Saturday, April 10, 2021

The Civil War - We Are Still Paying For That National Disaster

The election of Abraham Lincoln by a minority vote of the people caused the South to secede from the Union.  While Lincoln was an abolitionist, he was not a radical.  Lincoln could have lived with slavery were it existed to just let it die out over time and with mechanization, but would not support slavery moving into the new states.  Lincoln even had a plan to relocate the slaves back to Liberia in Africa.  Unfortunately, the Republican Party was filled with radical abolitionists along with Democrats in the South ultimately made a real mess of things after the Civil War and Lincoln's death.

While the Civil War may have freed the slaves on paper, very bad policy decisions after Reconstruction technically ended slavery, but resulted in 100 years of Jim Crow laws, segregation and even murder of Blacks by Whites in the South.  Yes, the slaves were free; but they were not too much better off than before slavery ended.  

As a former history teacher, I have to wonder what if the Civil War had never been fought.  First, 800,000 people would never have died of war related injuries.  What if instead the federal government paid slave owners for their "property".  In other words, what if instead of spending the equivalent of billions of dollars on the Civil War, the slave owners were paid in essence to free the slaves.  And what if freed slaves were given various choices by the federal government:.  

1. Receive $100 per slave and boat tickets to Liberia to go back to Africa.

2. Receive $100 per slave and stay where they were to work as free men and women earning a                 paycheck to work the plantations.

3. Receive $100 per slave and train tickets to go North presumably to work as free men and women in        the North.

4. Receive $100 per slave and train tickets to go West to homestead the 100 acres of land and a mule        commonly given to homesteaders.

Just imagine how different things would be today, if instead of the Civil War, the federal government had actually used free market capitalism as the solution to ending slavery.  The years of misery that Blacks suffered in the South could have been averted.  If they were poorly treated in the South,  they could have voted with their feet.  None of this would have guaranteed a positive outcome; but it would have been a whole lot better than what occurred for many decades during and after the Civil War.  Sadly, we can't rewrite history; though many in the Cancel Culture are trying to do just that.    

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