Friday, April 16, 2010

Confederate History Moment


My pal and fellow SCV member Ronny Mangrum writes...

"Since it is Confederate History month here is an interesting tidbit for ya.

This is a drawing of a unique Alabama Confederate "First national" flag that belonged to the 2nd Alabama Artillery. What is cool about this one is that it was made from a captured US flag. The US flag was taken apart and sewn back together to be a First national flag."


Deo vindice, y'all!

25 comments:

Rev. Jack A. Kozak said...

What is the position of the SCV on slavery? It seemed rather strange to me that the governor of Virginia seemed to forget that matter in the recent controversy.

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Jack:

When we honor our ancestors who fought against the British in the American Revolution, does anyone insist on mentioning slavery?

After all, while our ancestors were fighting for their own freedom, every state in the Union had slavery. All 13 stripes on the current U.S. flag stands for a slave state. In fact, in 1790, there were ten times as many slaves in New York than there were in Georgia.

The royal governor of Virginia, in 1775, even issued an emancipation proclamation offering freedom to any slaves who would take up arms against the rebels.

But most American blacks actually threw in their lot with the rebels rather than the British. They didn't want their homes burned and their families raped and pillaged by armed invaders any more than their white countrymen.

When we honor Vietnam veterans, we don't insist on bringing up the issue of the My Lai massacre. When we honor WW2 vets, we don't insist that such resolutions express sorrow over Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Dresden.

When we honor Mahatma Gandhi, we don't make mention that he was a sexual freak. When we honor MLK, there is never any mention of his plagiarized doctoral dissertation or his cheating his way through grad school. Black History Month resolutions typically honor black achievement and no-one expects apologies or hand-wringing because African blacks sold other blacks into slavery.

Instead, the blame for the thousands of years of near-universal slavery is all to be distilled and put upon the descendants of those who founded a country that existed 150 years ago for only four years and was overthrown by the U.S. We are blamed, we are expected to have our history sacrificed to make everyone else feel better. Isn't that convenient?

Virginia asked these men to put on the uniform and die. Virginia (like all the original states) had legal slavery. It is hypocritical now for Virginia to lay that burden of guilt on the common soldiers who gave their lives when their country called. My ancestors fought in every major battle of the Army of Northern Virginia, were POWs, were terribly mistreated after the war, and owned no slaves. They fought to defend their country when their country called. (continued...)

Father Hollywood said...

(continued...

Besides, slavery was inherited by the CSA. And, in Virginia's case in particular, a few years before the war, a measure to abolish slavery in the state failed by only a single vote in the House of Burgesses. Virginia did not initially secede with the deep south, but only did so in response to Lincoln's call for invasion.

Virginia left the union specifically over the issue of the right of states to leave the union and form a more perfect union.

And I was never taught any of this this in the government schools that I attended (one of which was named for Lincoln). Nor that many prominent Confederate Virginians, including Robert E. Lee (who emancipated his wife's slaves and called slavery "evil") and Stonewall Jackson (who started a black Presbyterian Sunday school and purchased slaves in order to liberate them), opposed slavery. JEB Stuart also opposed slavery.

There were calls to emancipate slaves in exchange for their military service, and this was actually enacted by the CS government - though it was so late in the war that it almost never gets mentioned. General Cleburne had been proposing this idea for a long time. General Forrest freed his own slaves and they all served under him in his remarkable cavalry. They could have fled to Union lines at any time, but not one did so. They were active in the UCV after the war.

Even the Emancipation (sic) Proclamation offers to protect slavery in any state that would renounce secession and the CSA before Jan 1, 1863! Even if the South freed every slave, the Union would have continued the war effort. But to the contrary, the South could have laid down its arms and the North would have continued to protect slavery.

The war was not about freeing slaves, but enslaving states. Slaves were a pawn to be exploited by the federal war effort. Even Union Generals Grant and Sherman were slave-owners, and the latter was rather, shall we say, less than racially enlightened in his own description of black troops under his command.

But we don't say anything about this when we are honoring federal veterans. Instead, we pretend they were egalitarians on a humanitarian mission because it suits our national mythology.

Tainting confederate veterans with slavery would be like demanding that future resolutions honoring Gulf War veterans mention abortion, since that is legal in the U.S. but is illegal in Iraq and Afghanistan. And if Afghan troops invaded American soil, and while doing so went around closing abortion clinics, it would simply be unfair for future generations to argue that American soldiers were fighting to defend abortion.

