Thursday, April 21, 2011

Modern Day Slavery, 150 Years Later

From America's Right:

Modern Day Slavery, 150 Years Later

April 12, 2011 by Jeff Schreiber

Filed under News & Views

I’ve heard it described as “The War Between the States,” “The War for States Rights,” “The War for Southern Independence,” and even “The War of Northern Aggression,” but until last night–the eve of the 150th anniversary of the first shots being fired–I have never, ever, ever heard the Civil War referred to as “The War of White Supremacy.”

But that’s exactly what the Rev. Nelson B. Rivers, III, vice president for stakeholder relations for the NAACP, called it during a press conference yesterday afternoon as he and his associates voiced their discontent over the upcoming sesquicentennial celebration. See the report from our local CBS affiliate here in Charleston:

“Of course, the NAACP’s view is not that the war was about states’ rights, but rather that it was about states’ wrongs,” Rivers said. “Where would we be if the South had won the War of White Supremacy to maintain slavery?”

I attended elementary, middle and high school in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and, while I was fortunate enough to have benefited from an absolutely fantastic public school district in Radnor Township, the very concept of states rights figured into my education about the Civil War then about as much as alfalfa sprouts figure in to my diet today. Growing up and attending school there in a blue end of a perfectly purple state–Pennsylvania is essentially Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama in between–the history books pinned the cause of the war and the passion of the confederacy squarely on the issue of perpetuating slavery.

Yes, slavery was indeed an issue during that time, but the Emancipation Proclamation was not delivered until approximately two years into the conflict, by a president that would have left the issue of slavery well enough alone if he could have kept the union together without touching upon it — instead, Lincoln found himself in a situation in which the moral outrage was needed in order to gin up support for the Union cause. Before that, in the years leading up to the war and during the first two years of bloody conflict, the issue of slavery was merely one issue which provided context for the bigger issue of the state sovereignty and the states’ nullification of federal law.

Nevertheless, as you know, history books are written by the winners, and so it should be no surprise that the soundbite leading the evening news on the eve of the anniversary of the start of the Civil War here in Charleston chastised the modern day South for “celebrating” the “horrors of the Civil War” and the “barbaric enslavement of human beings that led to the war.”

Nor should it be surprising that the organization responsible for said soundbite is the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, an organization which traditionally sits square in the corner of big government liberals and progressives and, by extension, advocates in favor of politics and policies that stifle the growth and potential of the very people they purport to advance. In discounting the importance of states’ rights, not only for its role in bringing about the Civil War but for its relevance in the context of today’s political debate, the NAACP is once again taking the side of the federal government, an institution that continues to enslave African-Americans to this day through forced dependence upon entitlement programs indigenous to our growing welfare state.

Volumes and volumes of books have been written about where this nation would be had the result of the War Between the States been different, and I cannot get into every postulation and theory in the limited space here. Suffice it to say that the practice of slavery, once a terrible reality of our fledgling mercantilist economy, would likely have ended as a natural consequence of technological innovation and enhanced economic growth. Recall, of course, that many of our founders–including those who owned slaves–acknowledged the sad reality of the practice at that time and set forth the mechanism by which the practice could be eliminated. I can only imagine whether a Confederate States of America would have gone down the same road as the United States of America has, with regard to everything from the Civil Rights Movement to the War on Poverty. I can only imagine how–or whether–all people, black and white and everywhere in between, could have flourished had the balance of power remained closer to the people at the time when the Progressive Movement came into the picture in American politics.

I look at the opportunities out there for black Americans at this point in time–we have a black American in the Oval Office, remember?–and cannot help but wonder whether more people in this country and in that community would understand that achievement and potential are there for the taking if they did not first have to break free of the shackles of the policies brought forth by the very people the NAACP claims to support.

Thinking about how the politics and policies perpetuated by the very people with whom the NAACP is aligned have hurt and hindered the black community in America, I am reminded of African American author Star Parker’s book, Uncle Sam’s Plantation, and what she wrote back in February 2009 to commemorate its sixth year of publication:

I said in that book that indeed there are two Americas. A poor America on socialism and a wealthy America on capitalism.

I talked about government programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS), Emergency Assistance to Needy Families with Children (EANF), Section 8 Housing and Food Stamps.

A vast sea of perhaps well-intentioned government programs, all initially set into motion in the 1960s, that were going to lift the nation’s poor out of poverty.

A benevolent Uncle Sam welcomed mostly poor black Americans onto the government plantation. Those who accepted the invitation switched mindsets from “How do I take care of myself?” to “What do I have to do to stay on the plantation?”

Instead of solving economic problems, government welfare socialism created monstrous moral and spiritual problems – the kind of problems that are inevitable when individuals turn responsibility for their lives over to others.

