In 1973 the Illinois Legislature was the first in the nation to create an official holiday for Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday. That same year, the Texas Legislature responded to calls for a celebration of MLK’s life and work in a very different manner.
Since the ’30’s Robert E. Lee’s birthday on January 19th had been a minor state holiday. In 1973 the Texas Legislature consolidated it with a celebration of Jefferson Davis’ birthday to create a brand new, totally race-neutral Confederate Heroes Day. Take that you Hippie, Commie, agitators. Of course, any overlap on the calendar with MLK’s birthday was pure, race-blind coincidence.
It should be noted that the Legislature in 1973 was under the control of Democrats. Now that Republicans, the Party of Lincoln, control every arm, leg, finger and other appendage of state government, the bill to repeal Confederate Heroes Day is probably working its way through committee as I write this.
It should also be noted that in 1973, Rick Perry was still a Democrat. Again, pure, race-blind coincidence.
Contact your Legislator and ask him or her (probably him, really) about the current status of Republicans’ efforts to either repeal Confederate Heroes Day or move it to a less obviously spiteful location on the calendar. Enjoy the tense silence.
Monday in Texas you’ll enjoy a leisurely rest from your labor, an opportunity to honor a man who gave his life to end racist oppression or to honor those who gave their lives in a bid to preserve violent white supremacy. Take your pick. In Texas you still have a choice. Liberty!!!
It’s still a holiday. Don’t you have a LGBT cause to chase? Leave us alone.
Today’s bit of irony.
At the outh Carolina Tea Party Coalition convention, conservative pundit “Wild Bill” Finley claimed ownership of slain Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
Finley states that MLK will belong to him till the liberal libs quit talking about race. It seems he is unaware you can no longer own people.
Wow Turtles, I didn’t know it was that easy. I hereby claim ownership of Dicky Perry (for a day) and Greg Abbott as bubbabobcat’s butchy byotches and command them to officiate on any and all same sex weddings in Texas on demand. Ain’t waiting for SCOTUS to hem and haw and finally do the right thing.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that if Martin Luther King Jr. was [sic] alive today the liberal left would spit in his face because he would be such a threat to their political agendas.”
So why is it that old racist White guys who don’t even associate with Blacks at all much less count any as friends feel like they can speak for Martin Luther King and know his deepest inner thoughts and feelings?
What a douchebag.
Oh,, no, you have it wrong, Bubba! You want to adopt Dan Patrick (not Greg Abbot) and have him officiate at the same sex weddings! As for the old racist White guys who think they can speak for MLK’s deepest thoughts and feelings….my, my. I didn’t know they cared so much.
I read this today and thought others would appreciate the story. It’s not directly on point but it is relevant as we continue to develop historical perspective that informs us today. Here’ it is if you’re interested.
Here’s an interesting bit of historical trivia, Black Confederate soldiers:
“The idea of enlisting blacks had been debated for some time. Arming slaves was essentially a way of setting them free, since they could not realistically be sent back to plantations after they had fought. General Patrick Cleburne had suggested enlisting slaves a year before, but few in the Confederate leadership considered the proposal, since slavery was the foundation of Southern society. One politician asked, “What did we go to war for, if not to protect our property?” Another suggested, “If slaves will make good soldiers, our whole theory of slavery is wrong.” Lee weighed in on the issue and asked the Confederate government for help. “We must decide whether slavery shall be extinguished by our enemies and the slaves be used against us, or use them ourselves.” Lee asked that the slaves be freed as a condition of fighting, but the bill that passed the Confederate Congress on March 13, 1865, did not stipulate freedom for those who served.”
That’s quite a nasty rock and a hard place, isn’t it? (let me get my nano-violin) There surprisingly were a few thousand Black people who fought on the rebel side, but I’m hard pressed to imagine any reason they would unless they were promised freedom.
Good source material, Fly. Of course, blacks had trouble getting into the military in the 20th century as well until Truman stepped in. Still, black soldiers were limited as to duty. This link describes the pay and conditions received by black soldiers during the Civil War…$13/month for 5 year commitment…which sounds pitiful until you realize that it was more than they could earn in civilian life.
It should always be remembered that history is much messier than we usually care to acknowledge. But I always say–and I’ll willingly break Godwin’s Law here–one cannot dismiss the horrors of the Holocaust by emphasizing the truth of anti-Semitism in France or Britain or the United States. Jews have been hated and barely tolerated in much of the West, but it was Germany who is responsible for the greatest evil of the modern age. And yes, I do think the American practice of slavery is comparable to the Holocaust.
We all agree the institution of slavery was horrible. BUT…why is the United States singled out? It has existed since the dawn of time and still exists in Africa today.
“We all agree the institution of slavery was horrible. BUT…why is the United States singled out? It has existed since the dawn of time and still exists in Africa today.”
Because WE are Americans, slavery as practiced by Americans in the past is part of OUR history, OUR heritage, and its toxic aftermath still affects OUR society. We have not only the right, but the duty, to criticize our own when it is warranted. Slavery as practiced by Africans, or Romans, or any other non-Americans is nothing more than a giant red herring in this discussion.
No it isn’t (a red herring), it is simply something some don’t want to deal with.
So we should give America a pass for slavery because it’s just always been done? We were founded on the idea that every man is created equal. Must this be explained?
Nothing to explain about it…unless you are just one of those who feels themselves morally superior to those who lived in a different day and age with different values and history from backward from their time. The easiest thing in the world is to condemn another age.
So big deal, Don’t you feel all righteous that you have the luxury of looking back to another century? Oh man, I bet you would have given all them racist oppressors an earful, huh? LMAO.
So whatever, pick historical scabs all you want. That and a dollar will get you a draw beer. Or a cup of coffee, probably from Starbucks.,,
“No it isn’t (a red herring), it is simply something some don’t want to deal with.”
African slavery is the moral responsibility of Africans. America’s moral responsibility is to get its own house in order, and part of that process is owning up to its own history. Saying “other people did it too” is one of lamest excuses in the book.
An informative Wikipedia entry:
960 A.D. Slavery is abolished in the city-state of Venice
1117. Slavery is abolished in Ireland
1200. Slavery disappears from Japan
1256. Slavery is abolished in the city-state of Bologna
1274. Slavery disappears from Norway
1315. Slavery is abolished in France
1347. Slavery is abolished in Poland
1537. Pope Paul III bans slavery of indigenous people in colonies controlled by Catholic countries
1542. Spain abolishes slavery in its overseas territories
1652. Slavery is abolished in the Providence Plantations
1777-1804. Slavery is gradually dismantled in Northern U.S. states. It was declared unconstitutional (by the state constitution) in Massachusetts in 1783.
1808. Importation of slaves into the U.S. is made illegal.
1811. Britain bans the slave trade
1813. Slavery is abolished in Mexico and Argentina (and in Uruguay in 1814)
1830. Mexico abolishes slavery in Texas
1836. Slavery is legalized upon the formation of the Republic of Texas
So it matters, because pretty much every other civilized nation had taken an active stand against human bondage decades to centuries before we did it here. You may not be willing to take a moral stand against a different day and age, but the morals of most people of that day were far closer to what we believe today that was the average white Southerner in 1850.
Problem is, that officially “abolishing slavery, doesn’t necessarily mean it wasn’t still allowed to exist, and port officials didn’t overlook (bribed, of course), slave ships from northeastern ports which still continued to profit from the trade.
“Problem is, that officially “abolishing slavery, doesn’t necessarily mean it wasn’t still allowed to exist, and port officials didn’t overlook (bribed, of course), slave ships from northeastern ports which still continued to profit from the trade.”
