Monthly Archives: February 2021

Northern Versus Southern Racism

(February 26, 2021) A couple of anti-Confederate historians have recently adopted two new terms for plantations and the postbellum South. They re-label plantations as “enslaved labor farms” and they portray the postbellum South as a totalitarian “police state.”  The first is merely a pejorative expression that provides no new information and the second is better applied to the censorious state of free speech on the college campuses where they teach. Both men demonize mostly long-dead Southern icons as inexcusably racist while ignoring Northern racism. They also create fictions about Southern racism with Robert E. Lee as the chief target.

First, and foremost, the two historians ignore the fact that twenty of the twenty-two states that joined the Union after Texas in 1845 were states where blacks composed only about one percent of the population. The two exceptions are the Southern states of West Virginia and Oklahoma. Such facts suggest that America’s Northern-controlled polity deliberately kept blacks quarantined in the South as long as possible.  To be sure, Lincoln’s Republican party generally expressed the motive euphemistically as a desire to block the spread of slavery into 1860 federal territories, mostly located west of Texas and the Missouri River. All of the eleven states that joined the Union after the start of the Civil War until Oklahoma was accepted in 1907 arrived with two new GOP senators.

In 1854 future President Abraham Lincoln said, “The whole nation is interested that the best use shall be made of these [Western] territories. We want them for the homes of free white people. This they cannot be . . . if slavery shall be planted within them.” During the California statehood debates in 1850 Lincoln’s future Secretary of State, William Seward, stated that “The African race . . . and the aborigines . . . constitute inferior masses” that cannot assimilate into American society. Even after Lincoln was assassinated at the end of the War Seward said that he personally had “no more concern for [Southern blacks] than . . . for the Hottentots [of Africa].”

Eight years before the above Lincoln quote, Pennsylvania Congressman David Wilmot introduced a bill to prevent the spread of slavery into any territories that might be acquired as a result of the the Mexican War. During his explanatory congressional remarks Wilmot said, “I make no war upon the South, nor upon slavery in the South. I have no squeamish sensitiveness upon the subject of slavery, nor morbid sympathy for the slave. I plead the cause of the rights of white freemen. I would preserve for free white labor a fair country, a rich inheritance, where the sons of toil, of my own race and own color, can live without the disgrace which association with negro slavery brings upon free labor.”

During the War, Yankees refused to allow Southern black refugees to relocate to Northern states. After Lincoln sent Major General Lorenzo Thomas to the lower Mississippi River Valley to manage displaced blacks, the general wrote back, “It will not do to send them . . . into the free states, for the prejudices of the people of those states are against such a measure and some . . . have enacted laws against the reception of free negroes. . . . You cannot send them North. You all know the prejudices of the Northern people against receiving large numbers of the colored race.”

Even abolitionist Massachusetts Governor John Andrew refused to accept black refugees early in 1863. Only when blacks were allowed to be hired as substitutes for white Bay State draftees did Governor Andrew reverse his opinion and request that the Army send able-bodied blacks to his state in 1864. Recognizing that Andrew merely wanted the blacks as cannon fodder replacements for white draftees Lincoln turned him down. Similarly, newspaperman and future presidential candidate Horace Greeley advocated that occupied Southern lands be given to freedmen in order to avoid black migration into the North. After the war ended Massachusetts Congressman George Boutwell even proposed that South Carolina and Florida be reserved exclusively for blacks in order to keep them far South of the Mason-Dixon line.

Second, the two historians minimize the racial adjustment challenges faced by the respective geographic regions notwithstanding that blacks composed 40% of the population in the former Confederate states and only 1% in the organic Republican states. They falsely presume that Northern Republicans championed Southern black suffrage as a moral impulse whereas most of the evidence suggests it was tactic to use black votes as a tool to transform the former Confederate states into vassal regimes obedient to the infant GOP.

When the Civil War ended the Republican Party was barely ten years old. Its leaders worried that it might be strangled in its cradle if the re-admittance of Southern states into the Union failed to be managed in a way that would prevent Southerners from allying with Northern Democrats to regain control of the federal government. Thus, Republicans needed to ensure that most of the new Southern senators and congressmen be of their Party. Since the region had few white Republicans the Party needed to create a new constituency.

