The Confederacy 

Cornerstone Darkness and Light
In Their Own Words Reparations
Founding Fathers Colonel Robert G. Ingersoll
The Forty Thousand Lerone Bennett, Jr.
What If States Rights
War Drums

James Hope, Antietam: A Crucial Delay


What were the principles upon which the Confederate States of America were founded? The Confederates were a voluble lot, who explained themselves in exhaustive detail. They were not ashamed, unlike their latter-day progeny. They did not invent fine-sounding fables to cover over an ugly reality. In his 'Cornerstone Speech,' laying out the founding principles of this new republic, Alexander Stephens, the Vice President of the Confederacy, explains the new discovery from which sprung the Southern revolution:

  • “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. 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.”

  • (Alexander Stephens, Vice President of the Confederate States of America, 1861, as reported in the Savannah Republican).

So: the United States was founded upon the premise that all men are created equal. But this is wrong, Southern science has discovered. The new principle, upon which they intended to found their new civilization, is that all white men are created equal, all black folk are created inferior. Could the author make it any clearer? The South seceded from the Union, and fought the Civil War, to ensure the continuation of slavery, and the continued debasement of the African in favor of the white citizen. These institutions were perceived to be under siege in a larger nation which had just elected Abraham Lincoln, not an abolitionist by any means but 'anti-slavery' in a sense, because the new Republican Party had inherited from the old 'Free-Soilers' the conviction that slavery should not be allowed to spread. The Southerners felt these institutions were worth defending, to the death. So they said; why will no one take their word on it?

Not only did slavery remain legal in the Confederate States of America, but it was expressly forbidden to pass any law against it: "No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in Negro slaves shall be passed." (Article I, Constitution of the Confederate States, March 11, 1861).

There are people nowadays, the Neoconfederates, Southern nationalists, and self-described "Paleo-Confederate" Douglas Wilson, who claim that the American Civil War was a content between Christian civilization, as represented by the South, and militant atheism (that would be the North). Do we find any confirmation for this claim in Stephens' eloquent and blindingly clear defense of the new republic? Was his racist paradigm Christian in the slightest particular?:

Happy Slaves
Racial Insensitivity
What Saith the Scripture?
Test Case
John Brown's Body
Whosoever Will
Hobgoblin of Little Minds
Neighborhood of Boston
French Revolution
Spoiling the Egyptians
Slippery Slope
League of the South
Birds of a Feather
Cultural Inferiority

Douglas Wilson

Jesus Christ Pantocrator

His followers, who are legion, insist that Wilson is no white supremacist, because he says he is not. Meanwhile, he says that his 'followers' are feds:

“You can also ascertain that CN is becoming a real thing because of all those FBI and DOJ bro-bots—you know, fake-account feds in MAGA hats doing things like the antisemitic jag. You may not know this, but this is a real sign of having arrived. You know the kind of thing I am talking about . . . 'I Heart Doug Wilson, and Hitler had his good points.' The only real thing worth debating is which federal agency it was. And on those occasions when it really is an alt-right goober, we should learn to think of those guys as the volunteer militia for the federal agencies, helping them in their mission to discredit all responsible resistance.” (Doug Wilson, Blog & Mablog, 'Live Not by Lies. . .At Least Not Lots of Them,' September 4, 2023).

Doug Wilson's "Confederacy" is a Shangri-La, a place that never was nor could be, a fervently Christian community stoutly defended by 40,000 Black soldiers, every one of them committed to the cause...which was what, again, exactly? Because, by the power of his world-making imagination, he has simply erased the white supremacy which was the actual founding principle of secession, those who inconveniently remember the testimony of actual history become slanderers.

But can you make a whole world out of your own imagination in this way? Does reality have its own claims to make on people? Some years back in Maine, a lunatic named Marc Bechard bludgeoned several elderly nuns to death with a religious statuette among other weapons. One of the survivors led a twilight existence for some time after that in a local nursing home. When the psychiatrists asked him why he had done this, he explained that there were "beings" imprisoned in the convent, plus that the nuns were in possession of an "oil" which could save the world, if it were not being greedily hoarded by the nuns. In his own mind, his concerns were rational, even public-spirited. But only in his own mind.

Mr. Bechard was held in a mental institution for some time, but was subsequently released and has since died of Lou Gehrig's disease. If you look at it his way, his actions were civic-minded and public-spirited, were they not? Should not these "beings" be set free? Was it fair to imprison them? Certainly if the nuns were unlawfully detaining some identifiable party, that could have been made an issue, the authorities might have been notified; but suppose, had the Waterville police been called to the scene, they'd been unable to locate these "beings"? What if it's just lunacy?

In a similar vein, Mr. Wilson has no right to invent a racially harmonious Confederacy and demand that other people pretend they also believe in his invention. The actual, real-life Confederacy was racist to the bone, and those who champion its memory must be evaluated accordingly. Mr. Wilson himself does not think persons who wish to identify as various genders have any moral or legal right to expect other people to buy into their delusions or be compelled to use their preferred terminology; yet the public at large is obligated to buy into his delusions, if they are to talk about him at all? Not going to happen.


War and Peace

Darkness and Light

American history is not a quotidian recitation of the interaction between groups with differing interests, as is the history of many nations. It is a Manichaean interplay between darkness and light. Those who knowingly and wittingly choose the darkness deserve condemnation. This spiritual dimension of American history gets lost by erosion from several directions, not just from an ill-timed tolerance that tries to 'understand' the South. Nowadays, 'woke' historians like Jemar Tisby start from the premise that white folks are constitutionally incapable of doing any good deed. If any action completed by a white actor appears good, the historian must discover the self-interested motive behind this false front of seeming good. Look at William Wilberforce. Was his persistent push to outlaw the slave trade and slavery itself from the British empire admirable, even altruistic? Not in the least. He was making the world safe for capitalism: "Yet abolitionism did not arise from purely altruistic motives. The decline of slavery in Britain coincided with the rise of the Industrial Revolution. The factory became the urban farm that produced most British goods. The poet William Blake called factories 'dark Satanic mills.'" (Jemar Tisby, The Color of Compromise, p. 41). Never mind that the people hired to work in British factories had not previously been slaves. Never mind that Wilberforce and his circle did not own factories. This principle is called 'interest convergence.' It means white folks are ever and inherently evil, and only appear to do good. It is indistinguishable from anti-white racism, which is the premise that white folks are ever and inherently evil. Black folk are still allowed to be virtuous in Tisby-world; indeed they all must be, because their status as victims demands it, as does the blatant racism of the entire conception. Thus even riots are virtuous, if the rioters should happen to be black. But once they start explaining to the public how the slaves liberated themselves, the star of this school of history will set behind the mountains of absurdity.

A better name for 'interest convergence' might be 'North and South convergence,' because a consequence of this premise is that, however bad the slave-owning South may have been, the slave-freeing North must also have been equally bad. After all, both populations are predominantly white, right? So how could one be in the right, the other wrong? If you want advance notice of where the 'woke' historians will go, you can head them off at the pass by reading the writings of white racists of the past. Doing so, you will be able to predict what they are going to say before they say it. For example, Justice Roger B. Taney, in his Dred Scott decision, explained that the U.S. Constitution supports, indeed establishes, slavery. In fact if it had been taken literally, the Dred Scott decision would have invalidated existing law in the Northern states which forbade slavery! To justify his argument, he pointed out that the U.S. Constitution mentions slavery, kind of. Northern abolitionists found this reasoning absurd. The 'woke' squad of the present day, on the contrary, say, isn't it obvious he was right? White racism, turned inside out, equals anti-white racism, i.e., 'wokeness.' White racism directed against blacks should not be replaced by black racism directed against whites; this is not progress, just more of the same.

