Skip to comments.Ten Neo-Confederate Myths
Posted on 03/10/2013 8:19:44 AM PDT by BroJoeK
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Or what passes for research among the rebel wannabes.
Not just Seward. Lincoln appointed all his leading competitors for the Republican nomination to his Cabinet, uniquely AFAIK in American history.
For a man who cannot acquire the respect of those who viewed themselves as his peers, and often, initially, as his superiors, this is a recipe for discord and disaster.
However, with the sole exception of Chase, who was unable to get past his ambition to be President, they all became loyal supporters of Lincoln.
For a modern-day equivalent, imagine a Romney administration with Santorum, Bachman, Gingrich and Perry as leading officials. Yikes!
I suggest that differing understandings of the past are not based on different facts, but rather on different ideas as to what those facts mean.
Accurate scholarship has the potential, in theory anyway, to allow us to reach an accurate understanding of the facts of history, to the extent documented.
But the bare-bones facts have little real meaning until somebody adds an opinion as to what those facts mean, and often how they apply to today's world. And I strongly suspect there will always be strong differences of opinion in this regard.
The problem is that far too often these discussions avoid what I consider the critical two-step process of: 1. Determining to agree as to what the facts are in the case. Who did what to whom when, and in what order? 2. What does that timeline mean?
If we make it clear whether we're talking about step 1 or step 2, possibly we could make progress.
Since we've been arguing about these issues on FR for at least ten years, and since America in general has been arguing about it since, well, the north and south started to develop in different ways in the 1600s, I don't think "progress" is really in the cards.
Whatever the shade of your political and regional beliefs, let's all at least admit that we do this because we enjoy arguing.
Of course, but there's also more to it.
In a broad sense, we are the voice of Free Republic to the outside world, and if we look good, then FR looks good.
On the other hand, if we sound like a bunch of idiots, then people will more-or-less assume that's all Free Republic is.
That would be a shame, imho.
I don't even see a debate there. Johnson was many things but one thing he was not and had zero capability to be was a statesmen. He was a hard, totally inflexible man.
Lincoln, IMHO, would have handled reconstruction much more diplomatically, would have (just as he did during the war) kept the Radical Republicans from their excesses, and gently eased the nation back together. Johnson was totally incapable of any of that.
He on one hand wanted to hang all the Confederate leaders while on the other pretend the war never happened. Neither was possible or desirable.
I see on an earlier post where one of the posters was cheering J.W. Booth shooting Lincoln. IMHO, if Lincoln had lived, we wouldn't even be having these debates today, the Lost Cause school would have never been born, and if we did talk about the Civil War it would be as dispassionate as if we were talking about the French-Indian war or the War of 1812.
Oh there's no doubt about that. I got drawn into the Civil War threads here because I just couldn't, in good conscience, allow the neo-confederates to go unopposed. And while I don't believe that someone like cva is suddenly going to say, "Hmm, I guess you're right. Lincoln isn't responsible for the fact that it's a cloudy day today," other people reading these threads will at least see that there's a counter argument for all the Lost Cause talking points.
Thank you for a well-done synopsis.
Whether it is the War of Northern Aggression or the Civil War is ones point of view. A recent point of view considered the economic reasons for succession. Taking slaves away in the South would have a similar economic effect as taking away horses and plows in the North.
Leaving aside for a moment the difference between a human being and a plow, nobody was trying to take the South's slaves away. Lincoln didn't have the authority to do that and he knew it. All they wanted to do was keep slavery contained to areas where it currently existed.
Then by all means stop posting.
Walter E. Williams
THE PROBLEMS THAT LED TO THE CIVIL WAR are the same problems today ---- big, intrusive government. The reason we don't face the specter of another Civil War is because today's Americans don't have yesteryear's spirit of liberty and constitutional respect, and political statesmanship is in short supply.
Actually, the war of 1861 was not a civil war. A civil war is a conflict between two or more factions trying to take over a government. In 1861, Confederate President Jefferson Davis was no more interested in taking over Washington than George Washington was interested in taking over England in 1776. Like Washington, Davis was seeking independence. Therefore, the war of 1861 should be called "The War Between the States" or the "War for Southern Independence." The more bitter southerner might call it the "War of Northern Aggression."
I like the name the United States government gave in their official history: The War of the Rebellion.
I don't even concede that much.
The war was only conceivably one of "Norther Aggression" if you first look at in in, say 1863: then yes, most (but not all) major battles were fought within the Confederacy.
I'm saying, if you go back to it's beginning, November 1860, when secessionists first organized their conventions: for six months thereafter every aggression was that of secessionists against the United States -- culminating in their formal declaration of war, on May 6, 1861.
The first Confederate soldier was not killed in battle until June 10, 1861.
At that point, the Union finally began to respond to the War of Southern Aggression against the United States.
MosesKnows: "A recent point of view considered the economic reasons for succession.
Taking slaves away in the South would have a similar economic effect as taking away horses and plows in the North. "
My main source on this particular discussion is James Huston's 2003 book, "Calculating the Value of Union: Slavery, Property Rights and Economic Origins of the Civil War"
Huston presents data from the 1860 census and argues that Southerners, particularly in the Deep South, were far better off in 1860 than most people understand.
Indeed, on average, they were better off than their northern cousins.
The reasons include two huge economic benefits from their "peculiar institution", slavery:
And just as today you might take out a home-equity loan on the rising value of your house, so in 1860 slave-holders took out "slave-equity" loans which allowed them to live more comfortably than, for example, average Northerners.
My point is: any disruption in that economy, reducing demand for slaves or cash crops, would bring their entire economic house crashing down -- and that was their key concern in November 1860, when Deep South secessionists first organized conventions to make declarations of disunion.
Thanks for your advice, FRiend.
"THE PROBLEMS THAT LED TO THE CIVIL WAR are the same problems today ---- big, intrusive government."
That article was written 14+ years ago.
I'd hope that in the years since, maybe Williams has cracked a history book or two, and learned something about what really happened back then.
Oh come on. Williams can’t even get the dates of the Morrill Tariff right. We’re supposed to care what he thinks caused the Civil War?
The only history of the Civil War he seems to have read is the totally laughable crap produced by his fellow libertarian, Thomas DiLorenzo and the other denizens of the fever swamp at LouRockwell.com.
You point is well taken but we each approach this from a different point of view.
I think the fact that America abolished slavery in less than 80 years is reason for celebration. The end date of the effort to abolish slavery in America is 1865. However, the beginning of the effort to abolish slavery in America began before the ink was dry on either the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution. The founders felt that slavery would have to be abolished at some point and they started that effort virtually immediately.
There are other instances where an amendment to the Constitution granted powers to the Federal government once reserved to the states.
The 13th amendment removed the power entrusted to the States to be free or slave. The 15th, 19th, 24th, and 26th, Amendment removed the power entrusted to the States to determine who can vote.
I fear that the discovery of reasons for the Civil War may trump the result of the Civil War, which was the abolition of slavery forever.
When our Founders signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776, slavery remained legal in all 13 states.
But even Southerner Thomas Jefferson understood that slavery was wrong and tried to include an anti-slavery indictment of King George in his Declaration.
Vermont first banned slavery in 1777, and by 1800 every Northern state passed laws to phase-out or immediately abolish slavery.
As a result, by 1860's census, only 18 elderly slaves were reported still living in New Jersey.
Additionally, Kansas reported two, Nebraska 15 and Utah 29 slaves.
All other northern and western states reported zero slaves.
But in Border States, Upper South and Deep South, slaves totaled nearly four million in 1860.
MosesKnows: "There are other instances where an amendment to the Constitution granted powers to the Federal government once reserved to the states."
Sure, constitutional powers constitutionally granted, not usurped. So your here point is what?
MosesKnows: "I fear that the discovery of reasons for the Civil War may trump the result of the Civil War, which was the abolition of slavery forever."
Do I understand you correctly? Do you fear that once people understand, Deep South secessionists declared their disunion then provoked started and declared war on the United States, all to protect their "peculiar institution" of slavery, that this might somehow cause slavery to be re-established?
And if slavery is ever re-established, who do you suppose with be our Masters, and which of us their slaves?
I know nothing about those people, only know Williams himself from his time on Rush's show, and all of that was good stuff.
But, if what we've seen from various "Neo-Confederate" posters on Free Republic is any clue, then I'd say generally there's not much in the way of serious scholarship going on in those "fever swamps".