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Secession Sesquicentennial - Say that three times fast

150 years ago tomorrow, the State of South Carolina announced their intentions to secede from the Union, struck up the band, and started marching towards what would become known as the Civil War, and ultimately 600,000 of their fellow Americans would die trying to rectify their folly.

And South Carolina did so to preserve the institution of Slavery, and for no other reason. Certainly there was been friction between North and South on more issues than this, but none of those rose to the level of Casus belli.

So yes, you can argue "and"

As in: "South Carolina seceded because of slavery and (give your reason)"

The same way you can state: "The Titanic struck an iceberg and the conversation at the captain's dinner table was a bit tedious earlier that evening"

Yes, other things happened. But they did not matter.

Now, we live in a time of revisionist heresies being easier than ever to propagate. We have a media that is not only seemingly incapable of discerning truth from lie, but actually has no financial motivation to do so. The truth is boring. You get low audience ratings when you just speak historical truths. Go check the ratings when someone like C-Span actually has a recognized historical expert on for 90 minutes speaking plain facts. It is fascinating, educational, and all twelve of us watching are enthralled. But give the lie a studio seat and a microphone, and watch the ratings climb. And the greater and more outrageous the lie, the more spittle that hits the microphone, the louder the cash register rings.

The media derives its' very financial sustenance from that spittle covered microphone. It does not matter how outlandish, factually challenged, or just plan bat-shit wrong one side is, they simply say that these are "two opposing viewpoints" and sit back like they are King Shit of Fair & Balanced Mountain. And a lie is still half way around the world while the truth is still putting its' shoes on.

Which means secessionist revisionists and apologists are going to have a ball. You will hear them trumpet "States Rights", and "Northern Tariffs", and the description of "Free, Sovereign, and Independent States" in the Declaration of Independence and that old crowd pleaser..."Slavery was on its' way out anyways".

But we know this is all just sand thrown in the umpire's eyes. What were the reasons for secession? The Preservation of Slavery...and pretty much fuck-all else.

How do we know that? South Carolina told us, clearly, simply, and with no other possible explanation to be gleaned from their words.

Now, say what you want about the darkness in men's hearts that would lead them to support an institution as evil as slavery, that evil does not render them mute or inarticulate or ignorant of American History.

They were all familiar with the Declaration of Independence. They cite the hell out of that Document, well, at least the bits of it they think supports their evil ends, and they were also aware and proud that its' author was a Son of the South.

"...a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation..." American Declaration of Independence, 1776

So South Carolina followed suit. They declared the causes for secession in a Document the Legislature Authorized on 12/24/1860

Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union

Now I like the handy .pdf format, since it makes word searches so easy.

Let's try "Tariff", because it is such a revisionist favorite...whoops, nothing for "tariff" found.

Let's try "Taxes"...always a good starting point for rebellion. Except it is only listed as justification for owning slaves

"...The right of property in slaves was recognized by giving to free persons distinct political rights, by giving them the right to represent, and burthening them with direct taxes for three-fifths of their slaves; by authorizing the importation of slaves for twenty years; and by stipulating for the rendition of fugitives from labor...." - South Carolina Declaration of Immediate Causes

How about "property" or "Property Rights"...real crowd pleasers for throwing off the yoke of an oppressive Government.

Hmmm...well, it is mentioned three times, so it is certainly more fertile ground than "taxes" as a cause of disharmony, but the only time property is mentioned is as it relates to owning another human being.

"...The right of property in slaves was recognized by giving to free persons distinct political rights..." - Ibid

"...Those States have assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery..." - Ibid

"...whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes..." - Ibid

Damn. OK, what about "slave", "slavery", or "slaveholding"? How many times are these words mentioned?

Eight-fucking-teen, mate. And it is a short five page Document

And Jesus Christ, they don't waste any time saying who they are and what they represent. The very first reference:

"...The people of the State of South Carolina...in deference to the opinions and wishes of the other slaveholding States..." - Ibid

I mean, fuuuuck. They just jumped up on the pecan barrel and told the whole world who they were and how they defined themselves: As a slave-holding state.

Not a "State Rights" state. Not a "low taxation" state. Not even as a "we hate northern bankers" state.

