In this article I will be discussing the common arguments given by anti-Confederates. They range from the causes of war, slavery, racism, and more. I have given consideration to each argument and given my answer as accurately as possible.
1. Confederates are/Seccession is for traitors.
In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, in the second paragraph, penned the following: "... governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." [Author emphasis] The key word in this statement is consent. The British government recognized each of the thirteen colonies as a free and independent state is possession of its own sovereignty. The states did not intend to create a superior to sit in judgment of them, but rather intended to, and did, create a co-ordinate government. This federal government was to only have these powers the states did specifically delegate to it.
In the Virginia Act of Ratification of the United States Constitution "We, the delegates of the people of Virginia, duly elected,... in behalf of the people of Virginia, declare and make known, that the powers granted under the Constitution, being derived from the people of the United States, may be resumed by them, whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression; and that every power not granted thereby, remains with them and at their will: that, therefore, no right, of any denomination, can be canceled abridged, restrained or modified."
John C. Calhoun, from the senate floor stated that "It declares that all powers granted by the Constitution, are derived from the people of the United States; and may be resumed by them when perverted to their injury or oppression; and that every power not granted remains with them, and at their will; and that no right of any description can be canceled, abridged, restrained or modified by Congress, the Senate, the House of Representatives, the President, or any department, or officer of the United States. Language cannot be stronger."
Each state held its own power, and under their own approval, consented to the government additional powers not held by the state itself. Each state held the right to revoke that power as they saw fit. Simply put, seccession was quite legal and right held in power of the states. This was even taught at West Point. In a textbook used at West Point from 1826 until 1865, written by James Kent and titled "Commentaries on American Law." It stated "No one nation had a right to force the way of the liberation of Africa, by trampling on the independence of other states; or to procure an eminent good by means that were unlawful; or to press forward to a great principle, by breaking through other great principles that stood in the way"
First it must be asked that if the south was fighting to keep slavery then who was trying to end it that would have caused the south to exercise their desire to secede? The answer is quite simple-- no one.
The Corwin Amendment would have allowed, among other things, the rights of individual states to continue slavery forevermore. This amendment, which is still pending ratification, was passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate and was set forth by northern legislatures. It was signed by then President James Buchanan, and endorsed later by President Abraham Lincoln. Three Northern states ratified this amendment but zero southern states.
Lincoln stated, in a September 18, 1858 debate in Illinois, that "I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And in as much as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."
Additionally, in another debate, Lincoln states, "Such separation, if ever effected at all, must be effected by colonization; and no political party, as such, is now doing anything directly for colonization. Party operations at present only favor or retard colonization incidentally. The enterprise is a difficult one; but "when there is a will there is a way;" and what colonization needs most is a hearty will. Will springs from the two elements of moral sense and self-interest. Let us be brought to believe it is morally right, and, at the same time, favorable to, or, at least, not against, our interest, to transfer the African to his native clime, and we shall find a way to do it, however great the task may be."
Depending on the source, only between four and six percent of white southerners owned slaves. The south also had a higher population of free men and women of color then the north. Additionally three northern states still held slaves; both facts coming from the 1860 census records. Part of this reason is that several states in the north made it illegal for blacks or Indians to live within the boundaries of the state including Illinois; Lincoln voted for this. Virginia, a southern state, on the other hand, spoke out against, and made illegal the slave trade very soon after becoming a state — the first to do so in the civilized world. In New York City, Yankees kidnapped free blacks and sold them into slavery. There were 33 such cases in one year alone. Free states indeed.
This is actually an untrue misconception. Stephens actually named many changes to the Confederacy as opposed to the Union. One of the changes, which he does state lastly as the cornerstone, is the right to slavery. He did not, however, state this was a reason for seccession. One has to remember that no one was trying (other then abolitionists) to officially end slavery. The sentiment that he expressed was not different then others of his day. Many people believed in the right of slavery, however unjust it may have been. Take for example the northern states that still held legal slavery. Another example is the legislatures that passed the Corwin Amendment. Stephens did say that the negro was not equal to the white man; Lincoln did say the same exact thing. Most southerners did have the idea that slavery should end through eventual emancipation, exactly as some northern states had done. This would allow time for education, job creation, etc. to allow blacks to not be left "high and dry" and be able to provide for themselves. Very few had the fire-eater stance.
Do not also forget that other states, namely Missouri and Maryland wanted to join the Confederacy even after this speech. These states are now considered free states in history.
In 1860, if the South would have been an independent nation their economy would have ranked as the third highest in the European and American continents. The south had one-third of the nation's railroad mileage, plus streams and rivers that did not freeze. The south was behind the north in railroad mileage, but still higher then any other nation in the world. The south had a per capita income ten percent higher than all states west of New York and Pennsylvania. This was partly due to the income of the slave trade/kidnapping in the New England states.