In the history taught in schools, the contrast between light and dark fades out of American history. Not that it fades into an equipotent gray, but once steering 'woke' principle is established, that white people cannot act for any other than sordid and self-interested motives, it all fades to darkness, because, after all, the majority of the population is, and was, white. True, the Union freed the slaves, but only accidentally, while they were trying to do something else. This is as wrong as the Neoconfederates' celebrating the darkness. The Northern states of the United States eliminated slavery within their borders, a nearly universal human curse, decades before any jurisdiction in Africa ever thought of doing so. It was eliminated throughout the country by the thirteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution. They refuse to see this as anything positive, as light conquering darkness. When we look at the history of most nations, we realize they invariably portray themselves as 100% in the right, and everybody else as 100% in the wrong. There is no way to reconcile the differing viewpoints on World War I found among the participants. In fact no one wanted that war, since it came anyway they all were both in the wrong and in the right. Shaving the difference seems like the rational, equitably-minded thing to do. Not in American history. There really is a right and a wrong; the Union and the Confederacy were not moral equivalents. The kind of Northern triumphalism still in vogue when I went to school, in the North at least, needs to make a comeback, if this country ever hopes to understand itself. Otherwise, the Neo-Confederates and Jemar Tisby will keep right on marching hand-in-hand, spreading misinformation and slandering the posthumous reputation of honorable, even heroic, men.

Many of these 'woke' ideas originate from the long-prevalent, in the South, evasions of the 'Lost Cause' mythology. These die-hards tried to hold onto the notion that the South was, after all, in the right, or at any rate the cause of the North was no improvement, by inventing creative reasons for the Civil War other than slavery, for instance, it was a dispute about tariffs. But the Civil War really was all about slavery, as the participants at the time were not shy to proclaim. One side was, in general and taking a long view, right; the majority Northern electorate who voted for Abraham Lincoln were opposed to slavery in principle, though they had no intention of abolishing it by force in the South. Seeing the hand-writing on the wall, the Southern slave-owners, who controlled the political institutions of their states by depriving not only blacks but also poor whites of the franchise, realized the only way to secure a future for slavery was to bail out. The rest of what happened, happened. Certainly the mass of humanity in the North were frail sinners, as are we all, but this bedrock fact of all human history does not detract from the fact that they were in the right.

To demand that all participants in history be morally impeccable leaves us with no actors upon the stage; in human history as it is, you will not do much better than to watch Union armies sweeping the South and freeing the slaves as they go. To Jemar Tisby, they can't be in the right, because they're white. If they seem to be doing right, the goal-posts must be moved, the standards shifted, until they are doing wrong. It may be they were entirely in the right on slavery, but wait: there is evidence they believed in something like the bell curve! If no such dirty laundry can be uncovered, then arbitrary, unworthy motives must be assigned to them. This is 'interest convergence:' for white actors, none but sordid and self-interested motives may be assigned. To Jemar Tisby and those who think like him, it is self-evident that, why yes, black folk are morally impeccable, because they are victims of oppression. The outside observer mumbles, 'Um, your morally impeccable people have a disproportionately high crime rate, plus they are prone to riot,' inciting the response, 'Racist!' If you want to insist there is a morally impeccable ethnic group, could you maybe give in to plausibility a little and give us the Chinese, who pay taxes and are hard-working? The only way he can get the inner-city population to be perceived as morally impeccable is to redefine what is wrong as right, good, and wholesome, like rioting for instance.

Objective scrutiny of history can confirm no such hypothesis as that one human group is uniquely virtuous and valuable, so much so that other groups must be evaluated solely on the basis of their standing with the truly human, truly worthwhile people. White racists want it understood that the uniquely valuable ones are their own selves, black racists want it understood that, no, it's themselves. There is a difference here? For the past sixty years in the United States a bureaucratic structure has been in place safeguarding equal opportunity. This is the inverse of systemic racism. The system, insofar as it is a system, not only does not condone racial discrimination but has rendered it illegal. Anyone who thinks these legal strictures are routinely flouted has never worked in a human resources department. If these extraordinary measures have failed to secure equality of outcome, then the cause does not lie in defects in the system, whether accidental or the intended, but elsewhere. They should stop demanding that people pretend to believe in Tinker-belle, or the Tooth fairy, or other things that are manifestly not real. Like 'white privilege.' Neo-confederates and their allies should stop stoking the historical misconceptions that make these fantasies seem real. If they would stop saying that the evil North invaded the South to spread its economic system (capitalism), then the race-baiters would be left alone saying these things.

The people of the South want it understood that they are a most patriotic of all Americans. If so, why do they not take pride in their army, the American army, sweeping through the South to liberate the slaves? Our history should be their history, too, whether a seditious conventicle of traitors thought otherwise or not. We expect the citizens of the foreign nation of Iraq to welcome our troops as liberators, but then we think it only natural that our own relatives down south perceived the Union troops who restored constitutional government to the South as foreign invaders. Isn't it time to retire the 'Lost Cause' mythology, which can only be defended by lies? The government of the planters, by the planters, and for the planters that plotted treason and secession deserves no gratitude nor nostalgia, from anyone. Personally I'd like nothing better than if all the little children of America joined hands and danced in a circle singing, 'Babylon is Fallen, Babylon is Fallen.' May it happen, though it hasn't happened yet. The Civil War continues to divide Americans. Healing that division would be the best cure and preventative against 'wokeness.' An America that believes in itself is immune to 'wokeness.' A country that does not believe in itself has no future. Less than all other countries, does America have valid reason not to believe in itself. Our history is a history of light overcoming the darkness.

Does the Bible contain any hint or suggestion that black folk are inferior to white folk, as Alexander Stephens believed the South had discovered, or does this cornerstone of the Confederacy come altogether from outside the Bible? And if the idea that blacks are inferior finds no Biblical support, can the converse proposition, that whites are inferior, find any support either?:


Black and White One Blood
Age of Reason Interracial Marriage
Scientific Racism Bible and Slavery
The Confederacy Adolf Hitler

The Bible and Racism

In Their Own Words

Just as the best corrective to the Neoconfederates' nostalgic fabrications about the Confederacy is to read the actual words of committed Confederates, so the best response to their slurs against the abolitionists is to read what these people had to say for themselves. Were they really admirers of the Jacobins, as alleged? Or did they love the Bible and the God who authored it?:

 Goodsell Buckingham 
The Bible Vindicated
Evan Lewis
An Address to Christians
John Newton
Thoughts Upon the
 African Slave Trade 
John Rankin
Thoughts on
 American Slavery 
John Wesley
 Thoughts Upon Slavery 
Theodore D. Weld
 Bible Against Slavery 

According to self-described "Paleo-Confederate" Douglas Wilson, a preference for violence is the essence of abolitionism. So he states in a Canon Press video intended to walk back some of his more abhorrent assertions in 'Black and Tan:' "Well, see that's the whole point. The abolitionist, you know, the person who wants bloodshed, you know, slavery ended, and good riddance — this is the important part — slavery ended in the west, and good riddance, in the western world, everywhere else, peaceably. Here it was, we killed six hundred thousand people in order to do it and established a pattern of racial animosity that lasted well over a century." (Doug Wilson, Southern Slavery, Canon Press YouTube, 7:16-7:59). Is it true, that the abolitionists wanted violence? Was it was they who started the Civil War rather than the Southerner defenders of slavery who fired on Fort Sumter? Is it true, that "the abolitionist" is "the person who wants bloodshed"? Or is this a big lie of a magnitude that would make Himmler and Goebbels blush?

Evidence in favor of the proposition is one man, John Brown, executed for treason by hanging by Robert E. Lee, while he was still wearing the blue uniform. Evidence against is the entire record of success of American abolitionism, which had eliminated slavery by law, non-violently, through the democratic political process, in the entire Northern part of the country prior to the Civil War. This was the methodology they preferred: peaceful persuasion followed by legislative action, within the normal, lawful political process. They had high hopes of working the same magic for the entire country, beginning with protecting the unincorporated territories, which Southern secession derailed. If the horrific violence brought on by the Civil War contributed to waning belief in the moral basis for American abolitionism, namely the Bible, on the part of Colonel Ingersoll and those to whom he spoke, then that certainly does show the superiority of non-violence as a means of political change. Battlefield tactics had not kept pace with the improving lethality of weaponry; it shocks the conscience to think that commanders still thought it possible, in events like Pickett's charge, to send unarmored men out for a stroll through the farm fields in the face of withering artillery fire. Seeing scenes like that probably did undermine the Northern soldier's belief in the righteousness of his own cause; but how much worse for the Southerner, fighting in what was from the outset an evil cause, namely the subjugation of the black race, as outlined by Alexander Stephens.



