The Washington Post article, "Destroying Confederate monuments isn't 'erasing' history. It's learning from it."1 by African American associate professor Keisha N. Blain of the University of Pittsburgh, proves that not only does the Washington Post peddle in fake news, it peddles fake history.
Professor Blain's contention in the short article is that "Confederate monuments, as well as Confederate-named Army bases, are modern inventions meant to distort history and celebrate a racist past" because:
These symbols serve one primary purpose - to honor figures of the past who upheld an undemocratic vision of America. They were created by white supremacists. And they function as a balm for white supremacists who long to return to a period when Americans regarded black people as property.
This is a silly, self-important view of history by a person obsessed with race.
Whether Prof. Blain likes it or not, the culture and institutions of America came from white Europe. Great Britain is our Mother Country.
We were founded because Europeans were looking for resources and wealth. The Virginia Company, the Massachusetts Bay Company, we were founded by capitalist companies out to make money and create markets, which creates opportunity for average people.
Europeans were Christians, Jews, Protestants, and their culture was derived from Greek democracy, ancient Athens and Sparta, the Roman Empire, the Catholic Church, the Protestant Reformation, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the Bible, English Common Law, Magna Carta, the philosophy of John Locke, which found its way into Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence.
There was a scientific revolution to go along with the industrial revolution. This was great progress for mankind.
That was the dominant culture from white Europe. It is more accurately described as American, not just white. White doesn't do it justice.
Professor Blain's characterization is racist. White supremacy? If you go to Africa you have black supremacy. In Central America, Hispanic supremacy. In Asia, Asian supremacy. If you go up by the North Pole, you have Eskimo supremacy.
Whatever the dominant culture is, that is what is supreme.
White supremacy in America when we were founded by white Europeans is not too profound an observation, so big deal.
The problem in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries for blacks and whites was the bringing together of two diametrically opposite cultures: the tribal culture of Africa, and the advanced industrializing scientific civilization of Europe that had evolved and become strong and confident and was exploring the world looking for resources, markets, wealth, and opportunity. There was great competition among European nations for expansion, to spread their innovative cultures.
Africans in Africa knew about capitalism too because they knew they could make money selling other Africans into slavery first, to the British, then later to Yankees, mostly New Englanders, who were America's slave traders.
The tribal chieftains of Africa built slave forts like the one on Bunce Island off modern Sierra Leone, and the barracoons Zora Neale Hurston, the famous African American anthropologist, wrote about in her book, Barracoon. It describes African tribal warfare and their slave trade in great detail.2
The goal of white European culture was not to have slaves. It was to build great cities and nations and wealth for all. There was some opportunity for blacks even during slavery because people like William Ellison, the famous black cotton gin maker in Sumter County, got rich and became one of the largest slave owners in South Carolina.
Once slavery ended and the decades long rebuilding of the Southern economy was complete, more opportunity was created. We have continued to evolve until we have, today, unlimited opportunity for everybody from sea to shining sea.
There is nothing holding anybody back in America today. Anybody can achieve anything they want with the right attitude and willingness to work hard. Opportunity is all over the place for blacks, whites, women, men, everybody.
People just have to solve their individual problems, get the education or training they need, develop a strong work ethic then do like Sam Walton said and "get after it." Develop an intense determination to succeed.
Those who buy into the false narrative of the left, that America is a horribly racist place founded on racism and slavery: you ain't going nowhere. You can drown in your misery or you can shake off that nonsense and get to work.
We have had a two-term black president in America, no matter how mediocre and divisive he was. That proves America is not a racist nation in the least.
The Democrat Party's false charge of racism against anybody who disagrees with them, promotes real racism, and so does their war on the past.
Southerners did not secede because of slavery. They seceded because they were fed up with the Northern hate Republicans used in the election of 1860 to rally their votes.
John Brown's terrorist raid at Harper's Ferry had been a wake-up call for the South. It proved Northerners were serious about murdering Southerners since Brown was financed by Northerners, then celebrated in the North as a hero when he was brought to justice. Two Union states, Ohio and Iowa, protected Brown's sons who were wanted for murder in Virginia. Protecting fugitives from justice when wanted by another state was unconstitutional. This was yet another Northern violation of the Constitution.
Brown's mission had been to create a slave revolt like Haiti's that would result in thousands of Southern men, women and children brutally murdered.
Republicans also used Hinton Helper's The Impending Crisis, as a campaign document. It called for the throats of Southerners to be cut in the night.
This was the future for Southerners in the Union.
So, ask yourself, if you were a Southerner in 1860, would you let Lincoln's terrorist, money thieving party rule over you?
Or would you secede and form a new nation more to your liking as was your sacred right laid out in the Declaration of Independence where it states:
Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Prof. Blain also accuses Southerners of being traitors.
The idea that Southerners were traitors when they had the right to secede and exercised it properly, again, shows Prof. Blain's ignorance of history.
The New England states threatened to secede many times more than Southerners. Horace Greeley believed in the right of secession ("let our erring sisters go") until he realized it would affect his money then he wanted war like the rest of the North.
Three states - New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia - demanded the right of secession in writing before joining the Constitution. All the other states accepted the reserved right of secession of New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia, thus giving it to them as well, because all the states are equal with the exact same powers.
Prof. Blain's statement that Confederate monuments, Confederate-named bases, etc. serve "one primary purpose - to honor figures of the past who upheld an undemocratic vision of America" shows that she knows nothing about Southern history and probably has never cared to trouble herself with it.
What Southerners did by calling conventions of the people (their secession conventions) to debate, then vote on the one issue of secession, is the most democratic thing to ever happen on American soil.
It goes straight back to the Founding Fathers when they required that states call conventions of the people to ratify the Constitution rather than having it ratified by their legislatures. This was a far sounder foundation for the country than a legislative vote that could be rescinded by a later legislature.
Each Southern state called a convention, elected delegates as secessionists or unionists, debated the issue thoroughly, then voted.
Seven states seceded and formed a new democratic republic on this earth - the Confederate States of America - very similar to the one formed by our Founding Fathers but with States' Rights thoroughly protected.
Four states rejected secession at first. Prof. Blain skips over this. She says only "By June 1861, four more states had seceded."
The reason they seceded had nothing whatsoever to do with slavery though Prof. Blain does not tell you that because she, herself, does not know it.
The four states that had rejected secession seceded because Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to invade the South. They were horrified that Lincoln would use the Federal Government to invade sovereign states and murder their citizens. The Federal Government was supposed to be the agent of the states, not their master.
In those four states - Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina - lived 52.4% of white Southerners, therefore a majority of white Southerners seceded over nothing to do with slavery. They seceded over unconstitutional federal coercion.
Prof. Blain does get one thing right. She says Lincoln "made no such promise in 1860" to end slavery. She's right. Lincoln and the North supported the Corwin Amendment which would have left black people in slavery forever, even beyond the reach of Congress, in places where slavery already existed.
Not a single Confederate monument went up to honor whatever Prof. Blain means by white supremacy.
All went up with pennies from school children, and such, in the war-impoverished South to honor their dead from a war in which 750,000 died, and over a million were maimed. Is that not enough suffering for Prof. Blain to understand that the region wanted to honor those souls who were their blood and kin in a permanent way?
Basil Gildersleeve, a Confederate soldier from Charleston, South Carolina who is today "still regarded as the greatest American classical scholar of all times."3 describes the sentiment well in 1892, 27 years after the war. He writes:
A friend of mine, describing the crowd that besieged the Gare de Lyon in Paris, when the circle of fire was drawing round the city, and foreigners were hastening to escape, told me that the press was so great that he could touch in every direction those who had been crushed to death as they stood, and had not had room to fall. Not wholly unlike this was the pressure brought to bear on the Confederacy. It was only necessary to put out your hand and you touched a corpse; and that not an alien corpse, but the corpse of a brother or a friend.4
Not a single Confederate monument went up out of fear that black people were raising themselves up, another of the absurd assertions of Prof. Blain.
If you what to know why Confederate monuments went up, straight from the mouth of Confederates, all you have to do is read the original Confederate Veteran magazine from any of its 40 year run.
The raising of the money for all the Confederate monuments is in it, day by day, penny by penny, a massive work of love and patriotism.
You can read the stories of the veterans organizations, the United Confederate Veterans, The Sons of Confederate Veterans, the United Daughters of the Confederacy and others.
Read original stories of battles, speeches at dedications, look at pictures, read a lot of poetry. It is the most warm and wonderful thing you can imagine, exciting, dignified, extremely patriotic, by wonderful, decent people, and you can see that there is nothing the least bit racist about them.
Prof. Blain has no idea what she is talking about. Her understanding of history is abysmal, bless her heart.
What has happened to Southern history since the 1960s is a national disgrace, it is a "cultural and political atrocity" as Eugene Genovese said, especially what has happened in the past month with the Democrat Party's violent mobs and riots destroying historical monuments around the country.
But unlike flighty liberals, Southerners know our history and are solidly grounded. We will immediately begin a new round of monument building across America so we end up with a net increase, and the new ones will be more magnificent than ever.
