As an advocate of saving Southern Heritage, I realized from the outset that my position sometimes puts me in bad company. I cringe every time I see Confederate flags and emblems being paraded around by a bunch of white supremacist idiots. There are many more good people advocating for the cause of preserving Southern heritage than the racists bigots that make it tough for the rest of us. They capture the headlines and are exploited by the leftist media. I am depressed by the recent move to destroy monuments to Confederate leaders and soldiers. This is only the first steps on the road to removing our history in general. They will not be satisfied with removing Confederate history. I am convinced that will happen if good people do not stand up and fight. These people are on a roll and they will not stop as long as people give in to them. Our educational system is dumming down our children in regard to American history. There will eventually be fewer and fewer people around to defend our historical legacy. They will attack any American hero that was a slave owner such as Washington, Jefferson and Jackson. Imagine the object of this movement as a fruit tree. The Confederates are the low hanging fruit. The left will eventually go after the higher fruit and try to pick the tree clean. Yet the left is hypocritical when they support Planned Parenthood which was founded by the virulent racist Margaret Sanger or continue to honor the memory of Robert Byrd, a former recruiter for the KKK and Hugo Black another of their former Klansman heroes. These heroes of the left all get a pass because they are classified in history as progressives. Knowledge is power and for those of us who are educated they may remove statues but they can never take that knowledge away. I am for truth no matter where the truth may lead me.
Well meaning Southerners try to make the argument that the causes of the Civil War were such things as states rights, and economics. Before a Southerner can gain any kind of credibility they must accept the truth that the underlying cause of the Civil War was slavery. More specifically the expansion of slavery. Well meaning Southerners look foolish when they try to make the argument that the war was not about slavery. The evidence is overwhelming. To those Southerners that say it was about States Rights I issue this challenge. Name one right that the North was trying to restrict. They weren't trying to restrict free speech, freedom of religion, the press, search and seizure, the right of trial by jury, the 2nd Amendment, or any other right. If anything the North was bending over backwards to avoid war. There had been the Missouri Compromise, the Compromise of 1850, which reinforced the Fugitive Slave Act. The Kansas - Nebraska Act, the Dredd Scott decision, and a last minute effort to avoid civil war by a proposal in congress to pass the 13th Amendment. Not the 13th Amendment that later freed the slaves but a 13th Amendment that would make slavery perpetual. Slavery would be preserved as a fundamental right for all time and could not be abolished by Congress. On top of all of this, with the election of Martin Van Buren,, a pro slavery New Yorker, and Vice President to Andrew Jackson, Van Buren would devise a political strategy that was designed to elect pro slavery Northerners to the office of the presidency. This was a strategy designed to further appease the South and lower pro secession fervor. If you still doubt that the war was about slavery look at the secession votes in states like Tennessee and Virginia that had deep divisions about secessioin. East Tennessee and West Virginia were mountainous and dominated by small farms. There were few if any slaves in these areas. In West Tennessee, which had large plantations, and a large slave population, the vote was overwhelmingly for secession. Middle Tennessee, which had both large and small farms the vote was more moderate but they voted in favor of secession . Secession fervor was hottest in those areas of the South that possessed the greatest number of slaves. For those who argue that the war was about economics, or tariffs, this can also be easily dismissed. The South was a consuming nation, therefore it wanted a lower tariff on goods being shipped from overseas. The North was an industrial nation and wanted high tariffs to protect its manufactured goods. Because of slavery the south had few industries and few products to protect. So even the tariff controversy can be traced to slavery.
How does a Southerner make a cogent argument for protecting Southern heritage and history? We do that by pointing out that very few hands are clean in American history. American history is very complicated and cannot be easily packaged into right and wrong containers. There are good guys and bad guys on both sides. For example the man who made the following statements was not a Confederate.
"We must act with vindictive earnestness against the Sioux, even to their extermination, men, women and children... during an assault, the soldiers cannot pause to distinguish between male and female, or even discriminate as to age.
The more Indians we can kill... the less will have to be killed the next war, for the more I see of these Indians, the more convinced I am that they all have to be killed or be maintained as a species of paupers.
I found so many Jews and speculators here trading in cotton, and secessionists had become so open in refusing anything but gold, that I have felt myself bound to stop it. The gold can have but one use - the purchase of arms and ammunition... Of course, I have respected all permits by yourself or the Secretary of the Treasury, but in these new cases (swarms of Jews), I have stopped it.
