Jake Jacobs
Thomas Woods' 1861 ¬Ā¬ćSecessionist-Libertarianism": a defense of a slave-civilization gone with the wind!
By Jake Jacobs
December 5, 2014

The words liberty and libertarianism have their origin in the Greco-Roman world. The Latin word "liber" or "the free one" was politically defined in Roman law as "liber homo" or "a freeman being in a state of non-dependence from another's arbitrary will." According to the Greek concept of liberty "to be free" was to not to have a master in relationship to slavery. Thus liberty had a contra-distinctive relationship to slavery and was inextricably woven into the concept of "freedom-equality."

Fast forward to 1776 and the "American War for Life and Liberty" otherwise called the American Revolution. Through the Continental Congress and its Committee of Five, Thomas Jefferson along with feedback and help from John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and the politcal theory of John Locke and Algernon Sydney, declared to the world, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

Created equal! What a revolutionary declaration. All men, ALL men are created equal. Our 1776 Continental Congressmen were willing to but their "Lives, Fortunes and sacred Honor" on line for life and liberty from the tyranny and slavery by THE STATE! Yes, there was hypocrisy and a double standard when it came to equality for all in 1776 when is came to slavery in America. However, the seedbed of equality for all was planted deeply in our soil and our soul by even those who owned slaves at the time believing that someday that pernicious and vile institution would be eradicated from the land.

We know that before the Civil War of 1861-1865, the federal government and state governments were all over the place when it came to liberty and slavery. The federal government of 1787-1789 understood the profound and inextricable bond between the 1787 Constitution, 1789 Bill of Rights, and the 1776 Declaration of Independence which declared that "ALL men were create equal." In the the last sentence of the 1787 Constitution, you read "In the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United states of America the Twelfth..."

Why did our framers put in "the Twelfth" into our Constitution? It's quite simple, they saw life, liberty and "equality for all" as the origin of the Union of the Unites States of America as beginning in 1776 which they sought to make "more perfect." To our framers "equality for all" was the very essence of liberty from tyrannical government whether it was at the federal and or state level.

But our framers also knew they had a problem with that wonderful concept of equality for all: that problem was SLAVERY.

Between 1776 and 1787 slavery in Northern states was dying or outlawed; while in the Southern States, it was flourishing and expanding with more and more legislation to ensure that effect. Our Northern framers as well as a number of Southern framers such as James Madison, George Mason, and George Washington desired to see it end but knew they needed to compromise with the Southern slave-states to pass or ratify the Constitution.

From the passing of the Northwest Ordinance that outlawed slavery in the new territories to the 1793 Fugitive Slave Act the federal government was all over the place between the advocacy of liberty versus the evils of slave-state tyranny. Gradually Southern slave states, along with a white-supremacist-racist Democrat controlled federal government successfully advanced slavery with the Missouri Act of 1820, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, and the dreadful 1857 Dred Scott Supreme Court decision that equated Southern American slaves of African ancestry to pigs and cows.

The key slave-state philosopher for the South was South Carolina's John C. Calhoun. Calhoun's speeches and writings such as his 1837 article, Slavery a Positive Good or his 1850 Disquisition on Government rejected John Locke's, Algernon Sidney's and Thomas Jefferson's Natural Law political theory of "equality for all." Calhoun's evolutionary-racial political theory argued that the Negro's nature is eternally inferior and could never achieve equality with the superior white man. Calhoun, who disdained the Federalist Papers did not want to preserve a Federal Constitutional Republic that believed in equality for all, but desired to change it to perpetuate slavery in the states. While Calhoun died in 1850, his White-supremacist-secessionist- racist ideas lived on in the Southern slave states Legislatures, Governors and institutions before, during and after the Civil War.

To the Confederate political philosophers and politicians of the late 1850's and 1860's Abraham Lincoln's words at the 1863 Gettysburg Address were heresy and tyranny as he declared "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

Why heresy? Because according to the Calhounian white supremacy presupposition, Lincoln's Lockean-Jeffersonian Founding Fathers' worldview of equality for all did not begin in 1787 or in 1789 with the ratification of the Constitution. To our Founders equality for all began in 1776, the glorious year of the birth of a NEW Nation, conceived in Liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal!

Lincoln's great legal mind understood that our liberty loving founders never conceived of a nation dedicated to slavery by government because to do so would have been a duplicity, hypocrisy and tyranny of the worse kind. The slave-state Confederate Republic was dedicated to the proposition that their new nation was conceived in slavery because the Negro man was inferior and not equal to the white man of the South.

What Southern political theorists have failed to understand from Calhoun to Confederates like Jefferson Davis and Alexander Stephens and the so-called Neo-Confederate libertarians of today is that America is founded on an idea and that idea is quite simple and profound at the same time: ALL men are created equal and true liberty is a natural right to be free from government harm and control at any level of government. The Southern slave-state secession argument was the anti-thesis of that self evident truth. It was their fanatical racial argument, under the guise of so called "States' Rights" that led to a bloody and avoidable Civil War.

No Slavery equals No Secession, thus no rebellious Civil War!

In 1854, in Ripon, Wisconsin (proudly my home state) a new politcal party, the Republican Party was created and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Study their platforms, politcal speeches and philosophy and you will discover that their liberty for all ideas keenly separated them from the dominate Democrat Slave Party that influenced the tyranny of federal government and their Southern state governments over the natural God given rights of Americans of African ancestry.

The principles of the Republican Party held that man's natural condition is freedom and that the Constitution had an inextricable relationship to the Declaration of Independence that declared that all men are created equal. The Republican Party understood that through legal means they could influence the federal government to stop the advance of slavery from the territories to Washington D.C. and the high seas. They, like Lincoln had hoped to construct a "cordon of freedom" around the slaves states that would gradually strangle slavery, hopefully convincing the Southern slave states to abandon their pernicious institution.

Northern state legislators, governors and supreme courts began to challenge their federal slave tyranny. The election of Republican Abraham Lincoln in November of 1860, was the last straw for the slave-state apostles of disunion and slavery. Even before Lincoln was sworn in as President when he was just a citizen with no executive power, the Southern slave-states took action. It is their words, speeches, decrees, commissions, presuppositional Calhounian argumentation and rebellious actions that are conveniently ignored by the so-called "States' Rights" advocates versus the Federal government of 1861.

How ironic that the Southern slave-states were content when the federal government in the 1850's supported their slave-states but the moment a Republican was elected to the Federal position of President in 1860, they declared "Secession!" Let's look at the inextricable thinking of the slave-states between slavery, state power, white supremacy and true liberty. The key time period is from 1860 to 1861.

The Democrat Convention during April-May 1860 in South Carolina saw many slavery-Democrats upset that too many moderate Democrats were supporting Stephen Douglas, who while supporting slavery wanted to leave it up to election results. The slave-states advocates not willing to compromise on slavery opened the door for the election of the Republican Abraham Lincoln. Once that occurred slave-state defenders defied the legal and democratic process of a presidential election and turned their wrath on what they called "Negro-Republicans," "Black Republicans," and the "party of Lincoln." These Southern slave state advocates never separated Abraham Lincoln from the Republican Party. Southern slave state thinking equated Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party as one and the same entity that was hell bent on destroying their heavenly slave-state Confederacy. Not liking that the people had spoken in the election of 1860 the Southern states or the CSA began to organize an illegal and rebellious secession from the USA.

In the process they argued, articulated and disseminated slave-state secessionist ideas all throughout the South with South Carolina leading the charge. As slave-states left the Union they tell us why they did and THE PRIMARY reason for secession was their desire to preserve and perpetuate slavery in their states. They mandated that any new state that desired joined their "new slave-state Republic" would have to endorse slavery, equality for all be damned!