This is an issue that currently plagues the politically correct of the nation. But here is a fun fact. Did you know that during the Civil War, black soldiers (free and slaves) earned the same pay as their white counterparts? The Confederate States of America were in fact the first to give equal pay for equal work! This doesn't sound like discrimination to me. In the north, however, blacks were paid almost half of what white counterparts were paid; they protested and after eighteen months finally received equal pay (in 1864).Many confederate leaders never owned slaves. A partial list of these leaders includes: Gen. Robert E. Lee, Gen. Joseph Johnston, Gen. A. P. Hill, Gen. Fitzhugh Lee, Gen. J. E. B. Stuart. Recent attacks on confederate monuments have attempted to remove monuments of these men and others. They are U. S. veterans under an act of Congress in 1954. Remember, the war, even according to Lincoln, was not about slavery until late in the war in an effort to renew the spirit of the north and to harm the south.Even if this were true, however, it is important to remember history, for those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. It seems as if the union sympathizers don't mind that.The Confederacy had slaves; this is not something that is news. The Union held slaves as well through the end of the Civil War. The Confederacy was about more then that. They wished to follow the Constitution as it was written and that includes the states having supreme power as guaranteed in the tenth amendment. The Confederacy was tired of giving up rights to a government that was already trying to become more powerful then was already intended. They were showing reverence for a Union that ran as originally intended.Removing monuments will not change the way people think, it will not change the way they feel, and it will certainly not end racism and bigotry (by any race). What then is the purpose of removing these monuments? Politico Magazine calls the south "Jesusland" and says that we keep the U.S. down because of our faith in God. What ever happened to first amendment rights? They go on to say they hope the south will be culturally and ethnically cleansed and hope that immigrants and liberals from other parts of the U.S. would integrate to make that happen. Apparently they have no knowledge that the south was the first part of the United States to have permanent settlement and was mixed with Europeans, Africans, Spaniards, French, Canadians, and more. Why do you think it is that we have such abundance to different foods, music, and dialects? We have been culturally mixed; a great deal of this happened even before the War of Northern Aggression. These are the reasons that, as much as they complain about us, make us great. After all, how many southerners retire and move north? How many southerners go on vacations in the north? I don't know about where you are from, but here 70% of license plates on the road are northern for the summer months and part of the winter months.In New Orleans, they are calling for the removal of four confederate statues because they are reminders of slavery. But only two months before calling for this the city council voted to build a slave museum complete with a full size slave ship to remember slave trade (in May, 2015). One cannot have it both ways; either you want to remember slave trade or you don't.Further stated, many roads, schools, parks, monuments, etc are named for members of other races then white, or from other times in history as well. No one calls for these to be taken down. Let us call this what it is. Let us just be honest and say this monument hasn't offended me for the past 80 years; it didn't bother me to walk past it until someone told me to be bothered. I didn't speak about it until now because there is an opportunity to take away from the southern culture. I wish only to promote one race, one party, or one agenda. At least then you would be honest.
6. The North wished to preserve the Union
The north did want the Union, but not for unity. We weren't their brothers; we were their banks. The north and south were so completely different in beliefs, thoughts, morals, and culture that the two should never have really been joined (and before anyone forgets— the Constitution was written by a southerner, and the first five presidents were southern as well). This does not change history, of course. In 1828, Senator Thomas H. Benton said "Before the revolution [the South] was the seat of wealth, as well as hospitality... Wealth has fled from the South, and settled in regions north of the Potomac: and this in the face of the fact, that the South, in four staples alone, has exported produce, since the Revolution, to the value of eight hundred millions of dollars; and the North has exported comparatively nothing. Such an export would indicate unparalleled wealth, but what is the fact? Under Federal legislation, the exports of the South have been the basis of the Federal revenue. Virginia, the two Carolinas, and Georgia, may be said to defray three-fourths of the annual expense of supporting the Federal Government; and of this great sum, annually furnished by them, nothing or next to nothing is returned to them, in the shape of Government expenditures. That expenditure flows in an opposite direction - it flows northwardly, in one uniform, uninterrupted, and perennial stream. This is the reason why wealth disappears from the South and rises up in the North. Federal legislation does all this."
This shows the greed of the Union government and the north in general. It is noted that in 1833 there was surplus revenue of many millions in the public tresasury, which by an act of legislation unparalleled in history of nations was distributed among the Northern States to be used for local public improvements. This was not shared with states in the south. Some argue that this wealth of the south came from using free labor, but remember too slavery was rampant in the north as well. Remember it was the New England states the benefited the majority from the slave trade. Secession not only kept cheap goods from going to the north but also cut off high tariffs and other monies being made at New York harbors.
When the northern president Lincoln was asked why he didn't just let the south go, he answered, "Let the south go? Let the South go! Then where shall we get our revenues?" Some northern newspapers predicted "grass would grow in the streets of New York, while the port of New Orleans would flourish." President Lincoln wished only to continue living in 'high cotton'.
7. [Fill in the blank] is racist
Racist is defined as:a.) A person who believes that a particular race is superior to another.
b.) Having or showing the belief that a particular race is superior to another.
Apparently, racist is the new buzzword. It is to 2015 as bigot was to the late 70s. Not everything that people view as racist is racist. For example, hoop skirts, statues or monuments, flags, music videos, and even Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches have recently been called racist. I'm not sure how a piece of clothing or a sandwich can even be racist! Neither are persons nor do they show superiority. This week a Taylor Swift music video was deemed racist simply because it had no minorities within it. Guess what? Not having inclusion in something does not make it racist. It is the overused politically correct buzzword that will lose all effectiveness and meaning must like other words have in the past. If you want the word to have mean, if you want it to be taken seriously you cannot be the boy who cried wolf! Make sure you are using it correctly.