As far as the SCV goes, our mission is to honor veterans of the CSA and to vindicate their cause. Their cause was the right of the states to secede and to form a more perfect union (just like our ancestors who fought in '76). We no more need to have to have a "position" on slavery than does the SAR (Sons of the American Revolution). It's a little like asking a man what his position is on wife-beating. But in practical terms, I don't know of any SCV members who want to defend the slavery as an institution.

Rev. Jack A. Kozak said...

The Southern states succeeded and made war over their perceived notion that the newly elected Republican president would end slavery. This inspite of his saying he would only favor marking it for extinction, as did the majority of our founding fathers (see the Cooper Union Address). It was the militaristic slaveocracy of the south to be blamed for the war, not the efforts of Lincoln to preserve the union intact. (I don't accept the "Lost Cause/Gone with the Wind" ideas)

Lincoln was never given the chance to make good on his campaign promise & 1st Inaugural address. Once the war came Lincoln had no choice but to pursue it, save the union, end slavery on these shores once and for all, and, in retrospect, prevent the Balkinization of this continent. I am sure Lincoln would have rather devoted himself to building transcontinental railroads that would have benefitted all of the USA, including the South. But as he said, event's controlled him, and not vice-versa.

I maintain that it was the preservation of slavery, and not state's rights in the abscract that provoked the war. True, the Union was a more powerful force, but the CSA was hindered, not helped, by states clamiming the right not to send money and troops to the central armies. That is a lesson the Lost Causers and Tenth Ammendment folks might want to revisit.

Perhaps if we ever find outselves in the same room with time on our hands, I'd enjoy a direct conversation with you on this matter. You are very well versed in the "Lost Cause" theory. That said, I do find your posts on the Confederacy to be very stimulating and interesting, even though I end up disagreeing with you.

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Jack:

Slavery was protected by the Constitution. It could not have been abolished in any way other than a constitutional amendment. There were 15 slave states. Abolition by amendment would have taken a 3/4 supermajority. In other words, we would have needed a union of 60 states to achieve such a supermajority.

If the South's goal was to preserve slavery, their safest bet would have been to stay put. In truth, they valued independence even more than slavery and were willing to put everything on the line - including slavery itself - in order to achieve independence.

The only dispute about slavery itself involved the territories. If slaves were property, then owners could bring them into the territories - which the Supreme Court upheld.

The fight over the territories was not about the morality of slavery, but about congressional representation. The nascent states would have either voted with the manufacturing states of the north or with the agricultural states of the south.

Hence the battle of whether or not the territories would be free or slave.

The abolitionists of that day were plagued by a terrorist element (such as John Brown) - and even some secessionists! (such as William Lloyd Garrison - who publicly burned a copy of the Constitution). They were seen as a fringe group even in Boston, where the locals once threatened to lynch Garrison.

The question of the legality of slavery in the 15 slave states themselves was no question at all. The GOP was a regional, protectionist party that favored the tariff - the same one that almost broke up the union in 1830. Lincoln candidly admitted in his inauguration speech that he had no authority to interfere with slavery in the slave states.

(continued...

Father Hollywood said...

Nobody was talking about invading the south to free slaves. That is a myth.

Lincoln even had slaves cooking his meals and changing his bedding in the White House well into the second year of the war.

And Lincoln made his objective clear in his famous letter to Horace Greeley: "If I could save the Union without freeing any slaves, I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it, and if I could do it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also so that."

Slavery was a mere pawn in the larger issue of whether or not states could be compelled by force to remain in the union. Upsetting Southern slavery was merely an economic war measure - not a gallant crusade for liberty.

If it were, why didn't the Union slave states free their own slaves?

And "balkanization" is also a myth. Bigger government is not always better. Otherwise, why not have a one-world government to prevent global "balkanization"?

Our continent exists just fine with three sovereign nations. It would have been just fine with four. The British Empire in America broke up with really no danger to England. And even so, self-government is a right we Americans have claimed - at least from 1775 to 1861. We now claim central government is almighty - a thought that belies our own founding from a secession movement. Surely, you're not suggesting we Americans surrender our sovereignty to a union with Mexico and Canada and start spending Ameros, are you?

And of course, the USA has often supported the principle of secession (such as Panama from Columbia, Eritrea from Ethiopia, and the baltics from the USSR) - at least when it suits American political causes.

No government can grow indefinitely. As the federal government becomes more and more top-heavy, it will eventually become unstable. And thank God we have states that will be able to pick up the pieces and provide stability if and when the house of cards comes down.

