Confederate history should stay because it's a distortion and demonstrably false that the Civil War was fought over slavery.

The war was fought because slave-holding states wanted to secede from the union. It was secession, and the North’s unconstitutional refusal to allow sovereign states to withdraw from the American federation, that precipitated the war, not slavery per se. President Abraham Lincoln himself said the preservation of the union was paramount, not the issue of slavery.

To obliterate the Confederate story is to willfully reduce a complex historic dynamic to a one-dimensional morality play.

Wayne D. Holt



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(40) comments

Christopher Smith

In case anyone is interested, you can find the reason Texas seceded here in the Declaration of Causes:

If you don't have time to read it all, this paragraph will give you the general idea: "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."

Carlos Ponce

There is more than that one issue given as a reason for secession in the Declaration.

jimmy winston

LOL. I cant believe you still defend your stance. "It was about other reasons." Uhhhh yeah, but there was at least one reason that was clearly racist and slavery driven.

Raymond Lewis

Here is hoping that Mr. Holt (and others) read and re-reads that paragraph Mr. Smith.

jimmy winston

Oof, pretty clear there.

Gary Scoggin

It amazes me that 150 years later we are still having a debate about the cause of the Civil War. You can cite the fundamental differences between the North and South if it makes you feel better. Those differences were based upon different economic models; the economic model of the South happened to rely heavily on the ownership and exploitation of human beings for its viability. Feel free to attach any nobility you like to that concept.

Carlos Ponce

There is no debate, Gary Scoggin. Slavery is an important part of that declaration but not the only one.

Texas TEKS:

From the Texas TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills):

7th Grade Texas History. The student understands how events and issues shaped the history of Texas during the Civil War and Reconstruction. The student is expected to explain reasons for the involvement of Texas in the Civil War such as states' rights, slavery, sectionalism, and tariffs.

8th Grade US History.The student understands individuals, issues, and events of the Civil War. The student is expected to explain the causes of the Civil War, including sectionalism, states' rights, and slavery.

While the TEKS and its predecessor EEs (Essential Elements) were not in place when you were in junior high, Texas curriculum at the time included those topics circa 1970.

Kimberley Jones Yancy

As a Texas Certified History Teacher we teach the children all the reasons for the Civil War. And yes slavery was a huge reason and is covered in detail in the curriculum. But let's be clear, laws were passed prior to the Civil War that were directly to help keep slavery in the South which caused great division. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 is just one. There were concessions made over slavery but it eventually led to war. The very issue of state's right was neatly nestled in the idea of slavery. If states right's were an organ, it would be the lung - and slavery would be the heart.

Carlos Ponce

"The very issue of state's right was neatly nestled in the idea of slavery." Actually it originated in the original constitution in the Articles of Confederation and later in the 10th Amendment of the current Constitution.

Proper grammar in the late 18th and early 19th centuries was to say "The United States are". Now we say "The United States is".

The South during the Civil War and just prior was run by the Democrat Party. Jim Crow laws were enacted by the Democrat Party. The Jaybird Primaries in Fort Bend County, Texas said membership in the Democrat Party was for "Whites only". The current Democrat Party would like to fund an organization that kills a disproportionate number of African American babies. The Democrat candidate for president in 2020 eulogized a man who was a Grand Kleagle of the KKK . The man (Byrd) publicly still used the N-word in this century. The Democrat candidate defines what it means to be "Black". Are you going to vote for that party?

Bailey Jones

To say that "the economic model of the South happened to rely heavily on the ownership and exploitation of human beings for its viability" is a little like saying "Nazi society happened to rely on the extermination of the Jews". An economy based on slave labor doesn't just happen. Slaves don't just wander across the ocean to your plantation and start working. There is moral culpability here.

But I take your general point. We like to reduce complex situations to simple terms. Why did the US secede from Britain? We usually say something like "no taxation without representation". Yet the Declaration of Independence lists more than two dozen causes.