We have one of the greatest historical records of all mankind, and throughout all of history, especially of valor, bravery and self-government. Here's how Basil Gildersleeve sums it up and is why we will make our history more known to the future than ever before:
All that I vouch for is the feeling; . . . there was no lurking suspicion of any moral weakness in our cause. Nothing could be holier than the cause, nothing more imperative than the duty of upholding it. There were those in the South who, when they saw the issue of the war, gave up their faith in God, but not their faith in the cause.5
1 Washington Post, "Destroying Confederate monuments isn't 'erasing' history. It's learning from it." by Professor Keisha N. Blain, June 19, 2020, https://www.WashingtonPost.com/outlook/
2020/06/19/destroying-confederate-monuments-isnt-erasing-history-its-learning-it/, accessed June 22, 2020.
2 Zora Neale Hurston, Barracoon, The Story of the Last "Black Cargo" (NY: Amistad, 2018).
3 Clyde N. Wilson, Abstract, The Creed of the Old South by Basil L. Gildersleeve, Society of Independent Southern Historians, http://southernhistorians.org/the-societys-southern-life-recommended-reading/11-southern-literature/11-09-southern-literature-southern-view-of-southern-culture/11-09-04/, accessed 10/11/2014.
4 Basil L. Gildersleeve, The Creed of the Old South (Baltimore: The Johns hopkins Press, 1915; reprint: BiblioLife, Penrose Library, University of Denver (no date given), 26-27.
5 Gildersleeve, The Creed of the Old South, Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1915; reprint: BiblioLife, Penrose Library, University of Denver (no date given), 26-27.
This piece was previously published at the CharlestonAthenaeumPress on June 25, 2020.
When Northerners began realizing how truly dependent they were on the South, they flew into a panic. Horace Greeley is the embodiment of the North and he proved himself a hypocrite of the first order.
On December 17, 1860, the day South Carolina's Secession Convention began, Greeley published a long emotional editorial in the New York Daily Tribune affirming and supporting the right of secession as not only legal but moral. He is known for saying that our "erring sisters should be allowed to depart in peace."
In "The Right of Secession," Greeley writes:
-We have repeatedly asked those who dissent from our view of this matter to tell us frankly whether they do or do not assent to Mr. Jefferson's statement in the Declaration of Independence that governments "derive their just powers from the consent of the governed; and that, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government," &c., &c. We do heartily accept this doctrine, believing it intrinsically sound, beneficent, and one that, universally accepted, is calculated to prevent the shedding of seas of human blood. And, if it justified the secession from the British Empire of Three Millions of colonists in 1776, we do not see why it would not justify the secession of Five Millions of Southrons from the Federal Union in 1861. If we are mistaken on this point, why does not some one attempt to show wherein and why? . . . - we could not stand up for coercion, for subjugation, for we do not think it would be just. We hold the right of Self-Government sacred, even when invoked in behalf of those who deny it to others . . . if ever 'seven or eight States' send agents to Washington to say 'We want to get out of the Union,' we shall feel constrained by our devotion to Human Liberty to say, Let Them Go! And we do not see how we could take the other side without coming in direct conflict with those Rights of Man which we hold paramount to all political arrangements, however convenient and advantageous. 
But three months later, as the Northern economy collapsed around him and genuine panic ensued with plummeting property values, business failures, factory closures, an imminent stock market crash, people in the streets, goods rotting on New York docks, and utter disaster on the horizon, he wanted war. The entire North wanted war. They all agreed with the New York Times: "At once shut down every Southern Port, destroy its commerce and bring utter ruin on the Confederate states."
The hypocrisy of Greeley, as the embodiment of the North, is breathtaking.
He writes in his newspaper that "We hold the right of Self-government sacred," and we believe in the American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence, and we believe in the "just powers" of the government coming from the "consent of the governed," and we believe in the "Right of the People to alter or to abolish" a tyrannical government ¾ and we believe in a "devotion to Human Liberty" and the "Rights of Man" no matter how "convenient and advantageous" our current situation - and his most hypocritical of hypocritical statements, that "we could not stand up for coercion, for subjugation, for we do not think it would be just."
He then casts all his sacred principles to the ground and spits all over them. He spits on the Revolutionary War and the Founding Fathers too, and he grinds the Declaration of Independence into the dirt with his heel because they all were secondary to his money ¾ and the North was with him in lockstep.
Backtrack to December, 1860, as South Carolina's Secession Convention gets underway. South Carolina Governor Francis Wilkinson Pickens reflected the utter thrill and ecstasy of the South over its forthcoming independence. He said in his inaugural message that South Carolina would "open her ports free to the tonnage and trade of all nations, . . . . She has fine harbors, accessible to foreign commerce, and she is in the centre of those extensive agricultural productions, that enter so largely into the foreign trade and commerce of the world." He said South Carolina would immediately seek free trade relationships with all countries, especially England, and
it is for the benefit of all who may be interested in commerce, in manufactories, and in the comforts of artizans and mechanic labor everywhere, to make such speedy and peaceful arrangements with us as may advance the interests and happiness of all concerned.
Contrast that with Northern panic in the same week from The Chicago Times:
In one single blow our foreign commerce must be reduced to less than one-half what it now is. Our coastwise trade would pass into other hands. One-half of our shipping would lie idle at our wharves. We should lose our trade with the South, with all its immense profits. Our manufactories would be in utter ruins. Let the South adopt the free-trade system, or that of a tariff for revenue, and these results would likely follow. If protection be wholly withdrawn from our labor, it could not compete, with all the prejudices against it, with the labor of Europe. We should be driven from the market, and millions of our people would be compelled to go out of employment. (Emphasis added.)
New York City was petrified and ready to secede from New York State over the certain loss of its commercial trade with the South. The situation was too "gloomy and painful to contemplate" according to Mayor Fernando Wood. He issued his "Recommendation for the Secession of New York City" on January 6, 1861 to make it clear that New York supported the South and valued its trade with the South and wanted to keep it:
When Disunion has become a fixed and certain fact, why may not New York disrupt the bands which bind her to a venal and corrupt master ¾ to a people and a party [Lincoln's Republicans] that have plundered her revenues, attempted to ruin her commerce, taken away the power of self-government, and destroyed the Confederacy [meaning the pre-secession Union with the Southern States intact] of which she was the proud Empire City? Amid the gloom which the present and prospective condition of things must cast over the country, New York, as a Free City, may shed the only light and hope of a future reconstruction of our once blessed Confederacy. . .
Northern society was volatile, anyway, wild and unstable, subject to economic panics (severe recessions/depression, bank failures, etc.). The entire decade before the war, the North was chaotic, dangerous, often a wretched place to live. The scenes in Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York are true to life but don't even begin to tell the real story.
Widespread poverty kept the working classes hungry and in turmoil. Constant immigration from Europe increased the pressure steadily and made the North a boiler on the verge of exploding. Most immigrants arrived with little or no money yet had to survive. They headed straight to factories and "industrial misery" where a man could work for only a few brutal years before his body was ruined by black lung and other diseases due to unhealthy conditions in crude factories.
Industrial turmoil in the North mirrored Europe. European agitation was transferred to the North with "strikes and demonstrations, far-reaching, prolonged and repeated, never more volcanic in character than in the decade that preceded the Civil War."
There was genuine concern that if the enfranchised but miserable poor ever got organized, they would vote themselves into power then confiscate the property of wealthy people and redistribute it. It had happened in other places.
Some historians believe it did happen in the North but the property taken was not that of a ruling class. It was the western lands. That is why the West was such a huge campaign issue in 1860. When Horace Greeley said, "Go West, young man, and grow up with the country," it was not just a good idea. It was the pressure valve of the Northern boiler that was about to explode - and it released the North's surplus population to the West like steam into the wind.
William Gilmore Simms had toured the North on a lecture tour in 1856 and noted that Republican promises are "Addressed to a class, counting millions of desperate men, whom a grinding daily necessity makes reckless of every consideration of law, justice and the constitution." He also said the North "is all wild, disordered, anarchical, ready for chaos and disruption. And, the Northern mind, where not fanatical, is marked by a frivolity, a levity, which makes it reluctant to grapple seriously with serious things." In the Panic of 1857, tens of thousands of hungry workers had roamed the streets of Northern cities in mobs shouting "bread or blood!"
Republicans had rallied those voters with slogans like "Vote yourself a tariff" and "Vote yourself a farm." Historian Mary Beard wrote that "when the Republicans in their platform of 1860 offered free land to the workingmen of the world in exchange for a protective tariff" they got a "tumultuous response."
Northern anti-slavery was in no sense a pro-black movement but was anti-black. It was a way to rally votes. Might as well substitute the term "anti-South" for "anti-slavery" because it was anti-South - against the South - not pro-black.
Historian James L. Huston states well the Northern attitude toward slavery:
If opposition to slavery had involved only antagonism toward racial oppression, then the northern attack would have barely existed. The North was not a racially egalitarian section seeking to establish equitable race relations in the slaveholding South.
