The Confederate Soldier, Slavery, and Emancipation

Ben Jones, chief of heritage operations for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, reminds us that James I. Robertson once wrote:

“Just as most Northerners did not fight to end slavery, most Southerners did not fight to preserve it.”

Let’s add what followed for some clarification: “By and large, owning slaves was the privilege of the well-to-do. The rank and file of the Southern armies was composed of farmers and laborers who volunteered to protect home and everything dear from Northern invaders, to keep their traditions and be left alone.”

Ben’s kindly conceded that one should use “Confederates” rather than southerners, and for good reason.

However, this quote, from Tenting Tonight, one of the volumes in the Time-Life series on the American Civil War, raises far more questions than it answers.

What traditions? Who was not leaving them alone? What were they failing to leave alone? What needed to be left alone?

Readers of this blog know that “the way of life” that Confederates fought to defend had at its base the maintenance of white supremacy, primarily through the institution of slavery. Far more white southerners (and far more Confederates) were directly or indirectly involved in the protection, preservation, and even promotion of this system than most historians once acknowledged. We’ve set aside statistics citing the number of slaveholders and seen that if we look at white southern families, the percentage of those families with slaveholders rises dramatically. Thus, on a five-person family of whites with one slaveholder, we’d say that just 20% of the family members owned a slave, but 100% of the family benefited from that ownership. Similarly, historian Joseph Glatthaar’s detailed study of the Army of Northern Virginia suggests that far more soldiers were directly involved in slavery than was once assumed to be the case.

Yet even Glathaar’s findings would suggest that if one third of the rank and file of the Army of Northern Virginia was vitally interested in the preservation of slavery due to family circumstances, two-third were not. Given the youth of that army, one might point out that many of the enlisted men simply has not amassed enough wealth to buy a slave (people tend to forget that some people fight for the right to have that which they do not have). Moreover, the southern economy depended a great deal on slavery, and the collapse of slavery would have a tsunami effect on the rest of the region’s economy, as indeed it did (elsewhere Mr. Jones has noted that there was no Marshall Plan for the South, a point we’ll address at some future date). Just as Mr. Jones has pointed to the collapse of Detroit, which was heavily dependent upon the automobile industry, the South was heavily dependent upon slavery for its prosperity. Take away slavery, and you take away that prosperity.

That brings us to the next point: many non-slaveholding Confederate soldiers dreaded the impact of emancipation. While they may not have embraced slavery, they cared far, far less for the alternative. Indeed, advocates of secession reminded non-slaveholders all the time of the consequences of emancipation. Blacks would demand equality: they would take jobs away from whites (jobs provided by the people with money in the South … secessionists were warning non-slaveholders to protect the interests of slaveholders by stating that wealthy southerners would simply seek cheaper non-white labor if emancipation came about). Secessionists who reminded non-slaveholding whites about the consequences of emancipation also never forgot to raise the notion that freed black men would come after white women as they demanded social equality. Protecting slavery was the best way to protect white supremacy, promote prosperity and opportunity, and prevent the consequences of black equality.

Now, Mr. Jones has taken much offense at my reporting that the Virginia Flaggers erected their first interstate flagpole by a trailer park, an unfortunate choice of venue given cultural stereotypes. Surely he would not argue that the Confederate fighting man was oblivious to these arguments. Certainly he would not argue that Confederates thought that slavery was the target of Yankee meddling, and the destruction of slavery would destroy many traditions, most of all white supremacy (they would be wrong about that, of course).

Let’s put it this way: Mr. Jones is chief of heritage operations for an organization that boasts 30,000 members descended from Confederate veterans. They have access to a great deal of material. So I’d like to see some letters from Confederate soldiers that distanced themselves from the preservation of slavery or promoted emancipation for the enslaved as a good thing (as opposed, say, because of military necessity). Surely such letters must exist if Mr. Jones is correct.

Mr. Jones has told me: “I think you need to learn a little more about the background of things before you offer what you think are authoritative statements.” Go to it, Mr. Jones. Here’s your chance to enlighten me. As I said, I’m perfectly willing to compare lists of scholarly publications. You go first.

136 thoughts on “The Confederate Soldier, Slavery, and Emancipation

  1. Spelunker August 11, 2014 / 9:40 am

    I’m glad you brought this up. There are a lot of claims made either way and it would be nice to see some cold, hard facts provided. I can’t wait to see what Mr. Jones comes up with drawing from what we assume is a wealth of information he surely has at his disposal.

  2. Melissa Blue August 11, 2014 / 9:58 am

    It’s just not or sensible, or really even possible, to try to place all the blame for American slavery on the Confederacy because it, like the United States, was a slave-holding society. If the Confederates are guilty of establishing a political society based on white-supremacy and slavery, then George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, and John Adams are equally guilty of establishing a political society based on white-supremacy, slavery, and slave-trafficking. If the rank-and-file soldiers of the Confedracy are guilty by association under Mr. Glathaar’s methodology, then the rank-and-file soldiers of the United States are also guilty under Mr. Glathaar’s methodology, as slavery was legal in that country just as it was in the Confederacy. And if some slave States thought that seceding was the best way to preserve slavery, other slave states thought that adhering to the Union was the best way to protect slavery. And if slavery was prosperous to the seceded slave states of South Carolina and Mississippi, slavery was equally prosperous to the slave states of Kentucky and Missouri.

    When criticisms are made against the Confederate States for its practice of slave-holding, without also making those same criticisms against the United States, it is the perfect picture of the pot calling the kettle black. Or, at the risk of mixing metaphors, that dog won’t hunt.

    • Brooks D. Simpson August 11, 2014 / 10:19 am

      Who is trying to place all the blame for American slavery on the Confederacy … or even the South? Are you not constructing a strawman?

    • Will Hickox August 11, 2014 / 10:46 am

      “When criticisms are made against the Confederate States for its practice of slave-holding, without also making those same criticisms against the United States, it is the perfect picture of the pot calling the kettle black. Or, at the risk of mixing metaphors, that dog won’t hunt.”

      Nowhere did Prof. Simpson claim that Northern whites bore absolutely no culpability for slavery. As he points out, you’ve built a strawman argument.

      Additionally, it’s worth pointing out that no U.S. state outside of the border region allowed slavery by 1861. Every single Southern state did. How then can you claim that the U.S. bore the same blame for slavery as the CSA? The answer, of course, is that Confederate apologists have no interest in real history; they identify themselves with Southern whites of the mid-19th century to such an extent that they have a knee-jerk reaction to defend *their* people whenever someone mentions American slavery.

      Real historians do not behave this way; real historians draw conclusions based on evidence rather than their emotional needs.

      • Brooks D. Simpson August 11, 2014 / 2:58 pm

        Well, Mr. Jones has never read my scholarship, and he hasn’t read much of the blog, so he really doesn’t know what I’ve said, written, or think. He finds this ignorance very liberating, because then he can construct a strawman to his heart’s content.

        I suspect the same is true for Melissa Blue.

