Things not to Celebrate: Secession

Roughly 150 years ago, the CSA was born. Is this something worthy of celebration?

The NYT remind us that we are about to hit the sesquicentennial of the secession of the South from the Union and the start of the American Civil War.  Strangely (but not surprisingly, unfortunately), there are those who see this as anniversary worthy of celebration:  Celebrating Secession Without the Slaves

The events include a “secession ball” in the former slave port of Charleston (“a joyous night of music, dancing, food and drink,” says the invitation), which will be replicated on a smaller scale in other cities. A parade is being planned in Montgomery, Ala., along with a mock swearing-in of Jefferson Davis as president of the Confederacy.

In addition, the Sons of Confederate Veterans and some of its local chapters are preparing various television commercials that they hope to show next year. “All we wanted was to be left alone to govern ourselves,” says one ad from the group’s Georgia Division.

That some — even now — are honoring secession, with barely a nod to the role of slavery, underscores how divisive a topic the war remains, with Americans continuing to debate its causes, its meaning and its legacy.

“We in the South, who have been kicked around for an awfully long time and are accused of being racist, we would just like the truth to be known,” said Michael Givens, commander-in-chief of the Sons, explaining the reason for the television ads. While there were many causes of the war, he said, “our people were only fighting to protect themselves from an invasion and for their independence.”

I can’t imagine that most people, in the south or not, will be commemorating secession.  I will, however, state that many of these sentiments are held in at least a vague way by a lot of people in the Deep South.  To wit:   the notion that the war was about “states rights” and self-defense.  I, for one, think that that is a lie that many Americans tell themselves* about the war because they don’t want to fully face up to the notion that the most fundamental right in question was the right for one set of human beings to hold another set of human beings as property.   There is a great deal of pressure to want to find some mental gymnastics to allow for pride about one’s heritage, and it is far easier to cleave to the notion that one’s forbearers were principled about the rights of their states than it is to admit that they were defending a specific political economy that required slave labor.  If anyone has doubts that slavery was central to secession, I would point the reader to a post I wrote on this topic earlier this year:  Confederate Heritage and History Month.  It really is impossible to argue from the facts that the main reason for secession was anything other than slavery.

I will further say this:  there is far too little shame associated with the CSA than there ought to be.  The continued popularity of the Confederate Battle Flag as an adornment on automobiles and clothing attest to that fact.  Or, for that matter, the notion that many politicians still extol things like Confederate Heritage Month and the aforementioned battle flag.**  Certainly I know plenty of people, including students and people I know in various walks of life, who adhere to the notion that there is a “real history of the South” that is not properly taught.

One of the weirder aspects of all of this discussion to me is that the South is also the part of the country that considers itself the most patriotic vis-à-vis the United States of America and which venerates the US flag and the Constitution as near sacred items.  As such, one would think that such deep belief in exceptional nature of the USA would translate into some reevaluation of the meaning of secession and the Civil War.***  Indeed, one would think that any given Southern patriot would look back on the history of 150 years ago and have a profound sense of relief that the entire CSA experiment failed.  And, further, that the notion of dividing the United States was a horrible idea.  And yet, I don’t think much thought goes into it.

Update:  I think that following quote is worth including as well from Jeff Antley, a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and an organizer of the Charlotte ball noted above:

“Many people in the South still believe that is a just and honorable cause. Do I believe they were right in what they did? Absolutely,” he said, noting that he spoke for himself and not any organization. “There’s no shame or regret over the action those men took.”

——

*Indeed, as one born in a former Confederate State (Texas) with family from several others (Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana), it was a lie a I told myself as a young man into adulthood until I really gave it some thought.

**Or other symbols.  The lack of shame in question is well illustrated by the fact that when Georgia finally got rid of a state flag that contained the battle flag that they then modeled their new flag on the first official flag of the CSA (the “Stars and Bars”).  In so many ways this a profoundly weird thing to do:  incorporating a symbol of a rebellious government to fly over a territory that is part of the USA.  What message is that supposed to send in terms of general politics?  Further, what specific message to it send to the roughly third of its population of African American descent?

