The Debate over Secession, Continued

I can’t say that I’m surprised that a post about the issue of secession’s constitutionality in historical context sparked a debate about whether people today think secession was or was not constitutional (as well as other perspectives on the nature of secession). That discussion sheds more light on us than it does on this secession debate during the early republic, especially when it comes to twisting past meanings and misrepresenting past documents and actions to fit a preconceived narrative crafted to serve one’s own ends.  The same goes for the debate over secession versus revolution when it comes to the American Revolution. There I’m surprised that people have concentrated on the Declaration of Independence while ignoring the acts of colonial/representative bodies at the colony/state level.

There remain interesting questions, of course. One is how the concept of secession’s constitutionality evolved over time as its proponents explored various ways to define the right and the process through which it might be exercised. Another is to note that what happened in 1860-61 did not quite fit the procedures outlined, although there were attempts to spin what had happened to fit various modes of proceeding. Several of the declarations of secession listed a long train of abuses, but the fact is that those abuses had taken place before Lincoln’s election: it was the fact of Lincoln’s election that spurred the secessionists to complete the act they had been conspiring to take for some time. Moreover, discussion of what happened in 1860-61 must distinguish between the original seven seceding states (and their failure to recognize the right of secession in the Confederacy), the four states that joined the Confederacy after April 12, and the events in the remaining four slave states.

I don’t place much stock in proud declarations about self-determination and the rights of the governed when it comes to listening to proponents of secession or Confederate romantics. Let’s set aside the fact that the very institution secessionists sought to protect was a denial of self-determination and basic human rights. To say that there was racism in the North or offer other excuses is simply absurd as an effective argument, akin to saying that because someone else did something wrong, the secessionists and Confederates (who are not always one and the same) are off the hook. That has more to do with the desire of present-day defenders of the Confederacy to identify all too closely with “the cause” to the point that they convince themselves that they are actual Confederates who don’t want to accept certain aspects of the Confederate experience lest it seem to reflect on their own beliefs. What I find equally interesting is the idea that Confederates denied the right of self-determination to southern white Unionists. So much for consent of the governed.

What people might want to explore instead is how the language and theory of constitutionalism, including the debate over secession as a right , shaped political thought and discourse during the years 1776-1877. That’s a more interesting historical question, as people sought to balance the language of the Declaration of Independence with the desire for legitimacy inherent in establishing constitutional regimes and worked to frame a language of constitutionalism within a context of evolving theories of American nationalism and identity.  That takes a different reading list, one featuring Michael Kammen and not Shelby Foote. However, one cannot understand either secessionists or Confederates unless one understands that they, too, were Americans, and that their thought evolved in this context.

That’s something most people don’t realize. You see it in the claim that the United States flag flew over slavery far longer than did the Confederate flag (which is one of the most wonderful pieces of nonsense I’ve ever heard …after all, there wasn’t a day that the Confederate flag did not fly over slavery during 1861-1865 (contrary to someone who claims that slavery ended in the Confederacy in 1864). After all, white southerners were part of that United States and worked hard to make sure that that United States continued to protect and promote slavery. Why some Confederate romantics and other Confederate apologists overlook this is best left for someone else to explain.

Maybe it’s time to understand the past on its own terms rather than try to justify present beliefs or provide warm and comfy thoughts for one’s personal preferences. Try it: you might be surprised at what you learn.

133 thoughts on “The Debate over Secession, Continued

  1. Mark October 13, 2012 / 11:35 am

    Well said.

    >> . . . the debate over secession versus revolution when it comes to the American Revolution. There I’m surprised that people have concentrated on the Declaration of Independence while ignoring the acts of colonial/representative bodies at the colony/state level.

    No surprise. I think we’ve concentrated on the Declaration because we think we’re familiar with it. It’s like looking for a lost coin near a lamp because you can see better there. 🙂 You can’t argue about what you don’t know, but getting to know stuff like that is the whole point. Well we’ll have to revisit this argument in a few years and see who is able to bring in these other things as we–hopefully–develop our understanding of American history. I had not heard of Michael Kammen until now, but I can see just by glancing at the book’s he’s written that he’s an important figure to be familiar with. Another victory on the side of blogging, and many thanks for that!

  2. Michael C. Lucas October 13, 2012 / 12:16 pm

    Self determination hits the nail on the head!

    • Andy Hall October 13, 2012 / 3:55 pm

      Hey, Michael, you never answered my question from a while back whether you agreed with the Flaggers trespassing on UDC property when they’d been repeatedly warned not to.

      It’s a yes-or-no question, and you’ve had months now to think about it. Time’s up. What’s your answer?

      • Michael C. Lucas October 13, 2012 / 7:09 pm

        As I have stated to anyone else regarding that circumstance no not after the UDC requested to not be involuntarily involved. In the Flaggers defense they are there to oppose bigotry and ignorance to bring attention to a social unethical vandalism and desecration atrocity against Confederate Americans. The Flaggers and others fighting the V.M.F.A. should be commended for their efforts, if not always their methods. The V.M.F.A., the City of Richmond and State of Virginia should be ashamed of what has allowed to happen to the Confederate Veterans Memorial Park, the Confederate Memorial Institute and the Confederate Chapel! It is a disservice to those who sacrificed all for their states, their country.

        • Brooks D. Simpson October 13, 2012 / 7:17 pm

          Interesting answer. Given your reading of this blog, why have you not conveyed to Gary Adams how wrong he is about several historical issues? Or is your commitment to historical accuracy qualified and limited? Links upon request.

          • Michael C. Lucas October 13, 2012 / 7:50 pm

            Professor Simpson, my commitment and qualifications to historical accuracy is as much as yours if not in fact considerably more so. You should question your own motivations let alone your work more critically, for you are not beyond the reach of scrutiny and fallacy.

          • Brooks D. Simpson October 13, 2012 / 7:58 pm

            In other words, you endorse Gary Adams’s mangling of the historical record, or you are afraid to correct him. Either way, a bad sign for advocates of Confederate heritage. Thanks for reminding us that with you folks it is heritage, not history. Otherwise you would demonstrate that commitment that you claim you have. Clearly you don’t. Good to know.

          • Michael C. Lucas October 13, 2012 / 8:37 pm

            This a classic example of what has no value to the discussion. I don’t have to prove to you whether I correct Gary or not. As far as heritage and history are concerned the subjects are not opposite coins to each other in fact they compliment each other pretty often. In regards to my commitment Its not for you, but for historical truth based on evidence.

          • Brooks D. Simpson October 13, 2012 / 8:43 pm

            Look, Michael …you say you have a commitment to historical accuracy. You don’t. You don’t have any guts, either. Otherwise you would start walking the walk instead of talking the talk. I’ve documented Adams’s foolishness, and you endorse his foolishness. Please don’t tell us about your commitment to historical accuracy. That’s bogus.

  3. Donald R. Shaffer October 13, 2012 / 2:16 pm

    The constitutionality of secession is irrelevant. Secession either succeeds and becomes legitimate, or fails and does not. And we all know what happened to secession in the American Civil War.

    • Mark October 13, 2012 / 2:45 pm

      >> The constitutionality of secession is irrelevant.

      If it is irrelevant, the question is irrelevant for what? Brooks qualified it to say it was “ultimately futile in terms of historical understanding” not just irrelevant for anything. I agree with him overall, but my point boiled down was that for historical understanding I still want to be able to argue the matter as the protagonists would. Lincoln was self-educated and read things like Ecclesiastes and Euclid with great intensity. If I don’t understand the issue sufficient to argue the matter as Lincoln and his peers did then I’ve fallen short of the measure of historical understanding, I can no longer explain why they did what they did, or how they defended what they did.

      In other words we still have to grapple with the question to the extent the protagonists did, and if I understand him correctly I don’t think Brooks said otherwise. If one qualifies the expression “secession is irrelevant” and we ask “irrelevant for what”, then it follows that the question is still relevant for certain things, and possibly many important things.

  4. rcocean October 13, 2012 / 2:38 pm

    The Confederacy didn’t believe in “Self-determination” for the people of New Mexico, Kentucky, Missouri, East Tennessee, or West Virginia. Further, only 3 of the 11 states had referendums on secession. And when did the average Southerner vote Jeff Davis to be their President?

    • Michael C. Lucas October 13, 2012 / 6:22 pm

      To the contrary every human being believes in self determination, even to agree or disagree over some minute point to the greatest national crisis. Americans North or South certainly believed in self determination and that was as easily central to the cause of the war as anything else.

      • Margaret D. Blough October 13, 2012 / 7:08 pm

        Really, is that why the Governor of Missouri conspired with the Confederacy to reject the vote of the Missouri secession convention against secession and attempted to force Missouri into the Confederacy by a coup d’etat, including covertly receiving siege guns from Jefferson Davis and taking them the Missouri State Guard encampment at Camp Jackson,set up near the US Armory at St. Louis and planning to take it over?

      • Brooks D. Simpson October 13, 2012 / 8:03 pm

        White southerners didn’t believe in self-determination for their slaves. Nor did they believe in self-determination for southern Unionists. How do you explain that?

        • Michael C. Lucas October 14, 2012 / 1:39 am

          White Americans North or South, East or West, did not believe in self determination for anyone who was not one of them period! Whether they were Indians, Africans, Chinese, or even Irish at times!

          • Brooks D. Simpson October 14, 2012 / 8:09 am

            Thus you admit that self-determination was not a principle that Confederates believed in. Good enough.

          • Michael C. Lucas October 14, 2012 / 9:44 am

            I admit that the will of self determination is a natural condition for survival, which by necessity humanity dominates and often times abuses regardless of race, ethnicity, etc. . . Your intent to redirect solely upon what Confederates believed determines the fallacy of your bias and distorts your view of the subject.

          • Brooks D. Simpson October 14, 2012 / 10:44 am

            I’m sure you believe that … especially when you put words in my mouth, as in “solely.” Does that make you feel better? But you admit that the Confederates and their latter-day admirers agree that Confederate self-determination involved denying the right of self-determination to others, which is a useful fact to remember.

          • Michael C. Lucas October 14, 2012 / 12:11 pm

            I admit that those in power tend to deny the right of self determination of others for their own means. Which the Republican Government was intent upon and the Confederates seceded over period.

          • Lyle Smith October 14, 2012 / 10:44 am

            Probably depends on how one defines “self-determination”. Was there agreement on what this meant back then? Are our contemporaries in agreement on what this means today? Does Spain not believe in self-determination because it doesn’t want the Basque or Catalans to secede or declare their independence (whatever way they try to do it)?

            Going to war over slavery seems to suggest there were different views on what self-determination meant.

          • Brooks D. Simpson October 14, 2012 / 10:49 am

            I agree. That’s why we need to separate the notion of “self-determination” as a principle from “self-determination for me.”

