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Letters and email from readers about Backwoods Home Magazine and the BHM website


Archive for the ‘History’ Category


Who were the best…and worst U.S. Presidents?

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

I disagree with your statement “The Civil War wasn’t about slavery….:  [Click to read article]

Lincoln was elected on a platform that opposed expansion of slavery into the territorries. Lincoln made his anti-slavery views in the Lincoln-Douglas debates. Lincoln also dealt with the issue in his Coppers Union speech before the election.

When  Lincoln, an anti-slavery northener, was elected Presdient, the South expected that the slave states would become outnumbered by free states, and they would lose control of Congress, and would ultimately be forced to end slavery. In order to preserve slavery, they seceded. The Civil War was a Rebellion to Preserve and Expand Slavery.

Lincoln went to war to preserve the Union, not to end slavery. But Lincoln refused to say slavery was a rightful institution or agree to the expansion of slavery in order to avoid the South’s secession.

South Carolina was the first state to secede. In it’s “Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union” South Carolina complained, in part:

“A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that “Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,” and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction.”

The South seceded in order to preserve and expand slavery. Lincoln went to war to preserve a Union which he believed was intended by the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution to be perpetual.

Ross Arneson


John Shuttleworth

Monday, November 16th, 2009

Dear BHM,

I was sorry to learn of the death of John Shuttleworth through your article Looking back on 20 years of BHM. Over the years I had wondered what became of him.

John Shuttleworh through his magazine, The Mother Earth News, had a profound influence on my life in two ways. First he convinced me I should move to the country. Twenty five years ago I bought the land but I let life get in the way of actually moving. Second he introduced me to Helen and Scott Nearing. I had all but given up on the idea of living in the country but about three years ago I reread “The Good Life”. If Scott Nearing could build a new house at 70 I could at least try. So 2 months short of my 65 birthday I started work on a house on the land I bought 25 years ago and was now paid for. Except for the well and septic system I’ve done all the work myself.

I love getting up in the morning, sometimes a bit slow but my blood pressure is down 10 points and my cholesterol is down 30 points. With a little luck I’ll be living in the house for my 66 birthday in February, 2010.

I quit reading the MEN after he sold it and it moved to New York, but 35 years later, it’s still influencing my life. I hope he knew what a positive long term impact he had on people’s lives.

R V Collins
Sacul, TX


The coming American Dictatorship

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

Very good exposition. I’d like to add that there is an ongoing effort to educate Americans of their perfect right to judge the law and the facts in every trial by jury.

I’m proud to say that I got the Jury Rights plank into the Libertarian Party platform at LP10, Denver, 1981, from the floor in open convention. I was a lot younger, and hot from reading Lysander Spooner’s “Trial By Jury.”

In 1987 Larry Dodge and Don Doig, then of Montana, were reading the 1982 LP platform and decided to take it out of one Party’s province and make it a public issue.

So they founded the Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) which is still active.

I hope you choose to mention FIJA to your readers. FIJA also offers some tips on surviving voir dire with one’s principles intact.


Jim Lorenz


Ten Real Inspirations

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Hi Claire.

Thanks for your article titled Ten Real Inspirations.  I wasn’t aware that Vince Miller had passed away last year.  I’m sorry to hear it.

Years ago I helped set up the first BBS system for Vince in his ISIL bookstore in San Francisco.  As I recall, we used an old Wildcat BBS software program in order to keep the system as simple as possible.

In exchange for my help, Vince offered me $100.00 worth of books from his store.  One of the books I selected was a collection of works by Lysander Spooner.  That book was my first real introduction to Spooner and what were, to me, several “new” concepts that conflicted with public school teaching.  Spooner has been a major influence in my thinking since that time.

Thanks again.

Simon Jester



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