24 Jun 2010

Refighting the Civil War

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In the aftermath of Appomatox, the process of reunifying the country naturally came to include a chivalrous recognition by victorious Northerners that their Southern adversaries had fought bravely and honorably on behalf of a sectional political perspective which, though defeated in a decisive contest of strength, had been legitimately defended.

The academic left today, of which Christopher Clausen, writing in Wilson Quarterly, is a typical example, is determined to rewrite history and delegitimize the War for Southern Independence by insisting on reducing the Southern cause to a failed battle to preserve Slavery. Any sympathetic view of Southern motivations is dismissed as “Lost Cause-ism,” the Lost Cause being defined as a false post-War romantic narrative constructed to obfuscate Southern guilt for treason and unjustified revolution on behalf of the indefensible crime of slavery.

All this is arrant nonsense and radical agitprop, not history.

Slavery was certainly a cause for secession and the Civil War, but it was what Aristotle would have referred to as the material cause. The efficient cause of secession was States’ Rights and the cause for which most Southerners fought was merely defense of family, home, and fire-side against armed invasion.

Lincoln promised in his First Inaugural Address that he had “no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists.” He assured Americans that he had “no lawful right to do so” as well as no inclination.

It is important to remember that, at that point, only seven states had seceded. It might be argued that the seven Deep South cotton states seceded on the basis of a determination to preserve a social and economic system including slavery, but Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas seceded only after Lincoln’s April 15 call for troops to invade and subjugate the states which had previously voted to leave the Union.

The most important states of the Confederacy in size of population, including Virginia which became the seat of the Confederate capital, did not secede for slavery at all, but to defend the right of self determination of the citizens of individual states against federal power.

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The rather Goreyesque Civil War Monument in front of the courthouse in the nearby county where our fox hunt’s kennels is located says on its base:

ERECTED TO THE MEMORY OF THE SONS OF CLARKE WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN DEFENSE OF THE RIGHTS OF THE STATES AND OF CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT

There is no mention of slavery.

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So demented with self-righteous infatuation with the politics of race have historians become, that the staggering corruption and misgovernment of the Reconstruction Era, in which suddenly-emancipated illiterate primitives in league with looting outsiders and corrupt locals were given control of the governments of conquered states at the point of the bayonet, has become a Golden Age of racial justice sadly ended by the electoral compromise of 1876.

When I was in school, so many decades ago, we still used to be informed of the staggering debt burdens piled up in a few short years by Reconstruction Era black governments, which kept many Southern states impoverished and unable to fund more than the most rudimentary educational systems right up to the time of WWII.

Today, we are advised by scholars like C. Vann Woodward that “the North had fought the war and imposed Reconstruction for three reasons: to save the Union, to abolish slavery, and, more equivocally, to bring about racial equality. The first two aims were achieved and soon accepted, however grudgingly, by the South. The third, seemingly assured by constitutional amendments and supporting legislation, was bargained away for most of another century.”

Most Union soldiers, certainly Grant (who tried to buy the island of Hispaniola to settle all the freed slaves upon) and Sherman (who was morally indifferent to slavery) and Lincoln himself (who intended to deport the emancipated slaves to Africa) would have been astonished to have ascribed to them the goal of racial equality. In so far as ending slavery was a major motivation to Northern soldiers, it most often took the form a desire to eliminate slavery and with it the presence of a colored population on US soil. One could argue that for a majority of Northern soldiers the Civil War was a war being fought to assure the future existence of a whites-only United States.

Clausen’s article is a disgrace, anachronistically contorting 19th century reality into a useful narrative for post-1960s racial politics.

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7 Feedbacks on "Refighting the Civil War"

K Busch

With all that said, you left out one indisputable fact.

Every single person that fought for, gave aid and confort to, or provided material support to the Confederate States of America, was a traitor to the United States of America.

You cant argue it, you cant justify it, It is a plain and simple fact.

Now prove yourself a coward of the truth and a celebrator of the traitorous “South” by ……

Delete Delete Delete……



JDZ

There is an old quotation: “Treason doth never prosper.
What’s the reason?
For when it prospers,
None dare call it treason.”

