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Looking back at the Confederacy with modern eyes
Fort Worth Star-Telegram ^ | January 22, 2007 | JERRY PATTERSON (Texas Land Commisioner)

Posted on 01/26/2007 6:05:29 PM PST by Dog Gone

Any attempt to judge our history by today's standards -- out of the context in which it occurred -- is at best problematic and at worst dishonest.

For example, consider the following quotations:

"So far from engaging in a war to perpetuate slavery, I am rejoiced that slavery is abolished."

"[T]here is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality."

By today's standards, the person who made the first statement, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, would be considered enlightened. The person who made the second, President Abraham Lincoln, would be considered a white supremacist.

Many believe that the War Between the States was solely about slavery and that the Confederacy is synonymous with racism. That conclusion is faulty because the premise is inaccurate.

If slavery had been the sole or even the predominant issue in sparking the Civil War, this statement by Lincoln is puzzling: "My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union and it is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slaves I would do it."

If preserving slavery was the South's sole motive for waging war, why did Lee free his slaves before the war began? In 1856, he said slavery was "a moral and political evil in any country."

Why was Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation effective in 1863 rather than when the war started in 1861? And why did it free only the slaves in the Confederacy and not in Northern or border states?

If slavery was the only reason for the Civil War, how do you explain Texas Gov. Sam Houston's support for the Union and for the institution of slavery? In light of the fact that 90 percent of Confederate soldiers owned no slaves, is it logical to assume they would have put their own lives at risk so that slave-owning aristocrats could continue their privileged status?

There are few simple and concise answers to these questions.

One answer, however, is that most Southerners' allegiance was to their sovereign states first and the Union second. They believed that states freely joined the Union without coercion and were free to leave.

You could say they really believed in the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution -- the "powers not delegated" clause. They believed that the federal government should be responsible for the common defense, a postal service and little else. They viewed the Union Army as an invader, not an emancipator.

I am not attempting to trivialize slavery. It is a dark chapter in our history, North and South alike.

However, I am a proud Southerner and a proud descendent of Confederate soldiers. I honor their service because, to me, it represents the sacrifice of life and livelihood that Southerners made for a cause more important to them than their personal security and self-interest.

I'm aware of the genocidal war conducted by my country against the American Indian, but I'm still a proud American. And I'm also aware of the atrocities that occurred at My Lai, but I am proud of my service as a Marine in Vietnam.

If the Confederate flag represented slavery, the U.S. flag must represent slavery even more so.

Slavery existed for four years under the Stars and Bars and for almost 100 years under the Stars and Stripes.

If the few hundred members of racist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan want to adopt the Confederate flag as their symbol, over the objections of millions of Southerners, should we believe it has been corrupted for all time?

Given that the KKK has adopted the cross for its burnings, should churches across the country remove this symbol of Christian faith from all places of worship?

Should we diminish the service of the Buffalo Soldiers (black U.S. cavalry troopers of the late 1800s) because they were an integral part of a war that subjugated and enslaved the Plains Indians?

No. We should not surrender the Confederate flag or the cross to the racists, and we should not tear down the monuments.

Retroactive cleansing of history is doomed to failure because it is, at heart, a lie. We should memorialize and commemorate all of our soldiers who served honorably -- those who wore blue or gray or served as Buffalo Soldiers -- whether or not we in today's enlightened world completely support their actions.

Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson is a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. As a state senator, he sponsored legislation establishing the Juneteenth Commission for the purpose of funding a Juneteenth monument on the Texas Capitol grounds.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: civilwar; dixie; neoconfederate; revisionisthistory; veryrevisionist; wbs
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To: familyop
Yea, watch it with that "any sort of superior sniff" see, otherwise the few backward peddlers of a twice defeated lost cause might actually learn something, maybe ... :)
101 posted on 01/27/2007 7:05:51 AM PST by M. Espinola (Freedom is never free)
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To: Dog Gone

Good article. I wish the Republic of Texas would consider secession again. With our government becoming more and more intrusive into our lives and the oncoming default of Social Security, the time may be soon.

102 posted on 01/27/2007 8:31:07 AM PST by BeckB
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To: Ode To Ted Kennedys Liver

Quantrill may have had an ecomonic motive. Lawrence had banks...and whiskey. I don't think John Brown killed with economic systems in mind. Sure economics was there, and religion. These things ovelaid the fundamental problem, the issue of slavery. Slavery in the US stood in stark opposition to the expressed priciples of the founding documents.

103 posted on 01/27/2007 11:31:30 AM PST by Pete from Shawnee Mission
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To: groanup
There is no historical record of any kind that shows that the North went to war to rid the US of slavery. The North went to war to preserve the Union. The South, OTOH, was content to withdraw from the Union and go its own way.

