Inauguration Of Jefferson Davis To Be Re-enacted At Alabama State Capitol

The whitewashing of the history of the Confederacy continues:

The 150th anniversary of Jefferson Davis’ inauguration as president of the Confederacy will be marked Saturday with a re-enactment of his swearing-in ceremony.

The sesquicentennial event — the Confederate Heritage Rally 2011 — in the state’s capital also includes a parade up Dexter Avenue to the state Capitol and a re-enactment of the raising of the first Confederate flag.

Saturday’s event is being sponsored by the Sons of Confederate Veterans to commemorate the founding of the Confederate States of America. The SCV has about 800 chapters throughout the world — including Australia, Brazil, British Isles — and about 60 in Alabama.

Jefferson Davis was sworn on the steps of the Capitol — there is a bronze star marking the spot.

The sponsors of the event, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, are well-versed in the art of disinformation when it comes to the Confederacy:

A lot of people don’t keep up with history,” he said. “We are an organization that honors our ancestors because we felt they were fighting for independence,” Gayle said. He hopes the younger generation “learns a little bit. All you hear about in the paper is that the Civil War is all about slavery.

“We have been misrepresented for a lot of years. (The Civil War) was more about taxation than anything else. The federal government raised the taxes on exports, and that’s what we were making down here at that time — cotton. It jumped from 15 percent to 40 percent.”

The problem that Gayle faces is that his theory is completely at odds with the language of the secession resolutions of the southern states, and the words of Alexander Stephens, who went on to become the Vice-President of the Confederacy:

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 truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It has been so even amongst us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well, that this truth was not generally admitted, even within their day. The errors of the past generation still clung to many as late as twenty years ago. Those at the North, who still cling to these errors, with a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of insanity. One of the most striking characteristics of insanity, in many instances, is forming correct conclusions from fancied or erroneous premises; so with the anti-slavery fanatics. Their conclusions are right if their premises were. They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights with the white man. If their premises were correct, their conclusions would be logical and just but their premise being wrong, their whole argument fails. I recollect once of having heard a gentleman from one of the northern States, of great power and ability, announce in the House of Representatives, with imposing effect, that we of the South would be compelled, ultimately, to yield upon this subject of slavery, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics, as it was in physics or mechanics. That the principle would ultimately prevail. That we, in maintaining slavery as it exists with us, were warring against a principle, a principle founded in nature, the principle of the equality of men. The reply I made to him was, that upon his own grounds, we should, ultimately, succeed, and that he and his associates, in this crusade against our institutions, would ultimately fail. The truth announced, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics as it was in physics and mechanics, I admitted; but told him that it was he, and those acting with him, who were warring against a principle. They were attempting to make things equal which the Creator had made unequal.

There were many factors that led to the Secession Crisis of 1860, but at the root of it all was the institution of slavery, and its protection and expansion. For that reason, it is not worthy of being commemorated. Shame on you Alabama.

H/T: Dave Weigel on Twitter

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. sam says:

    I’ve said it before, if those peckerwood states want to secede again, why, they can go right ahead.

  2. PD Shaw says:

    I don’t have a problem with historical reenactments. Last week, Springfield, Illinois reenacted the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s departure for Washington D.C.

  3. tom p says:

    “There were many factors that led to the Secession Crisis of 1860, but at the root of it all was the institution of slavery, and its protection and expansion. For that reason, it is not worthy of being commemorated. Shame on you Alabama.”

    Good for you Doug.

  4. Brummagem Joe says:

    And to think my tax dollars are going to subsidise this red state that doesn’t believe in big govt. I agree with all your comments Doug and applaude them as they are entirely accurate but the personal problem for you is that the belief system that animates your party is essentially southern in ethos. A noxious compound of agnatology, resentment, militarism, racism, nativism. In the long run it’s not the basis for a national governing party.

  5. Brummagem Joe says:

    PD Shaw says:
    Friday, February 18, 2011 at 18:27
    “I don’t have a problem with historical reenactments. Last week, Springfield, Illinois reenacted the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s departure for Washington D.C.

    Yeah… Lincoln is very popular in Alabama

  6. mantis says:

    Yet another celebration of slavery. Lovely.

  7. An Interested Party says:

    “I don’t have a problem with historical reenactments.”

