cion. A great statesman does not seduce his people into a needlessrnwar; he keeps them out of it.rnWhen the Soviet Union dissolved by peaceful secession, itrnwas only 70 years old—the same age as the United States whenrnit dissolved in 1860. Did Gorbachev fail as a statesman becausernhe negohated a peaceful dissolution of the U.S.S.R.? Likewise,rnif all states west of the Mississippi were to secede tomorrow,rnwould we praise, as a great statesman, a president who refusedrnto negotiate and launched total war against the civilian populationrnmerely to preserve the Union? The number of Southernersrnwho died as a result of Lincoln’s invasion was greater thanrnthe total of a//Americans killed by Hider and I’ojo. By the endrnof the war, nearly one half of the white male population of militaryrnage was either dead or mutilated. No countrv’ in WorldrnWar II suffered casualties of that magnitude.rnNot only would L^incoln not receive Confederate commissioners,rnhe refused, for three crucial months, to call Congress.rnAlone, he illegally raised money, illegally raised troops, andrnstarted the war. To crush Northern opposition, he suspendedrnthe writ oi habeas corpus for the duration of the war and roundedrnup some 20,000 political prisoners. (Mussolini arrestedrnsome 12,000 but convicted only 1,624.) Wlien the chief justicernof the Supreme Court declared the suspension blatantly unconstitutionalrnand ordered the prisoners released, Lincoln orderedrnhis arrest. This American Caesar shut down over 300 newspapers,rnarrested editors, and smashed presses. He broke up staternlegislatures; arrested Democratic candidates who urged anrnarmistice; and used the military to elect Republicans (includingrnhimself, in 1864, by a margin of around 38,000 popular votes).rnHe illegally created a “.state” in West Virginia and imported arnlarge army of foreign mercenaries. B.H. Liddell Hart traces thernorigin of modern total war to Lincoln’s decision to direct warrnagainst the civilian population. Sherman acknowledged that, b}’rndie rides of war taught at West Point, he was guilt}’ of war crimesrnpunishable by death. But who was to enforce those rules?rnThese actions are justified by nationalist historians as the energeticrnand extraordinar)’ efforts of a great helmsman rising tornthe painful dut- of preserving an indivisible Union. But Lincolnrnhad inherited no such Union from the Framers. Rather,rnlike Bismarck, he created one with a policy of blood and iron.rnWhat we call the “Civil War” was in fact America’s French Revolution,rnand Lincoln was the first Jacobin president. Hernclaimed legitimacy for his actions with a “conservative”rnrhetoric, rooted in an historically false theory of the Constitutionrnwhich held that the states had never been sovereign. ThernUnion created the states, he said, not the states the Union. Inrntime, this corrupt and corrupting doctrine would suck nearly ever)’rnreserved power of the states into the central government.rnLincoln seared into the American mind an ideological stv’le ofrnpolitics which, through a sort of alchemy, transmuted a federativern”imion” of states into a French revolutionary “nation”rnlaunched on an unending global mission of achieving equalih’.rnLincoln’s corrupt constitutionalism and his ideological shle ofrnpolitics have, over time, led to the hollowing out of traditionalrnAmerican societv’ and the obscene concentration of power inrnthe central government that the Constitution was explicitiy designedrnto prevent.rnA genuinely American conservatism, then, must adopt thernproject of preserving and restoring the decentralized federativernpolit)’ of the Framers rooted in state and local sovereignt’. Therncentral government has no constitutional authorit}’ to do mostrnof what it does today. The first c|uestion posed by an authenticrnAmerican conservative polities is not whether a policy is good orrnbad, but what agency (die states or the central government—;’/rneither) has the authorit)’ to enact it. This is the principle of subsidiarit)’:rnthat as much as possible should be done by the smallestrnpolitical unit.rnThe Democratic and Republican parties are Lineolnian partics.rnNeither honestiy questions the limits of federal authorit)’ torndo this or that. In 1861, the central government broke free fromrnwhat Jefferson called “the chains of the Constitution,” and wernhave, consequentiy, inherited a fractured historical memory.rnThere are now two Americanisms: pre-Lincolnian and post-rnLincolnian. The latter is Jacobinism by otiier means. Only thernformer can lay claim to being the primordial American conservatism,rncrnThe Stewardrnby Timothy MurphyrnLord, thou deUveredst unto mernfive talents; behold, I have gainedrnfive talents more.rn-MatthewXXV, 20rnPheasants and sharptail grousernnest near his modest house.rnPronghorn anteloperngraze on a Rosebud slope.rnMorris no-till drillsrnpulled by tiiree Vcrsatilesrnkeep the soil from blowingrnoff his communal hills —rnhills that die bison hauntedrnand his Sioux forbears hunted,rnfields where the cocks are crowingrnand his green sons, growing.rn18/CHRONICLESrnrnrn