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The Confederate flag: no more representative of racism than the Union flag....
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calitennis127 Offline
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The Confederate flag: no more representative of racism than the Union flag....
The clamoring and whining for every vestige of Confederate identity to be removed from the public square was entirely predictable, but it is still nonetheless pathetic and hypocritical. It is first and foremost a movement being led by people whose knowledge of the Civil War is utterly nonexistent. Most of these people are Northerners who have been educated in the North (like myself), and all most of them can ever do in situations like this is whine and prate about how racist the South is. These people are utter hypocrites. The de facto segregation in the North is plain as day to anyone who lives there, and the black-white racial tensions are fundamentally the same in the North as they are in the South; just look at the Democratic haven of Baltimore for very recent evidence.

Under the Union flag, American troops displaced Native Americans and nuked two Japanese cities while holding Japanese people in internment camps. Whatever one thinks of the wisdom of either of those policies is irrelevant for this conversation. The point is that you can find countless examples of racial discrimination associated with the North going back to colonial days, the War Between the States, and beyond. But then, one might say, the American flag represents so much more than just that; let's look at the positive.

Well then how about we give the South the benefit of the doubt and take the word of Southerners when they say that their flag represents more than just racism?

I'll hold my breath on that one.

To conclude, I will quote Alexis de Tocqueville in Democracy in America (1835), the great book he wrote when he visited America. This is the dirty little secret you won't hear from the Ivy League or anyone in the major media:

"The prejudice of race appears to be stronger in the states that have abolished slavery than in those where it still exists; and nowhere is it so intolerant as in those states where servitude has never been known."

Ahem, Massachusetts.
(This post was last modified: 25-Jun-2015 10:20 AM by calitennis127.)
25-Jun-2015 10:18 AM
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federberg Offline
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RE: The Confederate flag: no more representative of racism than the Union flag....
Is your history really this deficient or are you just looking for polemic? Are you aware that South Carolina replaced their flag in the 50s with the confederate flag in protest at the coming repeal of Jim Crow laws? Are you aware that those laws were fundamentally racist?

It may be the case that some Southerners have since chosen to look at the flag as a representation of Southern pride, but that was not why the flag was initially brought back. The original motive was racist, this is NOT about the civil war, it is about a reactionary response to the civil rights movement No No

Regarding the manifestation of racism in the North versus the South. I completely agree with you. It might be more subtle but it has been just as pervasive and damaging to African American society
(This post was last modified: 25-Jun-2015 10:39 AM by federberg.)
25-Jun-2015 10:38 AM
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calitennis127 Offline
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RE: The Confederate flag: no more representative of racism than the Union flag....
(25-Jun-2015 10:38 AM)federberg Wrote:  Is your history really this deficient or are you just looking for polemic?

No, is your history really this deficient? The overall point that I made - which you did not address - is that the Confederate flag has no more connotation of racism if you look at actual history than does the Union flag. It makes no sense to single out the Confederate flag for racism, simply because of the issue of slavery. At the time that slavery was going on, the North had "Black Codes" which were identical to the Jim Crow practices.

To quote historian Eugene Berwanger in his discussion of how blacks were treated in the pre-Civil War North:

"They were either excluded from railway cars, omnibuses, stagecoaches, and steamboats or assigned to special 'Jim Crow' sections; they sat, when permitted, in secluded and remote corners of theaters and lecture halls; they could not enter most hotels, restaurants, and resorts, except as servants. Moreover, they were often educated in segregated schools, punished in segregated prisons, nursed in segregated hospitals, and buried in segregated cemeteries."

So should we take down the Union flag because of this? Should we Northerners take down the Union flag because we nuked two Japanese cities, expelled Native Americans, persecuted blacks, and supported the Fugitive Slave Act?

(25-Jun-2015 10:38 AM)federberg Wrote:  Are you aware that South Carolina replaced their flag in the 50s with the confederate flag in protest at the coming repeal of Jim Crow laws? Are you aware that those laws were fundamentally racist?

Are you aware that Union solders raped black women in mass in Columbia, South Carolina during Sherman's rampage through the South? Are you aware that Abraham Lincoln held a meeting in August of 1862 with American black leaders in which he discussed with them how they would lead a colonization movement out of the country to take their people back to Africa?

Are you aware that the Jim Crow laws came into existence because of the vicious and hypocritical behavior of the North's military occupation of the South during so-called "Reconstruction"?

(25-Jun-2015 10:38 AM)federberg Wrote:  It may be the case that some Southerners have since chosen to look at the flag as a representation of Southern pride, but that was not why the flag was initially brought back. The original motive was racist, this is NOT about the civil war, it is about a reactionary response to the civil rights movement No No

Only in your mind, because you swallow the lies of the American media hook, line, and sinker. The Civil Rights Movement you speak of has accomplished precious little in Northern cities. Just look at the social situation in Baltimore and Chicago. Is that something to be proud of?

(25-Jun-2015 10:38 AM)federberg Wrote:  Regarding the manifestation of racism in the North versus the South. I completely agree with you. It might be more subtle but it has been just as pervasive and damaging to African American society

Actually, it hasn't been more subtle. That is the remark of someone who really hasn't look at the history very closely. I will just give you two samples.