          • Michael C. Lucas October 14, 2012 / 2:46 pm

            Well Lyle and anyone else here is concerned, the war was not over Slavery, that is where you err to begin with.

          • Lyle Smith October 20, 2012 / 9:48 am

            So the Confederate John Singleton Mosby was mistaken when he wrote the war was about slavery?

          • John Foskett October 20, 2012 / 10:35 am

            It’s remarkable how many took up arms for the CSA not knowing what the war was “really” about. The dummies took the Secession Commissioners, their President, their VP, etc at their word.

          • rcocean October 14, 2012 / 10:07 am

            I didn’t realize we controlled China and Ireland in 1860, guess I must read some more Neo-confederate history.

          • Michael C. Lucas October 15, 2012 / 6:43 am

            No rocean, you just need to comprehend the ethnic diversity of the North American continent and immigration to the U.S. during the mid nineteenth century. That was just a list of the few major ones, there were certainly others Germans, French, Italians, etc. . .

          • Al Mackey October 15, 2012 / 8:24 am

            Are you claiming US citizens of Irish, German, French, and Italian origin did not have the right to vote? After all, you’re bringing this up while claiming a lack of self-determination.

          • Brooks D. Simpson October 15, 2012 / 8:27 am

            Apparently people who chose to come here are no different than people who were forced to come here.

            Self-determination is not a principle if it applies only to oneself.

          • Michael C. Lucas October 15, 2012 / 1:06 pm

            Self determination is exactly the same principle whether applied singularly or en masses by definition.

            self-determination
            noun [ mass noun ]
            the process by which a country determines its own statehood and forms its own government: the changes cannot be made until the country’s right to self-determination is recognized.
            • the process by which a person controls their own life.

          • Brooks D. Simpson October 15, 2012 / 5:38 pm

            I’m afraid you miss the point. If you believe in self-determination as a principle you mean it for everyone. If you believe in self-determination simply for yourself, that’s not a principle, just a rather obvious expression of self-interest.

            That said, read the second definition. That’s exactly what the Confederacy sought to deny to others. So you’ve made my point, for which I thank you.

            Then read the first definition: those changes (as in independence) can’t be made “until the country’s right to self determination is recognized.” That, of course, is the problem, is it not? The United States did not recognize the Confederacy’s right to self-determination.

            You may want to review your use of this particular dictionary as a way to make your points.

          • Michael C. Lucas October 15, 2012 / 1:12 pm

            Mr. Mackey No that has nothing to do with this discussion.

          • Michael C. Lucas October 15, 2012 / 7:30 pm

            Brooks, that definition stands on the principle of self determination, period. As it so states, it is from the Oxford English dictionary. The Confederacy did not seek to deny others their rights, but to maintain the freedom of those rights accordingly, within the Constitution as it stood, in accordance with the compromises as they stood. If anyone sought to deny others their rights of self determination it was certainly the Northern States under the Republican controlled Union, which you acknowledged. The Unions denial of their own Citizens and Sovereign States self determination is well documented. In fact thanks for validating my position by your recognition of it yourself in your latter definition. You should heed your own advice.

          • Al Mackey October 15, 2012 / 9:18 pm

            Michael makes the completely ludicrous statement that “The Confederacy did not seek to deny others their rights.” Michael, one day you should read history. Have you heard of the institution of slavery, which with white supremacy was the “cornerstone” of the confederacy?

          • Al Mackey October 15, 2012 / 7:07 pm

            You brought up self-determination. You claimed Irish didn’t have it in the mid-19th Century United States. You claimed Germans, French, and Italians didn’t have it in the mid-19th Century United States. Someone without self-determination has, among other things, no right to vote. So you MUST be making that claim. Or are you now backing off your claim?

          • Michael C. Lucas October 15, 2012 / 7:56 pm

            Mackey your question was: “Are you claiming US citizens of Irish, German, French, and Italian origin did not have the right to vote?”

            I’m asking you. Are you denying that Immigrants to this country were not denied opportunities for for their self determination? Maybe you need to watch Gangs of New York, Heavens Gate, Far and Away. Research more into the inhumanity of how the Industrial North capitalized off immigrants and subjected them to their own form of enslavement.

          • Al Mackey October 15, 2012 / 9:16 pm

            So Michael says, “I’m asking you. Are you denying that Immigrants to this country were not denied opportunities for for their self determination?”

            Yes. White citizens had the right to vote no matter what their country of origin. If you think they had no opportunities for self-determination you should provide your evidence.

            Michael continues: ” Maybe you need to watch Gangs of New York, Heavens Gate, Far and Away.”

            I see your problem. You need to read history books and don’t depend on movies for accurate history. Marty Scorsese was interested in filling seats in movie theatres, not educating the public on history.

            Michael then says, “Research more into the inhumanity of how the Industrial North capitalized off immigrants and subjected them to their own form of enslavement.”

            Apparently, Michael, you have no idea what enslavement was. I suggest instead you research into what actual enslavement was.

          • Michael C. Lucas October 16, 2012 / 2:07 am

            Mackey as a veteran you should know better than trust newspaper articles, especially considering your anti Confederate views why would you trust a Southern one anyway. Cherry picking the Cornerstone speeches doesn’t help your position. The Confederacy was no more white supremacist than the Union or for that matter any other Caucasian nationality in the mid nineteenth century. In actuality the Confederacy was far more diverse than the Union. The Confederacy was not established to deny the self determination for African slaves that was already established from the moment they had become slaves. The eventual manumission of slaves was but a matter of time. The path of emancipation and equality for their self determination was established. It just needed time, without the violent antagonism of radical abolitionist emancipation would have happened sooner. As far as supremacy goes, every race, ethnicity, and modern era government in this world, has had delusions of grandeur in supremacy ideologies its another human fallacy.

        • Michael C. Lucas October 14, 2012 / 1:43 am

          White Americans North or South, East or West, didn’t really believe in self-determination for anyone other than themselves as a whole anyway period! Including Indians, Africans, Chinese, or even the Irish.

          • Brooks D. Simpson October 15, 2012 / 11:33 am

            In short, it’s not a principle. So Confederate Romantics can stop claiming it is one. Thanks for the clarification.

  5. Caldwell October 13, 2012 / 3:42 pm

    “What I find equally interesting is the idea that Confederates denied the right of self-determination to southern white Unionists. So much for consent of the governed.”

    I have always felt this way about the Colonists and their treatment of both northern and Southern, white Loyalists. So much for Jefferson and his glorified “consent of the governed” But then again, Jefferson was a white Southerner. And a slave-owner. And a rebel. And a traitor. And a secessionist. So what else can you expect, from a man of such low character?

    • John Foskett October 14, 2012 / 8:06 am

      And,of course, Tom was also a “revolutionary”. So “revolution”, “rebellion”, amd “secession” do indeed have the same definition?

      • John Foskett October 14, 2012 / 11:11 am

        Crickets. And Caldwell and i both know why there are crickets.

        • Brooks D. Simpson October 14, 2012 / 11:30 am

          Well, there will be nothing but crickets when it comes to Caldwell from now on. He can continue his whining with his Twitter buddies. 🙂

          • John Foskett October 14, 2012 / 12:27 pm

            That’s a shame because I was eagerly looking forward to his analysis regarding what the Constitution says about “secession:, which according to him = “revolution “, which we know is a synonym for “rebellion”. The Founders covered that one pretty clearly.

          • Pccbmf October 14, 2012 / 12:30 pm

            You are a gutless little schmuck.

          • Brooks D. Simpson October 14, 2012 / 1:19 pm

            I always love it when someone afraid to identify themselves calls someone else “gutless.” Especially when it comes from Caldwell’s ISP.

            Try harder, Caldwell. You come off as stupid as well as gutless. Defenders of Confederate heritage deserve better.

          • Brooks D. Simpson September 23, 2013 / 5:11 pm

            Hi, Caldwell. How are things in Virginia?

  6. Caldwell October 13, 2012 / 3:44 pm

    I keep forgetting; exactly how many colonies had referendums on American Independence? I’m pretty sure it was zero.

    • Brooks D. Simpson October 15, 2012 / 5:43 pm

      So you are simply highlighting the difference between the American Revolution and the American Civil War. Maybe there’s hope for you yet.

  7. Mark October 13, 2012 / 3:56 pm

    Here’s my summary of the debate boiled down to essentials.

    1) Confederate Romantic: Secession is Constitutional, and therefore to oppose it militarily is illegal.

    2) Modern CW Unionist who’s never taken a class in political science: Since the right of revolution is a natural and moral right, therefore all revolutions must be moral, and since Secession and the Confederate attempt at a slavocracy were immoral enterprises, it follows that the CW had nothing to do with a revolution.

    3) Lincoln: Secession isn’t specified in the Constitution. It isn’t any form of right our side is bound to respect. It could be a revolution, but that is irrelevant because those can be contested since the idea that there could be a right to an *uncontested* revolution is guffaw inducing. Where do they get this stuff? Besides which, the stated grievances given by the South are bogus on the merits in any case. See ya at Appomattox.

    Analysis of arguments

    1 is false because secession isn’t specified in the Constitution. If it were it would have to specify at least some terms for the dissolution if that were even possible in such a document.

    2 is false because the right to revolution is a natural right that is not and cannot be granted by any authority. Natural rights are inherent and theoretical, and can’t be used to justify any action by themselves as can a legal right.

    3 is entirely true and without a flaw in reasoning. Abe rules. Someone should make a movie about him without vampires.

    • Margaret D. Blough October 13, 2012 / 7:21 pm

      Excellent points. In addition:

      1.The fact that revolution is a natural right does not mean that all attempts at revolution meet the criteria for the invocation of that right. For starters, the rebel states had never been subject to federal action without representation. In fact, many of the complained actions occurred while the slave states and their allies dominated all three branches of the federal government. There is no Constitutional right to always get one’s way.

      2.In the various rebel declarations of causes, many of the grievances had nothing to do with actions by the federal government but at slave state fury that free states refused to suppress the exercise of free speech rights (this wasn’t something protected to the US Constitution; only with the ratification of the 14th amendment was there a basis to apply the Bill of Rights to the states) by the free states’ own citizens. This is from the South Carolina Declaration of Immediate Causes, “We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; THEY HAVE PERMITTED OPEN ESTABLISHMENT AMONG THEM OF SOCIETIES, WHOSE AVOWED OBJECT IS TO DISTURB THE PEACE AND TO ELOIGN THE PROPERTY OF THE CITIZENS OF OTHER STATES. and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.<< (Emphasis added)

      • Mark October 13, 2012 / 10:29 pm

        All good points. I think the professed reasons of the Rebels for wanting to overthrow the government were either fraudulent or misguided for reasons such as you give. I don’t think it was justified at all, so I think it matters little if it was a revolution or not.