You often hear nowadays, from proponents of slavery reparations, the idea that the federal government should transfer wealth from the tax-payers to the African-American population, because all of America's vast wealth rests on the foundation of slavery. Yes, all of it. One must ask, why then did the North win the Civil War? Shut off from access to the South's cotton exports, shouldn't the North have lost if it was the dependent part of the country? Great wealth did indeed come from the cotton fields. But while the South was growing cotton, the North was manufacturing locomotives. As William Tecumseh Sherman explained in a letter to a Southern acquaintance:

"The North can make a steam engine, locomotive or railway car; hardly a yard of cloth, or a pair of shoes can you make. You are rushing into war with one of the most powerful, ingeniously mechanical and determined people on earth — right at your doors. You are bound to fail. Only in your spirit and determination are you prepared for war. In all else you are totally unprepared." (William Tecumseh Sherman, quoted p. 79, Capitalism in America, Alan Greenspan, Adrian Wooldridge).

It is not correct that all of our nation's great wealth came from Southern cotton fields, tended by slaves. There isn't any one product upon which American prosperity rested. Not to mention that the North's wheat fields, tended by independent family farmers, yielded quite a bumper crop as well, not one dime of it resting upon Southern slavery. Given that the gross domestic product of the entire country in the years leading up to the Civil War was a tiny fraction of what it now is, it is extravagant to claim our prosperity today was stolen from the slaves.

Since there is no community of perfect people walking upon this earth, few would think to idolize the North, who won the Civil War and freed the slaves.  Still and all, this is a war that the good guys won. Some people find that this disrupts their preferred narrative: "It is easy to imagine a facile narrative that develops around Juneteenth in which people essentially tell themselves, 'Slavery was bad. The 'good guys' won the Civil War. And now racism is over.' It would be a sacrilege to the memories of those who suffered to achieve freedom and the celebration of Juneteenth if people adopted a simplistic understanding of the history behind it." (Jemar Tisby, The Boston Globe, June 17, 2021, The Unintended Consequences of Making Juneteenth a National Holiday.) 'Good guys' is in scare quotes for a reason. If your preferred narrative is that all white people are evil all the time, and that the slaves freed themselves, thank you very much, the Civil War can prove as difficult as it does to any Neo-Confederate. Thus Black Lives Matter demonstrators are as happy to vandalize the statue of Abraham Lincoln as they are that of Jefferson Davis. Americans should celebrate the history of the Civil War not because they will have Black allies in their celebration; they may have none. They should celebrate it because it is theirs, North and South, and it is worth celebrating. Has there ever, in human history, been an army that marched through slave lands, as General Sherman did in his march to the sea, setting free the slaves as they went? It happened, and if that is not worth celebrating, what is?


Founding Fathers

America's third president, Thomas Jefferson, gave valuable service to his country in penning the Declaration of Independence. Was there ever a document that came out of government that was so well written? The country owes him a debt of gratitude for his clarity of expression, if not of conception. He is both the favored founding father to appear on Neoconfederate websites, but is also favored by the other side. Was Thomas Jefferson anti-slavery? The peculiar institution made him uncomfortable, to be sure. But his preferred solution to the dilemma was to liberate the slaves,— and then send them far, far away:

Three of Six The Problem
Sister Heresy Then and Now
The Face of God Church Government
All Paths He Says
Mary in the Koran Post-Modernism
David Barton Et Tu
Desire of Nations Restoration

Thomas Jefferson

Some of his colleagues might make a better and more edifying study for young people than this morally compromised figure.

Once you bring to the attention of the Neoconfederates what the original secessionists themselves said about the goals and principles of their new republic, you will find a curious reluctance on their part to discuss the matter. Some ideas are best shared in whispers, it would appear. There often turns out to be an element of prevarication in their support for the Confederacy. The Civil War was not about slavery, they insist; but then when you point out that it was, it turns out that they knew that all along.


Colonel Robert G. Ingersoll

Colonel Robert G. Ingersoll was a famous spokesman for atheism in the era after the Civil War in America. His argumentation against Christianity is far from exquisite however. One favored argument is that the Bible says the earth is flat, and the early church believed the earth was flat, therefore Christianity is false. Neither assertion is true. Another favored argument is that the Confederacy was evil, therefore the Bible is false. This is a non sequitur: the Confederacy was very wicked indeed, but these fallen men's seditious plotting against America and against human rights says nothing against the Bible, which does not countenance such wickedness. Both sides claimed divine guidance in the American Civil War, one far more plausibly than the other. No doubt many an idealistic young man, eager to strike a blow against slavery, recoiled when he wandered onto the blood-drenched killing fields of the Civil War; still, one side was right, the other wrong.

Basing an argument against theism on the premise that the wrong side, and the losing side, of the American Civil War, was the Biblical one, when it never was, is wasted effort. For that matter, Christendom has not historically thought that the earth was flat. Why resort to bad arguments, i.e., arguments based on fraudulent and fictitious premises, if there are good ones available?:


General John Tecumseh Sherman, Grand Army Plaza, New York City, by Augustus St. Gaudens

Bible Contradictions Bible Difficulties
Flat Earth Slavery and the Bible
Wealth and Poverty Zingers
Build Upon the Sand Three Gods
Famine and Flood Just a Man

Colonel Ingersoll

The Forty Thousand

One of the myths propounded by the Neoconfederates in the present day is that there were tens of thousands of African-American soldiers who fought in the cause of the Confederacy. Self-described "Paleo-Confederate" Douglas Wilson puts it this way:

"The second insult, worse because it has been far more successful as a slander, consists of withholding from blacks an important part of their genuine heritage, one in which they can and should take deep satisfaction and pride.
"The Confederate States of America lasted as long as it did, against overwhelming odds, in part because of the great contribution made by many loyal Confederate blacks to her war effort. This contribution is probably one of the greatest untold stories in the annals of our nation's history. Not only was it a 'finest hour,' to use Churchill's phrase, it was an hour which white America generally refuses to acknowledge — to this day." (Douglas Wilson, Black and Tan, Kindle location 885-889).

An untold story to be sure. Just like the Revolution was never televised, but only because it never happened, this inspiring tale isn't part of canonical Civil War history. This author's prior published pamphlet explains that Southern blacks overwhelmingly supported the Confederate war effort: "Given this testimony, it is not surprising that most southern blacks (both free and slave) supported the Southern war effort." (Southern Slavery As It Was, Steve Wilkins and Douglas Wilson, p. 12).

According to Wilson, these rifle-toting back Confederates were fired by patriotism to their beloved Confederacy, not by enticements such as the promise of freedom: "But the king of all such oddities is the great untold oddity — the ardent support by the Confederacy by thousands of blacks, both free and slave. . .The wave of patriotic fervor which swept the South clearly included the black population." (Douglas Wilson, Black and Tan, Kindle location 898-903). How many of these young lions arrived ready for battle? Forty thousand: "One estimate places the number of black Confederate combatants at around 40,000." (Douglas Wilson, Black and Tan, Kindle location 920). Hey, it's an estimate. And an absurd one at that.