I maintain that there would not have been a civil war had slavery not existed. It permeates and poisons the political dialog from 1820 onward. And that makes it the proximate cause for secession. But what difference does it really make? Treason is treason, no matter the reason.

What amazes me is that, here in the United States, which we are led to believe is a sovereign nation, we have thousands of monuments to a country that is not the United States, one that existed in opposition to the United States, one that lasted a mere 4 years and one that was founded on ideas that have rightly been relegated to the cesspool of history.

Wayne D Holt

"I maintain that there would not have been a civil war had slavery not existed."

Bailey, I respectfully but forcefully disagree. The North's Commander in Chief Honest Abe Lincoln, who should know a thing or two about why they were engaged in the conflict, said it was about the preservation of the Union, not about slavery.

If the South had held not one slave but had decided to secede from the Union over ANY reason whatsoever the North, with the same political leadership, would have gone to war. It was about holding a gun to the South's head to force it to voluntarily remain in the Union.

jimmy winston

Ehhh but it was still about slavery

Carlos Ponce

They had slavery in this country from 1776-1865. No Civil War during that four score period, Jimmy. Other factors had to be in play for the Civil War to occur, the catalyst being the election of Abraham Lincoln.

Gary Scoggin

Yep. Carlos, it was all Lincoln's fault. Like I said, I can't believe we are having this conversation.

Bailey Jones

Again, Wayne, the question isn't why the north fought, it's why the south seceded. The north went to war to preserve the union. The south seceded to preserve the institution of slavery. There would have been no war without secession. There would have been no secession without the desire to protect and preserve slavery.

Bailey Jones

Carlos - "the catalyst being the election of Abraham Lincoln". Now, explain to us what it was about Lincoln that catalyzed the south? Was it his crazy hat? His crazy beard? His crazy wife? No, it was the stated platform of the new Republican Party:

"Resolved, that we, the delegated representatives of the Republican electors of the United States in Convention assembled, in discharge of the duty we owe to our constituents and our country, unite in the following declarations:

...That the maintenance of the principles promulgated in the Declaration of Independence and embodied in the Federal Constitution, "That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed," is essential to the preservation of our Republican institutions; and that the Federal Constitution, the Rights of the States, and the Union of the States must and shall be preserved.

...That the new dogma that the Constitution, of its own force, carries slavery into any or all of the territories of the United States, is a dangerous political heresy, at variance with the explicit provisions of that instrument itself, with contemporaneous exposition, and with legislative and judicial precedent; is revolutionary in its tendency, and subversive of the peace and harmony of the country.

That the normal condition of all the territory of the United States is that of freedom: That, as our Republican fathers, when they had abolished slavery in all our national territory, ordained that "no persons should be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law," it becomes our duty, by legislation, whenever such legislation is necessary, to maintain this provision of the Constitution against all attempts to violate it; and we deny the authority of Congress, of a territorial legislature, or of any individuals, to give legal existence to slavery in any territory of the United States.

That we brand the recent reopening of the African slave trade, under the cover of our national flag, aided by perversions of judicial power, as a crime against humanity and a burning shame to our country and age; and we call upon Congress to take prompt and efficient measures for the total and final suppression of that execrable traffic.

That in the recent vetoes, by their Federal Governors, of the acts of the legislatures of Kansas and Nebraska, prohibiting slavery in those territories, we find a practical illustration of the boasted Democratic principle of Non-Intervention and Popular Sovereignty, embodied in the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, and a demonstration of the deception and fraud involved therein.

That Kansas should, of right, be immediately admitted as a state under the (anti-slavery) Constitution recently formed and adopted by her people, and accepted by the House of Representatives."

Lincoln and the Republican Party were determined to halt the spread of slavery beyond the southern states, and by doing so, dilute the power of slave states in congress, which would inevitably lead to an overturn of the Fugitive Slave Act, and the eventual end of slavery.

Bailey Jones

Yep, Gary - but it's not really a conversation, is it? "Conversation" implies an understanding of the things being said.

