all in the way.” One Georgia cavalryman predicted, “If we Stay heare much longer in about 9 months from now thare will be more little Gorgians [sic] a Squalling through this contry then you can Shake a Stick at.” Such liaisons could endanger elite women’s reputations and, in some cases, their lives. One Richmond woman, who became pregnant after an affair with a married Confederate officer, died as a result of complications from a self-induced abortion.

Southern women in rural areas grappled with entirely different concerns: the dearth of suitable men — or any men at all. By the summer of 1863, in New Bern, N. C., only 20 of the 250 white people remaining in town were men. The war was on its way to claiming one in five white Southern men of military age (leaving behind more than 70,000 widows), a situation that prompted frantic letters to the editor. “Having made up my mind not to be an old maid,” an 18-year-old Virginian wrote to the editor of the Southern Literary Messenger, “and having only a moderate fortune and less beauty, I fear I shall find it rather difficult to accomplish my wishes” (nevertheless she hopefully listed her skills, which included making brandy peaches and “throw[ing] socks in a corner”).

Widowed women in their 30s faced stiff competition for available men in their age group, and suffered constant reminders of their grim odds. The editor of the Petersburg (Va.) Daily Register took pity on older eligible women during the social season of 1864, helpfully warning them against using rouge. “Bachelors are a shy game,” he pointed out, “and when convinced of one deception imagine many more.” As if strategizing over how to thwart younger rivals wasn’t taxing enough, the widows were also national laughingstocks — punch lines to the endless “old maid” jokes that became a staple of American humor. If you were alive during the Civil War, chances are you heard the one about the schoolboy who threw a stone at a dog; he missed the pooch, but hit seven old maids.

As time passed and casualties mounted, some women grew resigned to the idea of life without a husband, while others compromised on acceptable partners. “One looks at a man so differently when you think he may be killed tomorrow,” one South Carolina woman mused. “Men whom up to this time I had thought dull and commonplace … seemed charming.” One in 13 soldiers returned home missing limbs, and the press, pulpit and politicians reminded Southern women that it was their patriotic duty to marry disabled veterans. The “limping soldier,” argued the president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, should be treated as aristocracy after the war: “To the young ladies I would say when choosing between an empty sleeve and the man who had remained at home and grown rich, always take the empty sleeve.” 
There was, of course, a third option that some women took: the unspeakable faux pas of marrying a Yankee. A Nashville girl wrote her brother in the Confederate Army that the local belles were “dropping off into the arms of the ruthless invader.” One, a girl who carried a stiletto and threatened to emulate Charlotte Corday should the enemy invade her city, had “gone the way of all flesh and married an officer with that detestable eagle on his shoulder.”

Toward the end of the war, many Southern women who were widowed or had never married sustained themselves with female friendships (or “Boston marriages,” as they came to be called in the North). They proudly proclaimed their independence, asserting that they preferred the freedom of single life to the entanglements of marriage — a risky “lottery,” in the words of a Louisiana diarist, that subjected women to the “despotism of one man.” While they certainly mourned the deaths of male suitors — as they did the deaths of male relatives — they no longer considered spinsterhood a tragedy. “Clara … thinks we’ll all be old maids yet,” wrote a South Carolinian, recording a friend’s predictions. She added, “I don’t doubt it, neither do I care very much.”

By 1865, all Southern women — the happily and regrettably single, the perpetually engaged, the wives and widows — had tired of the war. The Confederacy was shrinking, and the morale of its remaining men shrinking with it. The Northern press ran a widely reprinted cartoon called “sowing” and “reaping,” chiding Southern women for “hounding their men on to Rebellion” and then complaining about its effects. The Union blockade had sent the cost of goods and food skyrocketing. They were starving; they feared the terrors of Yankee occupation; they had exhausted both their patriotism and their patience. “Oh my dear husband how shall I live without you?” wrote one Mississippi woman. “When will this cruel war end?” It was time, at last, for the surviving husbands, fathers, brothers and beaus to lay down their arms and come home.

