Patterico's Pontifications


One Hundred and Fifty Years Ago Today…

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 2:44 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

…Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stephens told us exactly what the Confederacy was about in his famous “Cornerstone Speech.”  Here’s the most relevant portion.  Strap yourself in, cause it gets ugly.  But we owe it to those who fought to end it and thus who suffered under the whip of slavery, to bear witness:

But not to be tedious in enumerating the numerous changes for the better, allow me to allude to one other — though last, not least. The new constitution has put at rest, forever,all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution — African slavery as it exists amongst us — the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the “rock upon which the old Union would split.” He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with, but the general opinion of the men of that day was that, somehow or other in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away. This idea, though not incorporated in the constitution, was the prevailing idea at that time. The constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly urged against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the government built upon it fell when the “storm came and the wind blew.”

Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its 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. [Applause.] This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It has been so even amongst us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well, that this truth was not generally admitted, even within their day. The errors of the past generation still clung to many as late as twenty years ago. Those at the North, who still cling to these errors, with a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind — from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of insanity. One of the most striking characteristics of insanity, in many instances, is forming correct conclusions from fancied or erroneous premises; so with the anti-slavery fanatics; their conclusions are right if their premises were. They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights with the white man. If their premises were correct, their conclusions would be logical and just — but their premise being wrong, their whole argument fails. I recollect once of having heard a gentleman from one of the northern States, of great power and ability, announce in the House of Representatives, with imposing effect, that we of the South would be compelled, ultimately, to yield upon this subject of slavery, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics, as it was in physics or mechanics. That the principle would ultimately prevail. That we, in maintaining slavery as it exists with us, were warring against a principle, a principle founded in nature, the principle of the equality of men. The reply I made to him was, that upon his own grounds, we should, ultimately, succeed, and that he and his associates, in this crusade against our institutions, would ultimately fail. The truth announced, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics as it was in physics and mechanics, I admitted; but told him that it was he, and those acting with him, who were warring against a principle. They were attempting to make things equal which the Creator had made unequal.

In the conflict thus far, success has been on our side, complete throughout the length and breadth of the Confederate States. It is upon this, as I have stated, our social fabric is firmly planted; and I cannot permit myself to doubt the ultimate success of a full recognition of this principle throughout the civilized and enlightened world.

As I have stated, the truth of this principle may be slow in development, as all truths are and ever have been, in the various branches of science. It was so with the principles announced by Galileo-it was so with Adam Smith and his principles of political economy. It was so with Harvey, and his theory of the circulation of the blood. It is stated that not a single one of the medical profession, living at the time of the announcement of the truths made by him, admitted them. Now, they are universally acknowledged. May we not, therefore, look with confidence to the ultimate universal acknowledgment of the truths upon which our system rests? It is the first government ever instituted upon the principles in strict conformity to nature, and the ordination of Providence, in furnishing the materials of human society. Many governments have been founded upon the principle of the subordination and serfdom of certain classes of the same race; such were and are in violation of the laws of nature. Our system commits no such violation of nature’s laws. With us, all of the white race, however high or low, rich or poor, are equal in the eye of the law. Not so with the negro. Subordination is his place. He, by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system. The architect, in the construction of buildings, lays the foundation with the proper material-the granite; then comes the brick or the marble. The substratum of our society is made of the material fitted by nature for it, and by experience we know that it is best, not only for the superior, but for the inferior race, that it should be so. It is, indeed, in conformity with the ordinance of the Creator. It is not for us to inquire into the wisdom of his ordinances, or to question them. For his own purposes, he has made one race to differ from another, as he has made “one star to differ from another star in glory.”

The great objects of humanity are best attained when there is conformity to his laws and decrees, in the formation of governments as well as in all things else. Our confederacy is founded upon principles in strict conformity with these laws. This stone which was rejected by the first builders “is become the chief of the corner” — the real “corner-stone” — in our new edifice. [Applause.]

I have been asked, what of the future? It has been apprehended by some that we would have arrayed against us the civilized world. I care not who or how many they may be against us, when we stand upon the eternal principles of truth, if we are true to ourselves and the principles for which we contend, we are obliged to, and must triumph. [Immense applause.]

Via the Corner, which has more.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

99 Responses to “One Hundred and Fifty Years Ago Today…”

  1. told us exactly what the Confederacy was about…

    From his perspective.

    Today, we don’t take a single guy’s posting or speech and deem it evidence of whatever it is that the guy was talking about. For example, Michael Moore’s rants about how evil capitalism is.. and I hope a future AW would think twice about citing Moore as an expert on what capitalism was all about.

    So why (other than PC) take one guys deranged rantings as evidence of anything? As evidence of anything other than his being deranged?

    steve (254463)

  2. What place did free negroes play in his scheme? As far as I know they suffered no disabilities under Confederate law that they were free of in the North. To the best of my knowledge many free negroes fought for the South. Was Stephens perhaps in a minority in this regard? Or was it merely a matter of time till they were all enslaved by law?

    And considering that it was abolitionism that drove Southern whites into adopting this racially-based defense of slavery, and consequently into degrading the status and security of free negroes, how should they have regarded abolitionism and abolitionists?

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  3. Steve, Michael Moore is not the Vice President of the United States of America.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  4. Not to take a side but I’d hate to be judged by slow Joe.

    Machinist (b6f7da)

  5. I guess America deserves the shame for electing Obama. I do shudder to imagine what future generations will think of us when they study 2006 to 2012, especially given how many generations will be impoverished by us.