        And I’m not trying to act like an expert here, because I’m not, but I don’t think there can be an invocation of the right of revolution. For example, I don’t think one can invoke the right of equality of all men. You can invoke some legal right that could be based on it, but I can’t think of any legal rights based on the right of revolution. I don’t think there could be. I guess I could be wrong, so if anyone can think of a legal right based on the right of revolution please say.

        I’m also not sure that we can really distinguish between revolutionary acts and a revolution. We can distinguish between acts of war and war, the latter being conducted by a legitimate government. But what constitutes a legitimate revolution in the same sense I don’t know. I don’t think the difference can be the morality of it, because a war needn’t be a just war. So I think it is problematic to distinguish between acts of revolution and revolution without imposing arbitrary judgements lying outside the definition. If a revolution is the attempt at violent overthrow of a government, then I think intention and action are all that is required to call something a revolution. I think John Brown’s “raid” fit the definition, and I think the label that got applied to it was a misnomer borne of the inflammatory and highly controversial nature of what he did.

        • wgdavis October 14, 2012 / 11:12 pm

          Neither the American War for Independence, nor the American Civil War were attempts to overthrow a government, hence neither was a revolution. Both involved attempts to separate from their current government and self-govern. And there the similarities end.

          The English Civil War and the French Revolution were revolutions. Both were [successful] attempts to overthrow the current government by its citizenry.

          John Brown’s Raid was an act of treason, not a revolution. In Brown’s mind the overthrow of the government was not the ultimate goal of his actions. He wanted to change the Constitutional protections of slavery by forcing the abolition thereof. This does not rise to revolution. Even if it had, it was far to small to ever accomplish the task of overthrowing the government of the US. It does not rise to revolution simply because a zealot believed, along with a dozen or so others, that they could affect that change. A revolution generally requires an uprising of a large segment of the population, not just a few. I don’t think even Brown thought thousands of people would pour into the streets of US cities and join him in his crusade, though he was looking for popular support…I believe he was looking to force the issue in front of the public, which is exactly what he accomplished.

          Put Brown in the same class as the Whiskey Rebellion, another uprising put down by the Federal Government that was not a revolution.

          Revolutions do not necessarily require violence to succeed. Indeed, the revolution that ended the Soviet Union was not very violent at all, but rather the populace of Moscow took a page from Gandhi’s book and practiced passive resistance to achieve their overthrow.

          There was absolutely nothing about the attempt to secede in 1860-61 and the formation of the CSA afterwards to which one can attach the word revolution. It was not an attempt to overthrow the Government of the United States, and in the sense that they were creating something new, they were not…since the CS constitution was almost a copy of the US Constitution, they were not even creating a ‘revolutionary’ new entity, just a version of what they sought to leave with modifications dealing with slavery. Indeed, when they left, slavery was still legal, and protected and the slave states enjoyed the extra political power that the 3/5th clause gave them in Congress, something they no longer enjoyed in the CS Congress.

          The acts of secession were in no way revolutionary. Rebellious, yes, revolutionary no.

          You really should stop bringing ‘revolution’ into the discussion of secession, as it simply has no place at that table. It doesn’t fit now and didn’t fit then. The actions of the secessionists were not aimed at overthrowing the government but in separating from that government. That is not revolution.

          • John Foskett October 15, 2012 / 10:06 am

            Yep. And the numbskulls who claim that “secession” = “revolution” are walking right into a trap door in the Constitution, to boot.

        • Francis Gallo October 17, 2012 / 6:14 pm

          I wouldn’t argue against the points that you raise here, save one. And that only because you seem to refute the basis of that point. This is simply an observation of the construction of your argument, not a criticism of your views, which I respect. We should also recognize that in the discussion of this subject we did recognize that since the South wasn’t trying to ‘overthrow’ the Federal Government, the Rebellion didn’t bring itself to the full definition of a revolution, viz. they weren’t trying to replace the existing government with their own form.

          In the first paragraph of your post you say that you think the reasons for (secession from the Gov’t)) were either fraudulent or misguided. These are judgments you impose on a specific action. Later in this post you write that it is ‘problematic to distinguish between (actions) ….without imposing arbitrary judgements….’ If imposing arbitrary judgments affect the distinction between acts of revolution and revolution, they must also affect the distinction between acts of rebellion and a justifiable separation from the perceived despotism of a government equally.

          I have been doing a bit of reading about the political climate of the day and, believe you me, “imposed arbitrary judgments” play a key role in the development of both spurious and qualified arguments.

  8. Donald R. Shaffer October 13, 2012 / 5:10 pm

    Hi Mark. People can argue about the constitutionality of secession until they’re blue in the face. My point is such discussion wouldn’t decide whether whether secession succeeded or failed. That issue was decided on the battlefield and if the seceded entity proved a viable nation. Under the pressure of war, the Confederacy ultimately failed on both counts. I’ve always wondered if it would have worked in the Confederacy had it been allowed to go in peace.

    • Mark October 13, 2012 / 5:33 pm

      I don’t think the Confederacy was actually an independent people. I think they failed to forge a separate identity and that is ultimately why they lost the war. I think Kenneth Stampp nailed that one.

      Look at the argument today. How many people really understand the nature of the honor culture of then South, which was merely the culture of the old world that the North had at one time and the South had never let go. But just bring that up to your average Confederate Romantic and you’ll get “honor culture, what are you talking about? I’ve never heard of that! The South had no such thing!” They want to say the South was so very different and a distinct and unique culture, but any real differences even apart from slavery they don’t want to discuss. They can’t specify, indeed wish to deny, any real essential difference (the superior respect for the Constitution is pure malarky and refuted by the evidence), which in my view confirms Stampp’s judgement.

      • wgdavis October 14, 2012 / 11:31 pm

        Very good points. I hold the view that it goes deeper than that, beyond honor. It didn’t matter what you did, but who your father was. The elites of society, who lived by that ‘code of honor’ had their wealth and position in society handed down to them for generations. They were accustomed to the ‘moonlight and magnolias’ way of life and believed it was the natural order of things. As such, they had parted ways from the humanist views of the Founders and Framers and created an American subculture which they jealously guarded, and which relied on their view of their own superiority by breeding.

        When you stack the CSA up against the USA, you have two almost identical entities with one stark difference: slavery, and THAT was something that prevented the people of the south from forging that separate identity. When they got out from under the protection of the Constitution, they found they no longer enjoyed the last shred of moral ground on which to stand. Slavery by itself was, in the end, the cause of secession, and therefore the raison d’etre of the CSA. And THAT, is simply, a bad raison d’etre when the rest of the world was moving to eliminate slavery. It turned out that it wasn’t the magnolia-scented paradise the elites had promised.

        Of course, Father Abraham’s Army had an awful lot to do with hurrying that realization along.

    • Francis Gallo October 15, 2012 / 5:17 pm

      It is my feeling that if the Confederacy had gone in peace a war would still have had to be fought on the basis that the new nation would still hold to it’s right of the expansion of slavery into the territories. Secession and the successful establishment of the new government would no doubt have served to embolden the Confederacy to make a stand for it’s rights to expand into the west. I might be exaggerating, but using popular sovereignty as an example, what would stop the Confederacy from claiming the territories had a right to decide for themselves if they would join the United States as free states, or the Confederacy as slave states. The recognition of the Confederacies government wouldn’t change the position the U.S. held on slavery and that fundamental dichotomy between the N. and the S. would force the U.S. to defend their own Constitutional values of on the western frontier.

      On another note, I wonder what Mark means when he says he doesn’t feel the Confederacy was an independent people. I have not read Stampp, but I would find it interesting to see how one might argue that a region of a country who’s very nature of economic existence separates it ideologically from another region of the country escapes the definition of independence entirely. One must consider the feelings of nationalism which the South must have harbored to bring them to a point where their very survival depended on separation from the original congress. This nationalism, whether it is considered primordialist or modernist, distinctly existed in the South and is no doubt prevalent today in many sectors of Southern society.

      I would appreciate hearing the views of the community on these topics. Don’t hold back the brickbats. I am here to learn and I am very thick skinned.

      • Brooks D. Simpson October 15, 2012 / 5:40 pm

        Confederate nationalism was far stronger once the war was over than while it was being fought. Indeed, had it been as strong during the war as it was afterwards, the CSA would have had a far better chance of winning.

        • Francis Gallo October 15, 2012 / 6:46 pm

          With all due respect, Dr. Simpson, I am not convinced (on a purely personal level) that the claim you make is even tenable. If a sense of nationalism was not prevalent in the Confederacy at the onset of the war, what would have been the impetus for the young men of the South to fight on a battle front for a cause (slavery) which they had no profit from? What would have instilled these disparate kinds to arm together in an organized militia to counter, and to counter so effectively, an invasion of a superior military force but the sense and spirit of nationalism. To say that Confederate nationalism was stronger post war is to say a bull’s ardor is the stronger after castration.

          In any event, we do at least speak of the existence of Southern nationalism, whatever the derivative value. I look forward to the wisdom of M. Stampp on this subject, but until I am able to use these academic opinions I am eager to avail myself of your own.

          • Brooks D. Simpson October 15, 2012 / 7:12 pm

            “To say that Confederate nationalism was stronger post war is to say a bull’s ardor is the stronger after castration.”

            In the case of the particular bull under discussion, that’s true.

          • Francis Gallo October 15, 2012 / 9:11 pm

            Which is a very clever way of deflecting the issue and stuffing in a nice double entendre aimed at what may actually be a subject for intelligent debate. If you don’t think so, say so. I would imagine you would be able to offer a more succinct argument in favor of, or in opposition to, my argument, given your qualifications. The position which you have chosen in your response is hardly of academic value. Forgive me if I may be pressing my own personal agenda against your preferences. The question of wether or not my own postulate is of value is what I wish to present to the community.

          • Brooks D. Simpson October 15, 2012 / 9:48 pm

            I don’t think there is much to debate here. The Confederacy was less popular in its lifetime than after its demise. Within a year of the firing on Fort Sumter the Confederacy had to resort to conscription, suggesting just how fleeting the sense of enthusiasm of 1861 proved to be. Secession was a closely-contested decision in several states. I see no reason to equate the momentary surge of enthusiasm in 1861 with a sense of nationalism (indeed, I think you ask a lot of Confederates to define a sense of nationalism so quickly).

            For someone who complains about snide remarks, you certainly have some skills in that direction. Very clever indeed.

          • Francis Gallo October 16, 2012 / 2:34 pm

            I apologize if I gave offense, Dr. Simpson. I actually do have a lot of respect for you. Unfortunately I was raised by a feral Thesaurus and sometimes these things come spilling out. I shall be more guarded in the future.

