I should have known better this morning than to read this ridiculous article in the Washington Post. Really I should know better than to read anything in the Washington Post, knowing that most pieces are simply opinion. I suppose I was merely intrigued that a story about the Civil War was being written in a NEWSpaper. I thought newspapers were for news that was well....new, not history. I opened it anyway. So here is my response to this non researched garbage. Mr. Loewen claims that the south was actually opposed to states' rights. Mr. Loewen could not be further from the truth. The south actually believed that piece of paper called the United States Constitution that gave them all right to govern themselves as an independent member of a constitutional republic. Oddly enough, the majority of the people of the northern states also felt that each individual state had the right to decide what to do for themselves. It was only a select few mostly northern Congressmen who felt otherwise. Sounds a little familiar doesn't it, the people strongly oppose a bailout but Congress does it anyway. They didn't listen to the people then and they aren't doing it now. Secondly, Mr. Loewen claims that the imposition of overwhelming taxes and tariffs on the southern states is a lie also. If he had bothered to do any research at all he would have seen that the southern states had a much larger export market than the north and its fledgling factories. Most tariffs and taxes were levied on exports, so who paid those high export taxes? Well, that would be those that did the most exporting, the south and the cotton industry. The Morrell Tariff was actually the straw that broke the camel's back. The south already paid 80% of the nations taxes and when time came to spend that money they were routinely outvoted in Congress in favor of northern infrastructure. Why were they outvoted? It is simple, more people in the north than south meant more representatives for the north. His third "myth" holds that even though the majority of whites in the south were too poor to own slaves, they were optimistic about one day reaching the upper eschelons of society and wanted to secure their ability to own slaves at that point. What a bunch of baloney. He also states in this area that there was such an air of white supremacy that they were afraid to go against their kind. And uses this statement "The consequence will be that our men will be all exterminated or expelled to wander as vagabonds over a hostile earth, and as for our women, their fate will be too horrible to contemplate even in fancy." by then Georgia Supreme Court Justice Henry Benning. Well, if Mr. Loewen had bothered to do any research he would understand that this statement was in response to the Haiti slave rebellions. The south was indeed looking for a way to move away from slavery because it was no longer economically viable since the invention of the cotton gin (just like we no longer use draft horses on most farms anymore). However, they realized that just turning all those people loose with no homes, no jobs, no food was not the way to go. In fact, the plantation owners in Haiti had done just that. They sent all of their slaves packing. Essentially, they threw them out of their homes (owned by the plantation), took away their food supply (again owned by the plantation) and sent them on their way. The slaves retaliated because there was no means for them to support themselves and they burned and looted the plantations and very few plantation owners escaped death. So this comment that Mr. Loewen uses out of context to try to support his feeble opinion, was actually a valid fear held by the south because it had already happened elsewhere! I will give him this, he does come slightly close to the truth with his myth #4. Lincoln didn't care about slavery nor did he care about the slaves. He actually was in favor of putting all slaves back on boats and sending them back to Africa. However, the only reason he cared about keeping the nation together was because of money. I have already explained that the north at that time simply couldn't have done without the large amount of money that it received from the taxes imposed on the south. Lincoln knew that and didn't want to lose a huge source of revenue, his main source. This brings us to his final "myth" which I have already touched on a bit. He says that even though it is impossible to disprove that slavery would have ended on its own, it is difficult to accept that it would have. Well, that is his opinion. How many things have developed and evolved in agricultural history. I am sure there was a time when farmers could not even fathom the invention of the tractor and the end of using draft horses to pull a plow. I am sure there was a day when farmers could not fathom a machine that would milk their cows for them. Large draft horses became more of an economic burden on the farmer once the tractor was invented. It would have been the same with slavery. Think about it Mr. Loewen. Slaves had to be housed, fed, clothed, medical needs attended to all year long whether there was a crop to harvest or not. With mechanized equipment that could do the work only when needed and didn't cost anything the rest of the year, slavery was not a sound business expense. Farming is a business whether you know it or not. We don't just play in the dirt for the fun of it (ok it is fun, but that is not the point). In closing I would highly suggest that Mr. Loewen do some research before he puts his opinions on paper and states them as fact. History is history, it doesn't need to be twisted into a story to suit whichever audience you want to reach. Slavery existed in the United States, get over it. There are more important things to learn from the Un-Civil War (there was nothing civil about that war) because what happened then leading up to that massacre is happening now to lead to another possible massacre and folks if we don't wake up and learn our history we will repeat it. Arizona is now fighting for its right to keep illegals out of its state. Sounds like the same states' rights that were an issue in 1861. Many states including my own, have declared Obamacare unconstitutional and sent out Declarations of Sovereignty in response to imposing a glorified tax on the people of their states. Sounds like the taxes and tariffs of the 1860s also. The American people both black and white need to get around this smoke screen and mirrors trick being imposed on them by constantly bickering over slavery. The rest of the issues are still happening right under our noses! Slavery happened, it happened here and it happened in Egypt 4000 years ago and it has happened at some point in some time throughout history around the globe. But what is happening now is that the American people are willingly taking up those chains of slavery yet again because they fail to understand the real truth of history. Mr. Loewen if you want to write about the Civil War, write about something worthwhile. Something we can learn that will help us today when we as a nation are facing the same tyranny and oppression and invasion of states' rights that only a few faced 150 years ago. I will hop down off my soap box with this quote,
"But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government." (The Declaration of Independence)
The men and women of the south knew this document. They believed in it and had fought for it and died for it. They believed it so deeply that they were willing to risk lives and fortunes to keep it alive. You see, they suffered just as the colonies did, in a long train of abuses of which they could do nothing about. So they set to provide new Guards for their future and their children's future. Mr. Loewen have you even read the Declaration of Independence?
Ok, I am done ranting and tirading now. I just had to get that out of my system. Blessings from the farm, Kat