        That there was slavery in the United States doesn’t make slavery in the Confederacy acceptable. Slavery’s wrong, period. But we all know who seceded to protect it, and the secessionists freely admitted that. Perhaps some folks more interested in heritage accuracy than historical accuracy … heritage accuracy being the distortion of the past to make one feel good, meet one’s current agenda, and to twist what others believe.

    • jarretr August 11, 2014 / 4:09 pm

      So, in other words, two wrongs negate any critical analysis of the past. Interesting.

      • Brooks D. Simpson August 11, 2014 / 4:14 pm

        Why pursue historical inquiry when you can just say: “I know you are, but what am I?”

    • Michael Rodgers August 12, 2014 / 3:38 pm

      It’s not at all surprising that the states that declared secession had higher percentage of slave population than those that did not declare secession (oh, man, it’s even a correlation — higher slave percent population, sooner secession declared!). Also, the criticism against the CSA is that it took a giant step further towards a slave society while the rest of the world including the USA was taking a step towards the opposite of slavery, which is, what’s the word, ah yes, freedom.

  3. Melissa Blue August 11, 2014 / 10:34 am

    I just don’t understand why, if you are offended by slavery in the Confederacy, you are not likewise offended by slavery in the United States. I also don’t understand why, if you are offended by the idea that the CSA was founded upon the principle of white-supremacy, you are not also offended by the fact that the United States was founded upon the principle of white-supremacy and slavery?

    If you recognize that there is guilt to be shared where slavery is concerned, why no thorough analysis of slavery in, for example, Kentucky, accompanied by sharp, acerbic attacks on those who engaged in it and and benefited from it?

    • Brooks D. Simpson August 11, 2014 / 3:04 pm

      Bogus argument. I’m offended by slavery, period. Aren’t you? I think it’s a horrible reason to fight a war … to keep people enslaved. Don’t you?

      Could you show me where in the Declaration of Independence the United States was founded on the principles of slavery and white supremacy? It it practice those principles? Yes. Was it wrong to do so? Yes. Now why can’t you say the same about the Confederacy? I’m curious.

    • neukomment August 11, 2014 / 3:15 pm

      Where did Dr. Simpson say he was NOT offended by slavery in the United States. Please be specific. Where on this blog or in any other of his published works are words from Dr. Simpson’s own hand making that kind of assertion? For the record, the abolition movement was by definition a condemnation of slavery in the United States.

      • Brooks D. Simpson August 11, 2014 / 3:21 pm

        Actually, Melissa hasn’t said whether she is offended by slavery.

    • David Tolleris August 11, 2014 / 7:24 pm

      Melissa please tell us you are not really THIS stupid

      • Brooks D. Simpson August 11, 2014 / 7:29 pm

        Now, now … let’s be nice to Melissa. True Southrons from Maryland are becoming hard to find.

  4. Schroeder August 11, 2014 / 1:55 pm

    Slavery as a tradition??? WTH???

  5. pam August 12, 2014 / 12:00 am

    Slavery was traditional in the south. The economy of entire regions depended upon large employers, who were the owners of prosperous plantations. Planters hired physicians, skilled artisans and tutors, just to start. Local white males in these communities participated in patrolling these regions at night to ensure slaves were not roaming the countryside. The slaves called them paddy rollers. Control of the regional blacks was imperative to maintain this system…this tradition. Whether or not a family owned slaves they were closely tied to the institution.
    A sign of wealth was the ownership of slaves and many whites aspired to become owners. The planters made up an aristocracy. Poor whites even had to enter prosperous homes in the rear of the house and even some slaves looked down upon the poorest of whites. There was a huge disparity in the relations between yeoman whites and planters. This reality is recorded in many diaries and letters of the time…..(take Mary Chestnut or Tryphena Holder Fox for example) especially when the war began taking it’s toll on food supplies. The issue of class really came to light then.
    All of these whites depended on the output from the plantation to get paid, as did their families. During a bad crop year, all suffered. There wasn’t a lot of cash flowing around.
    There are so many primary diaries and articles of the period that demonstrate this. I suggest to any that doubt the existence of this tradition or the huge effect of slavery upon regional economics go to these PRIMARY sources.

    • Rkop August 12, 2014 / 11:55 am

      I understand that, even when slavery was legal in New York, that some of its meaner aspects, like breaking up families in a sale were not legal. Can we define confederates as southerners who were in favor of putting the meanest people in charge so that slavery would persist as ever more profitable? The meanest people not only subjugated the slave, but other southerners who were afflicted with conscience. This rule by the cruel certainly persisted well past the end of slavery. In the expose’ “Black Like Me” the author shows how small town businesses would suffer and fail if they did not support the myriad forms of intimidation and suppression in the 1950’s. Do heritage groups want to hold the meanness that made their “way of life” possible close to the bosom?

  6. Melissa Blue August 13, 2014 / 11:29 am

    Yes Brooks, I can. The principal author of the DoI owned, at the time he wrote it, approximately 150 human slaves. And of the DoI’s 56 signers, every single one of them either owned slaves themselves, or represented States where slavery was practiced. Even worse, most signers also represented States where the inhuman business of international slave-trafficking was being fully and legally practiced. And by the way, Benjamin Franklin held humans in bondage for most of his adult life, in addition to publishing advertisements for slaves auctions and slave runaway notices in his newspaper (for a price, of course). So yeah, I would say the impramatur of white supremacy and was fully embedded in the DoI and in the founding principles of the United States, and that’s even before the Copnstitution is discussed.

    As for cruelties imposed, there were certainly no crueler or more sadistic people than New Yorkers. One particularly sadistic method of imposing discipline on unruly slaves was to burn them alive. Oddly, this was a practice the New Yorkers also imposed of free blacks during the New York draft riots of 1863. And let’s not forget New York was a major hub in the international slave-trafficking business. And let’s be very, very clear; the cruelest business in the history of all humanity was the international slave-trade, and New Yorkers were smack in the middle of it.

    • Brooks D. Simpson August 13, 2014 / 11:33 am

      So what’s your point? I have no problem saying that slavery is wrong, period. Are you now going to argue that southern slaveholders were gentle, caring human beings, and that slavery in the antebellum South wasn’t so bad?

      I’m next waiting for a list of white southern abolitionists in 1860.

      If the best you can do is to say that there was slavery in the North during the period of the American Revolution (and the early republic) as somehow a counter to slavery in the South in 1860, then say that. Then tell us why that’s important.

    • khepera420 August 13, 2014 / 12:20 pm

      Ben Franklin may have owned slaves but, at some point, came to view it as wrong, repented of his wrongdoing and became an ardent abolitionist. You can’t juxtapose him against the hard heads of the Confederacy who were bound and determined to not only maintain, but EXPAND, that abomination. Were there Confederate abolitionists, by the way? Just curious.