Lincoln in his First Inaugural address of March 1861, one month before the war started:

"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."

So there is holy Abraham Lincoln explicitly telling the Southern states that he had no problem with slavery and would even support a constitutional amendment that would forever prohibit the federal government from ending slavery.

How about this one from Lincoln's Secretary of State William Seward, quipping about the farcical "Emancipation Proclamation" which freed no one?

"We show our sympathy with slavery by emancipating slaves where we cannot reach them and holding them in bondage where we can set them free."

It is people like Lincoln and Seward who represent the successful Union side. So should we do away with the Union flag as well?
(This post was last modified: 25-Jun-2015 12:59 PM by calitennis127.)
25-Jun-2015 12:57 PM
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Kirijax Offline
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RE: The Confederate flag: no more representative of racism than the Union flag....
When you pull pranks, you'll get smacked around.

[Image: giphy.gif]

That's all I have to say about this thread.

[Image: imageedit_5_7890556726a_zpsigv0fbdw.jpg] Mark your spot on the Tennis Frontier map!
25-Jun-2015 01:02 PM
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federberg Offline
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RE: The Confederate flag: no more representative of racism than the Union flag....
Perhaps I'm misunderstanding why you're raising this particular issue. If that's the case my bad. But I'm sure you can understand why I responded the way I did because of the situation in South Carolina. If you are making a general statement of the racism of Unionist America versus Confederate America then that's a deeper conversation, and in principle I don't disagree that the racism in the Northern States is on a par. Whether slavery is explicitly condoned in law as with the Confederacy or by aggressively denying opportunity as has been the case for most of America's history since the civil war it can amount to almost the same thing. Almost...

But if your thread is specifically targeting the South Carolina flag. Then I utterly disagree with you. The flag in South Carolina represents resistance to desegregation laws. And while it is understandable that ignorant Southerners might conflate the original meaning of the Confederate flag with the more recent reactionary motives of South Carolina politicians it is not ok to say the South Carolina flag is no worse than the Stars and Stripes.

Note here.. I'm talking about the South Carolina flag, not the Confederate flag..
25-Jun-2015 01:53 PM
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calitennis127 Offline
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RE: The Confederate flag: no more representative of racism than the Union flag....
(25-Jun-2015 01:02 PM)Kirijax Wrote:  When you pull pranks, you'll get smacked around.

[Image: giphy.gif]

That's all I have to say about this thread.


That's a comment made by someone who doesn't know anything about history and fears logic.
25-Jun-2015 10:26 PM
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Riotbeard Offline
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RE: The Confederate flag: no more representative of racism than the Union flag....
Alright, I will give my bona fides. Grew up in Alabama (went to a high school with a confederate soldier for the mascot), went to college in Charleston, South Carolina (Have tons of friends from SC), live in New Orleans, have a master's degree in southern U.S. history focusing on the politics and ideology during the lead up to the civil war, and writing a PhD dissertation on the same.

First, before dealing with this history (a good deal of which Cali is right about). Plenty of southerners want the flag to be taken down. First, I would guess almost every black southerner thinks the flag is racist. Second, plenty of white southerners do to. A lot of southerners and south carolinians want the flag to be taken down, hence why all the republican leadership in state, supports taking it down. Glenn McConnell, President of the College of Charleston, former leader of the state senate, and the main defender of the flag during the initial controversy 15 years, agreed that it needs to be taken down, because doesn't mean the same thing to everyone. Also, it was put up during the battles over segregation, so at least, people 50 years ago used it as a symbol of defiance against desegregation. Plenty of southerners who like the flag are not racist, but it certainly has been used as such by others. It was the battle flag of the army fighting for the government created to protect slavery. So most of the people who like the flag ignore that very real part of its history in favor of some sort of narrative of valor and ancestry. The main thing is, though, it is seen as a symbol of racism by tons of people in the state. So, you do get wrong, who wants it down. 99% of my facebook friends are southerners (a good chunk living in Charleston) and I have seen no one defend keeping the flag up.

I will agree with your general premise that the North's racial history is really rough as well, maybe not equally bad as they abolished slavery 50 years before the South and never had nearly as many slaves, but they don't have much of a leg to stand on. There is a hypocrisy by northerners when they talk about the South's past and present, but that doesn't make the flag good. I have a friend who moved from Birmingham to Chicago, and he was shocked by the racism. It just plays out very differently. That has nothing to do with southerners wanting the flag taken down.

To me all the confederate reverence is a bunch of garbage and stupid. I have no relationship to that crap. It was a dumb war 150 years ago and it still is. The South's leading politicians were stupid just on a tactical basis. Tons of southerners during the civil war did not support the cause (David Williams, Bitterly Divided: The South's Inner Civil War, http://www.amazon.com/Bitterly-Divided-S...1595584757 ).

