If I were to mention the Civil War, or display an image of the Confederate Battle Flag, I’m betting that in the minds of 9 of 10 people they would immediately think of slavery; and any further discussion would be biased by that blot upon our history. What that means is that any mention of the South, or Confederacy, is immediately stigmatized by the stain of slavery; therefore ensuring that most people side with the North, or Union.
Was slavery evil? Most assuredly. What I find highly ironic is that most of those who have a bias against the Southern States during the Civil War due to their having utilized slave labor, also are those who proclaim that we must be tolerant of Islam; yet the history of Islam proves that they were notorious for the acquisition and use of slaves. Our country’s earliest encounters with Islamic States came after the Barbary Pirates would capture U.S. cargo vessels and hold the crews as slaves until the U.S. would pay for their release.
I get the distinct impression that those who despise the Confederacy solely because of the issue of slavery believe that America is the ONLY country that ever practiced slavery. I guess they’ve never read their Bible, because had they done so they would have seen that it makes many a reference to the treatment of slaves and servants.
It is said that slavery began in ancient Sumer, which is now modern day Iraq, and spread outwards from there. The Egyptians used slave labor to build their Pyramids and other monuments. Throughout the Middle Ages empires existed in an almost perpetual state of war with each other; with the conquering nation capturing those of their victims and carrying them off to work as slaves. King Charlemagne would capture slaves of his conquered foes and then sell them off to the highest bidder. Over the course of its history China also practiced slavery, capturing people to work as slaves from Turkey, Korea, Europe, Persia, Indonesia, and the Aboriginal tribes of Africa.
Listen, I’m not trying to justify slavery in America, I’m only trying to point out that America is not the ONLY country that has ever used slave labor. In fact, slavery was abolished in America before it was abolished in Brazil; which abolished it in 1880 I believe…well after the 13th Amendment abolished it in 1865.
It is sad that we claim to be a country that declares that all men are created equal, yet we allowed for slavery to exist in this country; yet did you know that some of our Founders sought to end it well before the Civil War, but were met with overall opposition and resistance? Thomas Jefferson felt it was a blight upon the concept of equality; laying the blame for slavery at the feet of the King of England in his original draft of the Declaration of Independence. He also hoped to educate and emancipate the slaves; but then colonize them outside the U.S. so that they could have a country of their own and prevent any future discord between the two races.
Now that may sound racist, but yet the man heralded as the President who ended slavery held the same position. Throughout his political career Abraham Lincoln sought to colonize slaves outside the U.S. He even held that those held in bondage were inferior to the white race and the two would never be on equal footing. If you don’t believe me, here’s a quote from Lincoln’s 4th debate with Stephen Douglas for the Presidency, “I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”
Those aren’t my views, those are the views held by the man historians praise as the President who ended slavery in America; the man we have a huge monument dedicated to in our nation’s capital. Yet I’m racist for displaying a Confederate Battle Flag or supporting the cause of the Confederate States of America? Please, if you could, justify that position for me.
Do people think that slavery just up and happened and that it caused a Civil War in America? Slavery was instituted almost from the moment the first settlers arrived at Jamestown, and it grew into the thriving institution it was as the Colonies grew. At one point in history there were more slaves in New York than there were in the entire South. Slave labor was used to build our nation’s capital building and the White House.
If slavery was so evil why didn’t they prohibit it when they wrote the Constitution? Did you know that there were those among the delegates to the Constitutional Convention who sought to do just that, but were opposed by the delegates from slave owning States and others who felt that any effort to ban slavery would doom the Constitution to failure? So instead of standing on moral ground, they allowed for the continued existence of slavery just to ensure that their precious central government had a fighting chance of being adopted.
Without going back and researching it, I can only say that during my readings of the Anti-Federalist authors one of them made a comment that slavery was evil, and that although the Constitution prohibited Congress from enacting any law to ban the importation of new slaves prior to 20 years after the adoption of the Constitution, yet the author doubted that they would ever entirely ban slavery as an institution. In 1807 Congress did enact a law banning the further importation of slaves into America, but by then there were enough slaves living among us that their numbers could be replenished by new births among those held in bondage – it did nothing to end slavery.
While the wording of the Constitution never actually condones slavery, it doesn’t condemn it either. What the Constitution does is simply outline certain policies in regards to the institution of slavery that already existed so that it would be amenable to both those in the slave holding States and those in the States were slavery was not as prevalent.
Although the Constitution never condones slavery, did you know that the U.S. government declared it to be constitutional? That’s right, the entity established BY THE CONSTITUTION, declared that slavery was CONSTITUTIONAL!!!