      • Melissa Blue August 13, 2014 / 1:46 pm

        You seem to have missed the point entirely. I said absolutely nothing about whether or not Franklin, after 40 years of holding humans in bondage, altered his views. I said he, like Washington, Jefferson, and Adams, helped establish the United States with white-supremacy as a feature of its body politic. The statement stands.

          • Melissa Blue August 13, 2014 / 2:12 pm

            Well, I was correcting the poster’s misstatement of fact.

          • Melissa Blue August 13, 2014 / 2:32 pm

            That white-supremacy was not a feature of the United States at its founding. It clearly was.

          • Brooks D. Simpson August 13, 2014 / 2:39 pm

            As it was with the Confederacy. Why so shy about that?

          • Melissa Blue August 15, 2014 / 6:56 am

            Not at all shy about it, as it was a fact of 19th century life. I just insist that if there are criticisms on that score, the criticisms should be made against the USA as well as the CSA.

          • khepera420 August 14, 2014 / 9:24 am

            Ms Blue, please don’t put words in my mouth. I said no such thing. If you believe that I did then please do me the kindness of quoting my words to that effect. The issue was regarding Benjamin Franklin. Period. You did see my comment re intellectual dishonesty, did you not?

          • Melissa Blue August 15, 2014 / 6:59 am

            I don’t know what you are talking about. As for your comment regarding intellectual dishonesy, I completely agree, it is very unattractive. And I think you need to be reminded of the fact.

          • khepera420 August 15, 2014 / 12:18 pm

            Wait… now you don’t know what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the lie you told about what I said above. It’s there, quite clearly, in black and white. You told Brooks that you were “. . . .correcting the poster’s misstatement of fact.” When he asked you what that misstatement was, you replied, “That white-supremacy was not a feature of the United States at its founding.”

            I was the poster in question and you never saw those words, or that idea, come from my keyboard to your screen. You know why I know you’re lying (aside from the obvious fact that I never said or addressed that)? I actually *do* believe that the U.S. had white supremacy as a “feature” at its founding. Hell, all the European-sourced cultures of the world did. Duh!

            You really are a piece of work aren’t you? No more engaging you. I don’t play well with liars. You need to spend more time writing your Confederate romance novels, where such fictions as you spout are welcome. :p

  7. Melissa Blue August 13, 2014 / 12:04 pm

    No, what I can do is to make it perfectly clear that the principle of white-supreamacy and the practice of slavery were incorporated into the body politic of the United States long before they were ever incorporated into the body politic of the Confederate States. And if the CSA is to be criticized for the presence of white-supremacy and slavery in its body politic, then the USA is also to be criticized for the presence of white-supremacy and slavery in its body politic.

    So how about it? Perhaps a detailed and informative thread analyzing New England’s role in the international slave-trade, and one which also exposes the white-supremacist attitudes which allowed them to enage in such a barbaric practice? And maybe a closing comment which invites and encourages Northern-bashing becasue of their role in the practice? Goodness knows, you’ve certainly bashed Southerners enough for their role in slavery.

    • Brooks D. Simpson August 13, 2014 / 12:15 pm

      Maybe you need to read the blog archives. You might also practice what you preach, for so far I’ve heard nothing from you on the South and slavery … and slavery lasted longer in the South than it did in the North, and it was always part of the Confederacy.

    • khepera420 August 13, 2014 / 12:22 pm

      Intellectual dishonesty is *not* an attractive, or respectable, trait. Several posters here have burned your straw man to the ground and you still insist on trying to build him back up out of ashes. tsk

  8. Melissa Blue August 13, 2014 / 12:53 pm

    If we use your criteria, it means that slavery lasted for 89 years in the U.S.A., and only 4 years in the C.S.A. It also means that international slave-trafficking was never lawful in the C.S.A., whereas it was lawful for 32 years in the U.S.A.

    • Brooks D. Simpson August 13, 2014 / 1:01 pm

      I’ll simply point out that when slavery was alive and well in the USA, white southerners were part of the USA. You do remember that, right?

  9. Melissa Blue August 13, 2014 / 1:17 pm

    And I will simply point out that when slavery was alive and well in the USA, white Kentuckians, white Missourians, white Marylanders, and white Delawarians were also part of the USA. You do remember that, right? I’ll also point out that white Kentuckians in that Union-loyal slave state clung to slavery until the bitter end. That is, until the 13th amendment forced them to let it go.

    • Brooks D. Simpson August 13, 2014 / 1:21 pm

      An amendment made possible by the American Civil War. We understand that not all southerners were Confederates (fewer than half were), and that it was the USA (and not the CSA) that pushed through the 13th Amendment. We also know that the history of the Confederacy was a small part of southern history, and that many of the things you have attributed to the USA were made possible because of the support of white southerners.

    • Michael Rodgers August 13, 2014 / 1:26 pm

      Do you have an argument or just a complaint?

      • Al Mackey August 13, 2014 / 1:55 pm

        “Melissa Blue” only has a series of fallacies.

  10. Melissa Blue August 13, 2014 / 1:40 pm

    Constitutional amendments are possible because of the provisions of Article V, and Article V makes no mention whatsoever of a Civil War being a prerequisite to adopting a constitutional amendment. I also know that white northerners so desperately wanted and needed the Southerners to remain in their country, they were willing to sacrifice 350,000 of their sons to ensure they did.

    • Brooks D. Simpson August 13, 2014 / 1:54 pm

      And how many people did the Confederacy sacrifice to protect slavery?

  11. Melissa Blue August 13, 2014 / 2:11 pm

    None. Although many paid the utlimate sacrifice to protect their right to political independence.

    • Brooks D. Simpson August 13, 2014 / 2:13 pm

      This would have come as a surprise to them, since secessionists explicitly explained that the protection of slavery was the primary rationale for the Confederacy. Perhaps your present-day sensibilities blind you to that historical reality.

      I’ve never understood why fans of the Confederacy think its founders were such liars.

    • E.A. Mayer August 13, 2014 / 5:14 pm

      And what exactly was the purpose of gaining that political independence? What was the impetus behind it? Oh yeah…that’s right…. to protect slavery.

      • Melissa Blue August 15, 2014 / 6:53 am

        Oh yeah…. that’s right…. the Founding Fathers gained political independence and all the whie practised both slavery and slave-trafficking. Looks like the Confederates were following in the footsteps of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

        • E.A. Mayer August 15, 2014 / 1:07 pm

          Sorry but the purpose of the colonists independence was not to preserve slavery as it was for the Confederacy, and the CSA stated that over and over again. And Washington and Jefferson fought a revolution, they knew that what they were doing was revolution, treason, and illegal, and not some sort of formal ‘secession’ as you and Neo-confederates use the term.

          “The prevailing ideas entertained by him [Jefferson] and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races…. This was an error…. Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition.” – Alexander Stephens, Vice President of the CSA.
          .
          “Louisiana looks to the formation of a Southern confederacy to preserve the blessings of African slavery,… ” Address of George Williamson, Commissioner from Louisiana to the Texas Secession Convention.

          The examples are almost endless.