"Say it once, say it loud: We're slave-holders and we're proud"

You see, they knew who they were. Slaveholders. They knew what they were rebelling against. The threat that they would not be slaveholders in the future. And they didn't bother to mince words and act coy about it.

And all the revisionist clap-trap we are about to get pelted with by apologists for secession will not change the remarkably clear words South Carolina used to make their case 150 years ago: That secession was first, last, and always a revolt against the Union to preserve and maintain the institution of slavery in the South.

To argue otherwise is to argue that words have no meaning.

PS - Oh, there is more. Wait until we get to the enlightened tome that Mississippi crafted. Here is a peek.

"...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..." - Mississippi Declaration of Causes of Secession

Jefferson Davis had a hand in crafting the Mississippi document. The same Jeff Davis who's ideas and speeches the Texas School Board thinks should be given a more prominent role next to Lincoln's

PPS - The waters do get murkier after Fort Sumter. Then we actually get a fair discussion of whether states like Virginia were motivated exclusively by wishing to preserve slavery, or also by a strong argument that secession was the only choice once called upon to carry arms against a fellow Southern State, which they would never do.

The States that seceded after Sumter (Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina) may make a case for that complexity in their ultimate decision to secede.

The states that seceded pre-Sumter, (South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas) can make no claim but the one whose flag they rallied to: Preservation of slavery.

Originally posted to Renzo Gasolini on Sun Dec 19, 2010 at 02:21 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  They're still at it, but it isn't called slavery (5+ / 0-)

      anymore.

      The states that seceded pre-Sumter, (South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas) can make no claim but the one whose flag they rallied to: Preservation of slavery

      Anyone who's a regular reader here doesn't need a long recitation of just what's gone on in the last 2 years.

      My favorite though is Haley Barbour saying that slavery was 'just a nit' in the War of Northern Ass-kicking.

      HylasBrook @62 - fiesty, fiery, and fierce

      by HylasBrook on Sun Dec 19, 2010 at 02:59:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Damn, sorry I missed this. (0+ / 0-)

      Virtually tipped and recced.

      We should open the borders and stop lying to people. -Miep, a U.S.A Citizen

      by Miep on Mon Dec 20, 2010 at 07:06:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tipped And Rec'd (5+ / 0-)

    In honor of the repeal of DADT, this signature will temporarily refrain from its usual Obama bashing. For now.

    by jazzmaniac on Sun Dec 19, 2010 at 02:34:21 PM PST

  •  Just finished this Salon article 10 minutes ago (5+ / 0-)

    http://www.salon.com/...

    On the treason of Davis --

    Jefferson Davis, however, was indicted for treason. Under the inept administration of Andrew Johnson, who bumbled his way through his presidency, federal prosecutors and Chief Justice Chase, a legal formalist, could not agree on anything beyond Davis’s indictment. Political fears and effective Northern Democrats, who had catered to Southern interests since the 1830s, led federal officials to satisfy themselves with keeping Davis incarcerated at Fortress Monroe in Virginia, where he spent a few days in shackles and later lived comfortably in a four-room apartment with his wife. After posting $100,000 in bail (raised in part from a secret Confederate fund kept in England), Davis was released; the federal government, continuing to stumble and to appease Southern demands, did not drop the case against him until early 1869. In 1978, the nation -- suffering from a bad case of historical amnesia as it often does -- restored Davis’ rights of citizenship.

    "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

    by shrike on Sun Dec 19, 2010 at 02:52:59 PM PST

  •  They seceded because of oppressive federal laws (6+ / 0-)

    Enacted by an overreaching Congress.

    There was such a law, The Fugitive Slave Act.

    Oops again.

    "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

    by Navy Vet Terp on Sun Dec 19, 2010 at 02:55:50 PM PST

  •  Very fitting that the second african-american... (7+ / 0-)

    elected to the Senate, and the first african-american to serve a full term in the Senate, Blanche Bruce, occupied Jefferson Davis' old seat. :-)

    I propose a toast, knowing that our ties subsist because they are not of iron or steel or even of gold, but of the silken cords of the human spirit. 11/9/10

    by BarackStarObama on Sun Dec 19, 2010 at 02:58:02 PM PST

    •  Blacks plus white unionists (9+ / 0-)

      Were a majority in every Confederate state except Virginia, and that was after West Virginia was cut out of Virginia.  But for 90 years the minority was allowed to rule, through terror and other extra-legal means, in contravention of the 14th and 15h Amendments for which 360,000 Union soldiers gave their lives, and by the time voting rights were restored, the Great Migration to the North had occurred.

