This is Confederate Memorial Day in North and South Carolina

This is the day (May 10th) set aside in my Carolinas to remember the bravery, sacrifice and honor of the men who wore the gray … the Confederate soldiers … OUR Confederate soldiers.

Let’s understand at the outset — the US Constitution of 1861 did not forbid Secession from the Union. That is a fact. What the Confederate men did was perfectly legal.

Nobody, north or south, thought Lincoln would sacrifice the lives of over 600,000 men in a war against his own countrymen.

Now understand, that as the victors in the war, the North wrote the history books. And therein lies the reason so many Americans have no idea why the Southern people went to war, nor what made the Southerner even think he had the right to pull out and form another nation.

On the other hand what made Lincoln willing to do such a thing?

They tell us today that the war was fought over one issue. Slavery. That is a bald faced lie. It is the Great Lie of American history.

When the census of 1860 was completed it was found that only 8% of Southerners owned slaves. That’s just Southerners. Remember, slavery was legal in the entire country and the north not only ran the slave trade but they bought and sold slaves and kept slaves just as Southerners did. In fact, at the beginning of the war, the two cities in America with the most slaves per capita were Charleston, SC, and New York City! So, do not buy into the purity of the northern states when it comes to slavery.

There were many reasons Lincoln felt he could not allow the Confederate states to leave the Union. But there was one reason, which dominated them all. Simply put: Lincoln could not allow the Southern States to leave the Union because the Southern States paid the bills of the United States of America!

In the early 1800’s, especially the 1820’s, when the federal government needed money -- it simply raised taxes on the Southern states! Not the northern states… just the Southern states!

In 1860 only 1/3 of the population of the United States lived in the South. Yet the South paid over 70% of the taxes collected by the federal government. And what did the federal government do with all that money? They put it in railroads and canals and other infrastructure in the NORTHERN STATES. There was a constant out-flow of Southern money going into the north from which the South received nothing.

The South warned the government that at some point we would have to secede just to save our economy! They paid no attention to the complaints from the South. And Congress turned a blind eye. The South, seeing no alternative, seceded, and formed it’s own country.

Then the North invaded.

When the war broke out the north had 20 million people. The South had barely 6 million. Oh, and by the way, the north had a black population of 250,000… many of whom were slaves.

The north already had a government, which the South had to create. The north had an Army, a Navy, tremendous manufacturing capability, and economic ties to the rest of the world. The South had none of those things. To say the South was at a disadvantage was more than just an understatement.

The north had 71% of the population, 72% of the railroads, 81% of the bank deposits, and 85% of the factories. During the course of the war, the north had 2,800,000 men in uniform while the South had, at most, only 800,000.

Why in the world would an army of less than a million men -- poorly fed, poorly equipped, and half naked -- have the temerity to even THINK they could successfully go to war against an army over three times their size -- and WIN? It is the indomitable, unconquerable, fighting spirit of the Southern People!

Some say the southern fighting spirit accounts for the fact that every war America has been involved in… Southerners were in the middle of the fight doing their part.

Did you know that Southerners won the Revolutionary War in the South? Did you know that during the Viet Nam war 70% of the Medal of Honor winners were Southerners? Did you know that nearly half the men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan today come from the 11 southern states of the Old Confederacy? It is that indomitable, unconquerable, fighting spirit of the Southern People!

Who WERE the Southern Americans of the 1860’s? Well, by 1860, over 50% of Southerners were of Celtic descent. Our ancestors were from Ireland, Scotland, and the hill country north of London, England. Celts are renown for their history of fighting. Long before Rome conquered and occupied England, the Celts invaded and conquered Rome! Oh, yes. At one point in history the Celts ruled most of what we know as Europe today. They are known as a freedom-loving, fun-loving, and hard-fighting people. And they LOVE to be FREE! So what does that have to do with the Confederate soldier? Just about everything.

When the Americans grew tied of the taxation of the British and the lack of representation in the British government for the colonists, it was the Southern American who led the charge for freedom from Great Britain.

In the1860’s it was the grandsons of the Southern men who fought Great Britain who then stood ready to fight another brand new world superpower for THEIR freedom. Their motives were the same in 1861 as that of their grandfathers in 1776. Southerners were not willing to live under a repressive government and pay more taxes than was their fair share.