And even if you don't like the implication of the Tenth Amendment, it is the law of the land until it is revoked - unless we want to live under an unrestrained government at liberty to ignore anything it wants to ignore. That is the very definition of tyranny.

Fortunately, more and more people are reading the "other side of the story" and questioning the mythology of the court historians. And it can't come soon enough as Big Government totters.

Rev. Jack A. Kozak said...

Believe me, I am very concerned about our growing national government.

Lincoln had no choice but to Emancipate under his war powers. The war was indeed fought over the issue of slavery - and after such a terrible war, it simply couldn't have continued.

Nor do I accept the premise that our continent would have been divided into only 4 nations. Using the logic of Lost Causers, this continent would have had 14 separate countries, even more through westward expansion (Manifest Destiny). Richmond couldn't keep the CSA unified during the emergency of war. How could it have done so in peace?

The bitter truth is that you need *some sort* of centeralized government. After all, when Lee surrendered, the entire CSA accepted it, not just a couple of counties in and around Northern Virginia.

The CSA is no model for using the 10th Ammendment as a corrective to contemporary problems with our big and growing government.

I am all for the several states using the 10th to block things like Obamacare. If enough do, I think it can be defeated. If enough people vote in new congressmen in November, voting out even incumbant Republicans, then we have a chance to fix our broken national government.

The problem remains that nullification and interposition have a very very very unfortunate history of being used to perpetuate salvery in the 19th century and to impose Jim Crow in the 20th. Somebody once said "you can not escape history...."

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Jack:

I really resent your insulting label "Lost Causer." This is taking a page right out of the camp that labels anyone concerned with Obama's eligibility as a "Birther." It's an ad hominem.

Is that really the best you can do to make your case?

I changed my mind on the war, its causes, and who was right - but only after many years of reading, researching, and learning.

And just because you keep saying "the war was fought over slavery" like a mantra doesn't make it true. You have provided no argument. You've cited no sources - original or otherwise. You have not answered any of my points.

Again, Lincoln did not emancipate any slaves in Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, or Delaware - not to mention some who were still "grandfathered" in and still living in New Jersey. Nor did he emancipate any in Union-occupied Confederate territory. Moreover, the EP would have *protected* slavery in any state that would have rejoined the Union before the deadline. Some war of liberation.

Lincoln even proposed a 13th amendment bolstering slavery.

I mean, this is basic stuff.

The CS government fell shortly after the ANV surrendered because there was nothing left to protect the government. That has nothing to do with the argument about the cause of the war. Had the seceded states been left to go in peace, we would have had a real competition between centralized and decentralized government.

They fought a mighty numerically superior force with a manufacturing economy for four years - and still nearly won. But that doesn't prove Big Government is Good Government. We're living with the legacy of the Union victory today. Washington runs everything, and does so poorly. And we're all broke to boot.

Switzerland has a well-functioning decentralized federal government that allows for local autonomy. The former Soviet Union is far better off without the lumbering central bureaucracy and economic planning - though some might argue that the USSR kept the peace and ran things more efficiently. But I say freedom is worth the "costs" of decentralization.

If centralization were so good, we ought to tear down all national borders and just make the UN our federal government. Some like that idea. I don't. And my Confederate ancestors fought against just such a philosophy.

And you're just plain wrong about nullification and interposition. Ever heard of the Fugitive Slave Law? The one that was being nullified by free states?

Nullification and secession are neither good nor bad. They are tools. But if those tools are denied, they can't do anyone any good.

The left wing often resorts to the race card and a perceived guilt by association in order to battle limited government.

The CSA's constitution was nearly identical to the US Constitution. The difference was that they were actually following it unlike the feds.

Alexander said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alexander said...

Father Hollywood,

If Rev. Kozak did provide any evidence would you actually give it a fair read through or would you just dismiss it as convenient mythology that the authors are just using to fuel their own political and academic careers?

That being said lets see what the CSA constitution has to say about slaves. Seem to me they thought it was a big deal.

"No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed."

"and shall have the right of transit and sojourn in any State of this Confederacy, with their slaves and other property; and the right of property in said slaves shall not be thereby impaired."

Let see what the VP of the CSA had to say about it

“Our new government’s 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 and normal condition.”

So I guess it comes down to whether or not you want to live in a country where the federal government is way too powerful or live in a country in which a universal right to own slaves was one of the most entrenched laws of the land and has four different clauses in the constitution that establish the legality of slavery, virtually guaranteeing that any sort of future anti-slave law or policy including ones passed by the states themselves will be unconstitutional.

