Growing up in Germany, at times I felt pride in its military might during the early years of World War II. That conflicted with the shame over treatments in that same period of people who had been cast as inferior by some of my countrymen.

Later, settling in the United States and absorbing my new home country’s culture, I experienced similar emotions getting captured up in songs like “Johnny Reb.” For a while, I was able to put myself at ease, hearing that the Civil War arose from economic inequities between the North and South, not slavery.

Then one day I came across a Feb. 2, 1861, document titled “Declaration of the Causes which Impel the State of Texas to Secede from the Federal Union.” It’s quite specific about the reason for the secession. Talking with others, I found that few people are aware of this declaration.

We have movies and stories of the good old time in the South with its grand antebellum homes. And the admiration for the bravery of its troops has some of us celebrating the symbols of the Confederacy.

While we have a right to express ourselves freely, we need to be aware of what those truly stand for in order to understand others’ reaction to it.

All this notwithstanding, I’m proud of being an American and Texan, knowing we’re striving to overcome those aspects of our past.

Below are excerpts from that declaration which can be found by searching for the above mentioned title in the Texas State Library at www.tsl.texas.gov.

“Texas abandoned her separate national existence and consented to become one of the Confederated Union ... . She was received as a commonwealth holding, maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery — the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits — a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time.

“We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.

“That in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding states.”

Gerhard Meinecke lives in Dickinson.

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(26) comments

Stuart Crouch

As plain & painfully obvious as that language is, there will be someone post in this forum that will refute its existence, validity or interpretation. Such ignorance and denial only underscores how far we need to go to improve as a country. Well done, GM.

Gerhard Meinecke

Thank You, Sir. The words of the documents speak for themselves about the real cause of the Civil War. And the defenses mounted by some say something about them.

Carlos Ponce

The “Declaration of the Causes" contains other reasons in addition to maintaining slavery. Slavery was a key issue, but not the only one. A clear majority of Texans in 1861 owned no slaves. Settlers were upset with the Federal lack of response to protect them from Indians and Mexican "banditti".

Gerhard Meinecke

There were other reasons mentioned, some of them related to the slavery issue, some not. However, by far the greatest part of that declaration was devoted to defending and justifying slavery by declaring the black race as having been created by God as an inferior race meant to be sub-servient to thee white race. Occupying that much space to that anyone would have to try to be blind, with questionable motives, to it being the PRIMARY reason. Strange that it is known of so little. Someone told me he would have loved to know of this as a boy. History teachers seem to omit it in Texas History.

Carlos Ponce

"Strange that it is known of so little." It is an integral part of 7th Grade Texas History Curriculum but it depends on what the teacher wants to convey or has time for. There's a lot in there.

§113.19. Social Studies, Grade 7, Adopted 2018.

In Grade 7, students study the history of Texas from early times to the present. Content is presented with more depth and breadth than in Grade 4. Students examine the full scope of Texas history, including Natural Texas and its People; Age of Contact; Spanish Colonial; Mexican National; Revolution and Republic; Early Statehood; Texas in the Civil War and Reconstruction; Cotton, Cattle, and Railroads; Age of Oil; Texas in the Great Depression and World War II; Civil Rights and Conservatism; and Contemporary Texas eras.

History. The student understands traditional historical points of reference in Texas history. The student is expected to:

(A) identify the major eras in Texas history, describe their defining characteristics, and explain the purpose of dividing the past into eras, including Natural Texas and its People; Age of Contact; Spanish Colonial; Mexican National; Revolution and Republic; Early Statehood; Texas in the Civil War and Reconstruction; Cotton, Cattle, and Railroads; Age of Oil; Texas in the Great Depression and World War II; Civil Rights; and Contemporary Texas; and

(B) explain the significance of the following dates: 1519, mapping of the Texas coast and first mainland Spanish settlement; 1718, founding of San Antonio; 1821, independence from Spain; 1836, Texas independence; 1845, annexation; 1861, Civil War begins; 1876, adoption of current state constitution; and 1901, discovery of oil at Spindletop.

