RCH: 10 libertarian thoughts on the (American) Civil War

I went there. I did it. I dropped a doo-doo right in the middle of August, for all the world to see. An excerpt:

5. Shout-outs to Alexis de Tocqueville and Joseph Smith. Alexis de Tocqueville wrote the best book on America, ever. Joseph Smith founded the “American religion” (to quote Leo Tolstoy). Both men also saw that the north-south divide in the United States was bound to lead to future calamity. It wouldn’t be accurate to call their thoughts on the American divide “predictions,” but both men were outsiders in one form or another, and both men have etched their names into history. The French, who had lost Tocqueville just two years prior to the beginning of the Civil War, approach to the American bloodbath was to remain neutral (after consulting with the United Kingdom), and instead invade Mexico. Napoleon III invaded Mexico, in the name of free trade, late in 1861 and established a puppet monarchy, which angered the United States as it violated the Monroe Doctrine. However, there was not much the U.S. could do and Napoleon III did not abandon his puppet until early 1866, when it became apparent which side was victorious in the American Civil War. The French preferred normalized relations with the American republic to a puppet monarch in the Mexican one. The Mormons, for their part, largely sat out the Civil War. Volunteers from Utah helped guard the mail routes from Indian attacks, but other than that, the Mormons, who had not yet been assimilated into American society (indeed, they had only fled from violence in Missouri to Utah a few decades prior to the Civil War), were content to let both sides bleed.

Please, read the rest.

2 thoughts on “RCH: 10 libertarian thoughts on the (American) Civil War

  1. Okay, I’ll bite. You probably knew I would. 🙂

    ‘It wouldn’t be accurate to call their thoughts on the American divide “predictions,”’

    I’m curious, what Do you call this, then? Joseph Smith wrote in Dec 25, 1832 in Doctrine and Covenants 87:1-4:
    “1 Verily, thus saith the Lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls;

    2 And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place.

    3 For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other nations, in order to defend themselves against other nations; and then war shall be poured out upon all nations.

    4 And it shall come to pass, after many days, slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war.”

    (Other, modern comments on Joseph’s own surprise/puzzlement it didn’t happen in the 1830s, but that at the time he called it a “prophecy on war” here: https://history.lds.org/article/peace-and-war?lang=eng)

    • Very interesting, Derrill, and of course I do all I can to get you involved here!

      I think Smith, in the context of his locale and moment in time, was much sharper than most of his peers, but his thoughts on slavery fall in line with those of many other American observers at the time. It wasn’t really hard to predict that a clash between north and south was coming. I just threw Tocqueville and Smith in the mix because the French and the Mormons took interesting paths during the Civil War.

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