          • Francis Gallo October 15, 2012 / 9:17 pm

            Just so ya know, I do appreciate your devious sense of humor.

          • Jimmy Dick October 15, 2012 / 8:12 pm

            Conscription was one factor as to why the southern soliders fought. Peer pressure was another factor. Peer pressure is a huge factor early in the war to fight and then later in the war to come home. Also there was a definite sense in the 1863-65 years of defending the home state. We have to remember that the 11 states that seceded thought of themselves as states first and a nation second. That was certainly true of most of the southern soliders. Southern nationalism or in my opinion southern patriotism was far stronger after ththe war.

          • wgdavis October 15, 2012 / 8:33 pm

            Indeed, the need to go home to protect it show in the well over 100,000 deserters from the Confederate States Army in late 1864-early 1865.

            Even an amnesty offer was not enough to bring them back.

            So, yes, after the war ended their would naturally be a resurgence of nationalism in the south since the threat to the home was no longer from soldiers. Instead it was from Carpetbaggers and that would drive southern veterans back toward the CSA in terms of nationalism.

          • Francis Gallo October 16, 2012 / 3:36 am

            Well thank you all for your posts. This has given me a much broader and a much clearer perspective. As always I do appreciate the time you take to answer my questions.

          • John Foskett October 16, 2012 / 3:40 pm

            There were far fewer Zebulon Vances running amok in the post-War “Confederate Nationalist” environment than there were while shots were actually being fired. The in-War defects of Confederate “nationalism” were numerous and readily apparent. It’s all understandable, of course. When you stake out turf premised on the inherent right of North Carolina or Mississippi to just depart from the federal entity when the mood suits, you’ve got a fundamental design flaw in the nationalism wagon.

      • Jimmy Dick October 16, 2012 / 7:32 am

        I would like to scroll back a few posts to what Francis said about the expansion of slavery into the West from a Confederacy that did not fight a war of secession. It is my feeling that if the Confederacy had gone in peace a war would still have had to be fought on the basis that the new nation would still hold to it’s right of the expansion of slavery into the territories. Secession and the successful establishment of the new government would no doubt have served to embolden the Confederacy to make a stand for it’s rights to expand into the west. I might be exaggerating, but using popular sovereignty as an example, what would stop the Confederacy from claiming the territories had a right to decide for themselves if they would join the United States as free states, or the Confederacy as slave states.
        First, understand that this is obviously speculation so there cannot be a correct answer, only some educated guesses. First of all the issue that brought on the secession crisis was about the expansion of slavery into the western territories. This is extremely important and sometimes gets glossed over. Let’s speculate that the seven Deep South states seceded without a war starting. Let’s just ignore what the other slave states might or might not have done for the moment. Since the argument was over the expansion of slavery, what would have happened regarding the eventual settlement claims of the western territories? The Indian Territory had a civil war of its own during the actual conflict not to mention the fact that had there not been a war would the Territory and the tribes not tried to establish their own independence?
        Popular sovereignty obviously had failed for the South so that concept would not have been followed in establishing what nation any territory would have been part of. In addition, the territories were clearly US territory and would have been recognized as such under international law. The only way the Confederacy legally could have possessed them would have been through a legal act of secession granted by the US government. There was no possible way that was going to happen. So that brings up the very important question. Since the entire issue really revolved around the expansion of slavery, would there have been a war fought over the territories?
        I think the answer to this would have been yes. The expansion of slavery was imperative to its survival. It would have been a certainty that the US would have banned slavery in the territories had the South left. The Confederacy might have tried to buy Cuba, which had been a long time goal of some in the South, but Spain had never been willing to sell the island and the South did not have the military ability to invade and conquer Cuba in 1861 nor would they have for a few years at the minimum. The other option would have been Mexico and that would have triggered European interaction. We haven’t even addressed the issue of the South becoming a client state of the European powers either. With their debt issues I think that would have happened.
        No, the Confederacy would have been involved in a war with the US over the western territories in short order had they been allowed to secede. The Confederacy would have needed those territories for many reasons and going to war would have been the only way to get them. Of course, I wonder if the Confederacy would have survived five years economically on its own to begin with. Its extremely poor financial state would have been a major issue.

  9. Liz Diggs October 14, 2012 / 12:27 pm

    I enjoy this discussion, especially Simpson. Last night I watched the 2004 widely-banned mocumentary, CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA. It addresses all these issues in a brilliant dramatic satire. Southern diehards will find it hard to take, as they clearly still have trouble with the notion of secession, honor, self-determination and racism masquerading in romantic dress.

  10. Al Mackey October 16, 2012 / 8:57 am

    Michael Lucas makes this claim: “as a veteran you should know better than trust newspaper articles, especially considering your anti Confederate views why would you trust a Southern one anyway. Cherry picking the Cornerstone speeches doesn’t help your position.”
    ——————

    Michael is no doubt assuming that Alexander Stephens’ postwar lie that he was misquoted is true. Unfortunately for Stephens, he said the same thing at the Virginia Secession Convention as the transcript of his prepared speech shows. Guess he forgot about that one. He’s the one who said, not once but twice, that slavery and white supermacy together made up the cornerstone of the confederacy. So it proves that your claim, Michael, that “The Confederacy did not seek to deny others their rights” has no basis in fact.

    Michael continues: “The Confederacy was no more white supremacist than the Union or for that matter any other Caucasian nationality in the mid nineteenth century.”
    ——————

    That’s your strawman, so I’ll let you feed him. I never said the confederacy was any more racist than anyone else so you can argue with yourself on that one. But I note that you’ve shifted and recognize now that your claim the confederacy didn’t seek to deny others their rights has no basis in fact.

    Michael then makes the assertion: “In actuality the Confederacy was far more diverse than the Union.”
    ———————–
    I wait with bated breath your evidence.

    He continues, “The Confederacy was not established to deny the self determination for African slaves that was already established from the moment they had become slaves.”
    —————

    The Vice President and one of the Founding Fathers of the confederacy begs to differ. He would know far better than you.

    Michael then says, “The eventual manumission of slaves was but a matter of time. The path of emancipation and equality for their self determination was established.”
    ————————–

    Interesting. And where would one find this alleged path laid out? They seceded and fought a war in order to keep from losing slavery. What was the “path” you claim existed?

    Michael continues: “It just needed time, without the violent antagonism of radical abolitionist emancipation would have happened sooner.”
    —————————
    I’m sure you really believe that fantasy, Michael. So where’s the evidence? Would we be just getting rid of slavery this year? Next year? Sure, it was those darn abolitionists. If they weren’t saying slavery was wrong, the slaveowners would have figured it out on their own. Riiiiiiiiiiiiight.

    “As far as supremacy goes, every race, ethnicity, and modern era government in this world, has had delusions of grandeur in supremacy ideologies its another human fallacy.”
    ————–

    Tha’s another strawman of yours, so I’ll let you deal with it on your own. It has nothing to do with what I said.

    • Michael C. Lucas October 16, 2012 / 4:21 pm

      Al Mackey, I am very familiar with Stephens’ speeches, and yes they are very similar. He does not state anything that was not commonly believed by Caucasian peoples, as a whole, in regards to the general opinion of the Negro race in America or elsewhere. Can you answer why he would have been so passionate about his position? Your are not viewing the subject from Stephens’ viewpoint so you only see things the way you want and don’t account for the circumstances of his knowledge of the period.

      Al Mackey’s fallacy is clear, as with other posts on this blog made with blind comprehension of the nineteenth century, associating past events by their 21st century presentism view. Bigotry cloaked within so called Civil Rights anti-southern agendas and activism. This is to justify their own self-absorbent positions rather than adherence to objective historical method in comprehending the subject objectively.

      You’re ignoring that It was certainly hypocritical of the Abolitionists and Republicans, who suggested their pious self-righteous position was of a higher law. By and large, the multitude were racist themselves, denying rights of self determination and opportunity to African Americans among themselves, denying them opportunities to exist, shipping former slaves to Africa and elsewhere, the Freedmens bureau actually had the audacity to sell orphan slaves as indentured servants to planters, as early as August 1865.

      Stephens’ understanding of the world in which he lived was based on what was commonly understood and believed regarding the African race. How was the Negro(African, African American) viewed during the nineteenth century up to World War II? Lincoln’s own words present no less racist consideration regarding the Negroes.

      “I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in anyway the social and political equality of the white and black races – that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. I say upon this occasion I do not perceive that because the white man is to have the superior position the negro should be denied everything.” ~ Abraham Lincoln’s fourth debate with Stephen A. Douglas at Charleston, Illinois, September 18, 1858.

      The evidence substantiating my position that slavery could-would have ended otherwise, without a war, is based on the facts at hand and the fact that other Slave holding societies abolished legalized slavery without such a war. There would not have been a war had the expansion of political and economic factors been fairly distributed between the states. Thomas Jefferson and John C. Calhoun knew this and had predicted the consequences and foreseen the coming tyranny of Northern Aggression.

      • Brooks D. Simpson October 16, 2012 / 5:37 pm

        Well, Michael, if it is so clear to you that slavery would have been abolished without a war, why did white southerners secede to protect an institution that was dying? The declarations of secession place slavery front and center in the reasons for secession. Are you saying that those white southerners who supported secession were short-sighted stupid idiots? What a way to celebrate southern heritage!

        • Michael C. Lucas October 17, 2012 / 6:49 am

          No Prof. Brooks it would be your position that white southerners who supported secession were short-sighted stupid idiots. In regards to the declaration of causes and secession ordinances they have long been misinterpreted. . . as you state “The declarations of secession place slavery front and center in the reasons for secession..” The issue of slavery is certainly a factor entwined within the ordinances. The issue of slavery is undeniably one of many factors with several others which manifested the sectionalism of the united States. The issue of slavery is however only one of many reasons, and not the, but a, of the central factors for secession and causes of the war. The central factor of concern for the seceding citizens was the oppression presented by the Republican controlled government. The Confederate states concerns were certainly validated by the chronology of actions taken by Lincoln and the Radical Republicans. The issue of slavery was used politically to vilify the south, and lionize the actions of the Republicans and the North then and now. As you and others have done and continue to do by example.

          • Brooks D. Simpson October 17, 2012 / 9:54 am

            Michael, you have enough trouble determining your own position on issues, so I think it would be wise not to try to tell me what my position is. Anyone can read the secession ordinances for themselves. Why are you in denial about what they say? Why is the historical record so hard for you to accept … especially when you say that you are committed to understanding it?

            The oppression of a Republican-controlled government that had yet to take office under the first Republican elected to the presidency? Come now, I thought you knew better. I guess I was mistaken. No wonder you have no problem with Gary Adams’s distortions of history to please his political and personal preferences. You’re no different.

            Take care. And keep on looking out for moles and spies at the Southern Heritage Preservation Group. Them Yankees is out to get you.

