published Sunday, April 11th, 2010

Confederate History

about Clay Bennett...

The son of a career army officer, Bennett led a nomadic life, attending ten different schools before graduating in 1980 from the University of North Alabama with degrees in Art and History. After brief stints as a staff artist at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Fayetteville (NC) Times, he went on to serve as the editorial cartoonist for the St. Petersburg Times (1981-1994) and The Christian Science Monitor (1997-2007), before joining the staff of the ...

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MountainJoe said...

Clay ... thanks for perpetuating the fiction that the War Between the States (or what I call the War of Northern Aggression") was all about slavery. In reality, that is far from the truth. But don't believe me ... take Lincoln's own words at face value:

"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 that. What 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 to save the Union."

-- Abraham Lincoln in a letter to Horace Greeley, 1862

Lincoln wanted to keep the Southern states in the Union, by force, because it was in the best interests of the industrial North to keep control over the agricultural South. Period. Slavery did not enter into the equation other than as a rallying cry to recruit troops to invade the South.

The war was not needed to end slavery. Slavery would have died out on its own within a decade or two because of the advent of mechanized agriculture. Once machines were invented that economically took the place of slave labor, slavery would have collapsed under its own weight. Practices that are not economically viable (regardless of their moral value, or in this case, lack thereof) do not survive long term. There is no way slavery would have survived in the South past about 1890 (probably sooner) if the war had not been fought, or if the South had won the war.

April 11, 2010 at 12:30 a.m.
acerigger said...

doggone it boy,now you've REALLY poked a stick in the hornet's nest 'round here! i'm gonna get me some popcorn and watch heads explode!LOL

April 11, 2010 at 1:36 a.m.
OllieH said...

Great cartoon, Clay.

Mountain Joe's premiss is misguided. The quote above doesn't, in any way, prove that the war was not about the south's desire to preserve and extend the slave system, it is only a testament to Lincoln's willingness to appease the southern states desire to keep slaves if that would have preserved the union.

That is not the argument.

If Mountain Joe wants historical quotes for clarity on this issue, perhaps he should look to the words of the Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stephens. In 1861, Stephens declared, in no uncertain terms, that slavery was "the immediate cause of the late rupture and the present revolution." He goes on to say that the United States had been founded on the false belief that all men are created equal. The Confederacy, in contrast, had been "founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the Negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural moral condition."

April 11, 2010 at 2:17 a.m.
sandyonsignal said...

The South Carolina Declaration of Secession ratified in December, 1860 states the reasons for secession were frustration over northern or non-slaveholding states for refusing to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act and their endorsement of abolishing slavery. South Carolina viewed slavery as a property rights issue and worried Lincoln would end it for them. This paper does not talk about State's rights. Lincoln was not neutral on slavery as Mtn. Joe suggests. In the S.C. paper it states:

"A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that “Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,” and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction."

Several other states have similar writings to this in their secession declarations.

April 11, 2010 at 4:41 a.m.
JohnnyRingo said...

Blunt and to the point. That's Clay's style.

It's amazing how many volumes a single one of his cartoons speak. The many comments that accompany each one is testimony to that quality.

Plus I get a chuckle sometimes.

April 11, 2010 at 4:58 a.m.
Clara said...

All people are created equal, (except men, women, blacks, yellows, Martians, Jews, Muslims, Northerners, Southerners, Hottentots, Indians, Genghis Kahn, Hitler, Jesus Christ, politicians, and anyone or race I can't recall at this hour.

Oh yes! I forgot "Big Business", Mothers, Fathers, and any of your own favorites I havn't mentioned...OOPS!... How could I forget Political Parties, Government, and Christians.

Back to bed!

April 11, 2010 at 5:43 a.m.
moonpie said...

As a Southerner, growing up in the South, I had many teachers who articulated what MountainJoe said. It was indeed comforting and easier to think of things this way.

Indeed, it's partly true, in that many confederate soldiers were not slave owners and were simply taking the side of their friends and family and neighbors.

However, the Southern states had threatened to secede for years unless a slave state was admitted to the Union every time a non-slave state was to be admitted.

Slavery was the fulcrum upon which the country tipped. Without slavery, there would have been no Southern motivation to leave.

The sentiment Mountain Joe expresses was not the overarching sentiment of that day. It became popular after the war, I assume as a way to lessen Southern guilt. This notion makes it easier to embrace their family and heros.

I am of the opinion that even people with flaws (this includes individuals and populations) can still be embraced. If you can only embrace flawless people, you can't even hug yourself.

I am proud of many Southerners and Northerners who fought on opposite sides for the courage they displayed. But...

The Confederacy rose out of slavery and collapsed with it. To think otherwise is just wishful thinking.

