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:
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.
Funny, but I'm pretty sure that delis and pastrami aren't native Southern flora or fauna.
If they were flocking for grits and hamhocks you might have just grounds for complaint, but it looks to me like they're just reclaiming and enjoying their own contribution.
Oh, well. Southerners will do what we always do when confronted with Yankees who think they know it all. Well laugh at you and make fun of you behind your backs.
And they laugh at you behind your backs, so I guess everybody's even.
I do have to wonder if the Yankees aren't a scapegoat. Maybe upcountry and downcountry would get on each other's nerves a lot more if there weren't convenient newcomers to blame.
Those are total casualty numbers.
Killed in action on June 10, 1861 were 18 Federals and one Confederate -- Private Henry L. Wyatt of the 1st North Carolina Volunteers.
This first Confederate battle-death came two months after the Confederate assault on Fort Sumter, and one month after the Confederacy's formal declaration of war on the United States, May 6, 1861.
Lot of words - but you avoided answering...Why?
Well considering as I observed it isn’t the one that has vanquished tyrannies throughout our nations history, the one defended since the Civil War,WW1 and WW2 and in peace time by members of my family and the one our troops are defending today yeah, it gets my “Irish’’ up. I don’t wear ‘’knickers’’ dude.
There are many for whom racism is a business.
Thanks for making my point. One of those ‘’white guys’’happened to be my great-great-grandfather.