**For example, if one goes to the Sons of Confederate Veterans web site, one is greeted with a video in which it is claimed that secession was about going to war to protect the rights of the southern states under the US Constitution.  Now, not to quibble too much about historical facts:  but the creation of a new country under a wholly new constitution strikes me as an odd way to claim one’s constitutional right under the US Constitution.  Indeed, this myth (i.e., the war was about states’ rights under the US Constitution) is a clear example of the mental gymnastics that many engage in to allow them to venerate an act of rebellion against the US Constitution.

FILED UNDER: US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. While I agree with your historical assessment about the rationale for succession, the principle of state’s rights in general is worth celebrating and supporting. I suspect the celebrations in my home state of SC will for most be about the fundamentals of self-determination and freedom from remote tyranny which seem particularly relevant in 2010. Having migrated from the north, I am loathe to celebrate anything which tore the Union asunder. Provided we aren’t celebrating racial hatred and oppression masquerading as ‘heritage’ and instead celebrating the rights of citizens to throw off the shackles of an intrusive and oppressive authority, I’m good with it.

  2. floyd says:

    “”I, for one, think that that is a lie that many Americans tell themselves* about the war because they don’t want to fully face up to…””
    “””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””
    Subjectively you too have your own set of lies which you tell yourself to avoid the whole truth. No worries,as Paul Simon once said … (it’s)”All lies in jest, still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest!”
     

  3. wr says:

    CT — How droll to “celebrate the rights of citizens to throw off the shackles of an intrusive and oppressive authority” when what that intrustion and oppression was actually a demand that the South stop putting human beings in actual shackles. Yes, go ahead and celebrate the fundamentals of self-deliberation and freedom, because there is nothing more fundamental to those goals than the right to own other human beings, to kill and rape them at will, and to buy and sell them.

  4. Brett says:

    These people need to read the Confederate Declaration of Immediate Causes for Secession. There’s pretty much no way that you can read that and come away without realizing that the South seceded over slavery – and for all their supposed “states’ rights” advocacy, a significant chunk of the document consists of them whining that the northern states are flouting national laws on fugitive slaves, sheltering abolitionists, etc.  For example,

    The General Government, as the common agent, passed laws to carry into effect these stipulations of the States. For many years these laws were executed. But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery, has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the General Government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution. The States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa, have enacted laws which either nullify the Acts of Congress or render useless any attempt to execute them. In many of these States the fugitive is discharged from service or labor claimed, and in none of them has the State Government complied with the stipulation made in the Constitution. The State of New Jersey, at an early day, passed a law in conformity with her constitutional obligation; but the current of anti-slavery feeling has led her more recently to enact laws which render inoperative the remedies provided by her own law and by the laws of Congress. In the State of New York even the right of transit for a slave has been denied by her tribunals; and the States of Ohio and Iowa have refused to surrender to justice fugitives charged with murder, and with inciting servile insurrection in the State of Virginia. Thus the constituted compact has been deliberately broken and disregarded by the non-slaveholding States, and the consequence follows that South Carolina is released from her obligation.

    Sorry, I hope that’s not too long.

  5. Alex Knapp says:

    @Brett –
    I like how not only is it clearly about slavery, but a COMPLAINT about how the Northern states were nullifying Federal power!  Not much of a defense of States’ Rights there!

  6. michael reynolds says:

    The South has never done the work of soul-searching the Germans did post-war, or the Japanese to a far lesser extent.  Unfortunately that’s the norm.  Have Russians owned up to Stalin?  Have we owned up to the Philippines or Mexico?
     
    Where southerners are more egregious however is in their assertion of some positive good in the CSA.  Americans in general may not entirely own up to what we did to Native Americans but we have at least stopped pretending it was a great and glorious thing.