Carlos Ponce

Gary Scoggin, it was not all Lincoln's fault be was the catalyst. Do you understand what that means? If not I will help you.[beam]

Carlos Ponce

Let me explain it to Bailey. From 1776 to 1865 there was no Civil War. What they had in mind was expanding the number of non-slave states to the "new" territories, increasing the number of Senators and Congressmen in their corner. Remember although California was technically largely south of the Mason-Dixon line, slavery was not allowed. And with like minded Supreme court Justices appointed Dred Scott v. Sandford would be overturned. Enter what they thought would be a "safe" candidate - Abraham Lincoln who had expressed no interest in removing slavery but to follow the party platform of barring slavery in new states. Personally he did not deem equality between Blacks and whites. But Lincoln appealed to those who believed he would appoint anti-slavery judges and justices. The term "Fire Eaters" was used to designate the pro-slavery extremists. They contended, "You could slap a Yankee and he'll sue you, but he won't fight back." Lincoln's election in 1860 led to celebrations, fireworks, bonfires IN THE SOUTH. It gave them the excuse to push secession to the fore. Articles in the newspaper archives should be of interest on the topic.

jimmy winston

Crazy how that we all know who Hitler was and what he did, yet there are 0 statutes of him and supporting his legacy.

Carlos Ponce

"yet there are 0 statutes of him and supporting his legacy." As noted in neo - NAZIs one does not need a statue to support one's legacy. Remember, NAZI was the abbreviated form meaning National Socialists. In 2020 we had a political party who espouses the ideas of Socialism.

tom carpenter

I know research is anathema to all the defenders of the glorious Confederacy, but all one has to do is search the southern states' letters of secession and voila! South Carolina and Virginia state in their first sentence that they seceded over slavery. Georgia and Mississippi attributed slavery as their reason in their second sentence and Texas admitted to it in the third paragraph. Some people are saying, a lot of people I hear, that every night before Trump goes to bed he orders a platter of Big Macs and American fries and listens to Melania read the entire South Carolina letter of secession. My source couldn't verify if the drool running down Trump's chin was because of the Big Mac's or South Carolina's letter of secession.

Carlos Ponce

"Texas admitted to it in the third paragraph" We never said it wasn't in there but admit, it's NOT the only reason Texas gave.

Wayne D Holt

Jimmy and Tom, I don't know why you wouldn't believe someone named Honest Abe. He said clearly the Civil War would have been fought without slavery to preserve the Union and that if it took slavery to preserve the Union, he would have done that, too. This wasn't a slip of the tongue for him. Lincoln shut down the free press when it didn't support his war plans, suspended habeas corpus, imprisoned those who did nothing more than oppose the war, declared marshal law even in places that weren't in get the picture. There is a reason why John Wilkes Booth shouted, "Thus always to tyrants!" before he made his exit, stage left. So a civil war with or without slavery. Could not be more clear what Lincoln's motivations were.

Folks seems to drift from the point: while there is strong support to eradicate every vestige of American history that has to do with the Confederacy, the champion of the victorious North said it wasn't even about slavery, it was about preserving the Union.

And I go back, yet again, to my main point. I simply do not accept the premise as a logical or moral choice that a federation of sovereign countries (which terminology and use is still enshrined in many Code of Federal Regulations passages) can be violently coerced to remain in a compact with other sovereign states.

I can easily prove our federal government agrees with me. We have unilaterally exited and abrogated numerous treaties over the years with other sovereigns with which we had binding compacts. We never felt the need to apologize for those gaffs and we never had to go to war with those who took exception to our actions. No one ever demonstrated to force us to stay in them, at least that made the papers. I think we should hold the Old Confederacy to the same standard we moderns do for today's federal government, don't you?

Gary Scoggin

There was nothing socialist about National Socialism. It relied on a facist, corporatist economic system.

Carlos Ponce

Now Gary Scoggin is defending National Socialists. [scared]

Gary Scoggin

The MAGAs are the ones praising a facist, corporatist economic system, not me.

Carlos Ponce

Gary Scoggin, are you using the Bizarro World dictionary again?

