More Proof that the Government is Altering our History of the Civil War

FORT SUMTER & SLAVERY

Based on the article “Revisionism” by Andrew P. Calhoun, with an introduction by Diane Rufino

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love history and how much time I spend reading and researching historical events. I don’t want to read some liberal historian’s take on history or some progressive professor’s view of history. I want to know exactly what happened, why it happened, and the conditions, the views, the cultural norms, the customs that defined the particular time period. I look to primary documents and recordings/documentation at the time of the event, by those who were involved, who were affected, or who were witnesses.

For example, I know for a fact that the Civil War (the War of Northern Aggression; aka, the War to Prevent Southern Independence; aka, the War Between the States) was NOT started over slavery and Lincoln did not initiate hostilities with the South or invade the South in order to subjugate those states back into the Union for the purpose of abolishing slavery. Addressing slavery only became a war measure later in the war when the North realized it was losing and needed to re-energize its effort and to prevent any European powers from entering the war on the side of the South (which they were likely to do). Yet, when my husband and I visited Fort Sumter in Charleston two summers ago, I was stunned to see that the museum focused primarily on slavery and its role in the starting the war, as well as the glorification of Abraham Lincoln – the president who bravely “saved the Union.” In the book store, were there any books on why the South chose to secede? NO. Were there any books on the bravery of Jefferson Davis in his decision to head the Confederate States and to defend the principles of the Declaration of Independence? NO. Were there any books on General Robert E. Lee and his bravery in deciding to defend the rights of his state and the new union Virginia had joined rather than in subserviently going along with Lincoln’s scheme to force the southern states back into the union with the northern states? NO. Were there books on slavery? YES. Almost all the books were about slavery or about particular slaves.

I asked the woman who looked to be in charge of the museum and asked why the history presented was so clearly skewed, so biased against the South, and so historically inaccurate. She told me that the museum was run by the US Parks Service and out of the hands of South Carolina or Charleston.

There it was – government indoctrination…. a dishonest government trying to convince Americans, especially our youth and un-informed adults, that the North had only the most noble reasons for pursuing war against the South and that the South was evil and seceded for the sole purpose of protecting and preserving slavery. Of course, I should have expected this from our government. The victors get to tell the story. They get to tell the story that supports their action and conduct (including all the unconstitutional and tyrannical government action) while demonizing those they defeated.

Here is an article I found by the Abbeville Institute that explains WHY our Civil War sites are pushing the slavery narrative:

REVISIONISM, by Andrew P. Calhoun, Aug. 12, 2019 [https://www.abbevilleinstitute.org/blog/revisionism/]

Does anyone remember United States Congressman Jesse L. Jackson, Jr.? I mean, for something other than being the son of The Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. and for being sentenced to 30 months in jail for violating federal campaign finance laws.

Well, I do. It was Jackson, Jr who, in 1999, amended an appropriation bill for the Department of Interior. The language in his amendment required that the National Park Service (NPS) include mention of the ”unique role that slavery played in the cause of the (civil) war” in all their Battlefield Park presentations. Jackson’s amendment reasoned that the NPS battlefield tours were long on battle history, but short on the history of the cause of the war. He also concluded that African-American attendance at the Parks was sparse because the history made them feel uncomfortable. But, alas, there is no constitutional right to feel comfortable.

With the passage of this amended bill, the United States Government opened a historical Pandora’s Box and inserted itself into the arena of revisionism. The NPS initiated a program at their Battlefield Parks that presented the war as a fight to end slavery rather than a war between two regions of the country that were hotly divided politically and economically. By mandating their personnel promote slavery as the reason for the war, the NPS ignored a century and a half of irrefutable historical facts to the contrary.

It is well documented that the seeds for the War Between the States were sown in the 1820’s and 1830’s when Northern industrial capitalism began disrupting Southern agricultural capitalism through the imposition of discriminatory taxes and tariffs. A series of tariffs on imported goods almost led to Southern secession, and war, after the Tariff of Abomination was passed in 1828 followed by the Force Bill in 1833. Other tariffs ensued and little, or none, of the revenue generated by these tariffs ever returned to the South in the form of investment or infrastructure. By late 1860 the South had enough and South Carolina led the secession movement.

In his March 4, 1861 Inaugural Address, President Abraham Lincoln expressly declared that he proposed no interference with slavery in the States. Two days earlier, the Corwin Amendment was put forward to change the United States Constitution so as to shield “domestic institutions” in the states from any further constitutional amendment process and from abolition or interference by Congress. Although the Corwin Amendment did not explicitly mention slavery, it was designed to protect slavery from federal power. Congress proposed the Corwin Amendment on March 2, 1861, but it was not ratified by the requisite number of states because of the outbreak of the war. If slavery was the sole cause of the war, why didn’t the Northern Congress pass a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery instead of one that would protect it forever.