Many of the genuine abolitionists in the North - the 2 to 5% mentioned by Lee Benson and Gavin Wright - were racists. This is a great irony but many hated slavery because they hated blacks and did not want to associate with them, especially in the West.
David M. Potter states that Northern anti-slavery was "not in any clear-cut sense a pro-Negro movement but actually had an anti-Negro aspect and was designed to get rid of the Negro."
Abraham Lincoln also wanted to "get rid of the Negro." He had always supported recolonization. As stated earlier, Lincoln's Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation is clear that "the effort to colonize persons of African descent, with their consent, upon this continent, or elsewhere, with the previously obtained consent of the Governments existing there, will be continued."
Some abolitionists such as William Lloyd Garrison had real concern for black people. Robert Toombs said Garrison was a man of conviction who would not take an oath to the U.S. Constitution because it protected slavery. Toombs said the good abolitionists like Garrison did not trust the "political abolitionists" and wanted nothing to do with them.
These political abolitionists - the other 95 to 98% of the Northern electorate - wanted something from the government such as free land in the West, a protective tariff, bounty, subsidy or monopoly for their businesses. Some were working men afraid of competition with slave labor, especially in the West. All had been led to believe that if they voted Republican, the Republican Party would bring them riches beyond their wildest imaginations, farms, tariffs, land, whatever they wanted. This was not a pro-black movement in any way. It was a carnival of greed and special interests.
Charles P. Roland in An American Iliad, The Story of the Civil War acknowledges the economic and racist character of Northern anti-slavery:
There was a significant economic dimension in the Northern antislavery sentiment, the fear of competition from slave labor and the awareness that work itself was degraded by slavery. Finally and paradoxically, a racial factor contributed to the Northern attitude. Antipathy against slavery often went hand in hand with racism that was similar in essence, if not in pervasiveness of intensity, to the Southern racial feeling. Many Northerners objected to the presence of slavery in their midst, in part, because they objected to the presence of blacks there. 
Alexis de Tocqueville observed the Northern racist attitude as well and said "Race prejudice seems stronger in those states that have abolished slavery than in those where it still exists, and nowhere is it more intolerant than in those states where slavery was never known." 
Many Northern and Western states had laws prohibiting free blacks from settling there including Lincoln's own Illinois. In Illinois, it was called "An act to prevent the immigration of free Negroes into this State" and it said that any free black person staying longer than 10 days "was subject to arrest and imprisonment."
Wars are not fought over issues like slavery.
Mothers and fathers do not send their precious sons off to die because they don't like the domestic institutions in other countries.
No country in history had a war to end slavery, and neither did we. Most nations ended slavery with gradual, compensated emancipation, or some variation thereof. That's what Lincoln always favored.
The domestic institutions in other countries affect no one, but a threat to one's economy affects everyone and is extremely dangerous. It must be dealt with immediately before it gets out of hand.
An economic collapse progresses with lightning speed into panic, runs on banks, mob violence, anarchy, and the collapse of the government itself. People are desperate, have no food, no money. Men have no way to protect their wives and daughters from rape, murder, violence. Civil law breaks down and is replaced by the law of the jungle.
No government is going to let that happen. That's why we fought two Gulf Wars. Any threat to the free-flow of oil from the Middle East is a threat to our economy.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This article is Chapter Four of my book, Slavery Was Not the Cause of the War Between the States, The Irrefutable Argument., available at Charleston Athenaeum Press.
 "The Right of Secession," The New-York Daily Tribune, December 17, 1860, in Howard Cecil Perkins, ed., Northern Editorials on Secession (Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith, 1964), 199-201.
 The New-York Times, 22-23 March, 1861, as quoted in Adams, When in the Course of Human Events, 65.
 If the North had granted the right of secession as Greeley had so strongly supported at first, there would have been no War Between the States. Greeley and the North could have formed a new relationship with the South and traded, done business, and been friends. However, Northerners saw their economic collapse and loss of wealth and power with no hope of regaining it. They knew 60% of U.S. exports had been cotton, alone, which they got wealthy shipping. They knew those cargoes would be irreplaceable. They knew Great Britain would supply manufactured goods to the South cheaper than the North, and that Southerners would soon manufacture for themselves. So, Northerners weighed their enormous advantages at that point in history and decided a bloody war of invasion and conquest to maintain their economic supremacy over a peace-seeking, independent South was better for them than fair economic competition in the world market. It would solve all Lincoln's political problems by causing Northerners to rally to the flag. It would also put people to work. (Emphasis added.)
 Francis Wilkinson Pickens, "Inaugural Message of South Carolina Governor Francis Wilkinson Pickens," published 18 December 1860 in The (Charleston, S.C.) Courier.
 See also Footnote #47 in Gene Kizer, Jr., Slavery Was Not the Cause of the War Between the States, The Irrefutable Argument. (Charleston, SC: Charleston Athenaeum Press, 2014), for the difference between tariff for revenue and protective tariff. What is meant by "a tariff for revenue" is a small tariff to raise a small amount of revenue to pay for the operation of a small federal government such as the government of the Confederate States of America. Southerners had always wanted free trade with the world. They believed in as small a tariff as possible. Contrast a small tariff for revenue with the huge protective tariffs the North loved that were punitive and meant to deter free trade so that one would be forced to buy from the North at jacked-up rates that were not determined by market competition but were jacked-up to the level of the tariff. The tariff is the perfect thing to contrast the differences in North and South. The moment the South was out of the Union, they made protective tariffs unconstitutional while the North passed the astronomical Morrill Tariff. The Morrill Tariff prevented the recovery of the Northern economy and made war Abraham Lincoln's only choice to save the North from economic annihilation. Of course, Lincoln's choice resulted in 800,000 deaths and over a million wounded out of a population of approximately 31 million.
 Daily Chicago Times, "The Value of the Union," December 10, 1860, in Perkins, ed., Northern Editorials on Secession, Vol. II, 573-574.
 Mayor Fernando Wood, "Mayor Fernando Wood's Recommendation for the Secession of New York City," January 6, 1861, in Henry Steele Commager, ed., Documents of American History, Sixth Edition (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc.), 374-376.
 Charles A. Beard and Mary R. Beard, The Rise of American Civilization (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1936), Vol. 1, 633-634.
 Simms, "Antagonisms," 72-74.
 Simms, "Antagonisms," 36-39.
 Beard and Beard, The Rise of American Civilization, 649.
 James L. Huston, "Property Rights in Slavery and the Coming of the Civil War," Journal of Southern History, Volume LXV, Number 2, May, 1999, 263-264.
 Potter, The Impending Crisis, 1848-1861, 35-36.
 Charles P. Roland, An American Iliad, The Story of the Civil War (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1991), 3.
 Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, trans. by George Lawrence (New York: Harper & Row, 1969), v. 1, 342, in Jeffrey Rogers Hummel Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men, A History of the American Civil War (Chicago: Open Court, 1996), 26.
 H. Newcomb Morse, "The Foundations and Meaning of Secession," Stetson Law Review of Stetson University College of Law, Vol. XV, No. 2, 1986, footnote #28, 423.
The North Did Not Go to War to End Slavery.
If they had, they would have started by passing a constitution amendment abolishing slavery. They did the opposite. They overwhelmingly passed the Corwin Amendment, which left black people in slavery forever, even beyond the reach of Congress. This alone proves, unequivocally, that the North did not go to war to end slavery or free the slaves.
The North does not get to redefine, in the middle of the war, its reason for going to war. What the North proclaimed in the beginning, stands, as its reason for going to war ¾ and it is unchangeable. War measures halfway through the war, such as the Emancipation Proclamation that freed no slaves (and prevented close to a million slaves from achieving their freedom), have nothing to do with why the North went to war in the first place.
A near-unanimous resolution entitled the War Aims Resolution established early-on what the North was fighting for. It was passed by the Northern Congress in July, 1861, three months after the bombardment of Fort Sumter:
. . . That this war is not waged upon our part in any spirit of oppression, nor for any purpose of conquest or subjugation, nor for the purpose of overthrowing or interfering with the rights or institutions [slavery] of the States, but to defend and maintain the supremacy of the Constitution [which allowed and protected slavery], and to preserve the Union. . . .
Throughout the antebellum years as the country achieved its Manifest Destiny marching westward, winning the Mexican War, growing in wealth and power, no credible Northern leader said they should march armies into the South to end slavery.
Throughout the first two years of the war, almost nobody in the North said they were fighting to end slavery. To do so would risk racist Union soldiers deserting because they signed up to fight for the Union, not to free slaves whom they feared would move north and inundate their towns and cities and be job competition. Julia Dent Grant, wife of Ulysses S. Grant, might have freed her four slaves if she had thought it was an abolition war and not a war for the Union.
Most Northerners, excluding a few truly good-hearted abolitionists, accepted slavery. As stated earlier, historians Lee Benson and Gavin Wright maintain that the percentage of abolitionists in the North was "probably no more than 2 per cent, almost certainly no more than 5 per cent, of the Northern electorate," and, ironically, many of them didn't like slavery because they didn't like blacks and did not want to associate with them. Prominent abolitionist Elijah Lovejoy had been murdered by an outraged Northern mob in Lincoln's own Illinois in 1837. The mob was trying to destroy Lovejoy's abolitionist materials and his press.