When treason acquires a sufficient constituency, it becomes something a bit different. After Appomatox, almost no one thought it appropriate to charge and prosecute for treason the leaders of the Confederacy. Only Jefferson Davis was imprisoned, and even he was released and never tried.



K Busch

There is an old quotation: “Treason doth never prosper.

What’s the reason?
For when it prospers,
None dare call it treason.”

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After recent attempts to re-write history in our public school textbooks, literally, by right wing zealots here in Texas, and their celebration of their belief that there was an honor and legitimacy of the confederacy, I and others have begun to do just that,

We are pointing out that for all of their efforts, they can not spin the civil war and its politics, into something honorable or just.

It was treason, plain and simple. Anyone that wants to celebrate or honor that, is no different than if the Taliban wanted and attempted to hold celebrations of 9-11 in NYC.

That is with one exception, these so called Americans, proclaiming their unquestionable patriotism, are spreading lies and propaganda, that there is something to be honored, in the darkest days that the USA has ever endured.

When a bunch of treasonist, conspired, and attempted to, and bearing arms, did attempt to destroy the United States of America.

More simply, they committed treason against the USA, and anyone that attempts to glorify that, are today and now, a traitor to these united states.



JDZ

You need to calm down. It’s history, events long over. The cause of secession lost. I am not persuaded myself that the loss of eleven states and the consequent division of the United States into two countries necessarily would have amounted to “the destruction of the United States of America.” The world would have merely had two American republics, instead of one.

The post-Civil War process of re-unifying the country included a general recognition on the part of Northerners that Southerners who seceded and fought for the Confederacy may have been wrong, but fought heroically and wrote a very impressive set of pages in the shared history of the country. The heroes of the Confederacy were then assimilated and became American heroes, and not merely sectional heroes. They name US Army posts for Confederate commanders.



K Busch

Glad to see that the spin, lies and propaganda continues.

Any citizen of the U.S., that would, or did make war on the United States of America, by definition, is a traitor.

So is anyone that did or would support making war on the U.S. is a traitor.

Try as you might, you can not change that fact.

As far as calming down, I am not angry or upset.

Now if we were having the debate in public, face to face, I am sure it would excellerate.

For one simple reason, I many years ago, took an oath to defend my country, from enemies, both foreign and domestic.

Anyone that would suggest making war on the U.S. in front of me, would very quickly find himself lying on the ground, wishing he had not made such statements or suggestions.

Those of the confederacy were traitors, but heroic from the point that they were willing to stand for what they believed.

The traitors of today just like to run their mouths. So they are traitorous cowards.



JDZ

Working yourself up into an emotional state in which you start having fantasies of violence over events that concluded a century and half ago merely proves that you are a nutcase.



K Busch

Firstly, your lie about my state of mind is just an attempt to spin my challenging of your Un-American attitude as something less than relavent.

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over events that concluded a century and half ago merely proves that you are a nutcase.

—————-

Again, you attempt to dismiss all of the relevant points I made, by suggesting that I am somehow mentally unstable.

My comments, have nothing to do with ” events that concluded a century and half ago” except in how you have attempted to make something honorable or patriotic about those events.

If I am agitated at all, it is with your Un-Ameican assertions, that those events of the past are somehow honorable.

As proof, I did say “Anyone that would suggest making war on the U.S. in front of me, would very quickly find himself lying on the ground, wishing he had not made such statements or suggestions.”

That is in currnet terms. That is now, today.

It appears, that you resembled my remarks. It is also quite apparent, that you are one of the traitorous cowards I spoke of.

It is also quite apparent that you are a traitor to this country, just as long as you are sitting behind a keyboard on you puter, in your mommy and daddy’s basement.

When you are in public, you would not dare to utter the things you will say from the safety of your mom and dads basement.

But I guess that is how people like you will survive, by spouting your un-american attitudes from behind closed doors.

So David, I will let you go for now, but I would hope that we would be able to meet some day, to discuss our ideas, on a more personal level, that is if you can get momma to drive you somewhere.



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