          “The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitutions of Government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, ’til changed by an explicit and authentic act of the WHOLE PEOPLE, [emphasis added] is sacredly obligatory upon all.”—George Washington, “Farewell Address”

          The CSA rejected Washington and Jefferson and everything they worked for.
          .

  12. Melissa Blue August 13, 2014 / 2:19 pm

    I don’t recall calling any of the Confederate founders liars. I never did. As for the specifc reasons f the Confederate States of America was formed, those reasons were fully enumerated in the Preamble of the Confederate Constitution:

    “We, the people of the Confederate States, each State acting in its sovereign and independent character, in order to form a permanent federal government, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity — invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God — do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Confederate States of America.”

    Please note there is not so muich as a single word regarding “protecting slavery” in the entirety of the Preamble.

  13. Melissa Blue August 13, 2014 / 2:29 pm

    I would ask you, in turn, to read the entirety of the U.S. Constitution. The USA was also very clear about protecting both slavery and slave-trafficking. That does not mean, of course, that the reason the USA was formed was to protect slavery and slave-trafficking. Althoug maybe it was.

    • Brooks D. Simpson August 13, 2014 / 2:33 pm

      There is no doubt the US Constitution contained provisions that protected slavery. You’ll recall that white southerners had a great deal to do with the framing of that document.

      It seems that you confuse the USA of 1787-88 with the USA of 1861-65. At the same time, you appear to be in denial about the role of slavery in secession and the creation of the Confederacy. So please list for me the blacks who served as delegates to the secession conventions as well as the abolitionists who donned Confederate gray. Thank you.

  14. Melissa Blue August 13, 2014 / 2:43 pm

    Oh I recall all right:

    “…he has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it’s most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. this piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain. determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce:”

    Jefferson originally included this charge in the list of grievances against King George, but slave-trafficking was extremely profitable for white New Englanders, so their white northern delegates demanded it be removed. And please list for me the blacks who signed the Declaration of Independence. Thank you.

    • Brooks D. Simpson August 13, 2014 / 2:57 pm

      I never made the argument that the founders of the USA did not seek some protections for slavery. You claimed that the Confederacy had nothing to do with slavery and white supremacy.

      You’re wrong. Not that it will stop you. You can’t even tell us why all those secessionists and Confederates were quite honest about how they felt about slavery.

      Perhaps the only way you can support the Confederacy is to whitewash it of slavery and pretend it was never there in some sort of twisted version of Mr. Jones’s favorite term, “political correctness.” Your defense of the Confederacy appears to be about as intellectually bankrupt as the term political correctness is, and of course it has nothing to do with history.

      But I’m sure you believe what you say, even when you contradict your line of argument. That’s the most amazing thing of all.

      • Melissa Blue August 15, 2014 / 6:43 am

        Actually what’s amazing, is that you have no trouble excoriating the CSA for its racism and white-supremacy, but you casualy sweep the racism and white-supremacy under the rug.

        • Brooks D. Simpson August 15, 2014 / 7:48 am

          Try again. Lying about what other people have said erodes your credibility.

          • Melissa Blue August 15, 2014 / 8:57 am

            That should have been “racism and white-supremacy of the US”.

    • Brooks D. Simpson August 13, 2014 / 3:04 pm

      You said:

      “Jefferson originally included this charge in the list of grievances against King George, but slave-trafficking was extremely profitable for white New Englanders, so their white northern delegates demanded it be removed.”

      Jefferson said something a little different, according to this source:

      “Decades later Jefferson blamed the removal of the passage on delegates from South Carolina and Georgia and Northern delegates who represented merchants who were at the time actively involved in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.”

      Should we ascribe your omission of the delegates from South Carolina and Georgia from your statement as a sign of your dishonesty or as evidence you are not quite as familiar with history as you would like us to believe?

      • Melissa Blue August 14, 2014 / 8:18 am

        “Should we ascribe your omission of the delegates from South Carolina and Georgia from your statement as a sign of your dishonesty or as evidence you are not quite as familiar with history as you would like us to believe?”

        I would say you can ascribe my omission of South Caroliona and Georgia as a sign of either dishonesty or unfamiliarity in the exact proportion you would ascribe them to yourself when you omit a denuncuiation of the United States for white-supremacy and slavery in each instance where you denounce the Confedeacy for those phenomena.

        • Brooks D. Simpson August 14, 2014 / 9:27 am

          Well, we can see by this evasive answer that you admit to intellectual dishonesty. You seem rather too eager to disassociate the Confederacy from slavery, and your grasp of historical fact is unsure. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that you are actually a Yankee plant (thus the last name “Blue”) sent here to make Confederate heritage advocates look bad.

          • Melissa Blue August 15, 2014 / 6:40 am

            As I said, if its intellectual dishonesty, it is in direct proportion to your own when you fail to criticize the United States for white-supremacy, while you repeatedly criticize the CSA for white-supremacy.

          • Brooks D. Simpson August 15, 2014 / 7:53 am

            Try again. Repeating lies does not make them any more true. At least you now admit that the CSA was all about white supremacy. You just haven’t said that you object to white supremacy. For one who condemns other people for supposedly being silent, you’ve been rather quiet about this. And, of course, you still have a problem admitting that the cause for which Confederate soldiers died was the defense of an independent nation based upon slavery. Why the denial? They knew it. Ask Alexander Stephens. What do you know that he did not? Aren’t you imposing your present values and preferences on the past?

          • Melissa Blue August 15, 2014 / 8:55 am

            I agree entirely; repeating lies in no way makes them true. I also agree that both the CSA and USA were all about white-supremacy. But you haven’t said that you object to slavery and white-supremacy in the United States, only in the Confederate States. I find this very odd. And you seem to be unable to accpet the fact that the Founding Fathers separated from the British Empire, and all the while were slave-owners and slave-traffickers. Why the denial?

            As for Alexander Stephens, he authored a rather extraordinary two-volume tome in which he announces that the war had virtually nothing to do with slavery. In fact, he explicitly declared that those who advance that view “are but superficial observers” of the war and its causes.

          • Brooks D. Simpson August 15, 2014 / 9:06 am

            You continue to lie. Pray continue, “Melissa Blue.”

          • Melissa Blue August 15, 2014 / 9:47 am

            “It is a postulate, with many writers of this day, that the late War was the result of two opposing ideas, or principles, upon the subject of African Slavery. Between these, according to their theory, sprung the “irrepressible conflict,” in principle, which ended in the terrible conflict of arms. Those who assume this postulate, and so theorize upon it, are but superficial observers.

            -Alexander Stephens, :”A Constitutional View of The Late War Between The States”

          • Brooks D. Simpson August 15, 2014 / 9:54 am

            Not exactly what he said in 1861. I call this “loser’s remorse.”

          • E.A. Mayer August 15, 2014 / 1:13 pm

            Printing what are well recognized as nothing more than after the fact apologetics in an attempt to whitewash that they fought for what was then recognized as a terrible cause by the general public is as meaningless. One might as well print after the fact Nazi apologetics to justify their system.

