The Truth about the Civil War, Slavery & Racism

While I am fully aware that history is written by the winners, all I ask for is a little historical accuracy in my propaganda. Did slavery play a part in the divisions that led to the civil war? Yes… but only insofar as they played a large part in the economy and culture of the southern states. As for the northern states… well we will get to that. As this is something that I have studied extensively from a historical, philosophical, and anthropological perspective… I’m afraid I can’t just let it lie there. Anyone who knows me is well aware that racist is the last word that could be used to describe me to the point that I refuse to even defend myself on that front. If my words can’t be seen as a mere overview of historical realities easily researched… cool beans. I strongly encourage anyone with an interest to actually dig and challenge these assertions because it is easy to do the research. I also don’t care much what people think about me.  As an addendum to that, it is not my goal to change opinion or even to educate so much as it is to convince people to think enough to go research things on their own.  It is only through personal examination and research that truly independent thought and knowledge bloom.

The Civil War was a matter of Sectionalism. There was a schism between the southern and northern before the war for Independence. The economy, geography, and culture were vastly different. Many concessions had to be made in order to even bring the southern colonies on board because they were never enthusiastic. Many of those concessions had to do with States Rights… including checks and balances that would prevent a large and (as the southern colonies saw it) potentially tyrannical central government. From the very beginning, there were whispers of secession, and as a random point of history – that is the meaning of the 2nd Amendment (it is not an excuse for the average individual to keep high powered assault rifles) – as our government was shaping into something that the southern states didn’t like. This can be looked at several ways.

Socially – they both thought they were on the side of angels (most do). The South believed that they were holding true to the Republican values of the founding fathers and that the North was quickly changing and embracing radical new ideas. This has some merit. Washington, Jefferson, and Madison at the very least, owned a significant number of slaves. While the South had dug in with its plantation based economy and spread into free-land such as Louisiana and Texas, the Northern states had switched from a rural to an urban landscape. Abolitionists had gotten a decent foothold in many northern states. The north had fully entered into a period of industrialization.

Politically – Upon gaining the large land mass of territories that would become the rest of this nation, the issue of states rights, individual freedoms, and slavery became big ones. There were proposals that the federal government decided what was legal for the whole of the territories and it didn’t take much to know that decision would serve as precedent for the federal government deciding what was legal for existing states. Here is where history has liked to rewrite itself though. While slavery was used as a wedge issue, it was for economic reasons – I’ll get to that in a second – rather than as a humanitarian one. Yes, abolitionists existed and were even politically active by this time… but the northern states were far more afraid of being taken over by the southern states than they were against slavery. The northern states were economically hurting – severely – and propaganda used by the abolitionists (not saying they were bad people but history is history folks) said that the southern states would use their portable and liquid assets to simply take over, just as they were taking over territories. THAT is why the federal government had to be the one to decide what happened in the territories and that was why the southern states had to be suppressed.

Economically – This is the big one! The north had invested fully in industrialization and was, in a word, broke. It was urban, supporting far too many people, and had too much overhead for its exports. Europe had industrialized quite some time before and didn’t need to import our goods but we needed a market. On the other hand, because of over-crowding, geography, and urbanization… the north desperately needed raw goods… they wouldn’t be able to produce anything if they didn’t have the raw materials. Importing them would be astronomically expensive – yet they didn’t have them on hand. Now… the south had a very different economy. They had natural resources and raw materials in abundance… but they had an advantage. Both the north AND Europe needed raw materials – esp after the slave revolts in the West Indies. They could sell cotton, tobacco, tar, timber, and other labor intensive cash crops to whomever they wanted for top dollar. They needed to import manufactured goods… and they were cheaper if they were domestic. This economic issue was why the northern states were terrified that the southern states would take over… it was a hysterical reaction to economic distress and the propaganda that the southern states would bring their natural resources and their money and just steal the industrial means. Likewise, the southern states were having just as hysterical reaction to the north’s poverty… fearing that the government would simply seize the natural resources and raw materials to feed the industrial machine. Tensions were mounting and when political bombs were being thrown into the fire… the election of President Lincoln as the representative of the very party that suggested that the federal government should determine the laws for the entirety of the territories, proposed heavy taxes and tariffs on the exporting of raw materials to force the south to trade with the north, and a party that was heavily into the very propaganda that had whipped up the hysteria of the south… they decided that the only option for them was to suceed.

Now… it would be really really easy for me to insert a really long argument here about why I think that states have the right to suceed but as that actually isn’t my point, I’m going to show some discipline.