Yes, if the North hadn't actually tried to preserve the Union there would have been no war. That's a twisted approach though. It's kind of like saying that it's the fault of the police that the prisons are full. If they'd just look the other way everything would be fine. That's usually a liberal's warped way of viewing the world.
104 posted on 01/27/2007 12:30:07 PM PST by contemplator (Capitalism gets no Rock Concerts)
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To: Dog Gone
Many believe that the War Between the States was solely about slavery and that the Confederacy is synonymous with racism. That conclusion is faulty because the premise is inaccurate.

I don't know about this guy's little logic lessons.

"Solely about slavery" is a straw man. If the war was about slavery -- largely about slavery -- that's enough to make people ill at ease about the Confederacy.

"Racism" is a 20th century concept. Most -- virtually all -- 19th century Americans, when they thought in racial terms, would qualify as racists today.

"Racism" wasn't a major issue dividing North and South. But slavery was. Of course it wasn't the case that everyone on the Union side was anti-slavery and every Confederate pro-slavery. But slavery was at the root of the North-South divide.

So what do we have: "The War Between the States had much to do with slavery, and the Confederacy had a lot to do with slavery as well."

That's logical, so far as I can see. It's historically accurate. Jerry Patterson doesn't say anything that refutes it. It accounts for what people feel about the Confederacy and its symbols.

It's not that the North or the Unionists were "pure" and the South or Confederacy somehow shamed or sullied by slavery, it's that the US was moving beyond slavery and the CSA was rallying around a "Southern Way of Life" based to a large degree on slavery. Some people find it hard to get beyond that, and denying it doesn't help.

If the Confederate flag represented slavery, the U.S. flag must represent slavery even more so.

Slavery existed for four years under the Stars and Bars and for almost 100 years under the Stars and Stripes.

But the US flag has represented what we might call "post-slavery" or "anti-slavery" or "non-slavery" for 140 years and "post-segregation" or "anti-segregation" or "integration" for 40 years. Confederate symbols haven't.

Retroactive cleansing of history is doomed to failure because it is, at heart, a lie.

I don't know if he's right about that, either. Every generation "cleanses" its history to some extent by making it conform to its own ideals. It looks like that's what Jerry's trying to do.

105 posted on 01/27/2007 1:06:24 PM PST by x
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To: AmericanExceptionalist; Non-Sequitur
Robert E. Lee often wrote or spoke of "my country"--by which, he meant the state of Virginia. Virginia was his country, according to the norms of the time. And since "My country, right or wrong" was the prevailing sentiment at the time, it is no surprise that Lee turned down a commission with the US Army in order to fight for his "country" of Virginia--even though he expressed the belief, from the very beginning, that Virginia had embarked upon a suicidal course by seceding.

I really, really have to wonder about that. Lee had gone to West Point. He'd run West Point. He'd fought in the US Army in Mexico. He spent much of his adult life in our country's army.

Do you really think the young Lee thought of Virginia as his country, when he took his oath to become an officer in the US Army? When he was building the West with the Army Corps of Engineers or leading men into battle in Mexico do you really think he didn't consider himself an American?

I certainly don't think Lee should have fought against his neighbors, but it's way too convenient to be able suddenly to say that one's state is one's country and one's country is nothing.

106 posted on 01/27/2007 1:07:04 PM PST by x
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To: Nephi; Ditto; mac_truck
Tariffs and other taxes were increased beyond what Lincoln had wanted because of the expenses of the war.

DiLorenzo is no historian. He doesn't bother to study just how people thought in the past. He simply imposes his own conclusions on what happened. He collects every scrap of possible evidence -- proven or dubious -- and ignores whatever contradicts his point of view. He's also a monstrously bad writer.

Go here for a list of criticisms of DiLorenzo. If you're still taken in by that charlatan, I pity you.

107 posted on 01/27/2007 1:13:19 PM PST by x
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To: TN4Liberty
how many casualties would have occurred in the Civil War if the Union had permitted the Confederacy to secede?

There would have been no casualties. Unless, of course, one considers and enslaved human being to be a casualty. Nevertheless, I agree with your larger point. In 2007, most people who defend the "Old South" the are not defending slavery. It is unnecessary to attack them.

108 posted on 01/27/2007 1:18:53 PM PST by outofstyle
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To: sgtbono2002

Well,we sure are getting along a lot better now than we did in Lincoln's time or even forty years ago for that matter.
I remember when I was a teenager,it was a rare sight to see friends of different races together.Now its such a common sight you don't even look or think twice.
Sure,there are jackasses like Reverend Jesse out there and you you still have the Stormfront dinosaurs beating their gums but all in all America is a much healthier place to live for all ethnic groups.

109 posted on 01/27/2007 1:32:41 PM PST by Riverman94610
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To: x

I think Patterson's main point is that the Confederacy was led by some good and noble men who felt they were doing the right thing. The simple 10 second explanation for the Civil War being about slavery is far too simple, as are all other 10 second explanations.

The war was fought and it is over. It does no good to demonize the Confederacy today. Heroic men fought on both sides and it was a tragic period in American history. I think it's okay to honor the dead on both sides. Southerners felt, rightly, that they were getting the short end of the stick with this new union.

I'm glad the South lost because the result was the end of slavery in this country, and slavery is unthinkable as a concept here today. It hastened the end of something which was barbaric but commonplace at the time.

But there is no good reason to deprive Southern families of having respect, not shame, for their ancestors who fought in the Civil War. They felt their cause was just, and they were willing to lay their lives down for it. And it's shameful that some people can't recognize that, or if they do, wilfully ignore it.

The Confederacy is not akin to the evil regime of Nazi Germany. It never had a new philosophy or dogma other than "we don't want to be dominated by you and forced to change our ways."

Right or wrong, we fought the deadliest war in American history over that. And the question ultimately was answered. The Confederacy was defeated which was probably inevitable given the manufacturing capacity of the North.

There's nothing honorable about telling southerners that they can't be proud of the sacrifices of their ancestors.

110 posted on 01/27/2007 2:25:29 PM PST by Dog Gone
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To: Extremely Extreme Extremist
Why are you posting a non-sequitur?

Say what?

111 posted on 01/27/2007 2:50:03 PM PST by Non-Sequitur
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To: theBuckwheat
"In doing this there needs to be no bloodshed or violence, and there shall be none unless it be forced upon the national authority. The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the Government and to collect the duties and imposts; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere."

Why not continue? Lincoln went on to say, "Where hostility to the United States in any interior locality shall be so great and universal as to prevent competent resident citizens from holding the Federal offices, there will be no attempt to force obnoxious strangers among the people for that object. While the strict legal right may exist in the Government to enforce the exercise of these offices, the attempt to do so would be so irritating and so nearly impracticable withal that I deem it better to forego for the time the uses of such offices.

The mails, unless repelled, will continue to be furnished in all parts of the Union. So far as possible the people everywhere shall have that sense of perfect security which is most favorable to calm thought and reflection. The course here indicated will be followed unless current events and experience shall show a modification or change to be proper, and in every case and exigency my best discretion will be exercised, according to circumstances actually existing and with a view and a hope of a peaceful solution of the national troubles and the restoration of fraternal sympathies and affections."

Maybe it was all about delivering the mail?

The South opened the war by bombardment of Ft. Sumter. What is the importance of this federal facility? "Because it was a major tariff-collecting facility in the harbor at Charleston. So long as the Union controlled it, the South would still have to pay Lincoln's oppressive tariffs."

That flies in the face on known historical fact, and is makes no sense whatosever if you would only take a moment to think about it. Sumter wasn't staffed by anyone except work men and an officer supervising them prior to Anderson moving there in December 1860. So how would it be 'a major tariff collection facility'? Also, why would the tariff collection point be located miles away from the wharfs where the imports were landed? And what did they do in that Customs House located on East Bay Street?

Slaves that were not in the areas so designated were not covered by it.

Because Constitutionally Lincoln could not do that. And from a strict legal standpoint, Lincoln did not end slavery. He freed the slaves but it took passage of the 13th Amendment to end slavery in those states that had not already done so.

Of course, the winner gets to write the history of the war. And in this case the winner also runs all the schools and they are staffed by people who liked the winner's story. That does not alter the facts, or the real history of this war.

And judging from threads like this it's equally clear that the loser writes the myths.

112 posted on 01/27/2007 3:15:28 PM PST by Non-Sequitur
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To: Nephi
I have always wondered why the states who voluntarily formed the union couldn't secede.

Perhaps because the states didn't voluntarily form anything? With the exception of the first 13 states the states were admitted. They were allowed in, and only after obtaining the permission of the majority of the existing states as expressed through a vote of their members in Congress. Since they needed the approval of the existing parties to join why is it so hard to believe that the same would be needed to leave?

Had the south been able to ratify their confederate constitution we might have a more conservative government today and certainly a less centralized government.

Doubtful. Davis ignored his constitution at will. His constitution required a supreme court, yet one was never established. It explicitly outlawed protectionist tarifss yet one was implemented in May 1860. He taxed, drafted, nationalized, and seized private property at will. Hardly the conservative government you yearn for.

Anyone who relies of DiLorenzo alone to form his beliefs on the War of Southern Rebellion is depending on a single, increadibly biased source for their information. I suggest you expand your reading horizons a bit.