In 1857 the United States Supreme Court, which is the branch of government that supposedly decides what the Constitution means, ruled that the Constitution does not grant citizenship to any black person, regardless of whether they were free or held in bondage. Dred Scott was a slave whose owners moved to a State where slavery was legal. Scott sued for his freedom and citizenship and the case was eventually heard by the Supreme Court, who ruled that the Constitution offered no protection or rights and privileges for blacks; therefore Scott was still legally considered a slave under that document.
This is not the first time that the Constitution, or the government created under it, had upheld the institution of slavery. In 1850 Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act which required that all runaway slaves were to be captured and returned to their owners, and that the citizenry were obliged to cooperate with their capture.
Although these laws and court rulings may have benefitted the slave owning States, they WERE NOT acts of the Southern slave owning States, they were acts of the UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT; thereby upholding and defending the institution of slavery in America. As evil as the idea of holding one man in bondage to another is, this proves that the government itself considered slavery to be 100% LEGAL UNDER THE CONSTITUTION!
The ONLY way that could be changed is by constitutional amendment; which did take place…in 1865 at the CONCLUSION of the Civil War with the ratification of the 13th Amendment. I know I’ve mentioned it numerous times, but it bears repeating; there almost was ANOTHER 13th Amendment; one that was completely opposite in intent than the one we are all familiar with.
In 1861, in response to the secessionist movement, Congress adopted a proposed amendment that would have made slavery permanent and irrevocable in the United States. Known as the Corwin Amendment, the text of which states, “No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.”
This proposed amendment passed both houses of Congress by the required 3/4 vote and was to be sent to the States for their consideration in an effort to stave off the secessionist movement and possibly prevent military conflict between the two sections of the country by allowing the States to keep their slaves and remain in the Union. Even Abraham Lincoln supported ratification of this Corwin Amendment, stating in his Inaugural Address, “I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution—which amendment, however, I have not seen—has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service … holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.”
So let’s recap what I’ve covered so far. We have an institution which has been in existence, in some shape or form, almost since the dawn of man. We have a system of government outlined by men who refused to stand on equal rights for all by establishing said system of government which allowed for slavery. We have that system, then upholding and defending the institution of slavery; declaring it to be constitutional. And finally we have a president declaring that he supported an amendment which would have made slavery permanent in America. Are we clear on all that?
So, if slavery was legal under the Constitution, and if the government made an effort to further protect and secure that right to the slave owning states by proposing a Constitutional Amendment, why didn’t the States just adopt the Corwin Amendment and remain in the Union? There must have been OTHER reasons that caused them to continue with their secessionist stance since it is apparent that the government was attempting to protect their slaves.
I will mention one other point before I continue. When the first Southern States began to secede from the Union all manner of proposals were made in Congress to avoid a possible military conflict between the North and the South. One group of members in the House actually proposed a peaceful separation between the Northern and Southern States – although the motion was tabled and no further action taken upon it.
It did seem like the government was aware of the mounting tension between the two regions of the country, and that they were making every effort possible to avoid a military confrontation between the two. Then we have Abraham Lincoln who chose, to quote Governor Letcher of Virginia, to inaugurate Civil War.
Now I don’t know how you stand on who created and gave life to our system of government; be it the people in general or the States acting as distinct and separate political entities, and it doesn’t really matter at this point. What matters is that supposedly our government came into existence by formal declarations of consent to it; based upon the promises made to the delegates of the various State Ratifying Assemblies.
I tend to favor the idea that those who ratified the Constitution were acting on behalf of their individual States, (a position which is supported by the fact that most of the State Ratification Statements declare something along the lines of, “We, the people of such and such State…”) Had they been acting as individual citizens of a federal Union they would probably have said, “We the people of the United States…” as it states in the Preamble to the Constitution.
So the question is, must the people who gave their consent to a system of government remain forever bound to that system of government, or do they have the right to, at any time and for any reason, revoke that consent and return to their status as a free and independent State? The Ratification Statements of three States, New York, Virginia, and Rhode Island, all declare that the power being granted to the central government could be revoked by those States if it should prove that the government they were establishing became harmful to them. So I support the belief that any State, at any time, may revoke their consent to the authority and jurisdiction of the federal government, and become a free and independent State.
But that’s just my opinion; but it is an opinion which has some substance in historical record.
So again returning to President Lincoln, after the bombardment of Fort Sumter, (which in my opinion was nothing more than an act of self defense against the hostile invasion of the sovereign territory of South Carolina by the U.S. government) the president called for 75,000 volunteers for a period of 3 months to quell the uprising and rebellion in the Southern States.
