Causes of Civil War and More

In this weekend episode, Victor Davis Hanson and cohost Sami Winc have a conversation about Gal Luft the whistleblower, US weapons in the Ukraine war, causes of the Civil War, and the trick of repetition in agriculture.

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16 thoughts on “Causes of Civil War and More”

  1. Paul Eiler Sr

    Thank you sir! I greatly appreciate your learned comments on the history and possible future of California. You are one of a few voices chronicling the death of the Golden State. As a native of more than 80 years, I have seen the best and am witnessing the downward spiral into oblivion.
    I appreciate your efforts greatly.

  2. Nancy Rosamond

    June 21, 1864 Sherman wrote a letter to Stanton in which he said, “There is a class of people, men, women and children, who must be killed or banished before you can hope for peace and order.”
    “Much of the revenue of the United States, at the time, came from the export of the agricultural goods produce in the Confederate States.”
    “Why didn’t Lincoln feel the same about Southern secession? Following the money might help with an answer. Throughout most of our history, the only sources of federal revenue were excise taxes and tariffs. During the 1850s, tariffs amounted to 90 percent of federal revenue. Southern ports paid 75 percent of tariffs in 1859.”
    It is said slavery is all we are fighting for, and if we give it up we give up all. Even if this were true, which we deny, slavery is not all our enemies are fighting for. It is merely the pretense to establish sectional superiority and a more centralized form of government, and to deprive us of our rights and liberties. Patrick Cleburne .
    At much as I respect your opinion on almost everything, I disagree with your assumptions on the War Between the States.


      You need to make some stronger arguments to refute Hanson’s statements, than just a couple of quotes cribbed from a couple of websites, especially sites like or, or a quote from a single Confederate general. That may have been Cleburne’s own opinion, but it doesn’t disprove the statement that the Civil War was fought to end slavery.

    2. Thomas O'Brien

      According to congressional record Rep. Lincoln from the floor of Congress had a very different view when it came to succession of Texas from Mexico. In that particular case he said that Texas was fully within their rights to do so.

      Did the 13 colonies succeed from King George III ?

      Contrary to my comments the above, I am very glad the South was kept in the Union. I think if allowed to succeed, we would have both been easy prey for ambitious European powers (divided you fall). The New World was clearly up and coming in the mid-19th century.

  3. He’s not telling you anything about the Civil War that you can’t read for yourself in easily accessible primary and secondary sources that are much more rigorous than “Front Page” and “”. Given the weight of the evidence Hanson is appealing to, he is stating settled historical conclusions, not mere opinion.

  4. Thomas O'Brien

    A few unrelated comments, Victor:

    First, the Farm Advisor that you consulted about fertilizing you grapes fell short in my view. You being young, he should have thought to ask you your soil type ( clay, loan, or sandy) before giving you his advice. If he had, you would have been saved a lot of heart ache and money.

    Second, you gave a number of reasons why the 97% of Southerners (using your percentage; I knew it was high, but thought it not that high, but I am not the historian) that held no slaves, but you did not mention one fundamental reason they wanted to preserve the status quo and it is one that conforms so predictably with human nature. That is, there is someone beneath them on the societal ladder’s rung. Even southern white trash (in their eyes) were better than the most noble black person. And that black person was expected to behave accordingly.

    Lastly, I was surprised to hear you mention in passing how your two brothers, and your two first cousins do not share your conservative perspective. I would think that your parents would, although I know they were Democrats, a totally different breed of cat from today’s Democrat.

    Your brothers and one or both cousins farmed with you. They should have known the limitations of government. Maybe someday you can touch on this a bit more. I know from other podcasts that you are a bit of a pariah among some family members. I sincerely hope it is not from these individuals, especially your brothers.

    God Bless you!

  5. Thomas O'Brien

    Oh, one more think. I was taken aback when you called the Ag loan fellow a “pr*ck”, although Sami seemed to take it in stride. For me that is a pretty special word, and most people I know don’t qualify. I’ll explain.

    My sense is that a pr*ck are those rare fellows who delight in messing with you. They want to do what is in their power to have you fail. By your description this wasn’t one of those guys. So based on the little I know of the situation I would have downgraded him to the more common term of “jerk”.

    For me the female equivalent of a pr*ck, is a c*nt. I think these words more than say them. And even then not very often.

  6. Mr. Hanson! I too have been reprimanded by my friends for many years for being so negative (pointing out what is happening to our country). But now, they come to me and say things like: how did this happen? A twitter photo post a few days ago, of a French woman watching the riots with tears in her eyes…Titled how did this happen? It’s no secret but people don’t want to face it. You must feel so frustrated. Keep it up PLEASE!!! thanks for all your work!