Rev. Jack A. Kozak said...

Larry, let's pause for a moment, and let me ask you to give me your opinion of slavery. What role, if any, did it play in the conflict of 1861-1865? I am not particularly clear on your position.

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Alexander:

You ask: "If Rev. Kozak did provide any evidence would you actually give it a fair read through or would you just dismiss it as convenient mythology that the authors are just using to fuel their own political and academic careers?"

Well, I used to believe everything Jack said - until I read more history than the approved public school texts. Does anyone doubt that public schools promote a left-wing agenda? Does anyone think the Confederate side of the story is likely to get a hearing at Lincoln School in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio? It was only later that I read Davis, Hill, Rutherford, Ashe, Tilley, Storey, etc. How can anyone make a solid judgment without reading both sides? How many people have really looked at the other point of view?

In other words, when confronted with the evidence (and many years of reading and studying), I changed my mind. It didn't happen overnight.

I used to believe in evolution, was a Baptist, and a left-wing Democrat. I changed my mind on all of these things after a lot of study. Your implication that I have not given the evidence a fair hearing just isn't true. My folks came from West Virginia, and fought on both sides. This is what sparked my interest more than 30 years ago. I didn't come to these conclusions lightly or overnight.

So, to answer your question, yes. I will change my mind about anything if convinced by evidence.

VP Stephens' "cornerstone" quote is at least something to work with (and the citations from the CS Constitution) - unlike simply repeating that the "war was fight over slavery" (which reminds me of the Simpsons when Apu was being quizzed for his citizenship, and he started to give a detailed answer about the causes of the war. His questioner interrupted him and said "just say slavery.")

Keep in mind that the VP's opinion is just that. Remember the goofy things VP Dan Quayle used to say? The entire social structure of the north and south were white supremacist. This isn't news. VP Stephens was a man of his times.

Another Southern politician said: "I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this, that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."

That was not President Davis, by the way, but another Kentuckian, President Lincoln.

It was Davis who said: "We are fighting for independence, not slavery." That was the same Jefferson Davis who adopted a black child (Jim Limber) who was being raised as a free person of color in the Confederate White House (unlike Mr. Lincoln's White House slaves).

The C.S. Constitution protected black slavery (as did the U.S. Constitution) but added the explicit proviso that slaves could be brought into the territories. This was a bone of contention in the U.S. Constitution, and the C.S. Constitution addressed it up front. The U.S. Constitution was not exactly clear about the territories in general, and rather than turn this into a political football, the C.S. Constitution made sure that the territories (Such as New Mexico, Arizona, and Indian Territory, which were Confederate) were accessible to slave-owners.

In other words, just like they were under the U.S. Constitution.

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Jack:

Mainly, it was a *symptom* of the economic differences between the regions. The two different economies led to a dispute over who should pay the taxes. That is what precipitated secession and prompted the northern states to invade. And once the invasion happened, Southerners, regardless of the politics or views on slavery, rallied to beat back the invasion.

Prior to the industrial revolution and the cotton gin (e.g. the late 18th century), Slavery was on equal footing in the U.S. (and on its way out around the world), and the economy was more similar across the states. That changed rapidly in the early 19th century. The north became industrial and manufacturing (and slavery became an economic liability). The south embraced cotton production (and slavery became attractive). It should also be said that the North continued trafficking in slaves, even after the 1808 importation ban, by shipping to Central and South America, which received 95% of the slaves imported by New England traders. That's how lucrative the business was.

In the 19th century, the more cotton grown in a state, the more slaves. The more factories, the less slaves. And this is crucial: cotton states import, industrial states export. Federal taxes were all based on the tariff. A high tariff means the South pays almost all the federal taxes. Just before the war, four Southern states bore the burden of some 70% of all federal taxes.

This was the same tariff that nearly split the country in 1830. The delicate balance between free and slave states assured some degree of fairness in taxation bewteen the two economic blocs, and this is why the compromises of 1830 and 1850 were carried out in the Senate (where the states were equally represented).

But the territories became a big "x" factor. They were slated to become new states. But would the new states be agricultural or industrial? Who would pay the taxes? This is why slavery in the territories was so contentious.

Many of the abolitionists were racists, and did not want black people at all. Others did not want slaves dragging down wages. This is far from the cuddly pictures of abolitionists in our textbooks. And then there is that little terrorism thing (like the Pottawatomie Massacre and northern approval of the Nat Turner killing spree - which didn't make abolitionism a lot of friends in the North or the South).