      • Al Mackey October 16, 2012 / 7:05 pm

        Michael claims, “I am very familiar with Stephens’ speeches,”
        ———————-

        Based on your previous statement, not until I told you about his speech at the Virginia Secession Convention. Before then you thought there was only one speech, and you thought Stephens had been misquoted. So you learned something here. You’re welcome.

        Michael further claims, “He does not state anything that was not commonly believed by Caucasian peoples, as a whole, in regards to the general opinion of the Negro race in America or elsewhere.”
        ————————

        So you think. What other person who could be seen as a founding father said any country was founded on the cornerstone of slavery and white supremacy? But at least now you’re admitting that the your claim “The Confederacy did not seek to deny others their rights” has no basis in fact.

        Michael asks, ” Can you answer why he would have been so passionate about his position?”
        —————————

        I’m not a mindreader, and I don’t see it as a relevant question. Who cares whether or not he was passionate about it, and who cares why, if he was?

        Michael claims, ” Your are not viewing the subject from Stephens’ viewpoint so you only see things the way you want and don’t account for the circumstances of his knowledge of the period.”
        ————————-

        Michael, you apparently feel the need to comment about things I haven’t said rather than things I’ve said. Since I have no desire to indulge your fantasies I’ll skip ahead to where you say something substantive.

        Michael quotes Lincoln from 1858:
        “I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in anyway the social and political equality of the white and black races – that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. I say upon this occasion I do not perceive that because the white man is to have the superior position the negro should be denied everything.” ~ Abraham Lincoln’s fourth debate with Stephen A. Douglas at Charleston, Illinois, September 18, 1858.
        ————————

        Apparently, Michael, you think that because you find it difficult to learn others must. Here’s Lincoln later in life:

        “It is also unsatisfactory to some that the elective franchise is not given to the colored man. I would myself prefer that it were no conferred on the very intelligent, and on those who serve our cause as soldiers.” [CW 8:403]

        You see, Michael, Lincoln had the capability to learn, to grow, and to cast off beliefs he previously held when he learned they were wrong. That’s what set him apart from people who lack the intellectual integrity to admit error.

        Michael claims, “The evidence substantiating my position that slavery could-would have ended otherwise, without a war, is based on the facts at hand”
        ——————————–
        Sorry, but most of us live in the real world where actual facts are used, not imaginary ones. When you have some actual evidence, please let us know.

        Michael continues: “and the fact that other Slave holding societies abolished legalized slavery without such a war.”
        —————————-
        Such as how Saint Dominique abolished its legalized slavery? 🙂

        The normal pattern of emancipation was with a war, either during a war in order to increase available resources or as a result of a war to shore up a society, or, as what happened in the North, due to a spirit of increased freedom. What is significant about other societies is that their slaveowners didn’t start wars in order to keep slaves.

        Michael makes the ludicrous claim that, “There would not have been a war had the expansion of political and economic factors been fairly distributed between the states.”
        —————————–

        Michael, you really do need to read some actual history one of these days.

      • Jimmy Dick October 16, 2012 / 7:13 pm

        You do realize that the value of the slaves in the slave states was worth about as much as the value of the rest of the property in those states? Freeing the slaves was never going to happen. Also since the secession crisis was over the expansion of slavery into the western territories what was going to happen when the West stayed with the North? What was the point of secession if the expansion of slavery was blocked? To put it bluntly, there was going to be a war whether the Civil War regardless.

      • Jimmy Dick October 16, 2012 / 7:18 pm

        I wouldn’t bring Jefferson into this if I were you. He opposed the increase in Federal power over state power, but he proposed the expansion of voting rights to all white males in order to do that. In the South political power was controlled by the elite aristocrats which Jefferson abhorred more than anything. To say Jefferson foresaw northern agression is pure rhetoric with no factual basis. His vision was ignored by the southern leaders who used federal power to sustain slavery for decades until they lost that power. Only then did they begin to talk about state’s rights with any seriousness.

  11. Jimmy Dick October 16, 2012 / 12:01 pm

    This issue was also addressed in the Confederate constitution. In Article I, Section II, the new constitution strips away some of the powers of the states by specifically denying the right to vote to persons who are not citizens. It also goes on to bar persons of foreign birth the right to vote as well in elections. There were two reasons behind this. The first was clearly meant to deny any black person from ever voting. The second reason was to prevent immigrants from gaining power in the South as some in the South theorized was happening in the Northern states. Ironically, this contradicted the theme of state’s rights by stripping what had been a right of the states to determine away from them.
    “The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several States; and the electors in each State shall be citizens of the Confederate States, and have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State Legislature; but no person of foreign birth, not a citizen of the Confederate States, shall be allowed to vote for any officer, civil or political, State or Federal.”

  12. Francis Gallo October 17, 2012 / 3:47 pm

    I like to remain as objective as possible while I study these subjects, especially those that might influence what I learn about the intent of the South as regards slavery. The posts above have been very helpful and I do wish that, if there is evidence of the Souths intention to end slavery, someone would refer me to a source. I have included a few excerpts which suggest otherwise taken from events earlier in the century, with sources marked. One of them is pertains to Jimmy Dick’s comment “You do realize that the value of the slaves in the slave states was worth about as much as the value of the rest of the property in those states?” and the others are of general interest.

    Although there was some hope immediately after the Revolution that the ideals of independence and equality would extend to the black American population, this hope died with the invention of the cotton gin in 1793. With the gin (short for engine), raw cotton could be quickly cleaned; Suddenly cotton became a profitable crop, transforming the southern economy and changing the dynamics of slavery. The first federal census of 1790 counted 697,897 slaves; by 1810, there were 1.2 million slaves, a 70 percent increase. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part3/3narr6.html

    ______________________________

    On “Slavery can never be abolished”

    J. H . Hammond-Feb 1 1836- There are about 2,300,000 slaves at this moment in the United States, and there annual increase is about 60,000. Sir, even the British Government did not dare to emancipate it’s enslaved West India subjects without compensation. They gave them (the owners) about sixty percent of there value. It could scarcely be expected that this Government would undertake to free our slaves without paying for them.Their value, at $400, average, (and they are now worth more than that) would amount to upwards of nine hundred millions. The value of their annual increase alone is twenty four millions of dollars; so that to free them in one hundred years, without the expense of taking them from the country, would require an annual appropriation of between thirty three and thirty four millions of dollars. The thing is physically impossible.

    …..unthinkable figures at a time when the total annual receipts of the federal government were, from all sources and for all purposes, were not more than the figure Hammond cited; in 1830 they had been only $24,844,000.-William E. Miller, Arguing About Slavery

    ________________________________

    There was, however, at least one-Thomas Morris of Ohio-who was willing (to introduce petitions for the abolition of slavery in D.C.). When he did so, on January 7, 1836, (John C.) Calhoun finally had an opportunity to apply the theory (on receiving these petitions in the House) which he and young Hammond, together or separately, had developed. He responded to the presentation of two petitions by Morris with a full statement of his position; the gist of it, the reader will not be surprised to learn, was; Stop them at the threshold. Do not even receive them. -ibid

    • Michael C. Lucas October 20, 2012 / 8:01 am

      Frank I will give you some! See the US 1850 & 1860 census and make a note of how many free blacks had increased in number in the Slave holding states. Read “Israel on the Appomattox” by Melvin Ely. In order to be objective you have to free your mind and I find few here inclined to accept any humility in their arguments, let alone any cognition beyond their noses.

      • Brooks D. Simpson October 20, 2012 / 8:52 am

        If your accusation were true, your comments wouldn’t appear here. But there’s plenty of evidence to contradict your argument. Slavery was getting harder to maintain in some areas (thus the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850), but the number of free blacks does not show us that whites were easing up on slavery. Ely’s book stresses an exception to the rule. If you were right, it wouldn’t be an exception.

        • John Foskett October 20, 2012 / 9:11 am

          Ely’s book does not merely describe what was an “exception to the rule”, although he does so effectively and probably accurately. IIRC, he also draws a few absurd generalizations about whie-black relations throughout the slave-holding South which are categorically refuted by abundant, undisputed evidence. Oddly, almost all the folks who make these points ignore the “elephant in the room” because they never defend the institution of slavery.

          • Brooks D. Simpson October 20, 2012 / 9:18 am

            Ely commits an interesting error. Using his study to contest certain beliefs he believes hold sway, he then overgeneralizes from his findings to produce generalizations that are also open to challenge. This is often the case with studies of exceptions (Janet Sharp Hermann’s study, The Pursuit of a Dream, commits the same mistake).

        • Michael C. Lucas October 20, 2012 / 11:43 am

          Brooks your opinions are factual evidence enough to sustain the truth of my position. Ely’s book is only “an exception” because it focuses on one community. In a broader sense the complexity of Southern Society as evidence proves was far more diverse than it is politically acceptable. The political rhetoric of slavery as the central issue during this time dictates the distortion over fair interpretation.

          • Brooks D. Simpson October 20, 2012 / 11:55 am

            “Brooks your opinions are factual evidence enough to sustain the truth of my position.”

            I don’t think anyone has any idea what your position is, let alone how what I say supports it. If you think that Ely’s book is representative, say so. Tell us why. And when you do so, try to tell us in sentences that make sense. This one does not:

            “In a broader sense the complexity of Southern Society as evidence proves was far more diverse than it is politically acceptable.”

            Assertion’s not argument.

          • Michael C. Lucas October 20, 2012 / 12:57 pm

            In a broader sense the complexity of Southern Society as evidence proves >it (southern society)then<, than it is politically acceptable to comprehend today.

          • wgdavis October 20, 2012 / 2:57 pm

            What?

            I’d accuse you of being an obfuscator but I think blatherskite is more appropriate.

            I don’t think even you know what you just posted.

            I am still waiting for those four census figures your tried to use to bolster your argument.

      • wgdavis October 20, 2012 / 9:14 am

        Could you tell us please, what the numbers were for slave blacks in 1860 as compared to 1850? Are you claiming also that number went down?

        And what, exactly were the numbers of free blacks in 1860 compared to those of 1850. Let’s see what those numbers were for the slave holding states.

        It’s not that I don’t believe you it’s just that there are other conclusions to be drawn from those figures. Not asking for a state-by-state figures, just the totals for the slave holding states combined, free and slave, 1850 and 1860.

        • Brooks D. Simpson October 20, 2012 / 9:21 am

          Lucas would also have to explain to you why there was a movement to reopen the transAtlantic slave trade in the 1850s if slavery was dying.

          • Michael C. Lucas October 20, 2012 / 12:16 pm

            What is there to explain about the question of inflation and demand for cheap labor, let alone of a movement that had absolutely no success, and was not “generally” accepted throughout the slave states, just because a few considered it. In fact that validates slavery was becoming less sustainable, because they considered reopening the trade as a necessity.

