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U.S. Corrects 'Southern Bias' at Civil War Sites
Reuters via Lycos.com ^ | 12/22/2002 | Alan Elsner

Posted on 12/22/2002 7:56:45 AM PST by GeneD

GETTYSBURG, Pa. (Reuters) - The U.S. National Park Service has embarked on an effort to change its interpretive materials at major Civil War battlefields to get rid of a Southern bias and emphasize the horrors of slavery.

Nowhere is the project more striking than at Gettysburg, site of the largest battle ever fought on American soil, where plans are going ahead to build a new visitors center and museum at a cost of $95 million that will completely change the way the conflict is presented to visitors.

"For the past 100 years, we've been presenting this battlefield as the high watermark of the Confederacy and focusing on the personal valor of the soldiers who fought here," said Gettysburg Park Superintendent John Latschar.

"We want to change the perception so that Gettysburg becomes known internationally as the place of a 'new rebirth of freedom,"' he said, quoting President Abraham Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address" made on Nov. 19, 1863, five months after the battle.

"We want to get away from the traditional descriptions of who shot whom, where and into discussions of why they were shooting one another," Latschar said.

The project seems particularly relevant following the furor over Republican Sen. Trent Lott's recent remarks seeming to endorse racial segregation, which forced many Americans to revisit one of the uglier chapters of the nation's history.

When it opens in 2006, the new museum will offer visitors a narrative of the entire Civil War, putting the battle into its larger historical context. Latschar said he was inspired by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C., which sets out to tell a story rather than to display historical artifacts behind glass cases.

"Our current museum is absolutely abysmal. It tells no story. It's a curator's museum with no rhyme or reason," Latschar said.

It is also failing to preserve the 700,000 items in its collection, including 350,000 maps, documents and photographs, many of which were rotting away or crumbling into dust until they were put into temporary storage.

FEW BLACKS VISIT

Around 1.8 million people visit Gettysburg every year. Latschar said a disproportionate number were men and the park attracts very few black visitors.

In 1998, he invited three prominent historians to examine the site. Their conclusion: that Gettysburg's interpretive programs had a "pervasive southern sympathy."

The same was true at most if not all of the 28 Civil War sites operated by the National Parks Service. A report to Congress delivered in March 2000 found that only nine did an adequate job of addressing slavery in their exhibits.

Another six, including Gettysburg, gave it a cursory mention. The rest did not mention it at all. Most parks are now trying to correct the situation.

Park rangers and licensed guides at Gettysburg and other sites have already changed their presentations in line with the new policy. Now, park authorities are taking a look at brochures, handouts and roadside signs.

According to Dwight Pitcaithley, chief historian of the National Park Service, the South had tremendous success in promoting its "lost cause" theory.

The theory rested on three propositions: that the war was fought over "states' rights" and not over slavery; that there was no dishonor in defeat since the Confederacy lost only because it was overwhelmed by the richer north; and that slavery was a benign institution and most slaves were content with their lot and faithful to their masters.

"Much of the public conversation today about the Civil War and its meaning for contemporary society is shaped by structured forgetting and wishful thinking" he said.


TOPICS:
KEYWORDS: dixie; dixielist
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1 posted on 12/22/2002 7:56:45 AM PST by GeneD
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To: GeneD
I think I'm gonna be sick.
2 posted on 12/22/2002 8:00:31 AM PST by PatrickHenry
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To: GeneD
I wonder if their revisionist view of history will include the thousands of black soldiers who fought on the side of the Confedracy at Gettysburg and elsewhere.
3 posted on 12/22/2002 8:01:44 AM PST by Vigilanteman
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To: GeneD
I see you, or someone, added "Trent Lott" to the keyword section. Sadly, it will only get worse now.
4 posted on 12/22/2002 8:02:29 AM PST by Cagey
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To: SAMWolf
Heads up!!! This is more your area than mine.
5 posted on 12/22/2002 8:02:46 AM PST by Sparta
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Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

To: GeneD
A war of northern agression: to the victor belong the spoils.(puke)
7 posted on 12/22/2002 8:03:20 AM PST by Abcdefg
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To: GeneD
"...Around 1.8 million people visit Gettysburg every year. Latschar said a disproportionate number were men and the park attracts very few black visitors..."

If this foray into revisionist history isn't sufficient to attract more Blacks to Gettysburg there may be a need to bus them in from other National Parks...

