Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Dragoons July 2014 Camp Meeting - A Comparison Between North and South Leading to the WBTS, Part 1

Sam Reid, Historian for Camp 1524 was the guest speaker for July.  He opened his presentation with a brief summary of the book "The Real Lincoln" by Thomas DeLorenzo A group of Northerners were determined to bring about their economic goals using the federal government including tariffs and taxation.  Lincoln's entire political career was based on high tariffs for internal improvements, pet projects. Political corruption was rampant, an unholy alliance between government and business.  This was the same system our Revolutionary forefathers fled from England.

Alexander Hamilton who served as Secretary of the Treasury believed the wealthy should constitute a ruling class and teh President should rule for life.  He believed the federal government should appoint state government officials and there should be only one house of Congress. He actually wanted a large national debt to be able to borrow money and a large army to invade neighboring Canada and Florida. In marked contrast and opposition, Virginian Thomas Jefferson believed in state's rights and the worth of the common man and he was able to get more of this ideas incorporated in the early governmental structure and the young nation's history.  From the time of the original thirteen colonies and states there were seven Northern and six Southern, the North controlled Congress and subsequently always sought to.

The 1789 Tariff Act import tax was popular with Northern industrialists including wool producers. These tariffs resulted in raising prices of all goods as they taxed imports and domestic producers raised their prices to match. But the Southerners who exported cotton did not want tariffs as their trading partners would implement tariffs of their own in response. The money from these taxes went to Northern industrial and infrastructure projects. John Adams, the second President of the U.S. was of the Hamiltonian ideal and his policies resulted in the escalation of the national debt to $80 million.  Jefferson subsequently took office and reduced the national debt to $30 million despite having made the Louisiana Purchase for $15 million.

Around the beginning of the 19th century there was a movement where many believed the country should be divided into Northern and Southern/Western.  The elite in New England saw a power shift to the South/West occurring and they proposed that the New England states should secede.  They needed New York to secede with them and they positioned Aaron Burr to run for governor of New York but Burr lost to Alexander Hamilton (and subsequently killed him in a duel) and the movement died.

Again in 1812 a group of New Englanders met in Hartford CT and drafted 10 Amendments they demanded otherwise they intended to secede.  There movement was strengthened by opposition to the bloodshed during the War of 1812.  But there arrival in Washington to present their demands coincided with news of Andrew Jackson's victory over the British in New Orleans and they returned home to attempt to indoctrinate the Northern populace of the evil Southerners and to purge their society of blacks in slavery.  The latter might be perceived as humanitarian but they passed legislation propagating their prejudice such as laws preventing blacks from immigrating to their states from elsewhere. They got rid of slavery because they had an alternative system of indentured servitude utilizing poor European/Irish immigrant and child labor for their factories and mills.  Whereas slaves had laws protecting them from mistreatment and requiring them to have food and medicine and basic care whether they were working or not, twelve year olds working in Northern factories were just terminated if they were injured or if their services were no longer desired.

In 1824 the Tariffs of Abominations was passed dictating 30% tariffs.  South Carolina and Alabama threatened to secede but negotiations led to lowering those import taxes and secession was averted.  In the North, if you had an infrastructure project like a railroad which would benefit your business, you would go to the state legislature for funding from the government promising them an industrial base benefiting your neighbours but instead, what often happened was like the $12 million canal project which received state funds and then promptly went bankrupt or the railroad company which only built a small few mile portion of the promised rail project. Thaddeus Stevens had a railroad built 35 miles thru rugged mountain terrain, coincidentally right past his personally owned mines and foundry when a 22 mile long road existed between the two points already - an example of the corruption which resulted in huge government debt increases.
Sam Reid Addresses the Dragoons July Camp Meeting

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