(continued...

Father Hollywood said...

continued...

Many politicians didn't care about slavery one way or the other. But they all saw the writing on the wall that the future states would either join the industrial bloc or the agrarian bloc. And slavery was a pawn in that larger battle.

By 1860, the balance between free and slave representation in Congress was becoming skewed. The industrial north was growing in population - and hence gaining in the House. The statesmen of the Senate (where the states were represented equally) were dying off, leaving hotheads on both sides. The South was watching helplessly as their representation dwindled and their taxes mounted.

In 1860, the GOP won the presidency with no Southern votes. The Party also endorsed Hinton Helper's book "The Impending Crisis" - which called for a violent slave insurrection. This, combined with the GOP's desire to win the territories over for the industrial economic bloc, raise tariffs, and create a large transfer of wealth led the deep south to secede.

But even then, the majority of the slave states remained in the union. Only after Lincoln called for invasion did the upper South states secede.

After secession, the war became a referendum on the right of states to secede and the nature of the federal union (was it the states' agent or the states' master?), as well as the right of the northern states to make war on the southern states. President Buchanan opposed secession but did not believe the Constitution gave him the power to take military action. He was right.

Slavery was a symptom, not a cause. The cause was taxation and representation across two diverse economic blocs. It was a crisis that was destined to happen for decades, only forestalled by compromise and statesmanship. By 1860, the divisions created a break. It was inevitable.

This is how it was that you had opponents of slavery in the

highest levels of the CS government, slave owners in the highest levels of the US government, racists being opposed to slavery, and slaves fighting for the Confederacy. It isn't as simple as "the war was fought over slavery" while the virtuous North defeated the evil South because 19th century Yankees believed in racial equality (which is what I was taught, anyway).

Rev. Jack A. Kozak said...

Good Evening Larry. First of all, let me dispose of the notion that I cling to convienent mythology. There were (Gasp!!) "Black Slave Owners in the South." Lincoln was a rich railroad lawyer. He was a racist. He did not set out to be the Great Emancipator. Emancipation was a war measure. But given the horrors of the war, a measure that simply had to be taken. John Brown was a criminal and Harper's Ferry a National Disgrace.

I also happen to believe that it was treason for US military officers and men to take up arms against their nation and constitution and president they swore to defend and obey. A president, the CO of an army base, or captain of a ship can not sit idly by and let Mutiny happen.

If Ohio is my nation and it can succeed from the union, then so can Summit County, and so can Coventry Township and so can my house. You'll have Anarchy, and that is intolerable.


You rightly mention statesmanship. I find it interesting that as long as the South had eloquent statesmen who were willing to compromise, war was averted. I am unaware of any such eloquent apologists and statesmen in the South by 1860. Succession was a knee jerk reaction to Lincoln's election. He gave enough assurances in the Cooper Union and First Inaugural Address that he did not intend to interfere with slavery where it existed, while at the same time honestly and eloquently expressing his disapproval of it.

If anyone can be charged with clinging to convenient mythology, it was the CSA for believing that Lincoln would "START" a war. He didn't. He accepted a war that the south made by firing on Fort Sumter, a federal US outpost manned by loyal American soldiers and officers - their fellow Americans! Military bases and Naval ships have to be resupplied. I know this from personal experience. Yes, it was a risky undertaking, and had the chance of the South reacting as they did. But the alternative was to let Major Anderson and his men starve to death on an island fortress, playing politics with their lives.

So, let me assure you, Larry, that I am with you on contemporary issues realting to fixing our government. But to appeal to the CSA as a model for a "more perfect union" is a complete non-starter.

Is there a valid role for a strong central govt? I say there is. I think JFK responded properly to the George Wallace door blocking incident in 1963. Who was the tyrrant, Wallace of JFK?

Should our central gov't be allowed to spend like a drunken sailor? No, never. Should it be allowed to bankrup us or force us to buy their health insurance? No.

The events of 1861-1865 are of no help in that discussion.

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Jack:

You write:

"I also happen to believe that it was treason for US military officers and men to take up arms against their nation and constitution and president they swore to defend and obey. A president, the CO of an army base, or captain of a ship can not sit idly by and let Mutiny happen."

Shall we dig up George Washington and put him on trial? Should we condemn Panama for seceding from Columbia (actually, we backed Panama). Former Soviet Republics? Eritrea? (the US backed those secessions as well). Peaceful devolution (such as the split of Czechoslovakia) is far better than war and bloodshed. Bigger government is not always better government.

