In a brief and well done video, Colonel Ty Seidule, the Head of the West Point History Department, completely destroys the Neo-Confederate Myth that the Civil War was about anything other than Slavery.
Watch it for yourself below:
I would say that pretty much clearly destroys all the Neo-Confederate arguments for their position that the Civil War was not about slavery.
Most reasonable people, would view this video and acknowledge that Southern Culture was, and in many respects still is based on the immoral practice of owning humans and making them work for the gain of the white community.
But, I know many here in the 6th District (most if not all would consider them conservatives) that still refuse to admit the reality we can see in the actual documents and photographs of the time.
A document I just found is perfect. Here is the link to the entire document. Alexander H. Stephens, the Vice President of the Confederate States of America, said
Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite 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
This clearly states that the intent of seceding is to preserve slavery.
The newspapers of the time plainly said secession was about preserving slavery. Just Google it.
So why do so many here in the 6th District deny the clear and obvious truth?
Because if Southern conservatives admit the Civil War was about Slavery, they have to admit that they caused the deaths of more than 500,000. Also, many conservatives still actually believe that black are inferior (just look at their comments about Black Lives Matter as a very recent example) and that they still believe they, White Anglo Saxon Protestants, should dominate our culture (or as they call it our Christian Nation.)
And what happened when a Democratic president signed the Civil Rights Act into law? Southern conservatives abandoned the Democratic Party in droves and flocked to the Republican Party when they enacted the Southern Strategy (Google it) of nonstop dog whistle racism.
If you were raised in a family and community that explicitly believes black people are inferior sub-humans and they must be subjugated to white people, I can easily understand how you would be pretty upset that they are given equality with your WASP community.
So what do you do?
You use as much selective perception as you can muster to ignore the reality of slavery. When confronted with any discussion of slavery, you defend slavery in some of the most obtuse ways. One of my favorites that my mother-in-law likes to use to justify slavery is to suggest that blacks sold the blacks into slavery, so it must be clearly the blacks own fault.
One of my favorite parts of the video above is the point about “States Rights.” Southerners love to say the war was about States Rights, but ignore what the most important State Right they were trying to protect.
I also like the argument that it was “The War of Northern Aggression” even though Southerners fired the first shot.
John Kelly, Trump Chief of Staff, thinks it we shouldn’t remove Confederate symbols in a interview with on 10/31/2017.
I agree with him when he says that the push to remove Confederate symbols shows,”a lack of appreciation of history and what history is.”
So, the clear answer to really appreciate history is to add symbols of Slaves.
We have a lot of pictures of Slaves, I would think, Kelly, and others in his Tribe, should embrace history and support the presentation of what Slavery was like.
On another Learning Thread – I Disagree with Kelly
It’s important to note – I strongly disagree with Kelly on something else he said. And, I think it is important to describe how impactful his beliefs are.
Here are quotes from Kelly,
“I think we make a mistake, though, and as a society and certainly as, as individuals, when we take what is today accepted as right and wrong and go back 100, 200, 300 years or more and say…’what Christopher Columbus did was wrong,'”
“I mean, human history, our culture is an evolving thing. There will be 100 or 200 years from now people that criticize us for what we do and I guess they’ll tear down, you know, statues of people that we revere today,”
“There are certain things in history that were not so good and other things that were very, very good,” he said.
Apparently, Mr. Kelly, believes trying to determine if the Confederacy was a good or bad thing is in itself a bad thing. He strongly implies that since there were good people on both sides, we should not try to say that there bad people on both sides.
The bad people on the Union side, according to supporters of the Confederacy, wanted to illegally keep the Union together. The bad people on the Confederacy side, according to supporters of the Union, wanted to keep slavery legal.
Kelly is saying that we should not believe that keeping slavery legal is a bad thing.
this is what the study of History does.
