- Category: Race & Liberation
- Created on Monday, 20 December 2010 06:14
- Written by EDWARD BALL
"...the only state right the Confederate founders were interested in was the rich man’s 'right' to own slaves."
From the declaration of secession passed by South Carolina enacted for December 20, 1860 (150 years ago).
“Upon its ratification by nine States, the Constitution of the United States sprang into existence. 'The ends for which this constitution was framed are declared by itself to be `to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.’
"We affirm that these ends have been defeated and the government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non slaveholding states. Those states have assumed 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 the institution of slavery; they have permitted the establishment of abolition societies. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of slaves to leave their homes and have incited those who remain to servile insurrection. . . [and now] all the states north of the [Mason-Dixon] line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the common government, because he has declared that that `government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,’ and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction.”
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The following piece debunks the old myth that the Southern Confederacy was created in the cause of "freedom" (in defense of "states' rights" and decentralized democracy).
For a hundred years, the official view has been that this was a "tragic war between brothers" (which obviously adopts a whites-only view). To this day, the generals of the slavocracy -- especially Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson -- are idolized within the U.S. military. And (now refracted through the modern conservative prism) the Confederate cause is depicted as a holy war against big government and federalism -- and as a precursor of the culture wars today.
This piece appeared on the opinion pages of the New York Times.
Gone With the Myths
By EDWARD BALL
ON Dec. 20, 1860, 169 men — politicians and people of property — met in the ballroom of St. Andrew’s Hall in Charleston, S.C. After hours of debate, they issued the 158-word “Ordinance of Secession,” which repealed the consent of South Carolina to the Constitution and declared the state to be an independent country. Four days later, the same group drafted a seven-page “Declaration of the Immediate Causes,” explaining why they had decided to split the Union.
The authors of these papers flattered themselves that they’d conjured up a second American Revolution. Instead, the Secession Convention was the beginning of the Civil War, which killed some 620,000 Americans; an equivalent war today would send home more than six million body bags.
The next five years will include an all-you-can-eat special of national remembrance. Yet even after 150 years full of grief and pride and anger, we greet the sesquicentennial wondering, why did the South secede?