The Confederacy and State Rights

One of the arguments one always hears is that the southern states seceded to protect state rights … sometimes as a way to counter claims that white southerners seceded to protect slavery.  Anyone familiar with American history knows that white southerners were far more consistent in their protection of slavery than state rights, and that they had no problem violating state rights in their efforts to protect slavery, a clear recognition of the relationship of means (which might, or might not, include state rights) and ends (the protection of slavery).

Once the Confederacy was established, however, it soon found its commitment to state rights challenged by war.  Continue reading

A Federal Sesquicentennial Commission After All?

In the category of “Better Late than Never … Maybe,” news comes that Senators Jim Webb (D-Va) and Mary Landrieu (D-La) have reintroduced legislation to establish a Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission.

Although there have been demands for such a commission from some corners, I wonder whether at this point such a commission would really add very much to the commemoration (as opposed to a few more lines on some people’s resumes).  By the time such a commission gets going, it may find itself in the position of following and improvising instead of leading anything.