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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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1 posted on 01/26/2007 6:05:32 PM PST by Dog Gone
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To: Dog Gone
Why was Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation effective in 1863 rather than when the war started in 1861?

Why didn't Bush kill Moqtada al-Sadr when he had the chance?

2 posted on 01/26/2007 6:08:27 PM PST by Mr Ramsbotham (Laws against sodomy are honored in the breech.)
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To: Dog Gone
Count the number of times slavery is given as a reason for secession.
3 posted on 01/26/2007 6:09:45 PM PST by Shooter 2.5 (Vote a Straight Republican Ballot. Rid the country of dems. NRA)
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To: Dog Gone; stainlessbanner
4 posted on 01/26/2007 6:10:47 PM PST by righthand man (WE'RE SOUTHERN AND PROUD OF IT)
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To: Dog Gone; stainlessbanner; stand watie; 4CJ
No. We should not surrender the Confederate flag or the cross to the racists, and we should not tear down the monuments.


5 posted on 01/26/2007 6:10:50 PM PST by billbears (Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. --Santayana)
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To: Dog Gone; stainlessbanner


6 posted on 01/26/2007 6:11:20 PM PST by Fiddlstix (Warning! This Is A Subliminal Tagline! Read it at your own risk!(Presented by TagLines R US))
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To: Dog Gone
most Southerners ... believed that states freely joined the Union without coercion and were free to leave.

That coincides with my own belief on the cause of the Civil War. It was more about states' rights than about abolition. Even these days, the seeds of that conflict lay dormant but not dead. Overweening federal control could very well spark another secessionist movement, this time with much different results. I suspect that much of the Midwest would join the South this time around, and that would leave the liberal enclaves -- not exactly noted for their spirit of cooperation -- to hold the Union together.

7 posted on 01/26/2007 6:11:58 PM PST by IronJack (=)
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To: Dog Gone
The War Between the States - a war that pitted the Unitarian North against the Calvinist South.

The words of this article warm the heart. He is spot-on about the real underlying reasons for the Civil War

8 posted on 01/26/2007 6:14:47 PM PST by Lexinom
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To: IronJack
There was also the matter of New York and Rhode Island refusing to ratify the constitution, until the anti-secession clause was removed.

In other words even the Northern States wanted to keep their "options open" if things did not work out.

9 posted on 01/26/2007 6:16:32 PM PST by agincourt1415 (The Sum of all Fears: Democrats running the war or trying to run away from the war on terror.)
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To: Lexinom

Jerry Patterson is really a great guy. Not only did he push through the concealed handgun law for Texas when he was a legislator, but he didn't have to write this story.

It took some courage as a statewide elected official to write an article that is definitely not politically correct.

Even though it's historically accurate.

10 posted on 01/26/2007 6:21:08 PM PST by Dog Gone
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To: Shooter 2.5
Count the number of times slavery is given as a reason for secession.

Slavery = economics. The war was fought over taxes and money issues which included slavery and all of which were rooted in states' rights, but the war would have never been fought over slavery alone. The North fought the war to preserve the union and keep the tax revenues from the South. The fact that many Northerners wanted to see the slaves free gave more political leverage to the Northern war effort, but that issue took a back seat to the preservation of the union.

World-wide, most whites of that day felt superior to blacks. I believe if the economic/industrial structure of the North and South were switched, the war would have still been fought and the North would have been the side condoning slavery.

11 posted on 01/26/2007 6:25:49 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: Dog Gone

*******"[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."

Yeah what a nut Lincoln was. Anyone can see we are getting along together just fine now.

12 posted on 01/26/2007 6:26:03 PM PST by sgtbono2002 (Peace through strength.)
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To: Dog Gone

If there is a time in our future where adultery is out of fashion, would the accomplishments of MLK, jr be diminished also.

13 posted on 01/26/2007 6:27:36 PM PST by art_rocks
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To: Lexinom

And yet the Border wars between Missouri and Kansas was all about whether Kansas would be a free or slave state. States rights and succession did not enter into it. The civil war was being fought on the Kansas Missouri border for years before a shot was fired at Ft. Sumner. The cause of this conflict was pretty much about slavery.

14 posted on 01/26/2007 6:29:16 PM PST by Pete from Shawnee Mission
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To: Dog Gone

The author has obviously done a lot of homework. He missed mentioning the conclusion of U.S. Grant's memoirs where he concludes after long and careful consideration that the cause of the war was in fact slavery. The quotes the author cherry picked from Lincoln's did not adress the authors point directly, Grant however did.

15 posted on 01/26/2007 6:32:06 PM PST by contemplator (Capitalism gets no Rock Concerts)
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To: Mr Ramsbotham

Why are you posting a non-sequitur?

16 posted on 01/26/2007 6:33:10 PM PST by Extremely Extreme Extremist (Forgot your tagline? Click here to have it resent!)
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To: Dog Gone
Should we diminish the service of the Buffalo Soldiers (black U.S. cavalry troopers of the late 1800s) <<

That would be the 10th CAV!!!!....(read the history)..Proud to say I served in it..67-69...
17 posted on 01/26/2007 6:33:48 PM PST by M-cubed (Why is "Greshams Law" a law?)
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To: Dog Gone
They believed that states freely joined the Union without coercion and were free to leave.

It's Time to Part Company

18 posted on 01/26/2007 6:34:42 PM PST by B.O. Plenty (liberalism, abortions and islam are terminal)
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To: Lexinom

Actually the Southerners characterized the Yankees as Calvinist round-heads, in contrast with the "Cavalier" ethos of the South.

The book was "Company Atch" , though I don't recall the author's name. It was one hell of a read though. It gave a private's account of the war and the first chapter outlined the causes, from his perspective.

Come to think of it, the book is so well written that you wonder if either: he was actually an officer posing as a private, or, southerners were generally better educated and literate than modern depictions would have you believe.

19 posted on 01/26/2007 6:35:04 PM PST by tsomer
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To: Dog Gone
Let's ask the "South" of the Civil War era about that. Here's one of the transcripts (and look for others behind the following link). Emphasis on the real issue of the rebel states in the Civil War is made with bold font in the following. Southern/eastern states have a lot to be proud of, but dredging-up the Civil War tends to cover up the better things about them with something rotten from the distant past.

Transcript from the The Avalon Project at Yale:

Declarations of Secession

Confederate States of America
A Declaration of the Causes which Impel the State of Texas to Secede from the Federal Union.

The government of the United States, by certain joint resolutions, bearing date the 1st day of March, in the year A.D. 1845, proposed to the Republic of Texas, then a free, sovereign and independent nation, the annexation of the latter to the former, as one of the co-equal states thereof,

The people of Texas, by deputies in convention assembled, on the fourth day of July of the same year, assented to and accepted said proposals and formed a constitution for the proposed State, upon which on the 29th day of December in the same year, said State was formally admitted into the Confederated Union.

Texas abandoned her separate national existence and consented to become one of the Confederated Union to promote her welfare, insure domestic tranquility and secure more substantially the blessings of peace and liberty to her people. She was received into the confederacy with her own constitution, under the guarantee of the federal constitution and the compact of annexation, that she should enjoy these blessings. She was received as a commonwealth holding, maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery-- the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits-- a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time. Her institutions and geographical position established the strongest ties between her and other slave-holding States of the confederacy. Those ties have been strengthened by association. But what has been the course of the government of the United States, and of the people and authorities of the non-slave-holding States, since our connection with them?

The controlling majority of the Federal Government, under various pretences and disguises, has so administered the same as to exclude the citizens of the Southern States, unless under odious and unconstitutional restrictions, from all the immense territory owned in common by all the States on the Pacific Ocean, for the avowed purpose of acquiring sufficient power in the common government to use it as a means of destroying the institutions of Texas and her sister slaveholding States.

By the disloyalty of the Northern States and their citizens and the imbecility of the Federal Government, infamous combinations of incendiaries and outlaws have been permitted in those States and the common territory of Kansas to trample upon the federal laws, to war upon the lives and property of Southern citizens in that territory, and finally, by violence and mob law, to usurp the possession of the same as exclusively the property of the Northern States.

The Federal Government, while but partially under the control of these our unnatural and sectional enemies, has for years almost entirely failed to protect the lives and property of the people of Texas against the Indian savages on our border, and more recently against the murderous forays of banditti from the neighboring territory of Mexico; and when our State government has expended large amounts for such purpose, the Federal Government has refuse reimbursement therefor, thus rendering our condition more insecure and harassing than it was during the existence of the Republic of Texas.

These and other wrongs we have patiently borne in the vain hope that a returning sense of justice and humanity would induce a different course of administration.

When we advert to the course of individual non-slave-holding States, and that a majority of their citizens, our grievances assume far greater magnitude.

The States of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa, by solemn legislative enactments, have deliberately, directly or indirectly violated the 3rd clause of the 2nd section of the 4th article [the fugitive slave clause] of the federal constitution, and laws passed in pursuance thereof; thereby annulling a material provision of the compact, designed by its framers to perpetuate the amity between the members of the confederacy and to secure the rights of the slave-holding States in their domestic institutions-- a provision founded in justice and wisdom, and without the enforcement of which the compact fails to accomplish the object of its creation. Some of those States have imposed high fines and degrading penalties upon any of their citizens or officers who may carry out in good faith that provision of the compact, or the federal laws enacted in accordance therewith.

In all the non-slave-holding States, in violation of that good faith and comity which should exist between entirely distinct nations, the people have formed themselves into a great sectional party, now strong enough in numbers to control the affairs of each of those States, based upon an unnatural feeling of hostility to these Southern States and their beneficent and patriarchal system of African slavery, proclaiming the debasing doctrine of equality of all men, irrespective of race or color-- a doctrine at war with nature, in opposition to the experience of mankind, and in violation of the plainest revelations of Divine Law. They demand the abolition of negro slavery throughout the confederacy, the recognition of political equality between the white and negro races, and avow their determination to press on their crusade against us, so long as a negro slave remains in these States.

For years past this abolition organization has been actively sowing the seeds of discord through the Union, and has rendered the federal congress the arena for spreading firebrands and hatred between the slave-holding and non-slave-holding States.

By consolidating their strength, they have placed the slave-holding States in a hopeless minority in the federal congress, and rendered representation of no avail in protecting Southern rights against their exactions and encroachments.

They have proclaimed, and at the ballot box sustained, the revolutionary doctrine that there is a 'higher law' than the constitution and laws of our Federal Union, and virtually that they will disregard their oaths and trample upon our rights.

They have for years past encouraged and sustained lawless organizations to steal our slaves and prevent their recapture, and have repeatedly murdered Southern citizens while lawfully seeking their rendition.

They have invaded Southern soil and murdered unoffending citizens, and through the press their leading men and a fanatical pulpit have bestowed praise upon the actors and assassins in these crimes, while the governors of several of their States have refused to deliver parties implicated and indicted for participation in such offenses, upon the legal demands of the States aggrieved.

They have, through the mails and hired emissaries, sent seditious pamphlets and papers among us to stir up servile insurrection and bring blood and carnage to our firesides.

They have sent hired emissaries among us to burn our towns and distribute arms and poison to our slaves for the same purpose.

They have impoverished the slave-holding States by unequal and partial legislation, thereby enriching themselves by draining our substance.

They have refused to vote appropriations for protecting Texas against ruthless savages, for the sole reason that she is a slave-holding State.

And, finally, by the combined sectional vote of the seventeen non-slave-holding States, they have elected as president and vice-president of the whole confederacy two men whose chief claims to such high positions are their approval of these long continued wrongs, and their pledges to continue them to the final consummation of these schemes for the ruin of the slave-holding States.

In view of these and many other facts, it is meet that our own views should be distinctly proclaimed.

We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.

That in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding states.

By the secession of six of the slave-holding States, and the certainty that others will speedily do likewise, Texas has no alternative but to remain in an isolated connection with the North, or unite her destinies with the South.

For these and other reasons, 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, and realizing that our own State can no longer look for protection, but to God and her own sons-- We the delegates of the people of Texas, in Convention assembled, have passed an ordinance dissolving all political connection with the government of the United States of America and the people thereof and confidently appeal to the intelligence and patriotism of the freemen of Texas to ratify the same at the ballot box, on the 23rd day of the present month.

Adopted in Convention on the 2nd day of Feby, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one and of the independence of Texas the twenty-fifth.
20 posted on 01/26/2007 6:35:08 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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