"I like niggers well enough as niggers, but when fools and idiots try and make niggers better than ourselves, I have an opinion"
General William T. Sherman made these statements and he was a Union general. The left is wanting to remove statues of Robert E. Lee and I have studied him for years. I don't recall Lee ever making hateful statements even close to those of Sherman. Are we ready to throw Sherman under the bus? If we balance his accomplishments against these statements is he worthy of total condemnation? He was instrumental in helping to win the Civil War and he was one of six men that helped to keep the Union together at the end of the war. Those six men were Lincoln, Grant and Sherman on the Union side and Lee, Johnston and Forrest on the Confederate side. Very few civil wars end as peacefully as ours did and you must give these six men the lions share of the credit. Lincoln, Grant and Sherman for offering the Confederates fair and equitable surrender terms and Lee, Johnston, and Forrest for leading the Southern people to accept them and end the war peacefully. Lincolns greatest fear was that one or all three of these Southern leaders would lead the South in a guerrilla war rather than surrender. Jay Winik wrote a great book on this possibility called April 1865. Do we strictly judge people from our modern day moral values or do we make allowances for their 18th and 19th century values. What we must be willing to do is call evil out but to be able to acknowledge the redeeming qualities of American leaders and people of the past. The historian David Barton author of the Jefferson Lies lists 5 ways that liberal historians distort American history. Deconstructionism, Poststructuralism, Modernism, Minimalism, and Academic Collectivism. In regard to our Confederate heroes I think Deconstructionism, Modernism, and Minimalism apply the most. Deconstructionism "tends to deemphasize or even efface [malign and smear] the subject by posing " a continuous critique" to "lay low what was once high." For example, say what you will about Robert E. Lee but he was an honorable man. He is subject to valid historical condemnation on certain flaws in his character but he is worthy of honor by the modern day American. Modernism examines historical events and persons as if they occurred and lived today rather than in the past. Finally there is Minimalism which is an unreasonable insistence on oversimplification--on reducing everything to monolithic causes and linear effects.
We have heard much in the last few months about supposed collusion between Russia and the Trump administration. However there was a real collusion between North and South since the very beginning of our country to maintain slavery and later, after 1877, segregation. In the beginning, even before the Constitution, America was a confederation of states. Slavery existed in all of the 13 colonies. After we defeated England in the Revolution, of which about a third of our soldiers were black, slavery was written into our Constitution. The only redeeming value was that the Founding Fathers agreed to end the slave trade 20 years after its ratification of the constitution in 1808. Initially Thomas Jefferson and other Founding Fathers believed the words in the Declaration of Independence that all men were created equal. This even applied to Black men. Sadly this generation of American leaders was not prepared to grant this equality. Equality was a right that would have to be acknowledged by a future generation of Americans. The words that all men were created equal could be viewed as a post dated check written by the Founding Fathers that was not to be cashed until the passage of the 1964 and 65 Civil Rights Acts. Before the 1820's, in the upper South, slavery was centered around tobacco. This crop was wearing out the land and as a result it appeared that slavery was a dying economic institution. Cotton as a crop was not that profitable before the invention of the cotton gin in 1796. It took too much time for slaves to remove cotton seeds. Cotton did not grow well in the upper South and could only be grown the warmer regions. Andrew Jackson would change all of this. His military victories over the Creek nation at Horseshoe Bend, the British at New Orleans, and the Spanish in Florida would open the deep South territories to settlement. These territories would become the states of Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. With the acquisition of Arkansas, Louisiana and later Texas in the 1830's all of this land became a vast cotton growing region that caused the expansion and solidification of the institution of slavery in the South after the 1820's. As a result of the three fifths clause in the constitution, in which slaves, for the purposes of congressional representation, were counted as three fifths of a person. This gave the South as a region much political power.