So you really don’t see the difference between slavery existing illegally in the shadows without the approval of the government, and governments that declare the perpetuation of slavery as one of their main purposes?
I just may gave to rethink the whole troll thing, because you are starting to say some truly outrageous things.
Just read the articles and book I mentioned earlier.
Texasreb, it’s pretty hard to read your comments and not come to the conclusion that you think slavery was morally defensible and a perfectly reasonable cause to dissolve a nation. Am I missing something or are you just a reprehensible human being?
What is pretty hard to read about it is looking at it all from the point of view of human history itself.
And I am not going to bother one second to defend against an absolutely ludicrous on your part that I am “defending slavery”. Are you really that desperate?
Tell me? From where should we start to date the existence of slavery??? Where do you?
Lifer, I agree.
It would only be right if a holiday created by Democrats for Democrats be repealed by Republicans. 🙂
Actually, it might be better to rename the day Civil War Remembrance Day. It is estimated that approximately 620,000 men lost their lives in battle or due to disease. The Union was preserved and slavery ended, but the price was steep in lives lost especially in the South.
I lived in Texas for over 20 years, and like Anse, never heard of Confederate Heroes Day. It is time for the holiday to be eliminated or renamed to more accurately reflect the population of Texas.
Happy Martin Luther King Day celebrations to y’all!
Civil War Remembrance Day is an excellent idea. This would afford all Americans the opportunity reflect on the enormity of the conflict and the tragedy that befell both sides. It might help the nation continue to heal. As this thread demonstrates, even after 150 years, there are still deep passions and resentments.
“I lived in Texas for over 20 years, and like Anse, never heard of Confederate Heroes Day.”
I was born and raised here and I’ve never heard of it. Why not just support Memorial Day and let the rest of it go.
I like the idea of a separate day for the Civil War. Unlike our other wars it pitted the nation against itself.
Actually, no…it didn’t. It pitted one part of a former nation against another. Northern states against Southern states. The former kept the name “United States” only by default. That part has become the “emotional” sledge-hammer of history. After all, who could be against the “United States”?
But looking at it as it really was? The northern states (lead by the northeastern states) wanted to keep the Southern states as their gold mine. There was no other reason to lead into a war.
ROR, I think most Texans would be fine with that. However, I suspect that state workers might object if they usually get time off for an existing holiday..
IMO the Civil War will always be a festering wound. When you have brother fighting brother because of a particular mindset there’s going to be ill feelings. Some folks thought it was fine to own other human being, however, most think it’s repugnant and refuse to salute the confederate flag.
“IMO the Civil War will always be a festering wound. ”
I think it should be remembered in the same way that Jewish people remember the Holocaust- as a terrible tragedy that we never, ever want to repeat.
But as demonstrated Turtles, to celebrate or memorialize the “uniqueness” of the Civil War only serves to reopen long festering wounds and (illegitimate) grievances. Basically we are still refighting it 150 years after its end and revising/whitewashing a dark period of our history and inaccurately sanitizing it by celebrating the perpetrators of the near destruction of this country as heroes and minimizing/ignoring/obliterating the inhumane treatment of fellow human beings as the cause for it.
It’s why the Germans don’t “celebrate” or memorialize the Nazis and the Japanese don’t celebrate their WW II imperialism and atrocities. Though a few far right wingers in their respective countries are trying. Hmmmm I see a disturbingly international (human) pattern with right wingers. How would the neo Confederates feel if the Japanese celebrated the Pearl Harbor attack and treated the invaders as heroes and justified it as legitimate?
Oh yeah, and “state’s rights” were alllllllll about slavery and perpetuating, legitimizing, and spreading it throughout the country.
LOL It doesn’t take rocket science to get the import of your comment. That is, an attempt to connect the Confederacy with Nazi Germany. Sorry, won’t work. And here are just a few simple reasons:
1. The Nazi policy of genocide for those races/groups deemed “sub-human.” NOTHING remotely was comparable in Southern history.
2. At the time of the WBTS, slavery still existed in the Western world. And it was being struggled with in the same, as a moral question (in the American South as well). Whereas? Those enslaved in Nazi Germany were at a time when it had disappeared from said Western Civilization for almost a century…and then was brought back.
Too? Those enslaved by the nazi’s were literally starved, beaten, and worked to death. Not even the severest critic of slavery as it existed in America alleges such inhumanity was commonplace. Sure, there were sadistic slave owners, but there were still laws in the Southern states against deliberate mistreatment and slave owners were obligated by law and common humanitarian/Christian ethics to take care of the sick, injured and old.
3. The Confederate States of America was a constitutional republic like the United States. Nazi Germany was a dictatorship. Free speech, religion, assembly, bearing arms, etc. did not exist in the latter, and in fact, could be punishable by death if deemed to be harmful to the state.
4. Nazi Germany pursued a militaristic and aggressive foreign policy with the intention of world domination. The Confederacy only wanted to be left alone and peacefully pursue its own destiny.
5. The political principles the South fought for were deeply rooted in those set forth in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution which itself had largely been written by Southerners).
If we were capable of truly addressing the racial issues that burden this nation then a day to remember the civil war would be a good idea. Unfortunately, to many people have a romanticized view of the confederacy. The date should be used to learn of the truth that slavery was the cause of that war and how it is still felt to this da .
Which section of the country was responsible for the slave-trade?
Born and raised in Texas, and I have never heard of it either, or if I did I found the thought so ridickulous that I never put it to memory. Born in 1961 and did not leave until 1989.
Well Texasreb, you can believe whatever backwoods revisionist racist history you want. The rest of the civilized world with a moral conscience (even during the slave owning days as already illustrated by others) will go by the reality that makes us a united and more decent, just, and humane society and country.
Yeah, I know…play the race card.
objv, you may be right about state workers.
State worker here, with a day off (and who will be going outside soon to enjoy the nice weather). We are allotted a set # of state holidays each year. If we don’t have MLK Day, another day will be substituted.
“Civil War Remembrance Day” is actually a genius solution. Frankly, keeping it at its current spot on the calendar under that name might be entirely appropriate.
And yes, having Republicans make that change would be a hell of a statement. Also seems like it ought to be politically doable. Maybe.
The GOP has a few more catfish to fry to earn the respect of the black community than replacing the Confederate heroes Day with Civil War Remembrance Day, IMO. But, hey, knock yourself out!
The GOP really has nothing to do with it. Confederate Heroes Day is a state holiday in Texas because Texas was a Confederate state and tens of thousands of Texas men fought and died for that cause. Just as other Southern states have a certain day (usually called Confederate Memorial Day) to honor their memory. The larger national Memorial Day is the one that honors ALL war veterans of our nation’s wars.
Why is that a solution? This suggestion is apart from the original question. There is a national Memorial Day. Each state — South or North — should be free to, individually, honor their own history and heritage. If Massachusetts wants to honor the Union soldiers (and they should be able to), then Texas and Alabama or Tennessee, be free to honor those who fought for their cause. In other words, it is not another state’s business what another does.
Well, yes, let us start with resolving how we feel about 1865 and work our way up.
Sure…feel free to have a Civil War Remembrance Day, but let’s try not to have it on MLK Day.
Otherwise, it is just in bad taste.
Confederate Heroes Day in Texas has nothing at all to — except by much latter day coincidence– with Dr. King’s birthday.
It would be fun to analyze the 1973 TX legislators political affiliations as well. As Lifer points out, Rick Perry was in the state legislature as a Democrat when the Confederate Heroes Act was passed. Before Republicans get too giddy over the prospect of repealing a Democratic act that is repugnant, it might be smart to see how many of those “Dems” are now “Repubs” (-:
Sweet irony, tho, I’ll grant you, but don’t count on many black folks giving the GOP high fives over an obviously political ploy.
