A review of Catholic author Adam S. Miller's The North & the South and Secession, the first of his four-book series on the Civil War from a traditional Catholic historical perspective.
Surprisingly, a large part of the cultural difference between North and South came from the fact that the Catholic influence on society and culture had a greater impact on the South. Although the North had more Catholics, those in the South tended to be in greater positions of influence. Southern society was structured in a way that reflected the old European Catholic hierarchical and patriarchal world view. "Southerners in general had a deep respect for their European heritage and the social/cultural traditions which came from there, whether or not they knew that this heritage, culturally speaking, had been born and developed as a result of the Catholic Church." (p. 9.)
Southern Catholics completely supported the Southern cause, as did every one of their Catholic bishops. Correspondence between Pope Pius IX and Jefferson Davis shows that the Pope acknowledged Davis as President of the Confederate States of America, and "implies that he favored the South during the Civil War and recognized values in the South that were not common in the progressive-industrialized world, like the American North." (p.11.)
Miller's smallish but logically tight book dispels the myths that the war was fought over slavery and that Lincoln was justified in invading the South. This book clearly proves that the South had
every legal right to secede from the Union, since secession was not
prohibited in the Constitution. Further, slavery was also legal
according to that same Constitution. It was economic oppression of the South, due to unjust and excessive tariffs imposed by the Northern states via the Federal government, that ultimately forced the South
to secede. The South carried the vast majority of the taxation burden, and thus provided most of the Federal revenue.
It is a fact that when the conflict began the Union had more slave states than the Confederacy! The commanding General for the North, U.S. Grant, made use of
slaves, and said that if the war had been fought to free the slaves, he
would have turned in his sword (p. 73). Lincoln went to war "to apply
the erroneous belief that the federal government was sovereign over the
states" (p. 75). The true insurrectionists were the Northerners who
rebelled against the founding concept that the federal government was
simply an agent for the free sovereign states.
Miller provides page after page of proof that the initial concept of a Federal government under the Constitution was derived from the consent of the founding states, and it was not to be their ruler as a powerful central government. The creator was the assemblage of sovereign states, and their creature was the Federal government. But the North, led by Lincoln, reversed this paradigm so that the creature would dominate the creator, and do so by force of arms.
Consider this analogy as to what occurred during the Civil War,
although Miller does not mention it: suppose Germany were to pull out
of the European Union, and the other member states said it was not
allowed, and they invaded that country militarily to keep her in that
Union against her will.
This book is quite a revelation, and I plan read to the subsequent three books in Miller's series on the Civil War. The updated editions are best obtained from his website http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/tower7