The war – The North did not pick this war or even this fight… the South did. Why is that important? Because the North did not enter the Civil War to free slaves… the North never would have entered the Civil War at all if left to their own devices and with no Civil War… the legislation re: slavery in the territories is questionable, but they certainly never would have passed a referendum or an amendment banning it all together. That had never been the North’s goal. Slavery would have been allowed to die a natural death. After the fight was picked… the already strained economy in the North was suffering badly… especially when they could no longer get the source materials for their own exports without paying premium import prices. The South was not having economic problems. Their wealth was in land and human trafficking by and large. They traded with Europe and if they had to pay a bit more for manufactured goods – they were willing to do without some things and pay more for some things. There was another BIG problem. Because this was a fight started by the South, they had plenty of men who wanted to fight it. That was not true of the North. Again, with the issue of most Northerners not caring about the South, slavery, or any of it… the North was forced to conscript – take emigrants fresh off the boats, utilize the draft… riots were being fought over the war in the North. In the beginning… it looked very much like the South was going to win.

A very good strategist, Licoln got a very good idea.
1. Pump up the propaganda portraying the South in a negative light and appealing to the abolitionist movement to defend a protracted war that many were saying should be abandoned.
2. Impose a scorched earth policy to attack the South on their own land – destroying crops, equipment, housing, and most importantly… confiscating property.
3. Conscript slaves to rise up and fight (either as Union troops or as freed property rising against land owners as had happened in the West Indies…)
The Emancipation Proclamation was born… and doesn’t say what most people think it does. It did not make former slaves citizens. The primary purpose was to enlist “suitable” persons into the Union forces. It did not require owners to free their slaves, nor did it justify slaves rising against their owners. Union soldiers used it to sieze slaves from the property of conquered plantations. The “suitable” persons were put into the ranks… where they were not given weapons or uniforms. They were treated as camp workers and slaves for the Union army. Those who were not “suitable” were set free and left to do whatever they could to survive without means or protection. It was designed to create chaos and division. Additionally, the Emancipation Proclamation did not include Union States or any State that was not still actively fighting… meaning that any state not still actively trying to succeed in 1863 was not included – and in many cases, slavery was still legal in those states. The Emancipation Proclamation came THREE YEARS into the Civil War and even then… it did more to damage slaves and race relations than it did to help them. It was used as a weapon in the Civil War. It was aimed to cripple the economy of the Deep South and to break them.

As we all know… the North won. What does that actually mean to us today though? I get personally offended by the propaganda surrounding the Civil War on many levels. I’m southern for one thing. I’m not a racist, for another. The North not allowing the South to suceed did more to damage race relations and caused more harm than good. The Restoration of the South is a laughable term… the only way that people can understand it in modern terms is to say that we have already rebuilt New Orleans after Katrina. It would be well over 100 years before African Americans had the right to vote, share a bathroom, or even marry into other races. In the South, things were specifically done right after the Civil War to increase resentment and tension between the two races in order to make sure that there could be no healing between the divide. It was not just in the South though. The North… the vast majority of whom didn’t even want to be in the Civil War, had now been led to believe that the abolitionist movement was key. More riots. Free African Americans being hung, beaten, and always treated as well below even the lowest class of citizen. It was the larger Northern narrative that “good men had gone and died to keep free those worthless — “. And here we are today… in a society that is still divided over this issue… a society with a serious race problem that can’t be addressed because no one can openly talk about it without being attacked. Even the cold facts of history have to be redacted to fit the narrative because goddess forbid we actually face the past in order to have a future.

ne pas dire la vérité

There is something seriously wrong with our culture when Asia Argento posts pictures from people actually on the ground in Istanbul right now only to be told that she should no be posting the pictures because they are so terrible…

  • Yes!  It is terrible that they are using Agent Orange against the protesting youth.
  • Yes!  It is terrible that there are several pictures of upwards of five men beating a single protester into the ground (I seem to remember that causing riots here in the US)
  • Yes! It is terrible that a protester had his eyes gauged out.
  • Yes! It is terrible that we are all so desensitized and apathetic that we would rather just not have to see these atrocities.  In fact, I think that is worse than any of it – because in truth, the conflict in Istanbul is one that will end and one that will come again in an endless cycle of violence that marks history.  But at the point that we just don’t want to see it… that rather than being enraged at Turkey for blocking news media and trying to hide their crimes against civil rights, people are enraged that such crimes are being shoved under their noses.

I have made no secret about the fact that I have a love/hate relationship with the digital revolution that I find myself living in.  I have cautioned that we have too much access… our flood of unqualified and unedited information creates a situation where people have the illusion of transparency while knowing nothing.  Maybe I am wrong – maybe we should have been forced to see every body in Tienanmen Square.  Maybe we should see all of the rights violations in China, the attacks against the people of Tibet – Maybe we should see all of the bodies in Sierra Leon.  Perhaps a magnifying glass put on such behavior would limit it…

Or maybe Eddie Izzard is right – and we don’t care how many people you kill so long as you keep to killing your own people… so Turkey can kill its youth, genocide can continue to be ignored in Africa, the ICC can use laws written in 400 c.e. to determine whether war crimes were committed between Bosnia and Kosovo.  As long as we, as Americans, don’t have to see it… as long as you aren’t trying to invade someone who has anything we want… then we don’t want to know.