By 1861, Northerners had been supporting slavery for 241 years and would continue supporting it throughout the War Between the States since five slave states, as noted earlier, fought for the North. Again, those states are Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky, Missouri and West Virginia, which came into the Union during the war as a slave state.
If the North was fighting to end slavery, it would never permit slave states to fight for the Union - or, it would have ended slavery in the Union slave states immediately.
It did the opposite and made sure by constitutional amendment and proclamation that slavery in the Union was protected, just as it was, and had always been, by the Constitution.
That's how the North really felt about slavery and freeing the slaves.
Lincoln himself took it a step further. He supported the first Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution - the Corwin Amendment - which would have left black people in slavery forever, even beyond the reach of Congress. It passed March 2, 1861, two days before Lincoln's first inaugural. It reads:
No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof [slavery], including that of persons held to labor [slaves] or service by the laws of said State.
About the Corwin Amendment, Lincoln said, in his first inaugural on March 4, 1861:
I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution — which amendment, however, I have not seen — has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service. To avoid misconstruction of what I have said, I depart from my purpose not to speak of particular amendments so far as to say that, holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable. (Emphasis added.)
Before Lincoln took office, President James Buchanan actually signed the Corwin Amendment after it had been approved by Congress and was ready to be sent to the states for ratification. Buchanan's act was symbolic only.
It is important to note that the Corwin Amendment had required a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate and it had passed with mostly Northern votes because seven Southern states were out of the Union by then and did not vote. Indeed, the bill's sponsor, Representative Thomas Corwin, was from Ohio.
Three Northern states ratified the Corwin Amendment - Ohio, Maryland and Illinois - before the war made it moot.
After the Corwin Amendment's passage, Lincoln sent a letter with a copy of the Corwin Amendment to each state's governor pointing out that Buchanan had signed it. Lincoln was making sure everyone knew of his strong support of slavery forever, even beyond the reach of Congress.
Before even mentioning the Corwin Amendment in his first inaugural, Lincoln made it clear that he strongly supported slavery and had "no inclination" to end it:
Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States that by the accession of a Republican administration their property and their peace and personal security are to be endangered. There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed and been open to their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of him who now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare that "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so." Those who nominated and elected me did so with full knowledge that I had made this and many similar declarations, and had never recanted them. And, more than this, they placed in the platform for my acceptance, and as a law to themselves and to me, the clear and emphatic resolution which I now read: I now reiterate these sentiments; and, in doing so, I only press upon the public attention the most conclusive evidence of which the case is susceptible, that the property, peace, and security of no section are to be in any wise endangered by the now incoming administration. (Emphasis added.)
On August 22, 1862, sixteen months into the war, Lincoln wrote to Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, in response to a letter Greeley had sent him, and reiterated:
. . . My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that¾What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help the Union. (Lincoln's italics.)
Exactly one month - September 22, 1862 - after writing his letter to Horace Greeley, Lincoln issued the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation and the very first paragraph states clearly that the war is being fought to restore the Union and not to free the slaves:
I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America, and Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy thereof, do hereby proclaim and declare that hereafter, as heretofore, the war will be prosecuted for the object of practically restoring the constitutional relation between the United States, and each of the States, and the people thereof, in which States that relation is, or may be, suspended or disturbed. (Emphasis added.)
Clearly, the North did not instigate a war to end slavery.
The focus on slavery as the primary cause of the War Between the States - even indirectly - is a fraud of biblical proportions and it prevents real understanding of American history.
Pulitzer Prize winning historian and Lincoln scholar, David H. Donald, back in the 1960s, was concerned about the overemphasis of slavery as the cause of the war. He said the Civil Rights Movement seems to have been the reason for stressing slavery as the cause of the war.
I have already proven that the North did not go to war to end slavery. There is much more evidence but the following is a good summary of the things in the beginning that show, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the North did not go to war to free the slaves or because of slavery:
The Emancipation Proclamation states, literally, that it is a war measure, and it was not issued early on.
It was not issued before Lincoln took office, or after the bombardment of Fort Sumter, or during Lincoln's first inaugural. It was issued two years into the war - and it freed no slaves (or few).
The conditions around the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation and its timetable establish the fact that the North most certainly did not go to war on April 12, 1861 to end slavery or free the slaves.
The North's support for slavery goes back to the beginning of the country when Northern (and British) slave traders brought most of the slaves here and made huge fortunes in the process. Dr. Edgar J. McManus in his excellent book, Black Bondage in the North, writes that "Boston merchants entered the African trade as early as 1644, and by 1676 they were bringing back cargoes from as far away as East Africa and Madagascar." McManus writes:
[The slave trade] quickly became one of the cornerstones of New England's commercial prosperity . . . which yielded enormous commercial profits.
Virtually the entire infrastructure of the Old North was built on profits from the slave trade and slave traders such as Boston's Peter Faneuil of Faneuil Hall, the ironically named "Cradle of Liberty," which might have been a cradle for him but sure wasn't for the tens of thousands of black Africans he was responsible for snatching from their families and forcing into the horrors of the Middle Passage.
McManus explains the importance of the slave trade to the New England economy:
[The slave trade] stimulated the growth of other industries. Shipbuilding, the distilleries, the molasses trade, agricultural exports to the West Indies, and the large numbers of artisans, sailors, and farmers were all dependent upon the traffic in Negroes. It became the hub of New England's economy.
See also the excellent 2005 book Complicity, How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery, by Anne Farrow, Joel Lang, and Jenifer Frank of The Hartford Courant.
Let's go beyond the North's guilt for enthusiastic, widespread slave trading and look at the whole picture.
The North could not have gotten cargoes of slaves without tremendous help from blacks themselves. Black African tribal chieftains had captives from tribal warfare rounded up and waiting in places like Bunce Island off modern Sierra Leone to be picked up by slave traders from all over the world. The constant unrest in Africa today with genocides, kidnappings, never-ending warfare, people hacked to death, makes it easy to understand. Black tribal chieftains were worse then because there was no media attention on them. They made slavery easy. White people did not even have to get off the ship and usually didn't. Slavery could never have happened without those blacks in Africa who were all too willing to sell other blacks into slavery for profit.
Slavery has always existed including today. Indians enslaved other Indians. The Romans would conquer a place and kill all the men and take all the women and children into slavery. Most cultures, worldwide, had slavery at one time or another. American slavery is not the first. Only 5% of slaves in the exodus from Africa, called the African Diaspora, ended up in the United States. Many ended up in Brazil and other places in South America and the Caribbean.
Slavery is a blight on humanity but a fact of human history and we should understand the truth of it and not the politically correct lie that blames only the South. All Americans, but especially African-Americans, deserve to know the entire truth about slavery and not some white-washed version. "Truth" is why Lerone Bennett wrote Forced into Glory, to reveal that racist Abraham Lincoln deliberately did not free any slaves (or freed very few) with the Emancipation Proclamation, and, most of Lincoln's life (Lerone Bennett says all of his life) supported sending African-Americans back to Africa or into a climate suitable to them. The Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation confirms this long-held belief of Lincoln's that "the effort to colonize persons of African descent, with their consent, upon this continent, or elsewhere, with the previously obtained consent of the Governments existing there, will be continued."
There would have been no American slavery without black tribal chieftains in Africa, and British and Yankee slave traders.
The reason the South gets all the blame is because of a half-century of political correctness in which only one side of the story has been told because, if you tell the Southern side, even in a scholarly manner, you open yourself up to charges of being a racist and member of the KKK who wishes we still had slavery. Esteemed historian, Eugene D. Genovese, writes:
To speak positively about any part of this Southern tradition is to invite charges of being a racist and an apologist for slavery and segregation. We are witnessing a cultural and political atrocity ¾ an increasingly successful campaign by the media and an academic elite to strip young white Southerners, and arguably black Southerners as well, of their heritage, and therefore, their identity. They are being taught to forget their forebears or to remember them with shame. (Emphasis added.)
NAACP resolutions passed in 1987 and 1991 spewing hatred on the Confederate battle flag also intimidate scholars who would rather not weigh in or who will take the anti-South side without a fair examination of the issues. Professors know that they stand almost no chance of getting tenure if they say anything good about the South in the War Between the States. They know that we live in a shallow and superficial time and just an accusatory whiff in the air that someone is a racist, whether they are or not, will end a college history career or prevent one from getting started.
But, remember the old proverb: "The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.”
The War Between the States is the central event in American history. It should be examined thoroughly just as Lerone Bennett has examined Abraham Lincoln and given us a fresh perspective on old Honest Abe the racist who used the "n" word more than the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, the same Abe Lincoln who wanted to ship black people back to Africa and who deliberately freed no slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation when he could have freed close to a million under Union control. There is a lot to know and think about in order to understand what really happened.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This article is Chapter Two of my book, Slavery Was Not the Cause of the War Between the States, The Irrefutable Argument., available at Charleston Athenaeum Press. (Original at link includes footnotes).