Before you can enslave a person you must dehumanize them. White supremacy enabled whites to do this. White supremacy was the foundation of American slavery. After the end of slavery in 1865 it would be the foundation of segregation and all racial problems North and South well into the twentieth century. It is safe to say that the majority of white people in America were white supremacists during the 18th and 19th century to one degree or the other. Because of white supremacy a coalition was established between North and South that kept slavery alive. This coalition was temporarily dissolved by the Civil War and wasn't reestablished until the end of Reconstruction in 1877. Segregation was the new form of slavery and again white supremacy was the glue that held the coalition together. Before the Civil War there were four classes of Americans. The egalitarians, abolitionists, anti-slavery men, and pro-slavery men. Women also fell into these categories but I say men because it was a mans world. The egalitarians were a tiny fraction of the American population. They were not white supremacists and were perfectly willing to cash that post dated check on the spot by not only ending slavery immediately but granting full civil rights to the Freedmen. It was a moral issue with them and they were more in line with the modern day Americans view on slavery and civil rights. Thaddeus Stephens who became a very powerful radical Republican congressman was a good example of an egalitarian. He had a love relationship with his live in black housekeeper that could be described as a marriage. He fought hard not only to free the black man but to grant them full civil rights. Again the egalitarian in American society was a rare bird. The abolitionists were a much larger group than the egalitarians but they were also a small percentage of the overall population. Abolitionists had different motivations for ending slavery. Some looked at slavery as a moral evil that should be ended immediately. Others however were abolitionists not so much for moral reasons but because they didn't want to compete with free labor. In the New England states abolitionists were primarily made up of the former. In states like Kansas and the new western territories abolitionists were more of the latter version. Free white men could not compete economically with slave labor and they did not want slavery to spread into their states and territories. Who was going to hire a wage laborer if they had the option of slave labor. This is why many are against illegal immigration today because illegal immigrants low wages depress the wages of legal hard working Americans. Just because you were an abolitionist did not mean you were not a white supremacist. Unless you were also an egalitarian you were not interested in seeing blacks achieve full civil and social equality. The anti- slavery men made up the vast majority of Northerners. They considered slavery to be a moral evil but were willing to allow slavery to exist where it already existed. Anti-slavery men were continually seeking political compromise in order to preserve the Union. They were more in line with the Constitution. Lincoln realized that he had no power constitutionally to end slavery on his own. Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas were anti-slavery men. However they were both racists. Douglas much more than Lincoln. Anti-slavery men were white supremacists. Lincoln had an amazing capacity for growth. By the end of the war he was an abolitionist and moving in the direction of being an egalitarian. At his death he was advocating voting rights for the highly intelligent black men and black soldiers who had fought for the Union. Last but not least there was the pro-slavery men. People like Jefferson Davis, William L. Yancy, Robert Barnwell Rhett and Alexander Stephens. They made no bones about defending slavery and the rights of slave owners. The war was caused by slavery but Alexander Stephens Cornerstone speech on March 21, 1861 leaves no doubt that white supremacy was the foundation that slavery rested upon. Stephens was a close personal friend of Lincoln, and the Vice President of the Confederacy. He said "Our new government is founded upon exactly [this] idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery -- subordination to the superior race -- is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth".
The coalition between Northern and Southern white supremacists worked for years to maintain slavery in the South and appease them in an attempt to keep them from seceding. Southerners threatened to secede for years prior to the Civil War. This coalition was primarily between the anti-slavery men in the North and the pro-slavery men, both in the North and South. The abolitionists and egalitarians were not involved in the coalition before the civil War because they were dead set on the abolition of slavery. They would rather see the Union dissolved because as long as slavery existed the Union wasn't worth saving. The abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison called our constitution "a covenant with death" and an agreement with hell". Anti-slavery men in the North like Lincoln hated slavery and thought it morally repugnant but the Union should be preserved at all costs. Even if it meant maintaining the institution of slavery. This coalition between pro slavery men and anti-slavery men fell apart in 1861 with the election of Abraham Lincoln. He could not convince pro - slavery men that he meant them no harm. They were convinced that Lincoln and the Republican Party were determined to end slavery. This was just a front. The real problem was that the South was angry because they were meeting resistance in their efforts to spread slavery outside of the established Southern slave states. The end of the Mexican War complicated the slavery issue even further. America acquired a vast amount of territory with the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ended the Mexican War. This treaty secured California, and the future states of New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada. The South wanted the right to spread slavery into these new territories. A bloody civil war was already going on in Kansas between anti-slavery settlers and pro-slavery settlers during the 1850's. The Republican Party, which was dominated by anti-slavery men like Lincoln, was adamant against the expansion of slavery. They were okay with slavery where it already existed. Southern fire eaters were determined to bring on a war with the North. People like Robert Barnwell Rhett of South Carolina and William L. Yancy of Alabama. They were the Southern equivalent of Sam Adams during the American Revolution. If the Democrat Party remained united there was no way that the Republicans could win the presidency in 1860. The Democrat Party split into a Northern and Southern Democrat Party. Stephen A. Douglas represented the Northern wing of the Democrat Party. Douglas believed in a concept called Popular Sovereignty. He believed that the territories should decide whether they wanted to be slave or free. Vice President John C. Breckinridge was the pro slavery Southern Democrat candidate. This split in the Democrat Party insured the election of Abraham Lincoln which in turn gave the pro slavery men their excuse for secession. There was a temporary break in the coalition that would not be repaired until 1877.