The United States was founded on the right to secede. Once the union was dissolved, all of those oaths and contracts became null and void, just as the Declaration of Independence says: "that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do."

And the "perpetual union" clause of the Articles of Confederation (which was obviously not perpetual) was explicitly rejected by the Constitutional convention.

The "rebels" of '61 stood in the train of their grandfathers, the "rebels" of '76. This is why the Great Seal of the CSA is an image of the great Virginian secessionist, George Washington.

All of the unionist arguments fall flat when they fire bottle rockets on Secession Day (July 4).

You write:

"If Ohio is my nation and it can succeed from the union, then so can Summit County, and so can Coventry Township and so can my house. You'll have Anarchy, and that is intolerable."

The argument about smaller political subdivisions is a red herring. Sometimes townships actually do secede. There is a procedure to do it. A few years ago, Staten Island considered secession from NYC. But most states (unlike the federal government, which is by definition a compact between states) expressly forbid secession by counties. The states created the counties, not vice versa. The states created the union, not vice versa. The states (especially after winning the war against Britain) would never have created a big federal government that banned secession. This point is clear not only in the writings of the anti-federalists, but of the federalists themselves!

This is why NY, RI, and VA ratified the US Constitution with the explicit provision that they could leave the union at any time - and no state or anyone in the federal government challenged it or denied it.

(continued...

Father Hollywood said...

continued...

Ironically, the only WBTS era secession that still stands today is the blatantly illegal (according to the US Constitution) secession of the Western Virginia counties that were reconfigured as West Virginia - a Union state.

The states, unlike counties, cities, and townships, are sovereign political communities. They also formed the federation as their agent, with limited delegated authority, reserving all powers not delegated to the federal government unto themselves.

This is why we're seeing a great resurgence in assertions of state sovereignty and the dusting off of the tenth amendment today. For if the federal government respects the sovereignty of the states, we will have a stronger union. But when the feds usurp our states' rights, we have a weaker body politic, usurpation, over-reaching government, and then things like tea party movements of people frustrated by the acts of usurpation by the central government.

And, as far as treason goes, there was not one treason trial after the war. The chief justice was worried that if Davis were tried for treason (a trial he welcomed) that he would be exonerated, and the whole South with him. After two years, Davis was denied the trial he sought, released, and the charges dropped.

In fact, once military occupation ended (and vandals looted the south as much as they could), many former Confederate statesmen, like Benjamin Harvey Hill of Georgia, returned to the U.S. Congress.

Secession is not treason. And I think it would be wonderful for the Buckeye State to lead the way in reasserting her independence. I would be proud to defend my native state if it became the will of her sovereign people to follow in the footsteps of George Washington.

I just think the U.S. is too big, too expensive, too expansive, and our representation has been so watered down because of our huge population - and that eventually it will come apart. We're already bankrupt, and on the verge of a dollar crisis. And the feds are pushing us further into debt, and sticking the states with the bills. But I do think our states will survive as political communities, outliving the federal experiment.

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Jack:

You write:

"If anyone can be charged with clinging to convenient mythology, it was the CSA for believing that Lincoln would "START" a war. He didn't. He accepted a war that the south made by firing on Fort Sumter, a federal US outpost manned by loyal American soldiers and officers - their fellow Americans! Military bases and Naval ships have to be resupplied. I know this from personal experience. Yes, it was a risky undertaking, and had the chance of the South reacting as they did. But the alternative was to let Major Anderson and his men starve to death on an island fortress, playing politics with their lives."

Those federal soldiers were occupying confederate territory hundreds of miles from the US. Before the war, the state of South Carolina conditionally ceded Ft. Sumter to the federal government only so long as the federal government was there to protect the port. After secession, those became hostile foreign soldiers on confederate soil - with the guns trained on Charleston Harbor. South Carolina, under the agreement with the federal government (which the American Indians can tell you about what that is worth), reclaimed the fort.

The federals were offered free passage and boats. Furthermore, Lincoln was lying the whole time as he was giving his word through intermediaries that he was going to cede the fort - while turning away a peace delegation from the South.

Fort Sumter was a ruse. It was a good ruse. Lincoln wanted war, and he got it. But we students of history ought to see it for the propaganda that it was. The manipulation was very clever, and in retrospect, the confederates could have tried ignoring the federals occupying the fort - a risky tactic that could have made their claim to sovereignty more difficult.

And in fact, the only casualties the federals suffered at Fort Sumter was when they goofed up firing a salute and a federal soldier blew himself up.