8 posted on 12/22/2002 8:03:34 AM PST by DWSUWF
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To: Cagey
I did, and it was only because Trent Lott's name popped up in the story. It seems to pop up in every story nowadays.
9 posted on 12/22/2002 8:05:08 AM PST by GeneD
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To: GeneD
Since it has now been decided by the powers that be that slavery was the only issue for the Civil War, I suggest that we plow over all the sites, and let Habitat for Humanity build affordable housing. They could only allow descendants of slaves to live there, and we could call this "The Reparations Act".
10 posted on 12/22/2002 8:06:06 AM PST by widowithfoursons
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To: GWELO
The civil war was not fought over slavery.Most people in the north didnt care about freeing the slaves.Sad fact but a fact just the same.

Partly correct. It's true that the overwhelming majority of the folks up North didn't give a damn about blacks or slavery. But defense of the institution of slavery was by far the single most important reason why the southern states began their rebellion.

11 posted on 12/22/2002 8:06:55 AM PST by Non-Sequitur
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To: Non-Sequitur
I am going to say it again. Silk.

If only the south went silk not cotton, we would not still be having this disussion.

Silk worms have no constituency.
12 posted on 12/22/2002 8:10:49 AM PST by Bluntpoint
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To: GeneD
I'm no southerner but this is horse hockey. Thousands and thousands died on both sides. The victory was for maintaining the union without slavery.
13 posted on 12/22/2002 8:12:54 AM PST by hgro
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To: Bluntpoint
Silk worms have no constituency.

And when they reach the end of their economic usefulness then all you have to do is squish 'em and nobody will care. On the other hand I hear that silk worm uprisings can be really bloody.

14 posted on 12/22/2002 8:14:45 AM PST by Non-Sequitur
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To: GeneD
Will the South lose again? Will the Southern Heritage become a weapon against the South?
15 posted on 12/22/2002 8:15:12 AM PST by Consort
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To: Non-Sequitur
And long lasting. Nothing gets blood out of silk.
16 posted on 12/22/2002 8:18:27 AM PST by Bluntpoint
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To: GeneD; Sparta
Thanks for the Ping Sparta


The Government is rewriting our History. PC is more important than the truth.
17 posted on 12/22/2002 8:24:09 AM PST by SAMWolf
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To: GeneD
"History" -one more word falls victim to the bastardization of the language, by those who seek to use confusion as a weapon of mass destruction against us.

Those who learn only the faux version of history are doomed to repeat the genuine version of history.



18 posted on 12/22/2002 8:24:51 AM PST by F.J. Mitchell
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To: SAMWolf
I thought the day of looseleaf history books for the ever changing "truths" of history were over with the end of the Soviet Union. It seems we must also finish defeating Marxism in our colleges history departments and in our burocrats.

This is entirely within the control of George Bush, without the need for congressional aproval. He is going to bear all the blame, deservedly.

So9

19 posted on 12/22/2002 8:27:19 AM PST by Servant of the Nine
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To: GWELO
Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address and returned to a White House maintained by slaves.
20 posted on 12/22/2002 8:27:55 AM PST by gitmo
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To: GeneD
"For the past 100 years, we've been presenting this battlefield as the high watermark of the Confederacy and focusing on the personal valor of the soldiers who fought here,"

Yeah, heaven forefend! That may imply some nobility of action on BOTH sides, and abdicate the right of the victor to write the history.

21 posted on 12/22/2002 8:32:08 AM PST by IronJack
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Comment #22 Removed by Moderator

To: Non-Sequitur
defense of the institution of slavery was by far the single most important reason why the southern states began their rebellion.

I disagree. Several "insurrections" preceded the Confederate assault on Fort Sumter. The South was tired of having its soil "occupied" by forces alien and hostile to it, in defiance of the states' right prerogative embodied in the Constitution and cherished in the South at a level unmatched in the industrialized North.

23 posted on 12/22/2002 8:35:08 AM PST by IronJack
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To: GeneD
Around 1.8 million people visit Gettysburg every year. Latschar said a disproportionate number were men and the park attracts very few black visitors.

So are we going to have an affirmative action program for female and black battlefield visitors?

Government supported PBS and National Public Radio have disproportionate fewer conservative viewers and listeners, is the government planning a revision of these institutions?

Damn their revisionist eyes.

24 posted on 12/22/2002 8:38:28 AM PST by nathanbedford
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To: IronJack
I disagree. Several "insurrections" preceded the Confederate assault on Fort Sumter. The South was tired of having its soil "occupied" by forces alien and hostile to it, in defiance of the states' right prerogative embodied in the Constitution and cherished in the South at a level unmatched in the industrialized North.

I'm sorry, but your opinion differs with the leaders of the southern rebellion. They made it pretty clear that slavery and it's fate was first and foremost in their minds when they rebelled.

