The Crucial Issue of This Election
Tea Party Economist
by Gary North: Third-Rate
Communist Historian Dies. Liberal Media Fawn
We are told
that this Presidential election is the most important in 50 years.
One nationally prominent Christian Right columnist has written that
this is the most important Presidential election in the history
of the United States.
How could anyone
know if this is the most crucial election? You might think that
it would be possible to assess this by looking at the #1 issue of
this election, and then compare it with the #1 issue that some previous
election settled. Unfortunately, this is not possible. It is not
possible for two reasons. First, we do not know the future. Second,
because Presidential elections are never fought over a crucial dividing
issue that proves to have been divisive after the election is settled.
Here is a list
of crucial issues in American political life today. Which of these
is central to the campaign?
End the war in Afghanistan
End the FED
End the war on drugs
End executive orders
End the Department of Homeland Security
The unfunded liabilities of Medicare
The unfunded liabilities of Social Security
Audit the government's gold's ownership
Balance the federal budget before 2016
These are major
issues. They should be publicly addressed. They are so far under
the rug that the mainstream media are oblivious to them. Obama is
staying silent, and the mainstream media prefer that he get away
with this. Think "closing Guantanamo." Think "climate
This is the
way that every Presidential race is always conducted. Does this
seem like a preposterous statement? Probably. Is it an accurate
statement? Let me state my case.
The most important
Presidential election in American history was held in 1860, when
the former Mary Todd's two suitors, Abraham Lincoln and Stephen
Douglas, lawyers for the Illinois Central Railroad, squared off
for the second time, the first being the office of U.S. Senate in
1858. The outcome led to the secession of most Southern states before
Lincoln was inaugurated. The death toll of the Civil War has recently
been increased from an admitted 630,000 to about 700,000. It is
clear that no other election ever produced anything like that.
What was the
dividing judicial issue of the election of 1860? That is, what judicial
issue was the crucial one that the election would surely settle,
which President Buchanan's administration had not settled, over
which the political battle was fought?
one which both candidates denied was an issue. Abolition.
or Douglas would win. John C. Breckenridge, Buchanan's Vice President,
was also running as a third party candidate, because the South's
Democrats could not stand Douglas' position on the right of voters
within a proposed state to decide whether to enter as a slave state
or a free state. Douglas promoted "popular sovereignty,"
and the geography of all the new states made it clear that there
would be no new slave states. The South would be outvoted at some
point, and slavery would be repealed.
You can see
this on any map: what is now Edgewood, Texas, 50 miles east of Dallas.
West of Edgewood, a slave owner would have had to give a slave a
horse to herd cattle. The piny woods grew thin, because the soil
grew thin. There would be no cotton west of Edgewood. That soil
division extends north through Oklahoma and Kansas. Kansas was the
wave of the future. It was a free state.
won, he would make sure that no slave state would enter the Union
to balance a non-slave state. He had made this the keystone of his
later political career.
seceded, pulling Deep South states with it. The issue given by the
seceding legislature was the defense of slavery. The North no longer
would support the Fugitive Slave Act, which was part of the Missouri
Compromise of 1850. So, the
that these ends for which this Government was instituted have
been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive
of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States
have assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic
institutions; and have denied the rights of property established
in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they
have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have
permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed
object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the
citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands
of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have
been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.
declaration would have been just as judicially relevant in October
of 1860 as it was in December, when South Carolina seceded.
four states that presented reasons all cited slavery. Again,
their declarations were as judicially relevant before the election
could not win. No one expected him to win. So, the election was
in fact a gigantic emotional bloodletting that provided the South
with a symbol, but the substance would have been the same if Douglas
The soil west
of Edgewood, Texas made either secession or abolition inevitable.
The election was merely a national ratification of what the leaders
of the South could see was coming.
of 1860 was monumental lots and lots of monuments after 1865
in its importance, but the central judicial issue was not.
The election was important because men seek symbols when they go
to war, and Lincoln was the symbol. It had nothing to do with his
party's platform, which
the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the states, and especially
the right of each state to order and control its own domestic
institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential
to that balance of powers on which the perfection and endurance
of our political fabric depends; and we denounce the lawless invasion
by armed force of the soil of any state or territory, no matter
under what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.
Douglas had been elected, it would have made no difference. He died
in June of 1861. The Vice President would have been Herschel V.
Johnson of Georgia. He opposed secession. But he would not have
been able to change the soil west of Edgewood.
elections might qualify?
of 1896 was fought over the gold standard. William Jennings Bryan's
speech on "the cross of gold" made that the central issue.
There was no way that Bryan was going to get that changed in 1897.
Besides, the poor schnook was persuaded by Woodrow Wilson in 1913
to push for the creation of the Federal Reserve System. On economic
affairs, he was a far Left radical by far the most radical
Left major party Presidential candidate in American history when
his views are compared to voters' opinions in his own era.
the rest of the article
North [send him mail]
is the author of Mises
on Money. Visit http://www.garynorth.com.
He is also the author of a free 31-volume series, An
Economic Commentary on the Bible.
2012 Gary North
Best of Gary North