Before the Civil War, there was no income tax. Nearly 90% of the Federal Government’s revenue came from tariff taxes on imports, mostly collected from Southern ports, like Charleston, South Carolina.
Tariffs made foreign goods more expensive, resulting in people buying more goods produced in Northern factories.
But the taxes that helped the North, hurt the South, as the South had no factories to protect. Their economy was agricultural, mostly cotton and rice, which relied heavily on slave labor.
Less than two months after Lincoln was inaugurated President, South Carolina threatened to stop collecting tariffs, as their economy was experiencing a severe downturn.
Lincoln sent troops to the Federal Fort Sumter in Charleston’s harbor which provoked Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard to fire upon the fort, APRIL 12, 1861, beginning the Civil War.
The Confederate Army was unstoppable, twice winning battles at Bull Run, Virginia, just 20 miles from Washington, D.C., forcing Union troops to flee to the fortifications of the Capitol.
The tide did not turn until six months after Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, with the Battle of Gettysburg.
On November 15, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln spoke with Pastor Byron Sunderland of the First Presbyterian Church of Washington, D.C.:
“If it had been left to us to determine it, we would have had no war. And, going further back to the occasion of it, we would have had no slavery. And, tracing it still further back, we would have had no evil…
On both sides we are working out the will of God.
Yet, how strange the spectacle! Here is one half of the nation prostrated in prayer that God will help them to destroy the Union and build up a government upon the corner stone of human bondage.
And here is the other half equally earnest in their prayers and efforts to defeat a purpose which they regard as so repugnant to…liberty and independence…
And they are Christians and we are Christians. They and we are praying and fighting for results exactly the opposite.”
On March 4, 1865, in his Second Inaugural Address, just 45 days before his assassination, President Abraham Lincoln stated:
“Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained….
Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other.
It may seem strange that any men should dare ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged.
The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes…
If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God…He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came…so still it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.'”
President Calvin Coolidge, on May 25, 1924, at the Confederate Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, stated:
“It was Lincoln who pointed out that both sides prayed to the same God. When that is the case, it is only a matter of time when each will seek a common end.
We can now see clearly what that end is. It is the maintenance of our American ideals, beneath a common flag, under the blessings of Almighty God.”
The Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.
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