The history of war is filled with such manipulations to make it look the other guy is the aggressor.

To make a personal analogy, you could invite me into your home. Then, for whatever reason, you could ask me to leave. I refuse. You could then force me to leave, at which point I punch you in the face and claim that you are the aggressor and that you started it.

That's pretty much Fort Sumter in a nutshell. The federals were the aggressors just as sure as the redcoats in Boston were invaders even though they had been there for years.

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Jack:

You write:

"Is there a valid role for a strong central govt? I say there is. I think JFK responded properly to the George Wallace door blocking incident in 1963. Who was the tyrrant, Wallace of JFK?"

Even with the noble intent of helping someone go to school, JFK was the tyrant. Although I believe abortion is murder, I would not support a UN army invading the US and shutting down abortion clinics. There would be ugly consequences even with closed abortion clinics. It is too dangerous to play games with our sovereignty. There are unintended consequences in ignoring our constitution and allowing the federal government unlimited power. We're seeing the results now. States' rights is a check and balance against federal usurpation.

In California, some people want legal marijuana. In fact, it might be a majority. And they might get a referendum. And frankly, although I don't smoke pot, it is the right of Californians to make their own laws. It is none of Washington's business. It is none of my business. We have become a nation of busybodies that can't stand that one state might have different laws. Most things (according to the Constitution) are not the business of Washington, DC.

Segregation would have become such an albatross to the South that it would have gone away in a short period of time - without the ugly precedent that Barack Omama now has if he wants to send US soldiers into a sovereign state. That is a scary precedent. We have laws, and there are consequences for breaking them - even with good intentions.

Of course there is a valid role for the federal government - *and that role is enumerated in the Constitution.* Anything more is usurpation (good intentions notwithstanding), and should be nullified by the states.

You write:

"Should our central gov't be allowed to spend like a drunken sailor? No, never. Should it be allowed to bankrup us or force us to buy their health insurance? No."

And what are we going to do about it? Pass resolutions? Ask them to stop? With a cherry on top? The states used to have a check and balance. That no longer exists. The federal government thinks it is a god. There are no constitutional curbs. They can do anything they want. On what grounds do they force us to buy insurance? The same grounds the bully has to a weaker kid's lunch money. Without states' rights, that is what you have - a bully. Hopefully, the members states of the EU will not allow their union to become as powerful as ours. Hopefully they will learn from our failures.

You write:

"The events of 1861-1865 are of no help in that discussion."

I think that is where the problem started. There is a great book (which is actually hostile to secession and the South, but interesting nonetheless) called "Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men" by Jeffrey Rogers Hummel. His premise is that the Union victory was the birth of the Big Government that has us by the throats today.

Rev. Jack A. Kozak said...

I remember seeing a book at a Borders years ago: "If the South had won the Civil War" or somesuch title. It had the iconic photo of Buzz Adrin saluting the flag on the moon: the Stars and Bars! I am just glad that that the former CSA states are in our union, and contributing so much to our once great space program - Louisiana building the first stage of the moon rocket, and Ohio the first spacesuits. Project Mercury's and John Glenn's having been designed by a resident of Cuyahoga Falls working for BF Goodrich in Akron.

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Jack:

Another thought about state sovereignty: marriage.

This is a state issue. Marriage is regulated and even defined differently in different states. There is nothing in the Constitution delegating this authority to the federal government - thus it is a "reserved power" under the 10th amendment and without any federal jurisdiction, at least if we were following the Constitution (which for the most part, we don't).

But many people see an analogy between gay civil rights of the present and black civil rights of the 1960s.

Under the precedent Kennedy (and Eisenhower) set, president Obama (or a future U.S. president) could order U.S. troops to accompany gays and lesbians to our courtrooms and force Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal to step aside from the doorway of a local courthouse, compelling our state to accept gay marriage.

And aside from the belief that this is "the right thing to do," there really is no Constitutional authority for the feds to compel states to do so - except under color of law by stretching the 14th amendment's "equal protection" provision to arbitrarily turn marriage into a federal matter.

And that's how government becomes bigger and bigger - under the guise of fairness and freedom and "doing what is right."

This is the wisdom of real federalism: if a gay couple can't "wed" in Louisiana, they can go elsewhere. They can move to a gay-friendly state without compelling us to marry them. But when the U.S. becomes a one-size-fits-all political community, with neutered states, in which gay marriage is a federal matter - our states will simply have to obey or be invaded.