On Christmas Eve of 1860, South Carolina wrote a "Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union." In their list of causes were their grievances that Northern states were exercising their right to defy the federal Fugitive Slave Act and that Northern and Western states should not have the right to let abolitionists assemble and to speak out freely against slavery.

So much for States' Rights by the so called Southern States' Rights advocates.

When you study the Southern-slave states' Declarations of Secession you find over and over again an attack on Northern free states, the election of Abraham Lincoln and a defense of "sister slave holding States." From Texas to Virginia, to Georgia and Mississippi you see the advancement of the inextricable relationship of white supremacy over the "inferior negro race" and slavery's inextricable relationship to states' rights.

The February 1, 1861 Texas Declaration of Secession declares "We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable. That in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free."

After the election of Republican Abraham Lincoln, in November of 1860, Southern slave-states created Secession Commissioners to travel throughout the South to reinforce their slave state secession argument and to convince vacillating border states that the defense of slavery was worth the cause to confederate. From Alabama to Mississippi to South Carolina and Georgia the choice for the South was self evident clear that "this new union with Lincoln Black Republicans and free Negroes, without slavery; or, slavery under our old constitutional bond of union, without Lincoln Black Republicans, or free Negroes either, to molest us" must be fought against with secession if Southerners were to avoid "submission to negro equality."

Common terminology used by Southern slave-states secessionists and commissioners varied from Lincoln Negroes, Lincoln Black Republicans, Black Republicans, Black Republican Party, Negro Republican Platform, Lincoln Negro Republicans. In their Democrat white supremacist worldview the "election of the Negro Lincoln Republican" lead to the denigration and subjugation of the white-man and that would inevitably lead to the "annihilation of the white race by Lincoln Republican Negroes."

In late 1860 and early 1861, the Southern slave-state mindset was to defend secession as the only viable way to survive the world of Black Lincoln Republicans and if rebelling and going to war against the United States of America was necessary for the survival of the Democrat white-race then so be it! In March of 1861, the Constitution of the Confederate States was created, while coping much from our 1787 federal Constitution, it purged all compromises with slavery and created an explicitly pro-slavery and anti-liberty slave Republic. Thus, they started their rebellious Civil War versus the federal government to secure their slave Republic by attacking the federal Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861.

No slavery equals No secession, No secession equals No rebellion: thus No war.

Here's where the relationship between liberty and libertarianism comes in.

Liberty in 1776 meant primarily freedom from oppressive government. With the explosion of the corrupt federal government today I believe authentic, consistent libertarianism is the vox populi declaring to the world as in 1776 "liberty is freedom from oppressive government!" While I have a profound affinity and kinship to many of the great minds of the libertarian world, there is in my estimation a very dangerous and skewed school of libertarian thought that I call "Secessionist- Libertarianism."

Secessionist Libertarianism has become very popular on College campuses with such organization as YAL-Young Americans for Liberty and an a sundry of Tea Party and Conservative organizations, many of whom I work with as I travel the country speaking on the growing anti-constitutional nature of our federal government. From John Stossel, Brian McClanahan, Kevin Gutzman, Ron Paul to Judge Napolitano and Thomas Woods I have learned much from these men and utilize theirs works in my classrooms and speeches. As a Conservative-small "r" republican Christian, I have a lot more in common with Libertarians than not. In fact you could call me a Christian Libertarian and I would not object to the term.

However it is when a libertarian joins the thinking and defense of "secessionist-libertarianism" that I draw a line in the "1776 Liberty sand" and throw down the gauntlet. When Republican libertarian Ron Paul gives his famous "Dixie flag secessionist-libertarian" speech justifying the Confederate secession or when Thomas Woods proudly shakes the hand of an active member of the white supremacist League of the South, Marshall Clayton Rawson while holding up a "Secede" sign that's where we part ways.

Before I continue with my differences and concerns with Thomas Woods, let me say that I own a number of Dr. Woods books and actually recommend a few of them in my latest book "Mother Should I Trust The Government?" As a lover of life and liberty I have an affinity towards Libertarian writers who understand the potential nefarious nature of government tyranny. Many times Thomas Woods is spot on when he critiques with a barrage of historical evidence his anti big-government arguments. Throughout Dr. Woods libertarian speeches, articles and books he rightfully disdains death and enslavement by government. Unfortunately, he stops being a consistent libertarian when he fails to take off his secessionist blinders when it comes to the world of Southern slavery before, during and after the Civil War.

First I want to dismiss the attacks on Dr. Woods as some kind of "Neo-Confederate white supremacy racist" who has had or is still having an intimate association with the League of the South, Southern Nationalist Network, etc. etc. Yes, maybe his book "The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History" features a Confederate General on the cover but that does not make Tom a terrible racist. Yes, maybe he did in the past write for Southern Partisan, Southern Patriot and speak or write on defending Confederate secession for the United Daughters of the Confederacy and other Confederate associations and yes there are a number of recordings, articles and pictures of this Confederate-secession relationship, but it does not follow Thomas Woods is a racist.

Naive maybe, but racist no. At least I hope so.

And yes, Thomas Woods considers Abraham Lincoln to be a tyrant and one of the worst Presidents in history-however it does not follow that Thomas Woods is a white supremacist-secessionist. I'll let other historians determine that connection. But, Dr. Woods leaves no doubt that he is an apostolic advocate of what he believes is the legitimate legal right to secede from the United States of America.

That is where Thomas Woods and Jake Jacobs differ.

Recently during a Twitter exchange over Secession, Slavery and the Civil War I was maligned and labeled by Dr. Thomas E Woods as a "terrible historian....terrible detective...a Hillary Clintonian-Straussian-neo conservative." He also said my "Hillary Clinton version of history is tiresome." Wow equating Jake Jacobs with the progressive Hillary Clinton! LOL! If my friends could see me now! Don't laugh those are the terms he used in our "Twitter War." I was even told I should not use the anti-Confederate "pc" term rebellious in place of the more accurate Confederate term secession.

I know Dr. Woods likes to use the testosterone loaded cliche "smackdown" frequently when he supposedly decimates his opponents on various issues. I guess I am just another "terrible historian" who has become a notch on his libertarian holster, a naive victim enveloped by his venomous brilliance, his historical web of secessionist historicity. There's only one problem with that: secessionist-libertarians find themselves in a contradiction of terms and reality as they theoretically espouse liberty while justifying southern secession slavery that in the name of so called "States' Rights" defied life and liberty as they created an anti-liberty slave Republic.

In one of Thomas Woods tweets to me he declared: "You are so stuck in Straussian neoconservatism that you can't distinguish between secession and the war. Break free man." Break free Dr. Woods from the reality that CSA secession started a war to preserve a slave-state Republic? Sounds to me like it's secessionist-libertarian Thomas Woods who needs to break free from the chains of defending a secessionist slave nation!

When secessionist-libertarian Ron Paul declares in his famous "Dixie flag speech" that Lincoln and Union "canceled out the whole concept of individual choice" or when Thomas Woods declares Lincoln to be one of the greatest tyrants in American history, they very conveniently ignore the tyranny of the Confederacy that demanded acquiescence to slavery by terminating freedom of speech, press, assembly and the right to bear arms to abolish slavery from the State!

The Confederate Slave Republic was created by racist secessionist politicians not by a decision of the people of the South who never voted on the issue. After the March 1861 inauguration of Abraham Lincoln, the central government of the anti-liberty Confederacy seized federal forts, arsenals, mints, ships, custom-houses and other federal properties and performed massacres of Union supporters in St. Louis, Baltimore and other cites well before the June, 1861 Battle of Fairfax Court when the first Confederate soldier died in battle.

Secessionist-Libertarians like Thomas Woods, Ron Paul and Judge Napolitano like to malign Abraham Lincoln as an Imperial President who created a highly centralized tyrannical government that has led to the problems we have today with Washington D.C. Lincoln and the Republicans used their federal power to end slavery and pass the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments.

Ironically, it is Woods' secessionist-libertarian argument that justifies a Slave-State Confederate Republic that created a highly centralized government that ran rough shod over civil liberties in a thousand different ways. They used forced labor in their government run factories, instituted a forced military draft, suspended writs of habeas corpus, and had a foreign policy that was military aggression. In early 1861 they carried out thousands of warrant-less, lawless searches, seizures and arrests, printed paper money to pay for military aggression thus creating inflation, repudiated lawful debts and contracts, regulated agriculture by imposing acreage controls on tobacco and cotton, created a highly centralized bureaucracy of 70,000 in their Capital, Richmond to manage their big government Confederacy, and seized guns from civilians beginning in 1861. Debow's Review a Southern secessionist journal declared in 1862: "Everyman should feel that he has an interest in the State, and the State in measure leans upon him...It is implied in the spirit which times demand, that all private interests are sacrificed to the public good. The State becomes everything, the individual nothing."

So much for Thomas Woods, Ron Paul's and Judge Napolitano's version of "secessionist-libertarianism" a version which if brought to it's logical conclusion supports a Confederate politcal ideology that was a Statist and death by government ideology. How far will logic take their secession rational? During the crucial months of late 1860 and in 1861, secessionist preparation for war to secure their slave Republic denied those who did not agree with the secession rebellion as they were not allowed libertarian freedom to disagree. The classic example out of many, is in the counties of eastern Tennessee which voted to secede from the secessionist slave Republic. One of those counties went so far as to declare the "Free and Independent State of Scott." Having none of their secessionist anti-slavery actions, the Confederate army occupied those counties and through government coercion forced Tennessee freedom fighters to belong to the Confederate Slave Republic.

On the Southern Nationalist Network website is a teaching on Secession by Thomas E. Woods from December 8, 2012. In his teaching Woods attacks the defenders of Abraham Lincoln and the United States of America as a form of "treating the Union as if it were a object of religious veneration.....Union worship...a religion that is bizarre and creepy."

Dr. Woods a passionate defender of States' Rights and Secession ironically treats States' Rights as if it were an object of religious veneration-a form of Southern state worship that is bizarre and creepy and in the end not a true representation of classic consistent libertarianism but a discombobulated cacophony of orchestrated academic chicanery that under the guise of limited government advances the tyranny of The STATE over the glory of liberty from Government control.

I have read and own a large number of "The Politically Incorrect Guides" on various topics related to American History. One is Thomas Woods' "The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History" where a proud and defiant Confederate General emboldens the cover. I have notice too a bizarre and creepy secession-slave-state relationship within these "Guides." Another one titled "The Politically Incorrect Guide to The South (and Why It Will Rise Again)" with the Dixie Flag on the cover and another titled "The Politically Incorrect Guide to The Civil War" with a gun toting Confederate General on the cover declaring that secession was legal. Yes, while there are some points to be learned from these books their bizarre and creepy emphasize on secession and southern pride is an affront to what being an America is all about in relationship to life and liberty.

Whether you are from the North, South, East or West being an American is essentially about Liberty not regional racism or glorification. To stress the rebellious pro-slavery anti-USA secession historically and to connect it to secession today is not the lesson we want our children to learn! We want them to love life and liberty but not at the expense of a rebellious, violent and bloody slave-state history which was for the perpetuation of a Slave Republic under the guise of so called States' Rights.

Yes, the Federal government is too big today and jeopardizes our children's future but so are State governments too big and in many ways as guilty of anti-libertarianism as the Federal government. The Federal government truly does not have rights it has POWER, State's truly don't have rights they have POWER. When we break it down to it's fundamental self evident truth only "we the people" have rights and when ANY form of government at ANY level arms itself to deny those rights of life and liberty we the people have a right and obligation to fight for liberty even if it costs us our lives.