Consequently, they settled on two goals. First was mandatory black suffrage in all former Confederate states, if not the Northern ones. The Party expected that such a mostly inexperienced electorate could be manipulated to consistently support Republican interests out of gratitude. Second was to deny political power to the Southern white classes most likely to oppose Republican policies. They accomplished both goals via the 1867 Reconstruction Acts and the resultant Fourteenth Amendment. As implied earlier, when the states carved out of the western territories entered the Union as Republican strongholds, the GOP no longer needed Southern blacks. Consequently, after twelve years of Southern misrule, the Republicans abandoned the region. Instead of promoting racial cooperation they left behind a witch’s brew of poverty , corruption and racial distrust. White Southerners who had lost their lands due to the onerous taxation required to support the corrupt regimes feared a return of Carpetbag/Negro Rule and blacks feared retribution from a white society impoverished by the misrule.

Nonetheless, Northern Republicans generally controlled of the Federal Government until the Great Depression. They also kept blacks strictly quarantined in the South until World War I. Even then Northerners only accepted blacks due to worker shortages resulting from a demand surge caused by European war combined with the war’s disruption of white immigration. From 1860 to 1920 America had absorbed 50 million white immigrants mostly into the Northern manufacturing economy, which made no room for the South’s four million ex-slaves and their descendants.

Ty Seidule’s Falsehoods About Grant and Lee

(February 24, 2021) After teaching military history at West Point for many years, retired General Ty Seidule is on a mission to discredit Robert E. Lee.  Seidule also appears to be among the Washington & Lee graduates who want the institution to drop the Lee name. The W&L administration, for example, recently sponsored a Seidule Internet presentation to the faculty, students and alumni. (A link to similar presentation he made earlier this month is provided at the end of this post.) Although I’ll be doing more work on Seidule, today’s video is to underscore his erroneous assumption that anyone who disagrees with him is a benighted so-called Lost Causer.

According to Seidule the Lost Cause Myth is an invention of postbellum Southerners and encompasses two points, among others: (1) General Grant was a butcher, and (2) the Southern armies lost because they were overwhelmed by superior resources.

First, it was not postbellum Southerners that labeled General Grant a butcher. It was the Northerners themselves as they reacted to the General’s large losses in May and early June of 1864 when he first met Lee in battle. Grant began his forty-day campaign with an approximate two-to-one numerical advantage. He had 124,000 troops compared to 66,000 for Lee. At the end, Grant had suffered 55,000 casualties, which was also about twice those of Lee. Losses for the two sides during the battles at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania and Cold Harbor correspond closely to the federal disasters at Second Bull Run, Chancellorsville, and Fredericksburg.

Second, although Seidule dismisses the theory that Confederates lost the War because they were overwhelmed by superior resources as mere Lost Cause poppycock, General Grant contradicts him. On July 22, 1865 he wrote War Secretary Edwin Stanton to explain how he (Grant) won the late war: “The resources of the enemy, and his numerical strength, were far inferior to ours. . . I therefore determined . . . to hammer continuously against the armed force of the enemy and his resources, until by mere attrition, if in no other way, there should be nothing left to him but . . . submission. . .”

Additionally, at best, Seidule draws a false equivalency between the causes of the War with the causes of secession for the first seven cotton states, which did not include Lee’s Virginia. They are not the same because there would have been no War if the cotton states had been allowed to leave in peace. By relying upon primary sources historian Jack Davis concludes: “The widespread Northern myth that the Confederates went to the battlefield to perpetuate slavery is just that, a myth. Their letters and diaries, in the tens of thousands, reveal again and again that they fought and died because their Southern homeland was invaded, and their natural instinct was to protect home and hearth.”

Finally, Seidule reveals that his conclusions are dominated by a Pious Cause Mythology that argues the North fought to prevent the spread of slavery into the Federal territories. In reality it fought to quarantine blacks in the South. . . and it succeeded for a century. In 1854 Abraham Lincoln admitted as much: “The whole nation is interested that the best use shall be made of these [Western] territories. We want them for the homes of free white people. This they cannot be . . . if slavery shall be planted within them.” Pious Cause Mythologists are blind to the fact that every state—save one—that gained statehood after Texas in 1845 joined the Union when only about one percent of their respective populations were black. The one exception—right up to Alaska and Hawaii—was West Virginia, which joined as a slave state when Lincoln was President.