          • Brooks D. Simpson October 20, 2012 / 12:29 pm

            Oh goodness. The opposition to this movement in the South consisted of folks such as your Virginians who wanted to preserve their domestic market price so that they could continue to sell slaves. You might want to do a little reading on this matter, because your analysis is simply not sustained by the historical record.

          • wgdavis October 20, 2012 / 1:25 pm

            So…you are now contradicting the position you took when making the statement above about the increase in free Blacks in the slave states from 1850 to 1860?

            By the way, I would still like to see those four numbers requested above.

          • Michael C. Lucas October 20, 2012 / 3:05 pm

            I have contradicted nothing. There was certainly an overall population growth for everyone period. Point is the majority of free blacks living in the South were because of manumission by their owners. The generalization that Slave holders were against manumission is false. You should try holding a wolf by the ears, I bet you will want to let it go too. Nonetheless you have internet look the census up!

          • Brooks D. Simpson October 20, 2012 / 3:32 pm

            I assume you have access to the same internet, otherwise you would not be posting here. You continue to have problems providing evidence for your assertions, which suggests that your commitment to historical accuracy is minimal. As for slaveholders favoring manumission, one wonders why if this was true that slaveholders did not embrace Lincoln’s plan of gradual and compensated emancipation followed by colonization. Henry Clay had put that program on the table. Can you explain why all those slaveholders who you say supported manumission failed to respond to this program? Would not colonization have addressed that issue?

          • Michael C. Lucas October 20, 2012 / 4:28 pm

            I see no reason to present generally documented information.

          • Brooks D. Simpson October 20, 2012 / 4:40 pm

            And yet the question may be whether what you assert is “generally documented information,” as in your insistence (without a shred of proof) that a majority of slaveholders favored manumission in the 1850s. That would come as news to historians. But it’s clear that your commitment to historical accuracy does not include a commitment to using evidence or sharing it.

            This helps explain why you might not see any problem with Gary Adams’s rendering of the historical record. You don’t know any better.

            And that’s why it’s heritage, not history. Now why don’t you tell your buddies how you came over here to give us a piece of your mind. Trust me, we’ll return it.

          • Michael C. Lucas October 20, 2012 / 4:52 pm

            Brooks you keep bringing Gary Adams and the SHPG into this, your obsession with him and them has no bearing on this discussion, my credibility, or the facts that you want to play stupid. You know very well the census numbers. As for Davis he should as well if he has any credibility. Common sense evades much of your position because you can’t interpret whats right in front of you. Stop thinking like a Yankee-Liberal Scholar and try defending the Southern perspective it might help your perspective.

          • Brooks D. Simpson October 20, 2012 / 5:08 pm

            Are you now denying that you are a member of the SHPG, and that you’ve told them how important it is to understand history? Really? Comeon, Michael, you’re a “staff officer” there.

            You’ve been asked to support your argument, and you refuse to do so.

            Defending the southern perspective? Is that what you think a dispassionate and objective scholar ought to do? And exactly what is “the” southern perspective?

            You know, they don’t teach history that way at Virginia Tech. Maybe you need to burn that cap.

            As your own group declares, quoting Cicero …

            “THE FIRST law of the historian is that he shall never dare utter an untruth. The second is that he shall suppress nothing that is true. Moreover, there shall be no suspicion of partiality in his writing, or of malice.”

            You strike out on all three maxims. Same with Gary Adams. Now go back and whine more about me … perhaps you should hush about “obsession,” my friend.

            Take care. Your time here is up.

          • wgdavis October 20, 2012 / 4:58 pm

            I see no reason to believe a word you post. Unwilling to provide proof of your assertions, blatherskiting, and in general simply posting to see your name in print. You’ve lost all credibility with me, and I suspect with anyone else who is following your meandering track of nothingness.

            You’ve proven yourself unworthy of the company here.

          • Michael C. Lucas October 20, 2012 / 5:23 pm

            I am a member of the SHPG, I am also a member of various other historical organizations interested in preserving history. An open mind reveals much when chooses to allow it. Now you have presented questions some of which I am considering.

            You have proven without a doubt you are NOT a dispassionate and objective scholar! As rhetoric reveals you have a political agenda against the South, and certain individuals, and groups, you have named yourself.

            Davis’s comments are not inclined to receive any respect.

          • Brooks D. Simpson October 20, 2012 / 5:48 pm

            Take care, Michael. I’m sure you believe what you believe. Some day I’m sure you’ll define that agenda and its purpose. For now I’ll simply note that, like so many of your associates at the SHPG, you really don’t care a whit about history.

            And please … you speak of an open mind. I opened this blog to you. Perhaps you are confusing an open mind with an empty one. Think about that … if you can.

          • John Foskett October 21, 2012 / 8:02 am

            With all due respect, that’s a ludicrous “answer” In a courtroom or any other rational forum it’s simply an admission that you “got nothing”. .

          • wgdavis October 20, 2012 / 4:00 pm

            “The generalization that Slave holders were against manumission is false.” Well, I was taking you mostly seriously until I saw that.

            As for the census figures, you made the reference, I asked to see the number. Show us the numbers. Otherwise you will lose the last semblence of credibility.

      • Al Mackey October 20, 2012 / 8:29 pm

        Michael, that’s simply ridiculous.

        Let’s do what you suggest and look at the census figures.

        From 1850 to 1860 the total population in the states that became the confederacy went from 7,273,954 to 9,103,332, an increase of 25.15%.

        In 1850 those states had 2,809,303 slaves, or 38.62% of their population enslaved. In 1860 they had 3,521,110 slaves, or 38.68% of their population enslaved. Does that sound like they were getting rid of slavery? The number of slaves in those states increased by 25.34% during the ten years between the Censuses.

        In 1850 those states had 122,703 free blacks. That translated to 4.18% of their black population being free. In 1860 they had 132,760 free blacks, which meant in 1860 3.63% of their black population was free. The increase of free blacks between 1850 and 1860 was only 8.2%, well below the percentage increase in both total population and enslaved people.

        What we find, Michael is that your superficiality in looking only at an increase in numbers of free blacks leads you to an invalid conclusion. What those numbers show is not evidence they were getting rid of slavery but in fact the very opposite. They were increasing the percentage of their populations that were enslaved. They were increasing the number of slaves, and the number of free blacks increased by less than the birth rate, meaning that without children being born there would have been a significant decrease in the number of free blacks.

        • Michael C. Lucas October 21, 2012 / 7:24 am

          What we find, Al, because of the superficiality shared by you and your anti-Confederate peers here, is the choice to ignore facts opposing your position. That not all Southerners were against manumission, which is the point. The census affirms that not all Southerners were against emancipation or manumitting slaves. There is evidence of the acceptance by those they co-existed with as citizens, neighbors, even establishing their own communities. Excluding the border states the estimated 132,760 “Free” blacks, give or take those who had been born free, were living in the Southern “soon to be Confederate” States because White Southerners freed them. There’s innumerable evidence in ephemera, letters, court records, and legal codes of White Southerners deliberating concerns, for all considered. These prove that Southerners most willingly conceded a partial desire for their society to free themselves of their dependence on the institution of slavery and in many instances even repatriating them back to Africa. The concept was a concern they could not easily relinquish without detriment for their well being, their society, themselves, and those in their service. This supports that Southerners and slave holders had partial empathy for their slaves and their well being, for the most part as any owner, employer of any business has for their labor force. Caucasians abroad had justifiable concerns in freeing slaves. They held fears of reprisals and slave uprisings. Integration and miscegenation are social changes that they could not control and were not willing to accept. These concerns were felt North and South. Their instincts and actions were nonetheless human. We cannot absolutely condemn them without recognizing our own fallacies. Today, we, humanity as a whole, generally neglect to comprehend the disdain which occurs between the fortunate and less fortunate, for what does not meet our own sense of favorable standards. I am certain there is ample evidence to support your own fallacy in that sense.

          • Brooks D. Simpson October 21, 2012 / 9:32 am

            No, Michael. Tou’re trying to change your position on how many slaveholders were in favor of manumission. A good number of southerners were in favor of it … black southerners, to be precise. Like Francis, you tend to see only whites when you say southerners.

            Your pro-Confederate bias leads to to be blind to what is in front of your face and to see things that are not there. Al gave an answer based upon facts,and you are left with nothing. We’ve already pointed out that if you were correct, all those slaveholders supporting manumission would have endorsed Lincoln’s colonization plan. Moreover, you say a great deal about what people must have thought (at least to your way of thinking), but again you fall short when it comes to presenting evidence.

          • rcocean October 21, 2012 / 9:53 am

            If you think Slavery was on its way out in 1860, you only need to look at the failure of Lincoln’s 1862 offer of compensated emancipation to the border states. He offered the Union slaveholders generous compensation, gradual emancipation and colonization. He also told them (correctly) that it would help keep their states out of the Confederacy and that slavery was going away not matter what..

            Result; They turned him down flat. They wanted their slaves.

          • Brooks D. Simpson October 21, 2012 / 10:12 am

            Michael is intent on rewriting the past to suit his personal preferences set in the present. This is called “presentism,” and it’s closely related to the notion of “political correctness” that is invoked so often…. you could even call it “revisionism,” since it challenges established orthodoxy.

            Of course, it is easier to do that when you refuse to advance evidence to support your position and simply set aside other evidence as a product of bias and fallacies. But that’s how Michael Lucas approaches history. It’s a common approach at the Southern Heritage Preservation Group, of which Michael’s not only a member but also a “staff officer.”

          • Michael C. Lucas October 21, 2012 / 6:26 pm

            Wow I am flattered! Your wrong about so many things, especially who the p.c. revisionist is. I look forward to your future criticisms. Kind Regards M. C. Lucas😉

          • Brooks D. Simpson October 22, 2012 / 11:06 am

            I note that somehow you can’t identify a single place where I am wrong. As usual, the skilled use of evidence escapes you. Is that how they do it at the SHPG?

          • Michael C. Lucas October 22, 2012 / 5:46 pm

            First I do have an alternative perspective to why slavery was one of the multiple causes vs. the orthodoxy that slavery was the cause. The latter perspective in my opinion is dated and has muddied the discussion of the war for nearly sixty to seventy years. The “slavery was the cause” view, as we understand it today, took root during the Civil Rights movement by the likes of Kenneth Stampp and C. Vann Woodward’s work. There were slaves, slave traders, slave owners, African, European, Indian and Asian. Indian, European and African slaves were an essential part of development in the colonization of the Americas and in the formation of new nations. Slavery has been a means, from the start of human development and conflict. In no other historical record though has slavery ever been considered the central cause of conflict for war. Even though its origins are founded with the history of wars and survival of individuals and groups of mankind through the ages. The Southern (Confederate) States, did not secede solely because of slavery, or even slavery expansion. It was a last resort, because of fear of necessity in their defense overall, for their freedom and survival. That their dependency on slavery was a key factor in determining their survival, is without question. There were other factors, however including fears of centralization, nationalism, oppression by the government under the Radical Republicans. A government over the nation which asserted a direction the Slave states were being excluded from which they had a vested interest in. As the declarations and ordinances of secession state, equal rights of expansion, fear of increased tariffs and taxation. The threat of subjugation of their own self determination, which they no longer had security from being further encroached upon. Take for example the sense of insecurity presently felt by Arizona citizens faced with illegal immigration vs the opposition by the Obama Government.