The legacy of American socialism is our blighted inner cities, dysfunctional inner city schools and broken black families.

And then, I consider those words from the Preamble to the Confederate Constitution:

…each State acting in its sovereign and independent character…

Would the nation have been better off had the South reigned victorious in Rev. Rivers’ “War of White Supremacy”? I don’t know. I really don’t. What I do know, however, is that our current federal government places such restraints on descendants of those emancipated that their potential is mired down in bureaucracy and a system in which continued dependence is inextricably intertwined with the lust for power in perpetuity exhibited by those inside the Beltway.

While it may have looked peaceful on the horizon across Charleston Harbor this morning, 150 years ago today Fort Sumter was anything but. (Photo by Jeff Schreiber.)

150 years ago today, when those first shots were fired upon Fort Sumter a few hundred yards away in Charleston Harbor, I cannot know whether anyone would have imagined that we’d be where we are today. What is apparent, however, is that American blacks will never truly be freed from the bonds and horrors of enslavement until the mantle of victimhood is permanently dispelled, and until black America understands that liberty and personal responsibility are not mutually exclusive.

The terrible realities of slavery aside, Rev. Rivers and the NAACP should embrace, rather than reject, those core values for which so many southerners fought and bled and died. The Confederate Army fought for sovereignty at the state level — shouldn’t the NAACP be advocating in favor of sovereignty at the personal level?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Re-Enactment: South Carolina Fires On Fort Sumter!

From SCV:


(Atlanta - April 14, 2011) Today marks the 150th Anniversary of the surrender of Fort Sumter to South Carolina and the Confederate States of America. In commemoration of this event, the Georgia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans is announcing a number of activities, including living history presentations and monument dedications, across the state of Georgia for the remainder of this calendar year.

It was on the afternoon of April 14, 1861 that federal forces under the command of Major Robert Anderson surrendered Fort Sumter to General P.T. Beauregard and the Confederate forces in Charleston, South Carolina. Governor Pickens of South Carolina had ordered Gen. Beauregard to begin bombardment of the fort early on the morning of April 12 unless Maj. Anderson surrendered and agreed to evacuate the fort, but no surrender was forthcoming until two consecutive days of bombardment convinced Anderson that it was futile to attempt to hold the fort. Although Lincoln used the firing on Fort Sumter as his pretext for raising 75,000 troops to invade the Southern states, what is not so well-known is that the Lincoln administration had promised a peace delegation from the South that there would be no attempt to supply or further garrison Fort Sumter; unbeknownst to the peace delegation, Lincoln's secretary of war had already secretly launched a fleet of ships to do that very thing. South Carolina's decision to fire on the fort was made only after the supply ships arrived in Charleston harbor, and it became evident that Lincoln had lied to the Southern peace commission. There were no deaths on either side during the engagement, and all federal prisoners were allowed to freely return north after their surrender. The bombardment of Fort Sumter was an act of South Carolina to preserve her interests as a sovereign state that became President Lincoln's pretext for four long years of total war against the South and the destruction of America's constitutional republic.

As we commemorate the historical events of 1861, the words of Confederate President Jefferson Davis at war's end certainly ring true: "The principles for which we contend are bound to reassert themselves at a different time." Current debates across America over the use of nullification and States' Rights to halt unconstitutional acts of a growing federal government in 2011 show just how prophetic President Davis' words were. America could learn much from her own history; and the Sons of Confederate Veterans are committed to providing numerous educational opportunities to Georgians throughout the remainder of 2011 and for the next four years as we commemorate the Sesquicentennial of the War Between the States. Georgians and tourists alike are invited to visit the Georgia Division website frequently for updates at

Interviews with SCV historians and spokesmen, as well as living history presentations, may be arranged by phone at 1-866-SCV-in-GA or online at


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Confederate History And Heritage Day/Confederate Flag Day/Confederate Memorial Day Observances

From Arkansas Division, SCV:





LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (April 23, 2011); The annual Confederate Heritage Day ceremony will be held at 11 am Saturday, April 23, on the state capitol grounds. This is another part of the Sons of Confederate Veterans observing the Sesquicentennial of the War Between the States.

The event is a celebration of three separate events: Arkansas Confederate History and Heritage Month, Confederate Memorial Day and Confederate Flag Day.

This is the fiftieth year that all three events have been combined into one.

The public is invited to attend and bring examples of the variety of flags used by Arkansas units and of the Confederate government and its army during the War. At least 16 different patterns of flags will be on display.

SCV members, Reenactors and Living Historians in period clothing will lay flowers and fire a gun salute at the conclusion of the ceremony. Men from SCV camps and reenactors from all over Arkansas are scheduled to attend.