Four days after the first major battle of the War Between the States, the Union Congress enacted a resolution on July 25, 1861, known as the War Aims Act. It declared that the War would be fought by the North only to preserve the Union and not to abolish the South’s “peculiar institution” of slavery. Therefore, Lincoln’s own words and the actions of his government confirm slavery was not the cause of the war.

Two years after the war started, Lincoln issued his 1863 Emancipation Proclamation to announce the freeing of slaves in the North and in Union occupied areas of the South. This was a war measure designed to cause panic in the ranks of the Confederate soldiers hoping they would desert and return to their homes and farms fearing a slave rebellion. The Confederacy was not subject to Union law, a slave rebellion never materialized, and the Proclamation freed very few slaves.

Considering the foregoing, it should have been historically difficult for the NPS to proclaim that it was slavery that divided the North and South and caused a war. Nevertheless, the NPS took that position and promoted a misguided storyline whereby the North equaled good and the South equaled bad despite the fact slavery had legally existed in both regions of the country for almost 200 years by the time of the war.

To avoid potential budgetary conflicts, the NPS quickly moved forward with Jackson’s strong arm plan to revise the Battlefield Parks’ history lessons. Afterward, many social justice groups started their own versions of the “North/good—South/bad” narrative. Before long, all things Southern (in general) and all things Confederate (in particular) were attacked as racist and offensive symbols, or “reminders” of slavery. Monuments were vandalized or taken down, artwork removed, streets renamed, and some groups even suggested that certain cities be renamed. History and facts aside, the social justice warriors (SJW) forged ahead with their campaign to expunge these “reminders.” However, the reality is that one must actually experience something in order to be reminded of it and, obviously, none of today’s SJW have ever experienced slavery.

These symbols are lifeless objects that have no ability to offend or remind. People must be taught what to think about them. Through their constant moral posturing, SJW are instructing their followers how to interpret these symbols This trend continues today and is a growing social justice cancer that has now morphed into “presentism” whereby historic events of the past are deceitfully judged by current social ideologies.

In the two short decades since Jackson engineered the federal government’s foray into historical revisionism, social justice warriors have intensified their shameless politically correct efforts to transform our past and eradicate Southern history. As 18th century British statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke said: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” It is long past time to push back, resist those efforts, and reestablish that Southern history is American history.

Oh yes, I remember Jesse Jackson, Jr.

 

***  Please check out the ABBEVILLE INSTITUTE BLOG for the outstanding articles their members and contributors write, as well as for the invaluable history lessons it teaches.  The legacy of the South will live on only as long as successive generations learn and then teach that truthful legacy.   The Abbeville Institute blog – https://www.abbevilleinstitute.org/blog/ 

 

Reference:

Andrew P. Calhoun, “Revisionism,” Abbeville Institute,” August 12, 2019. Referenced at: https://www.abbevilleinstitute.org/blog/revisionism/

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Rethinking the Southern Secession Movement of 1861

SECESSION - Union is Dissolved

by Diane Rufino, July 23, 2017

The question is: Was the Civil War fought over the issue of Slavery?  I won’t deny that slavery was an issue that inflamed the passions of both sections of the country and put each at odds with one another, but it was NOT the cause of the conflict that I will refer to as the War of Northern Aggression, a war which claimed the lives of over 650,000 young Americans.

At the end of 1860, with the election of Abraham Lincoln as president, the Union was on the verge of dissolution. By the time Lincoln was inaugurated on April 4, seven states had already seceded and a new nation had been formed, the Confederate States of America (complete with a new constitution).  Following South Carolina’s lead (December 1860), Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and then Texas formally severed political ties with the Union. On April 4, Virginia held a state convention to consider secession but voted it down, 89-45. (North Carolina would do the same). Lincoln could not allow the Union to be split; he could not lose the tariff revenue supplied by the agrarian South which, in 1859, not only supplied approximately 80% of the federal revenue, but was used to enrich the industrialized North. And so, something had to be done to give Lincoln a “pretext” to restore the Southern states to the Union.

On April 12, 1861, Lincoln tricked South Carolina militia forces into firing on the federal garrison at Fort Sumter, even after South Carolina had demanded, and even tried negotiating for, the transfer of the fort to the Confederacy. The attack on Fort Sumter would provide the pretext he needed. He used the incident to characterize the southern states as being in a state of active rebellion and thus ordering troops to subdue them. On April 15, President Lincoln declared a state of insurrection and called for 75,000 volunteers to put down the rebellion and to defend the capital.  With that proclamation, four more Southern states left the Union. The first was Virginia.