    Machinist (b6f7da)

  6. This does rather work against those who claim the Civil War was not about slavery but the purity of State’s rights.

    Machinist (b6f7da)

  7. “And considering that it was abolitionism that drove Southern whites into adopting this racially-based defense of slavery”

    Milhouse – Because defending slavery was the only choice. I enjoy the “she was asking for it, her skirt was too short” defense. Also don’t forget the repudiation of the Declaration of Independence involved.

    daleyrocks (9b57b3)

  8. Vice President Stephens was hardly the only white man of that time who believed that blacks were simply not the equals of whites:

    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 will ever forbid the two races living together in terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together, there must be the position of superior and inferior. I am as much as any other man in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.

    …notwithstanding all this, there is no reason in the world why the negro is not entitled to all the rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence — the right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I hold that he is as much entitled to these as the white man. I agree with Judge Douglas that he is not my equal in many respects, certainly not in color — perhaps not in intellectual and moral endowments; but in the right to eat bread without leave of anybody else which his own hand earns, he is my equal and the equal of Judge Douglas and the equal of every other man.

    Those were the words of, you guessed it, Abraham Lincoln, from his debate with Stephen Douglas on October 13, 1858. The Great Emancipator hated slavery, and thought that blacks ought to be free and have civil rights, but he was also a man of his times, and never considered blacks to be the practical equal of whites.

    The Historian Dana (5a4fb2)

  9. Milhouse–the number of free blacks who fought for the South is relatively small; it’s played up by those who want to downplay the role of slavery in the Civil War, but was in reality rather minimal, compared to 1) the number of free blacks and ex-slaves who volunteered to fight for the Union and 2) the number of slaves and free blacks who were forced to serve the Confederate Army or who were part of the Army simply as body servants to their owner.

    The status of free blacks in the South was not very secure; they were subject to many of the restrictions of the slave code, and a number of them over the years were forced into slavery by neighboring whites who more or less coerced them into service and then denied them the opportunity to gain freedom through the courts.

    Comment by Machinist — 3/21/2011 @ 3:39 pm
    And that’s why the idea of states’ rights is so linked in people’s minds with the defense of slavery, segregation and racism.

    Perhaps the best way to explain it that a good concept (states rights and more generally limited central government) was used to defend an evil idea (slavery, racism, segregation), while a fundamentally bad concept (greatly expanded government power, especially federal power) was used to achieve something that was in itself morally excellent (the end of slavery, etc.)

    And this applies to both the Civil War and the 20th century civil rights struggle.

    kishnevi (d785be)

  10. but he was also a man of his times, and never considered blacks to be the practical equal of whites.

    While I concur with the general principle, I would point out to y’all that my great-GF, born 1870 an Iowa WASP, would not allow my mother, at the door with me in swaddling clothes, to “bring that nigger baby into my house” (pardon the word, it was how he said it, and I don’t believe it should be bowdlerized with ‘*’s).

    Why was I a ‘n’ baby?

    I’m half Italian.

    Blacks have, indeed, been fighting an uphill battle for acceptance and equality.

    The biggest problem is that they’ve spent the last 40 years burning the legacy of “NOT SO!” that their forebears fought so hard for and earned from whites.

    IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society (c9dcd8)

  11. oh. I was gonna guess Sgt. Pepper.

    happyfeet (ab5779)

  12. AW

    I’m going to transport you back into history full of today’s sensibilities; back into the Union inner circle.

    Good luck.

    SteveG (cc5dc9)

  13. It’s an eloquent speech that’s horrible to contemplate today. It should be remembered in full — I’m glad to have been pointed to it today, having not seen it before — but also remembered in context. Stephens was an important Confederate leader, and while his views weren’t representative of all of his peers — much less all Southerners — they were common, and they were thoroughly acceptable during the short history of the CSA. The Confederate government also included men of less hateful views. Its first attorney general and eventual secretary of state, Judah P. Benjamin, was a Jew who’d married a Creole; I have a hard time imagining them entertaining Vice President Stephens. And yes, there were (and are) venal and racist Northerners too. But that doesn’t excuse, and shouldn’t detract, from recognition of the venom contained in a speech like this one.

    Beldar (a197ec)

  14. More briefly, if less originally: The South included some of the best of men, but ultimately they all fought for the very worst of causes.

    Beldar (a197ec)

  15. Steve

    i was going to snark but then i thought…


    anyway, joking aside, no one will ever accuse me of being a moral relativist. some things are always wrong, always evil. slavery was one of them.

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  16. I dont know Beldar, slavery at the time was a terrible institution despite all te laws tat were supposed to “protect” them, Louisiana was the worst.

    True, many southerners treated their slaves with affection, many also did not.

    The southern political and military leaders were nothing short of war criminals who killed and plotted to kill their fellow country man

    Thats the bottom line

    EricPWJohnson (58b455)

  17. You think Robert E. Lee was a war criminal, Eric?

    Beldar (a197ec)

  18. No relation to Thaddeus Stevens, I’ll assume.

    Kevin M (298030)

  19. (Because I’m really very, very sure that Grant wouldn’t have agreed with that characterization, nor Lincoln.)

    Beldar (a197ec)

  20. Kevin

    no, but Obama is the distant cousin of dick cheney.