    Yes, but certainly not historical reenactments based on lies and a complete misrepresentation of history…

  8. John Curran says:

    Maybe the Germans can reenact Hitler’s ascension to the chancellorship of Germany on Jan. 30, 2013. That will be the 80th anniversary of said event. Yeah, that’s a good idea.

  9. jwest says:

    It might be helpful to understand the reasoning of the people who advocated for continuing slavery in the 1860’s.

    As you can tell from Alexander Stephens’ writings, he believed that the anti-slavery movement was the result of a lack of knowledge by Northerners. The use of slaves had been institutionalized for centuries and the consensus opinion of learned minds had concluded that blacks were an inferior race. It was settled science. Stephens was simply citing the best available information of the day in pointing out the “deficit in reasoning” of the deniers.

    The basis for his position was most probably grounded in his interpretation of doing the right thing. Like most people in the South who lived in a society where slavery was an accepted part of life, Stephens would view himself as someone who was helping and protecting a segment of mankind that couldn’t look after themselves. He would argue that if blacks were not being provided for by the plantation owners and simply workers being paid, they would surely not be able to effectively manage their money and end up starving. Due to their interaction with slaves, Southerners would assume that unsophisticated blacks would be easy prey for clever con artists selling worthless “magic rocks” for a month’s wages. This attitude still holds forth today in the liberal community towards blacks and school vouchers.

    People like Stephens would not be unaware of stories of Africa, where the enslavement of weaker groups by warrior tribes was (and in some instances still is) the normal course of life. The brutality towards slaves inflicted by the African captors would be far worse than anything imagined by plantation owners, so they believed they had “rescued” their slaves from a terrible fate. As religious people, the owners also thought that by forcing Christianity on their slaves, they were saving their souls from eternal damnation.

    Naturally, slavery was wrong. However, the people of the time engaged in the holding of slaves didn’t believe they were doing evil and in fact most believed they were good. To demonize people of that era based on today’s standards and sensibilities for actions they believed to be for the best seems a bit out of context.

  10. wr says:

    jwest — The Nazis believed Jews were an inferior race, and their extinction was necessary for the continued survival of the human race. Many of the people involved in their mass murder didn’t believe they were doing evil and in fact most believed they were good.

    So let’s embrace them?

    This is particularly hilarious coming from a knee-jerk right-winger who routinely insists that Democrats are evil commies who want to destroy America by helping its citizens get healthcare.

    Whereas those who bought and sold slaves, who raped and murdered and worked them to death, who broke up families and sold off their children, they were only looking out for the poor Africans’ welfare.

    It’s almost unimaginable how loathesome today’s right has become.

  11. jwest says:


    People have been misled throughout history by mistakenly thinking they were doing the right thing, when in fact they were perpetrating a terrible evil.

    A hundred years from now, people will look back on how liberals supported teachers unions over the interests of inner city children and say that that they had to know the damage they were causing. Hopefully, there will be someone like me to bring context to the discussion so you’re not branded as evil villains.

  12. PD Shaw says:

    Again, it’s the 150th anniversary of the civil war. Civil war affiliated sites, groups and tourist bodies are all announcing plans for these kinds of events. I had once intended to go to the Alabama State Capitol to see this important site, and it’s certainly not a reflection of a favorable disposition to Jefferson Davis, but car trouble in Birmingham prevented me. I would watch this if I was in the area.

  13. wr says:

    Yes, jwest, supporting unions is exactly the same as supporting slavery. And apologizing for slavers is just the generosity of your spirit.

    jwest, who care so much about inner city children he thinks they’d be better off as slaves than taught by union members. A good Republican to the core.

  14. Timberdoodle says:

    Check what Charles Dickens said about the reason for the War. Until you do, follow the advice of the old saying, “Tis better to keep silent and let others think you are a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt”.

  15. JOHN GRIMERS says:


    Lincoln Voted to keep Blacks out of his State and also stated in the Dill debates that a Black man was not even half of a white man. Lincoln was a RASIST!! soooo READ YOU HISTORY PEOPLE! Slavery was a politcal move. All he cared about was th Union. He didnt care about the Black man or Slaves. Grant has slaves until 1863! Lincoln freed people he could not free. He did not free slaves in the North and any union Loyaltist in the South could keep there slaves! () percent of Confederates did not own a slave.. thats a fact! They we fighting for there Land! There homes. There Family and there Country!! What about the Black Confederates that got shoot on site in Northern Prisons??


  16. JOHN GRIMES says:

    That was supposed to say 90 percent of confederates didnt own slaves….