Many of the slaves of the 1860’s felt the South was their homeland, too. They had been born in the south. Not only that… but many of them felt a need to defend the South and DID take up arms and fight alongside their white masters in battle against the northern invaders. Many black Southern slaves died in battle fighting the troops of the federal government of the United States. But … only the South gives THOSE brave black men credit for their valiant action.

The Confederate soldier was the finest fighting man ever produced by any nation, at any time, in the history of humanity on this globe.

The Confederate soldier did not fight for the spoils of war. The Confederate soldier did not fight for additional territory. The Confederate soldier did not fight because it was his job; he was not a professional soldier! The Confederate soldier was not a REBEL. At no time did the Confederate Army seek to overthrow the government of the United States… ever!

It is not simply a boast to say that the Southern Spirit was never broken. Southern courage never faltered. Even at Appomattox on that gray April day, when Lee surrendered to Grant, Southern soldiers, in the rags with elbows poking through worn out sleeves and knees poking through ripped and torn trouser legs begged the good general NOT to surrender. Failing in that task THEY vowed never to surrender, themselves, but to take to the woods, and the swamps, and the hills, and continue the fight as long as it took… even if it took forever. It was only at the behest of General Lee that those dedicated Southern soldiers furled their colors and grounded their weapons that day.

No, the courage and determination of the South never quailed. The Confederate soldier never questioned the Southern conviction that the SOUTH WAS RIGHT, even after Appomattox.

The Confederate soldier bore more suffering than anyone should ever be asked to bear. At no place on earth have soldiers fought so bravely, and struggled more fiercely, to defend their homeland. The numbers of dead and wounded Confederates was staggering. Sickness and death from disease was equally staggering. Yet, battle after battle they strode straight in the withering fire of the enemy often routing Union forces and gaining the victory.

How do you defeat an opponent with that kind of spirit and zeal and that kind of courage? As the Northern Army learned, you cannot defeat them in battle. So… you starve them out.

And that is exactly what they did. Bill Sherman’s infamous March to the Sea was a part of the “starve them out” policy of the federal government toward the South. For the first time in it’s history, the US Military went to war against the civilians of another nation. It was the introduction of what we know today as “Total War.” It was a scorched earth policy. Not only were the families of the South suddenly hungry, the Confederate soldier, on the battlefield, had even less to eat. When Fort Fisher finally fell it was the death knell for the Confederacy.

The world has never known men who could, and would, fight as these men did. Never before, and never since, have there been such brave, gallant, Knights of the South… and never before has there been an army, which could fight with the steel hardened determination of the Confederate soldier. Never! They were dedicated to their cause as no soldiers before or since have been.

North Carolina lost 40, 000 of her men in that war. In four years 40,000 North Carolinians left home to give their lives for Southern Independence and states rights. Contrary to what you have been taught and told -- those men did not put their lives on the line to keep other men in bondage!

Even in the US National Cemetery at Arlington, Virginia, there is a monument to the Confederate Soldier. If you approach you will see an engraving on that powerful maker. When you read the words, the impact of what those men asleep in our sacred Southern soil did will send chills up your spine and bring tears to your eyes. It reads:

Not for fame, nor for place or rank,
Not lured by ambition, Or goaded by necessity,
But in simple obedience to duty, As they understood it.
These men suffered all, sacrificed all, - Dared all and died.

The heroes of the South, we honor on this Confederate Memorial Day, deserve all the accolades and all the praise and honor we can heap upon them. Around the world stories of the valor of these men is told and taught. Their battlefield tactics are taught in Military Schools around the world. They are honored around the world. Except… except… in their own country! It is a shame, and a disgrace, the way we have treated the memory of these men.

The Confederate Soldiers forged a trail of heroic deeds amid selfless suffering no other fighting force has ever equaled on this continent -- or elsewhere. The Confederate soldier walked away from everything they had… to fight for the idea that their new country had every right to just be let alone. Just let alone.

When one seriously surveys the complete mess our beloved country is in today one has to ask … was the cause of the Confederate Soldier, indeed, lost, … or was it only delayed?

All over the two Carolinas, the Confederate Battle Flag, the battlefield emblem the Confederate soldier fought, bled, and died beneath, will be flying from homes, businesses, and all over cemeteries, large and small, in honor of our Confederate ancestors. We honor their memory, their history, and our beloved heritage as a southerner. Their blood STILL flows in our veins.