    • E.A. Mayer August 13, 2014 / 5:35 pm

      “South Carolinians first shouted down a whispering Virginian before the American Revolution begun. When drafting the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, it will be remembered, denounced the king for permitting the evil to spread to America. South Carolinians, characteristically, bridled. Jefferson, characteristically deleted the draft paragraph.
      Jefferson was in Europe and thus not present to cave in when South Carolina threatened not to join the Union if the Constitutional Convention of 1787 empowered congress to end the slave trade immediately.” – William W. Freehling, “The Road to Disunion” p135

  15. Jimmy Dick August 13, 2014 / 3:31 pm

    I don’t think Melissa Blue gets this at all. The connection that she is trying to make is that slavery was okay because the Founders practiced slavery. Well, if we’re going with that mentality let’s just toss the whole Constitution and get on with cruel and unusual punishment and quartering and other things because they practiced those as well before the Constitution.

    She does not seem to understand how events brought into being by the Revolution were responsible for the ending of slavery. The Revolution was about liberty and equality. Those two concepts have no room for slavery in them. It took time, but those concepts grew while slavery withered. The Confederates wanted to preserve slavery, that’s it in a nutshell. There is no need for an argument over it. The problem is that people do not want to admit that is why the South seceded.

    Let’s face it, modern morality is going to cast a light on this no matter what. The north was not out to end slavery at all which really is just as prevalent a myth as the Lost Cause in my opinion. The ending of slavery grew out of the conflict over the expansion of slavery. These arguments just keep getting in the way of history being advanced.

    • Bert August 14, 2014 / 5:05 am

      I think that’s a very important point. It would be interesting if those with a motivation to promote Southern Heritage (or more accurately, their Caucasian-centric idea of it) could bring themselves to say, yeah, it’s clear that secession was rooted in protection of slavery, but independence separate from that issue evolved as a primary war aim. Jefferson Davis said as much (IIRC) to a peace delegation in 1864. I think most of us could respect that regardless of whether we completely agree. Instead, they deny slavery as the cause of secession when there’s such a huge body of evidence (from southerner sources no less) saying it was.

      I wish they could see how foolish that is. There are a lot of us with nothing at all against the south (our host lived there for many years, as he’s pointed out before). We just can’t stand misrepresenting history to rationalize Gone with the Wind type belief systems.

  16. Michael Rodgers August 13, 2014 / 4:06 pm

    In 1860 Abraham Lincoln won the presidential election on a platform to currently contain and eventually extinguish slavery. Several self-proclaimed slave states then declared secession and formed the CSA on a platform to permanently protect and eminently expand slavery. These are the two sides in the war: The anti-slavery and pro-union USA and the pro-slavery and anti-union CSA.

    • Melissa Blue August 14, 2014 / 5:57 am

      This is completely false. Kentucky, MIssouri, Delaware, and maryland were pro-slavery and pro Union. The two sides of the war were the pro self-determination, Confederates and the anti self-determination Federals.

      • Jimmy Dick August 14, 2014 / 7:45 am

        Saying so does not prove so. The evidence is abundantly clear that your statement is incorrect. You can forget the states identification. It was about what people wanted acting within the geopolitical boundaries of states. This is why the bottom up approach to history is so relevant to this issue. People made decisions and acted upon them. Groups tried to do different things.

        One thing is clear. One group acted to preserve the right to own human beings. They were able to unite enough people to support that idea in order to attempt to alter the way things were proceeding (slavery dying away due to a lack of expansion). They were not able to get enough support to succeed in the long run though.

      • jarretr August 14, 2014 / 8:20 am

        What we’re seeing here with Melissa Blue is cognitive dissonance on an incredible scale. It’s fitting, however, given that Confederates at the time were guilty of cognitive dissonance as well, if you remember Richard Beringer et al in “Why The South Lost the Civil War.”

      • Michael Rodgers August 14, 2014 / 9:25 am

        Your reply is completely false. By spurning the offer to join the other slave states in the slave state insurrection known as the US Civil War (which Lincoln won), the states you mentioned chose the anti-slavery and pro-union side. Moreover, the USA is pro self-determination through the electoral process (which Lincoln won), the Congress (which Lincoln won), and the constitutional amendment process (which Lincoln won), while the CSA was anti self-determination in that it put power in states not people, believed in bullets over ballots, and sought to extend slavery further and farther. But thank you for your kind — but completely, utterly, and ridiculously wrong — attempt to correct me.

        • Rosemary August 14, 2014 / 10:16 am

          The four southern states that stayed in the union were not anti-slavery. Slavery was protected by the US constitution and at the start of the war slavery legally continued in the states… and it continued there even after the emancipation proclamation took effect in states where rebellion raged.
          Kentucky joined the confederacy after the war in response to passage of anti-slavery constitutional amendments. This was a gesture only, to be sure. But Kentucky wanted to demonstrate opposition the amendments.
          Some posters here wouldn’t get top grades on a Civil war era history class test. (Me, I’d get a high B. (I always got high Bs no matter what, seemed like))
          But I digress…
          Really good source for accurate info are lectures on CSpan…. On CSpan video library/archive you can hear historians from all around the US talk about pre war, war, and post war situations. There is a really interesting but kinda wild speech by U of Virginia guy on Thomas Jefferson and slavery and the inevitable civil war….
          Personally, I’d like to add that I have lost the respect I was taught in grade school to have for our founders who held slaves. They hurt the people they enslaved, they hurt the country overall, they especially hurt the Civil War generation, and their self indulgence continues to hurt society today.
          Finally, first slaves here allegedly were at Jamestown…. we can blame the Brits.🙂

          • Brooks D. Simpson August 14, 2014 / 10:22 am

            It is fair to point out that, unlike any Confederate-controlled state, both Missouri and Maryland abolished slavery during the war. It was not until loyal state governments in Tennessee, Louisiana, end elsewhere were formed that several states that had joined the Confederacy abolished slavery. Much is made of West Virginia’s entry into the Union as a slave state (without any details about the Willey amendment), but, tell me, where did slavery end first: Virginia or West Virginia? Hint: West Virginia did so on February 3, 1865.

          • Jimmy Dick August 14, 2014 / 10:41 am

            You cannot blame the Brits for slavery. The first blacks at Jamestown were not slaves, but indentured servants. Slavery in America was developed by the colonists to fit their needs for labor and to develop a social system where the poorest whites would always be perceived as being in a higher order than any black person.
            Please look up Edmund Morgan’s American Slavery, American Freedom for a good look at this subject.

          • khepera420 August 14, 2014 / 12:22 pm

            “Finally, first slaves here allegedly were at Jamestown… we can blame the Brits. ”

            Well, actually it was a Dutch ship that brought them, so. . .😉

          • Michael Rodgers August 14, 2014 / 2:08 pm

            As part of the USA, those 4 slave states were anti-slavery as I described — slavery OK for now but eventually NO — and a big part of the reason they stayed as part of the USA was the lower percentage (<20%) of slave population in those slave states. Also, as part of the Civil War, the USA began freeing slaves from the insurrecting states almost immediately via the clever concept of contraband and then later through other measures and still later through the Emancipation Proclamation.

