Independence Day is just around the corner and before it arrives I have a few choice words for a certain segment of society; specifically those who deny the truth about the Civil War, those who say the North fought a righteous war to end the evil institution of slavery, and particularly those who are seeking to remove from public view all that pertains to the history of the Confederacy.
Buckle up kiddies, the rides about to get rough!
First of all, how many of you actually know that the formal declaration of independence from England took place not on July 4, but on July 2, 1776? In writing to his wife Abigail, John Adams declared, “The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”
Right off the bat I can see how if we celebrated this day according to Mr. Adam’s hopes we would be offending a great many people already. I mean acts of devotion to God, and the public displaying of guns? What was Adams thinking, didn’t he know that these things would become politically incorrect and people would take offense? Silly Founding Father should have known better!
What America celebrates on July 4 is the anniversary of the day that the actual Declaration of Independence was voted upon and approved as the document declaring our reasons for seeking independence from the tyranny of King George III.
Therefore, all the pomp and circumstance associated with this historic day should not be celebrated by those who believe that the Confederacy represents slavery and racism and that the Civil War was fought to end slavery. In fact, they should not even get the day off; instead they should be required to work while those of us who know the true history of our country can celebrate and honor the day as it should be honored.
Why do I say this? Well, I can think of a few reasons right off the top of my head. First of all the Declaration of Independence was written by whom, if I may ask? Why, it was written by none other than Thomas Jefferson. Didn’t Jefferson own slaves? Why do you celebrate a holiday in honor of a document written by an evil slave-owner?
Then of course there is this. Who led the Colonial Army to victory over the English in the American Revolution, and then go on to become our nation’s very first president under the newly adopted Constitution? If I recall my history correctly it was a man named George Washington. But wait a minute, didn’t Washington also own slaves? So now we have a nation that celebrates a document written by a slave owner, and the principles that are contained within that document were won by a man who led an army who was also a slave owner?
That alone ought to discourage anyone with any sense of integrity to NOT want to celebrate July 4th!
But let’s take this a step further shall we? Why do you people even vote; or be allowed to vote? After all, who wrote our nation’s Constitution? Wasn’t the delegation to the convention in Philadelphia comprised of men from 12 of the 13 Colonies? In case you weren’t aware, Rhode Island did not send any delegates, so only 12 were represented, not 13.
Didn’t some of those Colonies, and perhaps even the men who represented them in Philadelphia practice slavery? Why, of the 55 delegates who attended the convention which produced our nation’s Constitution, 49%, or twenty seven of them owned slaves. Tsk, tsk, tsk!
Not only that, but these men could have abolished slavery right then and there should they have had a mind to do so. As they were already overstepping their just authority to amend the Articles of Confederation, why not go all out and include a clause in this newfangled Constitution which made slavery illegal? Yet they didn’t because they knew that had they done so the Constitution would never have gotten ratified. As it was it was ratified by, let it suffice to say, other than savory means; but that’s a subject for another day.
My goodness people how can you, if you have any integrity that is, participate in a system that was created by a good many slave owners and which also permitted slavery to exist in America?
Yet you now get your feathers ruffled over a few flags and statues of men who fought, not for slavery, but for independence from a tyrannical government? Your sense of integrity and ethical consistancy needs some fine tuning if you ask me.
Here is the truth, if you can handle it. And before I go any further I want to make it perfectly clear that I believe slavery, in any form, to be evil; a crime against mankind. But yet you don’t see the Irish going about demanding that they be compensated for the horrors they suffered as indentured servants, [i.e. slaves], during the early years of America’s history. But again, that’s a story for another day also.
The truth is that in the early years of America’s history there were slaves in America. In fact it was not a Southern State, or Colony that first passed any law legalizing slavery, it was a Northern Colony; Massachusetts which did so. In 1641 Massachusetts passed the Body of Liberties which allowed for slavery in three instances; one of them if the slave were purchased elsewhere. By the time our Declaration of Independence was written slavery was practiced in almost all of the Colonies, although it is true it was practiced to a much larger extent in the agricultural South.
Yet how did all these slaves get here? I’m certain there wasn’t a line of people back in Africa waiting to be transported away from their homes and families to become chattel slaves in some far off foreign land. Someone from America had to take a ship over to Africa and capture those who would end up as slaves. Often, and this is another overlooked fact regarding slavery, the neighboring tribes would capture those from other tribes and sell them to the slave traders. I’ll bet you didn’t know that the Oyo and Ashanti Empires, or Nigeria and Ghana as we know them today, were huge sellers of African men and women to American Slave Merchants.
Who made up this slave trade is what I’d like to discuss next. Yes a majority of the slaves sold in America ended up in the South, but they had to first be transported from Africa to the United States; so how’d they get here?