As a result of the South losing the war slavery was ended. The Republicans attempted but failed to reconstruct the South. They were able to force the 14th and 15th Amendments on to the defeated Southern states. The 14th Amendment granted the full civil rights to the Freedman in 1868 and the 15th granted them the right to vote in 1870. The Republican Party wanted to end the dominance of the Democrat Party in the South. It was the Party of the white supremacy and dominated by the former slave owners. The Klan became the storm troopers for the Democrat Party. Their job was to terrorize Northern carpetbaggers who were trying to establish the Republican Party in the South and any potential Black voters that might try to vote Republicans into office. The Freedman might be legally free as a result of the 13th Amendment but the former slave owner still needed his crops and cotton harvested. They were reluctant to give up their slave labor. It was during this time that Black codes were passed in the South along with the Lease Convict system. Andrew Johnson initiated a lenient reconstruction policy on the South in 1865 and 1866 which enabled the former slave owners to regain control of their state governments. They passed Black codes which tried to force the Freedmen to sign work contracts with their former masters. If they refused to sign the contracts they could be arrested for vagrancy. They won election to Southern state governments and even to congress. In 1865 the Southern states employed the Convict Lease system. This is where blacks were arrested for vagrancy if they didn't sign a labor contract under the Black Codes or they were arrested for the most trivial things. The state would then contract the prisoner to a planter or other private businessman. In Tennessee the prisoners were even forced to work in coal mines. This was slavery by a different name. Some black and white legislators colluded with white planters and businessmen as a form of raising revenue for the Southern states who were strapped for cash. They were able to get around this constitutionally because the 13th Amendment generally permits slavery as a punishment for crime. The Convict leasing system finally ended in the early 1900's because of negative publicity and abuse. It ended in Tennessee because white miners were tired of competing against the black convict miners who were undercutting their wages and profits. The prison systems in the South were used to house the hardcore white prisoners who were guilty of felonies like murder and rape. Eventually the Lease Convict system was replaced by the Chain Gang. The chain gang was intended to use prisoners for government projects rather than private projects like building roads and other public works. Rather than being all black the chain gangs were about 25% white. The chain gangs were ended when Robert Burns, a white man, wrote a book called "I Am A Fugitive From A Georgia Chain Gang". It would later be made into a movie. The public outcry was the death knell for the Southern chain gangs. Northern outrage over these Black codes forced the Radical Republicans to take control of Reconstruction away from Johnson in 1867 with the passage of the Reconstruction Act. From 1867 until 1877 the Freedman enjoyed a degree of freedom in the South. In January 1869, because the Klan was out of control, Nathan Bedford Forrest issued KKK General Order 1 which formally disbanded the Klan. During the 1870's the Klan's power was diminished because of anti Klan legislation passed by the Republican congress and signed into law by president Grant.
As I said earlier there was a coalition that kept slavery alive in America right up until it was dissolved temporarily by the American Civil War and Reconstruction. The coalition would be revived however with the Compromise of 1877. In 1876 Rutherford B. Hayes, a Republican ran against Samuel Tilden, a Democrat. In 1876 Rutherford B. Hayes lost the popular vote to Samuel J.Tilden. Hayes won 4,034,311 votes as opposed to Tilden's 2,288,546. Tilden needed 185 electoral votes to win but he came up one vote short at 184. Hayes had 165 electoral votes. Twenty electoral votes were in dispute in four states. Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Oregon. The three Southern states were still under military occupation by Northern troops as a result of Federal Reconstruction policy after the Civil War. One elector in Oregon was declared illegitimate. A deal was struck by the Hayes campaign with the Democratic Party in these contested states. All twenty votes would go to Hayes if he agreed to end Reconstruction in the South. This would mean the withdrawal of all Federal troops. Hayes won with the necessary 185 votes. This is when the white supremacist coalition was reestablished and would remain in force until it was broken up for good by the 1964 and 65 Civil Rights Acts. In the meantime blacks would endure another form of slavery called Jim Crow and segregation when they were left to the mercy of the old Southern power structure after 1877. In the 1896 supreme court case called Plessy vs. Ferguson virtually nullified the 14th Amendment when the court ruled that it was constitutional to separate the races as long as they were provided with such things as equal schools, and modes of transportation for example. Of course this ruling had cruel consequences for black people. The reason this coalition was allowed to be reestablished was simple. In 1877 the egalitarians still made up a tiny portion of the American population. They had very little political clout and power. The former abolitionists no longer had a dog in the hunt. As far as they were concerned slavery had been abolished by the 13th Amendment. The old anti-slavery men, who had comprised the majority of Northerners, were happy with the outcome of the war. The Union had been preserved and slavery abolished. Of course the defeated pro-slavery men would prefer the old form of slavery before the Civil War but they were making do with the new form of slavery they had devised. In their minds blacks were in their proper place. Inferior to whites and the Democratic Party was still solid in the South. The party of the white man. Not until the 1960's would their be enough egalitarians in the country to break up the old Northern and Southern coalition with the passage of the 1964 and 65 Civil Rights Acts. Over the years since America has become more and more egalitarian.