The issue came to a head with the Union deploying increasing numbers of Black soldiers in the field. By the end of the Civil War, approximately 10% of the Union forces were African-Americans. What was the status of these combatants, in the eyes of the Confederacy? Unfortunately, they were not considered lawful enemy combatants, but rather persons engaged in servile insurrection. This led to atrocities, for instance at Fort Pillow, where white Union soldiers at the encircled fort were allowed to surrender and made prisoners of war, but the Black soldiers were simply slaughtered. This is a a war crime, on a par with the execution of Polish officers at the Katyn forest by the Red Army in World War II. It was not a case of indiscipline, of lower-ranking personnel not fully grasping the war aims of the higher-ups. At My Lai, for instance, American soldiers slaughtered Vietnamese civilians, in defiance of the Geneva Convention; but the politicians back home directing the war effort had not commanded targeting civilians. By contrast, it was the official policy of the Confederate States of America to offer 'no quarter' to, for instance, the white officers leading Black troops into battle:

"That every white person, being a commissioned officer, or acting as such, who, during the present war, shall command negroes or multattoes in arms against the Confederate States, or who shall arm, train, organize or prepare negroes or mulattoes for military service against the Confederate States, or who shall voluntarily aid negroes or mulattoes in any military enterprise, attack or conflict in such service, shall be deemed as inciting servile insurrection, and shall, if captured, be put to death, or be otherwise punished at the discretion of the court." (Joint Resolution on the Subject of Retaliation, May 1, 1863, Section 4, quoted at

The Black soldiers who had tried to surrender at Fort Pillow died with the cry of "No quarter! No quarter!" ringing in their ears. Not so coincidentally, "paleoConfederate" Doug Wilson celebrates "No quarter November," in which he sets fire to the furniture, perhaps in memory of this event, perhaps not. It is strange that the Neoconfederates cannot stop talking about how chivalrous and honorable the Confederate military were, when staring right back in their face are atrocities like the starving prisoners at Andersonville and outright slaughter of disarmed men at Fort Pillow.

Not that the dying Confederacy didn't themselves make the effort to recruit black soldiers, overcoming considerable political resistance. Toward the end, the rising tide of deaths due to battle and illness, plus waves of desertion, left the Confederate ranks in tatters. Something had to be done, as the generals realized even if the politicians did not:

"Since slavery was already crumbling in many parts of the South, such as the Shenandoah Valley, why not enlist these slaves as soldiers, instead of losing them to the Union? Patrick Cleburne prepared such a proposal in January 1864 and sent it to Richmond, hoping that swift action would bring thousands of African Americans into the field in Confederate gray, and help stem the tide of Union victories. In return, all of the slaves would receive their freedom. . .Cleburne presented his scheme to the high ranking commanders of the Army of Tennessee on January 2, 1864. Generals Anderson, Walker, Bate, J. E. Johnston, Stewart and Stevenson all rejected the idea, but Generals Hardee and Hindman agreed with it. President Davis received the petition and quickly took action. He gave instructions to ensure that the document’s existence did not become common knowledge and the public journals did not learn of the idea." (Religious Rebels: The Religious Views and Motivations of Confederate Generals, Robert H. Croskery, pp. 171-172).

After all, wasn't the founding principle of the Confederacy that Africans were better off slaves than free? Wasn't this new state founded on the novel principle, that some men are less than others, by nature? But where were fresh recruits to be found? After the slaughter of the Battle of Cannae, the Romans reversed their usual policy of relying on a free citizen army, and enlisted slaves. So many men were gone, what else were they to do? It's a course of desperation, adopted in desperate circumstances. And in spite of its political impossibility, it was ultimately adopted by the Confederacy: "Other Confederate generals became convinced of the proposal’s merit by early 1865. One historian argues, however, that without Robert E. Lee’s support the idea would not have been seriously considered. Lee was convinced by January 1865 that the slaves should be enlisted and trained immediately. The slaves who served as soldiers would become automatically free, and the remaining slaves would be gradually emancipated. . .The response of the Confederate authorities to their most renowned general publicly endorsing and acknowledging the need for African American soldiers bears witness to the charges made by historians that the war was fought for slavery. Instead of taking immediate action, Davis hesitated, and on March 10 Lee pressed his president to get the slaves trained as soon as possible. By this time, of course, it was too late, since less than a month later Grant received Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House." (Religious Rebels: The Religious Views and Motivations of Confederate Generals Robert H. Croskery, pp. 172-173). Who knows whether recruiting these men sooner might have breathed new life into the Confederacy? It would have been prudent, though, to make sure they never found out what happened to the black Union soldiers who surrendered at Fort Pillow. Their growing realization that their own side did not believe the laws of war applied to them might have cooled the patriotic fervor Wilson is sure they felt.

In making his extravagant claim that Black slaves were the loyal sons of the Confederacy, and that thus to insult the Confederacy is to insult them, Douglas Wilson parts company with the Southern apologists he usually lionizes, like Richard Lewis Dabney, who accuses his Black neighbors of treason:

"If you trust any portion of power over your Church to black hands, you will rue it. Have they not done enough recently, to teach us how thoroughly they are untrustworthy? They have, in a body, deserted their true friends, and natural allies, and native land, to follow the beck of the most unmasked and unprincipled set of demagogues on earth, to the most atrocious ends." (Robert Lewis Dabney, The Ecclesiastical Equality of Negro Preachers in Our Church and Their Right to Rule over White Christians, p. 6).

The "native land" against which Dabney hurls the accusation of disloyalty at his Black neighbors is not the United States. Southern Blacks had many occasions to show their loyalty toward their native land, while others around them lapsed into treason and sedition. Rather, he is angry that Black residents were glad to see the blue-coated troops, emissaries from the government of their own native land, bearing in their hands the Emancipation Proclamation. Dabney knows nothing of the 40,000.

Jefferson Davis's response to the Emancipation Proclamation was positively unhinged. He declared all the free Black residents of the South to be slaves. On the eve of the Civil War, approximately 10% of the African-American population were free, in some cases in spite of legal and governmental barriers to manumission. So, to compensate for any slaves freed by Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, with a stroke of a pen, he reduced those free people to slavery:

An address to the people of the free states by the President of the Southern confederacy. Richmond, January 5, 1863.

"Now, therefore, as a compensatory measure, I do hereby issue the following Address to the People of the Non-Slaveholding States:—

"On and after February 22, 1863, all free negroes within the limits of the Southern Confederacy shall be placed on the slave status, and be deemed to be chattels, they and their issue forever. All negroes who shall be taken in any of the States in which slavery does not now exist, in the progress of our arms, shall be adjudged, immediately after such capture, to occupy the slave status, and in all States which shall be vanquished by our arms, all free negroes shall, ipso facto , be reduced to the condition of helotism, so that the respective normal conditions of the white and black races may be ultimately placed on a permanent basis, so as to prevent the public peace from being thereafter endangered.

"Therefore, while I would not ignore the conservative policy of the Slave States, namely, that a Federal Government cannot, without violating the fundamental principles of a Constitution, interfere with the internal policy of several States; since, however, Abraham Lincoln has seen fit to ignore the Constitution he has solemnly sworn to support, it ought not to be considered polemically or politically improper in me to vindicate the position which has been at an early day of this Southern republic, assumed by the Confederacy, namely, that slavery is the corner-stone of a Western Republic. It is not necessary for me to elaborate this proposition...The States of New England, from which all complicated difficulties have arisen, owe their greatness and power to the free suffrages of all other sections of North America; and yet, as is now evident, they have, from the adoption of the Federal Constitution, waged a persistent warfare against the interests of all the other States of the old Union. The great centre of their opposition has been Slavery, while the annual statistics of their respective State Governments abundantly prove that they entertain within all their boundaries fewer negroes than any single State which does not tolerate slavery.

"In view of these facts, and conscientiously believing that the proper condition of the negro is slavery, or a complete subjection to the white man,— and entertaining the belief that the day is not distant when the old Union will be restored with slavery nationally declared to be the proper condition of all of African descent,— and in view of the future harmony and progress of all the States of America, I have been induced to issue this address, so that there may be no misunderstanding in the future.

(Jefferson Davis, address published in the Richmond Enquirer. 1863, Library of Congress).

Will someone please tell me again about how the Confederacy is supposed to have had something to do with limited government? What is limited about a government that imagines it has the power to reduce formerly free citizens to slavery?