As early as 1644 the harbor in Boston was sending ships out to Africa in search of bold gold and slaves. By 1750 there were at least 150 ships sailing out of Northern ports to Africa to trade goods for slaves. So yes, the South may have been the place where a majority of the slaves ended up, but they were brought here, and fortunes made off them by Northern shipping interests.
I’ll bet you didn’t know that Brown University, that bastion of the Ivy League was build off the contributions of the Brown family of Rhode Island. And how did the Brown family accumulate all the wealth to fund the building of a university? Why slavery of course. Yet I bet that fact doesn’t stop those who condemn the Confederacy from attending the esteemed college that was built off the profits made by the selling of slaves.
Before I go any further, I bet y’all didn’t know that the White House and our nation’s Capital were built using a good deal of slave labor. If you are so upset over anything Confederate, why don’t you demand these building be torn down as well? Just asking…
The fact is that when our nation declared its independence from England, and when our Constitution was written, slavery was LEGAL in the United States. Yes that is a crime against humanity, but it is a fact that cannot be denied.
Prior to the Civil War the government of the United States did not attempt to end slavery in the South. Sure, there were abolitionists in the North who sought to end slavery; but there was no concerted effort made by the government to put an end to the institution of slavery where it currently existed.
What did raise the ire of the South was the government’s attempt to halt the spread of slavery beyond the States where it was already practiced. But why should someone in, say, South Carolina care whether a new State is allowed to practice slavery or not? After all, it doesn’t affect the commerce or industry of South Carolina; so why should they care?
It had to do with representation in Congress. The slave owning States traditionally voted Democrat, and if the newly admitted States were not allowed to practice slavery it would mean the Republicans in the North would gain a much tighter hold on the reins of power in Washington D.C. It was not so much that the South wanted to perpetuate slavery as it was a political power struggle between two political parties.
When you add to that the fact that the government had been passing protectionist tariffs for Northern industries, which the brunt of which were paid by those in the South, and you had the same scenario which led to our Founders seeking independence from England, ‘taxation without representation.’ Sure they had representation in Congress, but they were being slowly squeezed out, their numbers becoming fewer and fewer. Then came the election of Abraham Lincoln.
Lincoln was as much the straw that broke the camel’s back to the South as Lexington and Concord was to the Colonists in 1775. Lincoln was a true blue Republican and him becoming the nation’s president opened the doorway for the government to figuratively rape and pillage the South of all its wealth to benefit Northern banks and industries. South Carolina felt it had no choice but to exercise its right to secede from the Union. It was quickly followed by more States who felt that a Lincoln presidency was a threat to their sovereignty. Then when Lincoln called for troops to quell this little rebellion, four other States chose to leave and join the Confederacy.
Which leads us to the real question; why was the Civil War fought? Was it to save the Union or was it to put an end to the evil practice of slavery?
There is ample evidence to prove that Abraham Lincoln did not give a rats ass about ending slavery; his only goal was to hold the Union together at any cost; even at the cost of State Sovereignty and over half a million lives.
Abraham Lincoln is revered as one of our greatest presidents; there is a statue of him in our nation’s capital that is 19 ft tall to honor him and his face is one of four that adorns Mount Rushmore. Was Lincoln elected during a difficult period of American history? No doubt, but he had the option to let the South leave peacefully without ever firing a shot to prevent them from doing so. Lincoln chose war over peace, and the facts will prove that he didn’t care about ending slavery.
As had become tradition, upon being elected Abraham Lincoln delivered an Inaugural Address to the nation; Lincoln delivered his on March 4, 1861, a Monday. Almost immediately Lincoln sought to appease the South by saying, “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.” If you’ll note he did not say anything about allowing slavery to expand westward, something he was firmly against solely because it would allow his precious Republican Party to maintain control in Congress.
Later in his address Lincoln would say, “I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution—which amendment, however, I have not seen—has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service. To avoid misconstruction of what I have said, I depart from my purpose not to speak of particular amendments so far as to say that, holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.”
What’s this, Lincoln actually supported a Constitutional Amendment which would have made slavery a permanent institution in America? I didn’t learn about this in school, did you? What is this amendment Lincoln spoke of?
The amendment Lincoln gave reference to is known as the Corwin Amendment, which states, “No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.”
So, if all the South had wanted to do was to keep the slaves they had, all they would have needed to do was to ratify this Corwin Amendment to prevent years of war and loss of life. Why didn’t the Southern States do this, unless there was more to their leaving the Union than you have been told? Ironically, had this amendment been ratified it would have become the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and it would have made slavery permanent, not ended it as the current 13th Amendment does.