          • Melissa Blue August 15, 2014 / 6:35 am

            Absolutey false. Or, sinice you seem to insist on this nonsense, please show me the Kentucky legislation which provided for the emancipation of slaves.

          • Jimmy Dick August 15, 2014 / 7:11 am

            Looks like the Waterboy is up to his usual nonsense.

          • Melissa Blue August 15, 2014 / 8:46 am

            You are saying that Kentucky enacted legislation emancipating its slaves?

          • Michael Rodgers August 15, 2014 / 9:54 am

            Kentucky reaffirmed its commitment to the USA and to Lincoln’s anti-slavery agenda when it decided against holding a referendum on secession.

          • Jimmy Dick August 15, 2014 / 10:37 am

            It’s just the Waterboy with his usual line of unreasoning which he takes from website to website. Facts mean nothing to him. He is not interested in the historical truth. Context escapes him. He wants his past his way, and damn anything that proves him wrong.

          • Melissa Blue August 15, 2014 / 11:13 am

            Actually, Kentucky reaffirmed its commitment to the USA and Lincoln’s pro-slavery agenda when it decided to remain in the Union and lawfully maintain the institution of slavery.

        • Melissa Blue August 15, 2014 / 6:37 am

          Utterly fasle. Slavery was perfectly legal, and openly practised in Kentucky, MIssouri, Maryland and Delaware. it is more than ridiculous to describe these slave states as “anti-slavery”. I could just as easily describe South Carolina and Mississippi ans anit-salvery by your definition of “anti-salvery.”

          • Brooks D. Simpson August 15, 2014 / 7:55 am

            You continue to omit the fact that Maryland rid itself of slavery in 1864 and Missouri followed suit in early 1865. We continue to await your citation of a Confederate state that got rid of slavery through the Confederate political process … or your analysis of the Confederate constitution’s proslavery causes. Are you finding that task too difficult?

          • Melissa Blue August 15, 2014 / 8:44 am

            No more difficult than analyzing the proslavery clauses of the Unitd States Constitution. Including the one which permitted slave-trafficking, and of course that barbaric practise was made unconstitutional in the Confederate Constitution. As for eliminatiing slavery through the political process, I believe the Union State of Kentucky bitterly clung to slavery until the 13th amendment compelled its abrogationm, making it the last State in the Union to do so.

          • Christopher Shelley August 15, 2014 / 12:54 pm

            The “I know you are, but what am I?” school of neo-Confederate thought. Smells like Watherboy aka CAC aka Caldwell has resurfaced. The guy’s like a whack-a-mole.

          • Bert August 16, 2014 / 4:41 am

            “Digital cockroach” is my favorite term for this kind of animal, coined by an old friend from another corner of cyberspace.

          • E.A. Mayer August 15, 2014 / 1:32 pm

            This was already covered. You seem to already forget that it was in the main the Southern representatives, particularly South Carolina, that made immediately addressing the slave trade impossible and that it threatened not to join if it were.
            And Professor Simpson and any honest and good student of the period will tell you that the overseas trade was really mainly banned by the CSA because they had yet to secures Virginia’s and the other upper Southern states allegiance that were the big slave exporting states to the lower south.

            And there was a significant movement in the South before the war, particularly by lower south fireaters to reopen the slave trade.

            “Some militant secessionists wanted to reopen the trade, but this would have alienated the upper South and crippled the confederacy’s hope for European recognition. So instead of legalizing the trade they proscribed it.” McPherson “Ordeal by Fire” p150

            “The Drive to reopen the slave trade also joined the growing list of divisive sectional issues. This movement begun in the early 1850s and grew to significant proportions by 1859. Most Southerners opposed revival of the trade. But a substantial number of prominent men endorsed the repeal of the 1807 law banning the importation of slaves. Jeff Davis condemned the law as unconstitutional and as insulting to the South. The governor of South Carolina demanded the reopening of the trade. Two-thirds of the Southern Congressmen voted against a house resolution condemning the agitation to reopen the trade. In 1859 the Southern Commercial Convention passed a resolution favoring repeal of the anti-importations laws. J.B.D. DeBow, editor of the South’s leading commercial periodical, became president of the African Labor Supply Organization, organized in 1859 to work for repeal.” McPherson Ibid, p120-121
            .

          • Michael Rodgers August 15, 2014 / 9:22 am

            Yes, every person and every state in the USA, as part of the USA, was anti-slavery, meaning currently contain and eventually extinguish slavery, because Lincoln won on that platform. It’s how voting works. When you participate in an election then you are part of the results even if you voted the other way. George Washington explained how our American democracy works quite clearly in his farewell address: “The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.”

          • Melissa Blue August 15, 2014 / 10:05 am

            Actually, according to that weird definition, absolutely no person and no state in the USA, AS PART OF THE USA, was anti-slavery, because the Lincoln had absolutely no say on the question of slavery; it was entirely up to the individual states. Even on the much ballyhooed nonsense about limiting the spread of slavery, Lincoln was utterly powerless, ans the Supreme Court had settled the matter. It’s how the constitution works. As for white-supremacist George Washington, when he wasn’t beating or selling off his slaves, he was leading a violent, traitorous, and lawless secession from the British Empire. So tell me, did Washington “obey the esrablished government” of Great Britain?

          • Jimmy Dick August 15, 2014 / 10:40 am

            Hey Waterboy! You got your butt handed to you already on Chris’s blog concerning secession in the Revolution. You forget that buttwhipping so soon? I’d ask how stupid are you, but the fact that you change names and keep posting the same things over and over again while being proven wrong by multiple people using actual facts shows just how ignorant you actually are.

          • E.A. Mayer August 15, 2014 / 1:37 pm

            A little inconsistent aren’t you? Now Washington is leading a rebellion, before you touted him as a model for CSA’s allegedly legal and purportedly peaceful secession.
            Even RE Lee knew and admitted at the time that what they were doing was rebellion and therefore unconstitutional.
            “Secession is nothing but revolution. The framers of our Constitution never exhausted so much labor, wisdom and forbearance in its formation, and surrounded it with so many guards and securities, if it was intended to be broken by every member of the Confederacy at will.
            It was intended for “perpetual union” so expressed in the preamble, and for the establishment of a government, not a compact, which can only be dissolved by a revolution, or the consent of all the people in convention assembled. It is idle to talk of secession, Anarchy would have been established, and not a government, by Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and the other patriots of the Revolution.” – Robert E. Lee, January 23, 1861

          • Melissa Blue August 18, 2014 / 7:16 am

            You seem a litle inconsistent, ya know? First, you vilify and demonize the Confederates for secession and slavery, yet you do not demonize Thomas Jefferosn and George Washington for the same. Why? As for Geneal Lee and secession, I would ask him the same I now ask of you; please show me where the constitution prohibits it.