25 posted on 12/22/2002 8:38:57 AM PST by Non-Sequitur
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To: GeneD
Is it true that Sen. Byrd's movie about the civil war will be titled; "White Roots"?
26 posted on 12/22/2002 8:42:15 AM PST by Uncle George
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To: gitmo
How was it possible for the WH to be run by slaves during the Civil War? Can you provide some backup for the statement?
27 posted on 12/22/2002 8:44:02 AM PST by Thebaddog
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To: GeneD
Around 1.8 million people visit Gettysburg every year. Latschar said a disproportionate number were men and the park attracts very few black visitors.

No problem. Just declare that the battle of Gettysburgh was actually fought in downtown Philadelphia and Antietam was really fought in downtown Baltimore. Then explain that most of the Union generals were blacks and that President Lincoln had three black cabinet members who convinced him to oppose slavery.

This little fairy tale will enhance the self-esteem of black children and will make it easier for them to visit historical sites. ;-)
28 posted on 12/22/2002 8:47:21 AM PST by cgbg
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To: gitmo
Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address and returned to a White House maintained by slaves.

Nonsense.

29 posted on 12/22/2002 8:48:23 AM PST by Non-Sequitur
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Comment #30 Removed by Moderator

To: Non-Sequitur
At the risk of refighting the War, could you provide some citations to back up your assertion? My studies on the antecedents of the Civil War show very little organized rebellion as such. Some states resented the presence of Northern troops on their soil more than others, but until the declaration of war after Sumter, there was little in the way of "leadership" or an organized insurrection.

At least that's the way I've read the history.

31 posted on 12/22/2002 8:51:46 AM PST by IronJack
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To: GWELO
Your statement is VERY debateable. Anybody who denies slavery's primary role in causing of the war is living in denial.

I'm glad they're updating the visitors center. It's an Eisenhower era relic.

Smells like it too.

32 posted on 12/22/2002 8:53:09 AM PST by zarf
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To: Bluntpoint
Actually you're on the right track.....blame Eli Whitney ...his invention made cotton King.
33 posted on 12/22/2002 8:53:18 AM PST by wardaddy
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To: GeneD
Around 1.8 million people visit Gettysburg every year. Latschar said a disproportionate number were men and the park attracts very few black visitors.

And that there is the reason for all of this. Maybe a nice Kwanza display at Gettysburg would be more apropriate.

Big time BARF alert!

34 posted on 12/22/2002 8:55:41 AM PST by southern rock
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Comment #35 Removed by Moderator

To: wardaddy
LOL! Now that you mention it, it is fun.
36 posted on 12/22/2002 8:56:51 AM PST by Cagey
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To: GeneD
We want to get away from the traditional descriptions of who shot whom, where and into discussions of why they were shooting one another

I think that says it all. Why engage in discussions about why the war took place? Why encourage people to think, discuss or contemplate? These are dangerous, afterall. Just accept the dumbed-down publik school version we're all spoonfed ad nauseum. (Need I close my tags?)

37 posted on 12/22/2002 8:57:49 AM PST by FourPeas
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To: Non-Sequitur
Of course it's nonsense. But it's true, nonetheless.
38 posted on 12/22/2002 8:58:04 AM PST by gitmo
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To: IronJack
At the risk of refighting the War, could you provide some citations to back up your assertion?

To begin with I would suggest any of the four Declarations of the Causes of Secession issued by southern states prior to Sumter. These should not be confused with the ordnances of secession issued by all the southern states, which was the quasi-official statement of secession, but were the southern equivilent of the Declaration of Independence. In each of these slavery is frequently mentioned, above and beyond anything else. Then there are the speeches and writings of the men who participated in secession conventions. Here are some of their quotes:

As the last and crowning act of insult and outrage upon the people of the South, the citizens of the Northern States, by overwhelming majorities, on the 6th day of November last, elected Abraham Lincoln and Hannibal Hamlin, President and Vice President of the United States. Whilst it may be admitted that the mere election of any man to the Presidency, is not, per se, a sufficient cause for a dissolution of the Union; yet, when the issues upon, and circumstances under which he was elected, are properly appreciated and understood, the question arises whether a due regard to the interest, honor, and safety of their citizens, in view of this and all the other antecedent wrongs and outrages, do not render it the imperative duty of the Southern States to resume the powers they have delegated to the Federal Government, and interpose their sovereignty for the protection of their citizens.