As far as pulling down monuments, I do not agree with doing it. I think a more useful approach would be to add a lot oof information about the moment these statues and monuments were built and what they say about the South's racial history. It's like plantations are used to learn about the horrors of slavery. These statues could be used to teach about the new South's post-reconstruction racial history and confederate memory (David Blight's Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory, http://www.amazon.com/Race-Reunion-Civil...74008197). That would be more productive and educational. It would be a way of teaching about the South's dark past instead of just white washing it.
(This post was last modified: 27-Jun-2015 04:02 PM by Riotbeard.)
27-Jun-2015 02:09 PM
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federberg Offline
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RE: The Confederate flag: no more representative of racism than the Union flag....
^Very good summary Riot. I'm glad someone over there was able to corroborate my understanding of the provenance of that flag in recent South Carolinian history.

As an aside.. more of a question really. My understanding of the civil war is that the narrative of a war of emancipation was only the superficial reason. The rationale I have from Lincoln's perspective is that the primacy of the Federation was tested by the Southern States. In effect it was a war about what sort of United States of America would evolve. Either one where the States retained a lot of power, and independence or alternatively, Lincoln's vision, where the Federation was unquestionably the ultimate authority Centralisation versus decentralisation if you will. I believe Lincoln made the point a few times during the war, that if the South would just accept the authority of the centre, he would be willing to negotiate a settlement which would tolerate continued slavery, but with the express provision that it could not be expanded into the new States in the west. Is that about right?
27-Jun-2015 04:02 PM
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RE: The Confederate flag: no more representative of racism than the Union flag....
(27-Jun-2015 04:02 PM)federberg Wrote:  ^Very good summary Riot. I'm glad someone over there was able to corroborate my understanding of the provenance of that flag in recent South Carolinian history.

As an aside.. more of a question really. My understanding of the civil war is that the narrative of a war of emancipation was only the superficial reason. The rationale I have from Lincoln's perspective is that the primacy of the Federation was tested by the Southern States. In effect it was a war about what sort of United States of America would evolve. Either one where the States retained a lot of power, and independence or alternatively, Lincoln's vision, where the Federation was unquestionably the ultimate authority Centralisation versus decentralisation if you will. I believe Lincoln made the point a few times during the war, that if the South would just accept the authority of the centre, he would be willing to negotiate a settlement which would tolerate continued slavery, but with the express provision that it could not be expanded into the new States in the west. Is that about right?

It's a complicated question. Certainly the North did not fight a war to end slavery. That eventually became an aim, but that had more to with international politics than anything. Why South Carolina seceded is complicated. No major historian I can think of argues it was for the defense of a theory of government (aka state's rights). Before the Civil War, Northern and Southern politicians had played the State's Rights card at various times. South Carolina seceded (the first to do so), because Lincoln won the election, and they believed that doomed the institution of slavery. The legal argument they used to defend this choice was state's rights. Mississippi quickly seceded after with a strong (roughly 60% if memory serves) majority afterward. Mississippi in the document explaining secession, explicitly stated the need to protect slavery, because only Africans could work in the sub-tropical climate. Then Alabama (With a strong majority but less than Mississippi). In the first round (before shots had been fired), Georgia, Florida and Texas seceded. All of them felt the pressure of choosing a side. The other four states in the confederacy only seceded once a war had started.

The only significant changes made to the U.S. constitution when turned into the confederate constitution were provisions to forever protect slavery and stronger fugitive slave laws.

Lincoln certainly was a racist (as was 99% of the U.S. at that time), but he did oppose slavery as a free-soiler.

So for the South, it was certainly a war to protect slavery. For the North, it was to keep the Union together, and the nature of the federal government's relationship to the states definitely changed with the conclusion of the war. But if the North had had a quick victory, it is unlikely much would have changed in the governance of the U.S.

I wrote my bachelor's thesis on secession. My actual dissertation in on scientific and medical theories of race, and their relationship to politics in the antebellum U.S.

To give a shameless plug, I was interviewed recently for Slate.com's Slate Academy: the History of American Slavery. Hint, I am the man's name on episode 7 that is going to come out in August. http://www.slate.com/articles/slate_plus...my_history . Other than me (not false modesty, but accurate), many of the scholars consulted are some of the biggest names in the history of slavery. It costs money but there is a two week free trial, so you could wait until the entire podcast has come out.
(This post was last modified: 27-Jun-2015 06:53 PM by Riotbeard.)
27-Jun-2015 06:37 PM
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1972Murat Offline
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RE: The Confederate flag: no more representative of racism than the Union flag....
Not to hijack the thread, but secession has always been a fascinating subject for me. Riot, is it possible for a state to legally vote to secede from the union today?

27-Jun-2015 08:35 PM
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RE: The Confederate flag: no more representative of racism than the Union flag....
(27-Jun-2015 06:37 PM)Riotbeard Wrote:  
(27-Jun-2015 04:02 PM)federberg Wrote:  ^Very good summary Riot. I'm glad someone over there was able to corroborate my understanding of the provenance of that flag in recent South Carolinian history.

As an aside.. more of a question really. My understanding of the civil war is that the narrative of a war of emancipation was only the superficial reason. The rationale I have from Lincoln's perspective is that the primacy of the Federation was tested by the Southern States. In effect it was a war about what sort of United States of America would evolve. Either one where the States retained a lot of power, and independence or alternatively, Lincoln's vision, where the Federation was unquestionably the ultimate authority Centralisation versus decentralisation if you will. I believe Lincoln made the point a few times during the war, that if the South would just accept the authority of the centre, he would be willing to negotiate a settlement which would tolerate continued slavery, but with the express provision that it could not be expanded into the new States in the west. Is that about right?