Since the 1960s, the interpretation of Southern history and the War Between the States put forth by most of the news media and academia is largely a fraud. It is driven by the racist identity politics of the Democrat Party and not historical truth.
If Southern history was interpreted objectively as it was before 1960, instead of with liberal political hate as it is today, nobody would dare remove a monument to soldiers in a war in which 800,000 were killed and over a million wounded, half of which were Confederate soldiers who were always hungry, ragged, outnumbered and outgunned, but exhibited valor such as the world had never seen.
Drew Gilpin Faust in her excellent book, This Republic of Suffering, Death and the American Civil War, uses the earlier statistics of 620,000 total deaths compiled by William F. Fox, and she writes that those deaths were "approximately equal to the total American fatalities in the Revolution, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, and the Korean War combined." If you use Hacker's statistics, you'd have to add Vietnam, both Gulf Wars, Afghanistan and the war on terror; in other words, deaths in the War Between the States were higher than all other American wars combined, with room to spare.
Faust says the rate of death "in comparison with the size of the American population, was six times that of World War II. A similar rate, about 2 percent, in the United States today would mean six million fatalities."
Confederate soldiers "died at a rate three times that of their Yankee counterparts; one in five white Southern men of military age did not survive the Civil War."
She quotes James McPherson who writes that "the overall mortality rate for the South exceeded that of any country in World War I and that of all but the region between the Rhine and the Volga in World War II."
To personalize some of those statistics, Confederate Col. George E. Purvis was quoted in Confederate Veteran magazine, March, 1897, from an article he had written about Union Gen. Henry Van Ness Boynton and the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. Gen. Boynton, with great respect for the courage of the Confederates he faced, wanted to make it a sacred memorial, not just to Union valor, but American valor.
Col. Purvis writes that Gen. Boynton and a friend had visited the Chickamauga battlefield on a quiet Sunday morning in the summer of 1888 and heard singing in a church nearby. The general's thoughts went from those sweet sounds to the hellish and "fearful horrors of that other Sunday, when the very demons of hell seemed abroad, armed and equipped for the annihilation of mankind" almost a quarter of a century earlier:
They saw again the charging squadrons, like great waves of the sea, dashed and broken in pieces against lines and positions that would not yield to their assaults. They saw again Baird's, Johnson's, Palmer's, and Reynolds's immovable lines around the Kelley farm, and Wood on the spurs of Snodgrass Hill; Brannan, Grosvenor, Steedman, and Granger on the now famous Horseshoe; once more was brought back to their minds' eye, "the unequaled fighting of that thin and contracted line of heroes and the magnificent Confederate assaults," which swept in again and again ceaselessly as that stormy service of all the gods of battle was prolonged through those other Sunday hours.
In the "Balaklava" reference above, Gen. Boynton is noting Confederate valor far in excess of the famous "Charge of the Light Brigade" of the British cavalry against Russian forces in the Battle of Balaclava, October 25, 1854, in the Crimean War.
The unfounded bigotry against the South in history today is liberal politics and not history. Every Confederate monument that has been removed, was removed from a college campus or by a liberal Democrat starting with Mitch Landrieu in New Orleans, despite widespread support for the monuments in New Orleans and nationwide (over 60% of Americans in polls say to leave Confederate monuments alone). Michael Signer in Charlottesville couldn't remove his monuments so he covered them with tarps that are constantly removed by outraged citizens.
These Democrat Party cultural Nazis are more like ISIS when ISIS destroyed the monuments in Palmyra, "a first-century Roman city in Syria whose classical architecture was an inspiration for the facade of the U.S. Capitol."[i] Mitch Landrieu had to remove the New Orleans monuments at night with snipers in bullet-proof vests standing guard.
ISIS destroys the monuments and culture of anybody who does not agree with them. Sound familiar?
There is a rot in history in this day and age. Keith Windschuttle, in The Killing of History, brings up a 1987 book by Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind, in which Bloom argues persuasively that radical theory in academia had changed things so much that
humanities and social science departments within universities [where History resides] had abandoned objectivity and truth and become hopelessly politicized.
If you doubt that academia and the fake-news media are overwhelmingly liberal (with all that that means for truth), consider that in the 2016 election, the 33 wealthiest colleges in the United States gave $1,560,000 to Hillary Clinton. They gave Donald Trump $3,000.
Around 96% of money donated by journalists went to Hillary Clinton. In numbers of journalists giving, 50 gave to Republican Donald J. Trump, while 430 gave to Clinton. That means 10% of journalists donated to Republican Trump, and 90% to Democrat Clinton.
Windschuttle writes: "Most young people today were taught to scorn the traditional values of Western culture - equality, freedom, democracy, human rights - as hollow rhetoric used to mask the self-interest of the wealthy and powerful. This teaching, Bloom argued, had bred a cynical, amoral, self-centered younger generation who lacked any sense of inherited wisdom from the past."
It is worse than just the politicization of history. Windschuttle points out that for
2,400 years history has ranked "with philosophy and mathematics as among the most profound and enduring contributions that ancient Greece made, not only to European civilization, but to the human species as a whole." History's "essence" has been to "tell the truth, to describe as best as possible what really happened."
Unfortunately today, "these assumptions are widely rejected."
Many in the humanities and social sciences "assert that it is impossible to tell the truth about the past" because "we can only see the past through the perspective of our own culture and, hence, what we see in history are our own interests and concerns reflected back at us." Because of this, supposedly, the entire point of history is no longer valid therefore "there is no fundamental distinction any more between history and myth" (Nietzsche had the same view over a hundred years ago) or between "fiction and non-fiction." In other words, nothing exists except what liberals tell us exists.
Perhaps academics are right because it is certainly fiction that slavery caused the War Between the States. As Shelby Foote said, slavery was an element in the drama but not the cause of the war. Over 94% of Southerners in over 80% of Southern families did not own slaves according to the 1860 census. Men do not charge into "the smoke of the Union musketry and the very flame of the Federal batteries" as Col. Purvis noted, so somebody else can own slaves; but they do so enthusiastically for independence, especially if their country is invaded, and especially because their sires were the patriots who won American independence in 1776.
Windschuttle reveals the outrageousness (almost to the point of stupidity) of the liberal academic mindset. This would be funny if it wasn't so pathetic:
One of the reasons the humanities and social sciences have been taken over so quickly by the sophistry described in this book is because too few of those who might have been expected to resist the putsch understood what its instigators were saying. The uninitiated reader who opens a typical book on postmodernism, hermeneutics, poststructuralism et al must think he or she has stumbled onto a new foreign language, so obscure and dense is the prose. Now, this happens to be a very effective tactic to adopt in academic circles where there is always an expectation that things are never simple and that anyone who writes clearly is thereby being shallow. Obscurity is assumed to equal profundity, a quality that signals a superiority over the thinking of the uneducated herd.
Like Big Brother said:
War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength.
And now academia says:
Clarity is shallowness.
Obscurity is profundity.
God help us.
David Harlan points out more academic gobbledygook and liberal hate in his book, The Degradation of American History. He says that, starting in the 1960s with the Civil Rights Movement, leftist historians began criticizing American history as elitist. They said it "focused our attention on great white men at the expense of women and minorities, that it ignored the racial and ethnic diversity of national life, that it obscured the reality of class conflict." They wanted to expose the complicity of white men "in the violence and brutality that now seemed to be the most important truth about American history." They "feel no need to say what is good in American history.
Eugene D. Genovese, one of American's greatest historians before his death in 2012, wrote this in 1994:
Rarely, these days, even on Southern campuses, is it possible to acknowledge the achievements of the white people of the South. The history of the Old South is now often taught at leading universities, when it is taught at all, as a prolonged guild-trip, not to say a prologue to the history of Nazi Germany. . . . To speak positively about any part of this Southern tradition is to invite charges of being a racist and an apologist for slavery and segregation. We are witnessing a cultural and political atrocity.
Dr. Genovese goes on to say that this cultural and political atrocity is being forced on us by "the media and an academic elite."
I could go on and on, and I do in longer works that will be out later this year, so let me wrap up this article by pointing out that the monuments and memorials of both sides that went up in the early twentieth century were hugely symbolic for our reunited nation and the healing from a war that had killed 800,000 and wounded over a million. Drew Gilpin Faust writes:
At war's end this shared suffering would override persisting differences about the meanings of race, citizenship, and nationhood to establish sacrifice and its memorialization as the ground on which North and South would ultimately reunite. Even in our own time this fundamental elegiac understanding of the Civil War retains a powerful hold."
The original Confederate Veteran magazine was established and ran from 1893 to 1932. It includes the definitive account of the War Between the States and the monuments that went up to honor Southern valor and sacrifice. It was written by Confederates who participated, soldiers, generals, women, politicians. You can not find a single angry or hateful word in the entire 40 year run, nothing but the most sincere outpouring of love and respect and the memorialization of Southern - indeed American - honor, valor and sacrifice. Today's Confederate Veteran has the same standard of truth and excellence and has since the SCV took it over decades ago.