Which is why Louisiana - against the sovereign will of the people - must today permit baby-killing operations. Because if we passed a state law banning abortion and tried to enforce it, you can bet Obama would send military force to override our state's laws.

Once again, the law of unintended consequences. If the federal government can militarily occupy a state to enforce desegregation, it can equally enforce infanticide or homosexual marriage.

And we actually do have a federal order of "desegregation" right now in Jefferson Parish, a 30-year old court that is reeking havoc and angering everyone - black and white alike. People of all races are upset and wish the feds would butt out of our local affairs. They are not helping anyone in this case. But what are we going to do? Have Bobby Jindal use harsh words at them?

We're stuck because we have become slaves in a vassal state, little more than imperial provinces with puppet governments. Hopefully, the tenth amendment movement will begin to change things.

Rev. Jack A. Kozak said...

Good Morning Larry,
There is no way Gov. Jindal or any governor would ever attempt to emulate Gov. Wallace by blocking a door. That and/or Governor Barbor taking firehoses and releasing dogs. It would be a dream come true for the gay rights people. I mean, Andrew Sullivan has already offered to let Liberty Baptist Church stone him to death.....

You make valid arguments for states rights - but to do so while wearing a gray uniform, waving the stars and bars and praising the CSA... it's self-defeating.

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Jack:

You write:

"You make valid arguments for states rights - but to do so while wearing a gray uniform, waving the stars and bars and praising the CSA... it's self-defeating."

Your underlying premise is that there is something wrong or shameful about our Confederate heritage, and so it is best not to talk about it - unless we're going to demonize the South, its government, and its soldiers.

To the contrary, there has been a lot of great recent scholarship, and even shifts in the way popular culture portrays the Confederacy. I find that as conservatives become more distrustful of government schools and skeptical of big government, there is a great openness of people all over the country to re-examine their premises and question the court-history that they were taught.

When I was an SCV commander in Philadelphia, I gave a lot of lectures, engaged in debates, and did a good deal of writing. It was wonderful to see the scales fall from peoples' eyes as they realized what the real issues of the 1860s were - and how they have never really gone away.

As Jefferson Davis said: "A question settled by violence, or in disregard of law, must remain unsettled forever ..."

We're only now starting to come to grips with the legacy of the suppression of Southern independence and the subsequent ballooning of the federal government's influence over every aspect of our lives. Interest in the tenth amendment is growing, and it cannot be examined historically without a view to its past interpretations. Or to put it in the words of a book title by Ron and Don Kennedy (of Monroe, LA): "The South Was Right!"

Besides, Southerners are not going to sacrifice their ancestors on the altar of political correctness. We have always worn the gray and waved the Confederate battle flag (the stars and bars is actually the first national Confederate flag, not the cross of St. Andrew), laid flowers at our ancestors' graves and joined the Sons of Confederate Veterans. We stand for Dixie and we cheer for the guys wearing the gray at reenactments.

We're not going to turn our backs on our heroic ancestors because someone up north doesn't approve. And like I said, I find northerners are often the best educated defenders of the Confederate cause.

Violet said...

Thank you, Father Hollywood for your excellent posts. I truly appreciate your vast knowledge of Confederate history and truths. Your continued efforts to re-educate others is a thankless job, and I, for one, want to thank you!

My husband is another victim of the victors version of the War of Northern Aggression. He is a Lincoln lover. His ancestors fought for the Confederacy (his fathers side) and his mothers family were still in Portugal until 1890, so I am having a horrible time dealing with his lack of honour for his Great Great Grandfathers memory! It is almost too much to bare at times.

However, he is currently calling for a separation. He is conservative through and through, and thinks the only way for the USA to survive is to divide into like minded groups, Conservatives and Liberals.

Isn't it ironic?

Eventually, I predict he and others will be forced to recognise the truth about their *gulp* beloved USA, and admit that the problems that we face as a FORCED union stem back to Mr Lincolns war.

Deo Vindice!!!

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Violet:

Thanks for your kind words!

I think a lot of people are connecting the dots regarding states rights vs. Big Government, and a lot of scales are falling from a lot of eyes.

Ironically, the USA was built on the bedrock of self-government, secession, and home rule. It was baptized by the blood of men who refused to be enslaved by an empire. The states existed before the union, and I do think they will survive the union - and maybe will reconfigure into a better union that isn't so top-heavy.

One thing is for sure, things cannot continue to grow exponentially forever. Let's hope the states can pick up the pieces lest we really have a chaotic situation.

Thanks again for writing!