          • Michael C. Lucas October 22, 2012 / 6:35 am

            You know it’s pretty hypocritical when you cherry pick what comments you will allow and ignore others. This is especially true when they don’t agree with you and show your mistakes, it reveals your cowardice. Who’s the yellow dog now! If you have any courage you will post my other comments and allow for my own defense right or wrong for an open discussion. This is proof you can’t handle the truth.

          • Brooks D. Simpson October 22, 2012 / 11:04 am

            Now, now, Michael … you seem a bit upset. I’ve posted your comments. I’m unaware that you’ve highlighted a mistake. I understand that you’re into cowardice, which is why you were a bit hesitant to admit your standing as an officer in the Southern Heritage Preservation Group or the fact that over there you seem a bit obsessed with “the enemy.” As you said on September 24:

            Levin actually might [be saved?] if he ever gets his head right. But as for the rest Simpson is the worst of the lot, followed by Hall, Meyers, Baker so on so on. But there are as many dunce heads on the Southern side who can’t see anything but their own delusions or grandeur. Who are divisive and in my view worse, particularly LoS members who have commented on Simpsons blog per se.

            I’m sure Kevin appreciates the vote of confidence.

            So here’s the problem, Michael: you say that posting your replies will show whether I have “courage.” They are posted. Whether you can respond to the ample criticisms of your assertions and provide the evidence that you decline to provide will show us your ability and intelligence. Until you do that, however, I see no reason to expose you to additional ridicule, for you’ve become something of a Lost Cause pinata. After all, I also have a heart, and I think that people continuing to bat you around is a bit cruel.

            And let’s not call people “yellow dog.” I was in your neck of the woods a few weeks ago at a major conference at Liberty University, and I note you couldn’t make the drive over. Guess you were afraid. My, my, but you boys who talk about courage always seem to do so from the safety of your keyboard.

            You wear a Virginia Tech cap, but I wonder whether you went there (although it would confirm negative UVA stereotypes of their cousins to the southwest if you actually attended and graduated). If you did, you didn’t learn much. Al Mackey’s a far better representative of the institution. I note you seem afraid of answering his posts.

          • Michael C. Lucas October 21, 2012 / 4:12 pm

            Your really amusing we still have so much to learn, I know my Northern and African American friends will certainly get a kick out of discussing your argument. I’m pro American! Pro diversity! pro Truth, pro preservation. Americans should work together and my friends know that’s my position whether your an Indian(Native American) Yankee, Confederate, African American, Latino American, Asian American, etc. . . Lincoln’s colonization plan was not well thought of let alone considered feasible, that’s why it failed.

          • Brooks D. Simpson October 22, 2012 / 11:10 am

            Well, first … learn the difference between “your” and “you’re.” That would be a promising start.

            I’m glad you live in such a diverse circle of friends. Please send a picture when all of you next meet up to discuss history.

            Tell us why Lincoln’s plan of colonization (which echoed that of Henry Clay) was not acceptable to all of those white southern slaveholders you say were eager to manumit their slaves. What alternative plan did those white slaveholders embrace? Losing a war?

          • Jimmy Dick October 21, 2012 / 2:52 pm

            I think you’re leaving out the fact that free blacks had children of their own that were free thus increasing by far the number of free blacks in the South instead of slaves who were manumitted. Also, do you explore the number of manumitted slaves to reflect those that were freed only AFTER they were past their prime years of value? I don’t think so. In addition to your innumerable evidence which actually is miniscule you should explore the overwhelming amount of data that shows the vast majority of white Southerners in the Deep South did not want to free the slaves at all.

          • Al Mackey October 21, 2012 / 6:24 pm

            Let’s remind Michael what his position was.

            Francis said, “I do wish that, if there is evidence of the Souths intention to end slavery, someone would refer me to a source.”

            Michael replied, “Frank I will give you some! See the US 1850 & 1860 census and make a note of how many free blacks had increased in number in the Slave holding states.”

            So clearly, Michael, you were claiming “the south” intended to end slavery. Faced with the actual numbers you now change your position. Now you’re claiming, “not all Southerners were against manumission.” Well, duh. Nobody has ever claimed all southerners were against manumission, so that’s another case of your attempting to construct a strawman argument. For example, darn near every slave in the south was not against manumission. I would guess that most of the free African Americans were also not against manumission. (Of course, you apparently don’t consider any African Americans to be southerners, unless they do the H.K. Edgerton step-‘n-fetch-it act for you.) I even accept that some white southerners, such as Elizabeth Van Lew, were not against manumission. But that’s not what you claimed before. So you lack the integrity to admit you were wrong. Instead, when shown you were wrong you try to shift your position, just as when shown that Alexander Stephens was not misquoted in the Cornerstone speech you tried to claim you knew what you previously didn’t know. In other words, Michael, you are a liar.

            The fact remains that the number of free African Americans increased at a rate less than the normal birth rate. Apparently in addition to lacking integrity you also lack the intellect to process what that means. Let me help you. Compare the growth in the number of slaves with the growth in the number of free African Americans. Compare the percentage of the populations of the confederate states who were enslaved in 1850 with that percentage in 1860. Your original position has no credibility. You have yet to provide a single shred of actual evidence for any of your claims, which proves you personally lack credibility.

            What this appears to show is that one has to be dishonest to support the confederacy. Perhaps that’s your goal. Are you sure you’re not a Yankee in disguise trying to discredit all supporters of the confederacy?

          • Jimmy Dick October 21, 2012 / 7:56 pm

            Let us not forget how the South reacted when Hinton Rowan Helper published The Impending Crisis of the South in 1857. The book was banned throughout much of the South. So much for freedom of speech eh? White Southerners reacted extremely negatively to the book which used statistical evidence to show the South was falling behind due to slavery.

  13. Michael C. Lucas October 20, 2012 / 1:35 pm

    Well that’s business. . . the New England Maritime industries, slave traders were none to happy about their losses either, that didn’t stop their part in the black market trade. That being said though the historical record proves that trans-Atlantic slavery was coming to an end, regardless if the slave states, slave owners embraced it or not.

  14. Francis Gallo October 20, 2012 / 8:27 pm

    I thank the community for another interesting deliberation on my recent posting. Thanks for the recommended reading, Michael. I continue to find here a great resource for exploring this history of ours. Many recommendations made by the community are very valuable to me. In my recent pile of newly acquired reading which I sourced through this blog, D. Farber’s Lincoln’s Constitution has been an enormous help in digesting the Constitutional issues of sovereignty and states rights.

    In short, Michael, I wouldn’t take to heart wgdavis accusation that “You’ve proven yourself unworthy of the company here.” An open academic dialogue relies on the dissenting voice for the very fact that it keeps the dialogue alive. Despite Dr. Simpson’s almost remorseless animus toward pro-southern sentiment, I do find that he honors his commitment to academic rigor. What seems necessary here is merely to learn to distinguish between sentiment and fact. And along those lines objectivism is the key.

    I would find a further discussion on the position of Hammond helpful in understanding the position South Carolina held. This seems critical to the issue of compromise. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    • Brooks D. Simpson October 20, 2012 / 10:26 pm

      This is amusing. What, exactly, is “pro-southern sentiment”? Are you not confusing that with “pro-Confederate sentiment”? Show me where I’ve shown hostility to the cause of emancipation, which affected some 3.5 million southerners? Or are you blind to them? And show me where I’ve shown hostility to southern loyalists, please. It might surprise you to realize that Confederate supporters may well have been a minority in the entire population of the Confederate South. And, mind you, we’re just talking about 1861-1865. There have been millions of southerners before 1861 and after 1865. Surely you don’t define “the South” by equating centuries of history with four years and not admit that there’s a South that has a long and proud history apart from the Confederate experience. It would be hard to reconcile this reported hostility to “pro-southern sentiment” with the fact that I’m married to a southerner, attended a southern undergraduate institution, worked in a southern university, and taught at a southern liberal arts college.

      Maybe your comment is more than amusing.

      Now that we’ve effectively redefined your rather imprecise language, pray tell us what you see as defining “pro-Confederate sentiment”? You would not use a term you could not define, would you? And, after all, as you say, perhaps we need to distinguish between sentiment and fact.

  15. Francis Gallo October 22, 2012 / 6:34 pm

    Yes, this is amusing. In your closing paragraph you ask me to tell you what I see as defining “pro-Confederate sentiment” when what I originally offered was “pro-southern sentiment”. This simple misrepresentation of what I said would really be of no consequence save for your own insistence that certain contributors have put words into your mouth. But we may flit lightly over this point, for it has no bearing on the burthen of my reply.

    To begin, I do not infer that you have shown hostility to the cause of emancipation. I merely state that your hostility towards the gentlemen who dispose their opinions in a manner sympathetic to the position of the South may cause an unnecessary rift.

    You may be correct, in fact you are specifically correct, in my confusion between pro-southern and pro-Confederate sentiments. And if it were my intention to argue this point I would have no choice but to fall on this sword. However, my intention was only to use the term “pro-southern sentiment” to augment my suggestion that the pursuit of factual evidence supercede that which is sentimental.

    In fine, you seem convinced of my ignorance of the histories of the United States. This is a conviction for which you have no basis save for my own admissions, which may be reflections of personal modesty. But I do possess a working knowledge and, more poignantly, an objective one.

    I include postings to support my claim that you harbor a distinct animosity toward pro-‘southern’ sentiment. Many of these contain language which clearly does not support an academic or even an objective attempt at dialectic reasoning. They are merely attacks. This is the stuff of parochial intransigence, a position from which the academic world is generally conceived as removed from.

    If you are able to manage a reasonable response to this message, I would be glad to read it. If you chose to obfuscate my message with spelling and punctuation corrections then don’t bother. Either way, I would thank you for what I have been able to glean from your website. I have found it a suitable forum for my present needs at the very least, and a source for some distinguished insights. Please refer your response, if appropriate, to my email address, as I may be unavailable through Crossroads.

    I must go now as my parents are telling me it’s past my bedtime. But please look at the posts below and you’ll see what I mean about your posturing.