The portrayal of the Confederacy by the fake-news media and hateful liberal academia is overwhelmingly a fraud. The American Historical Association is a national embarrassment and should change its name to the American Ahistorical Association.
Monuments in the South were paid for by pennies from children and an impoverished region that had been destroyed 35 years earlier, but it found money, a little here and there over the years, to honor its warriors, leaders and their families, and courage such as the world had never seen before. As Union Gen. Boynton said, he
looked down again on those slopes, slippery with blood and strewn thick as leaves with all the horrible wreck of battle, over which and in spite of repeated failures these assaulting Confederate columns still formed and reformed, charging again and again with undaunted and undying courage.
We are in a political fight and not a history debate. We need to look at it from that standpoint and develop creative comprehensive strategies to take on and defeat our enemies. The highest priority is to develop political influence.
Observe how business people and politicians brand and market successfully. The NRA is a great example and they are under attack all the time as we are.
The SCV, UDC, reenactors and every historical organization should push for, or support efforts, to put laws on the books protecting monuments in every state where there is no law. This goes back to political influence. Our Heritage Act in South Carolina has been effective though it is constantly under attack.
Camps should make it a high priority to construct roadside battle flag memorials on private property in highly visible places. We should put 10 up for every monument that has been removed. New Orleans and Charlottesville, Baltimore, and other places should be awash with battle flags, then we should write, publish and speak constantly, and tell what those flags stand for.
Learn. Read books and increase your historical knowledge. Read my book: Slavery Was Not the Cause of the War Between the States, The Irrefutable Argument., that's at Bonnie Blue Publishing and Amazon. My book has 218 footnotes and 207 sources in the bibliography so it is full of documentation you can use.
Join the Abbeville Institute and the Society of Independent Southern Historians and participate.
Update Wikipedia articles when you see historical prejudice against the South. Review local school texts and refute them when necessary. Write letters-to-the-editor of newspapers.
Do whatever you can. Give money. Speak. Write. Share information.
We are going to have to do all this ourselves, but in the age of the Internet and social media, we have enormous power at our fingertips, and it goes along nicely with historical truth.
This piece was previously published in Confederate Veteran magazine, May/June, 2018.
The campaign was dismissed, at first, as "those Charleston Crazies, at it again," but it grew legs and took off and now was the talk of the country. It appeared Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's days on the fifty-dollar bill were, indeed, numbered.
It was Saturday, April 9th, 2033 and Marion Square in downtown Charleston, South Carolina was jam packed with TV cameras and reporters as the debate was about to begin. A huge stage was set up on the north side of Marion Square close to Embassy Suites. A huge TV screen was set up on the south side at the back of John C. Calhoun’s statue.
The Cooper River Bridge Run, with 85,000 runners, now the largest 10K in the world across the longest cable-stayed bridge in North America, had ended on Marion Square the weekend before. The place had been swarming with people, but this crowd was twice, maybe three times as large, and was getting loud and boisterous.
"May I have your attention please," blared out a deep male voice that sounded like Trace Adkins. "Welcome to democracy and freedom of speech in ACTION!"
At that, the crowd erupted and everybody cheered loudly interspersed with shrill whistling and Rebel Yells.
"I'm John G. Gailliard of the Political Science Department of Charleston College, your moderator, and we are sponsoring this nationally broadcast event!"
There was another round of hooting, hollering, whistling and clapping as Fox News, C-SPAN and others panned the crowd.
"As most of you know, negotiators for the three parties debating today have hammered out the rules, and the Congressional Delegations of every Southern state have agreed to introduce legislation in Congress supporting the position of the winner of this debate . . ." he paused then yelled right into the microphone, "and it's WINNER TAKE ALL!"
The crowd erupted again!
Earlier, the Post and Courier had published an entire section on the debate spelling out the positions of each of the three sides.
First, there was the genealogical group that had started the whole thing, the Sons and Daughters of the Confederate South, who were descended from Confederate soldiers. They were demanding that Ulysses S. Grant's picture be removed from the fifty-dollar bill and replaced with Gen. Robert E. Lee's since Grant's house was slaveholding throughout the War Between the States, and Lee's was not. Lee did not believe in slavery, unlike Grant, who just about had to have his slaves forcibly removed after the war.
At first, the public was skeptical about claims that the greatest Confederate general was not a slaveowner during the war, while the Yankee general, supposedly fighting to free the slaves, had sworn he'd join the Confederacy before he'd let his slaves go. Were there slaves in Ulysses S. Grant's house during the War Between the States? It just didn't make sense to a lot of people, especially those who rely on public education and CNN for their information.
The second position was taken by Yankees who have felt so good about themselves for supposedly ending slavery that they were willing to overlook the fact that Grant's house definitely had slaves in it, that Sherman had no problem with slavery, that five slave states fought for the North throughout the war, and that Lincoln himself, before the fighting, supported the Corwin Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which would have protected slavery forever and placed it even beyond the reach of Congress.
This second group called itself, Brothers United to Limit Lee, or B.U.L.L. They were feeling so God-awful good, they never even thought about the million people who died in the War Between the States out of a total population of 33 million. They did not care that old Honest Abe Lincoln was so racist he'd make the Grand Wizard of Ku Klux Klan blush, nor did they care that Lincoln, his whole life, favored sending blacks back to Africa. This second group just didn’t care about any of this stuff because they won and could walk around feeling good about themselves, which they had been doing for 168 years.
The third position, put forth by Scholars for Justice, had come about in sort of a logical way. These folks reasoned that Grant was not the only slave master on American money. Washington, Jefferson, all of them had been white men who owned slaves, so what we really needed to do was put a black man who owned slaves on the fifty-dollar bill. That would make things fair. Then we wouldn't have to disturb any of the other slaveowning presidents on our money, which would happen if we put the non-slaveowning Robert E. Lee on the fifty-dollar bill. With a black slaveowning man on American money, everybody would be represented except Hispanics, but they were not significant players in the War Between the States, and the Indians were all Confederates, thus they’d be covered by Gen. Lee.
William Ellison, the famous cotton gin maker from Sumter County, immediately came up because he was one of the largest slaveowners in South Carolina, and he was black. The Sons and Daughters of the Confederate South supported this position on a secondary basis because it only seemed fair. BULL was flat-out against it.
The concept that blacks willingly fought for the Confederacy -- because to Southern blacks, the South was home -- is another concept that people who rely on public education and CNN have a hard time believing, though these same people will sometimes believe that blacks fought in the American Revolution for America, and back then every American colony was slaveholding. The reason they believe blacks fought in the Revolution for America is because they know stories like Crispus Attucks, a black man and great American patriot, who was the first man killed by the British in the Boston Massacre in 1770, God rest his soul.
The night before, a fight had broken out in the courtyard of the Blind Tiger on Broad Street between one of the Sons and Daughters, and a member of BULL. There was a table full of members of the Sons and Daughters of the Confederate South drinking and talking and having a good time in their gray Confederate coats, next to a table full of BULL drinking and talking and having a good time in their blue Yankee coats, next to a table full of Scholars for Justice drinking and talking and having a good time in their stylish black coats that looked sort of like tuxedo coats but had brown elbow pads on the sleeves.
Things started out with civility and fun, but the War Between the States was only 172 years ago, and that might as well have been yesterday, so it’s understandable that emotions are always high.
“Why would you people glorify the side that wanted to destroy America?” said a member of BULL in jest, his chest poking out proudly.
“We don’t. We just wanted to be left alone to govern ourselves, like the Colonies in 1776 wanted Great Britain to leave them alone so they could govern themselves,” said a Confederate Son.
“That’s hardly the same thing,” said the BULL member.
“Oh yea, your Horace Greeley said it was exactly the same thing. If it was OK in 1776 for three million colonists to secede from Great Britain, it was certainly OK in 1861 for nine million Southrons to secede from the federal Union. That’s what your Greeley himself wrote in his New York Tribune before the war.”
“But that was treason. They had no right,” said the member of BULL.
“Au contraire, they most certainly had the right. The right of secession was never questioned by the Founding Fathers. In the beginning, even Yankees didn’t question it. You ever hear of the Hartford Convention of New England?”
“Yea, but they didn’t actually secede.”
“True, but they sure as hell wanted to. They voted to secede and sent a delegate to Washington to announce that they had seceded, but the War of 1812 ended before he got there.”
The member of BULL had picked the wrong Son to argue with, but he grabbed his mug of beer and continued on. “Don’t you think we are a great nation today? Why would you people want to destroy that?”
“We would have been two great nations, even greater. A million people didn’t have to die to prove it. We would have been friends, North and South, and all fought Hitler together and traded together and things would have been fine.”
“Including your black slaves, huh.”
“Well, you Yankees brought them all here and made huge fortunes in the process. You built the entire infrastructure of the Old North on profits from the slave trade.”
“Yea, but if there had not been a market for slaves in the South, we never would have done that.”