Among those organizations taking part in the event are the Arkansas Reenactors, Children of the Confederacy, United Daughters of the Confederacy, Sons of Confederate Veterans and Military Order of Stars and Bars. In the event of rain the Confederate Memorial will be moved inside the capitol building for an abbreviated ceremony.

Honoring the Dead

Beginning at 11 a.m., the names of Arkansas soldiers who died during the war years of 1861-1865 will be read at the Confederate monument located at the northeast corner of the capitol grounds. A bell will be rung following each name.

An estimated 60,000 Arkansawers enlisted in Confederate units and that at least 6,800 are known to have been killed or died of disease during the War. Some of the approximately 3,000 names of those dead will be read during the ceremony.

Afternoon Program

The Confederate Heritage Day program will begin at 11:30am.

W. Danny Honnoll, Commander of the Col. Robert G. Shaver Camp of Jonesboro, of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), will be master of ceremonies. Mark Kalkbrenner Ark Div Commander will take part in the ceremony honor the individuals that wore the gray. The SCV is an organization of descendants of men who served in the Confederate armed forces. The Ark Div Honor Guard will fire a three volley salute to the men that serviced the Confederate Army. Mrs. Dale (Bobbie) Barnett of Ravenden will be dressed in a mourning dress and represent the widows of the fallen men of Arkansas.

Confederate Memorial Day

Confederate Memorial Day is a day celebrated in Southern states to remember Confederate dead. It is generally held on the last Sunday in April.

Immediately after the war ended in 1865, Southern women began the tradition of scattering spring flowers on the graves of soldiers, both Confederate and Union, buried in their hometowns.

In 1868, the United States officially picked up the same tradition for the dead of all wars and it became the national Memorial Day, now held on the last Monday in May.

Confederate Flag Day

Confederate Flag Day was designated by Arkansas State Statute 69-110 and establishes the day as the Saturday immediately preceding Easter Sunday.

Flag Day commemorates the wide variety of flags used by the Confederate States government and the military units.



W. Danny Honnoll, Ark Div Cmdr 2002-06

Chief of State of the Arkansas Division


Sons of Confederate Veterans

(870) 926-2985 c

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Official, Politically-Correct Cause Of The "Civil War" [sic]

From Lew

The Official, Politically-Correct Cause of the 'Civil War'

by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

Recently by Thomas DiLorenzo: Another Big Lincoln Lie Exposed

The memo has gone out. Since 2011 is the 150th anniversary of the start of the War to Prevent Southern Independence the Lincoln Cult, aided and abetted by the many worshippers of the centralized, bureaucratic, Leviathan state that he founded, has been hard at work since the first week of January endlessly repeating the politically-correct version of the one sole cause theory of the "Civil War."

Unlike all other wars in human history, the "Civil War" is said to have one and only one cause. This was not always the case; university courses on the war during the 1960s and ’70s frequently used as a text Kenneth Stampp’s The Causes of the Civil War. Stampp was a former president of the American Historical Association. His scholarship has been replaced with a-historical political correctness on today’s college campuses.

Supposed "proof" of the "one sole cause" theory is that when the Southern states seceded in 1860-61, some Southern politicians defended the institution of slavery. Therefore, the story goes, slavery was the sole cause of the war. The not-so-implicit assumptions behind this assertion are the following: 1) Lincoln was about to abolish slavery "with the stroke of a pen" as soon as he took the oath of office; 2) Southerners understood this; therefore, Southern secession amounted to kidnapping of the slaves; and 3) Lincoln launched an invasion of the South to free the kidnapped slaves. This is the only way in which Southern secession could have necessitated war. Ready any of Harry Jaffa’s books if you want "verification" of this "official view."

Everything about this politically-correct fantasy is patently false, regardless of how many times it is repeated in the New York Times and Washington Post. Some Southern politicians did indeed defend slavery, but not as strongly as Abraham Lincoln did in his first inaugural address, where he supported the enshrinement of Southern slavery explicitly in the U.S. Constitution (the "Corwin Amendment") for the first time ever. Coming from the president of the United States, this was the strongest defense of slavery ever made by an American politician.

Some Southern politicians did say that their society was based on white supremacy, but so did Abraham Lincoln and most other Northern politicians. "I as much as any man want the superior position to belong to the white race," Lincoln said in a debate with Stephen Douglas in 1858. When Lincoln opposed the extension of slavery into the new territories (but not Southern slavery), he gave the standard Northern white supremacist reason: We want the territories to be reserved "for free white labor," he said. The Lincoln cultists can quote Alexander Stephens’ "cornerstone" speech all they want, but the truth is that Abraham Lincoln, and most of the leaders of the Republican Party, were in total agreement with Stephens. White supremacy was as much (if not more of) a "cornerstone" of Northern society as it was of Southern society in the 1860s.

