The Constitution of the Confederate States was patterned after the US Constitution. But the role of the central government was vastly different in the two countries. The Confederate constitution carefully carved out some of the most troublesome parts of the US Constitution, such as the general welfare clause and the commerce clause. The Confederacy also prohibited protectionist tariffs and internal improvement subsidies.
That made the Confederate constitution much closer to the original intent of the Framers. Meanwhile, in Lincoln's America, the Constitution was abandoned. The role of the federal government underwent a radical transformation under Lincoln's reign of terror. Jeffersonian democracy was banished, while the big-government dreams of Alexander Hamilton, Henry Clay, the Whigs, and Abraham Lincoln flourished. The new American System under Republican monopoly, was thoroughly corrupt.
The Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads are remarkable demonstrations of just how Lincoln's corrupt American System worked. Those railroads received, compliments of American taxpayers, sections of land and low-interest loans for each completed mile of track. They got $16K for each mile of flat land, twice that for hilly terrain, and three times that for mountains.
Charles Durant, president of the Union Pacific, worked with Grenville Dodge, chief engineer of the Union Pacific and close friend of Lincoln and Sherman. Together they found clever ways to cheat the American taxpayer out of every dollar possible. They chose circuitous routes to maximize the per-mile subsidy. They saved money by using the cheapest possible construction materials and workmanship that stressed speed over quality. If an Indian or farmer got in their way, they just forced them off their property at gunpoint. They laid track on ice and snow, knowing full well that it would have to be redone after spring thaws. They got paid both times.
Officers of both railroad companies set up their own supply companies. Using taxpayer dollars, they bought supplies from their own companies at inflated prices, making a nice profit on the side. (It worked so well that it evolved into the Credit Mobilier scandal under Grant.) Republicans in Congress sold railroad commissioner jobs. No experience necessary. Just money.
No one was surprised that both railroad companies were bankrupt by the time they were finished in May 1869. No one should have been surprised that Lincoln's new American (Alexander Hamilton / Whig / Henry Clay / Republican) system established an unprecedented level of corruption in the federal government. It dragged the US economy down for decades, beginning with Grant's scandal-ridden administration.
Leonard Curry sums it up quite nicely:
Throughout the remainder of the nineteenth century and beyond, corporate interests -- apparently insatiable -- returned again and again to demand direct and indirect federal subsidies. To insure preferential treatment and noninterference, national legislative and executive offices were corrupted and representative government made a mockery . . . the corruption of the Grant era was sparked by . . . the activities of those two companies and individuals connected to Pacific railway scheme.
The man at the center of it all was Abraham Lincoln.
The transcontinental railroad industry finally became more efficient around the end of the 19th century. That just happened to be when funds from federal subsidies evaporated.
There can be no reasonable doubt that the North would have been much better off following the economic and constitutional model of the Confederacy. There can be no reasonable doubt that the entire nation would have been better off if Lincoln's system of tyranny and corruption had not been forced upon America in the 1860s. That federal corruption, waste, arrogance, and tyranny thrives even today, particularly in what we now refer to as the northeastern establishment elite. That is Lincoln's legacy.
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