    In other words, you endorse Gary Adams’s mangling of the historical record, or you are afraid to correct him. Either way, a bad sign for advocates of Confederate heritage. Thanks for reminding us that with you folks it is heritage, not history. Otherwise you would demonstrate that commitment that you claim you have. Clearly you don’t. Good to know.

    Look, Michael …you say you have a commitment to historical accuracy. You don’t. You don’t have any guts, either. Otherwise you would start walking the walk instead of talking the talk. I’ve documented Adams’s foolishness, and you endorse his foolishness. Please don’t tell us about your commitment to historical accuracy. That’s bogus.
    I always love it when someone afraid to identify themselves calls someone else “gutless.” Especially when it comes from Caldwell’s ISP.
    Try harder, Caldwell. Defenders of Confederate heritage deserve better.

    So you are simply highlighting the difference between the American Revolution and the American Civil War.
    Michael, you have enough trouble determining your own position on issues, so I think it would be wise not to try to tell me what my position is. Anyone can read the secession ordinances for themselves. Why are you in denial about what they say? The oppression of a Republican-controlled government that had yet to take office under the first Republican elected to the presidency? Come now, . No wonder you have no problem with Gary Adams’s distortions You come off as stupid as well as gutless.
    Maybe there’s hope for you yet.
    Why is the historical record so hard for you to accept … especially when you say that you are committed to understanding it?
    I thought you knew better. I guess I was mistaken
    of history to please his political and personal preferences. You’re no different.
    Take care. And keep on looking out for moles and spies at the Southern Heritage Preservation Group. Them Yankees is out to get you.
    Oh goodness. The opposition to this movement in the South consisted of folks such as your Virginians who wanted to preserve their domestic market price so that they could continue to sell slaves. You might want to do a little reading on this matter, because your analysis is simply not sustained by the historical record.
    ▪ And yet the question may be whether what you assert is “generally documented information,” as in your insistence (without a shred of proof) that a majority of slaveholders favored manumission in the 1850s. That would come as news to historians. But it’s clear that your commitment to historical accuracy does not include a commitment to using evidence or sharing it. 
This helps explain why you might not see any problem with Gary Adams’s rendering of the historical record. You don’t know any better.
And that’s why it’s heritage, not history. Now why don’t you tell your buddies how you came over here to give us a piece of your mind. Trust me, we’ll return it.



    Are you now denying that you are a member of the SHPG, and that you’ve told them how important it is to understand history? Really? Comeon, Michael, you’re a “staff officer” there.
    You’ve been asked to support your argument, and you refuse to do so.
    Defending the southern perspective? Is that what you think a dispassionate and objective scholar ought to do? And exactly what is “the” southern perspective?
    You know, they don’t teach history that way at Virginia Tech. Maybe you need to burn that cap.
    As your own group declares, quoting Cicero …
    “THE FIRST law of the historian is that he shall never dare utter an untruth. The second is that he shall suppress nothing that is true. Moreover, there shall be no suspicion of partiality in his writing, or of malice.”
    You strike out on all three maxims. Same with Gary Adams. Now go back and whine more about me … perhaps you should hush about “obsession,” my friend.
    Take care. Your time here is up.

    Take care, Michael. I’m sure you believe what you believe. Some day I’m sure you’ll define that agenda and its purpose. For now I’ll simply note that, like so many of your associates at the SHPG, you really don’t care a whit about history.
    And please … you speak of an open mind. I opened this blog to you. Perhaps you are confusing an open mind with an empty one. Think about that … if you can.

    I note that somehow you can’t identify a single place where I am wrong. As usual, the skilled use of evidence escapes you. Is that how they do it at the SHPG?
    Now, now, Michael … you seem a bit upset. I’ve posted your comments. I’m unaware that you’ve highlighted a mistake. I understand that you’re into cowardice, which is why you were a bit hesitant to admit your standing as an officer in the Southern Heritage Preservation Group or the fact that over there you seem a bit obsessed with “the enemy.” As you said on September 24:
    Levin actually might [be saved?] if he ever gets his head right. But as for the rest Simpson is the worst of the lot, followed by Hall, Meyers, Baker so on so on. But there are as many dunce heads on the Southern side who can’t see anything but their own delusions or grandeur. Who are divisive and in my view worse, particularly LoS members who have commented on Simpsons blog per se.
    I’m sure Kevin appreciates the vote of confidence.
    So here’s the problem, Michael: you say that posting your replies will show whether I have “courage.” They are posted. Whether you can respond to the ample criticisms of your assertions and provide the evidence that you decline to provide will show us your ability and intelligence. Until you do that, however, I see no reason to expose you to additional ridicule, for you’ve become something of a Lost Cause pinata. After all, I also have a heart, and I think that people continuing to bat you around is a bit cruel.
    And let’s not call people “yellow dog.” I was in your neck of the woods a few weeks ago at a major conference at Liberty University, and I note you couldn’t make the drive over. Guess you were afraid. My, my, but you boys who talk about courage always seem to do so from the safety of your keyboard.
    You wear a Virginia Tech cap, but I wonder whether you went there (although it would confirm negative UVA stereotypes of their cousins to the southwest if you actually attended and graduated). If you did, you didn’t learn much. Al Mackey’s a far better representative of the institution. I note you seem afraid of answering his posts.

    Well, first … learn the difference between “your” and “you’re.” That would be a promising start.
    I’m glad you live in such a diverse circle of friends. Please send a picture when all of you next meet up to discuss history.
    Tell us why Lincoln’s plan of colonization (which echoed that of Henry Clay) was not acceptable to all of those white southern slaveholders you say were eager to manumit their slaves. What alternative plan did those white slaveholders embrace? Losing a war?

    • Brooks D. Simpson October 22, 2012 / 8:33 pm

      “Yes, this is amusing. In your closing paragraph you ask me to tell you what I see as defining ‘pro-Confederate sentiment’ when what I originally offered was ‘pro-southern sentiment’. This simple misrepresentation of what I said would really be of no consequence save for your own insistence that certain contributors have put words into your mouth. But we may flit lightly over this point, for it has no bearing on the burthen of my reply.”

      Oh, goodness. Apparently you simply didn’t understand a thing I said. You may want to run away from my point (and I can see why you would), but you don’t even understand it, which is sad. Read slowly. Simply put, “pro-southern sentiment” is not the same thing as “pro-Confederate sentiment.” Moreover, southern history is far more than the history of the Confederacy. I don’t think these premises are difficult to understand.

      I simply pointed out (as you even admit) that you used the term “pro-southern sentiment” when it would be more accurate to say “pro-Confederate sentiment.” Apparently you are unable to define what you mean in either case. But you haven’t been misrepresented. Indeed, as we will see, I’ve represented your sentiment all too well.

      “I merely state that your hostility towards the gentlemen who dispose their opinions in a manner sympathetic to the position of the South may cause an unnecessary rift.”

      There you go again. The “position of the South” is not the same as the “position of the Confederacy,” to use your own construction (people have positions; neither “the South” nor “the Confederacy” do). Given that you’ve already read my answer, I now take it as willful on your part that when you look at the South during the Civil War, you don’t see black people or white Unionists. Nor do you see a South separate in its history from the Confederacy.

      There’s no misrepresentation of what you said … except by you.

      You seem to have ignored what other people say here and elsewhere. Heck, you ignore your own obnoxious and arrogant behavior even as you chide me for not measuring up to your double standard. Again, Francis, if you don’t like it here, you’re free to leave. Maybe you have already done so, because you say that you are “unavailable through Crossroads” … as if you ever were available through this blog. How bizarre … but I’ll honor your wish not to be available through this blog any more.

      It’s marvelous how you insult me (now as before) here while asking me privately to help you with your reading as if I’m obligated to do so. You participate in the give and take here, even if you pretend that you’re above it … your answer documents that quite well. Maybe you’re sore that I’ve ignored your private messages.

      And please don’t tell me you’re objective. That’s the funniest thing you’ve said. Generally, when people tell me they are objective, it’s because they know they are not. Claiming that they are objective is one of the most subjective things they say.

      As folks know by now, I don’t suffer fools gladly. I’ll leave it at that.

  16. Doug didier October 30, 2012 / 12:06 pm

    Flag of slavery…

    Recently read a history of Charleston sc interpreted though its art, archecture, etc.. The author made the point that up until 1840s planter class were real federalists and nationalists.. Their rights protected by the constitution.. Proud to be American..

    Perhaps that was the meaning the post was meant to convey..

    Doug didier

  17. ebg November 9, 2012 / 6:58 pm

    A big misconception of the Constitution is to think that only the Judicial branch interpretes the Constitution and therefore defines what is to be the law of the Land. No, thats wrong. Though each branch have different functions, each branch has equal rights to interprete Constituion Law. It just happens so often that the Judicial branch is the deciding vote that we tend to think that the Judical branch overrules the other two branches. It’s rare, but it happens on occasions that the excutive and legisature branches are decided together against the Judicial branch. Today, people argue against Lincoln’s right to perserve the Union by saying he ignored court orders in a sense ” to stop the war against the South.” Lincoln laughed at that court order because he understood that the judicial branch was OVER STEPPING its boundries. Checks and balances arn’t only applied to the legislature and executive branch…this was one of those rare times that the executive and legislature branches “checked” the power of the Judicial branch as being the SOLE interpreter of Constitional Law as to what will be the the LAW of the LAND.

  18. wgdavis November 9, 2012 / 10:28 pm

    Perhaps you should become familiar with Marbury v Madison. In case you don’t understand the case, it laid the precedent that the SCOTUS is indeed the final arbiter of the Constitution, but it does not have the power to change the Constitution, only to interpret it on a case-by-case basis.

    And while you are at it, perhaps you should also become familiar with the US Constitution, specifically Articles 1, 2, 3, in which the powers of each branch of government are enumerated, and Article 5 which lays out the path to amend the Constitution.

    Only Congress can change the Constitution, and only through the Amendment process.

    The President [or his executives in the Cabinet] cannot change the Constitution, nor can he interpret it. He can act within the Constitution as he understands it, and those acts can only be challenged in court, subject to court review. The President may, as Lincoln did with the 13th Amendment, act as an advocate for a specific amendment to the Constitution.

    As for Lincoln and Taney, Taney had no power to make demands on Lincoln unless dealing with a specific case, and the most glaring example of this was Ex Parte Merryman, where Taney was not even acting as Chief Justice, but was in his role as Federal Circuit Court Judge at the time. Lincoln simply ignored him.

    • wgdavis November 9, 2012 / 10:39 pm

      I would also add to this that when discussing the system of checks and balances, most folks completely ignore the fourth body in that process…the People. They are the ones who check the Executive and Legislative branches regularly, and only they can amend the Constitution through their representatives in this Republican form of government.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s