If You Think the Civil War Ever Ended, Think Again

April 8, 2010

The larger issue is the notion that a Confederate History Month should be celebrated at all, with or without an overt mention of slavery.

by Adele Stan at alternet.org

I noticed we were traveling along a road called the Jefferson Davis Highway. I was stunned, and a bit sick to my stomach. How could it be that a highway was named after a man who made war against the United States, all so the citizens of his region could continue to hold human beings in chains? All so slave masters could continue to rape the women they claimed to own. The children of these unions were usually enslaved by their own fathers, often acting as servants to their white half-brothers and -sisters.

That throughout a significant swath of the nation, men who committed treason for the sake of maintaining chattel slavery are lauded as heroes speaks to a terrible illness in the American psyche — one that continues to fester 145 years after the last shot was fired in the War Between the States.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s proclamation this week naming April as “Confederate History Month” raised eyebrows for its omission of a mention of slavery. That is indeed telling, of a piece with the trope about the Civil War being fought merely over the constitutional provisions concerning states’ rights. Even though I grew up in the North, my schoolbooks perpetrated this idea.

It’s a twisted argument, one that leaves out what the states were demanding the right to do: maintain slavery.

The election of Barack Obama, the first U.S. president of African descent, has energized the Confederacy-lovers and others bent on defying his legitimacy as the nation’s leader. The cause of states’ rights is again on fire, with 10th Amendment groups sprouting up around the country.

Although Obama has initiated no change to existing gun laws, gun-rights advocates tout him as a far greater threat than any president before him. On April 19, a “Second Amendment march on Washington” will take place, somewhat hampered by the District of Columbia’s gun laws. But on the outskirts of the capital,  gun-owners from the group, Restore the Constitution, will gather at a park in Northern Virginia, where the gun laws are far more lenient, even allowing the carrying of concealed handguns if the bearer has a permit. (A permit is not required to walk about with a firearm in a holster.) Virginia has reciprocity on its conceal/carry law with all but three of the states that formed the Confederacy.

April 19th marks the date in which the first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired at Lexington and Concord in 1775. It is also the date on which the FBI burned the Branch Davidian complex in Waco, Texas, to the ground in 1993. And it is the date on which Timothy McVeigh blew up the federal Murrah building in Oklahoma City in 1995, killing 168 people, including 19 children.

It’s easy to make fun of the wing-nuts. But there’s a storm brewing, egged on by the veneration of the Confederacy.


  1. April 19? They can’t be serious.

    But I think they are.

  2. Hope the FBI is on it…. Need to convict a few top dogs for sedition…. Beck? Limbo? O’Rally? Hannity?

  3. You know… there is a civil war going on today.. and it is IN congress. They are igniting the spark to this shit. You have people piling on ammo.. and morons shelling out kook-aid liberals tell all is well. It is NOT Well. People are out of work.. and the currency is losing its value left and right. who really knows what will happen after November..

    This dollar bubble will eventually pop.. no one knows when.. but It will happen. All I can say is I hope you all OWN your home and have no serious debts. As for health care.. STAY healthy.. don’t drink the water. I have a fail safe.. relatives in Greece and Austrailia… who can live off the land. We have know how to survive.. I just started my garden.. hmmm. I may can this year.. make soap too. Homemade bread.. stuff like that. Inflation is here. One tomato is 1.00 good god. and a loaf of bread over $3 bucks. the good bread! Have to eat well for the Health folks. This is the secret of life.

    I just called my old neighbor,Sue K. on this story.. He is FBI bomb squad..

    Verified that it was a dud..

    Wife told me that her hub is going to Iran for 4 months after June.. Now.. something is going down over there.

    • If the dollar crashes and you owe lots of dollars, it looks like you get to pay back your creditors cheap!

      The ones who lose in a dollar crash will be the people holding dollars – or dollar-denomintated receivables. Like the guy who holds your mortgage.

  4. Chinese.. Graychin.. those Chinese people who live under the ground will come out of the ground.. don’t forget those people.. and then the Japanese.. They will take everything..

  5. Yes I can testify that inflation helps borrowers. Bought my first house in 1977. Inflation rate 5%. In two years the inflation rate was 14%. Great!
    However the cry in some corners about inflation comes from a lot of the same folks who ran the economy nearly into the ground… so I would not pay attention to them…

    • Those Chinese people are holding lots and lots of dollars. So when the dollar crashes (as Blue expects) who will be the Biggest Losers?

      The Chinese!

      Economists and the US Government all complain that Chinese keep their currency undervalued to keep their exports cheap. Blue’s dollar crash will fix them.

      The Dog is right. The people who fret over the coming inflation are the ones who let the deficit get out of control. They have no credibility at all. Newt Gingrich is saying that the Republicans in Congress ought to shut down the government like Newt did in the ’90’s to rein in spending. Because that worked out so well for Newt and the boys last time. Party like it’s 1995!


    • But back on the Civil War – here is some of what Jason Linkins has to say about “celebrating the Confederacy”:

      Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell — reviving a tradition beloved by other Virginia Republican Governors — thinks that the state’s economy could benefit from catering to the thin sliver of the American populace who would prefer to simply learn about and publicly appreciate the rebels of the Confederacy that threatened to split the Republic asunder.

      Naturally, the whole slavery thing is a total bummer, and McDonnell initially made no mention of it in his proclamation that revived “Confederate History Month.” After a public outcry, he begrudgingly apologized, but the damage was done in the form of the media’s coverage of the matter, which they managed with their typical aplomb. Hey! Let’s find people to defend the practice of celebrating traitors, and maybe have some pointless left-versus-right debates over it!

      And so, we have a Treasured Collection of Clips that McDonnell can use to commemorate this wonderful moment in our lives, in which you can see the defense of not mentioning slavery alongside the Confederacy evolve. First, you’ll hear that Virginia’s participation in the Civil War had nothing to do with slavery (Virginia’s ordinance of secession says otherwise). Then you’ll hear it’s mean to pick on the Confederate states when other states had slaveowners, too (but the non-Confederate states didn’t secede).

      (Be sure to watch the video!)

      And finally, the piece de resistance, you have Pat Buchanan, generously offering, “I think both sides were right.” Slaves were right to want to be free, and the Confederacy was right to fight to defend their right to maintain a workforce of abused, indentured servants who were selected for the task solely because the ruling class deemed them to be part-human. You’ll want to cherish that logic most of all, during Confederate History Month.

      Meanwhile, why not have a Union Appreciation Day, where people wear T-Shirts with Abraham Lincoln’s visage that read, “Tell us how our taint tastes, treasonholes?” Next year, at Appomattox!

  6. Would the Confederates be considered terrorists?
    How did they differ from the Taliban?

  7. If the warmonger crowd from the south really want to celebrate faux history, run from faux gun control, chew on the conspiracy theory that Prez Obama is a faux citizen and watch their Faux News, then why doesn’t the south go ahead and secede? They won’t because 1) If we have major category 5 hurricanes in the south (please not NOLA-they had enough), federal aid will be gotten, 2) Health care in crisis? OK, we now want single-payer, 3) Only jobs available are barmaid and convenience store clerk-where is OUR stimulus?

  8. Right, Graychin! If the Union wanted to be a bunch of hypocritical loons, our Union Appreciation Day could have a bunch of us chasing uniformed Confederate reenactors and trying to take their guns away. We could have a water dunk with throwing at a target and call it Dunk The Slave-Owning Bigot. Or have a textbook re-writing contest where the winner rewrites the best historical view favoring Northern Liberals.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: