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Strange But True: Ron Paul Thinks The American Civil War Was ‘Unnecessary’

Memo Pad Politics

Strange But True: Ron Paul Thinks The American Civil War Was ‘Unnecessary’


Texas Rep. Ron Paul, the anti-government GOP presidential candidate who is now surging in Iowa, is not a fan of Abraham Lincoln. He believes the Civil War was a “senseless” bloodbath that was the result of Lincoln’s desire to “enhance and get rid of the original intent of the republic.”

“He shouldn’t have gone to war,” explained Paul in a December 2007 appearance on Meet The Press. Failing to fight for the union, however, would not mean embracing slavery — after all, it was on its way out, and in 1833 the British Empire had successfully abolished it without violence. His advice to the north: “you buy the slaves and release them. How much would that cost compared to killing 600,000 Americans and where it lingered for 100 years?”

In other words, the “Godfather of the Tea Party” thinks the best policy would have been a massive public bailout of slaveowners. (There was no federal income tax until 1861, when it was implemented to fund the war.)

The rebels never indicated they were willing to sell off their slaves. The “peculiar institution” of owning human beings dominated the political and economic culture of the states that seceded. In March 1861, a few weeks before Lincoln’s inauguration, the newly-minted Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens explained that the new government rested “upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition.”

Paul’s disdain for Lincoln’s “iron fist” might not be a wise political move, but it’s much less of a problem compared to those official Ron Paul newsletters left over from the 1990s. “Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks,” was how one of the articles explained the riots of 1992.



  1. Sean Z. December 22, 2011

    Ron Paul is correct. The US Civil War should have been avoided at all costs. Abraham Lincoln no doubt was a great orator but he was a lousy leader. I see parallels to today. Its strange which leaders we point to as great presidents…Lincoln and Kennedy…both of whom got us involved in horrific conflicts that were completely avoidable.

  2. dwainewilliamson December 22, 2011

    The entire notion that the Civil War was incorrect is based on a racist notion that the death and suffering of white people is unnecessary if the benefit is for black people. First, the South started the violence when they fired on Fort Sumter. Second, slavery was not on its way out as the children of slaves were also slaves. Third, the Southerners weren’t willing to sell their slaves. Fourth, no one would argue that the violence of the Revolutionary War or World War II to free Europe, Asia, stop the Holocaust and secure America’s interests were unnecessary. Lastly, it was all America who was being corrupted by slavery, so all of America benefited. It’s hard for Southerners to admit that their ancestors fought and died for a great Evil.

  3. pidlezen December 22, 2011

    So now Ron suggests that the govt. do something that was not a power vested by the constitution… in a conflict that was much bigger than even slavery.. the states rights vs. federalism.
    This was a silly comment by Mr Paul.
    Ron, read a history book

  4. Peter Squitieri December 22, 2011

    This is complete nonsense.

    Lincoln had advocated ‘compensated emancipation’ since the late 1840s, and particularly advocated it in the 1858 debates with Douglas.

    In the fall of 1861 he helped draft a bill for the Delaware legislature (a slave-holding Union State) proposing a rather generous plan, which was roundly rejected by the Delaware legislature

    In March of 1862 he again proposed a detailed plan for compensated emancipation for all the border states (i.e. loyal to the Union but slave-holding) which was also rejected by every one of those states.

    Finally, in the Message to Congress in 1862 he proposed, in great detail and with very strong economic arguments, a similar plan for the states in rebellion, which would end the war, allow them back in the union, AND compensate them handsomely for the release of their slaves. If course that was rejected by the South, and the Emancipation Proclamation took effect shortly afterwards.

    It’s appalling that people remember the last lines of the speech: “The fiery trial through which we pass , will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation”, but don’t have a CLUE as to its content.

    If I didn’t think Ron Paul was an ignorant fool before, this certainly changes my mind.

  5. Vail December 22, 2011

    Nukes for Iran is ok with Ron Paul with the clear destruction of another nation state as the intended goal . So why are we surprised at any comment made by Ron Paul. Lincoln never intended to be the great abolitionist but circumstances forced it upon him just as MLK pushed JFK into his undesired civil rights position. Economic issues such as southern agriculture vs northern industry was the catalyst for the civil war. Not human rights

  6. ghistorywriter December 22, 2011

    Almost every statement Ron Paul makes (with the exception of getting us out of these wars, and staying out, and a few other principles) shows he is unfit to be president. He has no grasp of history, and he certainly has no clue as to what the “common welfare” means. He is just another repub (even though he calls himself something else) lacking a heart.

  7. vshepparddesign December 22, 2011

    Wow…this is the most obscene thing I have ever heard about the civil war and slavery. Ron Paul is just an idiot. Ok buy the slave and set him free. What about slavery in all of it corruption. Black children were ripped from there mothers and sold up the road. Black men were wipped at will. Black women were uses as bed warmer and raped at will. Really Ron. Let some race do that to your family would you not go to war to stop it. How do people like Dr. Paul and his son get a platform to spew this crap….and that does not say much for the people that support and follow him. I would also want to see the response that Tim had for Dr. Paul I hope he put this racist in his place RIP Tim

  8. slacker787 December 22, 2011

    In addition to what others have already said, there was no general consensus at the time of the Civil War that slavery was wrong and should be abolished even in the North. Lincoln never campaigned to eliminate slavery. Much as he hated it he knew voters would not go along with abolishment. There was much violence in territories over whether additional States to the union could come in as slave States. The whole economy of the south was based on slavery and could not exist without it. Ron Paul is just pandering to the bigoted fools that make up the extreme right wing of this country.

  9. bmerbob December 22, 2011

    Sean Z, you are rewriting history. Kennedy did not get us into the Vietnam War. In fact, leading up to his death he was set on getting us out. He planned to withdraw completely in his second term. At the time of Kennedy’s death, there were roughly 16,000 American advisers and trainers in Vietnam. In March of 1965, shortly after Johnson was sworn in, he sent 3500 Marines in and within months had the ground forces up to 175,000.

    I shudder to think of what might have happened during the Cuban Missile Crisis had anyone other than Kennedy been at the helm. Neither Kennedy nor Lincoln are on the list of worst presidents which is firmly in the grip of George W. Bush and his puppet master Cheney.

  10. CarlOscarIsaacson December 22, 2011

    As I recall it – and as I seem to have read in many texts about the Civil War – Lincoln did not start the Civil War. The Southern batteries fired upon Fort Sumter. The South was convinced that Lincoln was going to free the slaves, despite the fact that Lincoln did not believe he had authority to free the slaves. Secession was begun before the war began. Lincoln, in other words, could not have bought the freedom of the slaves, did not start the war, did not wish to go to war. It was the South that was the aggressor.

  11. javaman December 22, 2011

    Hindsight always suggests 20/20-vision!
    Boy, aren’t we LUCKY the good doctor is no longer a practicing physician…

  12. FrancisXPfeiffer December 22, 2011

    What is it about how they teach history in Texas. I suppose it easier if you just make up silly stuff1

    1. Will_I_am September 10, 2013

      Yet you can’t refute a word of it….learn to read.

  13. ThinkSkeptic December 22, 2011

    The Civil War was not fought to end slavery, the Proclamation was intended to disrupt the economy of the south, so the author’s implication that Ron Paul is ok with slavery does not hold

  14. TammyNieuwsma December 22, 2011

    Every war is avoidable. It’s been lost to history but the Civil War was about a lot more then slavery. Sure that was a part of it. The Civil War was about should the the Federal Government rule over all or should the states have the power to run their lives. History is written by the victors and the Federal Government won. So now the south is looks on as the evil ones. To the commenter above I would be happy to have Dr. Paul as a doctor and he has a grasp on history that you will never have.

