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View Diary: Saying out loud what Republicans think: Gotta oppose Obama because he's black (143 comments)

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  •  Oh, the North absolutely did not do enough (2+ / 0-)

    to help the freed slaves or to prevent the white Southerners from abusing them further.  That's unquestionable.

    But they didn't do enough to keep the South from sinking into abject poverty either.  They destroyed the South's economy -- rightly and justly, as it was built on an irredeemably evil practice -- but they replaced it with nothing.  And whether or not that was right and just, it was a bad idea, and we're still facing the long-term results of it.

    I'm curious as to what you think would have happened differently if the Reconstruction had been more punitive, rather than more, well, constructive.

    •  Fair question. (1+ / 0-)
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      No one gets out alive

      My basic issue is that "punitive" in the context of Reconstruction was essentially equated with "believing in racial equality".

      To this day many white Southern racists refer to the period after the withdrawal of Union troops as "the Restoration", an interpretation that was essentially accepted in the North until the Civil Rights Movement (one need only look at "Birth of a Nation" or "Gone With the Wind" or, indeed Thomas Nast's cartoons to see how completely and relatively quickly the Union abandoned its flirtation with racial equality.

      I think that this unfortunate development was pushed along by a unnecessarily magnanimous attitude toward former Confederates, many of whom were permitted to move into post-war positions of influence in business, politics, or in the case of Lee, academia.

      I believe, that all officers of the Confederate Army and all officials of the Confederate government should have been, at the very least, purged from public life. Some of them should have been incarcerated and some should have simply been hanged.

      As far as economic development, I think that the relative retardation of Southern development was less a product of Northern vengeance than it was of Southern intransigence.  Southern state and local governments deliberately did everything they could to keep up to 40 percent of their populations ignorant. That was not the fault of federal Reconstruction policy. That was the doing of the South itself. If one looks at the South today, North Carolina, Virginia and Florida are very different places from Mississippi, Alabama and South Carolina.  Economically the first three are far more developed. Racially, they are far more just. I believe that those two facts are not unrelated. I also believe removing the antebellum and wartime elite from positions of influence would have brought that about much faster throughout the South.

      Ceterum censeo Factionem Republicanam esse delendam.

      by journeyman on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 02:23:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  See, I can't agree with your first point (1+ / 0-)
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        unless I'm not understanding you here: who are you saying equated punitive measures with racial equality?  The North, the South, historians, other ...?

        (I'm pretty sure your second-to-last point is dead-on, though: increased economic development and increased racial justice seem to correlate across the board, not just in Southern states, and it seems very unlikely that they're unrelated.)

        •  I would say that it was seen as punitive in the (0+ / 0-)

          South and came to be regarded that way in the North.

          The Civil Rights act of 1871 (which essentially crushed the KKK) was largely regarded as oppressive by Southern Whites. This led to the Compromise of 1877, the Posse Comitatus Act and the Jim Crow South.

          Essentially, this was the triumph of the so-called "redeemers" who very much regarded egalitarianism as punitive.

          In the aftermath of the Compromise of 1877, Southern Democrats held the South’s black community under increasingly tight control. Politically, blacks were gradually evicted from public office, as the few that remained saw the sway they held over local politics considerably decreased. Socially, the situation was worse, as the Southern Democrats tightened their grip on the labor force. Vagrancy and ‘anti-enticement’ laws were reinstituted. It became illegal to be jobless, or to leave a job before the contract expired. Economically, the blacks were stripped of independence, as new laws gave white planters the control over credit lines and property. Effectively, the black community was placed under a three-fold subjugation that was reminiscent of slavery.
          Troops out. Blacks down.

          There was a direct relationship between racial equality and punishment in the eyes of reactionary southern whites, and they did everything they could to eliminate the power and influence of the freedmen, whose political and social equality the regarded as anathema, a view which many northerners came to accept in the years after 1877.

          Ceterum censeo Factionem Republicanam esse delendam.

          by journeyman on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 03:50:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  The US should have held a war-crimes tribunal (1+ / 0-)
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        ...& exposed the crimes of that gang of criminals that history calls the Confederacy to the harsh light of day & universal shame before the entire world. After all, not only were the Graycoats fighting for the right to own other human beings, but their conduct on the battlefield was basically that of brigands & pirates.

        That said, about the only thing I take issue with in your post is that this:

        ...and some should have simply been hanged.
        ...without any further context, sounds a bit too much like advocacy of prisoner reprisals or summary execution — both crimes of which the Confederacy was guilty & for which should have been punished at the kind of Nuremburg-type trial that I think was needed.

        Time once again to fight cyber-spying! Defeat CISPA!

        by Brown Thrasher on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 08:00:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Fair point. (0+ / 0-)

          I intended that they would have had a trial, but knowing that some of them were guilty of enslaving men and women, that others murdered those who had surrendered and that all of them took up arms against the USA, well, I just naturally concluded that they would have been found guilty by any reasonable tribunal.

          Ceterum censeo Factionem Republicanam esse delendam.

          by journeyman on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 04:03:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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