Getting back to Lincoln, there is more proof that he fought his war of aggression against the South not to free the slaves, but to bind the Union together in blood. On August 22, 1862 Lincoln sat down to write a letter to his friend Horace Greeley to clear up certain misunderstandings. Greeley was under the impression that the Civil War was being fought to free the Negroes held in bondage in the South. Lincoln wrote the following to make his reasons for the war clear, “As to the policy I “seem to be pursuing” as you say, I have not meant to leave any one in doubt.
I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be “the Union as it was.” If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views.”
To be fair, Lincoln does conclude his letter by saying, “I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men every where could be free.” Yet that is NOT why Lincoln took this country to war with itself, it was due to his personal belief that it was his job to hold the Union together at all cost.
Abraham Lincoln and the North are viewed as the liberators of those held in bondage in the South. Yet were they as benevolent towards the black man as they are portrayed by our history books? In 1831, thirty years before the Civil War began, two Frenchman, Alexis de Tocqueville and Gustave de Beaumont were sent to America under the guise of studying the American prison system. However, their goal was much loftier; to study America itself. The result of their studies is the epic two part book, Democracy in America; which by the way ought to be required reading for all high school students.
Today people say the South, the Confederacy, and all its images represent racism and prejudice. But what of the North during the period preceding the Civil War; how did Northerners view the black man; were they any more tolerant of him than were their counterparts to the South? In de Tocqueville’s book we find a hint as to how blacks were treated by the North, “…the prejudice of race appears to be stronger in the states that have abolished slavery than in those were it still exists; and nowhere is it so intolerant as in those states where servitude has never been known.”
Many of the Northern States, although there were far more freed slaves than in the South, had established segregation laws to keep the two races separate. Yes there was a strong abolitionist movement in the North that sought to end slavery, but that did not mean that they sought to put the white and black man on perfectly equal footing.
And what did Lincoln himself think about the black man? Well, let’s see. In a debate with Stephen Douglas for the presidency Lincoln made the following comments, “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.”
So even if Lincoln had fought his little war to end slavery, (which he didn’t), he certainly was not in favor of equality between the white and black races. Yet his statue still stands in our nation’s capital and his face still sits high atop Mount Rushmore, and not a word has been spoken about tearing those down. Yet war has been declared against any and all images pertaining to the Confederacy.
Don’t you find that just a tad bit hypocritical? I certainly do.
And before I finish I would be remiss if I did not speak about Lincoln’s shining achievement, the Emancipation Proclamation. Much of the glory attributed to Lincoln is due to his Emancipation Proclamation, yet were people to actually read it they might come away with a different view on it.
First off it only applied to the States that had seceded from the Union. In those States that had remained loyal to the Union slavery was untouched by this Proclamation. I also exempted those States within the Confederacy which had already come under control of Union forces. Finally, for it to have any force it required that the Northern Army defeat the Confederacy.
If Lincoln truly sought to end slavery he could have done it in just 20 words, “I, Abraham Lincoln, do hereby, with this proclamation, end the practice of chattel slavery within these United States of America.” But that’s not what he did, nor is it the reason he did it. Lincoln hoped that by his official proclamation that the slaves living in the Confederacy would rise up against their masters, causing those within the ranks of the Confederate Army to leave the battlefields to protect their homes and plantations. It was a political and militarily strategic move, nothing more. Yet Lincoln is idolized because people do not understand what his Emancipation Proclamation actually did, or why he did it.
While the politically correct condemn the name Robert E. Lee, they fail to realize that the Lee family tutored many of the slaves they owned so that they could read and write; a clear violation of Virginia Law. Nor do the politically correct mention that Stonewall Jackson also sought to educate those held in bondage.
Sure slavery was evil, and a blot upon our history, but the facts regarding who was right and who was wrong, and the real causes of the Civil War have been written primarily by those who won this conflict. Their interpretation of the period known as the Civil War is what we are taught and it takes a great deal of digging to uncover the truth. As whether or not you find gold that may be buried in your yard does not take away the fact that this gold exists, whether you choose to uncover the truth regarding the Civil War does not take away from the fact that this truth exists. You can either choose to accept it or reject it; I cannot force you to do anything. All I can do is provide evidence which contradicts the lies you have been taught.
Yet the epitome of hypocrisy, at least as far as I’m concerned, is how people today can celebrate the day which America declared its independence from a tyrant, then turn around and condemn the Confederacy for seeking the same thing. How can you celebrate the one and condemn the other is all that I’m asking.
~ The Author ~
Neal Ross, Student of history, politics, patriot and staunch supporter of the 2nd Amendment. Send all comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you liked Neal’s latest column, maybe you’ll like his latest booklet: The Civil War: (The Truth You Have Not Been Told) AND don’t forget to pick up your copy of ROSS: Unmasked – An Angry American Speaks Out – and stay tuned – Neal has a new, greatly expanded book coming soon dealing with the harsh truths about the so-called American Civil War of 1861-1865. Life continues to expand for this prolific writer and guardian of TRUE American history.