I am targeting a new short professionally produced video at refuting Seidule more broadly. If Cancel Culture can strike Lee’s name from W&L, Southern history will likely ever after be corrupted with lies and distortions from the cultural elite aimed at demonizing the region’s Confederate ancestors.

You can support the video’s production, by making tax deductible donations to the Abbeville Institute. To those of you able to donate $700 or more, your help is vital. Please contact me directly at:


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Ty Seidule speech on “Robert E. Lee and Me.”

Hillsdale College’s U. S. Grant Delusion

(February 21, 2021) Prompted by a Civil War Chat viewer I listened to a podcast interview of Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn and history professor Adam Carrington in which both men praised President Ulysses Grant as a civil rights pioneer. Notwithstanding Hillsdale’s reputation for resisting the false interpretations of most academic historians, the institution has failed completely in the case of U. S. Grant. In truth, most of the evidence suggests that President Grant’s civil rights activism for Southern blacks was chiefly self-serving.

First, when the Civil War ended the infant GOP was barely ten years old. Republicans realized that it might be strangled in its cradle if the re-admittance of Southern states into the Union failed to be managed in a way to prevent Southerners from allying with Northern Democrats to regain control of the federal government. That is why the Party promoted black suffrage in the South. Since 40% of the population in the former Confederate states was black, Republicans realized they could set-up puppet regimes in the region by giving blacks the right to vote and by disfranchising former Confederates.

As a result, despite being a popular war hero Grant won only a minority of America’s white popular vote when he was first elected President in 1868 notwithstanding that three Southern states were not allowed to vote at all because they had not yet formed Republican-controlled vassal governments. Moreover, before Grant joined the Republican Party in 1868, he was critical of Southern blacks. Late in 1865, for example, he reported to President Andrew Johnson that the ex-slaves in Virginia and North Carolina were retarding economic recovery in those states by refusing to work even though the war had ended seven months earlier.

Second, Grant’s presumed motivations for suppressing the KKK are dubious. Consider the experience of Amos Akerman, his second Attorney General.   Akerman was the most vigorous of Grant’s attorneys general in prosecuting the Ku Klux Klan. In order to expedite prosecutions, he expanded the powers of the then newly created federal Justice Department. About six hundred Klan members were ultimately convicted.

Yet Grant abruptly asked Akerman to resign in December 1871. Partly at the prompting of Secretary of State Hamilton Fish, Grant had misgivings about Akerman’s “obsession” with the Klan.

Perhaps more importantly, Akerman also frustrated important Northern capitalists. He was, for example, critical of the questionable terms under which railroads often qualified for federal subsidies. In June 1871 he had denied land and bond grants to the Union Pacific Railroad— a railroad which had given Crédit Mobilier lucrative contracts to build the line. Significantly, Grant’s Vice President had accepted bribes from Crédit Mobilier even though Hillsdale’s Carrington was seemingly unaware of this when he told the podcast interviewer that he did not know why Grant changed VPs in his second term reelection campaign.

Shortly before resigning Akerman confronted the previous attorney general, Ebenezer Hoar, when the latter was representing a railroad client’s land grant claims. Akerman told Hoar that the client had not completed the work required to qualify for the grants. Nearly simultaneously Interior Secretary Columbus Delano complained to President Grant that Akerman had annoyed railroad moguls Collis Huntington and Jay Gould with rulings unfavorable to their interests. Whether at the urging of Fish, Delano, or Hoar, Grant replaced Akerman with Oregon’s George Williams who later resigned under bribery accusations, as did Delano. The New York World reported in January 1872 that Williams’s appointment was essentially a triumph for the Pacific Railroads.

Third, as the Akerman episode suggests, Grant’s administration was plagued by corruption and Grant’s own self-serving conduct probably encouraged it. Contrary to the Hillsdale belief, Grant and his wife apparently believed that he deserved the office as a reward of winning the Civil War. He did not accept the nomination out of a burning desire to serve the country as Hillsdale indicates. After Appomattox, Grant was an eager recipient of valuable gifts which he would, as President, reciprocate with patronage appointments.

Between 1865 and 1869 inclusive, donors bought—or gave him enough money to buy—a total of four homes in Galena, Illinois, Philadelphia, Washington and Long Branch, New Jersey.