  7. Nightrider says:

    Most of the people who died for the South didn’t own slaves.  But they were deceived by (or forcibly conscripted by) the landed interests who certainly were seeking to preserve slavery.
    What might make an even more relevant discussion topic is the extent to which secession remains a popular idea today.  And the extent to which many in blue America this time might not be sad to see them go.  Or what the two countries would be like because of the radically change in their median political view.
     

  8. ponce says:

    I agree it’s natural for people to whitewash their shameful family history.
     
    The Times has an excellent blog going retelling the Civil War with 150 year old news stories: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/category/disunion/

  9. sam says:

    “But they were deceived by (or forcibly conscripted by) the landed interests who certainly were seeking to preserve slavery.”
     
    Absolutely. I’ve said that the greatest political accomplishment of the Southern aristocracy (and that’s what it was) was the convincing of poor white Southerners that slavery was in their interests.
     
    And before the usual suspects show up claiming the war was not about slavery, I’d like to enter as Exhibit 1, the Confederate Constitution:
     
    Article I, Section 9(4)
    No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.
     
    Article IV, Section 2(1)
    The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States; and shall have the right of transit and sojourn in any State of this Confederacy, with their slaves and other property; and the right of property in said slaves shall not be thereby impaired.
     
    Article IV Section 2(3)
    No slave or other person held to service or labor in any State or Territory of the Confederate States, under the laws thereof, escaping or lawfully carried into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor; but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such slave belongs,. or to whom such service or labor may be due.
     
    Article IV, Section 3(3)
    In all such territory [acquired by the Confederate States] the institution of negro slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected be Congress and by the Territorial government; and the inhabitants of the several Confederate States and Territories shall have the right to take to such Territory any slaves lawfully held by them in any of the States or Territories of the Confederate States.
     
     
     
     

  10. Terrye says:

    I have ancestors in my family who fought on both sides of the Civil War. The man who fought for the Confederates was from the Alabama Volunteers. He was killed in the last big battle of the war and left a widow and 9 children behind. He did not own slaves. However, he did give his life to fight and die for a bunch of white aristocrats who would not have let him walk through the front door. No, he would have been relegated to the kitchen door, like the slaves he was too poor to own.
    In an effort to heal the wounds and bind the nation as one we have allowed this fantasy of men fighting for their rights to replace the reality of the Civil War and the determination of a class of well heeled Southerners to maintain a way of life that was doomed to extinction in any event.

  11. sam says:

    Since we’re talking about the secession and the Civil War, I’d like to commend to all of you Professor David Blight’s Yale course, The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877 . You can download all the course material (except the readings) and stream the lectures to your computer. (If you hip to your browser’s cache, you can save the lectures to your hard drive for viewing offline.)
     
    Many of the readings can be found on the web.
     
    It’s a really great course.

  12. John P says:

    @ Michael Reynolds…honestly? I do feel quite sorry for you if you believe the words you’ve written about “the south”. The irony is that it makes you as bad as the 5% of nutters like the Sons of the Confederacy guy mentioned in the article.
    Being a Mississippian, I can’t tell you that there aren’t rare occasions that I hear someone say something stupid about “Yankees” or “Northerners” but chances are (1) they have a “3” tattoo featured in a prominent place on their person and (2) have never been outside of the state – let alone to the northern side of the Mason-Dixon.
    That is to say they speak ignorance from ignorance.

  13. PD Shaw says:

    sam, odd, I earlier tried to post a comment about Blight’s book that didn’t take for some reason.
    Blight’s book, Race and Reunion, The Civil War in American Memory, surveys the writing on the Civil War up to around WWI and concludes that Northern whites were complicit in slavery and race being removed from the central narrative in how the War was remembered.  A few reasons were (1) soldiers wrote the narratives, (2) the difficulties of reconstruction and what appeared to be an intractable racial problem, and most importantly (3) reunification required setting aside of grievances and conceding that each side fought for a cause they believed in without casting judgment, nay even mentioning that cause.  Basically, Northern and Southern whites adapted a narrative to the detriment of Blacks.