(5) History. The student understands how events and issues shaped the history of Texas during the Civil War and Reconstruction. The student is expected to:

(A) explain the central role the expansion of slavery played in the involvement of Texas in the Civil War;

(B) identify significant events concerning Texas and the Civil War such as the Battle of Galveston, the Battle of Sabine Pass, and the Battle of Palmito Ranch; and

(C) explain the political, economic, and social effects of the Civil War and Reconstruction in Texas.

http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/chapter113/ch113b.html

Gerhard Meinecke

As you say: "...but it depends on what the teacher wants to convey..."

Bailey Jones

I think there's more of it taught in school these days than in the past. The teachers who taught me in the 60s and 70s would have been educated during the era when history was a whites only profession, and one heavily influenced by white southern revisionists. As blacks gained access to education, many of them began to research the real history of blacks and slavery in the US, and it's become, I believe, the richest chapter of our history. I just finished a wonderful book, "Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America" by W. Caleb McDaniel, about a woman who was born a slave, then freed, then kidnapped back into slavery, then freed again, and finally successfully sued her kidnapper for enslaving her. Another very good book on the institution is The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism by Edward E. Baptist.

Emile Pope

https://www.facingsouth.org/2019/04/twisted-sources-how-confederate-propaganda-ended-souths-schoolbooks

Bailey Jones

We know that the war was primarily about slavery from the founding documents of the confederacy. One need only read them. Sure, there is a lot of whining about other complaints - as there is in any divorce - but the issue of slavery, and particularly the failure of some northern states to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act and the admission to the union of additional free states, was fundamental. The war was about economics, and the wealth of the south was entirely based on slavery.

Please - read the Texas declaration of causes, read the cornerstone speech. Read the combined declarations of secession, where slavery is mentioned as a cause 83 times - https://www.battlefields.org/learn/primary-sources/declaration-causes-seceding-states

I don't know why this is even still up for debate. I can only assume that it's due to the fake history that those of us of a certain age where brainwashed with in high school, and a general reluctance to be open to adverse information.

Carlos Ponce

"Sure, there is a lot of whining about other complaints..." When you look at the entire Confederacy, slavery was the primary reason. When you look at Texas, slavery was key but not the only reason given.

Gerhard Meinecke

Never stated that.

Carlos Ponce

That was attached to Bailey Jones' post. He wrote that.

Jim Forsythe

The percentage of slaveholding Texas families in1860 was 28%.

Stuart ,you were right that someone will try to say other factors are at the same level as slavery.

Slavery was the main issue, the other differences could have been resolved peacefully through diplomacy, the institution of slavery was not among them.

Carlos Ponce

"the other differences could have been resolved peacefully through diplomacy"

The Federal government was not open to "diplomacy" concerning the welfare of Texans. They had already fought a war with Mexico and were ready to expand into new territories obtained. The problems Texans had with "banditis" is comparable to Texans problems with Mexican drug cartels today. As far as "diplomacy" with the Indian tribes, considering the broken treaties that ensued indigenous people were understandably reluctant to pursue that route.

Bailey Jones

Cotton and sugar cane were the two most profitable commodities in the southern economy, including Texas, and supported the whole economy. Slaves were 30% of the population of the state in the 1860 census. Farming - with slaves - was just one component. It's worth noting that most Texans, my ancestors included, came from the southern slave holding states, and brought their slaves and racial beliefs with them. While most Texans were small farmers without slaves, the movers and shakers were the owners of the large cotton and sugar plantations. Cotton was definitely king in Texas.

Carlos Ponce

I read an interesting article about New York businessmen involved in the textile industry rooting for the South as long as the supply of cotton was still available. Imagine that, Yankee businessmen supporting a business on the backs of slaves. But Nike, Adidas, etc. are doing the same thing today, relying on slave labor (the Muslim Uighurs) held in concentration camps to manufacture goods. I bought one pair of Nikes in the 80s, didn't care for them, never bought Adidas.