Douglas Wilson has never recanted nor retracted his ludicrous suggestion of 40,000 Black Confederate soldiers. He didn't invent it, it has sometimes been part of the 'Lost Cause' mythology; but he defends the plausibility of this wildly inflated number. Like other made-up historical circumstances, it should long ago have been retired. History ought to be recitation of what actually happened, not a liars' contest of tall tales. Neoconfederacy is a recitation of fables, not history.

The Civil War is not over, because it has not yet achieved its objectives: "'Never until we welcome the Negro, the foreigner, all races as equals, and melted together in a common nationality, hurl them all at despotism, will the North deserve triumph or earn it at the hands of a just God.'" (Wendell Phillips, quoted in Glory Road, Bruce Catton, Kindle location 4135). Hopefully some of this detritus blocking the path, history that never happened and the like evasions, will be cleared away, allowing victory at last.


New Genus Curse of Ham
White Supremacy Confederate States of America
Slavery Malum in Se
Replacement Theory One Master
Master Debater Two-Step
Man of His Times Douglas Wilson
They Bad Theology Proper
A Dabney Miscellany Whither White Supremacy?
Church History French Revolution
Freedom and Democracy

Robert Lewis Dabney

Lerone Bennett, Jr.

An editor of Ebony Magazine some years ago attracted attention by claiming that Abraham Lincoln was a white supremacist. According to Mr. Bennett,

"If Lincoln had had his way, Oprah Winfrey, Martin Luther King Jr., Jesse Jackson Sr., Lena Horne, Muhammad Ali, Hank Aaron, Maya Angelou, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks...and even Clarence Thomas would have been born in slavery." (Lerone Bennett, Jr., Forced Into Glory, quoted in the Independent, "Lerone Bennett Jr.: Ebony magazine journalist and historian who claimed Lincoln was a white supremacist.")

Where have we heard this before? It is one the linchpins of the Lost Cause mythology developed by embittered Confederates. There are two sides to their perspective: the South was noble and the North was evil. Mr. Bennett, without I'm sure embracing the nobility of the South's cause, did adopt wholesale the notion of the evil and duplicitous North. But we usually give credit to the first to publish, which in this case were without question the apologists for the Confederacy, who still to this day are repeating their old mantra:

"So I will content myself with condemning a quotation from the most famous white supremacist (to use our current phrase for this) of the nineteenth century, a gentleman named Abraham Lincoln. He said, 'I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races. . .inasmuch as it becomes a necessity that there must be a difference, I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position. I have never said anything to the contrary." (Douglas Wilson, Black & Tan, Kindle location 1057).

No, according to the Neoconfederates, the North cared nothing for the slaves and did not want to see them liberated. It was for other reasons the North invaded the South; it was to garner tariff revenues, or corner the cotton market. . .or something.

In fairness, this view is partly the testimony of history: Mr. Lincoln's Republicans were not an abolitionist party, but rather anti-slavery in the same sense as the old Free Soil party. They wanted to stop the spread of slavery, not eliminate it where already established. It is one of the ironies of history that a man who was not even an abolitionist in the theoretical sense became the greatest practical abolitionist in the history of mankind, freeing far more slaves than Solon the Athenian ever did. It is not ultimately fair history either; sustaining Mr. Bennett's thesis requires arbitrarily classifying most of what Mr. Lincoln said on this topic as duplicity. Certainly politicians can be duplicitous; it is also possible his views matured. And since the Emancipation Proclamation was in fact followed up by the 13th Amendment barring slavery and the 14th Amendment guaranteeing equal rights, there is little point in the end arguing that they didn't really mean it.

Almost immediately upon the Confederacy's defeat, the bitter Confederates began crafting a 'Lost Cause' mythology, which  portrayed the cause of the Confederacy as noble in concept and gallant in execution, but ultimately doomed by the North's greater numbers and industrial prowess. This idea: that the Northerners were racists, who had no real interest in freeing any slaves but just happened to end up doing that, was part of the 'Lost Cause' mythos from the start, which nowadays just happens to be curated mostly by Black practitioners. There never has been any corporate effort in the history of mankind where absolutely everybody was on board, and there were, no doubt, Northern soldiers who were racists. But evidence against this thesis includes the political record of the GAR, the Grand Army of the Republic, a voluntary veteran's organization made up of Union soldiers. They never ceased to champion Black civil rights throughout the Reconstruction period. In ending slavery, in the main, the Union Army was doing what they believed in and believed in what they were doing.

When did the anti-slavery movement start, in the Christian church? Way back; not here, but long ago. Here is one outbreak of the sentiment, in the fourth century:




What If?

What would the future have held for slavery had the Confederate states been able to make good their escape from the Union? Would slaves yet still remain in chains, or would the slaves have freed themselves through a bloody slave rebellion, as happened in Haiti? What is certain, to the reader of the statements the Southern legislatures made accompanying secession, is that the seceding states had no intention of doing away with slavery, not then, not in the future. So fond hopes that the Southern slaves could have been freed peacefully, saving 600,000 lives, are not realistic.

The ancient world had the steam engine, but didn't do anything with it. Heron of Alexandria described the mechanism. But the widespread practice of slavery meant that labor was cheap. Labor-saving did not offer any immediate payoff. And so they did nothing with it. First labor must become dear, then the labor-saving can begin.

But the tractor would have been invented anyway, in free states. At the time of the Civil War, most of the American labor force, both free and slave, worked in agriculture. That is no longer the case; now only a small percentage work in the fields. But agricultural production has not collapsed, far from it. Instead of mobilizing an army of men, women, and children to pluck the cotton by hand and place it in a bag, a man in an air-conditioned cab can run down the rows and do in an afternoon what would have taken a troop to do by hand. What would they have said to the slaves then?

'Congratulations, you're free! You've been rendered redundant by the tractor, so good luck and good riddance. Find something to do with yourselves.' Or would they have set them to making bricks, like the Hebrew children in Egypt? I don't know, but I do know the Confederates had no plans to liberate any slave if they could help it. The laws in many Southern states discouraged manumission; slavery was never going to fade out quietly and peacefully.


State's Rights

When you talk to Neoconfederates, you will often be informed that slavery was in no sense the cause of the Civil War. Reading the statements of the causes for secession published by the Confederate States at the time of their secession brings back a sense of reality. Here is one example:


A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union.

In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course.

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. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin. That we do not overstate the dangers to our institution, a reference to a few facts will sufficiently prove.

The hostility to this institution commenced before the adoption of the Constitution, and was manifested in the well-known Ordinance of 1787, in regard to the Northwestern Territory.

The feeling increased, until, in 1819-20, it deprived the South of more than half the vast territory acquired from France.

The same hostility dismembered Texas and seized upon all the territory acquired from Mexico.

It has grown until it denies the right of property in slaves, and refuses protection to that right on the high seas, in the Territories, and wherever the government of the United States had jurisdiction.

It refuses the admission of new slave States into the Union, and seeks to extinguish it by confining it within its present limits, denying the power of expansion.

It tramples the original equality of the South under foot.

It has nullified the Fugitive Slave Law in almost every free State in the Union, and has utterly broken the compact which our fathers pledged their faith to maintain.

It advocates negro equality, socially and politically, and promotes insurrection and incendiarism in our midst.

It has enlisted its press, its pulpit and its schools against us, until the whole popular mind of the North is excited and inflamed with prejudice.

It has made combinations and formed associations to carry out its schemes of emancipation in the States and wherever else slavery exists.

It seeks not to elevate or to support the slave, but to destroy his present condition without providing a better.

It has invaded a State, and invested with the honors of martyrdom the wretch whose purpose was to apply flames to our dwellings, and the weapons of destruction to our lives.

It has broken every compact into which it has entered for our security.

It has given indubitable evidence of its design to ruin our agriculture, to prostrate our industrial pursuits and to destroy our social system.

It knows no relenting or hesitation in its purposes; it stops not in its march of aggression, and leaves us no room to hope for cessation or for pause.

It has recently obtained control of the Government, by the prosecution of its unhallowed schemes, and destroyed the last expectation of living together in friendship and brotherhood.