“True, but there were slaves in the North until massive white immigration from Europe made it cheaper to hire a white man than buy a black. Only then did Northern states phase out slavery.”
“At least we did phase it out.”
“Let me ask you this. Every Northern state used gradual, compensated emancipation. There were still slaves in the North when the war started. Many Northerners waited until just before a slave was due to be emancipated, like just before his 21st birthday, then sold him back into slavery in the South. Not a pretty record.”
“I don’t know if I believe all that.”
“It’s absolutely true, but here’s my question. If the North really wanted to end Southern slavery, why didn’t you suggest doing it in the South the same way you had done it in the North, with gradual, compensated emancipation?”
Another member of the Sons and Daughters blurted out, “Because damn Yankees were not going to spend their hard-earned sweat shop money to free blacks in the South. They could care less.”
Another Son added, “That’s right, because freed blacks going North were job competition for the Northern working man and unemployment was already so bad, there was near anarchy in many Northern cities. Ever hear of ‘Blood or Bread!’” He was referring to bad riots in Northern cities in the Panic of 1857. Of course, the South had been stable.
“I still say secession was treason,” said another BULL member.
“The first forty years of America’s existence, nobody questioned the right of secession. Do you think the colonists who fought a bloody war to be independent from the British would immediately lock themselves into another government they couldn’t get out of? Are you crazy?”
The BULL members were getting agitated. Everybody in the courtyard was tuned in with great interest because this was an excellent bar room debate that had gotten loud.”
“Oh hell, let’s have another round of beers and cool down.”
More beers were brought but soon two women were into it.
“The Southern aristocracy or slaveocracy,” said a dark-haired female BULL with a sneer, “caused the war. They weren’t gonna give up their black mistresses without a fight.”
A very pretty blonde Daughter who looked like Shannon Bream, said, “Southerners debated the issue of secession for months. Every single Southern state called a convention, elected delegates, debated the issue then voted to secede.”
“So what,” said the dark-haired BULL girl.
“The convention votes were then ratified by a popular vote of the people in every single Southern state, just like happened with the Constitution. It was pure democracy in action.”
“I can’t believe the backward South knew to do all that,” replied the female BULL.
“The ‘backward South’ supplied almost every Founding Father. Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Randolph, Mason, Henry, all of them Southerners. In 1861, Southrons believed they were heirs to the Founding Fathers. It was Yankees that had changed from the original republic.”
“Yankee progress,” said the female BULL.
“Yankee anarchy,” replied the blonde Daughter. “Massive immigration from Europe kept the North wild and needing an outlet for its extra people, which is why so many went west. Like Horace Greeley said, ‘Go west, young man, and grow up with the country!’”
The blonde Daughter took a sip of her beer then quickly added, “The South was producing most of the wealth of the nation. Yankees were stealing it with tariffs and monopolies. Like Robert Toombs said, the federal government was a ‘suction pump’ sucking wealth out of the South and depositing it in the North. Hell, the North couldn’t even feed itself.”
“Bullshit. We had great cities, all the banks, money and most of the shipping in the country.”
“That’s true, all of it earned by selling Northern goods to the South. The South was nothing but a big captive market for Northern factories. Without the South, Northern factories stood idle, and the North was nothing.”
Another Son added, “Northerners were benefiting from slavery as much as Southerners.”
One of the BULL members smirked and said, “By seceding, you were threatening our economy, the stability of our nation. We had every right to fight.”
“Fair enough,” said the Son, “so don’t go around saying the war was fought to free the slaves. That’s a pile of you-know-what. White Yankees could care less about black slaves, and damn sure didn’t want them in the North.”
There was a pause. Both sides were disgusted and on edge. The Scholars for Justice found the whole thing fascinating, as if they were at a college lecture, and everybody else in the courtyard was all ears.
“Youse guys started the war. We finished it,” said a raspy-voiced member of BULL.
“Lincoln started the war by lying to Confederates in Charleston Harbor in April, 1861. He swore he would not send troops to Fort Sumter. He lied. He knew he was starting the war. Lincoln the liar.”
“Lincoln had every right to reinforce a federal garrison under siege,” said a BULL member.
“The Charlestonians were feeding the Yankees in Fort Sumter. The fort was in sovereign South Carolina waters occupied by a hostile foreign power threatening one of our most important cities. We had every right to demand that it be evacuated.”
Another Daughter added, “Hell, we had representatives in Washington at that very time trying to pay Lincoln for all federal property in the South. He kept promising to move the troops out, but he couldn’t.”
“And just why couldn’t he,” said the dark haired female BULL member.
“Because when the first seven Southern states seceded and formed the Confederacy, the economy of the North collapsed and was in complete anarchy. Factories were closed. Ships were idle or moving South to Charleston, Savannah and New Orleans. Goods were rotting on Northern docks. Property values had gone down to nothing. Mobs were in the streets. Lincoln was starting to be hated by his own party. War solved all of his problems. Gave him ‘a magnificent burst of patriotism,’ I think, is the way one Yankee put it.”
A BULL member said, “You Southerners. You don’t get your way so you quit. You’re like a bunch of big frigg’in babies.”
“Yeah, babies tired of being robbed by Northern thieves. Southerners were paying seventy-five percent of the taxes through high tariffs and monopolies that protected Northern industry, but seventy-five percent of the tax money was being spent in the North. You damn right we were tired of all that!”
Another Son added, “Seventy-five percent was a hell of a lot more money than the British were robbing from the Colonies in 1776.”
“Good Lord. If it wasn’t for us, you’d still have slaves, wouldn’t you.”
“Always back to the slavery issue which y’all admitted was bull a few minutes ago. Yankee bull.”
“I’ve had enough of this,” said the most vocal BULL member who got up and when he did, spilled a beer on one of the Daughters. He looked at her then, without apologizing, started to walk off. A son jumped up and grabbed him and said, “Hey, you owe the lady an apology.”
The BULL member jerked his arm away and put his finger in the Son’s chest, so the Son decked him, causing both tables to empty like a baseball game brawl.
The bartender, Sean, blew a foghorn, and that deafening sound in the small courtyard backed everybody off for a moment. “We’re not puttin' up with this crap! Y’all are gonna have to leave!”
“Damn,” said one of the Scholars for Justice. “Just as it was getting good.”
Another Scholar for Justice said, “What if we moderate the discussion and keep it from elevating into fisticuffs. Could we stay then? Please?”
Both sides seemed to want to go along with that. Nobody wants to leave the courtyard of a good Charleston bar on a starry night in April.
Sean looked undecided for a second, but must have been thinking about all the beers and tips he’d miss if they left. “OK, y’all shake hands. Dammit, I mean it. If y’all are gonna stay, it’s gonna be friendly. That’s the deal. We’re all Americans, you know.”
For about twenty minutes, nothing happened. People talked in their groups, laughed. Then one of the Sons said over to the BULL members table, “You know, a nation has to say why it is fighting BEFORE it goes to war. All nations in all of history have done that. Right or wrong, they’ve all spelled out their reasons before fighting and killing other people.”
“We don’t disagree with that,” said a BULL member.
“Then why do you say the war was fought over slavery, when Lincoln himself said over and over, it was to preserve the Union. Nobody in the North, I mean NOBODY said they were marching armies into the South to free the slaves. Hell, no white Yankees would have signed up to die for Southern slaves, and you damn well know it.”
“The war was to preserve the Union when it started, then later, it was to free the slaves.”
“You mean, later, when you needed a justification for murdering and raping hundreds of thousands of people, it becomes a noble quest to free the slaves. Before that, it was to preserve the Southern tax base for the Union, am I right?”
“Hell no, you’re not right, asshole.”
One of the Scholars for Justice, a big dude, quickly stood and looked at both sides and said, “Y’all want to get kicked out of here? Cool it.”
“You Southerners fought because you wanted to keep your black mistresses,” said that same dark-haired female BULL member who brought it up earlier and was obviously titillated by the thought.
“Nope. We Southerners fought because Yankee murderers and rapists invaded the South. You invaded our country. That’s why we fought.”
Another Son said, “Hell, at first, Virginia voted against secession. They were not even gonna secede, and Virginia was the biggest Southern state.”
“Virginia was smart,” said a BULL member. “I’ll admit Lincoln tried to get Robert E. Lee to lead the Northern armies but Lee stayed loyal to Virginia.”
“So, why did Virginia secede?”
A couple Sons and a Daughter tried to answer at the same time. “Because Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to invade the South. That’s when Virginia seceded.”
Another Son added, “Try to say Virginia seceded to preserve slavery. You’d be a liar. Virginia’s secession convention reconvened the day after Lincoln called for the invasion of the lower South, and they promptly seceded because they did not believe in federal coercion of another sovereign state. Virginia seceded on principle. It had nothing to do with slavery.”
Somebody added from a couple tables away, “And Virginia was followed by the three remaining Southern states not yet in the Confederacy, North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas. They all seceded right after Virginia to show their disapproval of federal tyranny and coercion.”
“So, all that proves is that Virginia is as traitorous as the rest of the South. It just took her a little longer to show it.”