What is the point here of your statement? Seems as if you are just picking historical scabs.
Then by all means, work for that if you feel it that strongly. Northing wrong with that at all. But at the same time, Texas was a Confederate state and the sons of Texas fought against an invasion of their homeland. A “Civil War Rememberance Day” would be fine, but each state should be free to create their own holidays. Why does that bother you, anyway..?
To be fair, I am a lifelong Texan, fourth generation, born in Brazoria County, and of German ancestry. If I’ve heard of Confederate Heroes’ Day, I must have forgotten about it. I guess those Confederate heroes weren’t worth remembering. I’ll give my family some credit. They’re hard-right Republicans (and have been for as long as I can remember, even when the state was all Democrats) who apparently had little need to memorialize the Civil War the way so many do. Then again, we were Southern Baptists, I didn’t learn of the racist underpinnings of that sect’s founding until I was well into adulthood, so maybe there were just a lot of things we didn’t talk about when it came to history in our household.
Here’s how you can find out how they feel. Watch what happens when a Texas State Legislator proposes to repeal Confederate Heroes Day. Some may shrug. I bet a few others go all ‘Texasreb’ on it.
That said, it should also be mentioned that the Confederate militia had to keep units stationed in Central Texas throughout the war. Officially they were assigned for “frontier patrol,” but mostly they were putting down rebellions from the intensely pro-Union Germans in the Hill Country. You may have a little of that heritage.
“…mostly they were putting down rebellions from the intensely pro-Union Germans in the Hill Country.”
Makes me proud to be from the Hill Country!
As modern imperialism grows, even the regions within those countries under its rule become homogenized. Within the subnational regions, smaller ethnic enclaves, with their diverse cultures, tend to take one of two paths. They become tourist traps where the natives are totally ignorant of their own histories, differences, and contributions to the larger groups, until, eventually, everyone wears the same garb (lederhosen, feathered hats, kilts, identical regalia), employs the same false architecture, adopts the same fake accent, sings the same pseudo folk songs, dances the only folk dance he knows, and claims the same beliefs and ideologies. Or they just die out altogether. I don’t know whom this hurts worse—the larger “empire” or the enclaves. It certainly makes the world a duller place. And contrary to the philosophers, knowledge of history is its own virtue.
I first discovered this as a child. After living in Washington, D.C., for several years, my parents and I had returned to the Texas ranch that had been in our family since 1845. The culture clash between the East and Southwest was not as great as I had expected; too much time had passed. But I had been taught by my family, as well as by mounds of books, that we were Texas Germans, as was the entire Hill Country of the state, including the towns and cities of New Braunfels, Boerne, Fredericksburg, Dickinson, Seguin, Austin, San Antonio, Castroville, Hondo, up to what we still thought of as the western frontier—indeed, all of South-Central Texas.
Most of the Germans had arrived in Texas when it was still a republic, under the guidance of the Adelsverein (“The Noblemen’s Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas”), led by Prince Karl von Solms-Braunfels (though he didn’t stay). It was not long before over one third of all Texans were German. Before the invention of barbed wire (1875), the Texas economy was based on cotton, so the Texas Germans raised it and owned slaves, though not as many as the East Texans did. As late as the eve of U.S. entry into World War I, a rally for the kaiser was held in Boerne among the (mostly) still German-speaking blacks, with the rallying cry: “Ve Chermans haff got to schtick togedder!”
The Texas Germans went on to fight valiantly for the United States after we entered the war, despite the closing of our schools and violent harassment by groups of drunken Anglo teenagers from San Antonio. I lost two uncles to gas attacks on the Western Front.
As late as the 1950’s, one could not buy groceries or feed in the small town nearest our ranch without knowing German. My grandfather founded New Braunfels High School, and almost all the textbooks were in German (though Greek and Latin—and English—were also taught). He was also the editor of the Neu-Braunfelser Zeitung, our first newspaper (since the 1850’s), and cofounder of our first bank (the Guaranty State Bank). This whole section of Texas was closely knit. After all, the Germans arrived in the 1830’s and 40’s not knowing whether they were immigrating to Mexico, an independent Texas republic, or the United States.
Differences among groups of Texas Germans were common. The influential founders of New Braunfels were largely Prussian, atheist (“freethinkers”), and townspeople; Fredericksburg was founded by Bavarians and other southern Germans, Roman Catholics, and country folk; the German towns to the east were largely Lutheran (Evangelisch) and from all parts of Germany and all occupations. In addition, there were the Forty-Eighters.
The only question that had interested children back in Washington, D.C., was whether they were Southerners or Northerners. After all, Washington had been a Southern city for most of its history, was the center of the War Between the States, and the mid-to-late 1950’s was the height of regional rivalry.
As soon as my family returned to Comal County, Texas, we ran into a similar conflict. I met the other descendants of the War Between the States. Every kid would announce that, although his own ancestors had fought for the Confederacy, everyone knew that the other Texas Germans had fought for the Union. About the time I concluded that the tooth fairy was a myth, I began to suspect that this Texas-Confederate history didn’t make sense. If every German-American Texan I met had Confederate soldier ancestors, including three progenitors of mine, how could this ethnic group have been so pro-Union?
At the University of Texas-Austin, I studied Texas history, and, for my master’s thesis, I decided to unravel the myth of German Unionism. This proved to be a hopeless task. Every textbook of Texas history I could find simply stated, without footnotes, details, or any other support, that the Texas Germans were pro-Union and were either neutral or fought for the North during the War. The only evidence given was a mention of the Nueces Massacre. The books I found on the involvement of Texas in the Confederacy produced the same scant evidence and cited only earlier general histories, which used almost the same words (and often had the same typographical errors). Those books concerning only the Texas Germans simply skipped the crisis of the South in which the Texas Germans played so great a part.
Several years ago, the myth of German Unionism reached its climax in a series of newspaper columns by the late Maury Maverick, Jr., in the San Antonio Express. Maverick was a left-wing columnist and the lawyer son of an equally left-wing mayor of San Antonio in the 1930’s; both devoted their lives to atoning for the sins of the patriarch of the clan, Sam Maverick, while keeping his money. Sam was not only a notorious cattleman (whence cometh the word maverick, which first meant “found” or stolen or rebranded cattle) but a Confederate officer and an anti-German, upon whose livestock he preyed. As a result, Maury Jr. defended Vietnam draft dodgers for a living and insisted that the Texas Germans shared his left-wing views. He began the series by stating that the Texas Germans fought for the North during the War Between the States and that “over a hundred German Unionists were lynched during the War and lived under a reign of terror.” (This would have been a surprise to Adm. Chester Nimitz of World War II fame, about whom Maury Jr. always wrote admiringly, since the admiral’s father, Capt. Charles Nimitz, had been the highest-ranking Confederate officer in the German area and was, indeed, the Confederate recruiting officer in charge of maintaining order.)
Several dozen Texas Germans challenged the series by Mr. Maverick on his allegations. After a lot of shilly-shallying, Maverick retreated to one mysterious nighttime murder, by unknown persons, for unknown reasons.
When presented with the facts and the statistics, most believers in the myth, including at one time even the New Braunfels Zeitung-Herald (successor to the Zeitung), merely declared that the Texas Germans must have been trying to “blend in” with the Anglo Confederates, an absurd proposition when one considers that there were among Anglos proportionately more Unionists than among the Germans. Germans overwhelmingly voted for secession, and pre-draft enlistment
figures bear this out. It is far more likely that some modern Texas Germans are trying to “blend in” with political correctness. It strains credulity to argue that the same Texas Germans praised by Maury Maverick, Jr., for their courage, the same people who produced Admiral Nimitz and General Eisenhower, would be so cowardly as to vote against their principles in secret ballot, fail to speak out publicly or join the Union Army, and even join the Confederate Army (before the draft) to shoot and be shot by Yankees—all out of fear of offending Anglo citizens.