It's a complicated question. Certainly the North did not fight a war to end slavery. That eventually became an aim, but that had more to with international politics than anything. Why South Carolina seceded is complicated. No major historian I can think of argues it was for the defense of a theory of government (aka state's rights). Before the Civil War, Northern and Southern politicians had played the State's Rights card at various times. South Carolina seceded (the first to do so), because Lincoln won the election, and they believed that doomed the institution of slavery. The legal argument they used to defend this choice was state's rights. Mississippi quickly seceded after with a strong (roughly 60% if memory serves) majority afterward. Mississippi in the document explaining secession, explicitly stated the need to protect slavery, because only Africans could work in the sub-tropical climate. Then Alabama (With a strong majority but less than Mississippi). In the first round (before shots had been fired), Georgia, Florida and Texas seceded. All of them felt the pressure of choosing a side. The other four states in the confederacy only seceded once a war had started.

The only significant changes made to the U.S. constitution when turned into the confederate constitution were provisions to forever protect slavery and stronger fugitive slave laws.

Lincoln certainly was a racist (as was 99% of the U.S. at that time), but he did oppose slavery as a free-soiler.

So for the South, it was certainly a war to protect slavery. For the North, it was to keep the Union together, and the nature of the federal government's relationship to the states definitely changed with the conclusion of the war. But if the North had had a quick victory, it is unlikely much would have changed in the governance of the U.S.

I wrote my bachelor's thesis on secession. My actual dissertation in on scientific and medical theories of race, and their relationship to politics in the antebellum U.S.

To give a shameless plug, I was interviewed recently for Slate.com's Slate Academy: the History of American Slavery. Hint, I am the man's name on episode 7 that is going to come out in August. http://www.slate.com/articles/slate_plus...my_history . Other than me (not false modesty, but accurate), many of the scholars consulted are some of the biggest names in the history of slavery. It costs money but there is a two week free trial, so you could wait until the entire podcast has come out.

Wow! Thanks Riot. Very interesting indeed. I'm a history nut, so I've acquired most of my knowledge from reading and watching documentaries. Always good to get a more scholastic opinion. Smile
28-Jun-2015 03:02 AM
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RE: The Confederate flag: no more representative of racism than the Union flag....
As an aside, I thought Obama's eulogy in Charleston is one of the great speeches of the 21st century. He can orate like few can! Wow...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RK7tYOVd0Hs
28-Jun-2015 01:24 PM
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calitennis127 Offline
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RE: The Confederate flag: no more representative of racism than the Union flag....
(25-Jun-2015 01:53 PM)federberg Wrote:  Perhaps I'm misunderstanding why you're raising this particular issue. If that's the case my bad. But I'm sure you can understand why I responded the way I did because of the situation in South Carolina. If you are making a general statement of the racism of Unionist America versus Confederate America then that's a deeper conversation, and in principle I don't disagree that the racism in the Northern States is on a par. Whether slavery is explicitly condoned in law as with the Confederacy or by aggressively denying opportunity as has been the case for most of America's history since the civil war it can amount to almost the same thing. Almost...

Federberg, this is strictly an issue of logic: if we are going to argue that the Confederate flag represents nothing but racism, then we must argue that the Union flag represents nothing but racism. Under the banner of the Union flag, the U.S. government has been the only government in the world to use nuclear weapons against another nation-state whose nationals were being kept in internment camps inside the U.S. The American government has also needlessly killed tens of thousands of Vietnamese villagers and Iraqi tribesmen. Not to mention the U.S. government's history of expelling Native Americans from their lands and also having very tense relations with African-Americans.

Logically speaking, there is no grounds for saying that the American flag is any less "racist" than the Confederate flag, something which Louis Farakhan hilariously referenced in a recent tirade.

(25-Jun-2015 01:53 PM)federberg Wrote:  But if your thread is specifically targeting the South Carolina flag. Then I utterly disagree with you. The flag in South Carolina represents resistance to desegregation laws.

So what? The most segregated cities in America are all in the North. Northerners pat themselves on the back for being progressive and non-racist because they don't use the n-word or go hunting, but in their life choices they are identical to Southerners. They avoid black areas and send their kids to pretty much all-white schools. I know as a native Northerner.

Read my thread on Jonathan Kozol's analysis of the American education system please before you comment any more on segregation in America. You should worry about segregation in Chicago, New York, Detroit, LA, and D.C. before segregation in Charleston.
(This post was last modified: 01-Jul-2015 03:35 PM by calitennis127.)
01-Jul-2015 02:32 PM
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calitennis127 Offline
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RE: The Confederate flag: no more representative of racism than the Union flag....
(27-Jun-2015 02:09 PM)Riotbeard Wrote:  First, before dealing with this history (a good deal of which Cali is right about). Plenty of southerners want the flag to be taken down. First, I would guess almost every black southerner thinks the flag is racist.