One of the seven donors of the 27-room Long Branch “cottage” was Tom Murphy, a notorious supplier of shoddy merchandise to the Union army during the Civil War. Grant appointed Murphy as customs collector for the Port of New York where three-fourths of America’s tariffs were paid. It was the most lucrative patronage assignment available in the federal government. Similarly, Grant assigned General Daniel Butterfield to New York’s sub-treasury office in exchange for raising a fund enabling General William T. Sherman to buy Grant’s Washington home at a price that was more than double the price Grant paid only three years earlier. Soon after his appointment, Butterfield took a bribe to join Jay Gould’s attempted corner the gold market in September 1869.

Fourth, although commonly ignored by modern historians President Grant may have been personally corrupt while in office. Consider his conduct during the Whisky Ring Scandal, which involved tax evasion and bribery in the distilled spirits industry, the top source of domestic federal tax revenue.

Ultimately the treasury’s investigation led to the threshold of the Presidency when Grant’s personal secretary, Orville Babcock, was indicted as a leading Ring conspirator. Grant responded by first trying to move the trial to a friendly military court since Babcock was also an army officer. But a Justice Department prosecutor blocked the move by noting the procedural violations that would result from removing evidence from the court of jurisdiction. Second, Grant hired a spy to infiltrate the prosecutor’s office, but the spy eventually sided with the prosecution. Third, the President fired an assistant prosecutor whose comments during a jury summation personally offended him. Fourth, he forbade prosecutors to plea bargain with low-level conspirators as a means to convict high-level participants. Fifth, two days before Babcock’s trial began the treasury department’s chief clerk wrote a future Supreme Court justice, “What has hurt [Treasury Secretary] Bristow worst of all & most disheartened him is the final conviction that Grant himself is in the Ring and knows all about [it.]”

In conclusion, I could continue at length about Grant’s whitewashed Presidency, but the greatest fault of the Hillsdale interpretation is its misrepresentation of postbellum Southern whites as evil bigots who were occupied with nothing but the abuse blacks. Racism was just as prevalent in the North as in the South. The only difference was that blacks represented merely one percent of the population of the organic Republican states. The Yankees would not have granted blacks the right to vote if blacks accounted for 40% of their population. That’s as certain as fleas on a yard dog.  If you don’t believe me just examine how harshly Californians treated Chinese-Americans even though they never represented more than 10% of the state’s population for a century after the Civil War. But that’s another story and a good one .


To understand how crony capitalism got its start and how the postbellum South was put into nearly a century of poverty, read Ulysses Grant’s Failed PresidencyAutographed copies are available from me [] for $25 with free deliveries in the USA. Unsigned copies are available at Amazon and other books stores for $20.

Getting Republican Politicians to Protect Confederate Statues

(February 19, 2021) To the extent they have been educated, nearly all of today’s politicians—including Republicans—were taught that the postbellum Republican Party advocated black suffrage in the South during Reconstruction because of moral impulse to promote racial equality. It’s an important reason why today’s Republicans acquiesce to the destruction of Confederate statues despite the Party’s strength in the South. But it is based upon a false premise. In reality, the bulk of the evidence suggests the Party was more interested in retaining political power than in fostering racial equality.

When the Civil War ended, the infant GOP was barely ten years old. It might be strangled in its cradle if the re-admittance of Southern states into the Union failed to be managed in a way to prevent Southerners from allying with Northern Democrats to regain control of the federal government.

Thus, the Party’s solution required that most re-admitted Southern senators and congressmen be Republicans. That meant vassal governments needed to be fabricated in the region. However, since the Constitution required that states elect their own representatives, Republicans needed a way to limit the number of Southern Democrat voters while simultaneously increasing the number of Republican ones. Since there were few white Republicans in the region the Party needed to create a new constituency. They settled on two objectives. First was mandatory black suffrage in all former Confederate states. Second was to disfranchise the Southern white classes most likely to oppose Republican policies.

Since 40% of the population in the former Confederate states was black, compared to only 1% in the organically Republican Northern states, the Party did not need to disfranchise many ex-Confederate to gain control of the Southern states. They were also, of course, allowed to supervise Southern elections under the glitter of federal bayonets thereby virtually guaranteeing the outcome they wanted. Many leading Republicans even admitted that they wanted black suffrage in the South—if not the North—in order to ensure Republican control of the federal government.