Karen Abbott’s forthcoming book, “Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War,” will be published in September. Her website is

SOURCES: Catherine Clinton, “Southern Families at War: Loyalty and Conflict in the Civil War South”; Lisa Tendrich Frank, “Women in the American Civil War”; Giselle Roberts, “The Confederate Belle”; Anya Jabour, “Scarlett’s Sisters: Young Women in the Old South”; David Andrew Silkenat, “Suicide, Divorce, and Debt in Civil War era North Carolina” (dissertation); Lacy K. Ford, “A Companion to the Civil War and Reconstruction”; Mary Elizabeth Massey, “Women in the Civil War”; Richard F. Selcer, “Civil War America, 1850-1875”; A. Wilson Greene, “Civil War Petersburg: Confederate City in the Crucible of War”; William C. David and Russ A. Pritchard, “Fighting Men of the Civil War”; Stephen W. Berry, “All That Makes a Man: Love and Ambition in the Civil War South” and “Weirding the War: Stories from the Civil War’s Ragged Edges”; Amy Murrell Taylor, “The Divided Family in Civil War America”; J. David Hacker, Libra Hilde, and James Holland Jones, “The Effect of the Civil War on Southern Marriage Patterns.”

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.

Defending Southern Heritage? Sober Up!!

Thursday, May 26, 2005
by Clyde Wilson
Clyde Wilson, Founder of the SCLOS

Many good people have been working in recent years to preserve public acknowledgment and celebration of our Confederate history. Our fights have been largely defensive reactions to the innumerable strokes of our enemies, and most of them have been defeats. Our enemies control most of the ‘respectable’ political, religious, educational, business and media institutions of American society, including nearly all ‘Southern’ institutions.

We have lost in part because many defenders of our symbols have not understood the nature of the battle.

Southerners are a conservative people. They prefer the traditional to the abstract and are slow to adopt new theories (one of the several characteristics that distinguish them from other inhabitants of the United States). This is a good and healthy virtue, but like all virtues it can, if we are not careful, become a self-defeating rigidity. 

The conservative philosopher Russell Kirk contrasted mere stand-patter conservatism of the dull-witted or poor in spirit who reject anything new with the true conservatism of an Edmund Burke or a John C. Calhoun who perceived that it was necessary to change in order to conserve because new conditions had created new threats to our patrimony.

Unfortunately, too many spokesmen in the fight for Southern heritage are stand-patters, i.e., dinosaurs on their way to extinction. They are trying to live in a world that they grew up in but which does not exist any more. The world that they grew up in accepted Southerners and Southern heritage as a positive part of America. That world began disappearing a half century ago and is almost gone.

After Reconstruction, which all sensible Northerners came to realize had been a grievous mistake, most Americans, North and South, took the Road to Reunion. Southerners had to agree that they were glad that the Union had been saved and a stronger America had emerged. (They were already genuinely glad of the end of slavery.) For the most part they did this with sincerity and enthusiasm (they had to if they had any hopes of personal success). Southerners became good and loyal members of the new America. They have lived up to that pledge every generation since, in fact have been the most loyal of all Americans and done more than their fair share in every war.

As their part of the bargain, Northerners acknowledged that Southerners had been brave and honourable in their war for independence, and their heroes, like Lee and Jackson, would be celebrated as AMERICAN heroes. (There were always a few old Yankees around who wanted to exterminate the rebels, and indeed there still are, but they were a minority.)

This is why The Birth of a Nation creation of D.W. Griffith, son of a Confederate soldier, could be regarded as a national epic at the beginning of the twentieth century. Will Rogers, another son of a Confederate soldier, was a national institution and he and Shirley Temple and many others portrayed very sympathetic Southern characters in the films of the 1920s and 1930s.

Gone With the Wind, book and movie, was an all-time best-seller

“Bless her heart…”

in the North as well as the South. Every major male non-Southern Hollywood star in the 1950s and 1960s portrayed a heroic Confederate: Erroll Flynn, John Wayne, Clark Gable, Allan Ladd, Charlton Heston, Richard Harris, Montgomery Clift, Henry Fonda, Ronald Reagan, and Richard Widmark, to name just a few. In all his best movies, John Wayne is a Confederate: Red River, The Searchers, and True Grit, the last two based on Southern novels.