Bailey Jones

You shouldn't have been surprised. Cotton fueled the industrial revolution in the north, as well as England - banking, shipbuilding, railroads, farming implements, rough clothing and tools for slaves, brokers, shippers, compressors, dock workers, ginners, spinners, weavers, dyers, seamstresses, rope and twine makers, slave traders, slave breeders, wholesalers and retailers of finished cloth, etc. And a similar impact from sugar cane. Everyone who worked in these industries was complicit, as well as anyone who wore cotton or used sugar. So basically everyone in the country was culpable in the maintenance of slavery as an economic enterprise. In 1860, slaves were the largest category of capital property held in the US. South Carolina had more millionaires than any other state.

Gerhard Meinecke

Those happenings making slavery right?

Carlos Ponce

It did contribute to the New York City draft riots July 13–16, 1863 with the Irish fighting against the Blacks. "Mayor Fernando Wood, a Democrat, called on the city's Board of Aldermen to 'declare the city's independence from Albany and from Washington'; he said it 'would have the whole and united support of the Southern States.' When the Union entered the war, New York City had many sympathizers with the South."

See references citations at:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_City_draft_riots#cite_note-Divided-12

Charles Douglas

I, as a BLACK American who was born and raised partially in East Texas, before migrating to this area, having been grievously poor but climbed up into prosperity utilizing the American Dream, & the blessing of God, find it (d#m) disgusting that WHITE Progressives are all of a sudden concerned about African -Americans' past when they have been neglecting and hiding their faces from our present, and future ..FOR DECADES! I personally don't give a "RIP" about why Texas fought for the South during the Civil War! How is that helping little BLACK babies getting shot in Atlanta, Chicago, Minneapolis, Detroit, and Baltimore NOW? How is that correcting BLACK unemployment, and bad schools BLACK kids are mandated to attend NOW? How is that removing 79 percent of ABORTION CLINICS in this country from within walking distant of MINORITY neighborhoods? It is so "SICK-NY-FYING" to hear the same old LAME rhetoric of concern for BLACK America, day after day, month after month, and year after year! My father told me years ago to believe what you see five times as much as what an individual tells you! In my opinion, minorities can count on all this abundance of Progressive love everytime there is a major election! It is called the BIG SNOW JOB, OR THE BIG LIE! Now we have people born in other countries, getting in on the deception! Makes a man want to "REGURGITATE!" Lies, lies and more lies! I see where Obama, Susan Rice, that Black Attorney General has altered Joe Biden's Campaign promises to read, there will be a study setup to evaluate BLACK REPARATIONS, if Joe Biden is elected. More carrots, sticks, and lies! Don't think so? Then tell me where the (h#&) is my FORTY ACRES AND MY OLD LAME MULE?

Bailey Jones

Your mule wouldn't have been lame, Charles. He would have been a good old US army mule, recently surplused from the war. If they had given it to you. As for your 40 acres - from 1862 onward, the US government gave away 160,000,000 acres to over 1,000,000 white homesteaders in 160 acre parcels. None for you. Sorry.

Charles Douglas

Ahhh haha, this is why I follow Mr. JONES on this forum. He can put things in a different light! ( I liked that about the mule. Lolo).

Bailey Jones

You might enjoy this podcast, Charles - the story of a real family who got their 40 acres. And then lost it. https://gimletmedia.com/shows/uncivil/kwhaj8/the-deed

Gerhard Meinecke

All very, very well said! Just... how did I deceive? And as to being born in another country... my presence here is the result of a an active conscious decision to be part of this all-in-all good country and to care enough for it to involve myself.

Bailey Jones

I don't think Charles was attacking you. Charles often makes the point that progressives talk a good game yet the reality of black life is still a promise waiting to be realized. And it's a valid point. But at least we try.

Ted Gillis

Susan Rice was not an Attorney General. That black Attorney General you are presumably referring to is Loretta Lynch.

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