What, then are the circumstances under which, and the issues upon which he was elected? His own declarations, and the current history of the times, but too plainly indicate he was elected by a Northern sectional vote, against the most solemn warnings and protestations of the whole South. He stands forth as the representative of the fanaticism of the North, which, for the last quarter of a century, has been making war upon the South, her property, her civilization, her institutions, and her interests; as the representative of that party which overrides all Constitutional barriers, ignores the obligations of official oaths, and acknowledges allegiance to a higher law than the Constitution, striking down the sovereignty and equality of the States, and resting its claims to popular favor upon the one dogma, the Equality of the Races, white and black."
-- Letter of S.F. Hale, Commissioner of Alabama to the State of Kentucky, to Gov. Magoffin of Kentucky

SIR: In obedience to your instructions I repaired to the seat of government of the State of Louisiana to confer with the Governor of that State and with the legislative department on the grave and important state of our political relations with the Federal Government, and the duty of the slave-holding States in the matter of their rights and honor, so menacingly involved in matters connected with the institution of African slavery. --Report from John Winston, Alabama's Secession Commissioner to Louisiana

This was the ground taken, gentlemen, not only by Mississippi, but by other slaveholding States, in view of the then threatened purpose, of a party founded upon the idea of unrelenting and eternal hostility to the institution of slavery, to take possession of the power of the Government and use it to our destruction. It cannot, therefore, be pretended that the Northern people did not have ample warning of the disastrous and fatal consequences that would follow the success of that party in the election, and impartial history will emblazon it to future generations, that it was their folly, their recklessness and their ambition, not ours, which shattered into pieces this great confederated Government, and destroyed this great temple of constitutional liberty which their ancestors and ours erected, in the hope that their descendants might together worship beneath its roof as long as time should last. -- Speech of Fulton Anderson to the Virginia Convention

What was the reason that induced Georgia to take the step of secession? This reason may be summed up in one single proposition. It was a conviction, a deep conviction on the part of Georgia, that a separation from the North-was the only thing that could prevent the abolition of her slavery. -- Speech of Henry Benning to the Virginia Convention

Gentlemen, I see before me men who have observed all the records of human life, and many, perhaps, who have been chief actors in many of its gravest scenes, and I ask such men if in all their lore of human society they can offer an example like this? South Carolina has 300,000 whites, and 400,000 slaves. These 300,000 whites depend for their whole system of civilization on these 400,000 slaves. Twenty millions of people, with one of the strongest Governments on the face of the earth, decree the extermination of these 400,000 slaves, and then ask, is honor, is interest, is liberty, is right, is justice, is life, worth the struggle?

Gentlemen, I have thus very rapidly endeavored to group before you the causes which have produced the action of the people of South Carolina.
-- Speech of John Preston to the Virginia Convention

This new union with Lincoln Black Republicans and free negroes, without slavery, or, slavery under our old constitutional bond of union, without Lincoln Black Republicans, or free negroes either, to molest us.

If we take the former, then submission to negro equality is our fate. if the latter, then secession is inevitable ---
-- Address of William L. Harris of Mississippi

But I trust I may not be intrusive if I refer for a moment to the circumstances which prompted South Carolina in the act of her own immediate secession, in which some have charged a want of courtesy and respect for her Southern sister States. She had not been disturbed by discord or conflict in the recent canvass for president or vice-president of the United States. She had waited for the result in the calm apprehension that the Black Republican party would succeed. She had, within a year, invited her sister Southern States to a conference with her on our mutual impending danger. Her legislature was called in extra session to cast her vote for president and vice-president, through electors, of the United States and before they adjourned the telegraphic wires conveyed the intelligence that Lincoln was elected by a sectional vote, whose platform was that of the Black Republican party and whose policy was to be the abolition of slavery upon this continent and the elevation of our own slaves to equality with ourselves and our children, and coupled with all this was the act that, from our friends in our sister Southern States, we were urged in the most earnest terms to secede at once, and prepared as we were, with not a dissenting voice in the State, South Carolina struck the blow and we are now satisfied that none have struck too soon, for when we are now threatened with the sword and the bayonet by a Democratic administration for the exercise of this high and inalienable right, what might we meet under the dominion of such a party and such a president as Lincoln and his minions. -- Speech of John McQueen, the Secession Commissioner from South Carolina to Texas

History affords no example of a people who changed their government for more just or substantial reasons. Louisiana looks to the formation of a Southern confederacy to preserve the blessings of African slavery, and of the free institutions of the founders of the Federal Union, bequeathed to their posterity. -- Address of George Williamson, Commissioner from Louisiana to the Texas Secession Convention

39 posted on 12/22/2002 9:00:01 AM PST by Non-Sequitur
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To: Jimer
No and yes...it already is.

