(May 11, 2018) After The Atlantic published Coates’s “Case for Reparations” numerous mainstream media sources and politicians endorsed it, or at least commented sympathetically about it. As Coates’s analysis spread I noticed that he and his fanbase seemed to be unaware that Southerners have already paid a form of reparations, if not for slavery then for losing the Civil War. I wrote letters to The Atlantic and some of Coates’s other media supporters, but none were interested in the facts summarized below.
[To learn more about the Civil War and Reconstruction, buy my books at My Amazon Author Page]
In short, the surrendered Confederate soldiers and their descendants had to pay their share of Federal taxes to fund some big Federal budget items that exclusively benefitted Union-loyal citizens and their descendants. If the Confederacy had been an independent sovereign and defeated nation, such payments would undeniably have been defined as reparations.
- Union Veterans Pensions totaled $8 billion by 1950 as compared to an estimated cost to the Federal Union of fighting the Civil War of $2.3 billion. In 1893 Union veterans pensions alone represented 40% of the entire federal budget. The annual disbursements for such pensions did not top-out until 1921, which was fifty-six years after the war ended.
- Redemptions of the Federal debt, which was a debt that increased from $65 million at the start of the war to $2.7 billion at the end. Debt retirements represented about 17% of the cumulative Federal budget for the first 25 years after the War. All the debt was redeemed in gold although Northern investors typically purchased their bonds with discounted paper currency.
- Interest paid on the Federal debt totaled $2.3 billion during the first 25 years after the end of the War and represented 23% of the cumulative Federal budget.
Like the Union Veterans Pensions, payments for items two and three above also extended well beyond the first twenty-five years after the war . . . I just chose not to quantify them beyond that quarter-century mark.
All of the above is documented in my Southern Reconstruction book released last year. If you’d like to buy a signed copy for $29 please email me at phil_leigh(at)me.com. Unsigned copies are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other bookstores.