Utter subjugation awaits us in the Union, if we should consent longer to remain in it. It is not a matter of choice, but of necessity. We must either submit to degradation, and to the loss of property worth four billions of money, or we must secede from the Union framed by our fathers, to secure this as well as every other species of property. For far less cause than this, our fathers separated from the Crown of England.

Our decision is made. We follow their footsteps. We embrace the alternative of separation; and for the reasons here stated, we resolve to maintain our rights with the full consciousness of the justice of our course, and the undoubting belief of our ability to maintain it.

According to the states that seceded from the Union, there was no other stated cause for secession but a desire to preserve the institution of slavery on into the future. Another interesting instance is the state of Georgia:


The people of Georgia having dissolved their political connection with the Government of the United States of America, present to their confederates and the world the causes which have led to the separation. For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery. They have endeavored to weaken our security, to disturb our domestic peace and tranquility, and persistently refused to comply with their express constitutional obligations to us in reference to that property, and by the use of their power in the Federal Government have striven to deprive us of an equal enjoyment of the common Territories of the Republic. This hostile policy of our confederates has been pursued with every circumstance of aggravation which could arouse the passions and excite the hatred of our people, and has placed the two sections of the Union for many years past in the condition of virtual civil war. Our people, still attached to the Union from habit and national traditions, and averse to change, hoped that time, reason, and argument would bring, if not redress, at least exemption from further insults, injuries, and dangers. Recent events have fully dissipated all such hopes and demonstrated the necessity of separation.

Our Northern confederates, after a full and calm hearing of all the facts, after a fair warning of our purpose not to submit to the rule of the authors of all these wrongs and injuries, have by a large majority committed the Government of the United States into their hands. The people of Georgia, after an equally full and fair and deliberate hearing of the case, have declared with equal firmness that they shall not rule over them. A brief history of the rise, progress, and policy of anti-slavery and the political organization into whose hands the administration of the Federal Government has been committed will fully justify the pronounced verdict of the people of Georgia. The party of Lincoln, called the Republican party, under its present name and organization, is of recent origin. It is admitted to be an anti-slavery party. While it attracts to itself by its creed the scattered advocates of exploded political heresies, of condemned theories in political economy, the advocates of commercial restrictions, of protection, of special privileges, of waste and corruption in the administration of Government, anti-slavery is its mission and its purpose. By anti-slavery it is made a power in the state. The question of slavery was the great difficulty in the way of the formation of the Constitution.

While the subordination and the political and social inequality of the African race was fully conceded by all, it was plainly apparent that slavery would soon disappear from what are now the non-slave-holding States of the original thirteen. The opposition to slavery was then, as now, general in those States and the Constitution was made with direct reference to that fact. But a distinct abolition party was not formed in the United States for more than half a century after the Government went into operation. The main reason was that the North, even if united, could not control both branches of the Legislature during any portion of that time. Therefore such an organization must have resulted either in utter failure or in the total overthrow of the Government. The material prosperity of the North was greatly dependent on the Federal Government; that of the South not at all. In the first years of the Republic the navigating, commercial, and manufacturing interests of the North began to seek profit and aggrandizement at the expense of the agricultural interests. Even the owners of fishing smacks sought and obtained bounties for pursuing their own business (which yet continue), and $500,000 is now paid them annually out of the Treasury. The navigating interests begged for protection against foreign shipbuilders and against competition in the coasting trade.

Congress granted both requests, and by prohibitory acts gave an absolute monopoly of this business to each of their interests, which they enjoy without diminution to this day. Not content with these great and unjust advantages, they have sought to throw the legitimate burden of their business as much as possible upon the public; they have succeeded in throwing the cost of light-houses, buoys, and the maintenance of their seamen upon the Treasury, and the Government now pays above $2,000,000 annually for the support of these objects. Theses interests, in connection with the commercial and manufacturing classes, have also succeeded, by means of subventions to mail steamers and the reduction in postage, in relieving their business from the payment of about $7,000,000 annually, throwing it upon the public Treasury under the name of postal deficiency.

The manufacturing interests entered into the same struggle early, and has clamored steadily for Government bounties and special favors. This interest was confined mainly to the Eastern and Middle non-slave-holding States. Wielding these great States it held great power and influence, and its demands were in full proportion to its power. The manufacturers and miners wisely based their demands upon special facts and reasons rather than upon general principles, and thereby mollified much of the opposition of the opposing interest. They pleaded in their favor the infancy of their business in this country, the scarcity of labor and capital, the hostile legislation of other countries toward them, the great necessity of their fabrics in the time of war, and the necessity of high duties to pay the debt incurred in our war for independence. These reasons prevailed, and they received for many years enormous bounties by the general acquiescence of the whole country.

But when these reasons ceased they were no less clamorous for Government protection, but their clamors were less heeded-- the country had put the principle of protection upon trial and condemned it. After having enjoyed protection to the extent of from 15 to 200 per cent. upon their entire business for above thirty years, the act of 1846 was passed. It avoided sudden change, but the principle was settled, and free trade, low duties, and economy in public expenditures was the verdict of the American people. The South and the Northwestern States sustained this policy. There was but small hope of its reversal; upon the direct issue, none at all.

All these classes saw this and felt it and cast about for new allies. The anti-slavery sentiment of the North offered the best chance for success. An anti-slavery party must necessarily look to the North alone for support, but a united North was now strong enough to control the Government in all of its departments, and a sectional party was therefore determined upon. Time and issues upon slavery were necessary to its completion and final triumph. The feeling of anti-slavery, which it was well known was very general among the people of the North, had been long dormant or passive; it needed only a question to arouse it into aggressive activity. This question was before us. We had acquired a large territory by successful war with Mexico; Congress had to govern it; how, in relation to slavery, was the question then demanding solution. This state of facts gave form and shape to the anti-slavery sentiment throughout the North and the conflict began. Northern anti-slavery men of all parties asserted the right to exclude slavery from the territory by Congressional legislation and demanded the prompt and efficient exercise of this power to that end. This insulting and unconstitutional demand was met with great moderation and firmness by the South. We had shed our blood and paid our money for its acquisition; we demanded a division of it on the line of the Missouri restriction or an equal participation in the whole of it. These propositions were refused, the agitation became general, and the public danger was great. The case of the South was impregnable. The price of the acquisition was the blood and treasure of both sections-- of all, and, therefore, it belonged to all upon the principles of equity and justice.

The Constitution delegated no power to Congress to excluded either party from its free enjoyment; therefore our right was good under the Constitution. Our rights were further fortified by the practice of the Government from the beginning. Slavery was forbidden in the country northwest of the Ohio River by what is called the ordinance of 1787. That ordinance was adopted under the old confederation and by the assent of Virginia, who owned and ceded the country, and therefore this case must stand on its own special circumstances. The Government of the United States claimed territory by virtue of the treaty of 1783 with Great Britain, acquired territory by cession from Georgia and North Carolina, by treaty from France, and by treaty from Spain. These acquisitions largely exceeded the original limits of the Republic. In all of these acquisitions the policy of the Government was uniform. It opened them to the settlement of all the citizens of all the States of the Union. They emigrated thither with their property of every kind (including slaves). All were equally protected by public authority in their persons and property until the inhabitants became sufficiently numerous and otherwise capable of bearing the burdens and performing the duties of self-government, when they were admitted into the Union upon equal terms with the other States, with whatever republican constitution they might adopt for themselves.