  14. An Interested Party says:

    “Subjectively you too have your own set of lies which you tell yourself to avoid the whole truth.”
    And what, pray tell, is the “whole truth” about the Confederacy and secession…
     
    “I’ve said that the greatest political accomplishment of the Southern aristocracy (and that’s what it was) was the convincing of poor white Southerners that slavery was in their interests.”
    Hmm, some things never change, as certain groups continue to be quite successful at convincing the poor and middle class to support things that definitely aren’t in their interests…

  15. michael reynolds says:

    John:
     
    Then kindly explain how the Confederate battle flag ended up incorporated into many souther state flags, and when it was removed was removed only over vociferous opposition from many whites? Southern pols respond to votes like pols anywhere, and when it takes threats of boycotts to get them to come around that indicates some pretty strong sentiment still supporting the myth of the Old South.

  16. sam says:

    @Chris T
     
    ” Provided we aren’t celebrating racial hatred and oppression masquerading as ‘heritage’ and instead celebrating the rights of citizens to throw off the shackles of an intrusive and oppressive authority, I’m good with it. ”
     
    Sure, who wouldn’t be? However, we do have the 4th of July for that (I mean, that’s what that dustup was all about, or so I’ve been told).  I’m afraid any celebration that includes a mock swearing in of Jeff Davis as President of the Confederacy is a sop to Lost Cause diehards.
     
    My ancestors fought for the South, according to family history. However, I’d like to think that at least one or two of them were in one of those regiments from (all) the Southern states that fought in the Union Army–something to think about before talking about “Southerners”.
     
    PD, that book is on my list. And yeah, I’ve no doubt that race and slavery were downplayed in the narrative.  I myself am deeply conflicted about the war. There’s no conflict in my mind at all about the necessity (and inevitability) of the war. But I don’t think anyone can read about that war — and its pitting of father against son, brother against brother — and not be filled with a deep sadness. I’ve said here before, whatever its causes and justifications, the Civil War was the worst thing that ever happened to us — Americans killing Americans.
     
     
     

  17. floyd says:

    “”Hmm, some things never change, as certain groups continue to be quite successful at convincing the poor and middle class to support things that definitely aren’t in their interests…””
    “”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””
    True that!

  18. Trumwill says:

    Then kindly explain how the Confederate battle flag ended up incorporated into many souther state flags, and when it was removed was removed only over vociferous opposition from many whites?
     
    Also removed with the support of many whites, too.
     
    Southern pols respond to votes like pols anywhere, and when it takes threats of boycotts to get them to come around that indicates some pretty strong sentiment still supporting the myth of the Old South.
     
    There sure are. But you have three main groups. The first is a collection of more than a few but a definite minority who are REALLY EXCITED about the issue, will vote on the issue, and will lash out at anyone that disagrees with them. The third group are those like myself that wanted the flag gone. In the middle are a group that have no real appreciation from the flag but simply don’t like being told what to do by outsiders and are of the “give them an inch and they will take a mile” mentality. The first group is, if not larger than the third group, much more adamant about the issue. The third group involves a lot of people with views that are generally unpopular in the south unrelated to this issue. So the first group kind of wins by default and inertia.
     
    I should add at least one more thing, as a southerner that wants the flag removed from public places except in a historical context (and even then, use the Stars & Bars and not the Confederate Jack). One of the biggest obstacles we face is the fact that some of the people screaming the loudest that the flag should be removed are people with contempt for the south whether it’s flying the flag or not. People that make jokes that you (or even if you’re “one of the good ones”, people you know) are just generally backwards and ignorant. I’m not defending the notion that you should refuse to do something because you don’t like the people requesting you to do it, but it’s a factor all the same.

  19. Trumwill says:

    I don’t have a whole lot to add (excluding the next few paragraphs) to the original post. It is 100% correct. I do not think that southerners should be made ashamed of where we come from, but we should celebrate it’s virtues. Of which, rebellion against the United States in defense of an indefensible institution and starting a war where Americans were killing one another off, is not among them.
     