La mort de principes

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Bombings in Boston – Gun Control – Health care – Gridlock – GITMO – Corporations = People – Gay Marriage Rights… there is so much going on in our political system and yet it seems that, as “We the People” we have forgotten a few things.

 

  • Love it or hate it – this country is founded on some pretty basic principles. One of the most basic of which is that said principles apply to EVERYONE. From a practical perspective, what does that mean?

 

  • 14th Amendment = the Right to Marriage Act is unconstitutional as it is discriminatory.
  • 1st Amendment = the right to say and express what you like and hate about this government. For all you conservatives out there that keep telling the liberals to shut up and move to France (thank you Áine Snow) you might want to consider that the very forum you are using to scream and shout would not exist without the liberal mindset that you are so against. It also means that, while I come from a military family and find the burning of the American Flag to be a horrible thing, by brother – career Navy – is the first to say that his friends fought and died not only to protect that flag, but to protect the right to burn it.
  • Due Process = this does not just apply to people we like or people that do little things. It applies to everyone. All have the right to representation – and this is an idea that goes all the way back to the *gasp* Boston Massacre (which was not a massacre at all if you know your history) when a very brave lawyer stood up to defend the soldiers being accused. These soldiers were enemies of the state… yet they were afforded fair trial and due process of law because there was a strong belief that one could not found a country on principles that it did not follow.  Now we wire tap without warrants, have unmanned drones spying on our own people, have detained people on foreign soil without following the Geneva Convention or declaring the Prisoners of War but rather Enemy Combatants allowing “us” to do whatever “we” wish to them, and now even detain US citizens on US soil under the same lack of protection – even going so far as to allow the CIA (an organization formerly not allowed to work within US borders) to extract &/or kill US citizens seen as threats with absolutely no process at all.  This goes so far against the principles we were founded on that I do not even recognize this country.  I can say that, should the founding father’s get a good look – they would say that their experiment in democracy had failed.

 

  • Now – I have much to say about how far we have skewed from those principles and whether or not the Constitution even applies in many cases (I will not even start on the 2nd amendment and its gross misinterpretation) as much of the constitution was made null and void at the end of the Civil War. However, living document or no… the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are based on PRINCIPLES that can easily be applied to policy no matter the changes in society that were unforeseen when they were written. Do you think the founding fathers were unfamiliar with terrorism? The Revolution and the war of 1812 were both won by the use of terrorism and guerrilla tactics that completely ignored the prior ‘civilized’ rules of engagement. Yet their principles remained intact. What happened to ours?

vers le haut ou vers le bas – à la fois

four-loko

Four Loko (aka – and other really bad ideas)

Okay – maybe it means that I am getting better or worse – but a bit of lighter reading this time around folks.

  • Did you know that (especially when you are depressed & already prone to insomnia) mixing depressants and stimulants is a really bad idea?

I pretty much did already.  So not going to lie right now.  I am a woman of exceptional IQ – as evidenced by my ability to even type right now – and professional occupation with very bad personal habits.  I do not eat, I do not sleep, & I have been medicated by necessity for crazy chronic pain issues for – oh 14 years now.  We are talking major broken bones of the back variety – no playing games.  This is when my grandmother hasn’t finally died of her own suffering and my mother hasn’t died suddenly – shockingly – and completely… yea.

So… that said, I have really not been sleeping lately.  Medication has gone up on Dr.s orders bc of current events.  I do drink.  Maybe this is a good sign, because as I walked into my kitchen at midnight to make a drink – which I am still drinking which says a certain degree about how good of a sign it can be – I realized that part of my problem is possibly that I drink prob 2 pots of Cuban -> Turkish roast coffee with about two shots of rum per cup.  SO a 12 cup pot – which is really 6 cups – maybe I only go through 1 or 1.5 pots a day.  Still.

  • Answer to above ?  Everybody.  They have made the selling of drinks in the US with alcohol and caffeine illegal.  Many bars no longer sell vodka/red bull for the same reason after litigation.  Yet here I am at midnight watching my roku (I refuse to do cable tv when most of what I watch isn’t even aired in the US) and drinking something that is really stupid.  Is it good that I realize that… don’t know.  The hubby goes back to work tomorrow.  Some day I must resume life as I know it.  My grandmother’s services are this coming weekend and siblings are butting into mother’s affairs when they never bothered to care whether she lived or died in life (smelling grammy’s money asks the cynic – why yes).  Perhaps key in all of this is instead of waxing morose of philosophic and cushioning myself in complete indulgent numbness – a thaw is coming.

Bloody hell.  I am not going to enjoy what is to come, but it must.  I also must pop off to the store come tomorrow to get something else to drink with my rum and some curry ingredients because I would sell my soul for some and there is not ONE Indian place in this entire <b>county</b>.