The League of the South and Confederate History

Recently Michael Hill offered a rather straightforward statement of his understanding of the history of the Confederacy that pulled no punches.

Basically, Hill links the creation of the Confederacy with the defense of slavery and white supremacy. He does so in what has become a rather traditional attack on so-called “Rainbow Confederates,” who in his eyes are “politically correct.” However, Hill clearly disagrees with some of the historical interpretations offered here recently about the Confederacy by such people as the rainbow-sounding “Melissa Blue” and Ben Jones, chief of heritage operations for the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

One must admit that the League of the South has been straightforward and candid about its understanding of history. I’d question whether some of the people Hill labels as “Rainbow Confederates” are in fact as tolerant as he may make them out to be. Indeed, I think the racial views of several so-called “Rainbow Confederates” are much more in line with the Southern Nationalist Network, Occidental Dissent, and the League of the South than certain folks would want to admit. Nevertheless, I think in other cases there is much distance indeed. When someone from the SCV tells me that a sign of his racial views is his membership in the NAACP, I’m tempted to remind him that many of the people he claims to represent characterize the NAACP as a “hate group.”

To me the issue is not what the League of the South believes. That message has been fairly consistent, and it has been made public a number of times. Indeed, there is a great deal of merit in their view of the Confederacy’s foundations, in large part because that interpretation is based on what secessionists and Confederates actually said. It’s not whether you have 1,200 books in your library: it’s which books you have, whether you’ve read them, and how your understanding of history is shaped by what you’ve read.

Simply put, one can reject their message to today’s America while accepting that their interpretation of the past has merit. Or one can pose in pictures with white supremacists and march with white supremacists and call them good guys and good friends, which renders whining about “guilt by association” ludicrous. Certain people simply don’t have the courage of their convictions.

As I’ve already said, the Mid-South Flaggers deserve a lot of credit for not ducking this issue. They understand what the League of the South is all about, and they have started to move to disassociate themselves from the group. Not so the Virginia Flaggers or the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Yet in such inaction is the suspicion that one does not denounce what one privately embraces, or that one accepts the support of groups one claims to oppose.

We know that the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Virginia Flaggers can be very vocal in their opposition to groups with whom they do not agree … so what are we to make of their silence in this instance?

42 thoughts on “The League of the South and Confederate History

  1. Spelunker August 18, 2014 / 10:27 am

    Seems like a conclusion is pretty cut and dry.

    I think the latest move by the League is an effort to cow some of the Rainbows into succumbing to the White Supremacy worldview, which they may already subscribe to anyway, they just go to great lengths to disguise it.

  2. Andrew Raker August 18, 2014 / 10:58 am

    My guess is that the SCV and VA Flaggers think that the call for them to distance themselves from their most outwardly racist elements is just part of the strategy of what they deem the “Cultural Marxist Politically Correct Yankee” forces to divide and conquer. What they’re missing is that the LOS doesn’t care for them because of their “Rainbow Confederate” leanings. I can’t explain the psychology behind that. They’re defending groups that could easily throw them under the bus.

    Hill’s use of Wallace in his argument, however, does give me hope that these groups can have their own Road to Damascus moment on race, just as the Governor did.

  3. Cotton Boll Conspiracy August 18, 2014 / 11:24 am

    Speaking as but a single member of the SCV, I can only say that I find any organization that has as its basis the belief that a single race, religion or ethnicity is superior to all others as not only simplistic and narrow-minded, but one which I personally have no interest in being linked with in any way.

    In addition, I fail to see how any one group’s history is or can be considered superior to any other group’s history. I have long sought to better understand how different groups interacted to form, at least in the United States, our American past. It’s long been my belief that rarely does a single group exist in a vacuum, without influence from others, and one can’t begin to understand any single group’s history without trying to understand everyone’s history. Of course, you can’t really separate out groups, as even during the most segregated periods of US history there was still considerable interaction, whether it was economic or social.

    I belong to the SCV because I enjoy learning about the Civil War, along with the antebellum and Reconstruction periods, especially in South Carolina, where I reside. But my interest in US history also includes slavery, emancipation, Jim Crow, the Great Migration and the Civil Rights era, along with many other areas with no connection to the war or the South.