  15. TammyNieuwsma December 22, 2011

    Also, this is how desperate the Republican establishment is now. Bring video from 2007 to try to paint Dr. Paul as a Racist, stupid, old kook. Well, it’s not going to work on me. I see what they are doing and they’ve done it before. I’M GOING TO VOTE FOR MYSELF!!!. I’m not going to ask for help from the media or the establishment.

  16. dwainewilliamson December 22, 2011

    Stop being fooled by revisionist historians who like to say that the Civil War was about State Rights vis-a-vis the federal government. It’s a term that the South started pushing to legitimize keeping slavery when they thought Lincoln’s election in 1860 meant the march to the end of slavery. There were other issues like tariffs on certain goods, etc. in existence, but none that would bring the States to blows among themselves, except the slavery question. The Southerners then just like their apologists today did not want to admit that they fought for an evil institution where people were bought for sex as much as to work. Slavery was much more horrible than we like to talk about today. Imagine a pedophile doing whatever he wanted to a child without any recourse … yes, pedophiles bought black children for that reason during slavery also. The civil war was about slavery!!! In psychological warfare if you repeat the same thing without challenge enough times, people presume it true. Even the Nazis when they invaded the Soviet Union said they were defending western civilization against Godless Eastern Bolshevism, when Hitler just wanted to conquer that territory.

    1. Will_I_am September 10, 2013

      You libs always read ONLY what you want…..he was not PRO slavery, and not against Lincoln’s vision of slaves….he just doesn’t like unnecessary war.

      Only in America are people stupid enough to think that speaking up for states rights means you are racist…just plain stupid.

  17. Mrs. Glover December 22, 2011

    The Civil War was about State’s Rights. And the matter has not been settled yet. Look at Arizona’s illegals law. And Oregon’s right to die with dignity law, just for openers. And the first thing out of the chute the feds try to squelch both laws PASSED BY THE PEOPLE. Lincoln was FOR states’s rights.

  18. Mrs. Glover December 22, 2011

    Why did the northerners sell the slaves to the southerners? Why did the North have slaves before the Civil War? Who benefitted from rounding Africans and sending them on sick ships to the US to be sold? Ever look up the Northern folks who did this?

  19. dwainewilliamson December 22, 2011

    Ask yourself the question, “If the Civil War was about States Rights, then it’s about each State’s right to do what?” We still debate federalism vs. States’ 10th Amendment rights to do whatever the federal government don’t supercede them to do. But, 600,000 American didn’t die over an academic question, and Arizona won’t secede from the Union about its immigration laws. States Rights when it came to the antebellum South was a euphemism for Slavery.

  20. dwainewilliamson December 22, 2011

    What sounds more justifiable when you BS yourself about fighting for an evil institution. As a Southerner I would say I’m fighting for States Rights. No, I’m not fighting for denying an entire race the same rights my ancestors since 1776 fought and died for. I’m not violating the golden rule even though I call myself a Christian. No I’m leaving my hamlet on the Shenandoah family to possibly die at Gettysburg, yes for States Rights! BS!!! THE POOR WHO WERE THE MAIN ONES WHO DIED IN THE CIVIL WAR (like any war) FOUGHT BECAUSE THEY FEARED BEING DEMOTED TO EQUALITY WITH BLACK PEOPLE!!!

  21. Jashilsdon December 23, 2011

    If Paul would read thoroughly, he’d see that the civil war was not Lincoln’s doing, it was started by the South, knee-jerk reactionaries who immediately started “seceding” from the Union the moment of his election, fearing and hating him so. Read Lincoln’s eloquent inaugural address in which he appealed to the finest reasoning thinkers, who did not seem to exist south of the Mason-Dixon line. He promised over and over again he would not touch their “precious” slavery. Fucking South.

    1. ebm120 March 15, 2014

      Yet no mention of why the “South” shot? What instigated it? Btw it was a SINGLE shot and killed NO ONE.
      You’re thinking goes as far as “they hate us for our freedumbs”.