The abolition societies of the North never claimed more than two percent of the Northern adult population as members. Lincoln was never an abolitionist, distanced himself from them politically, and even boasted in a speech in New York City that "we have abolitionists in Illinois; we shot one the other day." All of this makes it extremely unlikely that anyone who voted for Lincoln in the 1860 election did so because they thought he would end Southern slavery (which of course the Republican Party Platform of 1860 did not promise).

More importantly, secession in no way necessitates war, regardless of what the reasons for secession are. The reasons for secession, and the reasons why there was a war, are two entirely separate issues. When New Englanders openly and publicly plotted to secede for fourteen years after Thomas Jefferson’s election, culminating in the 1814 secession convention in Hartford, Connecticut, neither President Jefferson nor President Madison (or anyone else) said one word about the appropriate response to a Northern-state secession being "invasion," "force," and "bloodshed." These are the words Lincoln used in his first inaugural address to describe what would happen in any Southern state that seceded.

It is unlikely that anyone even dreamed of invading Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island and bombing and burning Boston, Hartford and Providence into a smoldering ruin while murdering thousands of New Englanders, women and children included, if New England were to secede. Indeed, when Jefferson was asked what would happen if New England seceded, he said in a letter that New Englanders, like all other Americans "would all be our children" and he would wish them all well. More recently, all of the Soviet republics, and all of Eastern and Central Europe peacefully seceded from the Soviet Union. Secession does not necessitate war.

No American president had the power in the nineteenth century to abolish slavery "with the stroke of a pen." The slaves were slaves before Southern secession, and they were slaves after secession. Indeed, as Alexander Stephens once correctly remarked, slavery was more secure in the union than out of it because of the Fugitive Slave Clause, which Lincoln strongly supported, and because of the 1857 Dred Scott Supreme Court decision.

No respectable historian would argue that Lincoln invaded the South to free the slaves. Even his Emancipation Proclamation was only a "war measure" that would have become defunct if the war ended the next day – and it was written so as to avoid freeing any slaves since it only applied to "rebel territory." Both Lincoln and Congress announced publicly that their purpose was not to disturb slavery but to "save the union," a union that they actually destroyed philosophically by destroying its voluntary nature, as established by the founders. All states, North and South, became wards or appendages of the central government in the post-1865 era.

What Lincoln did say very clearly about war in his first inaugural address was that it was his duty "to collect the duties and imposts," but "beyond that there will no be any invasion of any state . . ." That is, if Southern secession made it impossible for Washington, D.C. to "collect the duties and imposts" (i.e., tariffs on imports, which had just been more than doubled two days earlier), then there will be an invasion. He followed through with this threat, and that is why there was a war that ended up killing 670,000 Americans, including some 50,000 Southern civilians, while maiming for life more than a million.

Secession does not necessitate war; nor was war necessary to end slavery. The rest of the world (including all of the Northern states ended slavery peacefully in the nineteenth century, as James Powell documents and describes in his outstanding book, Greatest Emancipations: How the West Ended Slavery.

April 12, 2011

Thomas J. DiLorenzo [send him mail] is professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the author of The Real Lincoln; Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe and How Capitalism Saved America. His latest book is Hamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution – And What It Means for America Today.

Copyright © 2011 by Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

ATM Sunday Message

From Arkansas Division, Army of the Trans-Mississippi, Sons of Confederate Veterans:

ATM Sunday Messagefrom Arkansas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans by Web Master



Ed. Note: A few days before Memorial Day in 2002, a Sons of Confederate Veterans camp received the following e-mail from a lady who apparently had been receiving the camp’s newsletters. Her post was eventually forwarded to Roger McCredie, who had not yet joined the staff of the Southern Legal Resource Center but was the SCV’s immediate past Chief of Heritage Defense, and McCredie answered on his own initiative. His reply is particularly relevant now, almost a decade later, as the runaway train of political correctness that already characterizes the nation’s sesquicentennial observance of the War Between the States threatens to overrun Confederate history and heritage. Here is the lady’s original e-mail .

I am on your mailing list by default I think, but read with interest the various letters that cross my desk from you who love the South and all it stood for, and still does in your hearts. As a fellow American, I am saddened by the loss of each and every life that was lost fighting for their beliefs during the civil war, regardless of the side they fought on.

Each soldier, parent and child who gave so much for this country is saluted and prayed for. I never know whether you folks are really talking like this because it keeps the fervor going for your re-enactments or because you actually are still so angry, after all these years. Whichever way you feel, my prayer is that you will come together this memorial Day and give honor to each and every life that was lost for US, no matter the side, color or creed in the fights that have and are still taking place so that we may live in this glorious UNITED STATES of AMERICA!!!.