In winding down I close with a quote from Thomas Woods that is quite disturbing and I hope to see him repudiate as a young and foolish southern partisan. In the 1997 Southern Partisan Journal 17.2 pp. 26-29 Thomas Woods wrote an article titled "Christendom's Last Stand" in it he declares:

"So the War Between the States, far from a conflict over mere material interests, was for the South a struggle against an atheistic individualism and an unrelenting rationalism in politics and religion, in favor of a Christian understanding of authority, social order and theology itself... For all their ignorant blather about slavery and civil rights, what truly enrages most liberals about the Confederate Battle Flag is its message of defiance. They see in it the remnants of a traditional society determined to resist cultural and political homogenization, and refusing to be steamrolled by the forces of progress. I have been a Northerner for my entire 24 years. But when we reflect on what was really at stake in the "late unpleasantness," we can join with [Confederate Vice-President] Alexander Stephens in observing that "the cause of the South is the cause of us all."

Dr. Woods not only sees the Civil War in theological terms of atheistic individualism of the North but he declares "that the cause of the South is the cause of us all."

Really Dr. Woods?! You invoke the words of the Vice-President of the Confederacy Alexander Stephens the man whose infamous racist worldview said that slavery was the VERY cornerstone of their new slave Republic?

No, Dr. Woods the cause of the secessionist slavery Confederate Republic was NOT the cause of us all and never would be to an authentic consistent libertarian. Hopefully you were a naive 24 year old who no longer defends the lost "cause" of us all.

However, my concern is your secessionist-libertarian influence on other young Americans such as 22 year old Marshall Clayton Rawson an active member of the white supremacist League of the South and until recently President of Shorter University's Young Americans for Liberty chapter. When speaking at recent Young Americans for Liberty event you were shaking Marshall's hand while proudly holding up a League of the South-Dixie Net.org "Secede" bumper sticker. While you have distanced your past association from white-nationalist-supremacist- secessionist organizations like the League of the South why do you continue to associate and advocate such nonsense to our young Americans?

Do not associate with such vile organizations, repudiate them!

I teach at a Catholic High School and speak at a number of Conservative, Tea Party, Libertarian and Young Americans for Freedom events and I would never advocate secession especially in relationship to divisive organizations like the League of the South that calls to secede from the United States while emphasizing their "whiteness" at the expense of simple liberty for all Americans.

Dr. Woods with all your education I'm quite disappointed that you don't know more about the racist nature of The League of the South or maybe you do and you agree with their worldview? Forgive me, there is no way you like the League of The South. But I think it is bizarre and creepy that you hang with them and proudly hold their signs. Read the following article from August, 2104, by the League's President Michael Hill where he invokes the racist white-supremacy of the secessionist Confederates you defend.


Sad isn't it. Their secessionist-racism fly's in the face of authentic libertarianism and the beauty of Thomas Jefferson's 1776 "we hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal." Thomas Woods you have an ever growing following with many of your loyal students-America's youth- hanging on to every word you speak. SPEAK out against the League Of The South and any organization of like minded spirit and worldview! Stop advancing their cause and be more discerning with those you associate and work with for the cause of secession that at it's roots teaches rebellion against our Republic under God, the United States of America.

Please Dr. Woods, God has given you a great mind and passion for liberty, take off your secessionist-libertarian blinders. Help us to educate young Americans on authentic libertarianism. Join us for life and liberty across the board against ALL tyrannical government, break free from the chains of your illegal and immoral defense of the rebellious secessionist Confederate nation, a slave civilization gone with the wind.

© Jake Jacobs


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Jake Jacobs

Dr. Jake Jacobs has been married for 32 years to his lovely wife Lori and has two children Joseph 28 and Anastasia 25. When he's not writing, teaching or speaking he loves watching the Green Bay Packers and enjoys his fire-pit at night, watching the Heavens declare God's Glory... (more)


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