Confederate flags were seen among American fighting men, in real life and film, during World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Douglas Southall Freeman’s R.E. Lee and Lee’s Lieutenants were celebrated as accounts of AMERICAN military valour. When President Roosevelt inaugurated the first completed dam of the TVA, he did so on a platform that flew US and Confederate flags.

THAT WORLD DOES NOT EXIST ANY MORE! DEFENDERS OF SOUTHERN HERITAGE SHOULD STOP ACTING LIKE IT DOES. The people who want to do away with Confederate symbols are not people who will come around when you argue a little historical interpretation with them, or when you point out (as you know to be true) that your forebears were not fighting for slavery, or prove that you are a loyal American whose heart contains no hate and violence.

They do not care! They have no heritage of their own and do not know what a heritage is. They believe in their own self-interest and fashionable abstractions. We do not and will not in the foreseeable future live in a world where Southern heritage will be publicly honoured except by us. We live in a regime where Confederate symbols are scheduled for complete obliteration. At present, we can expect no help from our own institutions, the politics of Southern states being dominated primarily by Big Business. (A phone call from the president of NationsBank or the publisher of a big newspaper carries more weight with any politician than 20,000 Confederates at a rally, or any number of personal visits from earnest citizens. This is a fact.)

The Compromise is broken. Why this happened would take several books to explain. Northern society has periodically gone through fits of fanaticism which have focused upon us. When was the last time you thought about telling people in New York or Seattle what to do? Never, because it is not a part of our national character as Southerners. But hundreds of thousands of Northerners are thinking about you and about their right to suppress your evil ways. In their fantasy world, which is the only culture of any significance they have, YOU are the evil obstacle to making the world perfect. They have always been that way.

It has nothing to do with you. It is their problem. It has nothing to do with the South except that the South lies convenient for their aggressions. They cover up their emptiness, hatred, hypocricy, and insignificance by identifying you as the Enemy. This is the way Puritans behave when they lose their religion. Our forefathers saw this clearly. It was that kind of society and people that they fought to be free of !

Many of our official defenders have not figured out that the Compromise no longer exists. In a recent legislative election in South Carolina, the leftwing candidate brought out a bevy of veterans and SCV members to publicly condemn the conservative candidate because the conservative candidate was a Southern activist who allegedly would not repeat the Pledge of Allegiance.

It was as if the conservative candidate was one of the spoiled Yankee children who promoted treason in time of war in the 1960s. These good people are too blind to figure out that those 60s traitors are now in power in America and are the ones who are hellbent on using their power to destroy every last vestige of our Southern heritage and identity!

This unfortunately represents the attitude of too many flag defenders. One despairs at such blindness. The compatriots I am talking about, however, can be educated. I have seen it done. Democrats and Republicans both, of the ruling establishment, are relying on this kind of stupid ‘patriotism’ to kill off challenges to their power. Southern heritage is the first casualty of that power.

WAKE UP! It is not 1945 any more, or even 1975. You can either honour your Southern heritage and preserve your Southern identity, or you can give unthinking obedience to the America of today. You cannot do both without engaging in self-defeating contradiction.


*Don’t compromise. Compromise is only a defeat and a springboard for another attack. Don’t think that being a good sport will make the other side good sports. Who follows an uncertain trumpet? You will probably lose. But a loss on principle preserves a rallying point. John C. Calhoun says: a defeat on principle is not an overthrow, while a victory by compromise is a defeat.

*Be worthy of your ancestors. Don’t be a goody goody ‘American’ humbly begging to be allowed to keep a shred of your heritage. You are a member of a great people under attack who have been betrayed by their leaders. It is needed to defend the Southern people here and now and not just the noble Confederate soldier.