April 11, 2010 at 8:58 a.m.
woody said...

First, JohnnyR, your 'post' was 'dead-on'.

As for the Civil War; the motivations behind it matter little more than the outcome. We have, at times, shown the rest of the world what we are made of, however, we have hardly been "UNITED" (as in the United States of America) in any instance since.

What this cartoon says to me is exactly what I have been saying for nearly a quarter of a century. What would happen if Caucasians ever tried to celebrate a White History Month?

Okay, so the cartoon says Confederate History Month, but you get my drift...and while I am not against any race, color, creed or even religious sect celebrating their singular or collective "roots", tolerance must be accorded everyone or no one will benefit from it.

Referring back to the Civil War argument for just a moment; why is it we are always reminded about all of the "White" slave traders, and "White" slave owners, but little, if anything, is ever mentioned about all those "African" tribal chieftains who initially sold their own people to the "Whites?"

Thanks Clay, I needed a wake up call this morning, Woody

April 11, 2010 at 8:59 a.m.
Sailorman said...

Ahhhh ya gotta love it. Controversy, even if worn and tiresome, always sells. A convenient topic when all else fails. One side crowded with guilt ridden hair shirt wearing whites with an unfathomable desire to make amends. The other side, led by illuminairies like Jackson and Sharpton, anxious to take advantage of those amends.

Thanks, Clay, for giving the respective bleaters another forum (limited though it may be).

April 11, 2010 at 10:25 a.m.
olhoazul2 said...

Great cartoon, Clay. It's obvious that the old Dixie-crats are still somewhat alive and trying to keep their warped rewritten versions of history relevant and in the news. You know, the African American side of my own mixed up family has always considered the South's Stars and Bars to be little more than the American equivalent of Hitler's Nazi symbol. Reading some of these comments and seeing all the hoopla and bristling over proponents of celebrations of"Confederate History" makes me think they are sadly quite right.

April 11, 2010 at 11:12 a.m.
AndrewLohr said...

And maybe show and tell was a good idea, eh? Slavery wasn't the only surface issue, and wasn't the only deep issue either, but it was a big big biggie. (Homework: read EMANCIPATING THE SLAVES, ENSLAVING FREE MEN. Or find Joe Morecroft III on the unitarian conspiracy to suppress the Presbyterians.) And we all hate slavery now, right? But our President acts as if he wants to oversee the liberal plantation instead of freeing the slaves, who send over 20% of our earnings to the IRS, often for things we wouldn't pay for if we had the choice. His plantation is some ways better than Presidetn Bush's, some ways worse--deficits are up, unemployment is up except among bureaucrats soaking up $70,000 per year, regulations are up, fantasy is up (cut costs cover everyone ignore risk factors aka "preexisting conditions"--somebody flunked math), but hey, pot growing is up too.
All Saints Cathedral of the Nicene Orthodox Church meets at noon, 4220 or so Dayton Boulevard (Ashbrook Terrace? office complex, around back)--I better go get ready. Check out other church suggestions and some of their opportunities to improve at>

toonfan said...

Moonpie has it just right. The disgrace of slavery is a difficult stain to remove, especially when over six million Americans died to resolve the issue.

War is always a terrible thing. It seems less terrible, however, when you can find comfort that the conflict is serving some truly noble cause. When no such nobility exists, the suffering endured and inflicted is only compounded by doubt and regret.

World War II was that noble cause. As such, it's now seen as the 'good war', and those who sacrificed here at home and those who fought overseas are remembered as our 'greatest generation'. That's how we remember it, anyway.

The Germans, not so much.

That's why the Civil War has left such a deep scare in our national psyche. For the Union it was the 'good war'. For the North it was that noble cause.

For the South, not so much.

It's a terrible burden to bear. To think that so many died in a conflict that was motivated by something as immoral and ignoble as the South's desire to preserve an economic system and social culture based on the subjugation of blacks.

The pride that some southerners show in the Confederacy, and their related denial of the integral part slavery played in the Civil War, seems to be a sad attempt to cope with the shame of being on the wrong side of history.

If there's nothing noble about your cause, just change the cause in some revisionist attempt to give your actions greater meaning. And if there was nothing honorable about your culture, romanticize it, and maybe, just maybe, the scar of the Civil War and the shame of southern slavery, will finally fade away.

April 11, 2010 at 11:20 a.m.

Woody, it is true that slavery existed on the African continent long before Europeans became involved in the African slave trade. However, the fate of Africans enslaved by other tribes was much different than Africans enslaved by Europeans and Americans. African slaves were essentially war prizes, won after defeating neighboring tribes in battles. Defeated tribes traditionally had the opportunity buy back their enslaved members. Slaves were also treated respectfully--working, eating, and sleeping alongside their captors. The chieftains you mentioned were dazzled by trinkets and bribes into selling fellow Africans into slavery. Please don't interpret this as an endorsement of African slavery or as an excuse for Africans selling other Africans.

