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Few subjects have generated the long-lived interest of the War of 1861. Even now, after nearly a century and a half this subject is emotive enough to raise tempers to the point of violence and beyond.
Historians cannot even agree on a name for this War. " The War Between the States” is not literally correct because, though individual States were involved, it was a war between separate governments. " The Civil War” is not correct since by definition, a civil war involves two factions of a Country fighting for control of the Government. The South had seceded from the United States and formed their own government with their own elected officials. Another candidate is “The War of Rebellion”, though this again implies two parts of the same Country were in conflict. Many Southerners refer to it as the “War of Northern Aggression” or “The War For Southern Independence”, but I personally prefer “The War of Secession”.
Nor can historians agree on the causes or this war. Many writers insist it was fought so the South could preserve slavery, but this is far from the truth. Less than six Percent of Southerners at that time had more than three slaves. Fewer than Three Percent had over twelve Slaves. Yet virtually every able-bodied male in the South fought for the Confederacy. Did these hundreds of thousands of soldiers fight and die to protect the rights of so few?
Some say it was fought to protect States Rights. This is somewhat correct. The Southerners fully believed in the sovereignty of the individual States and the right to self-government. In this context, slavery was a very real issue. The Southern States did not believe the federal government had the right to outlaw the practice of slavery in the individual States. To understand this argument you must forget about Government, as we know it. This type of strong centralized Government we know today, did not exist prior to the War of Secession. Before the War, States were sovereign entities with the Government to serve them in matters that affected ALL the States. A good comparison is to think of the States as our individual Countries today, but bought together under the banner of the United Nations.
Actually the secession had been building almost since the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The two parts of the Country were so different with such opposing viewpoints that cooperation was almost unheard of. It is important to know that the inhabitants of the two parts of the Country were somewhat opposed to each other, even before they left England. The immigrants who came to the Northern States were primarily from the Southern parts of England and considered themselves more sophisticated and better educated than those from other areas. The Quakers and their spiritual kin came to this Country because they had fell afoul of the Church of England and this land seemed well suited to their needs since there was no Anglican Church to dictate their beliefs.
The Southern States, on the other hand, were populated mostly by immigrants from Northern Britain. These Southerners were the descendents of the Celtic hill people whereas the Northern States were populated more by the Anglo Saxon elements who thought of the Southerners as uncouth barbarians. As with most who consider themselves "Educated", these Northerners felt it was their moral duty to bring sophistication to their inferiors (i.e.; rule them until they became indistinguishable from the Northerners). The problem was that the Southerners did not wish for this type of sophistry. All they wanted was to be left to their own lifestyle and have the individual freedoms they expected from the New World.
When the US Constitution was drawn up and needed ratifying
by a minimum of nine of the thirteen States, several States ratified it
on the condition that their ratification could be annulled, making them,
once again, free and sovereign States, by leaving the Union. This condition
was insisted on by several States, both Northern and Southern.
Let’s look at some facts about the events leading up to the War of Secession.
