Skip to comments.Ten Neo-Confederate Myths
Posted on 03/10/2013 8:19:44 AM PDT by BroJoeK
Ten Neo-Confederate Myths (+one)
In fact, a study of the earliest secessionists documents shows, when they bother to give reasons at all, their only major concern was to protect the institution of slavery.
For example, four seceding states issued "Declarations of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify Secession from the Federal Union".
These documents use words like "slavery" and "institution" over 100 times, words like "tax" and "tariff" only once (re: a tax on slaves), "usurpation" once (re: slavery in territories), "oppression" once (re: potential future restrictions on slavery).
So secession wasn't just all about slavery, it was only about slavery.
In fact, secessionists biggest real complaint was that Washington was not doing enough to enforce fugitive slave laws in Northern states.
Mississippi's Declaration is instructive since it begins by explaining why slavery is so important:
It goes on to complain that the Federal Government is not enforcing its own Fugitive Slave laws, saying that anti-slavery feeling:
In fact, the Compromise of 1850 shifted responsibility for enforcing Fugitive Slave laws from northern states to the Federal Government, so this complaint amounts to a declaration that Washington is not powerful enough.
In fact, no where in the Founders' literature is the 10th Amendment referenced as justifying unilateral, unapproved secession "at pleasure".
Instead, secession (or "disunion") is always seen as a last resort, requiring mutual consent or material usurpations and oppression.
For example, the Virginia Ratification Statement says:
James Madison explained it this way:
"It is the nature & essence of a compact that it is equally obligatory on the parties to it, and of course that no one of them can be liberated therefrom without the consent of the others, or such a violation or abuse of it by the others, as will amount to a dissolution of the compact.
Applying this view of the subject to a single community, it results, that the compact being between the individuals composing it, no individual or set of individuals can at pleasure, break off and set up for themselves, without such a violation of the compact as absolves them from its obligations."
In fact, the 1860 Republican platform only called for restricting slavery from territories where it did not already exist.
And Lincoln repeatedly said he would not threaten slavery in states where it was already legal.
In fact, neither out-going President Buchanan nor incoming President Lincoln did anything to stop secessionists from declaring independence and forming a new Confederacy.
And Buchanan did nothing to stop secessionists from unlawfully seizing Federal properties or threatening and shooting at Federal officials.
Nor did Lincoln, until after the Confederacy started war at Fort Sumter (April 12, 1861) and then formally declared war on the United States, May 6, 1861.
In fact, no Confederate soldier was killed by any Union force, and no Confederate state was "invaded" by any Union army until after secessionists started war at Fort Sumter and formally declared war on May 6, 1861.
The first Confederate soldier was not killed directly in battle until June 10, 1861.
In fact, from Day One, Confederacy was an assault on the United States, and did many things to provoke and start, then formally declared war on the United States.
From Day One secessionists began to unlawfully seize dozens of Federal properties (i.e., forts, armories, ships, arsenals, mints, etc.), often even before they formally declared secession.
At the same time, they illegally threatened, imprisoned and fired on Federal officials -- for example, the ship Star of the West attempting to resupply Fort Sumter in January 1861 -- then launched a major assault to force Sumter's surrender, while offering military support for secessionist forces in a Union state (Missouri) .
And all of that was before formally declaring war on the United States.
After declaring war, the Confederacy sent forces into every Union state near the Confederacy, and some well beyond.
Invaded Union states & territories included:
In every state or territory outside the Confederacy proper, Confederate forces both "lived off the land" and attempted to "requisition" supplies to support Confederate forces at home.
Secessionists also assaulted the United states by claiming possession of several Union states and territories which had never, or could never, in any form vote to seceed.
So bottom line: the Confederacy threatened every Union state and territory it could reach.
In fact, there are remarkably few records of civilians murdered or raped by either side, certainly as compared to other wars in history.
But "pillaging" is a different subject, and both sides did it -- at least to some degree.
The Union army was generally self-sufficient, well supplied from its own rail-heads, and seldom in need to "live off the land."
In four years of war, the best known exceptions are Grant at Vicksburg and Sherman's "march to the sea".
In both cases, their actions were crucial to victory.
By contrast, Confederate armies were forced to "live off the land" both at home and abroad.
Yes, inside the Confederacy itself, armies "paid" for their "requisitions" with nearly worthless money, but once they marched into Union states and territories, their money was absolutely worthless, and so regardless of what they called it, their "requisitions" were no better than pillaging.
Perhaps the most famous example of Confederate pillaging, it's often said, cost RE Lee victory at the Battle of Gettysburg: while Lee's "eyes and ears" -- J.E.B. Stuart's cavalry -- was out pillaging desperately needed supplies in Maryland and Pennsylvania, Lee was partially blind to Union movements and strengths.
In fact, only one crime is defined in the US Constitution, and that is "treason".
The Constitution's definition of "treason" could not be simpler and clearer:
The Constitution also provides for Federal actions against "rebellion", "insurrection", "domestic violence", "invasion" declared war and treason.
So Pro-Confederate arguments that "there was no treason" depend first of all on the legality of secession.
If their secession was lawful, then there was no "treason", except of course among those citizens of Union states (i.e., Maryland, Kentucky & Missouri) which "adhered to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort".
But the bottom line is this: in previous cases -- i.e., the Whiskey Rebellion -- once rebellion was defeated, rebels were all released or pardoned by the President of the United States.
And that pattern, first established by President Washington, was followed under Presidents Lincoln and Johnson.
In fact, lawful secession by mutual consent could be 100% constitutional, if representatives submitted and passed such a bill in Congress, signed by the President.
Alternatively, states could bring suit in the United States Supreme Court for a material breach of contract and have the Federal government declared an "oppressive" or "usurping" power justifying secession.
But Deep-South slave-holders' unilateral, unapproved declarations of secession, without any material breach of contract issues, followed by insurrection and a declaration of war on the United States -- these our Founders clearly understood were acts of rebellion and treason -- which the Constitution was designed to defeat.
That leads to the larger question of whether our Pro-Confederates actually respect the Constitution as it was intended or, do they really wish for a return to those far looser, less binding -- you might even say, 1960s style "free love" marriage contract -- for which their union was named: the Articles of Confederation?
But consider: the Confederacy's constitution was basically a carbon copy of the US Constitution, emphasizing rights of holders of human "property".
So there's no evidence that Confederate leaders were in any way more tolerant -- or "free love" advocates -- regarding secession from the Confederacy than any Union loyalist.
Then what, precisely, does the allegation of "statism" mean?
The truth is, in this context, it's simply one more spurious insult, and means nothing more than, "I don't like you because you won't agree with me."
Poor baby... ;-)
Plus, one "bonus" myth:
No, no, no way...
Yes, FDR could be the O-man's political daddy, and his political mother those 1960s radicals like, well, his mother.
And one of his grandparents is well known: his intellectual maternal grandpa is Karl Marx.
But the other grandpa is certainly not Lincoln.
Rather, it is Lincoln's evil doppelganger, the other tall thin President born in Kentucky: Jefferson Davis.
How can that be?
Well, here's my list -- both Obama and Davis are/were:
You are delusional.
Washington believed in country over locality and the rule of law. He didn't hesitate to send in troops during the Whiskey Rebellion, I don't see him supporting the Southern rebellion as well. Certainly not for the reasons they revolted.
Washington was a Virginian, just like Lee. The two men are interchangeable. Lee would have done what Washington did in the late 18th century and Washington would have done what Lee did in the mid 19th century.
Washington believed that our role as Americans trumped our role as Virginians or Nebraskans. While I agree that Lee would have acted as Washington did in 1776, it's because the reasons for the rebellion then were solid. The colonies were not represented. They did not have a say in the governments that the crown chose to impose on them. There was a situation of intolerable oppression. None of that was present in 1861. The South was represented, overrepresented, in Congress. They had literally run the government to their advantage for decades. They had their own governments. They were not overtaxed. They rebelled over petulance and slavery. Washington would not have signed on to that.
Quoting on Lysander Spooner:
In response, Spooner published a series of political tracts, No Treason.
The most famous of these is No Treason No. VI: The Constitution of No Authority.
In this lengthy essay, Spooner argued that the Constitution was a contract of government (see social contract theory) which could not logically apply to anyone other than the individuals who signed it, and was thus void.
Furthermore, since the government now existing under the Constitution pursued coercive policies that were contrary to the Natural Law and to the consent of the governed, it had been demonstrated that that document could not adequately stop many abuses against liberty or prevent tyranny from taking hold...
"Spooner became a member of the socialist First International."
Thanks, central_va, for telling us where Sloth got the "special" idea of an unlawful US Constitution -- Lysander Spooner!
So in post-war 1868, Spooner was an anti-war, anti-Constitution, anti-big-business, radical abolitionist socialist/communist anarchist!
That means he was far from Conservative nor even Libertarian as we understand those today.
It also means this: when you begin making arguments against the Constitution as it was intended, then you do not support the Free Republic, but some other vision that is neither historical, workable or even seriously definable.
"ANARCHIST" or "COMMUNIST" best describe such ideas.
Washington would have DONE exactly as Lee did in the same circumstance. I know it, I know you know it to be true although to admit that truth deflates every reconstructed myth you have been taught about US history.