    In short, I enjoy most all history because the past has always fascinated me, and I have no interest in being associated with anyone or any group that seeks to marginalize any part of our past.

    • Hunter Wallace August 18, 2014 / 12:29 pm

      If you are so opposed to “racism” and “white supremacy,” why would you join an organization which was founded by “racists” and “white supremacists,” and which spent the entire Jim Crow era erecting public monuments across the South to dead “racists” and “white supremacists”?

      Why would you venerate the Confederacy which was founded to preserve “racism” and “white supremacy” and, yes, even slavery from the threat posed by “Black Republicanism”? Are you unable to see the comedy in waving the CBF, the symbol of a slaveholding republic, while insisting you are not a “racist”?

      That’s on the same level as dressing up as a Klansman and reenacting a cross burning while denying you are a “racist.”

      • Spelunker August 18, 2014 / 2:14 pm

        I’ve got Brad’s back on this one…

          • Spelunker August 19, 2014 / 4:53 am

            I never though I’d agree with Brad Griffin. While I agree with the point he’s making here, I don’t support pretty much anything he believes.

      • Cotton Boll Conspiracy August 19, 2014 / 5:30 am

        Mr. Wallace,

        I don’t go around waving the “CBF”; I enjoy learning about the past and trying to understand it better.

        It is a broad generalization to say all members of the SCV are racists because the Confederacy’s success would have meant the continuation of slavery. I have no doubt there are racists within the SCV, just as there are racists within the general population as a whole. I have not had anyone express such views to me within my own camp but I will say that I’m not interested in interacting with these sorts were they to make such opinions known.

        I will add that equating SCV members with the Klan is particularly distasteful and really does nothing to further the discussion.

        I chose to respond to the post initially because I felt there was an opportunity for useful discourse. I’d like to think that’s still the case.

        • Hunter Wallace August 19, 2014 / 8:25 am

          1.) This is a history blog. Everyone here enjoys learning about history including the history of the Confederacy.

          2.) The SCV was founded by racists and white supremacists to honor and glorify a rebellion against the US federal government which was unquestionably inspired by the defense of racism, white supremacy, and slavery. The threat posed by the election of a “Black Republican” president was the occasion of secession.

          3.) I never said all members of the SCV are “racists.” Obviously, that’s not the case. In fact, Ben Jones was over here just the other day boasting about his descent from a “tri-racial isolate,” which would have scandalized the Confederate generation which liked to claim Hannibal Hamblin was a mulatto.

          At the same time, the SCV itself was founded by racists in order to glorify men who certainly were racists whose cause was, well, racist. For generations during the early 20th century, the SCV had no objection to “racism” or “white supremacy” as it built public monuments across the South at the height of the Jim Crow era.

          4.) The people who objected to “racism” back then were the most hated enemies of the Confederacy, the “Black Republicans.”

          5.) Again, if you object to “racism,” why would you join an organization founded by racists to glorify a racist cause? If you are so interested in historical truth, then surely you have read the same documents I have. Surrely you know what the Confederates themselves thought about “anti-racism” and “civil rights” in light of their Redemption of the South.

          6.) Why is that distasteful? The SCV and the Klan alike were created by racists and white supremacists. They both have their own rituals. They both honor their ancestors and carry on their own traditions.

          Perhaps the analogy is insulting to the Klan? At least Klansmen are educated enough to know why the Klan was founded and have preserved their own heritage.

          Imagine a world where the Grand Dragon of the Klan boasts about his mixed race family, denies that the Klan was ever racist, and is populated by people who just think it is cool to dress up in Klan robes and attend cross lightings.

          This spectacle would appear comical to the public, and especially so to historians, but that is the state of the modern SCV.

          • John Foskett August 19, 2014 / 9:47 am

            As I’ve said before, I find your beliefs abhorrent but i admire and respect your intellectual honesty. It’s a quality sorely lacking in the rest of the neo-Confed crowd – the flaggers, the Rainbows. the Chastainers. Could you help educate a prime poser, hiding under the handle “Melissa Blue”, about the following:

            “The SCV was founded by racists and white supremacists to honor and glorify a rebellion against the US federal government….”

            “She” doesn’t seem sufficiently equipped to grasp this concept.