While researching my thesis, I had to perfect my German in order to read the dozen German-language newspapers circulating in Texas before and during the war. I discovered that no one had ever read any of these archives between that time and mine. I also read every German diary and private letter available, every letter to the Confederate and Reconstruction governors and legislatures in the State Archives, countless enlistment and unit rosters, and every published or unpublished primary source concerning the Texas Germans available at that time. My conclusions echoed those of John Arkas Hawgood in his 1940 book The Tragedy of German America:
So many fallacious statements have been made concerning the Germans in Texas during the late 1840’s, the 50’s, and the early 60’s, that perhaps it is wise here to express quite clearly . . . that the Germans were not . . . Abolitionists, . . . that they believed in states[’] rights, and that . . . a majority of them were loyal to the Confederate cause, many fought for it, and quite a number died for it.
These Germans came over to Texas in response to emigration propaganda in Germany, all of which stressed that, if you were an abolitionist or of the political left, you should go to New York City; if you were neutral or undecided, go to Missouri; if you were a conservative, go to New Orleans or Texas. Ferdinand Roemer’s Texas, which was widely read in Germany and distributed by the Adelsverein, warned those who were radical or opposed to slavery to avoid Texas.
In addition, Germany at that time was a loose confederation of autonomous states, similar to the United States under the Articles of Confederation. Those Germans were used to a system that respected states’ rights, and most were very leery of strong central government.
After 1850, Texas began receiving a trickle of refugees from the German Revolution of 1848—“die Gruene,” who were sometimes both radical and nationalistic. These new arrivals were not well received by the Germans who had come under the Adelsverein or before. Some of these Forty-Eighters formed the communistic Bettina Colony under the leadership of Gustav Schleicher, a friend of Friedrich Engels. The collective failed within two years, and Schleicher soon became the leader of the conservative and pro-states’-rights element in the Texas legislature.
The Democratic Party (then conservative and pro-states’ rights) won the enthusiastic allegiance of the Texas Germans thanks to the sudden growth of the anti-immigrant Nativist Party, the Know-Nothings. As the Know-Nothing Party became identified with nationalism, Unionism, and abolitionism, the Germans became more states’-rights and conservatively oriented.
There were occasional outbursts of radical sentiments (mostly on economic issues) among a few Forty-Eighters after that; a few singing societies were founded for political purposes; and one German newspaper editor, Adolf Douai, was chased out of San Antonio by the other Germans because of his abolitionist views. Even he did not believe that the federal government had any business meddling with slavery in the states.
German social life centered on the Turnvereine (athletic clubs). When the National Turnvereine denounced the South in 1859, all Texas Turnvereine immediately seceded, anticipating the Confederacy by two years.
The most influential German newspaper, the Neu-Braunfelser Zeitung, was edited by Dr. Ferdinand Lindheimer. According to R.L. Biesele—the first, and greatest, Texas German historian—Dr. Lindheimer was “the political barometer of the Germans in Texas.” His newspaper’s support for states’ rights, secession, and (through four difficult years) the Confederate war effort mirrored that of the Texas German population.
The first test of Texas German loyalty to the South was in the presidential election of 1860. It was a four-way race, with John C. Breckenridge representing the Southern Democrats and supported by secessionists; John Bell representing the Constitutional Union party, which hoped to hold North and South together by retaining states’ rights; Stephen A. Douglas representing the regular and Northern Democrats; and Abraham Lincoln for the Republicans.
No Texas German voted for Lincoln. Of the ten Texas counties that gave Bell and/or Douglas at least 40 percent of the vote, only one—Gillespie—had a substantial German population. Gillespie County voted against the secession candidate by only 52 percent. The other 17 heavily German counties, including Comal (which was the most populous and most German one), voted almost entirely for Breckenridge. For that matter, the least secessionist area, western Gillespie County, gave a larger percentage of its votes to Breckenridge than did any non-German western county. A fear, common in all the western counties, of frontier isolation in the face of savage Indians accounts for its hesitation toward secession.
Upon the election of Abraham Lincoln, Comal and Gillespie Counties called for a state convention to discuss secession, as did the Neu-Braunfelser Zeitung, which reminded Germans that, just as they had renounced their allegiance to European despots, they should do the same to Yankee ones. All other German newspapers called for secession, except for one, the smallest, which called for caution and deliberation before such a step. Every German delegate at the Texas Convention voted for immediate secession.
On February 23, 1861, the question went to the citizens of Texas. Of the 17 German counties, only five voted against secession. Five of them favored it by 90 percent. Comal County—again, the most populous and most German—did so by 73 percent. In Fayette County, which had a large Anglo Unionist element and a Unionist newspaper, only 10 of the 400 German voters voted against secession. Of the 29 Texas counties that had a substantial unionist vote, only 5 had any German population to speak of.
Once the war broke out, Texas Germans joined the Confederate Army in droves. As early as December 1860, Lindheimer had urged the Germans to organize military companies of minutemen to “protect the rights of the South.” By the middle of July, two volunteer infantry and two cavalry companies had been formed in New Braunfels—one led by the mayor, Gustav Hoffman, a former Prussian officer. Before the military draft was instituted, two thirds of the enfranchised population of Comal County were armed and in the field.
Gustav Schleicher organized units that would fight nobly in the Red River Campaign. Many of the first companies in Galveston were German to a man. The first Houston company to appear in the field was German. Most of their flags were embroidered “Fuer die Constitution” and “Gott Mit Uns.”
Fayette County formed a company of Germans that joined and fought with the famed Terry’s Texas Rangers in all of its battles, including Perryville, where Colonel Terry was killed. The last commander of Terry’s Texas Rangers was one of these Germans.
German units formed important parts of the New Mexico Campaign, the Battle of Galveston, the Red River Campaign, and even served in Hood’s Texas Brigade under General Lee in Virginia.
The ladies of German towns formed Southern Aid Societies, raising funds and making provisions for the troops. One such group in Fredericksburg alone raised over $5,000 for the cause and made countless uniforms and bandages.
There were, of course, some who were disloyal to the Confederate cause in Ger man as well as Anglo counties. In Fredericksburg, the aforementioned Capt. Charles Nimitz was physically attacked and put in danger of his life by an Anglo-American bandit leader because some of his men had been drafted. In the later suppression of Unionists, Confederate German troops were often sent to arrest disaffected Anglo citizens.
Maury Maverick, Jr., cited Duff’s Partisan Rangers as the greatest terror of Texas Unionists. August Siemering, a German of Fredericksburg who had formerly been a Unionist, was Duff’s lieutenant. R.H. Williams’ firsthand account of Duff’s partisans, With the Border Ruffians, recounts that even Duff’s fanatic scouring for Unionists in Gillespie County could only turn up “four or five men, and eight women with their little ones.”
This brings us back to the aforementioned Nueces Massacre. On August 1, 1862, 61 men met in Kerr County, with the intention of leaving Texas. Most of them were Germans and very recent arrivals in the State; some were Anglos, and a handful were Mexicans. Ted Fehrenbach, in Lone Star, his definitive history of Texas, and many other historians have pointed out that this group had no particular ideology and no intention of joining the federal forces; they just wanted to avoid a war of which they’d had no advance notice. Upon reaching the Nueces River, they were attacked by Duff’s Partisan Rangers, who were guided by a German, Charles Bergmann of Fredericksburg. In the fight that followed, 19 of the refugees were killed, and 9 were wounded. Several witnesses later reported that the wounded were murdered. Thirty-three refugees escaped, of whom eight were killed later while attempting to cross the Rio Grande. None of the survivors ever chose to join the federals after entering Mexico, where they were met by Union forces.