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  21. Ah, Beldar, I see you are enjoying the trainwreck of bizarreness that is EPWJ.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  22. And if Lee was a “war criminal,” was he taught to be a war criminal at West Point, where he was second in his class? Was he a war criminal when he was decorated for “greatly distinguished” service under Scott at Vera Cruz? Were you referring to him restoring federal control and capturing John Brown in three minutes of fighting at Harper’s Ferry? Was he a war criminal when Winfield Scott recommended to Lincoln that Lincoln make Lee a top commander of the Union army?

    “War criminal” must mean something very different to you than it does to me or, I think, the other speakers of the English language.

    Beldar (a197ec)

  23. There were war criminals in the American Civil War, including most notably some of the prison camp directors, and that on both sides (even though only one was chronically short of food and medicine). Jurisprudentially, you can see the seeds of Nuremberg in some of the American military courts martial held at the end of the Civil War.

    And of course, everyone who fought for the South was, with respect to the United States, an insurrectionist, and many were traitors. The same may be said of George Washington, except the outcome of his rebellion was different. They all could legally have been hanged; history has precedents, certainly, of rebels being literally decimated or worse.

    That they fought for so wicked and shameful a cause — some of them while pretending that slavery wasn’t the real and driving cause, the indispensable and irreducible core of the rebellion — is what makes someone like Robert E. Lee into a tragic hero even when viewed in the best of lights.

    But be careful how you dis Bobby Lee. Either side’s army would have followed him through hell and counted themselves glad not to have been home abed instead, and such men are not common (in either sense of that word).

    Beldar (a197ec)

  24. “The southern political and military leaders were nothing short of war criminals who killed and plotted to kill their fellow country man”

    EricPW – The northern leaders also killed and plotted to kill their countrymen. Are they war criminals as well?

    daleyrocks (9b57b3)

  25. Beldar

    I think you are pointing to a time in history where things don’t look real tidy when viewed through the lens of the sensibilities of today.

    Can someone name me two white politicians of the era who would not have recoiled; violently, from a discussion of interracial marriage?

    SteveG (cc5dc9)

  26. Its first attorney general and eventual secretary of state, Judah P. Benjamin, was a Jew who’d married a Creole; I have a hard time imagining them entertaining Vice President Stephens.

    Not for those reasons, at least, although I seem to remember Benjamin and Stephens did not get along very well.
    However: ecce Wiki

    In 1833 Benjamin made a strategic marriage to Natalie St. Martin, of a prominent New Orleans Creole family. He became a slave owner and established a sugar plantation in Belle Chasse, Louisiana. Plantation and legal practice both prospered. In 1842, his only child, Ninette, was born and in 1847 Natalie took the girl and moved to Paris, where she remained for most of the rest of her life. Benjamin did, however, make a trip each summer to France to see his wife and child.[2]

    And on the meaning of the term Creole

    Louisiana Creole people traditionally are descended from French and Spanish colonial settlers in Louisiana. Before the Civil War, the term was used generally for those people exclusively of French and Spanish descent whose families were settled in Louisiana before the purchase. Most Creoles lived in the greater New Orleans area, both city and suburbs. The term was first used during colonial times by the settlers to refer to those who were born in the colony, as opposed to those born in France. In New Orleans, the word Créole then applied only to people of European descent. In New Orleans’ French Quarter, the word Creole is everywhere and refers to the culture of these White Creoles.[2] Later the term was also applied to those individuals of mixed heritage born in Louisiana.

    Creole or criollo in general refers to those people who were born in a colony, as opposed to those who emigrated from the parent country. Benjamin himself, being a native of St. Croix, could have applied to the term to himself.

    The term is also used to refer to French based patois in the Caribbean, especially Haitian, where phonetic spelling is now preferred, so the language one hears in Port au Prince, for example, is Kreyol.
    “Creole of color” was (according to this Wiki article) the term in use during the 19th century to refer to those of mixed racial background.

    kishnevi (cc1ec4)

  27. Almost nothing about the Civil War was tidy. It was grand and horrible, noble and petty, vicious and gallant, technological and Stone Aged — the most perfect and most tragic and most American of wars. It’s filled with stories that make me appalled, and proud, and sad and happy. One cannot understand this country today without at least some sense of the shape it still occupies, but the textures and the details are beyond anyone’s ability to master. (And available for anyone to sample.)

    Beldar (a197ec)

  28. Apparently the spam filter ate my comment regarding a side issue regarding Judah Benjamin. Short form: Benjamin owned a plantation with slaves, had a wife from the white French Louisiana establishment, and the main reason they would not have had dinner with Stephens is that for most of their marriage, including the entire Civil War, Mrs. Benjamin lived in Paris.

    kishnevi (cc1ec4)

  29. EricPW has still not apologized to my knowledge for calling Sarah Palin a racist.

    daleyrocks (9b57b3)

  30. Beldar – you should know better with that clown.

    JD (318f81)

  31. Kish, you’re doing spoilers for my long-time historical novel-in-progress!

    Ninette Benjamin is its female protagonist — only she’s returned secretly to New Orleans during the war. She ends up on Galveston Island in October 1862 when it’s seized by the Union — whose officers in turn promptly arrest her as a Confederate spy. During a break in her trial to accommodate the New Year’s holiday, Confederates led by the dashing Major Gen. John B. (“Prince John”) Magruder recapture Galveston — whereupon she’s arrested as a Union spy!

    The male protagonist is one of Magruder’s aides, a maimed Texian lawyer returned home after losing a leg and an arm under Gen. John Bell Hood at First Manassas. He’s appointed to be her counsel in her court martial.