          • E.A. Mayer August 19, 2014 / 6:59 pm

            Once again, the founders didn’t ‘secede’. They knew that what they were doing was rebellion and treason. You are just once again trying to conflate secession and revolution, they are not the same, as Madison himself made clear.

            “I return my thanks for the copy of your late very powerful Speech in the Senate of the United S. It crushes “nullification” and must hasten the abandonment of “Secession.” But this dodges the blow by confounding the claim to secede at will, with the right of seceding from intolerable oppression. The former answers itself, being a violation, without cause, of a faith solemnly pledged. The latter is another name only for revolution” – Madison

            So as he makes it clear, claiming to be able to secede at will unilaterally is “a violation, without cause, of a faith solemnly pledged.” In other words unconstitutional, and claiming the right of seceding from intolerable oppression is just “another name only for revolution” And revolution is of course not constitutional.
            .

          • John Foskett August 20, 2014 / 8:12 am

            I’ve thought all along that Melissa’s disingenuous rather than stupid, but i’m not so certain any more. The AWI was a “rebellion/insurrection” against the Crown. The Founders had enough integrity to admit it. The Confeds love to compare their actions to the Founders’ actions, but they get lost when it comes to “rebellion/insurrection”. There’s a very good reason for that but they either can’t deal with it or are too dumb to figure out why

          • Melissa Blue August 20, 2014 / 10:37 am

            Once again, the founders executed a textbook secession. The founders no longer wished to be a part of the British Empire, and so they separated from that Emmpire.In like manner, the Confederate States no longer wished to be a part of the United States, and so they separated from that political union.

            “… Were the Union itself inconsistent with the public happiness, it would be, ABOLISH THE UNION.” – JamesMadison

            So he makes it clear, that if a political union fails to serve its purpose, it may be dissolved. Inded, this is the essence of liberty, and the antithesis of tyranny.It must also be remembered that the Constitutional Convention was itself a secession convention, and Madison was among the recognized leaders in the effort to secede from the union under the AoC.

            PS- Couldn’t find a prohibition against secession anywhere in the constitution, could ya?

          • Brooks D. Simpson August 20, 2014 / 10:40 am

            Where was the textbook for secession in 1776? Just curious.

            Your silence about the League of the South’s position on Confederate heritage is telling. Skeered?

          • Christopher Shelley August 18, 2014 / 11:49 pm

            “Lincoln had absolutely no say on the question of slavery; it was entirely up to the individual states. Even on the much ballyhooed nonsense about limiting the spread of slavery, Lincoln was utterly powerless, ans the Supreme Court had settled the matter. It’s how the constitution works.”

            It was not “ballyhooed nonsense”–it was the platform of the the Republican Party. And while the Constitution works is a particular way, politics are part of that. A Republican president could appoint anti-slave-expansion members to the Supreme Court. Republicans in power meant one day perhaps a Constitutional amendment abolishing slavery in the not-so-distant future. So, much ballyhooed indeed: if you think the party in power could have no effect on the spread of slavery just because of Taney and Dred Scott, then you, once again, show yourself to be uneducated on this topic and naive. Or (more likely) delusional.

            Do you even understand what Dred Scott was and what it meant?

      • Nancy Winkler August 14, 2014 / 9:39 am

        Well, it’s a little more complex than that. The border states had a smaller proportion of slaves to their populations, therefore a smaller proportion of slaveholders as well. The “slave power” (slaveholders in the legislatures) was also small and much weaker than in the seceding states. It did not have the power to pull those states out of the Union.

        Yes, individual slaveholders existed in the border states, but each border state as a whole was a weak “slave state.” Yes, slaveholders there could see that federal laws (if not the US Constitution) protected the interests of slaveholders, but why didn’t the slaveholders in the seceding states see it the same way?

        Answer: the election of a Republican in 1860. The border states could see, as the seceding states did also, that Lincoln’s election on an anti-slavery platform meant that slavery would not be allowed to spread, and that in time slavery in the South would be threatened.

        The point is, the border states did not care about the threat to slavery, because most of their people were not slaveholders or in league with them. The opposite is true for the seceding states.

        In other words, Delaware does not equal South Carolina, etc. etc.

        • Rosemary August 14, 2014 / 10:21 am

          Oh, I think Delaware cared. Lincoln struggled to get border states to accept compensated emanciapation (people who “owned” people paid to let enslaved go)… I’m pretty sure only Wash DC had compensated emanciapation because congress had power to vote it in there.

          • Rosemary August 14, 2014 / 10:45 am

            e m a n c i p a t i o n
            that is right spelling…
            I hate it when I post misspelled words!

  17. Christopher Shelley August 13, 2014 / 6:33 pm

    Well, that was fun. I haven’t seen Brooks give a RomCon such a full thrashing in a long time.

    • Ira Berkowitz August 13, 2014 / 9:24 pm

      Her attempted responses were completely illogical, unsupported by facts and just plain odd.

  18. Rkop August 13, 2014 / 7:12 pm

    To what degree was Lincoln elected by people who were in touch with the “better angels of our nature”. It’s simplified, but many northerners were done with the dred Scott idea that ‘no negro has any rights that I’m obligated to respect’. New York thugs did some terrible things to African Americans, but they didn’t usually vote into office the murderous people in the culture (Preston Brooks). Southerners put the “by any means necessary” folks in power. And when those people, like Nathan Bedford forest (1st klan leader) weren’t violent enough, they got in touch with the better devils of their nature and got someone crueler. Right now Isis, in the Middle East, is doing unspeakable things. They have support from the religious conservative people in the region. Whether it’s 1840, 1950, or 2014, putting the “by any means necessary crowd” in power doesn’t honor the past, it kills the innocent in the present.

    • Christopher Shelley August 16, 2014 / 3:26 pm

      Well, I think what most of them were fed up with wasn’t what slavery did to blacks, but what it did to whites. The tyranny of slavery demanded some level of despotism over white behavior as well.

    • Melissa Blue August 18, 2014 / 9:11 am

      New Yorkers happily did big business with the Southern slave-owners, and made handsome profits doing it. As for New York voting murderers into office, surely you know that New Yorkers voted Dan Sickes into Congress after he had murdered his wife’s lover, right? And Preston Brooks didn’t kill anyone, whereas Dan Sickles did. As for the klan, better check out Indiana; they were gbrutal there, and did unspeakable things.And they hasd support from irrelgious liberals too. So, yeah, the north was up to its eyeballs in the “by any means necessary crowd”.

      • Brooks D. Simpson August 18, 2014 / 11:08 am

        So, you equate Preston Brooks’s assault on a United States senator on the senate floor with a man seeking revenge against his wife’s lover? Interesting.

        Can’t wait to hear what you say about the League of the South’s view of southern history, especially its view of the Confederacy and its founders.