Spooner believed that it is beneficial if people are self-employed so that they could enjoy the full fruits of their labor rather than having to share them with an employer. He argued that various forms of government intervention in the free market made it difficult for people to start their own businesses. For one, he believed that laws against high interest rates, or "usury" prevented those with capital from extending credit because they could not be compensated for high risks of not being repaid: "If a man have not capital of his own, upon which to bestow his labor, it is necessary that he be allowed to obtain it on credit. And in order that he may be able to obtain it on credit, it is necessary that he be allowed to contract for such a rate of interest as will induce a man, having surplus capital, to loan it to him; for the capitalist cannot, consistently with natural law, be compelled to loan his capital against his will. All legislative restraints upon the rate of interest, are, therefore, nothing less than arbitrary and tyrannical restraints upon a mans natural capacity amid natural right to hire capital, upon which to bestow his labor....The effect of usury laws, then, is to give a monopoly of the right of borrowing money, to those few, who can offer the most approved security." 
So, yes, Washington and Lee were similar in some respects, but different in one critical matter.
Lee obviously didn’t do what Washington did, which was to uphold his solemn oath to defend his country. Washington would have been outraged by the (mis)conduct of lee - or lost causers like you.
I know you really don't believe that, but you have to say it. Otherwise your whole little reconstructed world will come crashing down.
That makes this a red-letter day I suppose ;-)
Sure, not as we understand the word "Communist" today.
But there was a time -- lasting decades -- in which words like "anarchist" and "communist" were more-or-less synonymous.
We even find this in Marx himself talking (ironically to our ears) about the "withering away of the state".
So, for many years, "communist" did not mean "big government" but rather the absence of a government needed to enforce laws -- laws of property and contract, for examples.
But more to the point, specifically, Spooner joined the socialist First International, which is summarized here as:
It was founded in 1864 in a workmen's meeting held in Saint Martin's Hall, London.
Its first congress was held in 1866 in Geneva."
By the way, for everyone who suggested additions to my list of only Ten Neo-Confederate Myths +1, I agree, and this thread has provided many new ones.
But it struck me yesterday that some of these additional myths should fall into categories of "theme and variations".
Some are not really so much different myths, as they are different ways of expressing the same myth.
Consider an example: Myth #1 says, "Secession was not all about slavery".
Well, you can think of that as a category of myths and then list out a whole group of "sub-myths" under it, such as:
We could do the same with Myth #3: "A 'right of secession' is guaranteed by the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution"
The list of other "guarantees" might include:
So, if you ever see this list again, it will probably be in a more generalized form, showing variations of arguments under their respective categories.
Anyway, thanks again for all your input!
Sorry. No time neo-coms.
Thanks for playing.
“But the Founders themselves were consistent in saying, or implying, that lawful secession should be by mutual consent or, in effect, some material breech of contract justifying dissolving the Union.”
Comrade Brojoe couldn’t be more wrong. Let’s forget Jefferson and his passion for state rights for a minute and move on to James Madison, you know, “The Father of the Constitution”. Even Federalist Madison opined that there was/is an “extraconstitutional right to revolt against conditions of ‘intolerable oppression’; but if the case cannot be made (that such conditions exist), then he rejected secessionas a violation of the Constitution.”
The only way Comrade Brojoe can square with his beliefs is to have us believe that the oppression being brought upon the south was of the tolerable type. But remember, at the end of the day the north killed hundreds of thousands of Southerners in the successful attempt to deny them THEIR free will. Bottom line in Comrade’s book; slavery bad — denial of (Southern) free will and self governance good.
Thanks for the reference to Madison. It shows that he understood the difference between the natural right of rebellion and the contrived "right" of secession. Perhaps there's hope for you yet. Or perhaps not:
The only way Comrade Brojoe can square with his beliefs is to have us believe that the oppression being brought upon the south was of the tolerable type.
There was no oppression being brought upon the south - except at the hands of the southron slavers.
Are you saying that the fact that the south suffered casualties in a war they started over what they claimed to be "intolerable oppression" is proof of that oppression?
But secession itself is the coward's way out. The genius of the Constitution is that it allows for it's own modification. Get two-thirds of the state legislatures to call a convention. Get three-fourths of the states to ratify what that convention proposes. You can got in and propose an amendment that the Constitution is now null and void and all the states are on their own if you want.
But the secessionist of 1861 or the Lost Causer of today realizes that's hard work, and they don't want to do the hard work of winning a supermajority to their side. They'd rather invoke some magical principle that they can simply blink their eyes three times and suddenly they're in a different country, exempt from all laws.
EVERYONE knows the South is the most conservative region in the country. Hell, the South is the only think keeping us(perhaps the world) from slipping into totalitarianism and communism. So as a separate nation, the South would be fine right now instead of being trapped in a dying union that is determined to bring the whole thing down. To deny that is to be totally brainwashed or just plain ignorant.
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