It is not excusing such barbaric, behind-the-lines persecution to point out that this murderous slaughter of harmless, multiethnic draft evaders has no bearing on the question of whether Germans were, as a group, enthusiastic supporters of the Confederacy. But, somehow, an inscribed monument was recently built in Comfort, Texas, which honors these victims as being “Loyal to the Union.” A novel, Rebels in Blue, was even written about them, ignoring the refugees’ equal avoidance of both the Blue and the Gray.
It is often forgotten that Texas was under martial law throughout most of the war. This constitutional atrocity has turned out to be a windfall for historians, because my old mentor, Dr. H. Bailey Carroll of the University of Texas, managed to turn up the court-martial records of civilians, which accompany martial law.
The court-martial trials were convened in San Antonio, beginning on July 2, 1862, continuing through the greatest Unionist activity, and concluding after the Nueces Massacre. The court tried all those arrested in the Hill Country and Bexar County. Seventeen Anglo-Americans were tried, and over two thirds were found guilty of disloyalty. Only 12 Germans were prosecuted, and of these, only 5 were found guilty. Their punishment was imprisonment for the duration of the war. Prominent Germans testified for both the defense and the prosecution. In most of the cases, the evidence was all hearsay, and even that was nebulous. Julius Schlickum was accused of singing a Yankee song while drunk. In one case against a German, the charge of disloyalty rested on the accusation that the defendant appeared happy upon reading of a Confederate defeat. His accuser could not remember having heard the defendant actually say anything; instead, he judged by the latter’s facial expression. One German was charged with having had a New York German newspaper at his store. He answered that his customers could read no English, and local German papers had no European news. Another German, accused of having spoken only of Confederate defeats, explained that, during the week the witness knew him, the South had had no victories.
Again, it is no defense of such police-state tactics to point out that these trials show less disloyalty to the Confederacy among Germans than among Anglos—insofar as they show anything, save that no government should really be trusted. It should, in fairness to Confederate authorities, be mentioned that such arrests and trials were much more common in the North. President Lincoln managed to arrest the legislature of Maryland, and Northern prisons were full of suspected Copperheads, who enjoyed no right of habeas corpus (it was suspended by Lincoln), let alone a hearing of any sort, military or otherwise.
Before, during, and after these trials in San Antonio, hundreds of Texas Anglos fled Texas to join the Union Army. They were not so unfortunate as the group caught on the Nueces River, however, so they have been largely forgotten. I would welcome any evidence that one Texas German ever wore the Blue.
Once, when a former member of the Know-Nothing Party made a slighting reference to Germans, the Neu-Braunfelser Zeitung replied that, proportionately, German-speaking soldiers were more numerous than any other language group among Confederate Texans and urged that a survey be made to determine German participation in and support for the Confederacy in order to prove their loyalty forever. Unfortunately, no such survey was ever conducted—a fact that might be the only one that matters for modern Americans, who are accustomed to weekly polls of the population on every question or opinion imaginable. However, at the time, there was a war going on.
The privation suffered during wartime had no relation to nationality, and the German families left behind while their men were off fighting had their share. In some areas, the women did all the farm work; in others, German families had to depend on the charity of their neighbors to survive. The well-known thrift of German families was ineffectual in the face of a rapidly depreciating currency. Indian depredations and bandit raids increased dramatically during the war, and many German soldiers who went to war to protect their homes against the Yankees returned to find their homes burned and livestock stolen by Indians or thieves.
As late as the close of May 1865, Ferdinand Lindheimer was still writing editorials in the Neu-Braunfelser Zeitung urging greater sacrifices for the survival of the Confederacy. Finally, on June 2, 1865, he printed a letter in German that he had received from a Lieutenant Bitter, CSA. In translation, it states:
As you should know, our company F, 32 Texas Cavalry is coming back home today. It is true we are not coming back as everybody wished, as victors in the cause for which the county sent us, but our conscience is clear that we have done at every occasion our full duty, and that our behavior and good German honor gave us the respect of all our war companions, as of the citizens in that part of the country in which we have been. We have earned this honor and still hold it. Even in the last time of common demoralization of the Army, every citizen felt protected as long as Company “F” was near.
He closed the letter with the slogan inscribed on his battle flag: “Gott mit uns.” God be with us.
Well I be dang, I just learned some unknown to me Texas History.
FYI: Per the single review of this book on Amazon, the copy is poor as it reproduces (evidently in poor quality) the hand-written diary of William Heartsill. I’m sure the story will be interesting but be advised it will be difficult to read due to the faint copy of the text. Possibly there is a later edition that a summarized the diary contents that Lifer might know about.
Wow Texasreb, that was a very long winded way of patting yourself on the back for being soooo smart to do all this research to merely validate your own personal confirmation bias. Good for you. Congratulations, you’re still on the wrong side of history. And we don’t believe you to be this self proclaimed oh so smart and dedicated scholar with this deep dark secret no one else is “smart enough” to know. We already had one of those insecure trolls compensating as an arrogant know it all for quite a while.
I guess the equilibrium of the intertubes abhors a troll vacuum. What a shame.
LOL What do you mean by “wrong side of history”? This assortment is almost too silly to entertain! Uhhhh, try and grasp this instead of using sophomoric clichés. History is over when Gabriel blows his horn.
Do you honestly think that this moment in time is the ultimate? Makes no sense at all.
I should have mentioned earlier, your “troll” thingy is just a red-herring. And I think you know it too. I am only presenting a side which is politically incorrect. I am no troll…
“Politically incorrect” or just flat out incorrect is not a distinction you have any concern to delineate huh?
And by the way, it wasn’t just the Texas Hill Country. It turns out that a political movement premised on secession has considerable difficulty maintaining any kind of order. One of the reasons for the very prominent role of the “Home Guard” was that internal resistance was rife.
The counties in Western Virginia of course split away successfully. The Tennessee and Carolina highlands were less successful, but seethed over the course of the war.
One of the most interesting examples was the section of Northern Alabama that “seceded” from the Confederacy. They were never quite fully subdued (arguably to this day). They were referenced in To Kill a Mockingbird.
“It turns out that a political movement premised on secession has considerable difficulty maintaining any kind of order.”
Indeed. That’s one of the reasons I can’t see the CSA being viable even if they had won the war. A victory would have set the precedent for a state to leave if it didn’t like election results. One thing that we Americans should take pride in is how many peaceful transitions of power we’ve had in our history. That’s a very precious thing.
I remember in the movie Cold Mountain the antagonists were members of the Home Guard of the csa. I remember they would go out to settle old scores they held with people. Seems the Republic of Winston suffered the same fate.
True, there were “divisions” within the South. Just as there were the same in the North. Most northerners did not want a war to “preserve the Union”, much less to “free the slaves”. It is a shame they were duped into doing so.
Ooop, didn’t finish the Lincoln quote as concerns Ft. Sumter. Here it is:
“You and I both anticipated that the cause of the country would be advanced by making the attempt to provision Fort-Sumpter, even if it should fail; and it is no small consolation now to feel that our anticipation is justified by the result.”
Now then, I am outta here for the evening… ‘night all….
Of course it revolves around the issues of secession. Perhaps I should have mentioned that. But I didn’t think it was necessary to do so; not to anyone who take the study of history seriously. So tell me, how were the 13 American colonies any different? They seceded, simple as that. They won (and I am glad they did), but they actually had less justification for doing so than did the Southern states of the United States.