    I would also add one more thing… the Confederate Battle Flag is only tangentially about the Confederacy. It wasn’t even the primary flag used by the CSA (though the emblem was put on later national flags). It was the symbol adopted by the racists after the war. This doesn’t change anything vis-a-vis the appropriateness of the flag, but it’s worth noting to understand how people can sever it in their mind from the Civil War. The problem is that even if you sever it from the Civil War itself, you’re tying yourself to Jim Friggin’ Crow.
     
    The whole Georgia flag thing is indicative of this. The confederate emblem was added in the 1950’s. And while they replaced it (after an aborted intermediate flag) with something that closely resembles the Stars & Bars (except with the same number of stars as the Jack and a state seal), the Jim Crow/KKK symbolism wasn’t there. So it was deemed as acceptable by both sides because the reference was unrecognizable except to those who cared the most. I wrote on the subject here.

  20. michael reynolds says:

    Trumwill:
     
    Sadly not for the first time I’ve had to consider that I may be old.  I was taught Virginia history in school in relatively open-minded Newport News. It was decidedly Lost Cause mythology and not-very-covertly racist.
     
    But it does occur to me that this was something like 42 or 43 years ago.  (Pauses to consider whether it’s okay to have a bracing drink at 12:34 PM.  Decides against it.)
     
    I take your point about a vociferous minority.  I doubt it’s as small as John implied, but point taken nevertheless.

  21. Trumwill says:

    One of the things that I am personally grappling with is a painting of Robert E Lee and Stonewall Jackson. When I was a kid, I thought it was the neatest thing since sliced bread. Now I have an appreciation of it as a family heirloom. Whenever I eventually get it, I don’t want to hide it, but I also don’t want people to think that I am one of those people that romanticizes the Confederacy. So I’m a bit torn as to what to do. Probably put it in a place where I will see it but few others will. Maybe buy some pro-Union thing to sit beside it.

  22. PD Shaw says:

    Terrye’s poignant tale reminds me of something else about how the Civil War remembered.  In the South, Remembrance Day observations were largely entrusted to the widows and orphans, for whom speaking ill of the dead was not an option.  Nor was it an option to heap the whole weight of slavery on some poor family member, whom more likely than not never owned a slave.
    The last civil war veteran died in the late 50s, the last widow might still be alive.
    michael, I’m not sure Germans have completely come to terms with WWII; there are several recent books arguing that knowledge and implicit culpability for the Holocaust was far more widespread than ever conceded.  I think some larger recognitions only take place after the witnesses and their loved ones are burried.

  23. PD Shaw says:

    Trumwell, put the picture next to a portrait of Lincoln and a Kwanzaa gathering.

  24. John P says:

    Michael
    I’m still not convinced that you’re not talking about the small and vocal minority that news reporters find to give their story an edge. For example, my takeaway from watching SportsCenter is that everyone that goes to a sports arena in Philadelphia gets hammered, throws up on kids, runs on the field before throwing snowballs at Santa. That’s absurd. Are Philly fans a little louder than say the average Giants fan? Probably, but 95% of the people going to either stadium are responsible adults looking to enjoy baseball.
     
    Here is my sense of the flag issue (which I would separate from “vociferous opposition” in the connotation you’ve implied):
    1. The current flag of Mississippi was adopted in 1894. Before the Confederate imagery was incorporated into the design the flag displayed a picture of a Magnolia Tree. People in this state grew up with this flag as their flag. That doesn’t excuse the use of the Confederate Flag but that’s somewhat beside the point.
    2. Changing symbols that are representative of something as deeply ingrained as State identification go beyond what’s on the flag (again, that is not to say one should disregard that information) to something quite personal and visceral. A change many times denotes that the thing being amended is incorrect (and factually that makes sense in this case) however when changing something that people identify with as closely as a flag (see futbol fans) facts are many times the last thing considered.
    3. Lastly, it is one thing for change to come from within. Change that is perceived as forced or coerced will be met with opposition purely on those grounds irrespective of the level of nobility promoted.
     