Virginia did not leave the Union because of slavery; same with North Carolina. We should take particular note of this piece of history.

Virginia looked at President’s Lincoln’s Proclamation and demand for troops, and just as her leaders did when President John Adams passed the Sedition Act, she saw serious constitutional violations and contemplated how she needed to respond.

In reading the responses by Virginia’s Governor John Letcher below, you will see that he exercised all the remedies implied in the concept of State Sovereignty, Tenth Amendment, and even the Declaration of Independence:  First, he refused to comply with Lincoln’s decree – Virginia would not supply troops. That is Nullification and Interposition. And then, because the proclamation evidenced the will of a maniac, a tyrant, and an enemy of the Constitution, and evidenced the transformation of the federal government into something Virginia could no longer trust her sovereignty with and no longer wanted to be associated with, her people decided to sever the bonds which held her in allegiance. Virginia seceded.

On April 16, Virginia’s Governor John Letcher made the following dispatch to Lincoln’s Secretary of War, Simon Cameron:

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT.RICHMOND, Va., April 16, 1861.

HON. SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War:

SIR: I received your telegram of the 15th, the genuineness of which I doubted. Since that time (have received your communication, mailed the same day, in which I am requested to detach from the militia of the State of Virginia “the quota designated in a table,” which you append, “to serve as infantry or riflemen for the period of three months, unless sooner discharged.”

In reply to this communication, I have only to say that the militia of Virginia will not be furnished to the powers at Washington for any such use or purpose as they have in view. Your object is to subjugate the Southern States, and a requisition made upon me for such an object — an object, in my judgment, not within the purview of the Constitution or the act of 1795 — will not be complied with. You have chosen to inaugurate civil war, and having done so, we will meet it in a spirit as determined as the Administration has exhibited towards the South. Respectfully,

JOHN LETCHER.

The following day, Governor Letcher issued the following proclamation, which was published for the people of Virginia to read:

Whereas, Seven of the States formerly composing a part of the United States have, by authority of their people, solemnly resumed the powers granted by them to the United States, and have framed a Constitution and organized a Government for themselves, to which the people of those States are yielding willing obedience, and have so notified the President of the United States by all the formalities incident to such action, and thereby become to the United States a separate, independent and foreign power; and whereas, the Constitution of the United States has invested Congress with the sole power “to declare war,” and until such declaration is made, the President has no authority to call for an extraordinary force to wage offensive war against any foreign Power: and whereas, on the 15th inst., the President of the United States, in plain violation of the Constitution, issued a proclamation calling for a force of seventy-five thousand men, to cause the laws of the United states to be duly executed over a people who are no longer a part of the Union, and in said proclamation threatens to exert this unusual force to compel obedience to his mandates; and whereas, the General Assembly of Virginia, by a majority approaching to entire unanimity, declared at its last session that the State of Virginia would consider such an exertion of force as a virtual declaration of war, to be resisted by all the power at the command of Virginia; and subsequently the Convention now in session, representing the sovereignty of this State, has reaffirmed in substance the same policy, with almost equal unanimity; and whereas, the State of Virginia deeply sympathizes with the Southern States in the wrongs they have suffered, and in the position they have assumed; and having made earnest efforts peaceably to compose the differences which have severed the Union, and having failed in that attempt, through this unwarranted act on the part of the President; and it is believed that the influences which operate to produce this proclamation against the seceded States will be brought to bear upon this commonwealth, if she should exercise her undoubted right to resume the powers granted by her people, and it is due to the honor of Virginia that an improper exercise of force against her people should be repelled.

Therefore I, JOHN LETCHER, Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, have thought proper to order all armed volunteer regiments or companies within this State forthwith to hold themselves in readiness for immediate orders, and upon the reception of this proclamation to report to the Adjutant-General of the State their organization and numbers, and prepare themselves for efficient service. Such companies as are not armed and equipped will report that fact, that they may be properly supplied.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the Commonwealth to be affixed, this 17th day of April, 1861, and in the eighty-fifth year of the Commonwealth.

JOHN LETCHER.

On April 17, in a newly-called convention, Virginia, the traditional leader of the South, made the decision to secede – 88 to 55, on the condition of ratification by a statewide referendum. Neither Virginia nor any of the other later-seceding states understood the federal government to authorize violence against member states.

Virginia’s ordinance of secession was ratified in a referendum by a vote of 132,201 to 37,451 on May 23.