    I can’t give away any more, obviously, but you can expect that the Battles of Sabine Pass and Palmetto Ranch also play a part in the action. As do Sam Houston, Kirby Smith, Albert Sydney Johnson, the 2nd U.S. Cavalry, and the first railroad in Texas, run between Galveston and Harrisburg (now Houston).

    Beldar (a197ec)

  32. kish

    i think someone rescued your comment. but if not, email me or um… twit me? Tweet me? ugh, i have not figured out the language of twitter yet.

    Point is, let me know and i will go comment fishing for you.

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  33. EricPWJohnson called palin a racist why?

    DohBiden (984d23)

  34. “EricPWJohnson called palin a racist why?”

    DohBiden – According to EricPW, she did not ream out Tom Tancredo for things Tom Tancredo did not say so she is a racist. Go figure.

    daleyrocks (9b57b3)

  35. It is easier to note that he is a drooling moron fabulist, Daley. Saves time.

    JD (318f81)

  36. Sigh … and I was really hoping for some feedback on my novel. Tough crowd.

    Beldar (a197ec)

  37. Did I say there were Muslim pirates? Yes. Definitely. They’re in the novel too.

    Think Flashman meets John Grisham channeling Larry McMurtry.

    Should I take this straight to a movie script? Because I’m definitely thinking this could be Matthew McConaughey’s Oscar.

    Beldar (a197ec)

  38. Sounds like an awesome novel Beldar.

    BTW when did islam become a race to Eric the guy who falsely accused the duke lacrosse players of rape?

    DohBiden (984d23)

  39. Moslem pirates in the Caribbean in the 1860s?! Isn’t that a bit late for them?

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  40. It doesn’t all happen in the Carribean, there are blockade runners! It’s wartime!

    Beldar (a197ec)

  41. The American Civil War was actually one of the first wars fought on oceans all over the world — I think the first protracted one of any size. The small and generally quite irregular Confederate Navy gave disproportionate account of itself, but of course the Union blockade ultimately strangled the Confederacy and dramatically hastened the end of the war.

    Beldar (a197ec)

  42. Beldar – I’m all in favor of a Flashman movie.

    daleyrocks (9b57b3)

  43. Young Malcolm McDowell played Sir Harry in 1975’s Royal Flash, which I’ve seen on late-night cable. Could have been worse, but certainly wasn’t inspired and didn’t rate a sequel, apparently.

    Part of the books’ charm came from the grand sweep of the 19th century British Empire, though. It certainly gave Flashman a series of brilliant stages upon which to mount sequel after sequel. And there were so obviously more sequels imagined but not yet written; there were plenty of chronological gaps left from the collected works, into which sequels could have been fitted. It’s a pity that Fraser ran out of gas.

    Beldar (a197ec)

  44. The American Civil War was actually one of the first wars fought on oceans all over the world

    Really? The US Civil War saw naval action in the Indian Ocean and the Great Southern Ocean? And the Napoleonic Wars did not? How about the Seven Years War?

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  45. Sustained, Milhouse. And yeah, I think there was Confederate commerce raiding pretty much everywhere that Yankee shipping went, which was all over the world. For example, and it’s no more than quick Wiki research, but for just one ship, the amazing CSS Alabama:

    All together, Alabama conducted a total of seven expeditionary raids, spanning the globe, before heading back to France for refit and repairs and a date with destiny:

    The CSS Alabama’s Eastern Atlantic Expeditionary Raid (August–September, 1862) commenced immediately after she was commissioned. She immediately set sail for the shipping lanes southwest and then east of the Azores, where she captured and burned ten prizes, mostly whalers.

    The CSS Alabama’s New England Expeditionary Raid (October–November, 1862) began after Captain Semmes and his crew departed for the northeastern seaboard of North America, along Newfoundland and New England, where she ranged as far south as Bermuda and the coast of Virginia, burning ten prizes while capturing and releasing three others.

    The CSS Alabama’s Gulf of Mexico Expeditionary Raid (December, 1862 – January, 1863) was centered around a needed rendezvous with her supply vessel, CSS Agrippina. After that, she rendered aid to Texas during Major General Banks invasion near Galveston, Texas. There, she quickly sank the Union side-wheeler USS Hatteras.

    The CSS Alabama’s South Atlantic Expeditionary Raid (February–July, 1863) was her most successful raiding venture, taking 29 prizes while raiding off the coast of Brazil. Here, she recommissioned the bark Conrad as the CSS Tuscaloosa.

    The CSS Alabama’s South African Expeditionary Raid (August–September, 1863) occurred primarily while ranging off the coast of South Africa, as she worked together the CSS Tuscaloosa.

    The CSS Alabama’s Indian Ocean Expeditionary Raid (September–November, 1863) was composed of a long trek across the Indian Ocean. The few prizes she gathered were in the East Indies.

    The CSS Alabama’s South Pacific Expeditionary Raid (December, 1863) was her final raiding venture. She took a few prizes in the Strait of Malacca before finally turning back toward France for a much needed refit and long overdue repairs.

    Obviously I’m not talking about fleet engagements. The Confederacy never had a fleet.

    Beldar (a197ec)

  46. Beldar – There were a few primarily American books in the Flashman series, so not just the British Empire was involved.

    daleyrocks (9b57b3)

  47. Daleyrocks, you’re right, of course, and some of the hinted-at but never written Flashman sequels would have put him much more deeply into both sides of the American Civil War, which might have been quite interesting.

    Beldar (a197ec)

  48. Beldar

    Straight question, did Lee conspire to kill those whom he taught?

