of the so-called American Civil War
Daryl K. Coleman
Myth #1. The southern forces were attempting to overthrow the government of the United States.
Answer: Nothing could be further from the truth. On July 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln, when speaking to Congress, spoke of "a formidable attempt to overthrow it (the government)." This was a lie, from a lying politician. No southern leader ever put forth that the struggle was aimed at overthrowing the government in Washington. To the contrary, they simply wanted to form their own government and go their own way, separate from the government in Washington. (see Shelby Foote, The Civil War: A Narrative)
Myth #2. The war was primarily fought over the issue of slavery.
Myth #3. There is and was no right for states to secede from the Union.
Answer: This is patently false. First, let's hear from Abraham Lincoln himself, during the 1840's: "Any people anywhere being inclined and having the power have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable, a most sacred right -- a right which we hope, and believe is to liberate the world. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people that can may revolutionize and make their own so much of the territory as they inhabit."
Myth #4. This occurred a long time ago and is not even a possible option for today, so why waste time discussing it?
Myth #5. The struggle of 1861-1865 in America is rightly called a "Civil War".
Answer: A Civil War is one where two or more parties are fighting over control of the central government, as occurred in Spain in the late 1930's, or in China in the late 1940's. The war in America cannot be termed a "civil war" in that the southern forces were NOT trying to gain control of the government in Washington.
Myth #6. Separating a country like the current United States is impossible... it cannot be done.
Answer: Certainly it can be done. The country of Czechoslovakia peacefully divided into two countries during the 1990's, and in like fashion the current United States could also divide.
Daryl Coleman, May 9, 2005
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