Judge Napolitano’s Civil War

How many outright mistakes and problematic points of interpretation can you pick out?  Where is Glenn Beck when you need him? 😀

Civil War Memory has moved to Substack! Don’t miss a single post. Subscribe below.

7 comments… add one
  • Tom Thompson Aug 16, 2010 @ 19:02

    Bless you Margaret, and thanks for that play by play deconstruction of the judge’s screed,

    Fox producers couldn’t resist a cheap-shot at the current president at (4:00) when the judge claimed Lincoln preferred “safety over liberty” they run video of President Obama along with the Judge’s snide rhetorical comment “does this sound familiar?” Whaaat? What is the learned jurist trying to imply?

    Methinks he’s a kook!

  • Margaret D. Blough Aug 16, 2010 @ 15:06

    I could go on much longer but, for starters: Madison rejected this construction of the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions during the Nullification Crisis. (Calhoun & co. responded by spreading rumors that Madison was senile). Both Resolutions were also passed before the Supreme Court decision in Marbury v. Madison established the Supreme Court as the forum for constitutional challenges. He also leaves out that Nullification was vehemently rejected by many including Madison and, most importantly, President Andrew Jackson, a slaveholder and a Southerner, who threatened to personally lead troops into South Carolina and hang ringleaders if South Carolina did not back down which it did.

    Neither Lincoln nor the Republican Party platform proposed attacking slavery were it was; Lincoln hated it but, while he rejected the argument that the Constitution endorsed slavery, he felt it inescapable that it tolerated slavery where it was. The fight was over expansion into the territories and the right of “passage” and “sojourn” in free states.

    As for Northern dominated Congresses, is he nuts? Southern control of Congress was only beginning to wane as the Civil War approached. The federal ratio on counting slaves meant that, until Lincoln, the only presidents who were not slave owners and/or did not owe their election to slave state support were both named Adams and were both one term presidents. As for high tariffs, the Walker Tariff and the tariff of 1857 LOWERED tariffs to the point that many northerners blamed the 1857 tariff for the Panic of 1857 and resulting depression.

    He leaves out the fact that the Supreme Court upheld Lincoln’s actions during the period between Ft. Sumter falling and the convening of the emergency session of Congress and that Lincoln’s call for troops was pursuant to the Militia Act of 1795. He also leaves out that, except for these actions, which Congress later ratified, CONGRESS passed the laws about which he complains; Lincoln only signed them after Congress passed them first.

    He omits any mention of the Supremacy Clause, which has been in there from the beginning. Article VI of the Constitution states, in part “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

    The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution”

    Income tax was justified under the war powers. The longer it stayed in effect after the war ended, the more tenuous the rationalization became. The constitutional amendment creating the income tax, like it or hate it, successfully passed the ratification process prescribed by the Framers.

    The Constitution permits the suspension of habeas corpus during insurrection. The only issue was whether Lincoln could do it when Congress was not in session to approve it. The Confederacy also repeatedly suspended habeas corpus.

    The New York City Draft riot was blatantly racist, murdering innocent, helpless blacks including relatives of a soldier in the 54th MA who had just survived the 54th’s attack on Battery Wagner.

    He showed a mansion of the Guilded Age: He didn’t show murdered miners at Ludlow, or immigrant girls jumping to their deaths to avoid death by fire in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire because the exits had been chained shut to prevent them from taking breaks, or the dead of Bloody Homestead (Carnegie’s guilt over this played a prominent role in his philanthropy), or adulterated foods, or western forests and other public lands being pilllaged by private companies with little or nothing going to the public.

    He then has the total effrontery to feature the suffering of blacks in the post-reconstruction era which was made possible by a passive, Southern-dominated Congress totalling kowtowing to massive state violations of the 13-15th Amendments to the US Constitution.

  • Marianne Davis Aug 16, 2010 @ 15:00

    Oh dear. This is a perfect example of the pitfalls of trying to conflate history with current political events. May we now expect Fox’s breakfast trio to recommend “The South Was Right!” as end-of-summer reading? Or should we just be grateful this guy never actually inflicted his understanding of the Constitution on anyone outside of New Jersey?

  • Jarret Aug 16, 2010 @ 8:02

    This video is a tangle of contradictions, as it assumes as a default that Federal power is inherently more dangerous to liberty than state and local power, which is just not true. One need only look at Jim Crow to see how local power can be abused and liberty restricted. Furthermore, this canard that the Confederacy represented state vs. Federal power will never die. If the Confederacy really wanted to to be a state-centered entity, why didn’t they adopt a version of the Articles of Confederation instead of mirroring the existing Federal Constitution. And how exactly is a war to “Nullify Federal laws against slavery” not a war for slavery? That’s some serious cognitive dissonance there. And finally, I am reminded of Robert Novak’s article “The Myth of the ‘Weak’ American State” and how it effectively challenges something that is little more than an assumption taking on the life of fact, that Federal law is so powerful that it makes all the states the same. Even a cursory examination of current and past state and federal laws reveals how patently false that assumption is.

  • Ronald Baumgarten Aug 16, 2010 @ 7:21

    You have got to be kidding, right? Fox News is actually broadcasting this stuff? Talk about distortion of the past for political purposes. (And as an added bonus, they threw in some bogus Centennial reenactment footage of some sort.) I had no idea that there was a movement underway in the mainstream media to re-cast the interpretation of the Civil War in this way. Thanks for pointing it out. Revisionism is not a monopoly of the left I suppose.

  • Rob Wick Aug 16, 2010 @ 7:06

    Who knew that Grover Cleveland eventually turned into William Howard Taft…just another damn liberal lie! Oy Vey!


  • Brian W. Schoeneman Aug 16, 2010 @ 6:41

    That guy is one of the #1 reasons why I stopped watching Fox News.

Leave a Reply to Marianne DavisCancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *