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:
Hood’s wounds at Gettysburg, and loss of a leg at Chickamauga—really have to say he must have been driven- and reason/military logic escaped him. Terrible at Franklin, esp the loss of Patrick Cleburne.
Exciting to learn of a cache of Hood’s papers/letters has been found, giving balance:
Your argument is invalid.
Sorry, FRiend, but the "revisionists" are all those who taught you whatever it is you think you know about the Civil War.
Both sides were Americans and that is all that matters.
Hell, our most famous General’s family fought for the South - i.e. the Pattons of Virginia. The irony is that the South (generally speaking) has become the last bastion of freedom against the encroaching and sinister effects of socialism seeping in from the rest of the country. Folks in the midwest and Intermountain West need to stand with the Southerners on this before the left and east coast pukes have us all in serivtude. Posts likes this only serve to divide otherwise conservatively similar people on FR. Of course I do not mean this as a slight on FR's founder, who hails from California.
You’re very observant.
He also didn’t have a single vote south of the Mason-Dixon. He was president in the North, and only just barely that, winning Illinois with 53 percent, Iowa, with 54, Indiana with 51, Ohio with 51, New York with 53, etc.
He remains the only president elected with only 30 percent of the total vote, since South carolina was excluded from the election.
Make it decafe ‘’mom’’,folks are already rilled up!
I’m more than that pal but I try always to be a gentleman which refrains me from telling you what you can do with that treasonous rag.
Bless your heart.
He also didn’t earn a single vote south of the Mason Dixon. He may have been president of the North, but not of the South.
What the American Navy did to the Japanese Imperial Navy at Midway in 1942 is war as an art form. The South in the Civil War conducted itself as little more than an illiterate mob with guns.
From a page called "Defending the Heritage" on FB:
DÉJÀ VU ?
TYRANNY When someone in the Executive Branch says they can kill you without due process .Id be a little concerned when they begin comparing the current resident of the White House with the 16th who...
... disarmed the Border States, suspended habeas Corpus, declared Martial Law, engaged the military without Congressional approval, threatened the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, imprisoned almost an entire state legislature, deported his most vocal opponent in Congress, shut down hundreds of newspapers and jailed the editors, made total war on civilians, sat by while his minions set fire to and looted whole towns, freed slaves only where he couldnt reach them and held them in bondage where he could have set them free, stationed armed guards at polling places to intimidate voters, recruited foreign immigrants to use as cannon fodder, promoted his generals after they executed innocent citizens, started a war to collect taxes on demand of his political and corporate cronies.
The latest research places the number of dead soldiers from his war at 750,000, add to that tens of thousands of Southern civilians and millions maimed or disfigured for life.
His law partner states that, he coveted honor and was eager for power. He was impatient of any interference that delayed or obstructed his progress."
Sound familiar, about the only thing he didnt do regularly was play golf and shoot hoops
Photo: Two fast talking lanky lawyers from Illinois
My mentor on this subject is James Madison, whose words I quoted immediately after the Virginia ratification.
In Madison's formulation, "mutual consent" to disunion is the moral equivalent of "oppression" or "usurpations" which are a "violation of the compact as absolves them from its obligations."
But there were no -- zero, zip, nada, none -- "usurpations" "oppression" or "injuries" in November 1860, just days after Lincoln's election and four months before his inauguration, when South Carolina slave-holders first began organizing to declare their secession.
That made their declarations neither "mutual consent" nor from "violations of the compact" of which Madison approved, but rather disunion "at pleasure" of which he did not.
I think your view that the war was only about slavery is as incorrect as the war had nothing to do with slavery. Virginia voted against secession in April 1861 and did not seceded until Lincoln called up troops for an invasion of the South.
My great-grandfather (4 of my great-grandfathers served in the Confederate army) served as a private in the 10th Virginia and was not a slave-owner, 95% of the population of Virginia were not slave-owners. Yet after the war he apparently raised two black teenagers for they are listed as part of his household in the 1870 census.
Union troops invoked total war against the citizens of Virginia— they burned farms, killed livestock, and destroyed mills. Sheridan’s destruction of the Shenandoah Valley and “The Burning” conducted in Fauquier, Prince William, Loudoun, etc. are well documented.
Oh, I feel the same toward my fellow Virginians who voted for Obama, believe me. "All y'all", though, doesn't apply to my county and the surrounding ones, which stayed reliably red. This is redneck country, and we're proud of it.
Besides, making fun of conservatives because they live in blue states doesn't make much sense, does it?
“Both sides were Americans and that is all that matters.”
General Ely S. Parker, a member of the Seneca tribe,
drew up the articles of surrender
which General Robert E. Lee
signed at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865.
Gen. Parker, who served as Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s
military secretary was an educated attorney who was once
rejected for Union military service because of his race.
At the meeting, Gen. Lee was at first taken aback
at the presence of an Indian being in such a position.
After he got to know Parker,
Lee is said to have remarked to him,
“I am glad to see one real American here.”
Parker replied, “We are all Americans.”
From Chapter 13, Jesus Wept, An American Story
"Y'all" is a contraction of "you all." When you use it in the singular sense, as Yankees sometimes do when they think they're being hilarious, it looks, well...dumb.
Exactly - just like “All y’all”
I didn’t realize it was a requirement.
I agree with you about the loss of Cleburne.
You know, I'm not certain if you and I haven't debated this question before... indeed, you nom de FReep ;-) suggests you may know a thing or two about that 1860 election.
If so, then you may remember that I argue Lincoln was only conceivably elected in 1860 because the Southern Slave-Power, which had ruled the republic since its founding in 1788, suddenly in 1860 committed political suicide by splitting its majority Democrat party into two minority regional parties -- northern and southern.
These two Democrat regional parties allowed Republicans to become majorities in enough northern states to carry a majority of the electoral college.
Yes, I well know the objections to my suggestion, and the answer is: elections are matters of emotion as much as counting numbers.
When Democrats split their majority party in half, many former Democrats realized they had no incentive to vote for an obviously regional minority party.
They split up, some joined the Republicans, others in critical states like Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee voted for John Bell's Constitutional Union party.
Had the slave-holding "Fire Eaters" been willing to stay with their "Dough-faced" Northern Democrat allies, 1860's outcome could have been quite different.
there are remarkably few records of civilians murdered or raped ...the best known exceptions are Grant at Vicksburg and Sherman's "march to the sea". In both cases, their actions were crucial to victory.
You are calling THOUSANDS of civilian lives murdered an "exception" "crucial to victory."
In contrast there is one known civilian casualty due to Confederate forces (a farmer at Gettysburg).
There is no doubt in my mind that slavery is/was not good for anyone involved.
My question is, paraphrasing a Philadelphia mayor of the early 80s, “When is the debt paid up?”
Oh, I kind of like “all y’all.” It REALLY sounds Southern.
Wow, that old Confederate battle flag sure has your knickers in a twist.
My question is, paraphrasing a Philadelphia mayor of the early 80s, When is the debt paid up?
Most likely never, if most blacks and their enablers have anything to do with it.
In fact, there is no documentary evidence of any major issue except slavery as a reason for slave-holders' declarations of secession.
And it was not "complex" in the least, but rather as simple as simple can be: slave-holders believed their chief assets (slaves) and very prosperous way of life were threatened by the election of "Black Republican" Abraham Lincoln.
As for slaves serving the Confederacy, doubtless thousands, likely tens of thousands did, and many of those escaped to Union lines whenever they got the chance.
Slaves worked in all manner of Confederate military construction, service and supply jobs.
Some man-servants even went into battle with their white masters.
But there were no slave-units equivalent to the hundreds of thousands of Union colored troops, many of whom fought heroically and died to win the freedom they deserved.
Bless your Heart!
We of the South really enjoy the warmth of your message. We are looking forward to setting down with you, sometime, to a fine “supper” of fried chicken. mashed taters, biscuits and sweet tea.
My parentage is Alabama and Pennsylvania. We gave up on fighting each other years ago. Maybe you should consider it today, as it is a beautiful SUNDAY!
Again, may I say , Bless your Heart!
Lincoln won absolute majorities in those states in spite of the fact that there were as many as 4 candidates on the ballot. I'd say his victory in those states was overwhelming.
He remains the only president elected with only 30 percent of the total vote, since South carolina was excluded from the election.
Check your facts. Lincoln won almost 40% of the popular vote - 39.65 to be exact. John Quincy Adams won election in 1824 with 31% of the vote. And South Carolina was not excluded from the election; they cast their 8 electoral votes for John Breckenridge. Given your screen name I'm surprised you didn't know that.
What I fully recognize is that you wish, instead of discussing facts or debating issues on the subject, to carp on endlessly about "Yankee self-righteousness".
So that is not my problem, madam, it is yours.
But, yes, I certainly do give you permission to heal.
Heal, I say!
Again, not true if you're talking about popular vote. Lincoln got about 1800 votes in Virginia and 1300 votes in Kentucky.
So are you going to secede from Virginia?
Nothing to do with slavery? Nothing at all? Do you honestly believe that?
Why would you think so?
New Yorkers fold their pizza.
I’d like to see someone try to fold a Chicago pizza. Maybe someone from down South has tried.
Yes sir! Go ahead and try!
Also like to see a square cut connecticut pizza be folded. Gonna be messy!
“In contrast there is one known civilian casualty due to Confederate forces (a farmer at Gettysburg). “
Think about this a bit, with the numbers killed that is simply impossible. Can you name a source for that conclusion? Give me some time and I can give you civilian casualties due to Confederate forces. It was war, it happened.
So, you’re having a slow day?
Something that people always ignore when they open up these discussions are the economies involved and the reasons events occur. In the 19th Century, the north was a manufacturing economy. They had the raw materials necessary and the factories that enabled them to produce as much as they needed.
The south had an agricultural economy. Unlike the north, when the south needed to produce more food, they had to plant more land or obtain more cattle. If they plant more land, they need more hands to work the land.
Since there were no federal crop subsidies to enable farmers to be paid for crop losses, etc., southern farmers had few options to increase production and increase revenue.