      "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

      by Navy Vet Terp on Sun Dec 19, 2010 at 03:17:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Great point... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dave925, Wide Awake in KY

        I was taught the whole "States Rights" nonsense. Hell, my high school's nickname was "The Rebels". I was also taught about carpetbaggers and the evils of Reconstruction.

        Now I see the Reconstruction a vital step that was cut short. The Confederates were allowed back in charge and reform never happened until the death of Jim Crow nearly a century later.

        "Who is John Galt?" A two dimensional character in a third rate novel written by Alan Greenspan's dominatrix.

        by Inventor on Sun Dec 19, 2010 at 09:34:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Screw it, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wilderness voice, HylasBrook

    Next time they want to secede, we shouldn't try to get them back. Just smile and wave. "Hasta la vista, baby." Srsly: let them freaking secede. The rest of the country will get along just fine without them.

    In defeat, defiance. -- Winston Churchill
    The "tax deal" is a s**tty deal.

    by Pris from LA on Sun Dec 19, 2010 at 03:55:57 PM PST

    •  Nope. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave925, sargoth, Ramon Aclef

      Friend, you are making the same mistake the revisionists want you to make.

      "They" won't want to secede, any more than "they" wanted to in 1860-1.  Lots and lots of humans: some whites, and virtually all of the African-Americans, wanted nothing to do with a war to defend slavery.

      A few years back some donors put up a statute of President Lincoln in Richmond.  Many local papers were outraged, arguing that Lincoln was a tyrant, who came here to oppress "us" and that "the people of Virginia" opposed him.

      The Washington Post responded by republishing an account of the President's arrival in Richmond.  Greeted as a hero, and possibly a saint, by the throngs of newly-freed former slaves.

      They were Virginians too, and Americans, and worth fighting for.

      "There is no difference between us. The only difference is that the folks with money want to stay in power..."--Shirley Sherrod

      by Wide Awake in KY on Sun Dec 19, 2010 at 10:18:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Only if you let me (0+ / 0-)

      move back to California first.

      We should open the borders and stop lying to people. -Miep, a U.S.A Citizen

      by Miep on Mon Dec 20, 2010 at 07:06:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have a comeback to the revisionists (5+ / 0-)

    When they say "War of Northern Aggression" I say, "Wrong, buddy, it was the War of Southern Treason and there's no ifs ands or buts about that fact!"

    Politics without compromise is called "violence".

    by Walt starr on Sun Dec 19, 2010 at 05:00:04 PM PST

    •  I often call it (0+ / 0-)

      "The War to Put Down the Treason of the Southern Oligarchs".

      Yours positively trips off the tongue compared to that. :)

      "The rich will strive to establish their dominion and enslave the rest. They always did... they always will. . ." Governeur Morris

      by Dave925 on Mon Dec 20, 2010 at 02:18:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hard to be any more traitorous to the country (3+ / 0-)

    than the southern state were/are.

    I'm gonna go eat a steak. And fuck my wife. And pray to GOD - hatemailapalooza, 052210

    by punditician on Sun Dec 19, 2010 at 05:01:30 PM PST

    •  Not the states (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sargoth

      The Oligarchs who ran them like fiefdoms while relentlessly propagandizing and inflaming the citizenry with utter, self-serving, bullshit.

      These are the evil, these are the sociopaths left to run rampant in a lassez-faire Capitalist system. Such a system selects for and insures the success of such people. You can count on it.

      We're in their grip again and they're just beginning to squeeze.

      "The rich will strive to establish their dominion and enslave the rest. They always did... they always will. . ." Governeur Morris

      by Dave925 on Mon Dec 20, 2010 at 02:16:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  truer than you intended (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    phillies, Dave925, HylasBrook, swampyankee

    I mean, fuuuuck.

    Besides economics there was a second, unstated, but extremely potent motive behind the desire to continue that institution - free, easy, sex with a whole harem of slave women.