          • Melissa Blue August 20, 2014 / 1:10 pm

            I rtoo, admire the intellectual honesty, and it is a quality that is sorely lacking aong the neo-Union crowd. Accordingly, can you enlighten a provacatuer concealed under the name “Foskett” about the following;

            “the United States was founded on the right of political self-determnation by a group of slave-owning, slave-trafficking white supremacists”

            “He” doesn’t seem sufficiently equipped to grasp this very, very basic cncept.

          • Jimmy Dick August 20, 2014 / 1:13 pm

            No, he grasps it quite well. You seem to fail to understand the past, but then it is not the past you are concerned with. It is what you want the past to have been that is the problem. You have no intellectual honesty nor capacity for learning.

          • John Foskett August 24, 2014 / 8:38 am

            You’re pretty much in love with the secession concept. How about giving it a real world try? (If you notice, you won’t find much of a line at the ticket booth).

  4. Melissa Blue August 18, 2014 / 12:09 pm

    Personally I am race-neutral, and I find the politics of race geneally destructive, distatseful, and counterproductive. I view the war through a prism of constitutional and natural law, and I simply do not understand how one can argue against the right of a people to seek their own political independence. That the Confederates were white-supremacists does not taint their rectitude of their claim to the right of self-determination in the least, because the Founding Fathers made the same claims while also being a society of white-supremacist slave-owners. The LoS position simply acknowledges these unhappy truths.

    • John Foskett August 18, 2014 / 3:34 pm

      In other words, each state had the right to engage in “rebellion” against the United States, correct?

      • John Foskett August 19, 2014 / 6:49 am

        An awful lot of crickets can be heard when the dirty “r” word is tossed out there. Maybe “Melissa”‘s dictionary stops at “Q”.

        • Melissa Blue August 20, 2014 / 1:12 pm

          And an awful lot of cricketts can be heard when the dirty “s-ed” phrase is thrown about. maybe “Foskett’s” dictionary stops at “s”.

          • John Foskett August 22, 2014 / 1:51 pm

            I’ve already told you i’m good with “right of self-determination”, etc. etc. as acceptable synonyms for “rebellion/insurrection”. I’m equally good with adding “secession” as another synonym. Your serve……..

          • Melissa Blue August 22, 2014 / 2:29 pm

            And I, in turn, have already advised you that I’m good with the “right of self-determination”, as an acceptable synonym for “peaceful, lawful, secession”. And as soon as you add “peaceful”, and “lawful”, to your description, you’ll be just fine.

          • Christopher Shelley August 22, 2014 / 9:20 pm

            Which is, of course, asinine, since Southern secession was neither.

          • John Foskett August 24, 2014 / 8:39 am

            The problem is that you need too many adjectives to modify the synonoym. TRy again.

      • Melissa Blue August 20, 2014 / 11:26 am

        You mean like the colonies had the right to engage in “rebellion” against their King and country, correct?

        • Andrew Raker August 20, 2014 / 1:42 pm

          How many MPs did the American colonies have in Parliament in the late 18th century, Melissa? How many had participated in the election of George III?

          Now, how many Congresscritters did the Southern states have up for election in 1860? How many electors did those states have in the Presidential election of that year.

          See the difference?

          • Melissa Blue August 22, 2014 / 11:24 am

            Except that the Colonies were governed by their respective charters, none of which entitled them to direct representation in Parliament, and all of which they voluntarily agreeed to.

            See how it works?

          • Christopher Shelley August 22, 2014 / 12:31 pm

            Those charters drew on the sovereignty of the King and Parliament. The colonial governments weren’t sovereign without that “power source.” Because of that sovereignty, the colonists enjoyed their rights as Englishmen under the British Constitution. When those rights were violated, they proposed changes. When those proposals were ignored, they conducted a rebellion, rejected the old charters, and drafted new state constitutions in which sovereignty was lodged in the People rather than a monarch. They fundamentally changed the nature of sovereignty, and that was one of the truly revolutionary things about the Revolution.

            The Confederates did not stand on revolutionary principles (the natural right to revolution) because they were afraid of Locke’s ideas of liberty, which undermined their system of slavery. They tried to secede instead, which gave it the trappings of legality with conventions and ordinances.

