Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
When in the Course of Human Events: Arguing the Case for Southern Secession Hardcover – 2000
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
In case anyone doubted Garry Wills' argument in A Necessary Evil that the peculiar myths and distortions surrounding the nature, formation, and meaning of the U.S. regularly stir movements committed to myth rather than reality, Adams, a historian of taxation, delivers a polemic that proves it. The Civil War, Adams argues, was not about slavery or the Union; it was about tariffs! The Southern states had a right to secede. Slavery would have ended at some point, but Lincoln did not particularly threaten it. It was, Adams maintains, the "dueling tariffs" of the Union and the Confederacy that caused the war. Within his states' rights argument, Adams maintains secession's legality should have been determined by the courts, and slaveholders should have been compensated for the property they lost through emancipation. Adams relies heavily on the European press; he asserts, but does not prove, that U.S. abolitionists were a fanatical lunatic fringe. The author clearly anticipates controversy; it should not be long in coming. Mary Carroll
A very readable and insightful book. (Marshall DeRosa, Florida Atlantic University)
This is the best written, most accurate account of the causes and meaning of the American Civil War. . . . A fantastic book! (John V. Denson, Auburn University)
Highly original. . . . Mr. Adams' work, as well as contributing to the subject, makes a lovely example of the way history should be written. (Clyde N. Wilson, University of South Carolina)
The Civil War violently destroyed the decentralized federal system of the Founders and opened a way for the vast centralized empire of today. To legitimate this revolutionary change, Americans have taught that secession was unconstitutional; that the South seceded to protect slavery; and that the North invaded to emancipate slaves. Charles Adams, a northern historian, argues persuasively that these propositions are false. Adams claims that the war was about what most wars are fought over: control of territory, resources, and revenue. To many this book will be disturbing; to others it will be a breath of fresh air. The first step in healing the fractural historical memory imposed on all Americans by the Civil War is to face the hard truths that Adams brings into focus. Having read this book, I can no longer, with ease, recite the 'Gettysburg Address' or sing the 'Battle Hymn of the Republic.' (Donald Livingston, Emory University)
Adams is the world's leading scholar on the history of taxation. When in the Course of Human Events is a must read for history teachers and history buffs searching for honesty. (Charlotte Observer)
This is one of the most important books ever published on American history. (Forum News Magazine)
This is a well-rounded historical presentation of the events surrounding the Civil War. Whatever you have to do, but do read this book! Winner of the Reformed Library's 2000 Paradigm Award. (Reformed Library)
Delightful and insightful book. The author has provided a well-documented exposure of the real reasons for an unnecessary war. It is a pleasure to read. (The Rebel Rouser)
Provocative, well-argued revisionist history. (The New American)
But if we were to recommend one work—based on originality, brevity, depth, and sheer rhetorical power—it would be Charles Adams' time bomb of a book, When in the Course of Human Events. (Worldnetdaily)
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
This book should not be read as a definitive history of the so-called "Civil War." Instead, it should be read as a guide to some of its key issues. If Adams overstates his case anywhere, it is only because he is doing what real historians should be doing - thinking critically and asking intelligent questions about history. For this, he has been excoriated. Stay classy.
As the title of my review states, the hostile reaction to this book proves its point: many Americans have an emotional need to believe that Southern secession was wicked and that Northern invasion was righteous. Otherwise, the government under which we all live today is built upon the betrayal of the foundational principles of American freedom. We can either free our minds and take action or remain blissfully ignorant and complacent. I choose freedom.
For one, when has any country really fought a war only for moral issues and not economic and political ones? With this in mind does it really make sense that American families would send hundreds of thousands of their own children to their graves to fight a war to end slavery in the 1860s? If this was true, and these people felt so strongly about giving rights to the blacks, then why weren't black soldiers allowed to fight alongside white soldiers in our military until the Korean War approximately 90 years after the Civil War ended? Does it make sense that white families would volunteer their sons to fight for this cause if the government still wouldn't allow blacks and whites to fight together for another 90 years?
In addition, why then during the Civil War did Lincoln allow West Virginia to be admitted to the Union as a slave state more than two years after the war began? And why were the slave owners in the North allowed to keep their slaves throughout the entire Civil War? The underlying reason is because the Civil War was much more about money, economics, and politics than it was about slavery.
In this book Charles Adams shows us how the Southern states were simply sick and tired of how they were being treated by the North. 87% of the country's taxes were collected from the people in the South, with the majority of this tax money being spent on projects in the North. The South really wanted to secede from the Union because of this and some other issues, and the North recognized they would be devastated economically if they ever allowed this to happen. In addition, the South controlled the best shipping ports in the Union, and the North recognized they would be dealt a serious blow if they ever lost access to these ports themselves.
So when the war began, the people in the North were told it was all about the importance of preserving the Union, and nothing about ending slavery was mentioned at the time. The book shows letters, quotes, and newspaper articles that were written at the time confirming the North's position on this, and some of the articles came from Europe which had a more unbiased opinion in reporting on the war than the Northern and Southern journalists did.
The book also points out how Lincoln closed down hundreds of newspapers in the North for writing articles against the war, and how he imprisoned politicians for expressing their opposition to the war also. He even went so far as to order the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to be arrested for disagreeing with him.
As it's been said by many over the years, the Emancipation Proclamation freed no one. It only declared the slaves in the Southern states not already under Union control to be free from slavery. This Emancipation Proclamation was issued in January of 1863, almost two years after the war began. And when it was issued there were riots in the North because people were angry at the thought of the war being about ending slavery and freeing the blacks, not about preserving the Union for their own economic interests. And as the book points out...racism was actually far worse in the North than it was in the South.
Some of the Northern states allowed slavery, and most of the other Northern states either forbid blacks to live there or forbid them to own any property there. And as far as the abolitionists were concerned, there were those who thought slavery to be immoral, but the most vocal abolitionists were vehemently against slavery because they wanted no blacks living in any state in the Union whatsoever. This explains much about why racism has existed for so long in our country, both in the North and in the South. And surprisingly it was Indiana, a Northern state, that was the one with the highest percentage of its population who eventually became members of the Ku Klux Klan.
One interesting note is the fact that Lincoln's original Emancipation Proclamation was issued in September of 1862, four months before the one we've become familiar with was issued. In the earlier Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln offered the Southern states the right to come back, rejoin the Union, and keep their slaves if they'd agree to end the war. But the Southern states refused to do so, indicating that there was much more at stake for them to fight over than just keeping their slaves.
The idea of making the war look like it was really about slavery came only after it had been fought for about 12-18 months, and the North had been taking a beating both on the battlefields and in the media worldwide. They were being chastised for refusing to allow states to secede from the Union from what was seen as an oppressive government that was taxing the people of the South unjustly. And the international media talked about how ironic it was that the South wanted to secede for almost identical reasons as the original colonies did when they signed the Declaration of Independence and fought the British for their independence in the American Revolution. But in the Civil War, the North was convinced they needed the 87% of the taxes the South had been paying, and they weren't going to let the South secede and stop paying these taxes to them.
This book is one of the best ones I've ever read on any subject, and I definitely recommend it.
This book is an absolute MUST READ for any honest seeker of TRUTH!