113 posted on 01/27/2007 3:23:05 PM PST by Non-Sequitur
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To: Vietnam Vet From New Mexico
There was a bill before the Virginia Legislature to abolish slavery (gradualy) when Lincoln called for an invasion of the south.

I believe you are incorrect in this. The Virginia constitution at the time, like all Southern state Constitutions I'm aware of, did not allow the legislature to pass any laws imparing ownership in slaves.

A compensated or gradual manumission would have been possible.

It would have required the one thing that wasn't available at the time. It would have required the Southern slaveowners to actually be interested in emacipation, compensated or otherwise. I'm not aware of any evidence that such desires were there.

114 posted on 01/27/2007 3:26:08 PM PST by Non-Sequitur
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To: LexBaird
PS, for those of you who claim tariffs were the cause, please note the RP platform called for adjusting them more equitably.

And it's also interesting to note that none of the Democrat party platforms mention tairffs at all. If tariffs were such a bone of contention why didn't the Douglas or Breckenridge run against them?

115 posted on 01/27/2007 3:30:42 PM PST by Non-Sequitur
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To: Non-Sequitur

Time, space and circumstances do not permit me to give a thorough rebuttal to your comments.

Lincoln no more had the authority to free any slaves in areas that had seceded than he had to free them in areas that had not. The US Supreme Court in a seminal decision, Dred Scott v Sanford ruled that slaves were the property of their owners. Freeing slaves would be, at the very least, a taking.

You offer that Lincoln moved after the war to advocate the 13th Amendment. Far more important was the next Amendment, the Fourteenth that inverted the relationship of the States to the Federal Government. In the Original Constitution, the one that has been exiled, the State legislature elected the respective US Senators.

That, coupled with what is now known as Incorporation, brought National power to exceed State sovereign power.

It is beyond absurd to seriously believe that when sovereign parties engage an agent to act their behalf that somehow that agent has the power to control the parties who engaged it.

A number of the original States came into Federalism only by reserving the right to secede. In fact the issue of secession was raised by several northern states in the years prior to the Northern invasion of the South.

The various states that seceded were not populated with idiots or morons. Their reasons for secession are stated in their public documents, laws and resolutions easily found with Google. They all state one constant theme: that the Federal government acted in ways that violated the terms of their coming into the union in the first place.


For example, this from Texas: "solemnly asserting that the federal constitution has been violated and virtually abrogated by the several States named, seeing that the federal government is now passing under the control of our enemies to be diverted from the exalted objects of its creation to those of oppression and wrong"

The Federal Constitution is a contract. When one party abrogates it, the contract is dissolved. Of course, the National forces that occupied Washington could not allow the South to flee the Union, for they needed the cash flow from the taxes they levied on the South in order to finance other projects. It is not different today, where socialists cannot allow people to escape Social Security because they need the money to buy power elsewhere.

Please do not waste my time telling me about preserving the Union. I used to believe like you until I read many of the original documents for myself.
116 posted on 01/27/2007 4:49:54 PM PST by theBuckwheat
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To: Pete from Shawnee Mission
John Brown killed with economic systems in mind.

Not everyone was as blood thirsty as John Brown. Some people fought to end slavery, but the war was about economics and tax revenues. If a state tried to leave the U.S. now, the same fate would befall them.

117 posted on 01/27/2007 6:04:24 PM PST by Ode To Ted Kennedys Liver (Senate Republicans' Motto: Quit while you're ahead.|| Democrats' Motto: Going nowhere fast!)
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To: M. Espinola
"Yea, watch it with that 'any sort of superior sniff' see, otherwise the few backward peddlers of a twice defeated lost cause might actually learn something, maybe ... :)"

[Familyop tilts his head back to practice his accomplished Yankee sniff.] ;)
118 posted on 01/27/2007 6:04:35 PM PST by familyop ("G-d is on our side because he hates the Yanks." --St. Tuco, in the "Good, the Bad, and the Ugly")
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To: Dog Gone


119 posted on 01/27/2007 6:14:35 PM PST by Ciexyz (In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:16)
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To: Shooter 2.5
I doubt there was even one in the South considering the treatment of newspapers which dared question slavery.

Ever heard of the underground railroad, ever heard of the wealthy Southerners who bought slaves just to free them? Some slave owners let their slaves buy their own freedom(economics). Do you know of any well-known newspapers today that would condone anyone cheating on their income taxes or issuing a violent revolt against the current Eminent Domain laws? Money is always a more powerful issue than any human rights issue. Most wars are more about money issues than anything else.

120 posted on 01/27/2007 6:19:13 PM PST by Ode To Ted Kennedys Liver (Senate Republicans' Motto: Quit while you're ahead.|| Democrats' Motto: Going nowhere fast!)
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