The major difference between the European and African concepts of slavery rests upon the humanity of the slaves. Europeans considered Africans/Negroes as a sub-human species incapable of intelligent thought or civilization. Essentially, Woody, we are are reminded of the "White" slave traders because of their immense brutality. We are reminded of "White" slaveholders because their hypocrisy allowed them to live in "the land of the free" and call themselves Christians while enslaving, raping, and otherwise brutalizing millions of fellow human beings.

April 11, 2010 at 11:20 a.m.
woody said...

Somethingorother, your response brought to mind an old quote from "The Bard", "...a rose, is a rose, is a rose...." Only in this case it should read, "...slavery, is slavery, is it what you will, but it's still slavery."

And it all started with the Africans, themselves. Unless, one wants to consider all those who were enslaved even before America was a 'twinkle' in God's eye.

I think I'll rest now, Woody

April 11, 2010 at 11:42 a.m.
nucanuck said...

And now,some 140 years after the Civil War,the South is still an uncomfortable fit within the Union. No other part of the US is as likely to act as a thought block as the Old South. Slavery may be gone,but the scars are still visible. All black or nearly all black neighborhoods and schools are common. Economic disparity is still startlingly apparent. Black education is a near oxymoron for way too many. Indentured,no...but certainly not participating the same as other subsets within the American family.

The Old South tends to lag the nation in education while leading in poverty,obesity,proventialism,and religious fundamentalism. These aren't easy things to acknowledge,but they are part of the life I have experienced and witnessed from my front porch.

I have often wondered how history would have developed had the Old South become a seperate country. I suspect a Southless America would have done well while the South would have remained even more provincial than has been the case. We,fortunately,will never know.

April 11, 2010 at 12:19 p.m.
JohnnyRingo said...

It's true that slavery wasn't the sole issue that led to the Civil War, but the cartoon depicts that fact.

Seen on the desks of other students are relics from the conflict, including part of a CSA uniform and a banner. What the teacher, and aparently the Governor of Virginia, didn't see coming with "Confederate History Month" was the offsetting ugly side of the secession.

I'm not sure why it was so unexpected by either.

April 11, 2010 at 12:34 p.m.
alprova said...

It's amazing to witness that there are those who are still attempting to rewrite history, despite the fact that it has been documented so clearly.

Mountain Joe, in his hopeful quest to convince anyone reading his post that slavery was not the core issue that caused Americans to take up arms against themselves, must have stopped reading that infamous letter at the point he ended the quote. The last sentence in that letter reveals the reads;

"I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men every where could be free."

Slavery, transformed, masked, and obfuscated, is still alive and well. Traces still exist of the progression that it took along the path to it's current state in the Southern States.

The Civil War forced the south to begin compensating people for their labor, but it would be many decades before any standards would begin to define a fair and decent minimum wage for workers. Exemptions to wage laws still exist for many workers today.

It's not as if those who owned slaves were going to mount those machines with the summer sun over their heads to pick that cotton themselves.

How many remnants still exist in the South of the "Mill Towns," where garment workers were provided an extremely modest place to live, who toiled on the job seven days a week, twelve or more hours a day in most cases, only to discover that they owed almost every dime of their paychecks to their employers each week, or were all but forced to spend it at establishments owned by those same employers?

There are thousands of them scattered across the South. There are no less than three of them within spitting distance of Chattanooga. Spawned in the 20's, these towns, founded, owned, and radically protected, thrived for most of the next four decades, until unions made their way south.

Of course, the obvious response to all of this will be, "And look where that all led. All those jobs disappeared."

And you know what? So what?

I worked alongside a man many years ago who expressed repeatedly to me his philosophy when it came to compensating employees. There is little doubt in my mind where he derived it.

"Workers are like pets. Ya' pay them only what you have more, no less -- just enough to keep 'em from starvin' but never enough that they have free time to think about straying somewhere else."

In time, when the rest of the world's economically depressed countries catch up to ours, slavery in all forms will begin to die a natural and much deserved death.

What will the Plantation owners do then to make a buck?

April 11, 2010 at 2:31 p.m.
My2centsworth said...

Tolerance to others views is something many cannot abide by. If it something about them then it is intolerable, but if it is some that puts others down then they rejoice in it. There are only 12 months in a year and if everyone wants an entire month dedicated to a single group or nationality, or race, or whatever, then we had better make more months in a year or cut back on each group.

