Monday, February 3, 2014

Hold the Applause: The Confederacy

When I wrote Hold the Applause: Why Abraham Lincoln was No Hero 2 months ago, I intended to make this a recurring theme/series. I believe it is high time I revisit this idea and make it a reality.

Today, we will examine the other side of the Civil War - the South. (I should note that I will delve into other areas with this theme than just the Civil War soon.) While our textbooks do teach us that the South was fighting to simply keep their slaves, some in America today idolize the South for their fight for federalism.

For the first time in this blog, I will defend the textbooks' views. As much as I think for the North, the war was about survival, I would say that for most of the Confederacy, the war truly was about protecting the institution of slavery.

For years prior to the Civil War, southern states were nervous about alleged northern conspiracies to gain a competitive edge against slavery through seemingly harmless bills, such as what was on full display during the 1837 tariff crisis. Whether the South was right about these conspiracy theories, it demonstrates that they were pursuing an agenda of protecting slavery.

But the best way to see that the Confederacy truly did care about keeping their slaves is to look at what they themselves said. Simply look at the very words of the Confederate Constitution. 
“Our new government is founded…upon the great truth that the Negro is not the equal of a white man.  That slavery—subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition."   

Furthermore, in response to the Emancipation Proclamation, Jefferson Davis published this edict, 
“On and after February 22, 1863, all free negroes within the limits of the Confederacy shall be placed on slave status."

The South stood up for the atrocity of slavery, while the North stood up for little at all. So, typical cynical Ryan would like to remind you that when it comes to the Civil War, we should not applaud either side, as neither stood up for what was right.

(All quotations found in Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen's book, A Patriot's History of the United States.)

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