Do you have any Northern black friends or associates? Many of them will tell you the same thing about the American flag. I recommend that you watch these videos of Louis Farakhan's recent hilarious tirade about the American flag needing pulled down and Lil Wayne trampling on the American flag:







(This post was last modified: 01-Jul-2015 03:34 PM by calitennis127.)
01-Jul-2015 02:44 PM
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calitennis127 Offline
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RE: The Confederate flag: no more representative of racism than the Union flag....
(27-Jun-2015 06:37 PM)Riotbeard Wrote:  It's a complicated question. Certainly the North did not fight a war to end slavery. That eventually became an aim, but that had more to with international politics than anything. Why South Carolina seceded is complicated. No major historian I can think of argues it was for the defense of a theory of government (aka state's rights). Before the Civil War, Northern and Southern politicians had played the State's Rights card at various times.

That is simply incorrect. The "states' rights" theory was a genuinely believed and firmly held principle going back to Johannes Althusius. It was much more than a "card" to be played.

As a student of history, you should know about the 1812 debates in the New England states over whether they should secede (which they very nearly did), and you should also know about the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions in which Jefferson established a right of nullification for the states.

You don't hear about this in conventional history courses because the average professor (North and South) is a believer in the current welfare/therapeutic state and someone who can't try to understand an issue without somehow tying it to racism, since anti-racism is the post-Christian religion of the West. The foremost American historian today and the one who has influenced most historians on the war is Eric Foner, a Marxist from Columbia whose father was in the American Communist Party and who remarked in 1991 that the Soviet Union should do to its splintering republics what Lincoln did to the South.

I wonder where his sympathies lie.
01-Jul-2015 03:00 PM
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RE: The Confederate flag: no more representative of racism than the Union flag....
(01-Jul-2015 03:00 PM)calitennis127 Wrote:  
(27-Jun-2015 06:37 PM)Riotbeard Wrote:  It's a complicated question. Certainly the North did not fight a war to end slavery. That eventually became an aim, but that had more to with international politics than anything. Why South Carolina seceded is complicated. No major historian I can think of argues it was for the defense of a theory of government (aka state's rights). Before the Civil War, Northern and Southern politicians had played the State's Rights card at various times.

That is simply incorrect. The "states' rights" theory was a genuinely believed and firmly held principle going back to Johannes Althusius. It was much more than a "card" to be played.

As a student of history, you should know about the 1812 debates in the New England states over whether they should secede (which they very nearly did), and you should also know about the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions in which Jefferson established a right of nullification for the states.

You don't hear about this in conventional history courses because the average professor (North and South) is a believer in the current welfare/therapeutic state and someone who can't try to understand an issue without somehow tying it to racism, since anti-racism is the post-Christian religion of the West. The foremost American historian today and the one who has influenced most historians on the war is Eric Foner, a Marxist from Columbia whose father was in the American Communist Party and who remarked in 1991 that the Soviet Union should do to its splintering republics what Lincoln did to the South.

I wonder where his sympathies lie.

Of course, I know about that stuff (that's what I meant when I said Northern and Southern politicians had played that card). I also agree that State's rights was a commonly accepted position on the relations between states and federal government.

However, there is a difference in saying that state's rights was the legal reasoning for secession (completely agree), and saying that's the why for secession. State's did not secede over constitutional legal theory. They seceded because as they put it, northern states weren't enforcing the fugitive slave law (true), and they feared that the election of Republicans would spell the end of slavery, starting with ending its expansion into free states.

Here is a quote from the first substantive paragraph of Mississippi's "
A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union.":

"Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin."

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/csa_missec.asp

What say you say about Foner may be true. Lefty, sure. I know people who know him and I haven't heard he was a communist, but who knows. He may have been 25 years ago and changed his minds also. There are (in)famous communist historians of the U.S. South (Biggest name would be Eugene Genovese, who was ironically a communist catholic). But your argument is a red-herring. Discredit him by discussing his sources or going through his notes/evidence, not his contemporary political views. Every historian has an ideology, but Foner does deal heavily in primary sources, so prove his evidence is poor. That is the duty of good scholarship.
08-Jul-2015 08:21 AM
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Riotbeard Offline
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RE: The Confederate flag: no more representative of racism than the Union flag....
(01-Jul-2015 02:44 PM)calitennis127 Wrote:  
(27-Jun-2015 02:09 PM)Riotbeard Wrote:  First, before dealing with this history (a good deal of which Cali is right about). Plenty of southerners want the flag to be taken down. First, I would guess almost every black southerner thinks the flag is racist.

Do you have any Northern black friends or associates? Many of them will tell you the same thing about the American flag. I recommend that you watch these videos of Louis Farakhan's recent hilarious tirade about the American flag needing pulled down and Lil Wayne trampling on the American flag:

First, this is irrelevant to the discussion at hand, as we are talking about the confederate flag and not Louis Farakhan (who I have seen speak in Mississippi and cannot stand). But yes, I have northern black friends.

One difference between the U.S. and confederate flag is that it has a long history associated with a lot of different events (many bad, but some good). As a battle flag for an existing country, the confederate battle flag has a very discrete history. That moment is strongly associated with slavery and racial subjugation. In the first hundred or so years following the war, it was often used as a symbol by groups hoping to maintain racial segregation, waved at lynchings, Klan meetings, etc.