    Scientific Materialism debunked here

    by wilderness voice on Sun Dec 19, 2010 at 05:02:29 PM PST

    •  Not to mention (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave925, Inventor, wilderness voice

      Slave girls.  Little girls.

      And slave boys.

      We are talking about truly evil people.

      And the bizarre thing was that Lincoln was willing to agree to the Critenden Compromise, of which the less said the better, that would have protected slavery up to the present day.  Potter "The Crisis" argues your historical case rather well.

      He also asks one more question.  Why 1860?  Why not 1850 or 1840 or 1828?  We had slavery then, too.

      His answer, somewhat alarming as a reflection on modern times, was that in earlier years the major parties were both national parties with northern and southern wings, obliging them to take positions that northerners and southerners could tolerate.  That's northern and southern white male voters, not northern and southern human beings including women and African-Americans, and 'tolerate', not 'like'.

      By the 1850s, the parties trended toward becoming regional parties, and began to spiral apart, much the way a progressively more Christian conservative Republican party has fewer and fewer voters other than Christian conservatives.

      But I digress, and you have made a truly superb analysis, which I tipped and recced.

  •  Great Diary, RG (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, belinda ridgewood

    The secession documents are worth a read; I have my students read some of them because they need to confront them.

    After reading them, it is worth taking a second look at President Lincoln's first inaugural.  I was always taught that it was conciliatory, and soft on slavery.  It may look that way to modern eyes, because we don't fully understand the context.

    Looking at it after the SC secession declaration, though, it is absolutely clear that he is promising the South that the Dred Scott decision will not be respected, and that slavery is still prohibited in the territories, and that it is okay for Northern States to offer due process to those people who slavecatchers are trying to steal to the South.  It really was a hell of a speech, and he essentially agrees with every threat South Carolina said about him, and then dares them to do something.

    All done in a kindly, folksy, gentle manner.  Iron fist in doe-leather glove.

    If our country was only going to get one Lincoln, I am glad that we got him then.

    "There is no difference between us. The only difference is that the folks with money want to stay in power..."--Shirley Sherrod

    by Wide Awake in KY on Sun Dec 19, 2010 at 10:25:02 PM PST

  •  You gotta love (0+ / 0-)

    How the Mississippi claptrap is all dressed up in science-y sounding justifications. And of course it just so happens the commerce of the "world" depends on it!

    Why, you'd be a damn fool to not support such a noble institution let alone not fight and kill for it by gum!

    All that's left unsaid is "of course these folks have to be made property to do it"!

    I guess actually paying people to work escaped them.

    Such is the nature of institutionalized sociopathy. It's not much different today, the same arguments are made to justify all sorts of depraved and treacherous behavior. There are other, subtler forms of slavery as well.

    The system itself selects for such monstrous ideas and people. As long as the system remains, is true freedom even possible?

    "The rich will strive to establish their dominion and enslave the rest. They always did... they always will. . ." Governeur Morris

    by Dave925 on Mon Dec 20, 2010 at 02:11:28 AM PST

  •  I guess this fits here (0+ / 0-)

    at least as well as any other place.

    But when current-day apologists for the slave-holding South attempt to dismiss its fundamental scope by saying there were very few actual slaveholders, i.e., most slaves were owned by a small sliver of the (white) population, I think it dismisses the aspirational aspect.  

    Many (but hardly all) of the other whites might have hoped to own slaves someday. These poor whites surely received personal benefit from the dominant white-supremacy culture.  They may have been "white trash", but at least they were white "trash".  I never heard of one of them or their kids getting "strung up" for looking at a white woman "wrong".

    And I can't help but see a similar "aspirational" aspect to current-day poor and working-class (mostly) whites fighting to lower capital gains (predominantly) and estate taxes (exclusively) affecting millionaires and billionaires today.

    "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

    by bartcopfan on Mon Dec 20, 2010 at 08:38:36 AM PST

  •  From Confederate VP Stephen's (0+ / 0-)

    infamous "Cornerstone Speech"

    ...its [the Confederacy's] foundations are laid, its corner–stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery — subordination to the superior race — is his natural and normal condition. (empasis added)

    Nope, nothing to see here....

    "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

    by bartcopfan on Mon Dec 20, 2010 at 11:44:22 AM PST

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