October 8th, 2017

John Oliver almost gets there. He missed the opportunity for Americans to confront the reason, not the excuse, the reason why the Slavetocracy in the Confederacy was able to finally force votes to secede from the United States: wealth.

The teaching moment came at timemark 08:59. Oliver dismisses the argument, but that is the central truth. The 1 percent of 1861, North and South, were locked in a battle to preserve their fortunes. Those in the South, seeing that they were about to lose the fight, and generations of family wealth, decided to literally walk away.

That their financial heritage was built upon the exact opposite of everything the United States purported to stand for as laid out in our founding documents—with the exception of course of the shameful 3/5’s compromise found in Article 1, Section 2, Paragraph 3 of our Constitution which reads:

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. [i.e., slaves, JH]

—is our problem. The problem continues today around the world, but an insufficient number of Americans are troubled that their jewelry, clothing and smart phones are produced by slave labor.

It is also possible to argue that the Electoral College, found in Article II, Section 1, Clause 3 and modified by the 12th Amendment is a vestige of our slavery heritage brought about as a second compromise between the more populous, industrial free states and the agricultural slave states.

Where Oliver really misses the boat, is answering the question he ignores: why did the northern states commit hundreds of thousands of men and millions of dollars to stop the southern states from seceding?

Again, in a word, wealth.

Northern textile mills needed cotton and could not tolerate the loss, or the rise in prices that would have been a certainty once the South was able to throw off the economic punishments of the cotton tariffs. Other nations, primarily England, wanted the South’s cotton. The 1 percent in the North, whose wealth was represented by that regions textile mills, could not allow secession. This is also the reason why the North was so quick to take every avenue possible—including a little known clause in the 13th Amendment—to restart production. For northern millionaires to preserve the wealth, the cotton must flow.

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