Charles Douglas

I am one of those MAGA(S). However I would rather be one of those than to support a man who said he did not want his kids to grow up in a racial jungle! ( with BLACKS ). I'd rather be one of those than to support a man who help sponsor a crime law which ripped African-American males off the streets of America and disporportionally sent their rear-ends to prison for longer terms that their counterparts! I would rather be one of those than to support a man who eulogized one of the most hateful leaders of the KU KLUX Klan which terrorized, murdered, and lynched African-Americans than any man in America! Democrats has a statue in DC of Robert Byrd, they won't tear-down. Hilliard Crooked was an admitted Disciple of Robert Byrd of the KKK, and so was Joe Biden! Joe Biden said Blacks need to vote for him or they were not BLACK! That was code for y'all don't have the intelligence to know how to vote, this is why we did not want yall voting for so long, ....SO VOTE FOR ME OR I'll TELL CLYBURN! Joe Biden has not done one (d#&) thing for African-Americans in the FIFTY YEARS he has been in public life! I will not support such a clown, who had minorites on food stamps, welfare, poverty-striken, and renting in the ghetto longer than anyone in public life, and did NOTHING to help us, but he wants us to come off the plantation in NOVEMBER and vote him into the Oval Office! NOT ME! I got plenty more, ....I could talk about how they had the JAPANESE in prison camps, and the LEFT WONT bother anything honoring FDR who put them there! Nancy Pelosi's father help erect statues of two Confederates in the Capatol but nobody is tearing those down,...why is that? I got plenty more, but I want to save some for later! I never liked to eat my striped candy to fast!

Wayne D Holt

BTW the North (meaning Lincoln) was not just at war with the South; it was at war with itself. There was widespread, vocal and committed opposition deep in the North against Lincoln's policies. Lincoln chose clearly unconstitutional actions to crush that opposition in the North as he pursued his war objectives in the South.

I keep reading the words "treason against the United States" in reference to the South's desire to secede. Which is the greater treason: to attempt to peacefully leave a voluntary compact of sovereigns or to engage in a continuous and unrestrained usurpation of the founding constitutional principles of the government you are leading?

Charles Douglas

It is something about that name!!!!!!

Charles Douglas

That name of.....TRUMP DIESEL!!!!!! ( My Man !!!)

Kimberley Jones Yancy

Trump is an opportunist. And Charles, he has shown his hate for African-Americans too many times by his rhetoric. The ones he chooses to display are either down right ghetto (Diamond and Silk) or culture confused-white washed (Candace Owens) which is what most racists do- they expose extremes to fulfill their own racist stereotype imaging. i.e. Sambo, Uncle Tom....

Carlos Ponce

"Trump is an opportunist." Name me a politician who is not.

Candace Owens "white washed", "Sambo", Uncle Tom" ? Your words, not mine. That's very judgemental, Kimberly.

Charles Douglas

I just got word that Trump ...the "Diesel" just got Judge Sullivan's head on a golden plate! Now, we need to start a collection of HEADS: 1) Big Jim Comey! 2) Andrew McCabe! 3) Lisa Page, & Peter Struzok! 4) James Clapper! & 5) John Brennan! ( Can't leave Brennan out! ) I would not feel to bad if Old power hungry John Bolton would end up with those I've listed!

Ted Gillis

End up where? In the next administration?

Carlos Ponce

Think JAIL, Ted Gillis.

Jarvis Buckley

Add Lois Lerner to that list

Ted Gillis

Oh yes Lois, the one who spotted all those Tea Party organizations trying to skirt the law by claiming to be 501c organizations. Those rules were set up for non profit organizations that give 51% of their earnings to charity. We’re any of these Tea Party organizations doing that? No!

The woman was doing her job.

Cheat, but prepare to fess up when caught is what I say. Good for her.

Yeah I’d say appoint her as head of the IRS in the next administration.

Carlos Ponce

Amazing! Ted Gillis knows how each and every TEA Party organization in the nation handles its money!

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