I grew up in Alabama, I know plenty of white southerners who honestly view it as just a symbol of heritage and are not racist, but they don't get to decide how everybody sees it. They also usually lack knowledge about how the flag has been used in the eras of desegregation and before, so while their intentions might be pure, it should not be on government property as a representative of the culture of South Carolina. It's worth noting that this is the argument of prominent white southern republicans, even those who originally wanted the flag at the statehouse, but now see it's a divisive symbol, even if they personally see it as a symbol of heritage.
08-Jul-2015 08:32 AM
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calitennis127 Offline
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RE: The Confederate flag: no more representative of racism than the Union flag....
(08-Jul-2015 08:21 AM)Riotbeard Wrote:  
(01-Jul-2015 03:00 PM)calitennis127 Wrote:  
(27-Jun-2015 06:37 PM)Riotbeard Wrote:  It's a complicated question. Certainly the North did not fight a war to end slavery. That eventually became an aim, but that had more to with international politics than anything. Why South Carolina seceded is complicated. No major historian I can think of argues it was for the defense of a theory of government (aka state's rights). Before the Civil War, Northern and Southern politicians had played the State's Rights card at various times.

That is simply incorrect. The "states' rights" theory was a genuinely believed and firmly held principle going back to Johannes Althusius. It was much more than a "card" to be played.

As a student of history, you should know about the 1812 debates in the New England states over whether they should secede (which they very nearly did), and you should also know about the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions in which Jefferson established a right of nullification for the states.

You don't hear about this in conventional history courses because the average professor (North and South) is a believer in the current welfare/therapeutic state and someone who can't try to understand an issue without somehow tying it to racism, since anti-racism is the post-Christian religion of the West. The foremost American historian today and the one who has influenced most historians on the war is Eric Foner, a Marxist from Columbia whose father was in the American Communist Party and who remarked in 1991 that the Soviet Union should do to its splintering republics what Lincoln did to the South.

I wonder where his sympathies lie.

Of course, I know about that stuff (that's what I meant when I said Northern and Southern politicians had played that card). I also agree that State's rights was a commonly accepted position on the relations between states and federal government.

However, there is a difference in saying that state's rights was the legal reasoning for secession (completely agree), and saying that's the why for secession. State's did not secede over constitutional legal theory. They seceded because as they put it, northern states weren't enforcing the fugitive slave law (true), and they feared that the election of Republicans would spell the end of slavery, starting with ending its expansion into free states.

Here is a quote from the first substantive paragraph of Mississippi's "
A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union.":

"Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin."

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/csa_missec.asp

What say you say about Foner may be true. Lefty, sure. I know people who know him and I haven't heard he was a communist, but who knows. He may have been 25 years ago and changed his minds also. There are (in)famous communist historians of the U.S. South (Biggest name would be Eugene Genovese, who was ironically a communist catholic). But your argument is a red-herring. Discredit him by discussing his sources or going through his notes/evidence, not his contemporary political views. Every historian has an ideology, but Foner does deal heavily in primary sources, so prove his evidence is poor. That is the duty of good scholarship.


I actually think Foner is quite intelligent and I have seen him be candid about, for example, Lincoln's colonization views. What he does, however, is rationalize them in bizarre and fantastical ways in order to maintain the current myth of the Civil War. He also emphasizes certain aspects of the war in a disingenuous fashion for ideological ends. I could go into detail with a lecture I watched him give in D.C., but I don't have the energy at the moment.

As for the reasons for secession, Riot you know that it was only the first seven states that were arguing for a defense of slavery. North Carolina and Tennessee didn't even have the word "slavery" in their declarations of secession. To talk as though "states' rights" for them was merely a legal justification for slavery is not only presumptuous (in the sense that you are sticking your thoughts in their minds), but it also just is not logical based on the content of the declarations. I am someone who takes people at their word - whether it is Osama Bin Laden, Barney Frank, or Southern secessionists.

Take this, for example, from Tennessee:

"First. We, the people of the State of Tennessee, waiving any expression of opinion as to the abstract doctrine of secession, but asserting the right, as a free and independent people, to alter, reform, or abolish our form of government in such manner as we think proper, do ordain and declare that all the laws and ordinances by which the State of Tennessee became a member of the Federal Union of the United States of America are hereby abrogated and annulled, and that all the rights, functions, and powers which by any of said laws and ordinances were conveyed to the Government of the United States, and to absolve ourselves from all the obligations, restraints, and duties incurred thereto; and do hereby henceforth become a free, sovereign, and independent State."

This language is very similar to that of the Declaration of Independence and emphasizes such concepts as "free and independent people" with the right to "alter, reform, or abolish our form of government in such manners as we think proper" and then it uses the words "abrogate" and "annul" in true Jeffersonian fashion. The language of "free, sovereign, and independent state" is explicit in terms of political philosophy. And I don't see any reason why we should go the guttural route of saying "oh what they really meant was (fill in the blank)".

Lincoln's lifelong political platform was Northern-favoring mercantilism. That is why he cared about. His hero was Henry Clay. He campaigned for tarrifs, internal improvements, and subsidies. He was a president for Northern business interests who wanted a more consolidated and empowered federal government. The South was very hostile to his platform and they opposed it across the board. It did not correspond to their limited-government federalist understanding of the Constitution.