On April 4, Virginia decided to remain in the Union. How did that decision preserve or extend slavery?  Virginians had been willing to endure a crushing protective tariff under President Lincoln, the likes of the Tariff of Abominations (1828). And they understood that remaining in the Union would mean that slavery would continue to be under attack by his administration. Virginia was loyal to the Union even when the government was antagonistic to her.  No, slavery wasn’t the reason the Southern states of Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina (and probably others), left the Union. It would be Lincoln’s demand for troops that would change their minds. To these states, remaining in the Union was to abandon every principle of confederation that they valued. Continued loyalty to a Union that would attack member states and being forced to take up arms against her neighbors was inconceivable and intolerable.

Slavery was the issue that caused the North to become aggressively hostile to the states of the South and to cause the South to question whether the two regions could ever have enough of a common interest to remain joined together with a government that was to serve each equally and fairly. But the independent ambitions of the federal government and the schemes and twisted ideology of its president were the direct cause of its violent course the division would take.

 

Reference:

“Governor Letcher’s Proclamation: His Reply to Secretary Cameron – State of Affairs Norfolk,” New York Times, April 22, 1861.  Referenced at:  http://www.nytimes.com/1861/04/22/news/gov-letcher-s-proclamation-his-reply-secretary-cameron-state-affairs-norfolk.html

 

Those Who are Tearing Down Confederate Monuments are Forcing Selective Amnesia on Americans

Image

ROBERT E. LEE - in front of door

by Diane Rufino, July 27, 2017

In this era when Southern (Confederate) leaders, symbols, generals, buildings, etc are being erased from our memory and history, and vilified in our conversations because of their connection to slavery, I wanted to take this opportunity to remind folks that they should really do some homework before jumping on this politically-correct bandwagon.  A history lesson is an opportunity for speech, for dialogue, for debate, for learning.  Erase history and you erase much more than the mere reminder than an event happened. Erase the memory of the Confederacy and you erase a time when states had the backbone to stand up for the principles in the Declaration of Independence (“Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness..”). Erase the memory of the Confederacy and you erase a time when states were willing to exert their natural rights of self-determination (aka, secession) rather than allow the federal government to subjugated them completely to its ambitious designs. Erase the memory of the Confederacy and you erase the last time in our nation’s history when states actually believed themselves to be the powerful sovereigns that they thought they would be under the US Constitution.

Be careful how you treat history.

Now many, it seems, are calling for the destruction of the monuments erected to Confederate leaders and Confederate generals, such as the great General Robert E. Lee.  There is no finer gentleman, no finer American, no finer human being than General Lee.  When President Lincoln tricked the South Carolina militia to fire on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1860, therefore giving him the reason he needed to raise troops to invade the South and force it back into the Union, he had some soul-searching to do. He was summoned to serve Lincoln and command the Northern Army, but then he would have to take up arms against the state he loved so much. Back in the day, one’s citizenship and one’s loyalties were first and foremost with one’s state (except, of course if you were a member of Congress). It was Lincoln’s Proclamation of April 15 that made Lee’s decision to fight for Virginia an easy one. Lincoln sent a dispatch to states such as Virginia and North Carolina, demanding that they send 75,000 troops to the Northern Army in order to invade the “rebelling states.”  Taking up arms, killing fellow Southerners, and imposing government force on his neighbors were things his conscience would not allow.  And so, he resigned the standing position he had with the government and joined the Confederate cause (Virginia voted to secede on April 17).

Lincoln had a tortured understanding of the Constitution and the South was right to resist.  Robert E. Lee, like so many other Southerns, was not a supporter of slavery and was looking forward to the day when the institution would either die a natural death (which it was on its way to doing) or would be abolished. He thought it an evil institution.  But slavery was not the cause of the hostilities that brought the War. It was government ambition, the disregard for States’ Rights, and the use of government force against member states (the ones who created the government in the first place) that initiated the violence that would claim more than 650,000 young American lives.  General Lee made the right choice. It may not have been the choice that best served our collective conscience regarding the enslavement of an entire race, but that’s not what the war was about. He made the right choice because only when states have the power to make their rightful decisions, including the decision to separate from an abusive government, can they effectively carry out the essential role that they play in our government system – to check the federal government when it oversteps its constitutional authority.

So, those who clamor to take down the statues of men like General Lee, or to erase his name from buildings and streets, take a moment to read what he had to say about slavery when the war was over: “I am rejoiced that slavery is abolished. I believe it will be greatly for the interests of the South. So fully am I satisfied of this, as regards Virginia especially, that I would cheerfully have lost all I have lost by the war, and have suffered all I have suffered, to have this object attained.”