*Think like a Southerner. Lay claim to all your heritage! We cannot

You would be hard-pressed to find any patriot who’s worked any harder to preserve southern heritage than H.K. Edgarton

defend only our Confederate forebears, as important as that is. They are but a part of Southern history. Lay claim to all of Southern history and culture, from Captain John Smith and Pocahontas to Dale Earnhardt. To concentrate on Confederate history alone is to concede to the enemy that the Confederacy can be segregated off as an evil episode of slavery and treason. It also plays into the North’s everlasting tendency to claim anything Southern that is good, as ‘American,’ that is, non-Southern. George Washington is just as Southern as Robert E. Lee. Thomas Jefferson is just as Southern as Jefferson Davis. Andrew Jackson is just as Southern as Bedford Forrest. Alvin York, and Audie Murphy, and the Alamo are just as Southern as Stonewall Jackson.

Avoid argument with the enemy and concentrate on educating yourself and members of our people, especially the young, not forgetting the many Yankees of good will. In Heritage-Haters you are dealing with people who send their children to private schools while busing yours and still think they are morally superior to you because they are in favour of busing and you are not. They are not interested in debate or evidence. Remember, they are not attacking your great-grandfather’s war: they are attacking you! And, as we learned in the flag fight in South Carolina, this goes double for the academic ‘experts’ in the war era, who are even less interested in evidence and perspective than the ordinary flag hater.

*Don’t be discouraged. So beautiful and powerful is our heritage that it has taken them decades to cut away as much as they have. It will take some time and hard work to recover lost ground.

*If you have to argue, turn the tables. There is little profit in talking about slavery in today’s climate. If you must discuss slavery call it ‘domestic servitude,’ which is what it was. Most importantly, point out that, sure, the South did not want outside interference with its domestic servitude, but the North was NOT fighting to end slavery! The significant factor is the North’s motives! They are the ones who invaded us, violating the fundamental American principle of the consent of the governed. Most people who think they are aggrieved about slavery neither know nor care anything about history. They are really aggrieved about the segregation that marked more recent times.

If you must debate don’t make indefensible statements that will be laughed out of court, like ‘the war was not about slavery’, ‘most Southerners did not own slaves’, and an exaggerated count of black soldiers in the Confederacy. Yes, the war was partly about slavery, though not on their side and not as centrally and in the way that they claim. By counting families, or households, approximately one-fourth of Southerners were owners of domestic servants, almost all of them of a few people (1-4) who lived and worked closely with the family. Yes, there were a great many black Confederates who helped sustain the armies and the home front, but not as enrolled soldiers.

*My standpatter compatriots, if you want to be a good American as defined by the ruling institutions today, forget about your Southern heritage. But most Southerners care for family, place, Christian social order, courage, loyalty, honour—all things besieged in America today. That is, after all, why we love our heritage.

*Stop supporting federal government wars out of unthinking loyalty. For a long time the US armed forces had a chilvalric Southern flavour. They now combine all the worst aspects of bureacracy, imperialism, graft, affirmative action, and Political Correctness, in an atmosphere of moral depravity.

*Cure yourself of Republican party thinking. What further proof is needed that the South and Southerners have nothing to expect from the Republican ‘conservatives’ except payoffs to individuals to betray their people? As the Rev Robert Lewis Dabney pointed out long ago, the Northern ‘conservatives,’ in the entire course of American history have never conserved anything. George W., though raised in Texas, suppressed innocuous Confederate plaques. McCain, though a descendant of Confederates, branded our flag as a hate symbol to be suppressed. The Republican governor of New York banished the Georgia flag. Shortly after their candidate was elected President, the Wall Street Journal and National Review published pieces ridiculing Southern conservatives. The message was clear: Give us your votes and shut up.

The worst thing that can happen to the South is to be turned into an appendage of the bland, principleless elements represented by the Republican party. Think like a Southerner, not like a knee-jerk ‘conservative.’ If Jesse Jackson causes a ruckus in Decatur, Illinois, applaud him. You can be sure that if he was making trouble in your town, Decatur, Illinois, would be cheering him on. They just don’t want him to bother them.

Dr Clyde Wilson is a published author, a professor at the University of South Carolina, and one of the founding members of the League of the South.

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)