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The 14th Amendment,Confederate Debt,Post War State Pension,Related Court Cases and Other Evidence.

Discussion in 'Civil War History - Secession and Politics' started by jgoodguy, Sep 2, 2018.

  1. jgoodguy

    jgoodguy Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Retired Moderator

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    In this thread, we will examine the relationship if any of the 14th amendment and post Civil War States pensions. There are 2 competing speculations, there is a relationship and there is no relationship.

    First up is Branch v. Haas. UNITED STATES CIRCUIT COURT, D. Alabama. Branch V. Haas. 1883
    Link

    A contract made since the late civil war for the sale and delivery of
    coupon bonds, issued by the Confederate States of America, is based
    on an illegal consideration, and is therefore void.
    ....
    To this plea a demurrer was filed which raised the ques
    tion, whether a contract for the purchase of Confederate
    coupon bonds and for their delivery on October 29, 1881, is
    a valid contract, for the breach of which damages may be
    recovered? That the bonds themselves are void there can
    be no question, for they were issued in violation of public
    policy, and by a pretended government asserting itself in
    hostility to the lawful government of the United States,
    which has long since ceased to have any actual existence,
    and never had any legal or rightful existence, as determined
    by the final arbitrament of war. Not only so, but after the
    war of the rebellion, and after the so-called government of
    the Confederate States of America, under the authority of
    which these bonds were issued, had ceased to have any act
    ual existence, the constitution of the United States was
    amended, and by section 4 of the fourteenth amendment of
    the same it is provided :
    " Neither the United States nor any state shall assume or
    pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or
    rebellion against the United States, or anyclaim for the loss
    or emancipation of any slave, but all such debts, obligations
    and claims shall be held illegal and void."​
    The bonds in question, then, are illegal and void by the
    constitution of the United States. ​

    The court rulings seem to limit the 14th amendment to bonds issued by the CSA and the CSA States and not later pension obligations.
     
    Pat Young, wausaubob and WJC like this.

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  3. jgoodguy

    jgoodguy Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Retired Moderator

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    Do postwar pensions fall into the 14th amendment.

    " Neither the United States nor any state shall assume or
    pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or
    rebellion against the United States, or anyclaim for the loss
    or emancipation of any slave, but all such debts, obligations
    and claims shall be held illegal and void."
    Do postwar pensions paid to keep folks from starving to death count as "in aid of insurrection or rebellion". The question is just how are those pensions aiding a dead insurrection or rebellion? I don't think so.

    With a court decision that limited the 14th amendments effects to CSA bonds and post-war pensions not based on CSA bonds or otherwise directly related to insurrection/rebellion it seems to me the matter is settled. Looking for anything other than fancy speculation to the otherwise.
     
  4. Joshism

    Joshism Sergeant Major

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    Pensions issued by states to Confederate veterans were not a debt assumed from the Confederate government nor a legal obligation. One can argue they might be a moral obligation but the Constitution dictates legality not morality. I don't see them as unconstitutional, even if they are dubious for other obvious reasons.
     
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  5. Drew

    Drew Captain

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    Ditto, pension "obligations" were a choice, made after the war and did not constitute an "obligation in support of rebellion."

    Confederate pensions were also means-tested and not an entitlement, unlike those paid in the North.
     
    Rebforever likes this.
  6. Please explain how any veteran's pension is an entitlement.
     
    JPK Huson 1863 likes this.
  7. Drew

    Drew Captain

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    When deserters demand pensions, it's an entitlement. Note, Confederate deserters were not entitled to pensions, unlike their Union counterparts. The latter became an enormous drain on the U.S. Treasury. I've posted about this before and you are welcome to inspect what the New York Times had to say about it.

    The attached link is just for you.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. Thank you for the link. The payment of pensions to Union deserters was something I was not aware of but then, you could have easily stated that and provided the link in your comment which did suggest that the pensions of all Union veterans were an entitlement. As it turned out according to data provided in the NY Times article, the pensions payed to the majority of Union veterans were well deserved and not an entitlement.
     
  9. Drew

    Drew Captain

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    A Union pension was an entitlement. I'm not saying that's a good thing or a bad thing, but that's what it was.

    Confederate pensions were not an entitlement. They were carefully vetted with respect to one's service record and financial condition in old age. You didn't stick your hand out and get paid, as they were in the North.

    Honestly, some of the stories in the South tick me off. Old men, being told, "no," and having to run around on canes to prove their service and their financial condition (or lack thereof) in old age.

    Back to the OP, none of this was a war obligation, but a choice made after the war. Each state did it at different times after the war, the federal government had nothing to do with it.
     
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  10. John S. Carter

    John S. Carter First Sergeant

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    Question; If the federal government ,as I read and as the court ruled,was not responsible for the former Confederate debts ,then that would indicate that the states of the later were responsible since the Confederacy no longer existed,how were these debts to be paid esp. with the South in a state of ruin with no means of finance?These debts were not just passed by as bad investment by foreign countries.This would have caused a hostility against the federal government and the courts for placing this on the back of the South when the Northern forces had caused the destruction which brought about the condition of the land and property .So how did the South pay
     
  11. JPK Huson 1863

    JPK Huson 1863 Colonel Forum Host

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    Sweeping statement with ' entitlement ' a loaded word. Men who fought in uniform ' sticking their hand out '? We make a deal, a moral and hopefully honorable one, that if you go get shot at for your country, a grateful nation does its part. And no, they were not easily obtained. Same running around and humiliating, endless examinations with most cases. My grgrgrandfather lost use of an arm at Spotsylvania, for instance. He was a one armed fireman on the RR post war, asked no one for anything. Couldn't keep up but worked anyway.6 bucks a month until 1921, went blind from an old wound. So he worked as a blind canvasser.

    Finally received 40 bucks a month in 1925. Died 1926. ' Stick your hand out and get paid ' isn't accurate.
     
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  12. jgoodguy

    jgoodguy Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Retired Moderator

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    Key point.
     
  13. jgoodguy

    jgoodguy Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Retired Moderator

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    States were not responsible.
     

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