Under this equally just and beneficent policy law and order, stability and progress, peace and prosperity marked every step of the progress of these new communities until they entered as great and prosperous commonwealths into the sisterhood of American States. In 1820 the North endeavored to overturn this wise and successful policy and demanded that the State of Missouri should not be admitted into the Union unless she first prohibited slavery within her limits by her constitution. After a bitter and protracted struggle the North was defeated in her special object, but her policy and position led to the adoption of a section in the law for the admission of Missouri, prohibiting slavery in all that portion of the territory acquired from France lying North of 36 [degrees] 30 [minutes] north latitude and outside of Missouri. The venerable Madison at the time of its adoption declared it unconstitutional. Mr. Jefferson condemned the restriction and foresaw its consequences and predicted that it would result in the dissolution of the Union. His prediction is now history. The North demanded the application of the principle of prohibition of slavery to all of the territory acquired from Mexico and all other parts of the public domain then and in all future time. It was the announcement of her purpose to appropriate to herself all the public domain then owned and thereafter to be acquired by the United States. The claim itself was less arrogant and insulting than the reason with which she supported it. That reason was her fixed purpose to limit, restrain, and finally abolish slavery in the States where it exists. The South with great unanimity declared her purpose to resist the principle of prohibition to the last extremity. This particular question, in connection with a series of questions affecting the same subject, was finally disposed of by the defeat of prohibitory legislation.

The Presidential election of 1852 resulted in the total overthrow of the advocates of restriction and their party friends. Immediately after this result the anti-slavery portion of the defeated party resolved to unite all the elements in the North opposed to slavery an to stake their future political fortunes upon their hostility to slavery everywhere. This is the party two whom the people of the North have committed the Government. They raised their standard in 1856 and were barely defeated. They entered the Presidential contest again in 1860 and succeeded.

The prohibition of slavery in the Territories, hostility to it everywhere, the equality of the black and white races, disregard of all constitutional guarantees in its favor, were boldly proclaimed by its leaders and applauded by its followers.

With these principles on their banners and these utterances on their lips the majority of the people of the North demand that we shall receive them as our rulers.

The prohibition of slavery in the Territories is the cardinal principle of this organization.

For forty years this question has been considered and debated in the halls of Congress, before the people, by the press, and before the tribunals of justice. The majority of the people of the North in 1860 decided it in their own favor. We refuse to submit to that judgment, and in vindication of our refusal we offer the Constitution of our country and point to the total absence of any express power to exclude us. We offer the practice of our Government for the first thirty years of its existence in complete refutation of the position that any such power is either necessary or proper to the execution of any other power in relation to the Territories. We offer the judgment of a large minority of the people of the North, amounting to more than one-third, who united with the unanimous voice of the South against this usurpation; and, finally, we offer the judgment of the Supreme Court of the United States, the highest judicial tribunal of our country, in our favor. This evidence ought to be conclusive that we have never surrendered this right. The conduct of our adversaries admonishes us that if we had surrendered it, it is time to resume it.

The faithless conduct of our adversaries is not confined to such acts as might aggrandize themselves or their section of the Union. They are content if they can only injure us. The Constitution declares that persons charged with crimes in one State and fleeing to another shall be delivered up on the demand of the executive authority of the State from which they may flee, to be tried in the jurisdiction where the crime was committed. It would appear difficult to employ language freer from ambiguity, yet for above twenty years the non-slave-holding States generally have wholly refused to deliver up to us persons charged with crimes affecting slave property. Our confederates, with punic faith, shield and give sanctuary to all criminals who seek to deprive us of this property or who use it to destroy us. This clause of the Constitution has no other sanction than their good faith; that is withheld from us; we are remediless in the Union; out of it we are remitted to the laws of nations.

A similar provision of the Constitution requires them to surrender fugitives from labor. This provision and the one last referred to were our main inducements for confederating with the Northern States. Without them it is historically true that we would have rejected the Constitution. In the fourth year of the Republic Congress passed a law to give full vigor and efficiency to this important provision. This act depended to a considerable degree upon the local magistrates in the several States for its efficiency. The non-slave-holding States generally repealed all laws intended to aid the execution of that act, and imposed penalties upon those citizens whose loyalty to the Constitution and their oaths might induce them to discharge their duty. Congress then passed the act of 1850, providing for the complete execution of this duty by Federal officers. This law, which their own bad faith rendered absolutely indispensible for the protection of constitutional rights, was instantly met with ferocious revilings and all conceivable modes of hostility.

The Supreme Court unanimously, and their own local courts with equal unanimity (with the single and temporary exception of the supreme court of Wisconsin), sustained its constitutionality in all of its provisions. Yet it stands to-day a dead letter for all practicable purposes in every non-slave-holding State in the Union. We have their convenants, we have their oaths to keep and observe it, but the unfortunate claimant, even accompanied by a Federal officer with the mandate of the highest judicial authority in his hands, is everywhere met with fraud, with force, and with legislative enactments to elude, to resist, and defeat him. Claimants are murdered with impunity; officers of the law are beaten by frantic mobs instigated by inflammatory appeals from persons holding the highest public employment in these States, and supported by legislation in conflict with the clearest provisions of the Constitution, and even the ordinary principles of humanity. In several of our confederate States a citizen cannot travel the highway with his servant who may voluntarily accompany him, without being declared by law a felon and being subjected to infamous punishments. It is difficult to perceive how we could suffer more by the hostility than by the fraternity of such brethren.

The public law of civilized nations requires every State to restrain its citizens or subjects from committing acts injurious to the peace and security of any other State and from attempting to excite insurrection, or to lessen the security, or to disturb the tranquillity of their neighbors, and our Constitution wisely gives Congress the power to punish all offenses against the laws of nations.

These are sound and just principles which have received the approbation of just men in all countries and all centuries; but they are wholly disregarded by the people of the Northern States, and the Federal Government is impotent to maintain them. For twenty years past the abolitionists and their allies in the Northern States have been engaged in constant efforts to subvert our institutions and to excite insurrection and servile war among us. They have sent emissaries among us for the accomplishment of these purposes. Some of these efforts have received the public sanction of a majority of the leading men of the Republican party in the national councils, the same men who are now proposed as our rulers. These efforts have in one instance led to the actual invasion of one of the slave-holding States, and those of the murderers and incendiaries who escaped public justice by flight have found fraternal protection among our Northern confederates.

These are the same men who say the Union shall be preserved.

Such are the opinions and such are the practices of the Republican party, who have been called by their own votes to administer the Federal Government under the Constitution of the United States. We know their treachery; we know the shallow pretenses under which they daily disregard its plainest obligations. If we submit to them it will be our fault and not theirs. The people of Georgia have ever been willing to stand by this bargain, this contract; they have never sought to evade any of its obligations; they have never hitherto sought to establish any new government; they have struggled to maintain the ancient right of themselves and the human race through and by that Constitution. But they know the value of parchment rights in treacherous hands, and therefore they refuse to commit their own to the rulers whom the North offers us. Why? Because by their declared principles and policy they have outlawed $3,000,000,000 of our property in the common territories of the Union; put it under the ban of the Republic in the States where it exists and out of the protection of Federal law everywhere; because they give sanctuary to thieves and incendiaries who assail it to the whole extent of their power, in spite of their most solemn obligations and covenants; because their avowed purpose is to subvert our society and subject us not only to the loss of our property but the destruction of ourselves, our wives, and our children, and the desolation of our homes, our altars, and our firesides. To avoid these evils we resume the powers which our fathers delegated to the Government of the United States, and henceforth will seek new safeguards for our liberty, equality, security, and tranquillity.

Approved, Tuesday, January 29, 1861

You can agree with the Neoconfederates on the causes of secession, or you can agree with the seceding states themselves. While in a sense this conflict concerned 'States' Rights,' the only enumerated states' right the South sought to preserve by secession was the right to hold other human beings as property. The Civil War really was all about slavery. In fact it was about nothing else.

Some Neoconfederates react with righteous indignation when they are accused of racism, as often happens. This they vehemently deny. In fact they will go so far as to condemn racism in all its forms, wherever it appears, even in their beloved Confederacy. The thing is, when you study the founding documents of the Confederacy, you must realize that racism isn't something that crops up far downstream, a deviation from a basically sound plan. It's baked into the entire project, from the beginning. Secession was all about preserving slavery,— so they said, not me. When it comes to enslaving white folks, the Confederates were abolitionists as total and absolute as any in New England or Ohio. How about Black folks? well, that's different. Why is it different? Only non-racist answers accepted, please. When you delete the racism from the secessionist project, it turns to powder and collapses. You are removing, not something adventitious, but the entire rationale, the pillars supporting the argument.