    EricPWJohnson (58b455)

  49. No, I would not chose the word “conspire” to describe what he did. But he certainly did lead troops against those of a sovereign he had foresworn, and his troops killed some of those, and some of them, including notably Grant, were among his former fellow officers. And it was for, as I’ve said, the worst of causes.

    But that doesn’t make one a war criminal; nor would “conspiring,” if one chooses to use that word outside a legal context and in a way that seems to me not very apposite.

    Beldar (a197ec)

  50. I’m kind of surprised that, according to Stephens, recognition that blacks are inferior to whites is the new idea, and recognition that “all men are created equal” applies to black people is the traditional one.

    Jim S. (d32788)

  51. Beldar,

    He led a group of criminals who murdered US citizens in an act of deliberate rebellion. We can romantacize it all we want, but R Lee was a common war criminal of the highest order, a man who should have known better, who by all accounts wanted this fight and only surrendered when his underlings assured him that he couldnt be resupplied.

    The romance is a bunch of get a long hooey, he was and is a war criminal who conspired to kill millions of US citizens

    Thank god for Meade and the 1st Cav, who put him down at Gettysburg.

    EricPWJohnson (58b455)

  52. “Alexander H. Stephens”

    A Democrat, needless to say.

    They were traitorous scum then…and, they still are today.

    Dave Surls (b9d2b6)

  53. Of course, the most interesting thing about Robert E Lee is that, had he not been so effective a general, the destruction of the South would have been much less complete. For at least 24 months, the only thing that kept the Confederacy going was the effectiveness of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. Sans Lee, the South would have been forced to end the war much earlier, thus preventing William Tecumseh Sherman’s stroll to the ocean and perambulations through South Carolina.


    David, infamous sockpuppet (725724)

  54. I warned you, Beldar.

    JD (318f81)

  55. JD

    Did you warn him about your relationship with a known smearer of the host of this blog? Did you warn Beldar of your tireless inaccurate and out of context remarks just like the person you financially support who is now trying to seperate our host from his job?

    Did you mention this JD?

    EricPWJohnson (8f7017)

  56. Did you give money again to him this month JD?

    So he could buy the stamp to mail a letter?

    EricPWJohnson (8f7017)

  57. You can go f@ck yourself, serial douchenozzle. You calling someone else’s comments tirelessly inaccurate is quite amusing. Thank you for the laugh. Shall we reiterate the idiocy you have introduced to the world? Palin is a racist. There are millions of Jews in Iran. UAE is majority Christian. Scozzafava is a true conservative. Palin cost Team R the Senate. Palin advances leftist financial policies. Your definition of corrupt, and demanding people call the FBI, the bravery of the Vichy French, the list is practically endless, and writes itself. Take a pill and try again tomorrow.

    JD (318f81)

  58. Robert E Lee was a common war criminal. That was another good one. Oh, the Indiana Republican party bigwigs begging you to move back from the Middle East sandbox to run for office in a state that you did not live in. And Rick Perry on speed dial. And your incessant deep-throating of big oil. This is too easy.

    JD (318f81)

  59. 29.EricPW has still not apologized to my knowledge for calling Sarah Palin a racist.
    Comment by daleyrocks — 3/21/2011 @ 7:55 pm

    — In this particular case, intuition will suffice.

    Icy Texan (59f4d2)

  60. They’re undercover Jews, JD. At stonings they throw with their weak arms.

    Icy Texan (59f4d2)

  61. Beldar,
    Be careful in your arguments with EPWJ. When he thought JD would not be around to defend himself he told the hosts here that JD had threatened his life in the comments. When one of the hosts inconveniently suggested he explain, he was shown to be a liar and slanderer, to such effect I don’t think he has made the claim again. Do not assume he will address your comments or answers in good faith or feel constrained by honesty or truth.

    Machinist (b6f7da)

  62. “Sigh … and I was really hoping for some feedback on my novel.”

    Sounds good to me.

    Interesting coincidence: I was just reading about the Union capture and subsequent rebel recapture of Galveston yesterday…as I slowly slog through Shelby Foote’s history of the War of the Rebellion…or whatever they’re calling it nowdays.

    Dave Surls (b9d2b6)

  63. Beldar

    well, honestly, its hard to judge these things at the summary level. it sounds promising, but the rubber meets the road when you actually put it down on paper and see if you can depict what is in your mind well.

    But then again you are a good blogger, so that is a good sign.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  64. JD

    So you are still supporting the guy – okay we get it.

    Machinist, weren’t you the guy who accused many of the victims of 9/11 as cowards?

    EricPWJohnson (8f7017)

  65. EPWJ,

    I said that people who sat in their seats and watched terrorists torture a flight attendant should have acted. Is that what you mean?

    Machinist (b6f7da)

  66. I still feel that way but given Patterico’s concern about possible impressions I am not sure we should reopen that discussion.

    Machinist (b6f7da)

  67. “So you are still supporting the guy – okay we get it.”

    I suspect that is a rather singular “we”. Don’t include me in your BS.

    Machinist (b6f7da)

  68. I love good fiction, and I have always loved civil war history, so it sounds good to me.
    Can I head over to your blog and check out more there?
    It gets sorta thick in here…

    One of the best things a well researched civil war novel can do is provide a window into what life was like before war interrupts…. setting the stage so people understand through the lens of the time

    SteveG (cc5dc9)

  69. I am always amazed how there are those who make the claim that the Civil War was ONLY about slavery seem to have no answers when I question them why all those South Carolina farm boys took up arms against a government that they believed to be oppressive. Why would some share-cropper fight to aid people he did not own and never planned to own?