    Now I could be wrong. We could all be raving mad racists, but I walk the streets and interact with the people and watch them interact with each other. What I see is not what is described in the article or what you’ve romanticized about in your posts. What I see are people looking for work at the new Toyota plant or wondering why our 3G network is so balky or celebrating a big win by University State…in short, kind of the same things people all around the nation are doing.
     
    And if your flag makes you feel good about the state of race relations or civil rights issues going on in your State and/or Commonwealth, so be it.
     

  25. Trumwill says:

    Sadly not for the first time I’ve had to consider that I may be old.  I was taught Virginia history in school in relatively open-minded Newport News. It was decidedly Lost Cause mythology and not-very-covertly racist.
     
    This is a good point and part of why the pro-Dixie movement carries the weight that it does. A lot of people bought into what they were taught and what they were taught was quite like you say. My mother was one of them, unfortunately. And older people, it’s always worth noting, vote. At every opportunity.
     
    Mom has chilled out over the years, but she raised us with the Lost Cause view of the Confederacy and the “War of Northern Aggression”. My older brother had a Confederate Jack sticker on his door growing up. But now he’s married to a Pakistani-American and it’s one of those issues that doesn’t interest him in the slightest (I suspect he’s turned and just doesn’t want Mom to know about it).
     
    Ultimately, I think it’s one of those issues that is going to be relegated to those least likely to be politically engaged (“They’re all a bunch of crooks”) and least likely to be taken seriously. Once the older folks start dying off, the primary obstacle for a new Mississippi Flag (for instance) will probably be inertia.

  26. Dave Schuler says:

    One of the things that living in a polity means is that some sentiments genuinely felt cannot be celebrated.  My great-great-grandfather followed Sherman as an officer from Vicksburg to Atlanta.  How would the sons and daughters of the Confederacy who celebrate secession feel if I were to organize a celebration of the burning of Atlanta?  I doubt that they’d take it well.  IMO it’s another of the things that shouldn’t be celebrated.
     
    Michael:
     
    The Philippines and Mexico are two very different cases.  Aguinaldo once remarked that the Americans had made his job (as a revolutionary) difficult by the moderation of their occupation of his country.  I don’t think that the case for American perfidy in the matter of the territories seized from Mexico following the Mexican War is quite as clear as you seem to.  Taking your position would seem to assume that Mexico had some sort of right to the territory.  In what did the right reside?  Possession?
     
    In addition Santa Anna treated the Tejanos pretty severely.  The battle cry during the Texas Revolution wasn’t just “Remember the Alamo!”, it was “Remember Goliad, remember the Alamo!”.
     
    Note that I’m not saying that our behavior has always been as pure as the driven snow, merely that there’s plenty of sin to go around.
     
    A much better case could be made for our treatment of Haiti which the U. S. Marines occupied over a roughly 20 year period in the early part of the last century.
     

  27. ponce says:

    “Once the older folks start dying off, the primary obstacle for a new Mississippi Flag (for instance) will probably be inertia.”
     
    There’s no guarantee that the “The South Will Rise Again” crowd will diw off.
     
    We used to be told the Israeli West Bank settlers were just insane religious fanatics that all “normal” Israelis opposed.
     
    Now their theft is supported by a large majority of “normal” Israelis.

  28. Tlaloc says:

    The big question of course is “why the hell didn’t Lincoln just let them go?”  Maybe with a swift kick to the ass and a “see ya” thrown in.
     
    Go I wish the “south will rise again” folks weren’t just blow hards.  Ditching ameroca’s ghetto would be such an enormous improvement to the nation as a whole.

  29. michael reynolds says:

    Dave:
     
    I think in this instance your knowledge of the Philippines war is (uncharacteristically for you) incomplete.  Read Mark Twain as a contemporaneous observer.  And more recent histories have shown the absolute brutality — mass-slaughter of innocents and prisoners — by US occupiers.  It’s worth noting that our brutality was preceded by contemptible betrayal of the freedom fighters largely on racist grounds.  If there was moderation it was of the sort that follows the extermination of all resistance.
     