“Glad you brought that up,” said a Son who had been quiet during most of this argument. “Three states, when they ratified the U.S. Constitution, specifically preserved the right of secession. Virginia, New York and Rhode Island. All three of them demanded that their right of secession be put in writing as a condition prior to accepting the U.S. Constitution. In Virginia’s Ordinance of Secession, she used the exact language from that right of secession that had been preserved and acknowledged by all the other states acceding to the Constitution seventy-nine years earlier.”
Both sides began talking among themselves and the discussion died down except for one BULL member who said that South Carolina was still a hot-headed state like their ancestors who had seceded first and started the whole thing.
That pretty blonde-haired Daughter quickly said, “South Carolina supplied approximately 60,000 Confederate soldiers to Southern armies in the War Between the States, and 40,000 of them were killed or wounded. That’s a legacy of honor, valor and sacrifice unsurpassed in American history. No money-grubbing Yankee state can touch it.”
BULL members were quiet for the first time all night, but not for long. “Yep, that’s a lot of Rebs we killed. I thought one Reb could whip ten Yankees?”
“Well, let me ask you a question. We Southrons were outnumbered four-to-one, we were out-gunned a hundred-to-one, y’all had most of the ships, factories, a functioning government and pipeline to foreign immigration to feed your army with. We had to start everything from scratch. My question to you is, how come we were still able to kill the same number of y’all, that y’all killed of us?”
“Say what?” a member of BULL said.
“That’s absolutely true. Some 350,000 Southerners died, but 350,000 Yankees died too, ‘Stiff in Southern dust,’ as the song goes. So you see, we’ve been feeling pretty good about our valor and honor all these years.”
The lights came on and “Last call for alcohol” was made. Three of the Scholars for Justice stood and addressed both groups. “This has been a fascinating discussion. Both sides have made their points. We have a proposition to make. Can you meet us tomorrow morning before the debate at Magnolia Cemetery, by Soldier’s Ground, next to the Confederate Soldier’s monument. Don’t worry, there’s Yankees buried there too. We want to address both groups together and I’m serious, you will not regret coming. Please come. Ten o’clock.”
There was some discussion in the two groups but it was agreed they would all meet on Soldier’s Ground at Magnolia Cemetery at 10 o’clock the next morning. People headed out the bar and into the beautiful Charleston night. The cool air felt good on their faces. There was a slither of a moon up there and a billion beautiful stars.
The next morning a good crowd showed up at Magnolia Cemetery by the big Confederate soldier’s monument. The Scholars for Justice had set up a podium and loudspeakers. At 10 o’clock sharp, one of the scholars walked to the podium.
“Ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for coming. As we said last night, you will not regret it.
“At the end of the War Between the States, Gen. Robert E. Lee told his defeated Southern army to go back home and be good Americans. Southerners have done exactly that
“It is OK that we disagree on the causes of the war. I am a Southerner so, in last night’s debate, I agreed with the Sons and Daughters of the Confederate South. However, my best friend, here, William Yang, is a Yankee and disagrees with me, and I respect that.
“I want to propose something to you, but first, I want to read this beautiful poem that was written right after the War Between the States by Miss Agnes Leonard. It’s called After the Battle, and it was first published in the Chicago Journal of Commerce in June, l868, and later in Confederate Veteran magazine. Here, on this sacred ground, at Magnolia Cemetery, is a most appropriate place to read this beautiful, sad poem:
There wasn’t a dry eye anywhere. Gray-coated Southerners and blue-coated Yankees were hugging each other and shaking hands and patting each other on the back, while the Scholar for Justice reading the poem recomposed himself because it had touched him too. He had barely been able to get through it.
“We have a proposition for the Sons and Daughters of the Confederate South, and Brothers United to Limit Lee. First, we have had considerable debate among the Scholars for Justice about putting black slaveowner William Ellison on the fifty-dollar bill. It had not occurred to us at first but a lot of African Americans probably would not like the idea of a black slaveowner on our money.
“We then had a spirited debate about putting Jim Limber’s picture on there. As you know, he was the adopted black son of Confederate President Jefferson Davis during the war. We have no children on our money so we reasoned that Jim Limber would be seen as reaching out and bringing us together.
“In the end, though, we have decided that it’s time for a non-slaveowning man from that era to be on our American money. We are dropping William Ellison and Jim Limber and will support the Sons and Daughters of the Confederate South in putting non-slaveowning Gen. Robert E. Lee on the fifty-dollar bill in place of slaveowning Ulysses S. Grant.”
Blue-coated members of BULL were shaking their heads as Rebel Yells went up to the heavens from the sacred ground at Magnolia Cemetery.
Later that day, on Marion Square, right after John G. Gailliard of the Political Science Department of Charleston College had said that the debate was winner take all, he informed the crowd that the Scholars for Justice were now supporting the Sons and Daughters of the Confederate South in their quest to put Robert E. Lee on the fifty-dollar bill. The debate itself was anticlimactic as the Sons and Daughters with the Scholars soundly defeated BULL and paved the way for the first non-slaveowner from that important era of American history – Confederate General Robert E. Lee – to be honored by having his picture on our American fifty-dollar bill.
* Grant's quotation, at the beginning of the story, is documented in Footnote 24 of my book, Slavery Was Not the Cause of the War Between the States, The Irrefutable Argument., which you can find on Charleston Athenaeum Press. Here is Footnote 24 from page 16:
There is a well-known story about Ulysses S. Grant wherein Grant states that he is fighting to preserve the Union and if anybody accuses him of fighting to free the slaves, he will promptly go join the Confederacy and fight on their side. There may be some truth to it, and maybe not. Grant did own one slave whom he freed in 1859, but his wife, Julia, owned four throughout much of the war, therefore Grant's household was a slaveholding household. Grant's supposed quotation was published in 1868 in the Democratic Speaker's Hand-Book, which was a Democratic Party campaign document in the 1868 campaign when Grant was running for president as a Republican. However, in 1861, Grant was a Democrat, and, as stated, living in a slaveholding household. The Democratic Speaker's Hand-Book on page 33 states that Grant was the Colonel of the Twenty-first Illinois, stationed near Mexico in 1861, and that Grant's quotation was provided by the editor of the Randolph Citizen, a Missouri newspaper. It starts: "In a public conversation in Ringo's banking-house, a sterling Union man put this question to him [Grant]: 'What do you honestly think was the real object of this war on the part of the Federal Government?'"
'Sir, said Grant, 'I have no doubt in the world that the sole object is the restoration of the Union. I will say further, though, that I am a Democrat - every man in my regiment is a Democrat - and whenever I shall be convinced that this war has for its object anything else than what I have mentioned, or that the Government designed using its soldiers to execute the purposes of the abolitionists, I pledge you my honor as a man and a soldier that I will carry my sword to the other side, and cast my lot with that people.'
Source: Democratic Speaker's Hand-Book: Containing every thing necessary for the defense of the national democracy in the coming presidential campaign, and for the assault of the radical enemies of the country and its constitution, compiled by Matthew Carey, Jr. Cincinnati: Miami Printing and Publishing Company, 1868.
I had some correspondence with an editor of the Post and Courier July 10, 2019 when I sent them a letter for publication in response to their July 6 editorial "Don't let extremists define our national symbols."
As a result, I saw an opening to send some valuable Southern history to this newspaper and I jumped on it.
Their editorial is good in that they are alarmed at Nike removing the Betsy Ross flag as well as the Charlottesville city council ending a celebration of Thomas Jefferson, and the idiots on the San Francisco school board voting to paint over an 80-year-old work of art portraying the life of George Washington.
The Post and Courier does not want us to validate bad people who attempt to redefine patriotic symbols, but wait! THEY in the media have been doing exactly that for years ad nauseam!
The media is the primary reason we have this politically correct hate and destruction of history in the body politic.
Here is the 250 word letter-to-the-editor that got this started:
The editor wrote back and asked who the "you" was and that gave me my opening:
Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government. . .
[i] Death statistics for the war have been upped from 620,000 to between 650,000 and 850,000. These are the widely accepted statistics of historian J. David Hacker of Binghamton University. See Rachel Coker, “Historian revises estimate of Civil War dead,” published September 21, 2011, Binghamton University Research News – Insights and Innovations from Binghamton University,.
Gene Kizer, Jr. is an author and historian in Charleston, South Carolina, and founder of Charleston Athenaeum Press. He graduated magna cum laude from the College of Charleston in 2000 at middle age with History Departmental Honors, the Rebecca Motte American History Award, and the highest award for the History Department, the Outstanding Student Award. He is author of Slavery Was Not the Cause of the War Between the States, The Irrefutable Argument.; The Elements of Academic Success, How to Graduate Magna Cum Laude from College (or how to just graduate, PERIOD!); and Charleston, SC Short Stories, Book One. He married his last ex- by sneaking into Fort Johnson and saying vows on the exact ground from where the first shot of the War Between the States was fired, at 4:30 a.m. on April 12, 1861. He lives on James Island where he is also broker-in-charge of Charleston Saltwater Realty . Please contact him through Charleston Athenaeum Press.