After all, the latter were sovereign states, the colonies were English colonies.
I realize the American Revolution is pesky fact for some who want to pretend different. So are you saying “might makes right?.
The Civil War was caused by slavery. The South seceded from the Union over the issue of slavery. Any attempt to argue otherwise is an attempt to revise history.
Bingo, and anyone who claims otherwise and/or still clings to the “War of Northern Aggression” nonsense is thoroughly deluded and hardly worth arguing with.
Of course it isn’t (worth arguing with), as you can’t argue. That is just steering the discussion into a ditch. If one cannot address an opposing argument with factual opinion? Then just use the old ploy of saying it isn’t worth arguing with. What a transparent attempt.
The words of Alexander Stephens, the first and only Vice-President of the CSA:
“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.”
See the reasons for each of the Southern states to secede. See the reasons for an unjustified invasion of the Southern states.
It is like those sick perverts that get caught molesting a six year old and then try to justify it by saying that she came on to me. Twisted logic at it’s finest.
The American Revolution was precipitated by tyrannical behavior from a far distant monarch who permitted no representation from the colonies in his government. The Civil War was precipitated when Southern states, who had full representation in the U.S. government and participated in the election of the president decided they didn’t like the outcome of an election or two. There is rather big difference between the two.
My, my, how far we’ve come with the politics of today (-:
States are not sovereign and do not have the ability to secede. The colonies revolted to expand freedom for people, the confederacy seceded to insure the enslavement of an entire race of people was continued.
Of the 11 states that officially seceded, only four mentioned slavery as their reason for doing so, and each of those mentioned other causes as well and/or all bounded it up in other reasons as well. Fact it. The justification in history books centered around slavery because it gave a moral cover for what really boiled down to an excuse to invade the Southern States to keep its tax money.
If you have another reason? Then what was it?
Why do we consider the American revolution different? Let’s compare some statements of principles, in the participants’ own words:
For the American revolution:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that ALL men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable 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, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”
Let’s have the TX declaration represent for the Confederacy:
“Texas abandoned her separate national existence and consented to become one of the Confederated States to promote her welfare, insure domestic tranquility [sic] and secure more substantially the blessings of peace and liberty to her people. She was received into the confederacy with her own constitution, under the guarantee of the federal constitution and the compact of annexation, that she should enjoy these blessings. 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. Her institutions and geographical position established the strongest ties between her and other slave-holding States of the confederacy. Those ties have been strengthened by association. But what has been the course of the government of the United States, and of the people and authorities of the non-slave-holding States, since our connection with them?……
In all the non-slave-holding States, in violation of that good faith and comity which should exist between entirely distinct nations, the people have formed themselves into a great sectional party, now strong enough in numbers to control the affairs of each of those States, based upon the unnatural feeling of hostility to these Southern States and their beneficent and patriarchal system of African slavery, proclaiming the debasing doctrine of the equality of all men, irrespective of race or color–a doctrine at war with nature, in opposition to the experience of mankind, and in violation of the plainest revelations of the Divine Law. They demand the abolition of negro slavery throughout the confederacy, the recognition of political equality between the white and the negro races, and avow their determination to press on their crusade against us, so long as a negro slave remains in these States.”
So we have one group of rebels declaring that they’re going to fight for the principle of liberty and equality for all, and another group who says their going fight for the rights of one group of people to own another group of people, and you’re asking us why we judge the two differently???? Really?? Now based on your arguments below I’m sure your planned response would be to point out that in practice the “all men are created equal” concept initially applied to property owning white men, and that the Founders kicked the can that was the slavery issue down the road when writing the Constitution (as they wrongly believed it would wither away on its own). You no doubt hope to shock us with revelations that many of those holier-than-thou Northern abolitionists types didn’t believe in equality for Black people and White people, and that Lincoln would be considered racist by 21st Century standards. Spare the electrons, because we already know all that and more. We’re all aware of the gap between the theory of a noble idea and the practice of actually implementing it. We look at history too, and we see all the times this country failed to reach that high standard. All we can do is study the errors of those who failed and see if we can do better in trying to live up to such a high standard.
There’s no doubt that the Confederates succeeded in living down to the standards they set.
You are truly grasping at straws in quoting the DOI. It was intended to mean no man had a divine right to rule over others by birth alone. Bottom line is the only thing that separated the decision of the Southern states to secede and the earlier American colonists to do the same was that the former lost and the latter won.
Can you imagine what sort of history we would be reading if the united States — as it was known then — ??had lost what we now know as the American Revolution?
We would be reading how jolly jim dandy it was that King George III had the cojones to put down a bunch of upstart “rebels” who had the audacity to dump perfectly good tea into the Boston Harbor! In what we would be reading as something like “The War of the American Colony Rebellion.” Or some such as that…?
Again, I realize this is all a problem for those who want to pretend different. And yeah, I can quote “Google Sources” too.
What it really boils down to, though, is that arguing from result is perhaps the easiest and flimsy in the world. In other words, no one disagrees with the American Revolution…but many who grew up a morality play over the American “Civil War” will go to astronomical lengths to separate the two.
So again? Pretty words up if you want, but — right, foolhardy, rash, whatever — the sovereign state of the Southern United States had even more justification to declare their independence…emotional BS doesn’t count….
Bloviate all you want about winner and losers, but I’m not distracted from the fact that you are totally avoiding the whole point of what each group of rebels declared that they were fighting for. If George III had won, it wouldn’t have made the ideals of the Declaration of Independence any less noble. If the South had won the Civil War, their declaration of fighting to preserve White subjugation of Blacks would be no less vile.
You are defecting, simple as that.
Texasreb you are verbally defecating; simple as that.
Sorry, pretty attempts at word stringing wont work and/or substitute for rational arguments….
And to add to Fly, we have Sam Houston, governor of Texas and a unionist who would be impeached for refusing to swear an oath to the Confederacy, speaking in Austin in 1860:
“Secession or revolution will not be justified until legal and constitutional means of redress have been tried, and I can not believe that the time will ever come when these will prove inadequate.
These are no new sentiments to me. I uttered them in the American Senate in 1856. I utter them now. I was denounced then as a traitor. I am denounced now. Be it so! Men who never endured the privation, the toil, the peril that I have for my country, call me a traitor because I am willing to yield obedience to the Constitution and the constituted authorities. Let them suffer what I have for this Union, and they will feel it entwining so closely around their hearts that it will be like snapping the cords of life to give it up. Let them learn to respect and support one Government before they talk of starting another. I have been taught to believe that plotting the destruction of the Government is treason; but these gentlemen call a man a traitor because he desires to sustain the Government and to uphold the Constitution.”
Let’s look at all what Houston really said. Houston was a SOUTHERN Unionist, not a northern sympathizer. There is a huge difference.
“The time has come when a man’s section is his country. I stand by mine. All my hopes, my fortunes, my affections are centered in the South. When I see the land for whose defence my blood has been spilt, and the people whose fortunes have been mine through more than a quarter of a century of toil, threatened with invasion, I can but cast my lot with theirs, and await the issue.”
“Let’s look at all what Houston really said. Houston was a SOUTHERN Unionist, not a northern sympathizer. There is a huge difference.”
How about YOU look at what JohnGalt really said:
“… we have Sam Houston, governor of Texas and a UNIONIST who would be impeached for refusing to swear an oath to the Confederacy, speaking in Austin in 1860:”
We don’t take kindly around here to such poor reading comprehension.
