The Official, One and Only, PC Cause of the Civil War

Tuesday, April 12, 2011
By Paul Martin

The Official, Politically-Correct Cause of the ‘Civil War’

by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

The memo has gone out. Since 2011 is the 150th anniversary of the start of the War to Prevent Southern Independence the Lincoln Cult, aided and abetted by the many worshippers of the centralized, bureaucratic, Leviathan state that he founded, has been hard at work since the first week of January endlessly repeating the politically-correct version of the one sole cause theory of the “Civil War.”

Unlike all other wars in human history, the “Civil War” is said to have one and only one cause. This was not always the case; university courses on the war during the 1960s and ’70s frequently used as a text Kenneth Stampp’s The Causes of the Civil War. Stampp was a former president of the American Historical Association. His scholarship has been replaced with a-historical political correctness on today’s college campuses.

Supposed “proof” of the “one sole cause” theory is that when the Southern states seceded in 1860-61, some Southern politicians defended the institution of slavery. Therefore, the story goes, slavery was the sole cause of the war. The not-so-implicit assumptions behind this assertion are the following: 1) Lincoln was about to abolish slavery “with the stroke of a pen” as soon as he took the oath of office; 2) Southerners understood this; therefore, Southern secession amounted to kidnapping of the slaves; and 3) Lincoln launched an invasion of the South to free the kidnapped slaves. This is the only way in which Southern secession could have necessitated war. Ready any of Harry Jaffa’s books if you want “verification” of this “official view.”

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