When the final push comes to crush the free constitutional republic of America, I predict the last defenders left standing will be the tenacious descendants of the Confederate soldier.

The Marine Hymn says the streets of heaven are guarded by the US MARINES. If true, then I would expect the heavenly ramparts and the gates of pearl, are secured by Confederate troops under the eternal command of General Stonewall Jackson.

Posted by J. D. Longstreet at May 10, 2011 3:54 AM
Comment #323042

Jesus, You’re a bigger quack than Glenn Beck. At least he knows that he is peddling bullshit!!

Posted by: Jason at May 10, 2011 8:06 AM
Comment #323043


Try learning a little history and you will realize that although embellished with a bit of pride, he is correct.

Posted by: tdobson at May 10, 2011 8:17 AM
Comment #323044

“Simply put: Lincoln could not allow the Southern States to leave the Union because the Southern States paid the bills of the United States of America!”

Baloney! The protectionist tariff argument on imported goods was of minor significance by the time of the outbreak of the Civil War. By 1857, the Democrats had regained control of Congress and rolled back import tariffs to the lowest level since 1816. If the tariff issue has any significance, it is to point out the economic dependence of the core Southern slave states on its cotton export-import trade.

If you want to know what issues precipitated the Civil War, then it would make sense to examine the great political controversies that divided Southern and Northern states in the years preceding the Civil War. Those controversies had to do with expansion of slavery beyond the core Southern states. The Missouri Compromise, the Compromise of 1850, etc. It was all about slavery.

Posted by: Rich at May 10, 2011 8:33 AM
Comment #323045

The only question is are we reading Pseudohistory or cryptohistory JD?

Posted by: j2t2 at May 10, 2011 9:58 AM
Comment #323046

To quote
Section Eight of Article One, congress has the power to

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

Well, what is an insurrection?

an act or instance of revolting against civil authority or an established government

The South carried out an insurrection. The Union carried out its constitutional power to surpress it. The insurrection was not legal.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 10, 2011 10:16 AM
Comment #323048

On the issue of secession being legal or illegal under the Constitution, this is what Robert E. Lee had to say: “secession is nothing but revolution.” When the war was over, he sought a federal pardon. absolution.

Posted by: Rich at May 10, 2011 11:02 AM
Comment #323052

I am still waiting for the state of Virginia to publish it’s list of Civil War Memorials dedicated to the many black soldiers that served in the Confederate Army.

As one historian put it, the North won that war with one hand tied behind it’s back.

Posted by: jlw at May 10, 2011 2:26 PM
Comment #323053

It doesn’t take a little reading of history to know that treating human beings as livestock or less was brutal and evil. And, it doesn’t take a reading of history to know that people who suppport some wet dream of a great southern confederacy are bunch of imbred rednecks who hide their racism behind pseudo intellectual arguments.
And, I find it funny that I always seem to find these arguments on the right side of watchblog.
Any guesses on why?

Posted by: Jason at May 10, 2011 3:02 PM
Comment #323054

Was there a time when the number of slaves in New York City was second only to Charleston S.C. Yes, in the 1700’s. By 1799, a gradual emancipation became law and on July 4, 1827, the city was emancipated. More runaway slaves ended up in New York City than in Canada.

Perhaps you should have mentioned the race riots that took place in N.Y. during the war, but that might conflict with your revised history of the Confederacy.

Posted by: jlw at May 10, 2011 3:18 PM
Comment #323055

Thank you Mr. Longstreet for your comments about the South; many of my ancestors were from the Albemarle Sound area of SC and fought for the south. But, I also had many from the hills of Kentucky, who fought for the north. And you are correct; all of my ancestors were Irish and Celtic. I believe I understand you to say there may come a day when freedom loving Americans will again be called upon to defend our God given rights. Your patriotism is seen in your words. Again, I say thankyou.

Posted by: Conservativethinker at May 10, 2011 3:55 PM
Comment #323056

As a Southerner this debate generally catches my eye, although the debate usually (it already has) turns into an emotional heap of dung rather than a historical debate.