And yes, the deep Southern states were concerned about the stability of slavery, but it wasn't because there was a morally responsible abolitionist movement in the North. They didn't want slave insurrections and John Brown-inspired terrorism, and they also wanted slaves returned. If there was a morally serious abolitionist movement in the North, then this conversation would be different. But there wasn't one, and the North had been complicit in slavery as this marvelous book amply demonstrates:

Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery

And my main problem with Foner and so many other historians isn't even so much the misrepresentation of the war as it is the misrepresentation of Reconstruction. If Northerners want to complain about the KKK, then they need to look at their own bloody hands for their hypocritical exercise in repression and viciousness toward the South after the war which poisoned race relations for a century.
(This post was last modified: 08-Jul-2015 09:36 PM by calitennis127.)
08-Jul-2015 09:35 PM
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calitennis127 Offline
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RE: The Confederate flag: no more representative of racism than the Union flag....
(08-Jul-2015 08:32 AM)Riotbeard Wrote:  
(01-Jul-2015 02:44 PM)calitennis127 Wrote:  
(27-Jun-2015 02:09 PM)Riotbeard Wrote:  First, before dealing with this history (a good deal of which Cali is right about). Plenty of southerners want the flag to be taken down. First, I would guess almost every black southerner thinks the flag is racist.

Do you have any Northern black friends or associates? Many of them will tell you the same thing about the American flag. I recommend that you watch these videos of Louis Farakhan's recent hilarious tirade about the American flag needing pulled down and Lil Wayne trampling on the American flag:

First, this is irrelevant to the discussion at hand, as we are talking about the confederate flag and not Louis Farakhan (who I have seen speak in Mississippi and cannot stand). But yes, I have northern black friends.

One difference between the U.S. and confederate flag is that it has a long history associated with a lot of different events (many bad, but some good). As a battle flag for an existing country, the confederate battle flag has a very discrete history. That moment is strongly associated with slavery and racial subjugation.

Well then maybe we should inform people about the healthy connotations instead of feeding into the negative ones by having the flag pulled down because the undereducated CNN and NYT do-gooders don't know anything about the war except SLAVERY, RACISM, SLAVERY, RACISM, SLAVERY, RACISM, SLAVERY, RACISM.

(08-Jul-2015 08:32 AM)Riotbeard Wrote:  In the first hundred or so years following the war, it was often used as a symbol by groups hoping to maintain racial segregation, waved at lynchings, Klan meetings, etc.

Aren't you someone who says that we shouldn't see the real Islam as the Islam of people who perform beheadings and suicide attacks after they quote the Qu'ran and hadiths? Don't you believe that we shouldn't allow a couple ugly extremists to taint the religion as a whole?

So why should we allow Dylan Roof to taint the Southern heritage as a whole when his understanding of the war wasn't even accurate, but was the cheap public school version which taught him that the South fought for nothing but slavery? He was an alienated pill-popper from a divorced home, he dropped out of high school, and to be a rebel he started showing off what he thought was the American swastika.

(08-Jul-2015 08:32 AM)Riotbeard Wrote:  I grew up in Alabama, I know plenty of white southerners who honestly view it as just a symbol of heritage and are not racist, but they don't get to decide how everybody sees it.

So why should MSNBC and CNN and the New York Times have the right to decide while they don't? Why can't everyone just mind their own business and shut up? The flag being up doesn't affect their lives or their part of the country one iota.

(08-Jul-2015 08:32 AM)Riotbeard Wrote:  They also usually lack knowledge about how the flag has been used in the eras of desegregation and before, so while their intentions might be pure, it should not be on government property as a representative of the culture of South Carolina.

Can't the same be said of Northern Americans who fly the Union flag without being fully aware of the wretched things that have been done under its banner? Does the Union flag represent Sherman's troops raping black women? Is it fair to narrow it down just to that?

(08-Jul-2015 08:32 AM)Riotbeard Wrote:  It's worth noting that this is the argument of prominent white southern republicans, even those who originally wanted the flag at the statehouse, but now see it's a divisive symbol, even if they personally see it as a symbol of heritage.

I really don't care what the Republicans think. They are cowardly and they just want to be politically fashionable. They also don't know much of anything about the war. Of course they are going to say they want the flag down. They have read their political tea leaves and they think it is political suicide in the face of the national media to stand up for the Confederate flag. They will be called racist and their careers will be toast. Power over principle any day of the week for them.
08-Jul-2015 09:47 PM
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Riotbeard Offline
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RE: The Confederate flag: no more representative of racism than the Union flag....
(08-Jul-2015 09:35 PM)calitennis127 Wrote:  I actually think Foner is quite intelligent and I have seen him be candid about, for example, Lincoln's colonization views. What he does, however, is rationalize them in bizarre and fantastical ways in order to maintain the current myth of the Civil War. He also emphasizes certain aspects of the war in a disingenuous fashion for ideological ends. I could go into detail with a lecture I watched him give in D.C., but I don't have the energy at the moment.

Agreed, and you actually have pretty solid sense of this stuff generally, even though we don't agree on everything.