We also forget that wages were incredibly low in those days. It was common that the average wage was around $10 to $20 per month. The farmers in those days lived on the edge of poverty. Any bad crop or bad season could spell the end for them. Without crop subsidies from the government (as they have today) and crop insurance, things were pretty tight.
The same was not true for the north. Manufacturers could increase production when necessary and, if the price of the raw materials increased, that price increase got passed along to the consumer, just as today.
But, there is another piece that the anti-slavery crowd ignores and that is that farmers were largely prohibited from raising prices without government permision. So, their hands were tied. To increase production they had to plant more land which took more hands. To increase prices, they had to get government permission.
In order to meet these requirements, they couldn’t afford to pay their field hands. If they did, the price of produce, even bread, would have skyrocketed beyond what anyone could afford.
So the only other option was slaves. Before I go any further, allow me to explain that I am neither condoning nor justifying slavery. My point is to explain why they were needed and why, when notherners began pushing for the abolition of slavery, the south felt threatened. Their very way of life and livelihood was being threatened. This is what brought us to secession and the whole Civil War.
It is also important to note that the Founders established the Constitution on the basis of the balance of power. The balance of power is visible throughout the Constitution including the 3 branches, different responsibilities, etc. While secession was not codified in the Constitution, it was acknowledged by several of the Founders in the Federalist Papers as another measure available to the states to maintain the balance of power against a strong central government.
The Second Amendment was about both defending the country as well as maintaining the balance of power so that the government would not be the only entity with the means to either defend the country or wage war. And, secession was another part of that balance of power.
History is great and I love history because it teaches us so much. However, you cannot study historical records in a vacuum, nor can you ignore the various stresses present on a society. When we read historical documents, we must read them in the context of the day, not as abstract things that say “x and such”. The documents often shed light on the WHAT of an historical event, but not the WHY. The WHY of an event is the reason that the historical document exists.
So, you may want to re- re- re- re- re-fight the Civil War ad infinitum on the basis of the historical records but, if you fail to understand the prevailing pressures of the day, you fail to understand what history has to teach us.
The north was fighting for a principle that history teaches us was, ultimately, the right one. However, they way they chose to go about it was the wrong approach. The south was fighting for its very life and, as biologists have long told us, the will to survive is the strongest will we have.
If you get to this point, you will undoubtedly blather on about how I am actually defending slavery and the south was just trying to maintain slavery because all southerners are inherently evil bastids. And, if you respond that way, we will not have had a civil discourse and, once again, another individual will have failed to learn what history has to teach us by taking events out of context.
What's your point? (as if I have a damned thing to do with slavery, having been born in Texas in 1967, NOT 1847) It's a done deal and has been for almost 150 years.
As to "how" they were freed, well, millions of white guys died to free them.
It would be ignorant to say that there were no anti-slavery people in the South or any pro-slavery people in the North.
Generalities and stupid stereotypes on this subject are grossly wearisome, y'all.
All this talk about pizza and now THIS!
Good article. Maybe it’s the “all” and “only” that sets some people off. The problem is that some states didn’t secede when it was all about slavery, but waited until war had already begun. I’d just say secession was about slavery and leave it at that.
Instead, secession (or "disunion") is always seen as a last resort, requiring mutual consent or material usurpations and oppression.
In other words, the Federal Government was not created as compact or contract between the states, but a legal framework ratified "by the people."
This claim will always seem absurd, since:
1. the constitution was ratified by the states 2. later states were not represented in it's formation
3. "the people" is an abstraction
4. Most important, it closes the door to secession in the future-- perhaps not that distantwhen it--or more practically its implicit threat--might be the last measure to forestall tyranny.
In other words, this reading will make it possible for the Federal Government to imprison or assassinate citizens it deems seditious, or mobilize the army against its own citizens-- (a violation of its own constitution.)
First of all, you sound like one of those "low information voters", who sort of walk around in a daze, don't really understand anything, and randomly pick up a lot of false information, right?
Second, "good" and "evil" in this case hugely depend on your views toward slavery.
If you consider slavery evil, then those who declare war to defend it should have a pretty hard time proving they are somehow "good", right?
In historical fact, the Confederacy was formed precisely to modify the Constitution to add clauses which protected the "rights" of owners of human "property" -- yes, "forever".
miliantnutcase: "The more I studied the civil war and compared it to modern day politics the more I see parallels happening.
Ive grown to question my belief of Lincoln, and who was really 'right' regarding the war."
But you haven't studied the civil war, you really know nothing about it.
Instead, you've absorbed some propaganda from Neo-Confederates, and now can't separate their nonsense from what really happened.
That's why you're so confused.
miliantnutcase: "As I see states rights continue to erode to this day, I believe we are doomed to repeat history."
It's true that states rights continue to erode, but the reason is not Abraham Lincoln, it began with the 16th and 17th Amendments, both ratified just 100 years ago, under Progressive Southern Democrat President Woodrow Wilson.
As for "doomed to repeat history", it's just not going to happen, so long as good people obey the laws and act peacefully to achieve their political goals.