The “real” reason for the U.S. Civil War was Secession by the South, and the “real” reason the South seceded was slavery. The South had a great legal argument and a lousy cause. But most Southerners fought not to protect slavery but to stop what they viewed as the tyranny of North. And many Northerners fought in order to stop a revolution. I’m sure others fought on one side or the other on the moral issue of slavery, but when you look at the composition of the two armies (North and South) I doubt that was much of a battle cry. There certainly weren’t a lot of plantation owners bleeding in the ranks with the Scotch Irish Southerners, and the German and Irish immigrants that made up the a big chunk of the Northern armies weren’t there as abolitionists.

Posted by: George at May 10, 2011 3:58 PM
Comment #323057

And Conservativethinker, saying that Albemarle is in SC is fighting words for us down here in the Palmetto State! And don’t even begin to debate the pronunciation of Beaufort….

Posted by: George at May 10, 2011 4:02 PM
Comment #323059

Sorry George, I meant NC. I was thinking of Fort Sumpter when answered and hit the SC keys. My bad.

Posted by: Conservativethinker at May 10, 2011 4:13 PM
Comment #323061

Geez, the way this post reads I guess it was the north that wanted to keep their slaves all along. Good thing the south was there to free the Blacks! I can imagine that for a lot of southern soldiers who most likely didnt have slaves of their own this war was about protecting their “nation. But it would foolish to say slavery and its future wasnt a huge reason for the war. A soldier is a soldier and they do what their told and fight the war the have to fight. A lot Nazis also said they were just following orders….

Posted by: Paul at May 10, 2011 4:51 PM
Comment #323062


I believe I understand you to say there may come a day when freedom loving Americans will again be called upon to defend our God given rights. Your patriotism is seen in your words. Again, I say thankyou.

Yeah, rights. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. What was it that made Lincoln’s election such a problem? Oh, that’s right, his party was abolitionist!

At the very least, the civil war represented a shameful failure on the Democrat’s part to make political compromises.

And really, I don’t get how you can wrap yourself in the flag of the country whose rejection here you’re celebrating and apologizing for. If the United States of America comes first, where does support for the Confederate States of America enter into the picture, unless you’re dividing your loyalties?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 10, 2011 5:03 PM
Comment #323064

Stephen Daugherty, I am not sure I follow you. Are you saying the failure of the Democrats was that they supported slavery?

I find no problem supporting America and supporting those from the south who fought for freedom, which they believed the northern politicians were trying to take away.

When I was a kid, some of my best friends were those with whom I had had fist fights. Once the fight was over, we became good friends. In the same sense, the Civil War is over. As I said, I had ancestors who fought on both sides. I do not think one side was any more patriotic than the other. Most of the soldiers on both sides could have cared less about slavery. They were drafted and sent to fight a war where they might not have understood all the intricacies, but they fought anyway. The soldiers from the North fought to preserve the Union, and those from the South fought for state’s rights.

Do you have a problem with me supporting either side of my ancestors who fought?

Posted by: Conservativethinker at May 10, 2011 6:29 PM
Comment #323066

“When the census of 1860 was completed it was found that only 8% of Southerners owned slaves.”

So, why would Southerners fight for a cause that they had no vested interest in. There must have been another reason. Except, that the census only identified individual owners not those with a property interest due to their family relationship. “…in the South, 33% of families owned slaves and 50% of Confederate soldiers lived in slave-owning households.”[80]

Posted by: Rich at May 10, 2011 6:59 PM
Comment #323067

“I find no problem supporting America and supporting those from the south who fought for freedom, which they believed the northern politicians were trying to take away.”


I would agree that the individual soldiers for both sides should be commended for their bravery and their unbelievable sacrifices.

However, that said, I must disagree with your statement that those from the South fought for “freedom.” They fought for an institution that is the very antithesis of freedom. The right to benefit economically from the enslavery of another human being is repugnant to the very concept of freedom.

Posted by: Rich at May 10, 2011 7:30 PM
Comment #323070

The end of the American Civil War was remarkable.

In most of these sorts of conflicts, there are lots of punishments and executions, along with insurgencies that last many decades.

In our case, Robert E. Lee and Joe Johnston told their soldiers to go home and be good citizens; most did.

In Russia, China, France or almost every other country, after a big internal conflict come the reprisals. In our case, only one southern “leader” was executed - the guy that ran the Andersonville prison camp.

It was truly remarkable. Of course, it was not all honor and chivalry. There were lots of terrible incidents. But compared with any other, it was …. remarkable.

None of my ancestors were in America during the Civil War. But I am proud of Americans on both sides. Robert E. Lee was a truly honorable man, for example.