Quote:As for the reasons for secession, Riot you know that it was only the first seven states that were arguing for a defense of slavery. North Carolina and Tennessee didn't even have the word "slavery" in their declarations of secession. To talk as though "states' rights" for them was merely a legal justification for slavery is not only presumptuous (in the sense that you are sticking your thoughts in their minds), but it also just is not logical based on the content of the declarations. I am someone who takes people at their word - whether it is Osama Bin Laden, Barney Frank, or Southern secessionists.

Take this, for example, from Tennessee:

"First. We, the people of the State of Tennessee, waiving any expression of opinion as to the abstract doctrine of secession, but asserting the right, as a free and independent people, to alter, reform, or abolish our form of government in such manner as we think proper, do ordain and declare that all the laws and ordinances by which the State of Tennessee became a member of the Federal Union of the United States of America are hereby abrogated and annulled, and that all the rights, functions, and powers which by any of said laws and ordinances were conveyed to the Government of the United States, and to absolve ourselves from all the obligations, restraints, and duties incurred thereto; and do hereby henceforth become a free, sovereign, and independent State."

This language is very similar to that of the Declaration of Independence and emphasizes such concepts as "free and independent people" with the right to "alter, reform, or abolish our form of government in such manners as we think proper" and then it uses the words "abrogate" and "annul" in true Jeffersonian fashion. The language of "free, sovereign, and independent state" is explicit in terms of political philosophy. And I don't see any reason why we should go the guttural route of saying "oh what they really meant was (fill in the blank)".

Agree and disagree with this. I agree that these states did not secede for slavery, and it's fairly uncontested in the historical literature. Seceding was honestly a dumb move, in the sense that slavery through normal political channels wouldn't have likely been abolished (at least completely) for forty or fifty years more like in Brazil and Cuba. But the writing was on the wall in general in Atlantic slave societies, the era of slavery as a labor supply was coming to an end, but the war sped this up in the U.S.

Ok, as for why the four upper south states seceded. I would dispute that it was primarily a principled stand on state's rights and more of the war had started, and peace was no longer a possibility, so these states had to decide which side they wanted to fight on and the remaining slave states split 50-50. Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland (although their story is more complicated), and Delaware stayed with the Union. Virginia (with the exception of West Virginia which seceded from Virginia), North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas went confederate. Once again the legal reasoning was state's rights, but the impetus was choosing sides. Deep South secessionists wrote the confed. constitution, which is almost identical the U.S. constitution, with the most dramatic changes protecting slavery and a few that limited the power of the federal government.

Quote:Lincoln's lifelong political platform was Northern-favoring mercantilism. That is why he cared about. His hero was Henry Clay. He campaigned for tarrifs, internal improvements, and subsidies. He was a president for Northern business interests who wanted a more consolidated and empowered federal government. The South was very hostile to his platform and they opposed it across the board. It did not correspond to their limited-government federalist understanding of the Constitution.

Agreed, Lincoln was a filthy pro-business capitalist. This statement is largely true, party lines were solely formed around slavery in the obvious sense. Tariffs helped industrial production while hurting producers of raw good (The producers relied on SLAVE LABOR though!). But, the states that seceded in a time of peace did so largely for fear of Lincoln limiting the expansion of slavery and pushing the country closer to abolition. These deep south states were also the majority of the states in the confederacy (7 of 11), not to mention the top two people in CSA leadership were from the deep South. The centrality of slavery is clear in their rhetoric. See CSA VP Alexander Stevens speech, "The Confederate Cornerstone", hint the cornerstone is slavery.

Quote:And yes, the deep Southern states were concerned about the stability of slavery, but it wasn't because there was a morally responsible abolitionist movement in the North. They didn't want slave insurrections and John Brown-inspired terrorism, and they also wanted slaves returned. If there was a morally serious abolitionist movement in the North, then this conversation would be different. But there wasn't one, and the North had been complicit in slavery as this marvelous book amply demonstrates:

Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery

There was, but it was a pretty small minority of northerners. Free-soilism was much more popular though, hence Lincoln's election. Free-soilers were usually highly racist though, hence why free people of color could not even enter the state of Illinois.

I do think mainstream historians, agree that a lot of anti-slavery advocates were in favor of industrialism and unfettered, brutal free market capitalism. They wanted to modernize the economy. Few were idealists, outside of hardcore abolitionists. None of this absolves the sin of slavery and what the confederate flag stood for.

Quote:And my main problem with Foner and so many other historians isn't even so much the misrepresentation of the war as it is the misrepresentation of Reconstruction. If Northerners want to complain about the KKK, then they need to look at their own bloody hands for their hypocritical exercise in repression and viciousness toward the South after the war which poisoned race relations for a century.

This I simply don't agree with, but it is a matter of interpretation. The North should have been far harsher. What ended up happening is we had to kick the can of legal equality down the road another hundred years. While some southern whites might have suffered for ten years during reconstruction, black southerners had to suffer a century after the war. If you look at the first two years of reconstruction, before the radicals took over, the plan southerners set up was a government run forced labor regime, only slightly better than slavery.

The well of race relations had been well poisoned before reconstruction. It was pretty screwed by slavery.
(This post was last modified: 09-Jul-2015 03:02 PM by Riotbeard.)
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