Prior to the Civil War only 7% of white men owned slaves in the South. The vast majority of these owned 5 to 10 slaves. The person that owned 50 or more was pretty well off and those that owned in the hundreds and thousands were rare. At least 5,000 slave owners were black. Some of these black slave owners bought their relatives to keep them out of slavery that were owned by an indifferent or cruel white master. However a large portion owned them for the same reason as white slave owners. In 1840 Marie Metoyer died owning 58 slaves and 2000 acres in Louisiana. In 1851 Cyprian Ricard bought a Louisiana plantation and 91 slaves for 250,000 dollars, which was a fortune in 1851. Sherrod Bryant was probably the largest black slave owner and property owner in Tennessee. The South had a population of 9 million. Five million white people and four million slaves and free blacks. If the war was about slavery, why would so many poor, non slave holding white men die to protect the interests of the rich slave holder. There are at least several reasons why. The ruling class preyed on the fears, bigotry and ignorance of poor whites. The following quote by Lyndon Johnson has a lot of truth in it. "I'll tell you what's at the bottom of it. If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you". One of my favorite scenes from the movie Free State Of Jones is when a slave who is fighting with the guerrilla army of Newton Knight tries to take left over pork from a pig roast. He is fighting in an army comprised of slaves and Confederate deserters who are fighting against the Confederate Army in Mississippi. One of the white members of Knights army sees what the black man is doing and says "Hey nigger that food is not for you". The slave looks at him and asks "How you ain't a nigger'? The white man asks him "What did you say"? Newton Knight stands up from his seat next to a tree and says in a loud voice, " He said, how you ain't a nigger"? He was willing to pick their cotton, and you were willing to die for them". Secondly slavery was the Southern equivalent of the American dream today to the poor white then. Many poor whites aspired to be wealthy enough to own slaves one day. Third, the Southern soldier was like any other soldiers throughout history. They each had their own reasons for fighting. Some felt like they were protecting their state and homes from invasion. Some were fighting for states rights, patriotism, or looking for excitement. Even though the war was not about states rights many soldiers had convinced themselves that states rights was an issue. Perception is reality. In the end like their brothers in other wars they were fighting for each other. Like combat soldiers everywhere they were a band of brothers. They didn't want to let their brothers down. Some might call it stupidity but just think of the bravery it took to fight even when you knew that your cause was lost. The soldiers of the Army of Tennessee and the Army of Northern Virginia were the bravest of the brave when they were still fighting at Nashville and Appomattox Court House at the end. Probably a third were barefoot and left a trail of blood behind them in the snow on the retreat from Nashville. For these reasons I feel that their memory should be honored and we should leave their statues and memorials alone. Their bravery and dedication is worthy of honor. At least 300,000 of these men died in the war and tens of thousands were severely wounded. Many men suffered for the rest of their lives. As I watched the overweight, pampered and out of shape young people pull the statue down dedicated to the common Confederate soldiers in Durham North Carolina I wondered. Would these kids sacrifice as much for their cause as these Confederate boys did for their lost cause? Much has been written about the plight of the slave prior to the war and justifiably so. Not so much has been written about the plight of the poor white before and after the war. Many if not most whites lived in crushing poverty. They could not compete with free labor. On a large plantation like the Hermitage, or the Belle Meade plantation in Nashville blacks not only worked the fields but many were trained as artisans, and brick layers. Why would you hire whites to do those jobs when you had slaves to do them? When the Irish Catholics immigrated to this country after the potato famine of the 1840's they further depressed the wages of the average native Southerner and made work even scarcer. Some of the work done on the state capital, construction projects, and many of the stacked stone walls that you see all over Middle Tennessee were built by slaves and the Irish. Whites barely scratched out a living on small farms and tenant farms. They continued to be exploited by the system even after the Civil War. The historic term in the South for the planter was Bourbon class. Redneck is a historic term for the poorer class of white folks. Other terms are crackers and white trash. When we think of redneck in the modern sense it is a pejorative term. In the historical sense it simply means the poor working class whites. Toward the late 1800's the redneck class began to gain political power by being elected to local office. This class of politician exploited the bigotry and fears of their constituents for years in order to keep and maintain political power. Some notable politicians were "Pitchfork" Ben Tillman, "Cotton" Ed Smith, George Wallace, Theodore Bilbo, Strom Thurmond and Lester Maddox just to name a few. Segregation and Jim Crow laws really became the law of the land from the late 1800;s until the 1964 and 65 civil rights acts.
