Quote Of The Day: Historical Perspective Edition

Given the fact that the murders in Charleston have revived debates about the Confederate Flag and other issues related to the Civil War, a found this quote, which a friend had shared on their Facebook wall, to be appropriate

“Fellow citizens: I am not indifferent to the claims of a generous forgetfulness, but whatever else I may forget, I shall never forget the difference between those who fought for liberty and those who fought for slavery; between those who fought to save the Republic and those who fought to destroy it.”


Frederick Douglass, “Decoration Day,” 1894

FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, Race and Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds 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. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    More and more, I’m becoming deeply sick of reading comments from southerners about how the Confederate battle flag has absolutely nothing to do with slavery, but is merely a part of southern heritage. And even more deeply sick of hearing about how the Civil War wasn’t about slavery, but about states’ rights.

    Read the declaration of secession of South Carolina. The right they wanted to keep was the right to keep slaves.

    And why does this flag, if it’s just another historical artifact reflective of a past civilization, appeal as deeply to degenerates as does Nazi regalia? If you see someone in the north waving or flaunting the stars and bars, he’s at best an outlaw biker and at worst someone with a criminal record ten miles long.

  2. michael reynolds says:

    @CSK:

    Hear, hear.

  3. CSK says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Thanks. I’m glad I got that off my chest. Although I think I’m going to get even sicker of hearing “south good/north bad” in the coming days.

  4. michael reynolds says:

    @CSK:
    Ask a southerner to describe what he means by “southern culture.” Aside from humidity, cockroaches and illiteracy everything else will be a legacy of slavery. Slavery is the single thing that sets the south apart.

    Look at southern culture and you see that their one crowning cultural achievement is the music of slaves in the field who the instant they were freed got the hell out of the south, moved north and gave the world gospel, blues, jazz, rock and hip hop. The great southern literature from Faulkner to Harper Lee is the examination of slavery and its effects. Their gun culture is an echo of slave patrols. The rural architecture is plantation houses and shacks.

    Their emotional patrimony is self-pity over the loss of the ‘Old South,” which is to say, slavery. And of course resentment of northerners. Why? Reconstruction, which is to say, slavery. Their military culture? The result of southern boys being raised on tales of Bobby Lee and Nathan Bedford Forrest. Their religion, well, ask yourself why there’s a Southern Baptist church.

    It’s quite pathological. And it explains why the Republican Party has become a psych ward. The dishonesty, the delusion, the denial of reality that define southern culture have contaminated the GOP and now define the erstwhile party of Lincoln.

  5. CSK says:

    I may be grasping at straws, but I find it reassuring that Roof was unable to find a KKK klavern or a skinhead group to join. This lack apparently caused him some distress. Well, he laments; I rejoice.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Thanx, Doug.

  7. gVOR08 says:

    Perfect quote, Doug.

    I’ve often said that conservatism is largely a game of make believe. Let’s pretend that trickle down works, let’s pretend Obama’s a Kenyan socialist, let’s pretend we’re not trying to suppress minority voting, and the one that is currently quite obvious – let’s pretend that race is not, as it always has been, the driver of politics in the US.

  8. Grewgills says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Look at southern culture and you see that their one crowning cultural achievement is the music of slaves in the field who the instant they were freed got the hell out of the south, moved north and gave the world gospel, blues, jazz, rock and hip hop. The great southern literature from Faulkner to Harper Lee is the examination of slavery and its effects.

    That takes things several steps too far. Country, old timey, and bluegrass are also part of the musical culture that built blues, jazz, rock, and hip hop. Most of the innovators of those music forms born in the South stayed in the South with some notable exceptions moving North to places like Chicago. It is also a bit more than a stretch to say that Faulkner was merely an examination of slavery and its effects. That also leaves out Poe, Twain, Porter, Gordon, Wolfe, Tennessee Williams, Hurston, O’Connor, Welty, and Toole to name a few. That also neglects visual arts, food, and a host of other things Southerners think of when they think of “Southern Culture”. All of that is tainted with the legacy of chattel slavery and the Confederacy, but all of American history is tainted by the history of genocide and a slightly shorter period of chattel slavery.

  9. dmhlt says:

    @CSK:
    Thanks!

    I took you up on your suggestion to read South Carolina’s “Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union”.

    http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/csa_scarsec.asp

    The word “slave” or its variation occurs EIGHTEEN times

    The phrase “states’ rights” occurs ZERO times