            So, you can yank colonial history and the Revolution out of its context, and ignore the evolution of these governments from glorified business licenses to documents of self-government if you choose, but that merely shows you know less about the American Revolution than you do the Civil War.

          • Jimmy Dick August 22, 2014 / 12:59 pm

            Want to bet on that?

      • Melissa Blue August 20, 2014 / 1:34 pm

        In other words, the colonists had the right to engage in “rebellion” against their King and Country, right?

        • John Foskett August 22, 2014 / 1:49 pm

          So we say. The light is dawning. Next step – the Secesh didn’t have the right to engage in “rebellion/insurrection.” It took some work but yes, the light is dawning.

          • Melissa Blue August 22, 2014 / 2:42 pm

            Look like there is light at the end of the tunnel. Next step-the States had a perfect right to secede, unlike the slave-owning, slave-trafficking treasonous colonists. Might take some doing, but there is that light…

          • Christopher Shelley August 22, 2014 / 8:53 pm

            Yes–the colonists reserved the right to revolution because they felt they were being oppressed. In 1860, Southern slave-owners claimed they were being oppressed, yet failed to provide evidence for that. Rather, they maintained that the “black Republicans” would destroy slavery. And THAT was their avowed reason for leaving the Union–not oppression, not tyranny, but because they feared blacks would become equal to whites one day.

          • Jimmy Dick August 23, 2014 / 9:03 am

            You missed the turn there, Waterboy. Try again. This time engage your brain because so far you haven’t done that.

          • John Foskett August 23, 2014 / 9:42 am

            I’m afraid you’re going to be held back a grade this year. The colonists didn’t “secede” – they “rebelled”. Same as the Secesh in 1860-61, who unabashedly identified what they were doing with what the colonists had done.

    • Christopher Shelley August 18, 2014 / 10:32 pm

      “I view the war through a prism of constitutional and natural law, and I simply do not understand how one can argue against the right of a people to seek their own political independence.”

      That’s because you don’t understand natural law, nor the nature of the American Union under the Constitution, nor the actual order of events in the 1850s-60s. You have a superficial understanding that allows you to make these ridiculous leaps. In short, you have just enough information to be a danger to yourself.

    • Bob Huddleston August 22, 2014 / 4:10 pm

      So, Melissa, you would have supported Nat Turner and any other slave rebellions: surely *they* had ” the r.ight of a people to seek their own political independence.”

  5. Hunter Wallace August 18, 2014 / 1:48 pm

    “We have not lightly entered upon the path we are pursuing; and, conscious of the rectitude of our intentions and the justice of our cause, we have neither motive or desire to retrace our steps. There may be those who delude themselves with visions of a reconstructed Union and a restored Constitution. If such there be, let them awake from their dreaming! Between the South and the North there is a great gulf fixed. It is a gulf crimsoned with the blood of our sons and brothers, filled with the bitter hatred of our enemies and the memories of our wrongs. It can be passed only with dishonor, and in reconstruction we shall reach the climax of infamy! Humbly submit yonrselves to our hated foes, and they will offer you a reconstructed Constitution providing for the confiscation of your property, the immediate emancipation of your slaves and the elevation of the black race to a position of equality, aye, of superiority, that will make them your masters and rulers. Rather than such base submission, such ruin and dishonor, let the last of our young men die upon the field of battle, and when none are left to wield a blade or uphold our banner, then let our old men, our women and our children, like the remnant of the heroic Pascagoulas, when their braves were slain, join hands together, march into the sea and perish beneath its waters.”

    Source: Mississippi Governor Charles Clark, Inaugural Address, 1863

    “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world.”

    Source: Mississippi Declaration of the Causes of Secession

    “It advocates negro equality, socially and politically, and promotes insurrection and incendiarism in our midst.”

    Source: Mississippi Declaration of the Causes of Secession

    “You will find that his mission in Miss., as proclaimed by himself, is the exclusion (by means of the ballot in the hands of the freedmen) from any share in the government, of the only class in which reside the elements of dignity virtue & the welfare of society,” Lamar wrote. As the letter went on, Lamar’s temper rose: “The real effect of his scheme is that the white people of the state shall be for four years longer practically denied the privilege of self government, their voice silenced, and their interests and their honor confided to strangers who neither comprehend the one nor believe in the existence of the other. I say strangers, for Gen. Ames admitted in his speech here, that his party of Northern men and enfranchised negroes were new to the political interests & institutions of the State … Draw a line on one side of which you see property, intelligence, virtue, religion, self-respect, enlightened public opinion, and exclusion from all political control; and on the other the absolute unchecked political supremacy of brute numbers, and there you will behold not one attribute of free government, but the saddest & the blackest tyranny that ever cursed this earth.”

    – Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar

  6. Hunter Wallace August 18, 2014 / 1:51 pm

    “Sink or swim, live or die, survive or perish, the path of Mississippi is chosen, she will never submit to the principles and policy of this Black Republican Administration.

    She had rather see the last of her race, men, women and children, immolated in one common funeral pile [pyre], than see them subjected to the degradation of civil, political and social equality with the negro race.”

    Source: William L. Harris, Mississippi Secession Commissioner, Addresses The Georgia Secession Convention

    “It has been a conviction of pressing necessity, it has been a belief that we are to be deprived in the Union of the rights which our fathers bequeathed to us, which has brought Mississippi to her present decision.

    She has heard proclaimed the theory that all men are created free and equal, and this made the basis of an attack upon her social institutions; and the sacred Declaration of Independence has been invoked to maintain the position of the equality of the races. That Declaration of Independence is to be construed by the circumstances and purposes for which it was made. The communities were declaring their independence; the people of those communities were asserting that no man was born—to use the language of Mr. Jefferson—booted and spurred to ride over the rest of mankind; that men were created equal—meaning the men of the political community; that there was no divine right to rule; that no man inherited the right to govern; that there were no classes by which power and place descended to families, but that all stations were equally within the grasp of each member of the body politic. These were the great principles they announced; these were the purposes for which they made their declaration; these were the ends to which their enunciation was directed. They have no reference to the slave; else, how happened it that among the items of arraignment made against George III was that he endeavored to do just what the North has been endeavoring of late to do – to stir up insurrection among our slaves? Had the Declaration announced that the negroes were free and equal, how was the Prince to be arraigned for stirring up insurrection among them? And how was this to be enumerated among the high crimes which caused the colonies to sever their connection with the mother country? When our Constitution was formed, the same idea was rendered more palpable, for there we find provision made for that very class of persons as property; they were not put upon the footing of equality with white men—not even upon that of paupers and convicts; but, so far as representation was concerned, were discriminated against as a lower caste, only to be represented in the numerical proportion of three-fifths.

    Then, Senators, we recur to the compact which binds us together; we recur to the principles upon which our Government was founded; and when you deny them, and when you deny us the right to withdraw from a Government which thus perverted threatens to be destructive of our rights, we but tread in the path of our fathers when we proclaim our independence, and take the hazard. This is done, not in hostility to others; not to injure any section of the country, not even for our own pecuniary benefit, but from the high and solemn motive of defending and protecting the rights we inherited, and which it is our duty to transmit unshorn to our children.”

    Source: Jefferson Davis, Farewell Address to the US Senate, 1861

  7. C. Meyer August 18, 2014 / 5:50 pm

    Hill and his followers seem to be voicing a growing frustration that the movement they began is not moving in the directions they wanted it to. So with growing frustration comes growing radicalization and racial animosity. In short, their real colors are shining bright.

    • Spelunker August 19, 2014 / 4:57 am

      I agree. I think frustration is taking a toll on morale. How many 10 person events can you hold before feeling like giving up? Hill was quoted as saying the League has somewhere between 6-7k members. I’m very doubtful. We know the SCV has somewhere around 30k or so and 400 is the best they can do in Lexington? Talk about a Lost Cause.

    • Hunter Wallace August 19, 2014 / 8:33 am

      No one can say that I have “radicalized.” There was never a point in the past where I thought any differently on racial issues. If anything is true, I have mellowed somewhat over the years.

      Years ago, the League was dominated by Rainbows. For whatever reason, they left a decade ago. The organization has grown back from those who stuck with the League and who have joined since then. There hasn’t been any radicalization. It’s just new people who are more active and organized.

      • C. Meyer August 19, 2014 / 9:52 am

        I am not pointing to one person exactly Hunter, just the League as an organization.

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