Twenty-four years after he left office South Carolina’s last carpetbag governor, Daniel Chamberlain, revealed the hypocrisy that transpired when Republican congressmen  and senators debated how to formulate Reconstruction:

[Republicans considered] the black South…equal to all the needs of the hour; ignorant, to be sure, but loyal…Hardly anywhere else in recorded debates can be found so surprising a revelation of the blindness of partisan zeal as these [Congressional debates] disclose.

Underneath all the avowed motives…lay a deeper cause…the determination to secure party ascendency and control at the South and in the nation through the negro vote. If this is hard saying, let anyone now ask himself…if it is possibly credible that the [1867] reconstruction acts would have passed if the negro vote had been believed to be Democratic.

Sentiment carried the day, sentiment of a lower kind—hate, revenge, greed, [and] lust of power.

Chamberlain’s remarks are the key to getting today’s GOP politicians to save Confederate statues. All of them realize that today’s Democrats want statehood for Washington, D. C. and Puerto Rico merely because the Dems want four more senators to tighten their grip on the federal government. No modern Republican believes that the Dems want the statehood for any of the noble-sounding rationalizations they will provide to the public or in TV interviews. Today’s Republicans know—beyond a shadow of doubt—that all such rationalizations are phony.

Now is the time to present them with the epiphany that the GOP’s rationalizations for postbellum Reconstruction were also phony. The true object of the Democrats now—and the Republicans then—was political power. Believing otherwise is to deny human nature. Inform today’s Republicans that U. S. Grant did not win the popular vote among whites when he was first elected President in 1868. He won the aggregate popular vote only because Southern blacks voted overwhelmingly for him.

The belief the U. S Grant was a civil rights hero ignores the self-serving reasons he used force to manipulate the vote in the South. His administration is so falsely sanctified by modern historians that one Hillsdale College professor even admitted during a recent interview that he did not know why Grant’s first Vice President, Schuyler Colfax, was not on the ticket for Grant’s second term. Notwithstanding that the professor wrote his dissertation about Grant Administration judicial appointments, he was unaware that Colfax was kicked off the ticket for taking bribes in connection with Crédit Mobilier scandal.

If you want to save Confederate statues you must inform your Republican politicians concerning the analogy of the attempted Democrat power grab now involving D.C. and Puerto Rico statehood and compare it to the successful power grab postbellum Republicans got by establishing misrule in the South with puppet carpetbag regimes.


Readers can order signed copies of my new book, Causes of the Civil War, for $25. They may be purchased with credit card, PayPal, or check. If you’d like a copy email me: phil_leigh(AT) I will pay for shipping. Please provide your postal address. Unsigned copies are available at Amazon for $22.

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Puerto Rico Statehood and Southern Reconstruction

(February 17, 2021) Recently HBO interviewed the governor of Puerto Rico who said that he is optimistic the current Congress will transform the island into either the 51st or 52nd state. Regardless of whatever noble-sounding reasons the Democrats might fabricate, nearly all Republicans realize the Dems would not want Puerto Rico statehood if they thought there was any chance the island would send two Republican senators to Washington. They would conclude correctly that Democrats chiefly want Puerto Rico statehood and D.C. statehood because they know such measures would likely add four more Democrat senators.

Nonetheless, nearly all Republican politicians today believe that postbellum Republicans promoted black suffrage in the South out of a moral impulse. They believe what they were taught, but now it is time to educate them with common sense. Ask rhetorically:  “Do you think Reconstruction Era Republicans would have advocated black suffrage in the South if they thought the blacks would vote Democrat?” Just like today’s Democrats want P.R. and D. C. statehood in order to gain political power the Reconstruction Era Republicans wanted black suffrage in the South for the same reason. They wanted to create puppet carpetbag regimes to keep the infant GOP in control of the Federal government indefinitely. Once today’s Republican politicians realize that point, they may well come to the defense of Confederate Memory and statues rather than throwing the under the bus. If you want to save Confederate Memory get your Republican politicians to compare to true Democrat motivations regarding D.C. and P. R. statehood with those of the Reconstruction Era Republicans who gave noble-sounding rationalization for supporting black suffrage in the South whereas their true motivation was political power.