|Barefoot and ragged Confederate soldiers|
During WW1 there was a mass exodus of blacks from the South to work in Northern defense plants and in industrial plants. They were not only seeking a higher socioeconomic status but fairer treatment. The North however was not the promised land that they had hoped for. Racism and bigotry were their daily fare. During this period Malcolm X experienced harsh racism. Several Uncles and his dad were lynched by the Klan. Although the North did not have de jure segregation, which means segregation by law, as in the South, they did have de facto segregation. This is segregation by circumstance. Blacks migrated to the inner cities of large Northern cities like Chicago, Gary Indiana, Detroit and New York. Whites moved away from the inner cities to the suburbs and this left the inner cities segregated. One quote that I remember from a prime time movie on civil rights was when a black character was talking about the main difference between the North and South. He said that Southerners didn't care if blacks lived next door to them. They just didn't want them to amount to anything. Northerners on the other hand didn't care if blacks amounted to anything. They just didn't want them living next door to them. Poor whites would migrate to the North after WW2 looking for work in auto plants and better paying factory jobs. There were few good paying jobs in the South because of the Southern racist power structure that was designed to benefit the wealthy Bourbon class. Martin Luther King once said that when the black man got his freedom the white man would get his. This has proven to be true. Since the 1964 and 65 civil rights acts Southerners are finally sharing in the American dream. Northern and foreign business interests have migrated to the South to take advantage of the new Souths more progressive racial atmosphere, work ethic, and low tax base. The new South is a much more progressive place to live and work today. There is more entrepreneurship and companies like Beretta, Bridgestone, Nissan, Toyota, Dell, Calsonic, Volkswagen and other large companies are moving here in greater and greater numbers. In the late 1970's and early 1980's there was a reverse migration from the traditional industrial regions of the North to the South. After our automobile, steel and heavy industry began to collapse these regions of the North were referred to as the rust belt. This would not have been possible without the monumental changes that came about in the South after the 1960's. The North has never been a utopia for black people. Free blacks living above the Mason Dixon Line in many ways were worse off than the slave. Neither slave or truly free for the most part they barely subsisted. When John Randolph of Virginia died in 1833 he willed that 400 of his slaves would be freed and given his land in Ohio to be divided between them. Their racist Ohio neighbors however stole their land and drove them away. A Virginia Congressmen mocked his Northern counterparts when he told them "Go home and emancipate your free Negroes. When you do that, we will listen to you with more patience" In 1812 Illinois halted the further immigration of the free Negro and those that were already living there had to go through a special registration process. In the 1820's several Midwestern states required free blacks to post a bond of between 500.00 and 1000.00 dollars to guarantee their good behavior. In 1827 Illinois declared Indians and blacks incompetent to testify against whites. In Hartford Connecticut the atmosphere of the integrated schools was so intolerant that blacks asked for their own school in 1830. That same year black student Charles B. Ray was compelled to leave Connecticut's Wesleyan university after his fellow students protested his enrollment. In New Haven Connecticut by a vote of 700 to 4 a proposed college for black boys was voted down and the voters stated "That we will resist the establishment of the proposed college in this place by every lawful means". Blacks were admitted to the Noyes Academy in Canaan New Hampshire. Angry whites wrapped cables around the building and with as many ox teams as they could muster they drug the building out of town. In 1836 Pennsylvania took away black peoples right to vote in that state. By 1840 only four Northern states allowed blacks the right to vote. Blacks made up a small percentage of Northern populations but were imprisoned in greater numbers than whites. They were much less likely to be paroled than whites. Their condition in the North did not improve in the Civil War. Blacks wanted to enlist in the Northern army as early as 1861 but were rejected. Only after white soldiers suffered tremendous losses due to combat, disease and desertion did Lincoln make it possible for black soldiers to enlist in January 1863. Black soldiers were discriminated against and abused from the start. Until June 1864 white soldiers were paid 13.00 dollars a month and black soldiers were paid 7.00 dollars. They received brutal treatment by their white officers and enlisted men. The following is a letter written by Lt. Charles H. Cox of the 70th Indiana Regiment to his sister on August 28, 1863. "I saw a nigger Brigade this morning [ near Nashville ] . . . . I do not believe it right to make soldiers of them and class & rank with our white soldiers. It makes them feel and act as our equals. I do despise them, and the more I see of them, the more I am against the whole black crew." I could list many more examples of Northern white supremacy however one of my favorite quotes from Malcolm X is the following. "Quit picking on the South, when you cross the Canadian border you are in the South". Malcolm X never lived in the South by the way.