Tolerance is a two way street. America was a melting pot of peoples, ideas, of cultures and history's. Today it is a cesspool of ME ME ME, what can you do for ME. Sure there have been bumps in the road to the future but we are evolving. At least we were until now.

Political correctness has driven a wedge deep into our society and split us - back to the olden days.

Take back America and the future it is destined for. Take back your pride. Take back what it means to be an AMERICAN.

I have a idea for a month long vanity shot. How about PLANET EARTH HISTORY MONTH;

OOOOOh OOOOh ... What the Movies have given us History Month.

OR - What Songwriters have given us History Month.

OR - What Teachers have given us History Month.

OR - What has SATAN given us History Month.

OR - What Politicians have given us History Month. AND maybe not.

Just some ideas to think about. DOH

USSA is one day closer.

April 11, 2010 at 4:06 p.m.
alprova said...

All of this recent debate over the Civil War has been sparked by the controversial decision by the new controversial Governor of Virginia, to honor the Confederate Soldiers for their involvement in the Civil War.

The real questions that need to be answered are, "Why?" and "Why now?" It's not as if there are not already literally hundreds of places where they can go to witness and to honor the Confederacy, if they desire to do so.

Many of the same people who consider honoring Confederates a good thing, by labeling the struggle as an opposition to the violation of State's rights, do so at the peril of exposing controversial and hypocritical stances that are more current in nature.

How many people would argue that the South stood up to the North for the crime of invading their sovereign turf? Could the same then be said to describe actions of U.S. soldiers in various parts of the Middle East?

If a Confederate soldier was simply defending his homeland in the 1860's, then aren't Muslim extremists doing the same thing in the year 2010? Considering the fact that Muslim extremists have been known to intentionally cause their own death while killing as many as possible of their perceived enemy, I'd say that their determination is quite advanced compared to that of most Confederate soldiers.

I have to wonder if those who donned grey uniforms were possibly viewed by those who donned blue uniforms as being extremists. Without question, those on each side considered themselves to be fully sane and right as rain. So who was right? Sorry, that's a loaded question for too many.

Extremists here in the South were willing to kill fellow Americans to defend their beliefs and customs. What makes the Confederate Soldier any different than Muslim extremists who are now doing fighting for their beliefs and customs?

It is possible that I am wrong, but my bet is that not many Americans in the future will ever defend any organized effort to honor Muslim extremists for their actions, on this soil or any other.

So why in the world should we be inclined to formally honor any American who voluntarily stood on the wrong side of a line drawn in the sand?

Is it any wonder that this country seems inclined to keep making the same mistakes over and over?

Not to me.

April 11, 2010 at 4:52 p.m.
EaTn said...

The Civil War or War Between the States, depending on your ideology, was then as is today, a war waged by politicians, generals and wealthy but fought mainly by the common soldier who had no horse in the race. I had six direct descendants who fought in the war, four Confederate and two Union, one was an Andersonville POW in Georgia and another POW in Delaware. Slavery was not an issue with any of them as far as I can determine. All came back to this area and endured the hardships of the post-war era. If any of these were alive today I doubt they would bother to attend a war celebration, Union or Confederate.

April 11, 2010 at 5:02 p.m.
rolando said...

Excellent post, MountainJoe.

The usual suspects gathered here today to jump on you. That's alright...they know nothing about history and care even less. Their interest is in feel-good, do-it-today-and-forget-it...nothing more complicated than that.

Interestingly, the South now has the means to go it alone [again] should it ever come to that. [Unfortunately, we have a lot of Northerners here these days...along with their attitudes and carpetbags.] The far West would jump on the secession bandwagon in a heartbeat.

Thing is, we no longer need the North, especially Washington. Pity Maryland can't take back its ceded land, too.

April 11, 2010 at 6:15 p.m.
rolando said...

The thing about re-enactments, EaTn, is it tends to keep the history alive...or at least the interest in history. Until you have walked where someone talked, be it 150 years ago or 2500 years ago, it cannot be fully appreciated or understood. Especially battlefields.

April 11, 2010 at 6:23 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

rolando, I agree. I know lots of re-inactors, including family members. It isn't political with them, just intensely interesting to experience life at that time.

April 11, 2010 at 7:39 p.m.
whatsthefuss said...