|FACT:||The Original Colonies that became the United States were first settled in the Southern area. Jamestown, in the colony later to be called Virginia, was settled in 1607. The first Northern settlement wasn’t until 1620 at Plymouth, Massachusetts.|
|FACT:||Many of the leaders of the American Revolution were Southerners, such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Patrick Henry.|
|FACT:||The Slave Trade was instigated and directly supported by Northerners, mainly from the States of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.|
|FACT:||From the earliest days of the Colonies, the North opposed the South, considering them uncouth, uneducated barbarians.|
|FACT:||The Northern States opposed the purchase of the Louisiana Territories and threatened to form a “Northern Confederacy” by breaking away from the Union.|
|FACT:||The War of 1812 was fought primarily by the South. Many Northern States refused to support this war and even threatened secession because of our involvement. Some Northern States even supported the British Army by selling them food and supplies.|
|FACT:||From the early 1800’s, the South was the wealthiest portion of the United States due to her exportation of tobacco and cotton.|
|FACT:||Seven of the first ten Presidents were from the Southern States.|
|FACT:||When the North began to abolish slavery many northern slave owners sold their slaves to the South to avoid freeing them.|
|FACT:||Northern abolitionists began demanding that ALL slaves be freed with no regard for the billions of dollars this would cost the South, or of the fact that the uneducated slaves needed a lengthy process of education before being mainstreamed into free society.|
|FACT:||When Lincoln was Inaugurated, a Bill had already passed the Senate and was awaiting Ratification from the individual States before becoming the 13th Amendment, which would forever protect the institution of slavery. Lincoln approved of this Bill and only the secession of the Southern States prevented it from becoming law.|
|FACT:||Lincoln was advised that reinforcing Fort Sumter and Fort Pickens would most likely lead to war. He followed through with his plans despite the warnings of his Cabinet.|
|FACT:||Southern Commander, Robert E. Lee had freed all his slaves before the onset of the War of Secession. Ulysses S. Grant’s wife and Mary Todd Lincoln still owned slaves until 1866, when the 13th Amendment was passed.|
Lincoln’s “Emancipation Proclamation” freed only the slaves in the areas in conflict with the United States. In other words he freed only those slaves in areas over which he had no authority and kept in slavery those he could legally free.
From these facts a picture begins to emerge. At this time two factions were trying to maintain, if not a Majority, at least equality in the representation of the Government. The Northern States were more industrial, had a larger population, but individually were smaller. The Southern States were an agricultural society with a smaller population, but with a larger area. For the first seventy-five years of this Country, battles raged in congress in an effort to prevent the opposing group from gaining too much control.
The Political ideology was also decidedly different. When the Government was being formed a Northern group known as “Monarchists” favored electing a King of America to rule over them. It was even suggested that George Washington be appointed King. Very wisely, he declined the Honor. After it was realized that America would never be a monarchy, this group amended its aims and worked to build a strong, centralized Government. They became a political party known as the “Federalist Party". Still later, the “Federalist Party” gave way to the “Republican Party". As the name implies they favored the Republic over the individual right of the States, once again promoting the concept of a strong centralized Government having authority over the States.
The freethinking, independent minded Southerners joined forces in a Party, which favored individual rights, with a government to serve them but not to rule them. This group became known as the “Democratic Party”.
By the Mid 1800’s it was becoming obvious that the numerical majority in the North was going to control both Congress and the House of Representatives. The Federal Government had already been granting to itself the authority to govern the individual States rather than serving them. When Abraham Lincoln received the nomination for President, the Southerners felt that this served the death knell for their concept of government. They announced their intention to secede from the Union if Lincoln was elected President. When Lincoln was indeed elected, South Carolina made good it's threat, followed quickly by Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. These States were represented by the seven Stars on the First National Flag of the Confederate States of America. When Lincoln called for an army of 75,000 men to put down the rebellion, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas also decided for secession. It is likely that Missouri and Kentucky would have followed them had it not been for the intervention of Federal Troops and they were included as the 12th and 13th Stars on later versions of the Confederate Flag, even though the total number of seceding States was actually only eleven.
Lincoln, being closely aligned to the Northern industrialists,
used this dissension to begin the policy of “bringing the Southerners into
line". He began to attempt reinforcement of Fort Sumter and Fort Pickens
despite the protest of the recently seceded South, sometimes usurping the
authority of the Secretary of The Navy and the Secretary of War.
To maintain his majority he suspended the writ of Habeas Corpus in the border State of Maryland, imprisoning Officials with Pro-Southern leanings. He bypassed the Judicial Department of the Government in doing this and ordered several thousand civilians arrested and held by a military tribunal, without benefit of counsel and many times without formal charges being filed against them. This flagrant violation of the Constitution served its purpose and prevented Maryland from seceding from the Union.
Expecting a show of strength to cause the Southern resistance to back down, he mounted a Union force to invade the South and encounter its rag-tag army. Northern civilians followed the Army into Virginia, expecting a quick decisive Victory for the Northern troops. Some even carried picnic lunches as if this were a festive holiday. The two armies met at a small town called Manassas Junction, Virginia near a stream called “Bull Run". The Rag-Tag Southern Army of volunteers/farmers routed the Northern fighting machine causing them to flee haphazardly back to Washington. The four long bloody years of the “Civil War” had begun.