Who is “we”? As I said, look at what Houston said and where he lay his ultimate allegiance, when it came down to brass tacks. Read what he actually wrote and felt.
Sam Houston’s profile in courage:
“Sam Houston earned his place in Profiles in Courage by his refusal to support the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. This bill repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and would have allowed the residents of territories from Iowa to the Rocky Mountains to decide the slavery issue themselves. A Southerner by birth and one of the first two Senators from Texas, Houston felt that the act would further divide the Union. He tangled with the powerful John C. Calhoun, saying that Calhoun was trying to destroy the Union by introducing the legislation. He was the sole Southern Democrat to vote against the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Houston’s constituents were furious and rumors of his political demise were rampant. Not one to engage in a defensive fight, Houston announced his plan to run for governor of Texas as an independent while he was still in the Senate. Despite his oratorical gifts and sheer physical presence, the citizens of Texas did not forget his “anti-Southern” vote against the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Houston was defeated for the governorship and was dismissed from the Senate by the Texas legislature in 1857. However, two years later he was asked to come out of retirement to again run for governor of Texas, and his election was a major setback to Southern pro-slavery extremists. In February 1861, despite Houston’s valiant attempts to stop it, the Texas legislature voted to secede from the Union. His refusal to take the oath of allegiance to the Confederacy led to his ouster as governor in March 1861.
His words and his ACTIONS are crystal clear, he wanted to preserve the Union, regardless of whether he sympathized more with the South or the North.
Of course he wanted to preserve the Union. So did Robert E. Lee and many other Southern men. Just was there were many northern men who wanted to let the South go their own way in peace (which was all they wanted, anyway).
Lee commanded the rebel army. That speaks louder than any words he might have said in favor of the Union.
And nothing you’ve said backs up your earlier accusation of JohnGalt claiming Sam Houston was a Northern sympathizer.
Are you really THAT desperate? Yeah, he was a northern sympathizer. This is not worthy of a reply… LOL
You brought up “Northern sympathizer”, not any of us. So you are a troll.
Yeah, I am a troll. Feel better? LOL
Good for you Texasreb. Acknowledgement is the first step towards recovery. You predecessor could never allow himself to get to that first step.
Thanks for a courteous and civil…yet sarcastic reply (we Southern boys don’t swallow pills nor let the same go over our heads! LOL)
To put it all in perspective, we almost made it through an entire troll-free week. That’s worth something.
It is something.
But the quality of the argument is sad, very sad.
Yep, it was nice while it lasted. It’s amazing the steps some will take to justify a moral sin against humanity.
So where do we start to condemn it? As in this moral crime against humanity? What are your credentials for doing so/ Should we start with the Stone Age in terms of condemnation?
Was that trolling? Some people still do sincerely believe in the righteousness of the lost cause.
Not trolling but ‘truthering’.
I agree, Fly. Stating a disagreement with a viewpoint does not make that trolling. Maybe I hold trolling to a different, lower standard. At least TXReb tried to make some cogent arguments and it spawned a very interesting discussion. I think that is a good thing. Tone is critical in stating an opinion that runs counter to the prevailing view. I abhor slavery and all who perpetrated it, but we absolutely need to be able to talk about it. The discussion of this controversy has been educational, even if we disagree with the Confederate cause and, flashing forward, the premise for the blog, the repugnance of Confederate Heroes Day.
Today, I honor Martin Luther King and those who suffered and died to right racial injustice in America. Today is your day. And, there is much work left to be done.
Thanks for a civil and courteous reply! I don’t agree with you on lots of things, but appreciate the general thrust.
I think it’s trolling when an argument is presented without evidence.
That’s what the troll did.
And some actually believe the War was fought to free the slaves and “save the Union” for altruistic reasons!
Boy, I didn’t think it was possible for so much misinformation to be put into a blog concerning the history of Confederate Heroes Day in Texas. And so many gullible people to believe it. But then again, it doesn’t surprise me either.
In any event, the creation of Confederate Heroes Day had *nothing at all* to do with Dr. Martin Luthur King’s birthday…whose creation was not even on the radar screen in 1973. It had to do with creating a state holiday for former President Lyndon Johnson, who was a native son.
When he died, the Texas legislature wanted to make his birthday a state holiday. However, the number of state holidays was limited by law. To solve the problem, the legislature combined the birthdays of Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis into one holiday called Confederate Heroes Day. And always observed on January 19, King’s birthday came many years later and is always observed on the 3rd Monday in January; it just happens to be sometime the dates coincide.
But that was pure happenstance and unforeseeable. As mentioned, it was unforeseeable because the idea of an MLK day was not even introduced at the federal level until about a decade later, much less considered by the state.
I openly challenge the author of this piece — or anyone else — to prove otherwise. Personally, I wouldn’t object to it being moved to another month and day (such as April 26 or June 3), but the important thing is that MLK’s birthday had nothing at all to do with it, and this seemingly deliberate spread of untruth is either the result of ignorance, lack of professional research or, just that, a deliberate spread of emotional BS for the sake of playing a self-righteous race card.
On a related tangent, I notice quite a few posters toss around the term “traitor” and “treason” when describing Confederate soldiers and their Cause. Unfortunately for them, northern powers of the day did not agree and, for that reason, privately agreed that a trial for Jefferson Davis on treason charges would be a disaster for the Union (i.e. northern states which kept the name United States by default) and were terrified of the possibility. As Salmon Chase told Sec. of War Edwin Stanton and, later, speaking on Lincoln’s real viewpoint (paraphrased, but I can provide the direct quote and sources if necessary).
“If you bring these leaders to trial, it will condemn the North. For by the constitutition, secession is not rebellion. We cannot convict him of treason.”
Also, that Lincoln did not want Davis captured for the simple reason it might lead to a public trial in which the Southern side would be given an open forum. Said Chase: “He was right. His capture was a mistake. His trial will be a greater one. Secession is settled, let is stay settled.”
Finally, of course, the issue was revolved by a face-saving measure on the part of the Union government — from President Andrew Johnson — to issue a general amnesty for former Confederate leaders.
I think the larger point is that this continues to be a “holiday” on the books in Texas and this year, with sad irony, exactly coincides with MLK day. The suggestion on the author’s part that the “Party of Lincoln” must be readying to repeal this was pure sarcasm. Why we are celebrating the morally bankrupt secession of the South is beyond me, and I am a native of Georgia. The oft-heard defense is that we celebrate not the leadership but the common man who was duped into believing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of them to preserve a disastrous, immoral, and inefficient economic system was noble in some way. If anything, we should have a day to commemorate the sad tragedy of one of the worst ideas – probably the worst – in American history. That day should not coincide with a holiday to celebrate the man who, a century later, finally convinced at least most white people that slavery had, indeed, been abolished.
It does not follow from the idea that the “Northern powers of the day” did not put Davis on trial for treason that they did not think he was guilty of it. Indeed, he was indicted for treason and held for two years. There were a lot of opinions about this, but the general consensus is that a public trial would have impeded reconstruction;, e.g., that it would have been a public relations nightmare. This is not the same as not being guilty. Chase, in particular, found the way to weasel out of a trial by arguing that the 14th Amendment had already specified punishment for Confederate leaders (disenfranchisement) so that additional trials would constitute some form of double jeopardy.
“If anything, we should have a day to commemorate the sad tragedy of one of the worst ideas – probably the worst – in American history. ”
National Sacrificial Lambs Day- to remember all military personnel who had to die or be maimed for bad causes, horrid strategies, or dubious reasons for war.