Aside from South Carolina defending itself against a hostile invasion by foreign troops, there was no uprising, or rebellion. The only rebellion, per se, was the fact that those States that had chosen to secede were essentially rebelling against the authority of a government they believed to be was tyrannical and oppressive. They had no real qualms with the people of the North; they sought not conquest or glory. All they sought was to be left alone to govern themselves as they saw fit.
Sound familiar? It ought to, because that’s all the Founders were fighting for in the American Revolution.
It is at this point in my dissertation that I point my finger at YOU and ask: Do you believe the Civil War was fought to end slavery? If you answer YES to that question then essentially you are saying that the Civil War was fought against the Constitution; for if the Constitution made slavery legal, (as per the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dred Scott), then to fight a war to end it was unconstitutional; making Lincoln a war criminal.
If that is true, then those who fought against the Union were ACTUALLY fighting to protect and defend the Constitution. Those who fought for the Confederacy did not, at first, invade another sovereign State and burn and pillage homes and property, (unlike their Union counterparts). They only were defending their homes against a foreign invader who sought to bind them to a Union they no longer wanted to be a part of.
War is hell, and the Civil War was no exception. Estimates have the death toll from that conflict ranging anywhere from 500,000 to almost 3/4 million people; with many more being maimed for life. On top of that there is the absolute devastation to the homes and infrastructure of the Southern States by Union forces. Heap upon that the atrocities committed against non-combatant Southerners; who were often treated no better than rabid dogs by some Union Generals. ]
All that could have been avoided had Lincoln just let the South leave the Union in peace. You claim he fought his war to end slavery. But the Supreme Court held that slavery was legal; so Lincoln was fighting against the Constitution. Lincoln, at first, claimed he was fighting his war to save the Union, as per his letter to Horace Greeley, “I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be “the Union as it was.” If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery.”
It was only after the fighting had gone on much longer than both he and the Northern States had thought it would, that the political motivation for the war shifted towards ending slavery. The reason for this is stated clearly in Woodrow Wilson’s book, A History of The American People, page 231, “It was necessary to put the South at a moral disadvantage by transforming the contest from a war waged against states fighting for their independence into a war waged against states fighting for the maintenance and extension of slavery…and the world, it might be hoped, would see it as a moral war, not a political; and the sympathy of nations would begin to run for the North, not for the South.”
Regardless of whether the Union won or lost, had the political motivation not shifted from saving the Union to freeing the slaves, the North would have been condemned by historians for the suffering and loss inflicted upon their brethren to the South. As it was, the fact that the North was seeking to bind people to a system they wanted no part of was clear to many across the globe. In 1861 the London Times published a piece stating, ” [T]he contest is really for empire on the side of the North, and for independence on that of the South, and in this respect we recognize an exact analogy between the North and the Government of George III, and the South and the Thirteen Revolted Provinces. These opinions…are the general opinions of the English nation.”
So Lincoln had to change his stance from one of saving the Union to one in which he was fighting a moral war to end slavery; and that’s the version you have been taught in school…but it isn’t the truth! Lincoln fought to subjugate and oppress a people who only wanted to be free of the authority and jurisdiction of the system of government that had been corrupted by Northern business interests.
This fact was clearly explained by former Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest in an interview AFTER the Civil War, “I loved the old government in 1861. I loved the old Constitution yet. I think it is the best government in the world, if administered as it was before the war. I do not hate it; I am opposing now only the radical revolutionists who are trying to destroy it. I believe that party to be composed, as I know it is in Tennessee, of the worst men on Gods earth – men who would hesitate at no crime, and who have only one object in view – to enrich themselves.”
The version of history regarding the Civil War is the Northern version, and it glorifies their cause, while vilifying the South – and you swallow that revisionist garbage hook, line, and sinker! But the fact is that Abraham Lincoln fought a war against the Constitution; and we have a huge monument dedicated to him in our nation’s capital.
At the same time, we have the Southern States who were fighting, (according to your beliefs), to protect an institution which was deemed legal and Constitutional by the Supreme Court. Yet monuments dedicated to the heroes of the Confederacy are being torn down at an alarming rate across the country.
So let me get this straight; we have a monument that still stands, dedicated to a war criminal, (someone who fought AGAINST the Constitution), and we have monuments being torn down which honor those who fought to defend the Constitution.
It makes perfect sense, if you think ass backwards. But in a world where reason and logic are the judges of what is right and wrong, it is absolutely insane that people support a war criminal, and vilify, defile, and insult those who fought with honor and valor to support and defend the document which created our system of government.
It just proves we live on one crazy, mixed up world.