I am glad that the South lost. Slavery was not the only reason for the war and was not the reason most Confederates fought, but there would not have been a Civil War, at least in the form it took, absent slavery. And the war ended slavery in the U.S.

This, BTW, is also remarkable. Involuntary servitude predated civilization and was present and accepted in all large societies from that time until around 1750. The desire to abolish slavery everywhere for everyone starting in Western Europe and quickly spread around the world.

The question should not be why it took so long for slavery to be abolished after 1750, but why - suddenly - slavery began to be odious at that time and place after thousands of years of existence.

Posted by: C&J at May 10, 2011 8:49 PM
Comment #323072

I think the modern apologist for what the South did and why has more to answer for than the average Southern Soldier.

We shouldn’t glorify, from our position, the confederacy as some fight for freedom. That might have been the intention of some who fought it back then, but it was in service of a horrible institution, which they deemed back then essential to running their agrarian economy.

I’m not going to condemn, wholesale, all the individuals who fought in the war, if that’s what you’re getting at. Of course what they were fighting for was horrible. It was also what they were told all their lives was right, and having been told that, that was the interpretation they saw the black man and the slaves through. I can’t entirely absolve them, though, because even then there were those who made the other choice, believed the other, more right thing, but I know that in the real world, progress is complicated, change in attitudes is complicated, and the people of that time didn’t start from blank slates or 21st Century understandings.

At the same time as I empathize, which is to say, understand where their feelings and thinking might come from, I do not feel compelled to adopt their assessment of what they did. I can honor their bravery and courage in battle, their compassion and protectiveness of their home territory, without changing my mind that their cause was terrible, and their actions a folly.

In the same way, I can look at what many leaders in the west did in the Cold War, especially in the Middle East, and neither condemn them, nor ignore their mistakes, the cruel and bigoted results of their actions.

People are fallible, locked into their own limited perspectives, often without the benefit of hindsight. To generalize is to lose the flavor of the individuals, to forgo the understanding of what they could and couldn’t help as people of their time.

But can I say the same about people now?

Not to the same extent. There is, now, plenty of hindsight to go around on the early history of America, and plenty of questions of how American history would have turned out if half the country had just split off. I think it’s high time to move past the idyllic vision of the South in old times, just as we are better off moving away from the idyllic visions of the frontier (where we’ve whitewashed the cowboys, denied the truly terrible treatment of the Native Americans) and moving past idyllic visions of the pre-depression North, where the terrible working conditions of factories, the terrible living conditions of immigrants, discrimination against those who weren’t WASP was prevalent.

We can chose what to admire, and figure out what’s best left behind, and we can do that for ourselves.

I cannot understand idolizing the confederacy, though I was born and bread in Texas. I’m more a Texan than our dear former President was. But I think Texas was wrong, and the war was a mistake on their part. Once the war is started, of course, you don’t want the North to overrun your town, but from where I’m standing, it’s the tragic consequence of believing that you could sunder the union, and get away with it. From my perspective, the only consistent view for somebody who believes in this country to have, is to believe the secession of the Southern States was an act of treason, else what level of betrayal could not be justified along the same lines?

So, I believe it was wrong for them to do it, as I believe loyalty to America as a nation was paramount.

That doesn’t mean we forget the past. We just tell it like it is. We recognize that there are ways to be wrong, even when we’re trying to do the right thing, and we fail to learn from the well-meant mistakes of history.

It scared me to hear people talking about secession again, in this day and age. It disgusted me, too, and it puzzles me how those making those statements can believe themselves loyal Americans. America can’t just be this idea that can mutate to whatever you want. It can’t just be great in its ideals. It’s got to be something in practice.

The political developments of the time in the lead up to the war don’t reflect well on the efforts of many conservatives nowadays to do the same things, to push many of the same arguments. It reflects an unwillingness to learn from history, an unwillingness to participate in a system where Democrats and Liberals like myself aren’t shut out of the game altogether.

It’s the hardest things sometimes, but no system like ours survives long if we start carving off chunks of population from participating, because what eventually what happens is that those people try to find other methods to gain power, and that doesn’t tend to work well.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 10, 2011 9:54 PM
Comment #323076
I find no problem supporting America and supporting those from the south who fought for freedom, which they believed the northern politicians were trying to take away.