        • Melissa Blue August 18, 2014 / 11:27 am

          No, I do not equate the two. I think murder is a far more serious and sinister act than assault.

          • Brooks D. Simpson August 18, 2014 / 11:55 am

            I see. So the fact that Preston Brooks fell short of murdering Charles Sumner shows us what, exactly?

          • Melissa Blue August 18, 2014 / 12:20 pm

            That he is not a murderer, whereas Dan Sickles is.

          • Christopher Shelley August 18, 2014 / 11:40 pm

            Melissa/CAC/Waterboy, this is why you will never understand history, either as a discipline, nor as a story of how we got to be who we are. You can’t differentiate between a private murder and an incredibly public beating of a United States Senator by a member of the House of Representatives. You apparently don’t understand the context of the beating–the speech given by Sumner that enraged Brooks to attack him (hesitantly, by the way. Brooks was a natural coward who had to wander around Washington for a couple days, working himself into a lather and screwing himself up to beat a defenseless man). You demonstrate no awareness of the Kansas issue that provoked Sumner’s speech.

            In short, you don’t get it. At all. Any of it. Which is rather sad, actually.

      • Christopher Shelley August 18, 2014 / 11:25 pm

        Really? That’s the best you can do? Again, we get the “But the North did it too” school of neo-Confederate thought. Random events, plucked from all context, flung in our face as if they’re supposed to mean something.

        You don’t seem to understand what the Brooks assault on Sumner meant to Northerners who tired of the Slave-power dictating the terms of Union. You don’t at all grasp that we all understand that Northerners were also racist, and that this is only relevant as far as analyzing events–that historians aren’t judging the South. Everything is frozen in time for you: Lincoln said a racist thing, therefore he’s a racist for all time and all of his actions are meaningless because he was a racist. Don’t you wish.

        But you might as well keep it coming. Clearly, we all find your antics amusing since we all keep commenting on them.

  19. Michael Rodgers August 16, 2014 / 6:02 am

    Regarding America’s original sin, yes it’s slavery. It’s important to say it. I think that gets said all the time. We still ought to say it more.

    Regarding George Washington, as General he led a revolution not a secession where the colonies got independence from a government they were not part of but subject to and as President helped form — by establishing a federal government with an amendable constitution — a republican democracy, known as the USA, that the people were citizens in not subjects of and therefore each individual has a duty “to obey the established government.”

    Regarding Lincoln’s agenda, his House Divided speech explains the two sides, and it’s clear which one he’s on (spoiler alert: he’s an opponent of slavery): “Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction, or its advocates will push it forward till it shall become alike lawful in all the states, old as well as new, North as well as South.”

    Regarding the south’s interpretation of Lincoln’s agenda, regardless of the extent of the power he had to make it happen (though he was pretty amazing at getting what he wanted), SC said Lincoln’s “opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery,” and Mississippi said that Lincoln “seeks to extinguish it [slavery] by confining it within its present limits, denying the power of expansion.” Thus the south believed that Lincoln’s agenda of currently containing and eventually extinguishing slavery was an anti-slavery agenda.

    Regarding the USA’s goals in fighting the war, Lincoln initially stated that the goal was solely union, without regard for ending slavery, but in practice Union troops began freeing slaves from the insurrecting states almost immediately via the clever concept of contraband and then later through other measures and still later through the Emancipation Proclamation. And as the war went on Lincoln grew more explicit about his twin conditions that peace can happen if the Confederates agree to “the integrity of the whole union” and “the abandonment of slavery.” Thus Lincoln’s actual goals for the war in reality were both pro-union and anti-slavery.

    Regarding Kentucky, the Civil War Trust notes: “In total, about 100,000 Kentuckians served in the Union Army. After April 1864, when the Union Army began recruiting African American soldiers in Kentucky, almost 24,000 joined to fight for their freedom. For the Confederacy, between 25,000 and 40,000 Kentuckians answered the call of duty.” Thus Kentucky, as a slave state in the USA, fought for union and against slavery.

    • Rosemary August 16, 2014 / 9:54 am

      In 2010, Cspan broadcast lectures held at the Museum of the Confederacy that dealt with whether Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, and Tyler played parts in causing the Civil War. The answer was YES for Washington….. a murkey YES for Jefferson (except dead people can’t cause anything… this talk is by Peter Onuf who is cool to listen to but left me wiith questions) ….. and a real big YES for Tyler who the speaker called a “traitor.” I haven’t heard the Jackson speech yet.
      If anyone on this thread is wanting fuel for the fire, check out link below:
      http://www.c-span.org/video/?292204-5/presidents-events-leading-civil-war

    • Melissa Blue August 18, 2014 / 7:23 am

      Inasmuch as “separation” and “secession” are synonyms, and inasmuch as Jefferson explicitly declated that the colonies were separating from Breat Britain, Washington led a textbook secession. And there was no war against slavery, only a war against political independence. And the slave State of Kentucky fought against the right of political independence.

      • Michael Rodgers August 18, 2014 / 6:52 pm

        Synonyms are useful because they mean nearly the same but have something different about them. The words separation and secession are indeed similar in meaning but not enough in my book to be synonyms because one is more general and the other carries a lot of baggage that you oh so willingly heap by the wayside or perhaps embrace like a heraldic shield and anyway certainly the better word, by far, to describe General Washington’s leadership is revolution not secession.

        Political independence is a lovely thing that the USA had then and has now and that the CSA never had and never stood for. Kentucky fought for the United States, which stands for ballots over bullets. When you lose an election, you don’t claim the right of unilateral secession and prepare for war. No, you recognize that you lost and that you had better work with the political process. Otherwise, Jefferson Davis, Alexander Stephens and other “cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men,” as President Washington presciently warned, “will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

        • Melissa Blue August 20, 2014 / 11:46 am

          Baggage? Neither word has any “baggage”, but they are, in fact, synonomous. This means they can be used interchangeably. George Washington issued that ominous warning, huh? Wow. By the way, is that the same George Washington who led the traitorous secession from the British Empire?

          PS-Why exactly, do you think that one generation of men can establish a system of government that untold millions must adhere to for all enternity? it is hardly possible to describe that phenomena without immediately recognizing how absurd and preposterous it is. Really, millions upon millions upon millions are required to submit to a system they had absolutely nothing to do with? That they are not entitled to establish a system of government which suits them better? Ridiculous. Utterly ridiculous.

          • Christopher Shelley August 20, 2014 / 12:39 pm

            “PS-Why exactly, do you think that one generation of men can establish a system of government that untold millions must adhere to for all enternity?”

            Nonsense. That is the whole point Article V.

          • John Foskett August 20, 2014 / 12:46 pm

            Sounds like you’re in favor of “rebellion/insurrection”. True?

          • Melissa Blue August 20, 2014 / 1:20 pm

            Sounds like you think George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson were anarchists, traitors, and criminals. True?

    • Melissa Blue August 18, 2014 / 9:12 am

      Was slave-trafficking also America’s “original sin”?

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