  22. Jashilsdon December 23, 2011

    As horrible as the Civil War was, it ended for the best. Sad state of mankind that it took this to effect such necessary change. Unnecessary War??? Hardly. I’d go and do it all over again just to drive the point home that some folks are just so full of bull-honkey they need to be stopped.

  23. John Acord December 23, 2011

    This war was fought solely to enslave the American people to an ever growing government composed of banking and trading elites that have simply substituted wage slavery for chattel slavery.

  24. dpaano December 29, 2011

    Ron Paul is getting senile….he can’t even recall the simplist things when it comes to history….or maybe that’s how they teach History in Texas. Make something up and stand by it! Lincoln was a great president, probably will be more remembered for his acts than any other president. Ron Paul needs to pick up an actual history book and read about the Civil War…..the south started the war; the north just finished it!

  25. redddemos January 10, 2012

    Check out reddit its a cool site

  26. edgar77 February 17, 2012

    Ron Paul is another in a long line of Southern revisionist history goofballs. There was going to be a war regardless of whether or not Lincoln reacted to the secession of the slave owning states.

    To put it simply (for the benefit of Mr. Paul and his know nothing supporters), payment by the Federal government to slave owners for their “property’s” freedom (and that sounds a bit like paying off kidnappers, don’t you think Ronnie?), would have had no effect in curtailing a war. The slaveocracy of the South wanted to continue westward (and also southward expansion by taking more territory from Mexico by provoking another war with that sovereign country) expansion. Once the slaveocracy saw that no other territoris in the West were going to ever vote to have their territories admitted to the Union as slave states (see their truly morally bankrupt attempts at illegaly admitting Kansas as a slave state as an example), then war was on. Maybe not in 1861, but it was definitely on. The South wanted Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico (and those three states would be more like six states in a Confederate States of America union) and southern California as slave states. Anyone who argues otherwise is either a liar, a moron, or shouldn’t comment about US history because they do not know enough about it to form an opinion.

  27. edgar77 February 17, 2012

    And which is Ron Paul: a liar, a moron, or uneduated about American History? The trifecta Ron Paul supporters. He’s all three! Anyone who has such an inept grasp of American History has no business running for President. To suggest that the US Civil War is the fault of Abrham Lincoln is not only dishonest, but it’s immoral. Congratulations Ron Paul, you are one sorry sack of shit.

    1. Will_I_am September 10, 2013

      And he’s right about every single thing that’s ever come out of his mouth. You lose a debate the second you begin to insult.

      If the Civil War wasn’t started by Abe, then who? How did the British do it without bloodshed? You need to go read some history books besides the single class you took in government run classrooms.

  28. Adam Murren May 23, 2012

    (600,000 dead Americans + Division & Hatred + Unknown Value of Destroyed Capital) > Cost of ALL the slaves in the South….seems quite logical to me. And our cousins in England, Germany, France, Spain & the Netherlands are a prime example that we (President Lincoln) could have and should have followed.

  29. DrLou1 April 17, 2013

    Ok…I realize this was from a while back and though I certainly knew of Paul’s nonsensical statements at the time that simultaneously demonstrated racism and a remarkable ignorance of American history, I hadn’t seen this website.

    So…as just one quick point to leave here in cyberspace…yet another reason why Paul’s statement of a Federal ‘buyout’ of slaveholders is ludicrous is that it was actually tried. The Congress, in collaboration with Lincoln who also very actively pushed the strategy, repeatedly tried to provide payments to slave holders who were willing to give up their human ‘property.’

    And it didn’t work exactly because slavery was anything but ‘on its way out’ but was being further solidified in regions of the country and via the law. In fact, there was one early proposal as the nation pushed towards the eventual Civil War which would have kept slavery functional until at least the end of the 19th century…that’s right…up to about 1900.

    Paul should start by sitting through a 7th grade class in American history before spouting lies, nonsense and outright ignorance.


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