My great grandfather was one who was held prisoner in your Andersonville prison. He died a terrible death at the hand of the enemy of that time. I feel no bitterness or anger towards anyone from the South because of this. It was WAR. It was part of the terrible cost of WAR. He’s buried now and rests in peace. It’s over in my heart and mind. May you all find peace and live in peace in this great country.

God Bless America, and all it’s children.

With love,

Prudence Kinley-Ruth

and here is McCredie’s reply:

Dear Ms. Kinley-Ruth:

You appear to be a genuinely decent and thoughtful person, and your post is doubtless well intentioned. One of your remarks deserves to be addressed in some detail. You say, “I never know whether you folks are really talking like this because it keeps the fervor going for your re-enactments or because you are still so angry, after all these years.”Because you do seem to be an empathetic person, let me try a little role-reversal on you.

Suppose that you had been born and raised in a place whose history, culture, traditions, mindset and values set it as much apart from the rest of the “United States” as Switzerland is from France, or Ireland from England.

Suppose you loved this place, its people and your own place in it very deeply; suppose, in fact, that you were so much a part of it that it was hard to tell where you stopped and it started.

Suppose this place you cherished had once found itself at odds with other members of the Union it had helped to found; had attempted peaceably and in good faith to leave that Union, in accordance with the provisions of that Union’s very own constitution; and had instead been invaded and obliged to fight a horrific war against overwhelming odds, during which its cities were looted and destroyed, its countryside ravaged, and its civilian population robbed and brutalized. Suppose that having lost that war, your homeland was further crippled by a dozen years of corrupt and vindictive military occupation called, with supreme irony, “Reconstruction.”

Suppose that this place you love subsequently became the repository for all of America’s frustrations, the object of its ridicule and cynical exploitation, and the whipping boy for its national racial guilt trip.

Suppose you had to listen to a daily litany of how your homeland was a dark and backward place populated by incestuous mongoloids. Suppose you ere ridiculed for your accent, and for your unabashed love of God, place and family.

Suppose you found your history turned inside out and your heroes vilified in order to appease the professionally offended. Suppose your children were expelled from school, ostracized and even beaten for displaying the symbol their great-great-grandfathers fought under. Suppose that some municipalities where your brave dead were buried, far from home, refused to allow their graves to be decorated, even for a few hours, with the flag they died for. And suppose that when, as an American, you objected to this very un-American treatment, you were told to sit down and shut up, or be branded a racist, a white supremacist, or even un-American yourself. That’s a great deal of supposing, I know, but try to manage it, if only for a second. Now consider your original remark in light of it. Our experience as Americans has been painfully different from yours in some respects. On the day known as Memorial Day, this difference is particularly poignant for us, when our Confederate dead are systematically excluded from national mourning. We have — or try to have — our own Confederate Memorial Days, state by state, but often these are given no official sanction. And you ask if we are angry.

Suppose you were us.

Roger McCredie

Past Chief of Heritage Defense

Sons of Confederate Veterans

Filed under: ATM Sunday Message

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Governor McDonnell's Missed Opportunity

From Old Virginia Blog:

Apr 8, 2011 (yesterday)Governor McDonnell's Missed Opportunityfrom Old Virginia Blog by Richard G. Williams, Jr.

Virginia's Sons

by Henry Kidd

Governor McDonnell finally issued his Civil War History Month proclamation. The only thing missing is a smiley face. Well, not quite. Let's face it, the Governor has a difficult job. First of all, he's from Philly - not Virginian born and bred. Nothing wrong with that, just pointing that out for your consideration. (My Williams kin hail from New England.) He has had difficulty grasping the complexity of the competing perspectives of Virginia history. Secondly, the Governor faces an issue that has been increasingly politicized by both sides - we can argue all day as to why and who started it, blah, blah, blah.

As I've stated before, I had no major problem with the Governor's first 2010 proclamation. I had no major problem with his revised one. Were either perfect? No. But the whole issue has been overblown - mostly for politically correct reasons and feel good history. Each side of the issue, in my opinion, shares some of the guilt for this.