    Yes, you can say those who fought for the North were more interested in freedom for the slaves, but only if the slaves stayed in the Southern states. Newly emancipated slaves were not treated well once they fled to [what they considered] the safety of the north. Bigotry doesn’t require a sales slip.

    Also, the South felt they were within their rights to leave the Union, based on the wording of the Constitution, itself.

    But alas, history is written by the victorious. Never by the defeated. So while R.E. Lee is called a “war criminal”, the atrocities of Sherman is ignored. Or Sherman’s attitude toward blacks. Rarely mentioned.

    Slavery was not an issue when Lincoln went to war. It only became an issue when it looked like the North could possibly lose. And as has been pointed out, Lincoln was not exactly a bastion of modern thinking when it came to blacks.

    But the war continues to be fought, with the north continuing to degrade Southerners all these years later. The elitist attitude remains. I doubt that a movie like Deliverance would ever be made about Vermont or Connecticut.

    retire05 (63d9af)

  70. Beldar – your novel sounds interesting. But as a native Houstonian, if I remember my local history correctly, Houston was founded in 1836 by the Allen brothers near the site where Harrisburg had been before Santa Ana burned it to the ground. I might be mis-remembering as its been a long time since my last Texas History class. 😀

    anniebug (a47d7a)

  71. I am always amazed how there are those who make the claim that the Civil War was ONLY about slavery

    Well, I’m in favor of drilling for oil, but I’m not in the oil business. I would oppose a law banning sports cars, but I drive a pickup.

    Also, the Civil War was merely largely about slavery and racism. This speech is an amazing example of the confederacy’s position on why they started the civil war. Is using a slightly weaker phrase than “ONLY about slavery” acceptable for you?

    Dustin (c16eca)

  72. EPWJ lies about palin being racist against muslims.

    Ignore Eric he is another kkkilgore trout lackey.

    DohBiden (984d23)

  73. “Slavery was not an issue when Lincoln went to war.”

    retire05 – Yeah, the speech of Stephens linked above makes it seem like a complete non issue.

    daleyrocks (9b57b3)

  74. “Why would some share-cropper fight to aid people he did not own and never planned to own?”

    Well, for one thing the Traitorcrat slaveowners passed a conscription act in April of 1862 and forced people to fight whether they wanted to or not.

    That, plus the fact that deserters were routinely shot or hung after 1862, was a powerful tool to get poor, or nonslaveowner whites to fight the slaveowners’ war for them.

    In spite of all that, as the war went on, desertion became commonplace (by 1864 only about 60% of the CSA rank and file were actually with the colors), despite the fact that southerners were nominally fighting in defense of their own turf. For some strange reason a whole lot of guys who didn’t own slaves weren’t too interested in the idea of dying so that other men could.

    In places like western Virginia and east Tennessee where slavery was none too common and also none too liked, people even attempted to secede against the Slaveocrats, successfully in the former case.

    Lastly, you can always find idiots who will fight AGAINST their own interest, and in less than noble causes. The German population in 1939 springs to mind. In short: The world is full of idiots both then and now.

    And, the Civil War was indeed pretty much fought over one issue…slavery.

    “the atrocities of Sherman is ignored.”

    The Surls family hails from north Georgia. I think a lot of them would dispute that assertion. The passage of Sherman’s army was still a big deal when I was a kid, 100 years after the war ended, though I think the resentment is finally starting to die out, and possibly the term “Sherman” isn’t even considered a curse word any more.

    Dave Surls (b9d2b6)

  75. Accepting pre-orders on amazon, yet?

    (While on the subject, how about a sub-plot that turns on the Opera House* in Manaus!)

    * time machine required

    AMac (4826b2)

  76. I see: so far we have: that slavery was the ONLY important issue the South had, so we can discount all the others; CSA soldiers deserted (as if Northern soldiers didn’t), the ever reliable Nazi equasion, and that the soldiers who fought for the South that didn’t own slaves were simply dupes of the gentry.

    Let’s ignore that opinions were different 150 years ago and as we hold allegiance to our nation as a whole, Americans then thought of themselves as citizens of a state, and their loyality lay with the state. But then, that was back when we still held the belief that we were a nation of states, not states that made up a nation.

    It’s funny how what goes around comes around. Once again, flyover states, far from the hallowed halls of the federal government in D.C., are beginning to think that they do no hold any sway and are once again being oppressed by a central federal government that has gotten too big for its britches.

    retire05 (63d9af)

  77. m… twit me? Tweet me? ugh, i have not figured out the language of twitter yet.

    It got rescued fairly quickly, thanks.

    But don’t feel bad. I don’t even know how to tweet-twit-twat-do that Twitter thing, much less what to call it.

    Of course, when I was a boy, we used real mail, it took three days, and stamps were a nickel.

    And typewriters were all manual. As were many cars.

    kishnevi (4fe729)

  78. “I see: so far we have…”

    Blah, blah.

    You asked for reasons why sharecroppers wouldn’t fight the Yankees, so I gave you some.

    And, they happen to be real reasons too, well supported by known facts about the Civil War.

    If you don’t like the answers I’m giving…sorry about that.

    Dave Surls (529eea)

  79. “Would” fight I meant to say, not wouldn’t.

    Dave Surls (529eea)

  80. “Let’s ignore that opinions were different 150 years ago”

    Nah, the opinions of Democrats are about the same then as they are now. They’ll sell out America in a heartbeat to get what they want.

    With a few exceptions, Democrats are only loyal to America when they’re running it.

