A video is making the rounds on Facebook – especially in the various Trump supporter groups – in which we see a very revised history lesson about the American Civil War.
The “history lesson” consists of text, images of Civil War battles and Confederate soldiers, accompanied by march band music. The first part of the “lesson” deals with the Morrill Tariff, we have included all of the slides’ text below so that you can see it in all its dubious charm:
“One of the things that happend [sic] following the electon [sic] of Lincoln is Congress and Lincoln passed a tarriff [sic] known called the Morrill Tarriff [sic].”
(If you haven’t noticed yet, there are nearly as many spelling and grammar errors in this video as one would expect from a 1st or 2nd grader. Please bear with us while we unravel the rest of this hot mess):
“The worst the country ever seen [sic] and forced many southeners [sic] into bankruptcy the tax was so bad it more than doubled the tax rate from 20% to 47%.”
“Though the Southern states only made up about 30% of the population they paid more than 80% of the tax.”
“Facing such a Tyranic [sic] goverment [sic] the south [sic] did the Legal act of Seceding from the Union in order to gain a goverment [sic] in which they would be represented in.”
“Following the withdraw [sic] of the South from the Union the only way the North could collect this tax is [sic] for them to take it by invading southern [sic] land and property and taking it by [sic] gunpoint.”
There is only one thing partly correct in this statement: The fact that Lincoln was the main cause for the Morrill Tariff’s enactment in 1861. He knew it would be necessary to finance the burgeoning war. However, the tariff was passed under the Buchanan Administration. The signing of it on March 2nd, 1861, was James Buchanan’s last act as the sitting president: that was most likely due to the fact that then President-elect Lincoln had publicly stated that he would make a new tariff his priority in the next session, if the bill did not pass by his inauguration day on March 4th.
When this bill was passed and signed, the Southern states had already seceded; the Confederacy was already formed. This makes it impossible for the Morrill Tariff to be a cause of the secession of the South.
As for the North “invading Southern land”, it is a well-known fact that the first act of aggression was from the Confederacy when it attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina which triggered the Civil War:
“So since the North was invading their country the South had no choice but to defend it and they fought hard and honorable [sic].
Then after gaining a horrible reputation Lincoln tried to pin the whole thing on slavery when it had nothing to do with it.”
When you’re done laughing at the above, make sure to note the fact that the Declaration of Causes of the seceding states explicitly names slavery as one of them. And, that negotiations between the Union and the Confederacy prior to the Civil War went nowhere because Lincoln refused to let the states back in as long as they allowed slavery.
But, the video continues with the fallacy that the Civil War was caused by nothing more than a badly executed, unfair tax that the scary monster Lincoln attacked the Southern states with. Saying, “The sad truth is that Lincolns [sic] War cost us the lives of more than 600,000 Americans.”
No, the sad truth is that the Confederacy’s adherence to keeping slaves cost the lives of more than 600,000 Americans!
The video ends with this statement, “I hope after watching this you really see what was going on in the Civil war and not just what most people want to hear.”
It should have said: “I hope after watching this you really see what revisionist history and the ‘Lost Cause of the Confederacy‘ have done to the country by telling many Southerners what they want to hear.” Sadly, one only needs to take a single glance at a Trump supporter group on Facebook to see that it’s working.
It may be obvious that this is what it looks like when an idiot defends the Civil War. But, this revisionism is being taken to heart. The same people who believe every lie from Trump — despite knowing he is a proud liar — seem to find that this explanation makes them feel better about flying their hate-symbols and screaming “heritage not hate.”
Watch the video below:
Image by screen capture