Until TONY ROLANDO & DAWN got into this I was going to walk away. Now another CARPET BAGGER is about to spout off. Until a YANKEE Eli Whitney, a Yale graduate came to the south and saw a need to seperate seed from the boll, cotton was not even close to being a sucessful product. 1 slave could not seperate the seed from 1 bale of cotton for what a plantation owner had to pay for his or her purchase and keep. After the invention of the gin 50 lbs a day could be cleaned per machine. This didn't reduce the need for slaves but just the opposite. It increased the need to plant, cultivate and harvest. By 1860 1 of every 3 southern residents were slaves. There were 15 slave states. Slavery was not going to end anytime in the near future. Oh, by the way, if the YANKEES didn't have the know how to spin cotton into thread and then weave it into fabric the south would still be wondering what to do with it. If the south would like to take their 2 nickels and get together with the wonderful state of California who have 1 and secede from the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA I don't see anything stopping you. Let me know when to start packing. All the SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY I have seen in the last 5 years tells me there will be no notice given. I'm just sayin!!! Now ain't that sweet!!!

April 11, 2010 at 7:59 p.m.
CollegeGraduate said...

All I have to say is that the North won so all you backwards southerners can get over it. I'm sure if most of you southerners had it your way you would continue slavery or "send them back to where ever they came from."

There is no such thing as "southern hospitality" and there never has been. It's something the Sunday Christians of the fake bible belt made up. Maybe a few practiced it but not the majority. Going back to slavery only a few slave owners were decent humane "masters."

April 11, 2010 at 10:05 p.m.
rolando said...

Haven't you learned yet, whatsthefuss? That's my job on this forum...mine and that of a few other conservative types here. My self-imposed duty includes stepping on the toes of those few who are smug, self-satisfied, or especially the nose-in-the-air egotistical [fill in the blank]...and rubbing their noses in the dirt of reality when needed.

You took something I said in general and made it personal...well, that is your problem, not mine. Have you read any accurate accounts of the War and its aftermath after Lincoln was shot by Booth [an undercover Northern sympathizer if there ever was one. Here's one book written in 1921 by [nucanuck will like this one] a Canadian and he writes, as he says, of the warriors not the politicians -- although there is great overlap so far.

The book? "Captains Of The Civil War -- A Chronicle Of The Blue And The Gray" by William Wood, late Colonel Commanding 8th Royal Rifles and Officer In Charge Canadian Special Mission Overseas so I expect he knows a bit of what he writes. He acknowledges the "indispensable assistance of Colonel G.J. Fiebeger, a West Point expert, and of Dr. Allen Johnson, chief editor of the series and Professor of American History at Yale."

Is that Northern enough for you, whatsit?

I have only read the first 10-12 pages and it is definitely an attention getter. I have no idea how it comes out [other than the North won] or the position taken by the author. At least he seems neutral.

As for Whitney's gin, sure it worked although a gin for long-staple cotten had been around for centuries. He apparently copied the principle from the East Indians. He was so incompetent as a businessman he made little off the invention...although pirates did. Perhaps if he hadn't been a pre-war carpetbagger and charged outrageous prices for Southern farmers...

Seems to you were given advance warning last some students at a rather famous school near Charleston. They opened the ball with cannon fire the night before the real might have heard of the school even in that frozen North you so adore. The Citadel. Oh...Calif will go it alone and join Mejico. Yeah, you were just sayin', all right.

Finally, according to the 1860 census, of the 15 slave-holding states, just under half of the population were slaves, not one third.

Thanks to the Northern gentleman, Eli Whitney, cotton growing was a very profitable business...but a VERY labor intensive business as MountainJoe so wisely stated. And slavery's days were indeed numbered. The only thing lacking was a way to reimburse the slave owners for their loss of their business -- Washington DC itself in 1862 freed all slaves in that city and reimbursed the political giants [Northerners] who lived there for the loss of THEIR slaves. Pity they didn't think to treat the South the same way. It might have helped to avoid 150 years of hate.

April 11, 2010 at 10:08 p.m.
rolando said...

Hopefully, CollegeGrad??, you will stay up North with your uber-progressive socialistas.

You are the Southerners' poster child of a carpetbagger.

April 11, 2010 at 10:13 p.m.
rolando said...

Exactly, lkeith. I have known the full range of reenactors from the day-warriors to those who "spoon" in the trenches for true realism [sleep nested together and rotating position for warmth], weaving their cloth, making clothing, etc. They all seem to take it very seriously. Never tried it myself -- afraid it might bite and grab me, I guess. History was my first love.

April 11, 2010 at 10:22 p.m.
moonpie said...

Back to the topic of Clay's cartoon... to what alprova wrote in an earlier post, regarding Conferate History Month in Virginia: "Why?" and "Why now?"

First, I will say, that in my opinion, it is OK to celebrate Confederate leaders, to admire them and to revere them. Growing up in Chattanooga, I became a huge Patrick Cleburne fan, and I proudly attended the unveiling of his statue at Ringgold Gap. Cleburne was a great man and a great general.

Second, when you make a celebration that inherently excludes a large segment of the population, especially if it is a politically sensitive area, you should not be surprised by backlash.