    As for Mexico, they did have sovereignty and were recognized as sovereign by us among others.  If they didn’t have a right to the land then we today don’t have a right to that same land.  Many at the time — my pen-name namesake Grant among them — recognized the Mexican War as naked US aggression.  Aggression fueled in large part by a desire to spread slavery.

  30. Trumwill says:

    There’s no guarantee that the “The South Will Rise Again” crowd will die off.
     
    I can guarantee that they won’t die off. Some of my classmates came from that mold. But I feel pretty strongly that they’ll become increasingly irrelevant. At least outside a few pockets of influence (Mississippi perhaps being a bad example for me to use because that’s the state most likely to hold out). If it’s limited to folks who are politically disengaged and who don’t have much money to throw support behind campaigns, it’ll become irrelevant. Right now there’s at least some degree of respectability for the position because it’s the one our parents hold, so even if we disagree we are disinclined to get too loud about it. Our kids won’t have that holding them back, so it won’t just be blacks and outsiders suggesting that reverence towards the Confederacy is extremely ill-advised.

  31. Trumwill says:

    The big question of course is “why the hell didn’t Lincoln just let them go?”  Maybe with a swift kick to the ass and a “see ya” thrown in.
     
    Because they probably would have lost Kentucky, which represents a security problem with Ohio being the only state connecting the US. They also probably would have lost the west. Oh, and they’d have been relegating black people to generations of slavery.
     
    Go I wish the “south will rise again” folks weren’t just blow hards.  Ditching ameroca’s ghetto would be such an enormous improvement to the nation as a whole.
     
    I’ve got some right-wing acquaintances that like to make fun of and suggest expatriation for the people they don’t like in part because of their economic and cultural station, as well.

  32. PD Shaw says:

    Why the hell didn’t Andrew Jackson let South Carolina go?  Would have saved a lot of trouble in the long run.

  33. PD Shaw says:

    “The Constitution… forms a government not a league… To say that any State may at pleasure secede from the Union is to say that the United States is not a nation.”  (A. Jackson 1832)

  34. cshpy says:

    The Civil War was not one – a civil war is one where 2 sides are fighting for control of the same gov’t. The Confederacy had states that had left the United States. It had it’s own president, money, and constitution written out. The Confederate States was invaded by the USA for the same reasons all wars are started…..in a nutshell…. for money, land and power!
    This war was not over slavery but was caused by the tyrannical US gov’t imposing outrageous taxes upon the southern states and giving most of it to the rich industrialists of the northern states. The Morrill tarriff ( a 27% tax) was the last straw which drove the states to secceed from the US. The US gov’t invaded the Confederate States after realizing the substantial losses in income, land mass (as well as southern ports) not to mention saving face!!!
     It’s true that we seldom learn from history! The United States government today is repeating all the steps that caused the war for Southern Independence in the 1860’s! This is the same US gov’t that exists today doing to all 50 states what it did to the southern states prior to them saying “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”!!!! Over half of the 50 now have seccession groups working towards their states leaving this corrupt criminal enterprise (ie The United States of America)

     SO….yes seccession should not only be celebrated……but actively persued!!! This corrupt gov’t is doing nothing for this country but taking it on a downward spiraling path to destruction!!!!! The only other option is for the ‘reconstruction’ of the US Government. And this will not occur as most politicians have more devotion to their ‘party’ than to the people they are supposed to be representing!!!!
     