Actually I doubt seriously we will see another South based war of seccession. We are much more likely to see a broad based truly Civil War revolving around primarily RKBA but it will have vague regional overtones. Immigration could play a part to some degree as well. It did in the WBTS.

If this comes to pass it will be cataclysmic beyond the pale. I hope we can turnn the tide before that.
40 posted on 12/22/2002 9:00:04 AM PST by wardaddy
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To: Non-Sequitur
Thank you for your informed reply. I am researching ...
41 posted on 12/22/2002 9:02:38 AM PST by IronJack
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To: GeneD
Around 1.8 million people visit Gettysburg every year. Latschar said a disproportionate number were men

My guess is you'll find this true for most war memorials/museums or whatever. Generally speaking, it's more of an interest for men than women.

In 1998, he invited three prominent historians to examine the site. Their conclusion: that Gettysburg's interpretive programs had a "pervasive southern sympathy."

Hmmmm, any guesses as to how many of these "prominent historians" are 1) northerners or 2) liberal academic-weenies or 3) northern, liberal academic-weenies??

42 posted on 12/22/2002 9:02:41 AM PST by FourPeas
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To: gitmo
Of course it's nonsense. But it's true, nonetheless.

You're overlooking the fact that slavery was abolished in the District of Columbia on April 16, 1862, almost exactly three years before Lincoln was murdered. How could the White House be staffed with slaves when owning them was illegal?

43 posted on 12/22/2002 9:03:29 AM PST by Non-Sequitur
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To: IronJack
My posts to you are not meant to pick any fights but are posted with all respect to you and your opinions.
44 posted on 12/22/2002 9:05:14 AM PST by Non-Sequitur
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To: Bluntpoint
Silk hell!, the south should have went with it's most popular and satisfying product. The world should have been flooded with white lightnin and country, bluegrass, jazz, dixieland, and blues music. Then everybody would have been too happy and busy dancing and fooling around, to waste time looking for an excuse to start a war.

The former Arkansans, Billy boob and Hillary Dumbperoxideblond, remind me of a joke I once heard: This hillbilly couple was walking in the Ozarks one day when they found a discarded Southern Comfort bottle with the cap still on it. They grabbed it up and twisted the cap off, salivating all over themselves in anticipation of a gulp of that wonderful stuff, but the bottle seemed empty except for a cloudy vapor that emerged and formed into what appeared to be a huge redneck with a towel around his head, hovering in the air. "Hi ya'll", that critter said, "I'm a genibubba an' fo' freein me, you get three wishes granted."

Billy boob wished to be a two term President and it was granted, as we all sadly recall; Hillary Dumbperoxideblond wished to become a Senator it was granted as we all sadly recall; then they wished to become Nu Yawk Yankees and it was granted-soon thereafter Bill and Hill turned to each other and said in unison, " ah's only bin a yankee fo' tu minnets, an' ah already hate sothurners."
45 posted on 12/22/2002 9:07:13 AM PST by F.J. Mitchell
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To: GWELO
You can say that about ANY war. The grunts rarely give a crap about what the comotion is about.
46 posted on 12/22/2002 9:09:02 AM PST by zarf
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To: GeneD
This is going to be a loser. What brings the people to Gettysburg is the study of military tactics and the bravery of the men on both sides. No matter how much the idiots try to appease the blacks, they still won't come because most don't give a damn.

During the 70's there was a push for the military commissaries to get more "soul food" into the commissaries to appease the blacks and make them more happy. The truth? There was a whole aisle dedicated to "Soul food" and the only ones that bought the food there were us white folks that were reared on the staple of poor people. The black military families after all of their griping went and bought the other food. After about of year of the "soul food" aisle, the commissary decided that it was a loser and much of the frozen food there had to be condemned and the idea was scrapped. I think this is what is going to happen to Gettysburg, after all of the poor visitation because of a wayward emphasis, the park will be diminished and everything significant will be either sold off or trashed.

47 posted on 12/22/2002 9:11:54 AM PST by vetvetdoug
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To: Non-Sequitur
"How could the White House be staffed with slaves when owning them was illegal?"

THe entire Federal Government to this day, exempts itself from the rules it forces the rest of us to submit to-hadn't you noticed?
48 posted on 12/22/2002 9:14:19 AM PST by F.J. Mitchell
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To: GeneD
Gag me with a spoon. Revisionist 'rat bastards.
49 posted on 12/22/2002 9:17:51 AM PST by lodwick
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To: F.J. Mitchell
THe entire Federal Government to this day, exempts itself from the rules it forces the rest of us to submit to-hadn't you noticed?

Except in this case. Your claim is false.

50 posted on 12/22/2002 9:18:52 AM PST by Non-Sequitur
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