War Drums

The claim is made, by Douglas Wilson along with other Neoconfederates, that in the years leading up to the war, the Northern abolitionists beat the war drums, agitating for Civil War and against peace:

"It is simply the recognition that on the slavery issue the drums of war were being beaten by the abolitionists, who were in turn driven by a zealous hatred of the Word of God." (Douglas Wilson, Black and Tan, Kindle location 601).

He and his co-author Steve Wilkins had made the same claim in their earlier amphlet, 'Southern Slavery as it Was,' withdrawn due to issue of plagiarism. He got his head handed to him by the professional historians on this issue, because it seems as if he erroneously wishes to portray the Civil War as a crusade to eradicate slavery instigated by Northern abolitionists. This is wrong on several counts. It is in fact the type of ahistorical myth-making that these two authors specialize in. Ending slavery did not even become one of the Union's war aims until midway into the Civil War. For the first half of the war, the federal government's sole objective was restoration of the Union. This would have done what for the abolitionists?

The idea that the abolitionists either wanted war or agitated for it is wrong from the start. They had successfully eliminated slavery in the North, without a shot being fired. Many held political or religious views leaving war as an option of last resort. If any had wanted war, by what means could they have brought it about? The idea that the abolitionists represented a cabal secretly controlling the U.S. government is laughable. They were not running the show. They had not just won an electoral victory. Abraham Lincoln's Republican Party, which had just won a popular election, was anti-slavery in the sense that they wished to prevent slavery from expanding into the territories. Eradicating slavery in states where it already existed was not any part of their platform. They were anti-slavery, but not abolitionists. If the South had not panicked and seceded, Abraham Lincoln would likely have been a one-term President who accomplished very little, as he certainly did not aspire to accomplish much.

While they certainly understood that slavery was a moral wrong, they did not believe there was any legal means by which the federal government could eradicate it. If the South had not panicked upon his election, the most the Republicans ever would have done about slavery is to chip away on the edges. History met Abraham Lincoln standing at the crossroads, though. In historical fact, Lincoln freed those slaves in areas under Union military occupation with a stroke of the pen, in the Emancipation Proclamation, when his legal advisors told him he had the legal authority to do so. So was the expectation of that day the reason why the North started the war?

The North did not start the war! Although you'll hear in the South about 'The War of Northern Aggression,' started by the evil tyrant Abraham Lincoln, in actual history President Lincoln, who was not an abolitionist, responded to Southern secession with a Neville Chamberlain-style, 'Peace at any Price' stance. What aggressor has ever promised the country he invaded that, if they laid down their arms, the status quo ante would be restored? It was the South who wanted war, and they got what they wanted when they fired on Fort Sumter, though once they got it, it turned out they didn't really want it after all.

Certainly it is true there is one abolitionist who wanted war, or at least thought it was inevitable.When John Brown and his little band seized the armory at Harper's Ferry, not only did the slaves of Virginia fail to rise up in servile insurrection, his fellow abolitionists, who preferred non-violence, failed to back him up with moral support. Looking back later, once hostilities had commenced, many people saw John Brown as something like a prophet, who had seen this coming while everyone else was assuring one another, "Peace, peace."

The Civil War, in the end, really was all about slavery. It was not about anything else. Yet the reason why this is so is not because the Civil War was a Northern crusade to eradicate slavery in the South. It did not become anything recognizable as such until it was halfway over; certainly it did not start like that. It's a paradox that a President who was not a theoretical abolitionist wound up the biggest practical abolitionist in history, freeing millions of human beings from bondage with the stroke of his pen. But then once it got into gear, what a glorious sight: Sherman's troops sweeping through Georgia, breaking the captives' chains, liberating slaves as they went, a movable Jubilee, covered in the red, white, and blue flag. Imperfectly carried out by imperfect men, the perfect ones being found unavailable, this is an achievement for which all Americans can be proud.

When we see a clear-cut case of military aggression, we do not ask the innocent, aggrieved and injured victims to explain themselves. No one asks the Poles of 1938, 'Why did you people pick a fight with Adolf Hitler? What were you thinking?' They wanted peace, they wanted to be left alone. So if you start with the unwarranted assumption that the Civil War was the 'War of Northern Aggression,' when a belligerant North disrupted the peace and tranquility of a bucolic, slumbering South, the explanation of the war must lie in the North. Combine that with the oft-heard reminder that this war was about slavery, as indeed it was, and you arrive at this ahistorical conclusion: that the Northern invasion was a crusade to end slavery; it must have been, how else could the war be an act of Northern aggression and also be all about slavery?

But plainly it was not; ending slavery was not one of the North's war aims until midway into the war. It's comical to watch the Neoconfederates chase their tails on this; the same people who put out the 'Northern aggression' version of events will also post memes giving Lincoln quotes that show clearly that their alternative history is not what really happened. They explain that these quotes disconfirm the 'official narrative,' though no one puts out the 'Northern anti-slavery jihad' explanation except themselves. Remove the false portrait of a bucolic, peace-loving South, and historical events can fall back into place, the whole portrait taking on again its natural colors. History should look at what did actually happen, not at what people find flattering to imagine.

But once the Civil War did become an anti-slavery crusade, midway through the carnage, did not the abolitionists jump on board the rapidly moving train and become supporters of the war effort? They did, many of them, but not all. As a dissenter, an abolitionist who did not raise a glass in toast to the Grand Army of the Republic, either during the war or thereafter, may I offer Lysander Spooner, a crank of the first order, who was an abolitionist and a resident of the State of Massachusetts, but no enthusiast for the Union:

"Notwithstanding all the proclamations we have made to mankind, within the last ninety years, that our government rests on consent, and that that was the rightful basis on which any government could rest, the late war has practically demonstrated that our government rests upon force – as much so as any government that ever existed.

"The North has thus virtually said to the world: It was all very well to prate of consent, so long as the objects to be accomplished were to liberate ourselves from our connexion with England, and also to coax a scattered and jealous people into a great national union; but now that those purposes have been accomplished, and the power of the North has become consolidated, it is sufficient for us – as for all governments – simply to say: Our power is our right.

"In proportion to her wealth and population, the North has probably expended more money and blood to maintain her power over an unwilling people, than any other government ever did. And in her estimation, it is apparently the chief glory of her success, and an adequate compensation for all her own losses, and an ample justification for all her devastation and carnage of the South, that all pretence of any necessity for consent to the perpetuity or power of government, is (as she thinks) forever expunged from the minds of the people. In short, the North exults beyond measure in the proof she has given, that a government, professedly resting on consent, will expend more life and treasure in crushing dissent, than any government, openly founded on force, has ever done.

"And she claims that she has done all this in behalf of liberty! In behalf of free government! In behalf of the principle that government should rest on consent!"

(Lysander Spooner, No Treason, Number 1).

I don't agree with him, because anarchism is a foolish political philosopher that would leave the weak as prey to the strong. The man had his own way of arguing, though. Did you know that the U.S. Constitution is null and void, the reason being, among others, that the majority of the inhabitants intended to be governed under it, never signed it? It's true, they never did, the Founders omitted this essential step, which any salesman selling encyclopedia sets would not have omitted. Personally I think we can exempt babes in the cradle, though. He reminds you of the comedy character who objected so strongly to World War II that he wrote a letter. Crackpot that he is, he does make some valid points.

It's a good thing the abolitionists did not go looking for war, because if they had, the 600,000 dead would be laid to their account. As former President Donald J. Trump pointed out, it would have been better to negotiate, really. But once the Civil War did turn into an anti-slavery crusade, what a marvellous sight it was, to see the armies of a great world power sweeping through territory, freeing the slaves as they went. There is nothing to be ashamed of in breaking the chains of those unjustly held in bondage. What these scoundrels want to do is make us ashamed of our country's finest hour. They want to make us ashamed to be Americans. Tell the devil, not today.