Con, fought for freedom! Slavery is the opposite of freedom, they fought because they did not want to free the slaves they owned. This narcissistic “freedom” they fought for was the freedom to keep another human being a slave. There was no high minded right to secede they were denied, they were wrong, their cause was wrong. States rights! What about the right of a human being to be free?
The southern states and the people in these states seceded from the United States because they insisted upon keeping another human being as a slave. I don’t see any honor in that. They were traitors hiding behind “freedom” and “states rights” when they opened fire on Fort Sumpter. The Northerners were right to demand an end to slavery in this country. The Northerners were right to use the power of the Union to keep the country together and to free the slaves.

This, BTW, is also remarkable. Involuntary servitude predated civilization and was present and accepted in all large societies from that time until around 1750. The desire to abolish slavery everywhere for everyone starting in Western Europe and quickly spread around the world.

I agree C&J, except for spreading quickly around the world. In 1850, 100 years later the US passed a law requiring slaves to be returned to their owners. Only 15 years later we had the bloodiest war in our history to abolish slavery. We were well behind the curve on the slavery issue.

Posted by: j2t2 at May 10, 2011 11:56 PM
Comment #323079

tdobson -

Are you an inbred idiot extra from a scene from the movie Deliverance. I think you are. Can you about a history that condoned owning another human being and treating them worse than you would a cow is something to be proud of?

Posted by: Jason at May 11, 2011 7:59 AM
Comment #323083

I don’t know how it works on other political sites you’ve been to, but making personal attacks on people isn’t allowed here.

Besides, your point should be to at least justify your disagreement by pointing out the factual and logical problems with his arguments, rather than attack him.

Anybody can lob an insult at their opponent. It just inspires people to go “of course, he’s a such-and-such, why wouldn’t he say those things about his rival?”

The key is to give real reasons why people should buy your opinion, and not theirs. This isn’t merely about being nice, this is about being effective beyond just the circle of friends who would have agreed with your point of view anyways.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 11, 2011 11:00 AM
Comment #323084


We do not tolerate personal attacks here at WatchBlog. It doesn’t matter if you think J.D. and tdobson are insane or crazy. I’m sure there are others here who feel the same way. The difference is that we do not allow personal attacks and name-calling.

What we do allow is debate as long as it is backed up by facts, reasoned opinions and/or critical thought.

Posted by: WatchBlog Publisher at May 11, 2011 11:10 AM
Comment #323085

SD said,

“It’s the hardest things sometimes, but no system like ours survives long if we start carving off chunks of population from participating, because what eventually what happens is that those people try to find other methods to gain power, and that doesn’t tend to work well.”

I believe I understand what you are saying:

“A group of lawyers from the Democratic stronghold of Tucson and surrounding Pima County have launched a petition drive seeking support for a November 2012 ballot question on whether the 48th state should be divided in two.”;fb_comment=33017186

Do you condemn this action by Democrats in AZ, or is this a different situation and worthy of support?

Posted by: Mike at May 11, 2011 12:24 PM
Comment #323087

Slavery was a contentious issue for our founders, and one they themselves could not resolve.

The considerable disagreement on the topic is understandable. On this very site we argument vehemently about our current military actions. Many of the same arguments used today to disparage or encourage our actions are much the same when taking sides on the Civil War.

Some say we are militarily involved in parts of the world today for oil or other treasure, for national pride, and for protecting the enslaved. Are not these the same issues which lead to a conflict between the North and the South?

I believe they are. And, I believe that those who attempt to glorify or vilify either North or South are hypocrites.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 11, 2011 3:11 PM
Comment #323092

Royal Flush,

It is not hypocritical to pass judgment on either the North or the South. Hindsight is 20/20. Future generations will have the opportunity of hindsight to judge our actions. We will not be absolved for our actions because there was an honest difference of opinion at the time or that future generations struggle with similar issues. The Nazis didn’t think that they were wrong. The South didn’t think it was wrong to maintain and expand the institution of slavery for economic reasons. Because one thinks that they are right doesn’t make them right in the cold light of history. The Nazis don’t deserve a pass. The South doesn’t deserve a pass.

Posted by: Rich at May 11, 2011 8:37 PM
Comment #323095

You misunderstand, on a couple of levels.

