More Simple Questions About Which Side Was Right


From: mtgriffith1@yahoo.com


Note: “RW” stands for Revolutionary War; “CW” stands for Civil War.


1. Which side was willing to let the other side live under a government of its own choosing?


RW: The Americans
CW: The South


2. Which side wanted to force the other side to live under a government that it had made clear it no longer wished to live under?


RW: The British
CW: The North


3. Which side rejected the idea that the people of a state have a natural right to peacefully withdraw their state from the national government?


RW: The British
CW: The North


Useful Quotes:


Thomas Paine:


"Every thing that is right or natural pleads for separation. . . . A government of our own is our natural right." (Common Sense, Philadelphia: W. & T. Bradford, 1776, III:19, 50, emphasis added)


Richard Henry Lee:


"Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved." (Resolution of Richard Henry Lee, Journals of the Continental Congress, June 7, 1776)


Notice the "are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states" assertion. So according to the Continental Congress, the colonies had a right to be free and independent states and were in fact free and independent states. "Are, and of right ought to be. . . ." In short, "the colonies are what they have a right to be, free and independent states."


John Adams strongly agreed with this resolution, and it was later adopted and expanded into what we now know as the Declaration of Independence. The wording of the resolution was included nearly verbatim in the Declaration of Independence:


"That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved. . . ." (Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776)


So our founding fathers said the colonies had a right to be free and independent states and in fact were free and independent states.


4. Which side rejected the idea that a valid, just government does not seek to govern a people who no longer consent to be governed by it, i.e., that a government should only govern with the consent of the governed?


RW: The British
CW: The North


Useful Quote:


The Sons of Liberty of Connecticut adopted a resolution that said the people had the right to reassume the authority they had delegated:


Resolved. 1st. That every form of government rightfully founded, originates from the consent of the people.


2d. That the boundaries set by the people in all constitutions are the only limits within which any officer can lawfully exercise authority.


3d. That whenever those bounds are exceeded, the people have a right to reassume the exercise of that authority which by nature they had before they delegated it to individuals. (Connecticut Resolutions on the Stamp Act, December 10, 1765, emphasis added)


Of course, the British and the North both insisted they believed in government by consent of the governed–they claimed they were merely putting down an unlawful rebellion. But, as the saying goes, “actions speak louder than words.” The British, while claiming to believe in government by consent of the governed, rejected the view that the people of America had a natural right to peacefully withdraw their states from the national government, and the North, while likewise claiming it believed in government by consent of the governed, rejected the view that the people of the South had a natural right to withdraw their states from the national government. So, in practice, both the British and the North rejected the idea that the people of a state have a natural right to be independent if they so desire.


And let it be noted that the Americans bitterly resented the fact that the British tried to force them to rejoin the British empire against their will—they believed the British should let them go in peace and respect their right to be independent. They did not believe they should have to fight for their independence.


5. Which side wanted to overthrow the other side’s government? RW: The British
CW: The North


The Americans never wanted to overthrow the British government. They merely wanted to separate from the British government. There were never any American plans to sail to London and overthrow the British government or to take over England. Similarly, the South had no interest in overthrowing the federal government but merely wanted to leave the federal government.


6. Which side viewed as “treason” and “rebellion” the other side’s desire to peacefully separate and to be independent?


RW: The British
CW: The North


7. Which side invaded the other side and claimed the invasion was merely the suppression of “rebellion” and “treason”?


RW: The British
CW: The North


8. Which side wanted to live in peace with the other side?


RW: The Americans
CW: The South


9. Which side lived under a government of its own choosing at the time it declared its independence and was forced to fight for its independence because the other side invaded soon thereafter?


RW: The Americans
CW: The South


Many people don’t realize that when the Americans issued the Declaration of Independence, there was not a single British soldier in the colonies. The actual war, with large battles and heavy casualties, started when the British sent an invasion force to New York to “suppress the rebellion.” Similarly, when the South declared its independence with the formation of the Confederate States of America, the Southern states were living under a government of their own choosing. The actual war, with large battles and heavy casualties, started when the North sent invasion forces into the South to force the South to give up its independence.


10. Which side’s army had more mercenaries in it?


RW: The British
CW: The North


11. Which side tried to kill or imprison the other side’s political leaders?


RW: The British
CW: The North


Mike Griffith
Civil War website
http://ourworld.cs.com/mikegriffith1/id163.htm