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Historical Ignorance

Old 07-16-2015, 05:26 PM
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Dominant Buck
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Default Historical Ignorance

A MINORITY VIEW

BY WALTER E. WILLIAMS

RELEASE: WEDNESDAY, JULY 15, 2015

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Historical Ignorance

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*********** The victors of war write its history in order to cast themselves in the most favorable light. That explains the considerable historical ignorance about our war of 1861 and panic over the Confederate flag. To create better understanding, we have to start a bit before the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.

*********** The 1783 Treaty of Paris ended the war between the colonies and Great Britain. Its first article declared the 13 colonies “to be free, sovereign and independent states.” These 13 sovereign nations came together in 1787 as principals and created the federal government as their agent. Principals have always held the right to fire agents. In other words, states held a right to withdraw from the pact -- secede.

*********** During the 1787 Constitutional Convention, a proposal was made that would allow the federal government to suppress a seceding state. James Madison rejected it, saying, "A union of the states containing such an ingredient seemed to provide for its own destruction. The use of force against a state would look more like a declaration of war than an infliction of punishment and would probably be considered by the party attacked as a dissolution of all previous compacts by which it might be bound."

*********** In fact, the ratification documents of Virginia, New York and Rhode Island explicitly said they held the right to resume powers delegated should the federal government become abusive of those powers. The Constitution never would have been ratified if states thought they could not regain their sovereignty -- in a word, secede.

*********** On March 2, 1861, after seven states seceded and two days before Abraham Lincoln's inauguration, Sen. James R. Doolittle of Wisconsin proposed a constitutional amendment that read, "No state or any part thereof, heretofore admitted or hereafter admitted into the union, shall have the power to withdraw from the jurisdiction of the United States."

*********** Several months earlier, Reps. Daniel E. Sickles of New York, Thomas B. Florence of Pennsylvania and Otis S. Ferry of Connecticut proposed a constitutional amendment to prohibit secession. Here's a question for the reader: Would there have been any point to offering these amendments if secession were already unconstitutional?

*********** On the eve of the War of 1861, even unionist politicians saw secession as a right of states. Rep. Jacob M. Kunkel of Maryland said, "Any attempt to preserve the union between the states of this Confederacy by force would be impractical, and destructive of republican liberty."

*********** Both Northern Democratic and Republican Parties favored allowing the South to secede in peace. Just about every major Northern newspaper editorialized in favor of the South's right to secede. New York Tribune (Feb. 5, 1860): "If tyranny and despotism justified the Revolution of 1776, then we do not see why it would not justify the secession of Five Millions of Southrons from the Federal Union in 1861." Detroit Free Press (Feb. 19, 1861): "An attempt to subjugate the seceded states, even if successful, could produce nothing but evil -- evil unmitigated in character and appalling in content." The New York Times (March 21, 1861): "There is growing sentiment throughout the North in favor of letting the Gulf States go."

*********** The War of 1861 settled the issue of secession through brute force that cost 600,000 American lives. We Americans celebrate Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, but H.L. Mencken correctly evaluated the speech: "It is poetry, not logic; beauty, not sense." Lincoln said the soldiers sacrificed their lives "to the cause of self-determination -- that government of the people, by the people, for the people should not perish from the earth." Mencken says: "It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in the battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of people to govern themselves."

*********** The War of 1861 brutally established that states could not secede. We are still living with its effects. Because states cannot secede, the federal government can run roughshod over the U.S. Constitution’s limitations of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. States have little or no response.
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Old 07-17-2015, 05:11 AM
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One can't help but wonder what would have been the outcome had the Southern states simply seceded and refused to acknowledge the federal government. What if they had not started a war and just engaged in passive withdrawal? As Dr. Williams points out, there is ample precedence for the principle that a state could leave the Union and go it's own way.

Unfortunately, the end result of the Civil War was to entrench and expand the authority of the federal government.

I think it might make an interesting historical novel to start with the simple secession without military action. I would imagine that, at the time, many in the North would have stoutly resisted the idea of going to war over it. You would have to take into consideration, I think, that the British, in spite of their objections to slavery would have been considered as potential allies of the Confederacy if war occurred.
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Old 07-17-2015, 05:54 AM
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"it was the Confederates who fought for the right of people to govern themselves."

The people who believe this should go to this Brazilian town (see below) like some of the losers did after the Confederacy lost. They're not Americans, and they weren't fighting for freedom to govern themselves -- they fought to keep the institution of slavery. This was stated explicitly, and I doubt Williams doesn't know this. It's just another one of his disingenuous articles.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-33245800
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Old 07-17-2015, 06:40 AM
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FYI, the overwhelming majority in the south didn't own slaves. They resented the northerners who they felt took advantage of them and were dealing in unfair trade practices.

You might want to try something other than google like actually reading a few historical books. You might just learn something some day.
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Old 07-17-2015, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Fieldmouse View Post
FYI, the overwhelming majority in the south didn't own slaves. They resented the northerners who they felt took advantage of them and were dealing in unfair trade practices.

You might want to try something other than google like actually reading a few historical books. You might just learn something some day.
After his track record on here, do you think he is actually going to take your advice and learn something? C'mon FM, you know better than that. You just wasted a couple seconds of your life on him.
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Old 07-17-2015, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Fieldmouse View Post
FYI, the overwhelming majority in the south didn't own slaves. They resented the northerners who they felt took advantage of them and were dealing in unfair trade practices.

You might want to try something other than google like actually reading a few historical books. You might just learn something some day.
By the 1860 Census, about 26% of households in the slave states owned slaves. How is that "very small"? In states such as Mississippi and South Carolina, it was over 40%. And if you go to county officials, state legislators, and the delegates that were at the secession conventions, that number easily rises to a clear majority. Moreover, just because someone doesn't have a slave, doesn't mean they won't support the institution of slavery. If slavery was gone, they feared blacks would be put on an equal level politically, socially, and economically.
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Old 07-17-2015, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by AF Hunter View Post
After his track record on here, do you think he is actually going to take your advice and learn something? C'mon FM, you know better than that. You just wasted a couple seconds of your life on him.
The joke's on you!
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Old 07-17-2015, 07:38 AM
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Lol, you see folks, 26% is the majority when you're the product of outcome based education. 1+1 does equal 11 as long as you shoe your work.

And the clapping seals go wild.
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Old 07-17-2015, 07:42 AM
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A fascinating article. I am not a student of the Civil War or the events leading up to it - The War for Independence is more my specialty. Still I found this piece very interesting.

Moreover, just because someone doesn't have a slave, doesn't mean they won't support the institution of slavery.
Yes and no. A person might not have been able to afford a slave and maybe they would have supported the idea of slavery and maybe not. We can see similar examples today of people having to live with laws that they disagree with. For example I am vehemently against abortion, I consider it murder of the most brutal kind. And yet it is the law of the land and my tax dollars are used - against my will - to support this "institution." People (tax payers) who are "against war" may hate the idea that their tax dollars are used to fund what they see as American interventionism, etc., etc.
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Old 07-17-2015, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Fieldmouse View Post
Lol, you see folks, 26% is the majority when you're the product of outcome based education. 1+1 does equal 11 as long as you shoe your work.

And the clapping seals go wild.
States like Mississippi and North Carolina around ~40%. And the people that mattered (i.e. the ones with power) was a clear majority. I've already shown that people without slaves had an interest. They didn't want them to be equals.

You're argument is senseless. You can support something even if it doesn't affect you (e.g. Ireland's popular vote passed gay marriage). Or you can oppose something that doesn't affect you (opposition to gay marriage). Only a small portion of the population is gay, yet support for them is a clear majority now.
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