Lincoln and the North had maneuvered the South into
the war he had wanted, but he did not count on the dedication and perseverance
of the South. The Southerners echoed the voice of their proud Son, Patrick
Henry, who said of the American Revolution, “Give Me Liberty, Or Give me
death”. They fought and died
for four long years to preserve their independence. These hundreds of thousands
of deaths could have been avoided had the North only allowed the Confederate
States to secede peacefully.
The War Today
From the end of reconstruction to the 1950's the South limped along, licking it's wounds and trying to recover it's lost economy. Almost a century had passed, but the hardships suffered during and after the war had left their mark and patriotism was hard to maintain when one could hardly earn enough to keep his family fed. Though you often heard the rallying cry, "The South will rise again", most were content to merely survive, but by the 1950's this began to change.
Businesses were realizing that the people of the south would work for lower wages than those of the north demanded. Slowly but surely more business moved south to take advantage of this reliable, hard working labor force. The South again began to prosper. Also, the invention of Air-Conditioning made it more tolerable for factory workers during the harsh Southern summers.
By the 1980's the South was once again affluent, and now that their livelihood was becoming assured, it became fashionable for others to demean their good fortune. It was claimed that the Southern economy was based on their past use of Slavery. This led to the descendents of the slaves adopting the Yankee propaganda, published after the War, and blaming their economic problems on the Southern States.
The South was once again under fire. Most media productions, both in Television and Movies portrayed white Southerners as uneducated, bigoted, and uncultured - the same as they were thought to be by the early settlers of the North. Many Southerners, realizing their own potential, began to long for the short lived days of their independence. Organizations such as the Sons of Confederate Veterans experienced a resurgence in membership. Such organizations were looked to as the instrument by which this media misconception could be corrected and our Southern Heritage could be preserved.
In 1991, plagued by scandals involving it's leaders and strapped by financial problems, the Civil Rights Organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) issued a proclamation vowing to do away with all public displays of Confederate Symbols. The battle lines were drawn, once more, and the South was again under attack.
Today, the forces of tyranny are again in full battle attire. It has become fashionable to degrade and demean the South and the Confederacy. The Yankee myth, that the War of Secession was fought to preserve the institution of Slavery is believed by over half of the population, even many of the younger Southerners. Our mementos are defiled or destroyed, our institutions are being eliminated, and the very name is being forced into extinction. References to the Confederacy and Dixie are systematically being done away with.
Soon, unless the public is educated in the True meaning of the Confederate States of America, the work begun by Lincoln, Sherman and Grant will be accomplished, and the South will truly be eradicated.
"Lincoln Takes Command" by John Shipley Tilley
"The South Was Right" by James Ronald Kennedy & Walter Donald Kennedy
"Was Jefferson Davis Right?" by James Ronald Kennedy & Walter Donald Kennedy
"War For What?" by Francis Springer
"When In the Course of Human Events" by Charles Adams
"The Real Lincoln" by Thomas J. DiLorenzo
These and more are available from "Dixie Depot"
Need Some Southern Merchandise? Dixie Depot
|To Contact the Sons Of Confederate Veterans,||Sons of Confederate Veterans Mechanized Cavalry|
|Warner Robins (James T Woodward) Camp 1399||Want some Confederate Clip Art? Click Here|
|League Of The South Home Page||The Southern Party of Georgia|
|Some facts on the creation of Early America||Lincoln - Hero or Traitor Click Here|
|Some facts on the Flags of the Confederacy||More Facts on the Confederate Flags|
|The Articles of Confederation of the U.S.||The Declaration of Independence|
|The Constitution of the United States of America||Amendments to the US Constitution|
|The Emancipation Proclamation||The Constitution of the /Confederate States of America|
Confederate Bikers in Spain if that link doesn't work,
|Need some Graphic Design? Click Here||Turncoats Political Scalawags revealed.|
|Southern Messenger The original Site for Flagging reports.||Lew Rockwell's Articles by Thomas DiLorenzo|
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