The passion to remove these symbols shows “a lack of appreciation of history and what history is.” The study of history tries to appreciate history, so we don’t make the same mistakes again. Mr. Kelly, I find your suggestion that we don’t judge slavery as a bad thing, informative as to your thinking. You did not mention
“I mean, human history, our culture is an evolving thing. There will be 100 or 200 years from now people that criticize us for what we do and I guess they’ll tear down, you know, statues of people that we revere today,” Kelly said.
This is interesting coming from the Libertarian Media. His conclusion – the confederacy was awful for wanting slavery and Lincoln was awful for wanting a strong Federal Government. Interesting. Clearly wanting slavery and willing to go to war to support slavery is awful. However, I am not convinced that wanting a strong Federal Government is awful. But, I could be wrong and am willing to discuss it.
Americans sympathetic to the Union generally believe the war was fought to end slavery or to “rescue the slaves” from political kidnapping by the slave states, that seceded from the Union to avoid impending abolition.
“No,” say those sympathetic to the Confederacy. The states seceded over states’ rights, particularly their right not to be victimized by high protectionist tariffs, paid mostly by southern states, but spent mostly on what we’d now call corporate welfare and infrastructure projects in the north.
The declarations of South Carolina, Mississippi and Texas don’t mention taxes or economic policy at all.
That the states seceded for a different reason than the war was fought seems to elude everyone.
States’ Rights, Tariffs, or Slavery?
There is plenty of secondary literature presenting evidence on both sides, which is why Americans are still arguing this tired point over 150 years after the war ended. But there is a pretty simple way to clear the air. Just read the primary sources and take everyone at his word.
Many of the Confederate states published declarations explaining their reasons for seceding from the Union. The problem for those making the tariff argument is only a few of these declarations even mention the tariff, and then only in passing. The declarations of South Carolina, Mississippi and Texas don’t mention taxes or economic policy at all.
But what all the declarations state loud and clear is the seceding states’ objections to the federal government not fulfilling its constitutional duty to execute fugitive slave laws, the election of a president who campaigned saying the Union could not survive “half slave and half free,” and their belief that the Republican Party’s determination to keep slavery out of new territories would eventually lead to abolition of the institution in their own states.
The passage which is perhaps most damning to the tariff theory comes from Georgia’s Declaration, which reads:
The party of Lincoln, called the Republican party, under its present name and organization, is of recent origin. It is admitted to be an anti-slavery party. While it attracts to itself by its creed the scattered advocates of exploded political heresies, of condemned theories in political economy, the advocates of commercial restrictions, of protection, of special privileges, of waste and corruption in the administration of Government, anti-slavery is its mission and its purpose. By anti-slavery it is made a power in the state.
The passage is accurate. The Republican Party was indeed comprised of a coalition between abolitionists and former members of the Whig Party, like Lincoln, who still sought to implement Henry Clay’s “American System” of protectionist tariffs, “internal improvements” (viz. “infrastructure”) and a central bank. But the Georgia Declaration dismisses this as merely an incidental observation and emphasizes the party’s opposition to slavery. One cannot help but conclude that Georgia, while objecting to the American System, was willing to tolerate it, but would not tolerate any threat to slavery.
Arkansas cited the Union’s attempt to coerce it into making war on the seceded states as its reason for leaving.
There is no reason to doubt Lincoln’s personal, philosophical opposition to slavery, but it wasn’t the reason he fought the Civil War. We know this because he said so, repeatedly. And it is by no means a leap, based on his lifelong political beliefs and what he said himself during his first inaugural, that the reason it was so important for him to “save the Union” was because he couldn’t pursue his big government agenda without the seceding states’ taxes. That’s quite a poor reason to start a war in which 600,000 to a million Americans are killed by their fellow Americans.
21st century Americans shouldn’t pick a side in the Civil War. Much like the brawl between the White Supremacists and Antifa in Charlottesville, Va., it was fought by two tyrannical powers for mostly evil purposes. The best we can do today is understand what really happened and work to rehabilitate the bedrock American principles of limited, decentralized government and the natural right of secession, good ideas given a bad name by Lincoln and the Confederates alike.
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