    Same now as it was back then.

    In the 1860s the Southern Dems turned traitor en masse because they thought the Republicans were going to make them free their slaves. It would be the same thing now if you threatened to take away their welfare checks.

    Dave Surls (529eea)

  81. “Slavery was not an issue when Lincoln went to war.”

    retire05 – I have no idea what kind of crap you read. If I recall correctly, South Carolina was the first state to secede. From its December 20, 1860, Declaration of Secession:

    “We hold that the government thus established is subject to the two great principles asserted in the Declaration of Independence; and we hold further, that the mode of its formation subjects it to a third fundamental principle, namely: the law of compact. We maintain that in every compact between two or more parties the obligation is mutual; that the failure of one of the contracting parties to perform a material part of the agreement, entirely releases the obligation of the other; and that where no arbiter is provided, each party is remitted to his own judgment to determine the fact of failure, with all its consequences.

    In the present case, that fact is established with certainty. We assert that fourteen of the states have deliberately refused for years past, to fulfil their constitutional obligations, and we refer to their own statutes for the proof.

    The constitution of the United States, in its 4th article, provides as follows:

    “No person held to service or labor in one state, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.”

    This stipulation was so material to the compact, that without it that compact would not have been made. The greater number of the contracting parties held slaves, and they had previously evinced their estimate of the value of such a stipulation by making it a condition in the ordinance for the government of the territory ceded by Virginia, which now composes the states north of the Ohio river.

    The same article of the constitution stipulates also for rendition, by the several states, of fugitives from justice from the other states.

    The general government, as the common agent, passed laws to carry into effect these stipulations of the states. For many years these laws were executed. But an increasing hostility on the part of the non�slaveholding states to the institution of slavery has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the general government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution. The States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa, have enacted laws which either nullify the acts of Congress or render useless any attempt to execute them. In many of these states the fugitive is discharged from service or labor claimed, and in none of them has the state government complied with the stipulation made in the constitution. The State of New Jersey, at an early day, passed a law in conformity with her constitutional obligation; but the current of anti�slavery feeling has led her more recently to enact laws which render inoperative the remedies provided by her own law and by the laws of Congress. In the State of New York even the right of transit for a slave has been denied by her tribunals; and the States of Ohio and Iowa have refused to surrender to justice fugitives charged with murder, and with inciting servile insurrection in the State of Virginia. Thus the constituted compact has been deliberately broken and disregarded by the non�slaveholding states, and the consequence follows that South Carolina is released from her obligation.”

    Slavery was clearly a freaking non-issue.

    daleyrocks (9b57b3)

  82. n the 1860s the Southern Dems turned traitor en masse because they thought the Republicans were going to make them free their slaves.

    It would be more precise to say that Southerners didn’t want the North to keep them from spreading slavery into the Western territories or conquering various bits of Latin America to turn them into slaveholding territories.

    And if you want to smear modern Democrats for the positions taken by their institutional forebears of a hundred fifty years ago, then you’d better remember that a hundred fifty years ago, Republicans were the party that believed in big, relatively untrammeled federal government.

    kishnevi (437df2)

  83. “We hold that the government thus established is subject to the two great principles asserted in the Declaration of Independence…”

    The great principles being:

    That ALL men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator (that would be God, btw) with certain unalienable rights, among which is the right to liberty.


    That men form governments to secure those rights.

    Too bad the Traitorcrats refused to honor either of those great principles, even though their ancestors swore an oath that they would when they signed onto the Declaration of Independence.

    Instead, they preferred to stand those principles on their heads, so that the Traitorcrat principles became…

    That all men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among which is the right to liberty, except for black men born into slavery.


    Governments are formed, not to ensutre the rights of those they govern, but to make sure that our slaves never enjoy the Liberty God intended them to have and to make sure that they’re kept in chains where they belong.

    Well, the Yankee government taught them the error of their ways…finally.

    If you ask me, the Yankees were way too gentle about doing it, but then I don’t hold much sympathy for slavers, oathbreakers and traitors.

    Dave Surls (529eea)

  84. “And if you want to smear modern Democrats for the positions taken by their institutional forebears of a hundred fifty years ago…”

    Yeah, that’s pretty much what I think all right.

    Democrats then believed that men are born to serve Democrat masters…and that’s what they pretty much still believe.

    The rationale they form to justify that belief changes, the methods employed to make men serve them changes, but the basic idea is always the same.

    “Republicans were the party that believed in big, relatively untrammeled federal government.”

    The Republicans of that day wouldn’t have known what big government was if it had jumped up and bit them on the nose. The saving grace of America in those days was not that we had a big government, and not that we had a good government, but that we had hardly any government at all, plus we had a frontier to escape to if even the little bit we had got too oppressive for any particular individual to deal with.

    Dave Surls (529eea)

  85. It was certainly a government big enough to organize and win the world’s first industrial war.

    If you know as much as you seem to know about the Civil War, then you ought to realize that time and time again when faced with a problem Lincoln’s preference was for what we could call the big government solution.

    Politicians then believed that men are born to serve politician masters…and that’s what they pretty much still believe.

    Changed your sentence to better match reality. The trait you abhor in Democrats is also very much present in Republicans. They simply differ in how they want to implement it.

    kishnevi (437df2)

  86. “The trait you abhor in Democrats is also very much present in Republicans.”

    Not nearly to the same degree. Not then, and not now.

    Always, it’s about the lesser of evils.

    Dave Surls (529eea)

  87. “It was certainly a government big enough to organize and win the world’s first industrial war.”