Civil War History Month certainly would have been less controversial and would have been more inclusive and certainly more sensitive to the way that many people, not just black people, feel about the Confederacy. However, I would imagine that some of the people who proposed "Confederate History Month" would have been angered and decried that their governor was appeasing others.

So.... Why and Why Now?

I don't know, for sure, but I imagine a governor would try to highlight an area of the economy that brings in a LOT of revenue. Generating a positive buzz about some of your state's biggests tourist attractions would be a good thing.

I think he succeeded in creating a buzz, all right... he stirred up a hornet's nest.

And that's too bad. Civil War history, the preamble, the war and reconstruction should never be forgotten.

Perhaps Virginia is banking on the theory that there is no such thing as bad publicity.

April 11, 2010 at 10:30 p.m.
EaTn said...

General Lee, one of the greatest commanders of all times, after the war often had contradictory comments regarding slavery and reconciliation. As president of Washington College he often punished students for their harassment of nearby former slaves and supported their education efforts, but disputed their equality to whites. He once stated that if he had know how the northern carpetbaggers would have swept down on the southern reconstruction, he would never have surrendered at Appomattox. Similar feelings by many southerners have survived the past 150 years.

April 12, 2010 at 5:28 a.m.
Volunteerinarms said...

The South's population in 1860 was roughly 12 million, of which 4 million were Afro American's. Of the 1.6 million men of arms for the South, about 154,000 owned slaves, of those 1,800 or so owned more than 100 slaves. The common solider didn't fight for slavery, heck most of them had never seen a slave until they joined the army, even more so most of them didn't even own shoes. They went to war, because it was the biggest thing going on and they would earn a somewhat decent wage (for the time), they would see parts of the world outside their little hamlets. I can trace my family back and had 4 great,great,great... grandfather's who fought 2 for each side, neither of the Confedrate's owned slaves. When slaves escaped and made there way to the North, they were treated even more poorly. Most Northerners saw them as a drain the system, especially when you look at the influx of immigrants coming into the North. The Irish were treated horrible in the North. God forbid if you were down on you luck and had to compete for a job. The North practiced the same principles with the IRON Mills, Coal Mines, Textile Mills, etc.. pay as low a wage as possible (you pick which group you want to put here), provide squalid quarters & charge rent for housing, the tools you used, they also ran the local dry goods store offering credit to their workers. During "Reconstruction" the North set up a lot of the same type stores in the South and did the same things to the newly freed slaves.

I think Slavery in any form is a GREAT WRONG! And while histoy is chaked full of wrongs, American indians being run off their lands, American Japanese being wrongfully intered during WW-II, etc. We as AMERICAN still have to HONOR those who fought because without them we wouldn't be where we are today! Which is: FREEDOM of SPEECH, RELIGION.... I served in the NAVY and was proud to do so, and while you have the "RIGHT" to burn the U.S. flag, I won't like it but I'll defend your right to do it.

April 12, 2010 at 5:50 a.m.
whatsthefuss said...

Dear ROLANDO, It wasn't taken personal. It was taken factually. You seem to think you own the word CONSERVATIVE and the rest of us must pay you hommage ,or cash to use your word. To be in your club. I suppose you own the rights to MORALITY also. The rest of us can only hope that some day before you pass, we would be considered for entry into your elite clubs. Moving on to the subject, yes you are correct that high quality cotton had been processed for centuries. Now comes the short staple, low quality cotton that grew in the south as the long staple cotton only grew in small coastal areas in this country at that time. The process for each cotton is quite different and is the reason there was not a mechanical process to seperate the short staple cotton from the seed. No one invented one yet. Perhaps if you lived in the day you would have invented this gin instead of Eli seeing how you belittle his accomplishments. You sir must be a GENIUS!! Here is a link for anyone interested in the story of cotton. It is compiled by a gentleman from South Carolina. I did that for you Rolando so you won't be name calling and cussin one of them there yankees while you read it. As for Eli Whitney, the man was on par with Thomas Edison. Without this man history would be very different today. Not because he was a yankee, because he was a smart man. You calling him and everyone else names only shows what a small man you really are and the hate you display for your fellow AMERICAN!!! As for your seafarer story you are reading, I guess this makes you an expert on the CANADIAN YANKEE. Please let us all know when you get to page 11. It sounds fascinating. As for the slave population of the south in 1860, I wasn't there to count everyone but everything I read says the southern slave population was 1/3. Also it seems the invention of the cotton picker would have brought the largest decline in needed labor for the cotton plantation. If you look at the article attached it becomes very clear how Mr. Whitney's invention made cotton king. As for his poor business skills, I am assuming you know something about business, have started and thrived in a self employed setting and are speaking from your personal experiences. Volunteerinarms points are very well stated. The rich exploit all labor, north, south, black, white to any extent they can for their own good. The white mans weakness has been and is CHEAP LABOR. Then again, the richest man in the world was born and lives in Mexico. You figure it out!!!