  7. Victor – Thank you for teaching on the causes of the American Civil War. It is good for our country to keep learning about the ideals of its founding and the striving to implent them.

    We need to affirm that our founders believed in the equality of all men and struggled with one another to abolish slavery.

    It seems like the abolitionist had the Declaration of Independence, the great majority of Americans who opposed slavery, the fact that 99% of Americans did not own slaves, and the moral argument that the type of slavery that America practiced was wrong and needed to be ended.

  8. Victor – It also seems that the South had the Rule of Law on its side to further the practice of slavery.

    The South’s argument that states had the right of sovereignty to establish law in areas that were not delegated to the federal government by the Constitution seems right.

    Also, the South had sought to uphold the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court regarding the Dred Scott decision pertaining to slaves living in free states. Again, respecting the rule of law.

    Was the South legally entitled to practice slavery prior to the amendment of the Constitution in 1865 which abolished slavery?

  9. Victor – If the South never seceded, took over federal property and bombed Fort Sumter; then what would President Lincoln, the Republican party and the northern states have done to abolish slavery?

    Were the two opposing sides so equally divided that there would not have been an amendment to the Constitution?

    How difficult would have it been to outlaw slavery without a war?

  10. Resolving resentment and division today –

    1. The American founders believed all men to be created equal and that they are endowed by God with rights that were not to be violated such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    2. Many of the founders of our country were abolitionists including Thomas Jefferson and George Washington who owned slaves but could not release them until death due to Virginia state law.
    Ben Franklin and perhaps 2/3 or 3/4 of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were abolitionists according David Barton.

    3. American founders and the northern states sought abolition and the empowerment of African Americans soon after our country’s founding.

    4. Americans strove for abolition prior to the Civil War.

    5. The majority of Americans opposed slavery before the Civil War.

    6. 99% of Americans never owned a slave.

    7. Americans had realized that the type of slavery that existed in their land was immoral and needed to be ended. Perhaps their reading of the Bible showed them that the type of slavery practiced in America violated the biblical standard of treatment for slaves and their release.

    8. Americans sacrificed their lives by the hundreds of thousands to free men from slavery.

    9. Americans from the South fought for reasons other than they were all racists. Sovereignty, economic dependence, pride, and defense of their neighbors and homeland were apart of their reasoning as well. 97% of Southerners never owned a slave.

  11. 10. Thomas Jefferson was an abolitionist who led an effort to outlaw slavery in Virginia and lost by one vote according to David Barton.

  12. 11. America, a new nation, was one of the first countries in the history of the world to outlaw slavery.

    12. America was the first nation to stop the international slave trade as Brittian did not stop this practice between all of its colonies although they were the first to outlaw the international slave trade and America was the second to make it illegal.

    13. When America became a country, there were over 120 other nations in the world, all of which had slavery.

    14. Slavery still exists in the world today such as through human trafficking through the southern border of the United States. A Washington Post article cited a researcher who estimated that there are more slaves in the world today than 200 years ago. The highest numbers and concentration of slaves today are in Africa and Asia.

  13. In the 40’s my dad told me, ‘to find the
    easiest way to do something is
    to give give the job to a fat man’.
    I was 8 years old.
    reference Winfield Scott
    mike v

  14. Barbara Toncheff

    I always look forward to hearing you speak on preventing the ultimate decline of this great nation under the current administration’s policies. However, it appears you are casting a shadow on the capabilities of General Lee while extolling hero status on Sherman.
    Isn’t it true that General Winifred Scott told Lincoln that Colonel Lee was his first choice to lead the Federal Army and Francis Blair communicated that message to Lee, but he turned him down?
    Sherman may be a genius in your eye but like many Union officers he was a married philanderer. As a CW living historian who does presentations about female spies/smugglers (both sides) I have spent years reading women’s CW diaries and Ella Clanton Thomas stopped short of publishing a letter to his wife in a Richmond paper regarding his “mulatto girlfriend that traveled with him.” After his debut at the ball in Atlanta, Sherman sent her to Nashville prior to its burning. She decided against it because the pity she felt for Eleanor after losing her 6-month-old.
    Ella also writes during General Kilpatrick’s stay at Mrs. Dr. Carter’s house in Waynesboro he had a Mulato girlfriend named “Nellie”
    I find it ironic Yankee officers are always held in such esteem yet can exploit women of color for their personal desires as they claim to be freeing them from bondage.
    I could go on and on, but Southern women/children suffered immensely at the hands of the Union army and had no reason to spew lies in their diaries.

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