First, let me comment that we’re talking political groups within society in general. In particular, I was talking about things like religion. The first Amendment and the ban on religious tests removes government from having to pick the winners and losers. Because it doesn’t, people don’t scramble and fight for the power to impose that religion, and more importantly, people don’t suffer for its lack.

Suffering and deprivation, and the rat race to compete for power can turn what are otherwise matters for academic debate into contentious political issues, and even causes for war and insurrection.

On the other hand, Democracy helps us resolve differences that otherwise simmer, then boil over in the same kind of discontent. Legitimizing and providing public backing to Unions turned what were once violent confrontations into more peaceful negotiations.

The point is, you want to have people working out their differences or agreeing to disagree, rather than splitting apart.

Which brings me to the subject of those Arizonans.

First, they’re not asking to secede from the Union, so any comments I made about the stupidity of secession previously wouldn’t have much bearing on it. Second, states have fissioned off before, Kentucky having split from Virginia, Maine from Massachussets. Those two splits didn’t destroy the Union.

It isn’t even so much that they’re trying, through force of arms, to take their own piece of Arizona away. The details of the story indicate that they would have to essentially get everybody’s approval from the people of Arizona all the way up to Congress and the President. In other words, they wouldn’t be defying anybody to do that. On the contrary, they would have to get everybody’s permission.

What’s my personal opinion? I think fifty is a nice round number, so I’m in no hurry to see Arizona split. But I won’t be shaking my fist at them the way I have been shaking it at Rick “tea panderer” Perry or Sarah “Alaska First Party” Palin, because their achievement wouldn’t destroy the union at all, just reorganize it a little.

Royal Flush-
And I believe you’ve basically employed the Chewbacca Defense

They’re not the same issues. We’re not debating slavery or anything else in another country, elsewhere. With the Civil War, we’re discussing it right here. We’re also discussing the issue of national pride versus state pride not as some abstract issue, but as a matter of whether our nation would survive or be split in half.

Your question would not simply be one of the North’s national pride against the South’s, but of the United State’s national pride, versus the political ambitions of the states that, while part of it, decided they were going to disregard the political direction of the country as a whole, and go their own way.

And for what? To continue a moral horror.

Both of us emphasized in our commentary that the situation for people who actually lived through it was complex. But you have used that as an excuse to simply muddy the whole picture, while I maintain a point of view and an argument that doesn’t simply wish away the moral issues of the time.

I maintain the integrity of my point of view, and can make definite statements about where I stand.

You, by contrast, are forced to throw your hands up.

But wait, aren’t Democrats supposed to be the moral relativists?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 11, 2011 9:52 PM
Comment #323096


Add communists to those who don’t deserve a pass and you will be okay.

I have never met anybody who supported slavery. You almost make the point yourself that ALL people are doing things now that future generations will consider abhorrent or stupid. But that doesn’t mean that we have to reject everything in the past.

My father fought the Nazis. He was at Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge, where he got the purple heart. He got seven battle stars, the most possible in Europe. He always told me how much he respected the German fighting men, their bravery, competence and commitment, even if their cause was wrong. That didn’t stop him from wanting to kill them, but he could respect his enemy.

When I was in Iraq I met people who would have killed me if they could have just a few years or months before. Maybe they had even tried. I thought their cause was horrible, but I could respect their bravery and sacrifice.

When we talk about the South, we are talking about that sort of thing. Nobody can doubt the bravery and sacrifice of the Southern soldier. We can respect that, if not all the parts of the cause for which they fought. Like most warriors, they fought for their homes and fought for the men they were with. If you listen to the speeches leaders gave their troops before battles, you don’t find slavery mentioned. The South paid a terrible price. Some places took a century to recover and some never did.

History can be useful but only if we recognize the differences and similarities. It is no use if we create two dimensional stereotypes. Every period of history has its villains and heroes. Sometimes they are the same guys.


Slavery lasted thousands of years and then disappeared rapidly in the West. The British outlawed slavery in their empire in 1833. Some American states had banned it before and the country as a whole abolished it in 1863-5. It lasted until 1888 in Brazil and it persisted in parts of Africa and Asia even longer. But it is still remarkable that institution ingrained in human societies for 5000 or more years largely disappeared in the decades between 1830 and 1900.

Of course, communists and Nazis practiced terrible forms of slavery, but everybody considered that a crime.

