Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I don't really do ACW blogging much anymore, but since Dimitri doesn't have comments and I don't have his email address on hand, this is the only way to comment on a recent item on his blog, which notes a letter-writer's peculiar quote of Lincoln claiming to have incited the war, and an even more peculiar quote from Karl Marx describing the war as "a tariff war", and turning upon a "Northern lust for sovereignty". I don't know about the Fox letter of Lincoln's quoted, but the Karl Marx cite is a deliberate distortion. It's from one of Marx's wartime newspaper essays, and as I thought when I read Dimitri's post, the sentiment is not Marx's own. He was characterizing the view-point of a class of London newspapers, noting contemptuously:
It is characteristic of this discovery that it was made, not in Charleston, but in London. Naturally, in America everyone knew that from 1846 to 1861 a free trade system prevailed, and that Representative Morrill carried his protectionist tariff through Congress only in 1861, after the rebellion had already broken out. Secession, therefore, did not take place because the Morrill tariff had gone through Congress, but, at most, the Morrill tariff went through Congress because secession had taken place.

Karl Marx was strongly pro-Northern in sympathy, as even a cursory reading of his wartime writings on the subject will reveal. He considered it a war of capitalist against feudalist, and naturally chose to approve of the more dialectically advanced antagonist.

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