    Yeah, they did form a government big enough to fight the biggest war in US history, but then they disbanded it after the war was over. Federal Government expenditures in 1860 were about 1.8% of GDP, in 1913, the year Woody Wilson took office (after about 50 years of nearly constant wise Republican rule), and started screwing everything up, it was still only about 2.5%. In 1932, the year before FDR, unfortunately, took office, it was about 7.3% (which is way too high), thanks to the Great Depression. And, now, after many decades of liberal Democrat misrule (with the Dems almost always controlling both houses of Congress), it’s all the way up to 24% of GDP.

    Expenditures are now at twice what they were in the peak year of the American Civil War, and they ain’t likely to ever go back down.

    Old time Republicans were not into Big Government at all. Modern liberal Democrats, OTOH, are.

    Dave Surls (529eea)

  88. Modern liberal Democrats, OTOH, are.

    Because if there’s one thing they like to do, it is to tell everyone else how to live; and the scope of Big Government allows them that abuse of power.

    AD-RtR/OS! (89d12e)

  89. “The elitist attitude remains. I doubt that a movie like Deliverance would ever be made about Vermont or Connecticut.”

    Yeah, and I doubt that a movie like Midnight Cowboy, which I just watched the other day, would be made about Missisippi or Arkansas.

    Inbred hillbillies live in the North Georgia hills, and degenerate city scum live in pestholes like New York City. And, you don’t even wanna know what kind of folks we have out here in California. The kid with the banjo would pass as normal in this neck of the woods, and degenerate city scum are considered to be pillars of society.

    Each area of our country has it’s own peculiar fringers, except California where there really is no such thing as a fringer.

    Dave Surls (529eea)

  90. Lee did nothing that Washington didn’t do. And if some (such as Stevens) seceded over slavery, some of the USA’s founders seceded from the UK over the denial of their “right” to seize the Indians’ land and force them into war, and then massacre them in that war. And their “right” to have the UK taxpayer foot the entire bill for defending them when those enraged Indians fought back. How dare the UK sign peace treaties with the Indians and enforce them? And how dare they make the Americans pay even a tiny amount towards their own defense? Why, next you’ll tell me that Wisconsin public servants should contribute towards their pensions and health insurance!

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  91. He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose […] raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  92. Ironically today’s liberals are not about liberty.

    DohBiden (984d23)

  93. “Lee did nothing that Washington didn’t do.”

    He did one thing Washington didn’t do…came up on the losing side in the war he was fighting.

    Dave Surls (0a54c1)

  94. I’m kind of surprised that, according to Stephens, recognition that blacks are inferior to whites is the new idea, and recognition that “all men are created equal” applies to black people is the traditional one.

    That’s pretty much true. Until the invention of abolitionism in the late 18th century, nobody felt the need to justify slavery; it was universally accepted as natural and just. And so nobody had to come up with moral theories about why some people should be slave and others free; it just was what it was, and it had nothing to do with race. To most people in the 18th century it was just as logical for a black person to own white slaves as it was for a white person to own black ones; it just so happened that white slaves were in short supply and in even less demand, while there was a ready supply of black slaves in West Africa, and that blacks were better suited for working on plantations so there was a high demand for them. In other words the racial aspect of slavery as it existed was seen as a historical accident that could easily have gone the other way, and of no moral significance. The notion that there was some law of nature providing that whites ought to be masters and blacks slaves would have struck people as interesting but novel and probably wrong. And therefore free blacks were the legal equals of free whites.

    Once slavery came under attack, though, the slave holders had to come up with a theory to defend themselves, and the one they hit on was racism. And that made the position of free blacks become untenable, because under that theory they ought to be enslaved. It also made incongruous the position of white slaves, which was papered over by pretending they were “really” black. But this was all a new “scientific” theory, as Stevens correctly characterised it.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  95. “Also, the Civil War was merely largely about slavery and racism.”

    Hah, the reason many of the Free Soilers, the proto-Republicans, wanted slavery ended was exactly what is termed ‘racism’ today. They didn’t want masses of blacks in the new territories and states. Oregon, staunch union state, populated by Yankees, went so far as to bar ‘Africans’ from settling.

    stari_momak (d5f987)

  96. I would just like to thank all of you for educating this Nigerian gal (who lives in the US) a little bit about the history of US slavery. It’s unfortunate that some men felt they were superior to other human beings just because of the color of their skin. After reading all your comments, I find it even more sickening that the LGBT movement compares their current status in society to that of the slaves of bygone days.

    chosengirl (433b68)

  97. @Milhouse, might I ask what exactly you meant when you stated that “… blacks were better suited for working on plantations…?” What made them more suitable than whites for that kind of manual labor?

    chosengirl (433b68)

  98. Stari momak eats boogerz.

    JÐ (109425)

  99. @Milhouse, might I ask what exactly you meant when you stated that “… blacks were better suited for working on plantations…?” What made them more suitable than whites for that kind of manual labor?

    Planters learned early that white slaves tended to die of malaria and other things, and it was hard to get your money’s worth out of them, whereas blacks tended to survive and prove a good investment. So the demand shifted accordingly.

    That acted together with the fact that the supply of white slaves was rather limited in the first place; plus it was dangerous for western slave dealers to go to Algiers, Tripoli, etc., where white slaves were mostly to be obtained, for fear of being enslaved themselves. Meanwhile in many ports in West Africa there was a flourishing slave market in which one could buy as many blacks as one wanted.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

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