153 years ago today was the first day of a new era in American History. A conspiracy to break up the Union and the bloodiest war we've seen either before or since had ended the day before. Thousands of broken men were liberated from death-camps like Andersonville. The slavery issue, too, was settled once and for all. The Southern Aristocracy gave way to the Democracy which we all now have.
Sadly, Americans' jubilation was short-lived; for five days later, President Lincoln was gunned down in cold blood by one of the partisans of the Southern Aristocracy.
Today it's become somewhat fashionable to support the so-called 'Confederacy' and deride the memory of Lincoln. But people forget that the U.S. Civil War was the decisive battle between democracy and despotism on our own shores. For the first 90 years of our independence, the Southeastern states were more closely modeled on European feudalism than the republican ideals of the Constitution.
After our victory in the American Revolution, there were those who wanted to establish a monarchy in this country. Washington was offered the crown and refused it. He began the precedent of presidents serving only two terms. When George III tried to reconquer us in 1812; the Southern politicians obstructed our war efforts fearing that annexation of Canada would bring in more anti-slavery and anti-aristocratic sentiments.
In 1832, South Carolina threatened to secede over a tariff on cotton. President Jackson backed them down with his forceful leadership. A similar threat happened in 1850 when an attempt to secede was put down by President Taylor. Between then and 1861, the anti-government conspiracy went into overdrive. Southern politicians like Jefferson Davis used their positions to set up the South and weaken the North. Davis was Defense Secretary under President Pierce. He loaded West Point with Southerners and moved arsenals South. By 1860, the Southern Aristocracy had made it clear what would happen if the Election of 1860 didn't go as they wanted. They were the first 'not my president' crowd.
And they were also every bit as vicious and tyrannical as the current anti-government gangs. One of the first acts of the Confederate Government was to confiscate the property of anybody who opposed secession. Thousands of people were literally driven out of their homes and reduced to abject poverty. Union soldiers later found many living in hovels and caves; barely alive.
After the war started, the Confederate Army rejected every principle of civilized warfare. They massacred Negro soldiers in cold blood and hanged their officers. They built death-camps for the express purpose of killing and maiming Union troops. The same fiends who devised those camps also ran a secret police force to maintain order.
Regardless of what revisionists say, we should be thankful that we had a President Lincoln and 2 million soldiers who fought for the Union. Over 360,000 of these men never came back. 1,522 soldiers won the Congressional Medal of Honor: the most in any American war. And not only were there heroic men; but women like Red Cross founder Clara Barton organized medical and humanitarian relief which continued long after the war. In many ways, the Lincoln Administration contrasted some of our darkest hours against some of our most heroic and self-sacrificing moments as a people.