Updated 6/30/13 8:15 P.M. Forbes appears to have taken down both of Marotta’s posts on the Civil War mentioned in this post (h/t Joe Adelman), but you can find them on his personal website here and here. Marotta’s daughter is listed as co-author on his website.

Last week, David John Marotta wrote an opinion piece in Forbes that blamed the Civil War on tariffs, not on slavery. I offered some data to demonstrate the ahistorical nature of his claims.

Marotta is at it again, trying to salvage the Confederate constitution and making similar claims about the origins of the Civil War that are methodologically unsound. For example, Marotta quotes a statement about the tariff that Lincoln allegedly made to Virginian John B. Baldwin.

But what am I to do in the meantime with those men at Montgomery [meaning the Confederate constitutional convention]? Am I to let them go on… [a]nd open Charleston, etc., as ports of entry, with their ten-percent tariff? What, then, would become of my tariff?

The quote appears to come from this memoir (p. 449) published in the Southern Historical Society Papers (June 1876). I did a simple Google search, and the language that Marotta uses (including the bracketed explanation) is verbatim from several neo-Confederate sites/postings. (See here, here, and here.)

I’m not a lawyer, but I would call this one example hearsay testimony: Baldwin alleged that Lincoln made this statement, but there doesn’t appear to be corroborating evidence contemporary with Lincoln.

I’ll leave it to constitutional scholars to argue about the usefulness of Marotta’s claims about the Confederate constitution. It’s safe to say, however, that if he is attempting to use history to grind an ideological axe, so far, the efforts are less than impressive.

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