Readers can order signed copies of my new book, Causes of the Civil War, for $25. They may be purchased with credit card, PayPal, or check. If you’d like a copy email me: phil_leigh(AT) I will pay for shipping. Please provide your postal address. Unsigned copies are available at Amazon for $22.

Visit my Amazon Author Page to see the rest of my books.


Anti-Slavery Did Not Mean Pro-Black

(February 16, 2021) Contrary to popular belief, anti-slavery Yankees were generally not pro-black. History provides abundant evidence. One example occurred a month before Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation when Illinois voters defeated a black suffrage proposal by a five-to-one majority notwithstanding that blacks represented only 0.4% of the state’s population. Nonetheless, today’s focus is on the four states that joined the Union in the decade prior to the War Between the States: California, Minnesota, Oregon and Kansas. All four entered the Union as so-called “free” states but none welcomed blacks.

Although California’s 1850 constitution did not outlaw free black immigration, she made it unpleasant for them to live there. Free blacks could not homestead public land, vote, hold public office, serve on juries, and give court testimony against whites. Neither could they become citizens, use public transportation or send their children to public schools.

Two years before President Lincoln’s election both chambers of the California legislature passed a bill that would prevent any additional free blacks from entering the state. The state assembly overwhelmingly passed it, sent it to the Senate where it was approved 21-to-8 with minor revisions. The revisions required that the bill return to the assembly for agreement. The assembly had, however, in the meantime adjourned and the bill died.

Thereafter California’s racism increasingly focused on the Chinese who climbed to 10% of the state’s population as compared to only 1% for blacks. In addition to passing many anti-Chinese state laws, California prevailed upon the Federal Government to impose several of Chinese Exclusion Acts that sharply reduced the number of Chinese that could immigrate into the USA. In point of fact, America’s biggest lynching happened in Los Angeles in 1873. All nineteen victims were Chinese.

When Minnesota entered the Union in 1859 less than 0.2% of her population was black. Like California, however, she did not permit them to vote and subjected them to other vile exclusions. During the next eight years when her black population remained tiny Minnesota’s legislature voted down black suffrage three times. Only when states like Mississippi and South Carolina—with majority-black populations—granted black suffrage did white Minnesotans risk losing control of the state’s government to the 0.2% of its residents who were black. Like neighboring Wisconsin, Minnesota had a decided preference for white Northern European immigrants and eschewed Southern black migration during the Reconstruction years and thereafter. Minnesota’s booming economy long remained a white reserve as only 0.4% of her population was black as late as 1900.

Oregon came into the country in 1859 with a constitution that prohibited slavery and outlawed the immigration of any free blacks.

Although Kansas joined the USA as a free state in 1861 shortly before the War broke out, her history reveals anti-black prejudice. State historians have labeled the period between 1855 and 1858 as “Bleeding Kansas.” The standard narrative portrays New England immigrants heroically fighting against Missouri’s so-called Border Ruffians to ensure that Kansas soil would never to be tainted by slavery. In truth, there was little blood spilled during the “Bleeding Kansas” era and most of it was that of pro-slavery settlers.

In reality Kansas’s first Free State Constitution—known as the 1855 Topeka Constitution—went beyond outlawing slavery. Like Oregon it also prohibited the immigration of free blacks. After Lincoln was elected President, Kansans realized they must drop the provision against free black immigration in order to avoid embarrassing the Republican Party.  Nonetheless, Kansas remained firmly anti-black.

When a post-bellum cotton crop failure in 1878 prompted Southern blacks to attempt to migrate to Kansas, many were turned back and those that arrived did not stay long. They were as unwelcome as the Trump family at a Maxine Waters restaurant—and that’s about as unwelcome as you can get.

In sum, the Northerner’s claim concerning his desire to stop the spread of slavery is a misrepresentation. His true objective was to keep blacks quarantined in the South. The euphemistic explanation is a largely—but regrettably—successful effort to demonize American Southerners and glorify Northerners.


Readers can order signed copies of my new book, Causes of the Civil War, for $25. They may be purchased with credit card, PayPal, or check. If you’d like a copy email me: phil_leigh(AT) I will pay for shipping. Please provide your postal address. Unsigned copies are available at Amazon for $22.

Visit my Amazon Author Page to see the rest of my books.