April 12, 2010 at 8:59 a.m.
JohnnyRingo said...

I wonder about the re-enactments. Is it difficult to find actors willing to play the parts of the Blues? Don't they speak with the familiar drawl heard at a Braves home game? I can hear the 1st Ohio volunteer Regiment commander calling out orders in the vernacular of Rhett Butler, with a y'all as a prefix, and replies ending in "Yes Suh". I know Stars and Bars abound, but "Antiques Roadshow" Shelbyville seldom features a 17th century US flag. That would be a rare prop indeed.

Perhaps they invite re-enactors from north of the Mason Dixon Line to come down and participate. That would certainly be more realistic, but is likely only a powder keg, a few miniballs, and a cross word away from an end to the still tenuous "truce" that remains in effect today.

The Poles probably hope this re-enactment fad doesn't catch on in Europe.

April 12, 2010 at 1:15 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

I'm not 100% sure how it works, but I had family members from the north join a re-inactment group, and they were all assigned to Confederate units! And they are as "yankee" as they come. On the other hand I have a former co-worker who is a confederate cavalry officer, authentic in every way right down to the horse's tack.

April 12, 2010 at 1:27 p.m.
whatsthefuss said...

At the Olustee reenactment they are always looking for a few good YANKEES. It seems the north is well represented though. Every time I have attended they all seem to have played very nice though. They seem to like to camp, shoot their cannons and guns and ride their horses and live and act as if from another time. The period musical instruments and performances are also something quite enjoyable. The Union Army takes a beating every year and everybody seems to be OK with it. Imagine that??? The festival itself is in Lake City Fl. and is very well attended. The battle is at the Olustee Battlefield State Park. Catch it if you can.

April 12, 2010 at 1:58 p.m.
InspectorBucket said...

Curious how quickly the testimony always comes around to someone making a point about "my family fought for the CSA, but we never owned any slaves."

Of course, that just might be true for quite a few people. And I am in no way denigrating or criticizing anyone else's family history. However, I do fear that such populist anecdotes, if taken as the representative standard, threaten to become something of a cliche.

So here I will offer the necessary counter-story.

My family did in fact own slaves numbering in the many dozens on farms located in South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama.

Those are the facts, best served without guile or guise, and I do my best to understand the economic, social, and biographical realities of those slave-holders and their slaves.

My great-great grandfather, his little brother, and their stepfather all joined up in Fulton County and fought for Georgia in the battles that ran up from Virginia to Pennsylvania and back. One September afternoon Eli Lilly and his Indiana artillery trapped the three of them in a ditch just south of here and ended my great-great grandfather's career as a two-legged man.

No doubt the younger brother joined because that is what a gentleman from his parts of Georgia and Alabama would do, following the examples of the older brother and the stepfather.

But I am also reasonably certain that these three men fought because of economic concerns. That is, they fought because they recognized that their way of life would have been swept away irrevocably by the loss of the human chattel who worked their farms. I can also imagine that these three men also did not appreciate anybody coming in and telling them what to do with the family land and the slaves that they considered to be their "property."

After Chickamauga and the imprisonment that followed the surrender, it was "GTT" since the old ways of making a living were dead hereabouts. That tells me that it was about economics and family, not merely about loyalty to native soil. The family had started over after coming into South Carolina from Scotland and Germany. The same new start could be done once more, if necessary.

I feel curiosity about all of this, but I must say that I feel no guilt.

We gain little from history tailored as revisionist "apology" (cf. "Heritage, not Hate") or set forth as saccharine "empowering and uplifting narratives."

There is no "was," there just "is." We live with it. "The past is never dead. It's not even past." So wrote our region's best poet.

April 12, 2010 at 4:18 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

Hey folks, totally off topic, but there are two threads currently with multiple insane posts in my name. (one's a letter to the editor thread, the other a rant thread) Any idea of what is going down?

April 12, 2010 at 4:47 p.m.
moonpie said...

lkeithlu, perhaps in the font used by the TFP, the number 1 looks like the letter l. I'd write the webmaster.

IB, fascinating, great post! I wish I knew my family history so well.

April 12, 2010 at 5:49 p.m.
rolando said...

On the occasion of Robert E. Lee's resignation from the US Army, his superior said of him, "Lee is worth 50,000 veteran foot soldiers".

On the contradicting percentages of slaves to non-slave posted here, my numbers came directly from the US Gov't census of 1860...they supposedly actually counted them in those days. Perhaps the census was as inaccurate at that time as it is today...but I question that.