The big reason that so many Southerners are unable to come to terms with their history is the Lost Cause Myth. Usually the winning side in a war gets to write the history. However the South lost the war but their version of the war won the day. The Lost cause myth basically states that the Souths cause was honorable. The war was not about slavery. We only lost after a heroic struggle against overwhelming odds to preserve the Southern way of life. Two movies, which were blockbuster hits did much to perpetuate this myth The first was Birth of a Nation. It was an openly racist, portrayal of the Ku Klux Klan as the heroic savior of the postwar South against the evil Northern carpetbaggers. It protected Southern womanhood from the stereotypical crazed black rapist. This movie had such an impact that it was instrumental in the rebirth of the Klan in 1915. The Klan would enjoy a nationwide popularity and the largest membership ever during the 1920's. It would become mainstream in American society. Every state in the Union had a Klan chapter. In 1927 there was a massive Klan parade in Washington D.C. After watching Birth Of A Nation the racist Woodrow Wilson said "It is like writing history with lightning, and my only regret is that it is all so terribly true." The other movie, which I love by the way, is Gone With The Wind. Both movies perpetuated the Lost Cause myth. The Lost Cause myth also elevates Robert E. Lee in the estimation of Americans and Grant is seen as an incompetent butcher that was only able to win the war by wearing Lee down with an overwhelming number of men and resources. Actually it was Lee that was the butcher. Grant tried to outflank Lee, and was constantly moving to the left trying to overextend Lee's interior lines. The attacker is usually going to suffer greater casualties. However Lee's aggressive style of fighting was producing casualties that he could not replace. In 1993 and the Spring of 1994 I was invited to do do several radio segments on WWTN's Teddy Bart's Round Table. We talked a lot on the 1st and 3rd show about slavery and white supremacy and it being the cause of the Civil War. I pretty much discussed many of the issues that I have discussed in this article. After the first show I was invited to speak to the Lebanon chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. I knew going in that my views on the causes of the Civil War would not be popular with them. They believe that the war was caused over the issue of states rights. At the end of my talk there was a Q&A session that was lively and in a few cases pretty heated. After my talk a few people came up to me and told me that they agreed with my conclusions. There was a man that was probably in his 80's and he told me that he agreed with me also. I was pleased to learn that his father had been a Confederate soldier. His mother was a teenager when she married his father in old age. This explained why his father was a Confederate soldier. Young women marrying elderly Confederate veterans seems to have been fairly common back then.
The danger of trying to erase history by removing statues and memorials is where will it all stop? Does anyone really believe that it will stop with the Confederacy? Andrew Jackson had a pro slavery attitude. He was about protecting slavery. The only difference is that he was Unionist. If he was alive in 1861 I believe that he would have been opposed to secession. Jefferson believed that all men were created equal but he was one of the largest slave owners in the country. Washington freed his slaves in his will after the death of his wife but he was a large slave owner. The contributions of these three men to American history are insurmountable. We wouldn't be a country without Washington. That is a point that no rational person can debate. Do you know how many statues, memorials, and names of states, cities, towns, streets, schools and objects are named after these three men alone? Any logical thinking person knows that once the left is through with Southern heritage they are coming after whatever history is of no value to their narrative. The German philosopher Georg Hegel said that all history is moving toward the triumph of reason. The problem with this thinking is that who gets to determine whose reason prevails? Karl Marx expanded on Hegel and said that history is the history of class struggles. History is moving toward the triumph of the working class. In order to destroy the right of private property the traditional has to be undermined. The left is in the process of defining what is worthy of respect and what is good and what is bad. This in essence is a Communist movement. George Washington is bad because he was a slave owner. Margaret Sanger who was the founder of Planned Parenthood is to be venerated. She believed in eugenics which was the same racial theory that Hitler believed in. She attended Klan rallys and believed in eliminating the feeble minded and inferior races. She said the following. "As an advocate of Birth Control", I wish to take advantage of the present opportunity to point out that the unbalance between the birth rate of the unfit and the fit, admittedly the greatest present menace to civilization, can never be rectified by the inauguration of a cradle competition between these two classes. In this matter, the example of the inferior classes, the fertility of the feeble-minded, the mentally defective, the poverty stricken classes, should not be held up for emulation to the mentally and physically fit through less fertile parents of the educated and well to do classes. On the contrary, the most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective". The following is what she said about black people. “We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population. and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” The left honors this woman and worships at their altar of the so called woman's right to choose an abortion. In the United States, black children are aborted at three times the rate of white children; Hispanic children are aborted at one and a half times the rate. Planned Parenthood is protected everyday by the left in this country and they are killing people everyday. There will be no popular movement in our lifetime to destroy the legacy of Margaret Sanger. Hillary Clinton is a proud recipient of the Margaret Sanger award..