But the problem with the 2011 proclamation is not so much for what it contains but, rather, for what it omits. Make no mistake about one thing - the wording for this proclamation was carefully calculated. The Governor mentions the "heroism of brave individuals like William Harvey Carney" who escaped from slavery and earned the Medal of Honor for his valor as a Union soldier. That's fine and is certainly part of our "Civil War" history and it deserves mentioning. But you will notice that the Governor was much more guarded in his mentioning of Confederate icons Lee and Jackson. These men are simply "still studied, analyzed and discussed today." Yeah, so are kumquats. The Governor's rather patronizing mention of Lee and Jackson did, in my opinion, more harm than good. I consider his treatment of these two important figures in a Civil War proclamation little more than a patronizing, back-handed compliment. Too bad - a wonderful opportunity missed.
The Governor did include a compliment (I think) for General Lee for what sounds like his dutiful submission as a misguided, vanquished rebel in supporting reconciliation after the war: "that transition was aided by the actions of leaders like General Robert E. Lee who set the strong personal example of reconciliation and grace crucial in helping the people of Virginia return peacefully to the Union, instructing Virginians to '....abandon all these local animosities and make your sons Americans.'" Better than nothing I suppose.

But no words of praise for the bravery of those Virginians who defended hearth and home against what they saw as an invasion upon Virginia soil. Why not? Why couldn't the Governor have included some praise for these men and their sacrifices who answered the call of their state, left their loved ones, and defended the Commonwealth? Doing so, along with highlighting Union soldiers and Virginians like William Harvey Carney, would truly have resulted in a proclamation for all Virginians; rather than one to placate last year's critics.

(In the Governor's defense, he did issue a worthy Lee-Jackson Day proclamation this year.)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Another Big Lincoln Lie Exposed

From Lew

Another Big Lincoln Lie Exposed

by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

Recently by Thomas DiLorenzo: Paul Krugman’s 'Civil War' Fantasies

I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that 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.

~ Abraham Lincoln, Debate with Stephen Douglas, Sept. 18, 1858, in Abraham Lincoln: Speeches and Writings, 1832-1858 (New York: Library of America, 1989), pp. 636-637.

These are the words of the real Lincoln, who was as much a white supremacist as any man of his time. In fact, he was a much more extreme white supremacist than most, for he advocated "colonization" or the deportation of black people from America for his entire adult life. As soon as he entered politics in the early 1830s he became a "manager" of the Illinois Colonization Society which sought to use state tax funds to deport the small number of free blacks living in Illinois out of the state (the state amended its constitution in 1848 to prohibit the immigration of black people into the state, an amendment that Lincoln supported).

Lincoln followed in the footsteps of his idol, Henry Clay, who was the president of the American Colonization Society, and quoted Clay often on the subject. During his presidency he established a colonization office in the Department of Interior and funded it with $600,000, while working diligently to plan on deporting black people to Liberia, Haiti, Jamaica, Central America, the West Indies – anywhere but the U.S.

These historical facts have long presented a problem for the purveyors of the comic book/fairy tale history of Lincoln that has been taught to Americans for generations. For they suggest that, rather than being a racial saint, as the comic book/fairy tale version of history contends, the exact opposite is true. The Lincoln cult has mostly covered up these truths by seeing to it that they rarely, if ever, make it into the public school textbooks. But just in case the truth does seep out, the Cult has concocted several excuses, "justifications," and rationales for Lincoln’s extreme racist language and actions.

One excuse that is associated with Princeton University historian James McPherson is that "Honest Abe" was lying when he spoke of colonization in connection with emancipation (as he always did) so as to soften Northern opposition to emancipation. This is called the "lullaby theory" among Lincoln cultists. Lincoln himself never said any such thing; McPherson simply fabricated the story out of thin air.

A second excuse is an equally unfounded theory that is not based on anything Lincoln himself ever said. It is a speculation that, sometime in 1863, Lincoln experienced some kind of divine transformation and was no longer the extreme racist and white supremacist that his speeches had established him as being for his entire adult life. Lincoln cultists naively contend that because Lincoln quit making speeches about colonization, he must have abandoned the idea.

Of course, politicians always do their best to keep the public in the dark with regard to their political machinations; they do not make public speeches announcing every bit of their strategies and conniving. It is not unusual for a politician to keep his plans to himself, and this is true of Lincoln as much as any politician. The divine transformation theory is based on an extraordinarily naïve view of the political world.

Both of these theories have been demolishd in a monumental new book entitled Colonization after Emancipation: Lincoln and the Movement for Black Resettlement, by Phillip W. Magness of American University and Sebastian N. Page of Oxford University. Based on newly-rediscovered documents in the American and British National Archives, including letters signed by Lincoln himself, these researchers have established that Lincoln continued to pursue colonization right up to the days before his assassination, when he discussed plans with General Benjamin Butler to deport the freed slaves. There was no divine transformation; and McPherson’s "lullaby" is in reality a fake alibi.