April 12, 2010 at 6:54 p.m.
sd said...

Segueing for a moment. Somethingorother's post reminded me that Dan Carlin has a Hardcore History podcast on slavery throughout human history.

Slavery itself is nothing new, in Sparta free men were outnumbered by slaves and throughout its history the Roman Empire had periods where its slave populations were quite large.

What distinguishes American Slavery is it was racially-based. Prior to that, slaves were usually people who had very bad luck--they had been on the losing side of a conflict or had owned a debt or had been kidnapped. Historically slaves were a mark of status; they weren't laborers shipped in so landowners could have higher profit margins by maintaining an unpaid workforce.

Anyway, give it a listen. All of his history podcasts are interesting.

April 12, 2010 at 8:22 p.m.
rolando said...

Higher profit margins were not the reason for slavery... unless you consider zero profit as the baseline. The slaves -- as cheap labor -- made the cotton industry possible. As whatsit said, the gin made the real money. Actually, slaves were not particularly low-maintenance items. Furthermore, they represented a huge investment.

The REAL brutality came at the hands of those who captured the slaves in Africa and sold them; those vicious slavers who transported and sold them in the Americas [usually Northern registered ships, interestingly enough]. Those running the slave markets were dealing in cattle so far as they were again, the North comes into the picture.

Incidentally, the Zulu and other tribes were very seldom if ever enslaved. Why? Because they were a proud people and fought back and would die before wearing chains [like we used to do].

Slavers -- and slave-holders -- were like today's current administration...they wanted docile, unarmed and non-aggressive slaves who would be good little boys and girls, suck their sugar teat, and obey "massa".

April 12, 2010 at 9:14 p.m.
una61 said...

IB: My great grandfather, born in 1839, was a dirt farmer from south Ala. who joined Oates' 15th Alabama infantry regiment as a private. He participated in most of the major battles, including losing to Chamberlain's 20th Maine at Gettysburg (Little Round Top) and was twice wounded. He surrendered at Appomattox as a member of Lee's army and walked back to Ala and resumed farming. His wife maintained the farm while he was away. My grandfather was born in 1872 so I'm fortunate that my great grandfather survived. What's fascinating to me is that my great grandfather lived until 1919 and my mother, born in 1905, had conversations with him. I just wish I had recorded the talks that I had with mother about him before she passed away. Also, my college roommate was from Gray, Maine and his great grandfather was a member of the 20th Maine. Small World. For genealogy buffs I recommend recording conversations with your parents, grandparents, and great grandparents about their lives.

April 12, 2010 at 9:30 p.m.
SeaSmokie59er said...

Civil War was about slavery. Iraq War was about oil. You can water it down any way you want to make yourself feel better.

April 14, 2010 at 6:33 a.m.
FreedomJournal said...

IF THE SOUTH HAD WON THE CIVIL WAR? (Blacks Would Be Better off Today) A NOTE IN BLACK HISTORY (Updated February 14, 2007) By Carl A. Patton, FreedomJournal

As we count down to the year 2000-07, the sophisticated contemporary scheme of manipulation and control of the economic political and social destiny of Black America raises many questions. Many White people and their Black counterparts continue to disrespect those that have a meager share of the wealth in this country. While a small Black elite hog all the gravy, the system of Black exploitation reduces the mass Black population to second class citizens. Meanwhile, the Black elite and the liberal left claim that Blacks have made tremendous gains. A system of manipulation and control has allowed the Black elite to enter the mainstream of American life. Thus, the sellout of Black America has benefited only a few in the Black community. This condition raises many questions. Questions, like if the South had won, the Civil War, would Blacks be better off today? To explore this question we must answer some basic questions: 1. Why was the Civil War fought? 2. What was condition of Blacks during slavery? 3. What was the condition of Blacks after slavery? 4. What is the condition of Blacks in the year 2000? The answers to these questions will render the historical and political experiences of Black people from slavery to the present. Thus, history has told us what happened. Nevertheless, we want to find out what could have happened. (If the South had won the Civil War?) Surely if the results of the War had been different, the state of Black America would be different today. So why was the Civil War fought? Was the war fought over the issue of slavery? Was the war fought over saving the Union? We can determine that the North and South fought the Civil War (1861-1865) over two major issues, slavery and saving the Union. As the North sought to restrict the slave trade the South reacted. The institution of slavery caused the South to seek state's rights. The continued intrusion on the South's definition of state's rights eventually caused the South to secede from the Union. Thus, the Union (the North) reacted and labeled the southern states as rebels and demanded their return to the United States. The military became the only force that could react to the action taken by the South. Therefore, the Civil War began.

Cont. Part II

April 21, 2010 at 11:08 p.m.
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