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The True Heirs of the Founding Fathers’ Vision

By Michael Potts on Mar 5, 2019


A Review of Beyond Slavery: The Northern Romantic Nationalist Origins of America’s Civil War (Shotwell Publishing, 2019) by Walter Kirk Wood

In the post-War between the States mythology supported by the victors, the Antebellum South was Satanic and subject to “slave power,” the alleged immense power of the plantation owners and their demonic desire to perpetuate slavery at all costs. This mythology goes further and claims that the War between the States was caused by slavery, with the North desiring to end slavery and the South desiring to increase its range by moving it into the territories. The North, it is alleged, accepted the Founding Fathers’s real vision for America while the South, with its outdated notion of “States’s Rights,” was poisoned by treason against the ideals of the American Founders.

It is now trite to say that “The victors write the history books,” but the saying rings true in the case of the War between the States. Such myths are difficult to dispel since they are thoroughly engrained in the general culture. Every culture has myths, but when the divide between myth and historical reality is too great, those myths should be rejected, especially if they practically lead to harm. Walter Kirk Wood’s book, Beyond Slavery, offers a major corrective to the “standard history” of the South by defending Southern views as representative of the Founding Fathers, while Northern views, especially as found in Lincoln as well as in New England, are alien to the founders’ fundamental principles.


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The way I understand the Civil War is that the South was upset at the tariffs the North was imposing that it made it tough for them to trade their wares such as cotton in the international market.  IIRC, the UK got most of their cotton from the South until the North cut off trade in the Civil War and thus they went to Egypt to grow their cotton.  Slavery was an issue of the war, but not the main one and it did not come bout until the war was underway.  Lincoln himself said that he's preserve the union be it all free, all slave or half-slave if I may paraphrase. 

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