Magness and Page meticulously document how, during the last two years of Lincoln’s presidency, work on various colonization plans "progressed . . . often aided by the president’s direct encouragement and approval" (p. 10). Lengthy discussions took place with the British and Dutch governments, which were negotiating on behalf of business interests in their own countries that were experiencing labor shortages in such places as British Honduras, Guiana, and elsewhere.

After the Emancipation Proclamation (which only "freed" slaves where the government could not do so – in "rebel territory") was issued, Lincoln was hard at work on his various colonization projects. Magness and Page cite British Foreign Minister Lord Lyons as saying in a dispatch to London that "The President of the United States sent for me yesterday, and upon my presenting myself, told me that he had been for some time anxious to speak to me in an informal and unofficial manner on the subject of promoting the emigration of colored people from this country to British colonies" (p. 26).

Shortly thereafter, Lincoln met with one Thomas Malcom of the Pennsylvania Colonization Society to discuss deporting Pennsylvania blacks to Liberia; and sent an emissary to visit the "contraband camps" (where captured Southern slaves were kept) to find "recruits" for colonization to Honduras.

The most pro-colonization member of Lincoln’s cabinet, Postmaster General Montgomery Blair, publicly announced that the "destined glory" of any freed slaves "is to be consummated in the American tropics" (p. 35). Interestingly, the first black man to ever hold an administrative position in the U.S. government was J. Willis Menard, who favored black colonization. He was employed as a clerk in the colonization office.

Magness and Page document that colonization remained the official policy of the Lincoln administration throughout 1864 and early 1865, with several plans being foiled by bureaucratic bungling, corruption, and political bickering. Lincoln is said to have completely lost his temper over such failures.

Late in his life General Benjamin Butler recalled a "colonization interview" that he had with Lincoln two days before the assassination. "What shall we do with the negroes after they are free?", Lincoln is said to have asked the general. According to Butler, Lincoln then said, "I can hardly believe that the South and North can live in peace, unless we can get rid of the negroes" (p. 109). Butler then proposed deporting the freed slaves to Panama to dig a canal, decades before the actual Panama Canal was dug. "There is meat in that, General Butler, there is meat in that," Lincoln reportedly said.

Early Lincoln scholars accepted that this meeting occurred, but then Lincoln cultist/excuse fabricator Mark E. Neely claimed that the meeting could not have happened because Butler was not in Washington on the day he said the meeting took place. Magness and Page disprove Neely’s conjecture and conclude that "the meeting itself indisputedly happened."

Colonization after Emancipation proves unequivocally that "colonization remained on the table well beyond the Emancipation Proclamation," contrary to the "accepted wisdom" of James McPherson and other Lincoln cultists. Magness and Page conclude that "The prospect that the ‘Great Emancipator’ subscribed to colonizationist beliefs, particularly at the end of his life, seems to completely dispel his popular reputation as a racial egalitarian." Yes, it does.

April 9, 2011

Thomas J. DiLorenzo [send him mail] is professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the author of The Real Lincoln; Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe and How Capitalism Saved America. His latest book is Hamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution – And What It Means for America Today.

Copyright © 2011 by Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Paul Krugman's Civil War Fantasies

From Lew

Paul Krugman’s 'Civil War' Fantasies

by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

Recently by Thomas DiLorenzo: The Political Economy of Government Employee Unions

When James M. Buchanan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1986 the first thing he said at his George Mason University press conference was that the award "does not make me an instant expert in everything." Buchanan was well aware – and amused – at how previous recipients of the award had made fools of themselves by viewing the award as a license to pontificate about anything and everything, whether they knew anything about the subject or not.

No such modesty and sense of reality occupies the mind of a more recent Nobel laureate, Paul Krugman. As a New York Times columnist he has always done what all New York Times columnists do – pretend that he does in fact know everything about everything. A case in point is his March 29 New York Times blog entitled "Road to Appomattox Blogging." After mentioning how the Times has a special "Disunion" blog to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the start of the war, Krugman gives a hilarious, elementary-schoolish rendition of his "take" on the "Civil War."

Krugman said he has always been infatuated by the "symbolism" of Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, with "Lee the patrician in his dress uniform," compared to General Grant, who was "still muddy and disheveled from hard riding." Krugman is apparently unaware that in 1860, on the eve of the war, Robert E. Lee was in his thirty-second year as an officer in the United States Army, performing mostly as a military engineer. He was hardly a "patrician" or member of a ruling class. Grant, by contrast, was the overseer of an 850-acre slave plantation owned by his wealthy father-in-law. The plantation, located near St. Louis, was known as "White Haven" (which sounds like it could have been named by the KKK) and is today a national park. (On the "White Haven" Web site the National Park Service euphemistically calls Grant the "manager" of the slave plantation rather than the more historically-accurate word "overseer").