Imagine for a moment that you are holding a Confederate battle flag in your right hand and an American flag in your left. The rebel flag represents a country that was in existence for 4 years and the American flag represents a country that has now been in existence for 242 years. The country on the right protected the institution of slavery in its constitution. On the left that country protected slavery in it's constitution. The flag on the right never flew over a slave ship. The flag on the left did. The South consisted of 11 states that were slave states. In the beginning America consisted of 13 states that were slave states. The South was a confederation and America before 1789 was a confederation. Even though slavery was abolished in most Northern states by the 1840's slavery was still legal in Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri until the 13th Amendment in 1865. Although these were considered Southern states they remained loyal to the Union. The flag in your left hand represents a country that condoned slavery and discrimination for 86 years and bent over backwards to keep the South from seceding. This was appeasement. Again the American flag represents a country that allowed and condoned segregation and Jim Crow in it's borders for another roughly 100 years after the Civil War. For good measure you can throw in the Norths treatment of the American Indian. So what flag is more racist? The Confederate flag or the American flag. We can give our American government points because it has evolved after 186 years into an egalitarian country and has put much of it's racist past behind it. What if the South had 186 years to evolve? Do we know what kind of country it would be today? I have a theory that if the South had won the war slavery would have probably ended within 50 years on it's own. If the war had never happened slavery was still a dying institution purely from an economic standpoint. A good illustration of this is comparing John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Both died on the same day, July 4, 1826. Adams was a Northern farmer without slaves. Jefferson was a Southern farmer who owned hundreds of slaves. When Adams died he was worth about a million dollars in today's money. Jefferson was a million dollars in debt. At the time of the Civil War there were only three countries that had legal slavery. Brazil, Cuba and the United States. Brazil had a much larger slave population than the United States Cuba abolished slavery on October 7, 1886. Brazilian slavery was abolished on May 13, 1888. They accomplished this peacefully without a war. The South would have faced world wide condemnation as time progressed. A victorious South would have faced a loss of it's labor force because it bordered the prosperous industrial North. A slave would have freedom if he could escape across the border into the North. There would no longer be a fugitive slave law to bring him back if he was caught. The slave would have the option of working for wages in the North or going west to take advantage of free land under the Homestead Act. The South had already lost much of it's overseas cotton market during the war to Egyptian cotton. As a new country it would have to negotiate new trade treaties with the world and the North. I believe that the unintended consequences of winning the war would have had more to do with slavery being abolished in the South than anything. When you combine moral condemnation from the world, loss of markets for cotton and the loss of the Souths labor force this would have been enough to end slavery. Who knows what social movements might have developed in the South over the years. If the South had won the war there would been less reactionary forces at work. I think a victorious South could be compared to East and West Germany after WW2. The USSR had to build a wall to keep it's people from escaping. There is no way the South could have contained it's people like the East Germans did. There was a vast amount of territory to guard in the South that was an area larger than western Europe. In conclusion the past is the past. We must remember our history. Both the good and bad. I have realized for a long time that my fight to preserve history, like the Confederacy is a "Lost Cause" but I will never stop trying.
Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.
We are not makers of history. We are made by history.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Study history, study history. In history lies all the secrets of statecraft.
History is not everything, but it is a starting point. History is a clock that people use to tell their political and cultural time of day. It is a compass they use to find themselves on the map of human geography. It tells them where they are but, more importantly, what they must be.
John Henrik Clarke