  35. cshpy says:

    Our history books full of misinformation about this ‘war for southern independance’ in the 1860’s are thus due to them being written by the ‘conquering nation’.
    On the issue of slavery…..
    prior to this war, the majority of slaves were brought into North America through northern ports – mostly NJ and north! In fact the 1st slaves in this country were brought into Massachusetts! Only about 6% of the southerners owned slaves! The rest were poor and could not get jobs because of the slaves! Most southerners did not want the slaves there! Also at the end of the war the government purchased the slaves of northern slave owners – YES THAT’S RIGHT – NORTHERN SLAVE OWNERS!!! – and there were many! But the southern slave owners had to release theirs with no compensation!
    Also, the confederate battleflag did not exist prior to 1861, which is so often considered to be racist. The fact is…. that prior to the 1860,s there were some 300,000 slaves in this country all beaten, whipped, tortured, women raped, men women and children sometimes even murdered under the EXISTING NATIONAL FLAG at the time……the same stars and stripes that we so proudly hail today!!!!! And yet no one calls this flag ‘racist’!!!! Another item to note here is that if you check out videos of past KKK demonstrations, you will see that the majority of flags flown are the US statrs and stripes with comparatively few Confederate battle flags.

  36. george says:

    SO….yes seccession should not only be celebrated……but actively persued!!! This corrupt gov’t is doing nothing for this country but taking it on a downward spiraling path to destruction!!!!! The only other option is for the ‘reconstruction’ of the US Government. And this will not occur as most politicians have more devotion to their ‘party’ than to the people they are supposed to be representing!!!!

    And the re-introduction of slavery will just be a side product, just as it was just a side issue in the civil war?

  37. michael reynolds says:

    cshpy:
     
    You know, if you say something factually wrong and frankly stupid, adding exclamation points doesn’t really help.  It just draws attention to your ignorance and the stupidity.  And honestly, your ignorance and stupidity are of such a quality that they require no emphasis.
     
    By the way, as a professional writer, and as an action writer who has used a hell of a lot of exclamation points in the course of a long career, allow me to add that there is never, ever, ever a reason to use multiple exclamation points in a row.  Really.  Just, no.

  38. sam says:

    See, my idea is that while they’re having that Confederate ball thing in Charleston, some folks get together and hold a commemorative slave auction down at the old Charleston Slave Market.
     
    cshpy is an idiot.

  39. george says:

    By the way, as a professional writer, and as an action writer who has used a hell of a lot of exclamation points in the course of a long career, allow me to add that there is never, ever, ever a reason to use multiple exclamation points in a row.  Really.  Just, no.
     

    Clearly you’ve never edited a chess magazine … some moves really are so good you need multiple exclamation marks.  Or so bad you need multiple question marks 😉

  40. sam says:

    “Clearly you’ve never edited a chess magazine”
     
    Reminds me of a conversation I had once with a mathematician friend. We were talking about arguments that occur between philosophers. They can get pretty heated. I asked him about arguments among mathematicians. He said, “Ah, they go something like, ‘Excuse me, and gosh, I don’t want to be rude, but I think that comma is misplaced in that equation’…”

  41. DonM says:

    Most southerners don’t know that the first time Atlanta was burned in the War of the Rebellion, it was started by Confederates. Hood had his ammunition train (tracks were cutoff by enveloping US Army) set on fire, and the fire spread to much of Atlanta.
    Sherman had others burn government buildings afterwards, but much of the damage was done before Sherman’s army entered.
    See, it is not that Southerners or Liberals are stupid. They just know so much that isn’t so.
     

  42. DonM says:

    I wish to note that the Morrill tariff was voted after secession, and depended on the absence of senators from southern states to pass. It was voted, and passed, and signed by Pres. Buchanan before Lincoln took office.
    The tariff didn’t cause secession, it was a response to secession, and the recognition that the US would need to fund actions to end the rebellion.

  43. zoot says:

    the mistake was preventing secession. The war should have been fought to abolish slavery because its an abomination. But the US would be a far better nation today if the majority that justified slavery were not part of the nation today. As perry in Texas and the others in Georgia prattle on about secession, they should be encouraged to go ahead, to be responded to with a great big good riddens. The damage they have and continue to cause the rest of humanity is massive. Their cohorts should be encouraged to join them. The US will continue is decent into indecency as long as they are part of it.