In 1862 Lee freed the slaves that his wife had inherited, in compliance with his father-in-law’s will. Grant’s White Haven slaves were not freed until an 1865 Missouri emancipation law forced Grant and his father-in-law to do so. The fact that Lee changed clothes before formally surrendering did not instantly turn the 36-year army veteran into a "patrician," contrary to the "all-knowing" Krugman’s assertion.

Krugman goes on to assert that the North’s victory in the war was a victory in "manners" by a region that "excelled at the arts of peace." Well, not really. What the North "excelled" in was the waging of total war on the civilian population of the South. The Lincoln administration instituted the first federal military conscription law, and then ordered thousands of Northern men to their death in the savage and bloody Napoleonic charges that characterized the war. When tens of thousands of Northern men deserted, the Lincoln administration commenced the public execution of deserters on a daily basis. When New Yorkers rioted in protest of military conscription, Lincoln ordered 15,000 soldiers to the city where they murdered hundreds, and perhaps thousands of draft protesters (See Iver Bernstein, The New York City Draft Riots). It also recruited thousands of European mercenaries, many of whom did not even speak English, to arm themselves and march South to supposedly teach the descendants of James Madison, Patrick Henry, and Thomas Jefferson what it really meant to be an American. Lee Kennett, biographer of General William Tecumseh Sherman, wrote of how many of Lincoln’s recruits were specially suited for pillaging, plundering and raping: "the New York regiments were . . . filled with big city criminals and foreigners fresh from the jails of the Old World" (Lee Kennett, Marching Through Georgia, p. 279).

The North waged war on Southern civilians for four long years, murdering at least 50,000 of them according to historian Jeffrey Rogers Hummel. It bombed cities like Atlanta for days at a time when they were occupied by no one but civilians, and U.S. Army soldiers looted, ransacked, and raped their way all throughout the South. The "arts of peace" indeed.

As for the war being a victory of "manners," as Krugman says, consider this: When the women of New Orleans refused to genuflect to U.S. Army troops who were occupying their city and killing their husbands, sons and brothers, General Benjamin "Beast" Butler issued an order that all the women of that city were to henceforth be treated as prostitutes. "As the officers and soldiers of the United States have been subject to repeated insults from the women . . . of New Orleans," Butler wrote in his General Order Number 28 on May 15, 1862, "it is ordered that thereafter when any female shall, by word, gesture, or movement, insult or show contempt for any officer or soldier of the United States, she shall be regarded and held liable to be treated as a woman of the town plying her avocation." Butler’s order was widely construed as a license for rape, and he was condemned by the whole world. Ah, those Yankee "manners."

Krugman celebrates the victory of "a democratic nation" (the North) in his blog. But during the war the North was anything but "democratic": Lincoln illegally suspended the writ of Habeas Corpus and imprisoned tens of thousands of Northern political critics without any due process; shut down hundreds of opposition newspapers; deported Congressman Clement Vallandigham of Ohio for criticizing him; threatened to imprison Chief Justice Roger B. Taney for issuing the (correct) opinion that Lincoln’s suspension of Habeas Corpus was unconstitutional; censored all telegraphs; rigged elections; imprisoned duly elected members of the Maryland legislature along with Congressman Henry May of Baltimore and the mayor of Baltimore; illegally orchestrated the secession of West Virginia to give the Republican Party two more U.S. senators; confiscated firearms in the border states in violation of the Second Amendment; and committed a grand act of treason by invading the sovereign states of the South (Article 3, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution defines treason as "only" levying war against the states, or giving aid and comfort to their enemies).

Krugman is right about democracy in a sense: Democracy is essentially one big organized act of bullying whereby a larger group bullies a smaller group in order to plunder it with taxes. The "Civil War" proved that whenever a smaller group has finally had enough, and attempts to leave the game, the larger group will resort to anything – even the mass murder of hundreds of thousands and the bombing and burning of entire cities – to get its way. After all, in his first inaugural address Lincoln literally threatened "force," "invasion" and "bloodshed" (his exact words) in any state that refused to pay the federal tariff, which had just been more than doubled two days earlier. He followed through with his threat. This is "the kind of nation I believe in," says Paul Krugman.

April 8, 2011

Thomas J. DiLorenzo [send him mail] is professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the author of The Real Lincoln; Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe and How Capitalism Saved America. His latest book is Hamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution – And What It Means for America Today.

Copyright © 2011 by Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Today In History: The Battle Of Shiloh

From Human Events:

April 06, 1862

The Battle of Shiloh...

On this day in 1862, Confederate and Union armies met in Hardin County of Tennessee, beginning the two-day long Battle of Shiloh. The fight would ultimately end in a Union victory.