Posted by: C&J at May 11, 2011 9:58 PM
Comment #323101

C&J, I don’t disagree that it is remarkable that the institution of slavery was abolished in a rather short period of time, considering the 5000 years of indoctrination. But ask your self this, would the southern states have abolished slavery without a fight in the 1890’s or did it take bloodshed in the 1860’s to abolish slavery.

Posted by: j2t2 at May 11, 2011 10:26 PM
Comment #323122

If I had to guess, it was the elevation of the average person to a level above peasantry. One doesn’t think of freeing slaves when the average person is little better than one. Only when enough people can be shamed about enjoying freedoms that are denied to others, that slavery becomes moderated or eliminated.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 12, 2011 5:35 PM
Comment #323126

SD wrote; “Royal Flush-
And I believe you’ve basically employed the Chewbacca Defense.”

And I believe your reference (as applied to what I wrote) is illogical, nonfactual and merely an exercise in self aggrandizement.

I wrote; “I believe that those who attempt to glorify or vilify either North or South are hypocrites.”

SD’s disagreement merely confirms my assessment.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 12, 2011 7:59 PM
Comment #323128


I think you have a point. But it is also true that it was only with the developments of actual market economies, even primitive ones, that labor can be sold really separate from individuals. In the pre-market times, people are members of groups, not individuals allowed to change and prosper.


Slavery was economically inefficient. IMO, that is the real reason why it began to disappear rapidly when free markets began to spread. But although the country as a whole suffered because of slavery, some individuals profited. More importantly, IMO, the south was in many ways pre-free market. Plantation owners did not behave like businessmen in most cases. Their social standing was more important than profits, so economic arguments may not have worked

I don’t know if war was inevitable. The Brazilian’s who had a much more slave-based economy, abolished slavery w/o a war, but that was later and AFTER the U.S. did. Maybe if we had not abolished it, they would not have either.

Posted by: C&J at May 12, 2011 9:32 PM
Comment #323198

Unfortunately, the OP is spreading modern revisionism.

Let’s take a look at what the founding documents of the CSW have to tell us:

But a look through the declaration of causes written by South Carolina and four of the 10 states that followed it out of the Union — which, taken together, paint a kind of self-portrait of the Confederacy — reveals a different story. From Georgia to Texas, each state said the reason it was getting out was that the awful Northern states were threatening to do away with slavery.

South Carolina: “The non-slaveholding states … have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery” and “have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes.”

Mississippi: “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery — the greatest material interest of the world. … There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union.”

Georgia: “A brief history of the rise, progress, and policy of anti-slavery and the political organization into whose hands the administration of the Federal Government has been committed will fully justify the pronounced verdict of the people of Georgia.”

Several states single out a special culprit, Abraham Lincoln, “an obscure and illiterate man” whose “opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery.” Lincoln’s election to the White House meant, for South Carolina, that “the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction.”

In other words, the only state right the Confederate founders were interested in was the rich man’s “right” to own slaves.

Is that why an individual soldier fought? Not necessarily - there are many motives at play in any battle, including love of family, defense of home, camaraderie, fear, etc. So while the motives of an individual might be reputable, the cause supported by their fight wasn’t.

The sad and interesting thing is that this revisionism is growing in popularity, even though modern historical analysis techniques provide more evidence of how wrong it is:

New computer-assisted tools and techniques can find and evaluate patterns of language and emphasis, otherwise hard to see, among those debates…

Some of the patterns in the speeches quickly undermine familiar arguments for Virginia’s secession. Tariffs, which generations of would-be realists have seen as the hidden engine of secession, barely register, and a heated debate over taxation proves, on closer examination, to be a debate over whether the distribution of income from taxes on enslaved people should be shared more broadly across the state…

The language of slavery is everywhere in the debates… The language of slavery, in fact, became ever more visible as the crisis mounted to the crescendo of secession in mid-April.

Perhaps, given new tools and perspectives, Americans can change the focus of our arguments about the “primary cause” of the Civil War. If the North fought to sustain the justice, power and authority of the federal government, the corollary, many assume, must be that the South fought for the opposite, for the power of the states.

But the equation did not balance in that way: the North did not fight at first to end slavery, but the South did fight to protect slavery. It is vital that we use the tools newly available to us to grasp this truth in its immediacy and complexity, before it fades even further from view.

Posted by: LawnBoy at May 15, 2011 4:30 PM
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