Thank you for your historical perspective on the the Confederate Heroes Day in Texas. You make some good points and I concur that we need to be sensitive to ramifications of our actions and strive for accuracy before casting aspersions. In this case, the conflict of the two holidays is sending a very poor message, and your suggestion for moving the date of the Confederate Heroes Day is a very good idea. We certainly don’t need to create more controversy when we should all be working to end injustice wherever it appears. There’s plenty of blame to go around for all wars and the Civil War was a horrible time for our country.
Thanks. I agree. All I wanted to point out was that the creation of Confederate Heroes Day in Texas had nothing to do with Dr. Kings birthday being a holiday a decade later. It is sad that some think so, and over total race-card playing. In any event, I wouldn’t object at all to moving CHL to April 26th or June 3rd. It would save a lot of problems. But I have to say also, there are some who would object to it being a holiday at all…
Then why didn’t — created years afterwords — MLK’s birthday become observe on his actual birthday. Which was January 15th? The common man most duped was the average northerner who had no stake in the War whatsoever. Lincoln knew this and thus provoked an incident at Ft. Sumter to rally opinion around that US honor had been insulted. He later admitted as such.
You don’t have to believe it, but the sources are there, and I can provide them. The last thing the powers that be in the north wanted was a public trial where Davis could present his case. But you are right in that Chase found a way to weasel out of a trial…
Sternn 2.0 ?
The national MLK holiday is celebrated on the closest Monday to his actual birthday. Just like a wide variety of other holidays are celebrated on a convenient Monday.
If you’d like to back up your arguments, then stop being lazy and provide the citations you claim.
Huh? What are you talking about…if you are talking to me. This blog was about the history in Texas. And it is totally false. My case has been presented. It had nothing to do with MLK’s birthday in Texas. That assertion was silly as hell, un-researched, and dependent upon those who know nothing about it.
Texasreb, you have not provided a shred of an argument for why “Confederate Heroes Day” needs to exist. What about the southern rebellion deserves a commemoration?
LOL again. Why should I have to provide a justification? Who are you to demand such a thing? What are your credentials to do so, other than some weird sense of presumed moral superiority (I suppose),,,?
No offence, but that is really ridiculous.
As it is? It has been mentioned that some northern states make a state holiday as “Union Heroes Day” So what? I would have no problem with it at all. Why should I?
The “Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War” once passed a resolution:
RESOLUTION OF SUPPORT
DISPLAY OF BATTLE FLAGS OF THE CONFEDERACY
119TH NATIONAL ENCAMPMENT OF THE
SONS OF UNION VETERANS OF THE CIVIL WAR
LANSING, MICHIGAN AUGUST 19, 2000
A resolution in support of the display of the Confederate Battle Flag.
WHEREAS, we, the members of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, condemn the use of the confederate battle flag, as well as the flag of the United States, by any and all hate groups; and
WHEREAS, we, the members of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, support the flying of the Confederate battle flag as a historical piece of this nation’s history; and
WHEREAS, we, the members of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, oppose the removal of any Confederate monuments or markers to those gallant soldiers in the former Confederate States, and strongly oppose the removal of ANY reminders of this nation’s bloodiest war on the grounds of it being “politically correct;” and
WHEREAS, we, as the descendants of Union soldiers and sailors who as members of the Grand Army of the Republic met in joint reunions with the Confederate veterans under both flags in those bonds of Fraternal Friendship, pledge our support and admiration for those gallant soldiers and of their respective flags;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that we, the members of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War in 119th Annual National Encampment, hereby adopt this resolution.
Dated in Lansing, Michigan, on this nineteenth day of August, in the year of our Lord Two thousand.
I admire the Union soldiers who fought. I hate that they were duped into an unnecessary war, but no question of their bravery…
Anyway, I don’t have unlimited time to keep this up, nor respond to every post written. I gotta go eat some fried catfish and black-eyed peas. I will reply again when I have a chance. Y’all have a good one! 🙂
What’s it too you? It exists as a holiday (state) for the same general reason that Texas Independence Day is on the books. To honor the sons of Texas who defended their state against invasion. Next question…?
We celebrate “Union Heroes Day.” It’s called Memorial Day.
“Sternn 2.0 ?”
This one has much better manners.
“In any event, the creation of Confederate Heroes Day had *nothing at all* to do with Dr. Martin Luthur King’s birthday….
I openly challenge the author of this piece — or anyone else — to prove otherwise.”
You can’t prove something that was never said. Chris is certainly chiding the TX GOP for failure “to either repeal Confederate Heroes Day or move it to a less obviously spiteful location on the calendar.” He didn’t make any such claims about the creation of the holiday being spiteful, at least not in respect to MLK.
“On a related tangent, I notice quite a few posters toss around the term “traitor” and “treason” when describing Confederate soldiers and their Cause. Unfortunately for them, northern powers of the day did not agree and, for that reason, privately agreed that a trial for Jefferson Davis on treason charges would be a disaster…..
Finally, of course, the issue was revolved by a face-saving measure on the part of the Union government — from President Andrew Johnson — to issue a general amnesty for former Confederate leaders.”
Sounds a lot like the rational for pardoning Nixon- that it would be something the nation couldn’t deal with. From a strictly pragmatic point of view, reintegrating the South would be easier if the rebels were pardoned. But being pardoned or granted amnesty doesn’t mean that you didn’t do it, but rather the gov’t isn’t going to accuse you or punish you for it. The Confederates still tried to destroy our country, and we shouldn’t forget that.
While we absolutely should remember the CSA, I see absolutely NOTHING about it that merits any celebration. I suspect you feel differently so go ahead and make your case.
Well, I’ll have to stand corrected on the created out of spite part.
I already made the case. And the case with Nixon has no connection. That is a strawman and a half. The Southern states didn’t try to destroy the country. They simply decided to severe political connections with another section of the country and did so in a peaceful manner. They had no plans to attack the former Union and offered the olive branch to agree on a a mutually beneficial economic and defensive alliance; to pay their share of the national debt, open up the Mississippi River for free trade and navigation,
These were even much more than the American colonists (whose formers and fighters were mostly Southern men) offered with England during the American Revolution. Northern apologists can do what they want, but the latter seceded just same as did the Lower South and with even more justification. After all, the colonists were British citizens, the ones of the South were Americans from sovereign states…and recognized as such by the Treaty of Paris, the DOI and the constitution itself, by default.
“And the case with Nixon has no connection. That is a strawman and a half.”
It did have a connection as an example of not prosecuting the guilty in the name of expediency. The guilt of both NIxon and Davis wasn’t in doubt, as was the political consequences of a trial in both cases.
“The Southern states didn’t try to destroy the country. They simply decided to severe political connections with another section of the country and did so in a peaceful manner.”
Yeah, that Fort Sumter incident was quite peaceful, wasn’t it?
*rubs hand together* I was HOPING someone would bring this up… Hee hee.
Uhhh, Ft. Sumter was an installation in Confederate territorial waters, and occupied by armed troops of a foreign nation. The Confederacy offered to pay for the fort and honorable terms of surrender, along with safe transport back up north. But Lincoln didn’t want that and totally ignored the reasonable offers on the part of the South; he wanted — or rather, his party of the time did — to keep the Southern states as his “cash-cow” (the Southern states were paying some 75% of tariffs and taxes into federal coffers, but getting back only something like 25% in return.
The CSA was — by necessity — going to be an importing/exporting nation. Thus, it could no more permanently allow the presence of a fort controlling the entrance and exits by armed troops whose government (under Lincoln) deliberately provoked a war.
Do you think the newly formed united States (as we were originally known) would have permanently permitted the presence of an English armed existence in Boston Harbor? Or in Charleston, for that matter? If so, explain.
Here is Lincoln’s letter to the man in charge of “re-supplying:
“I sincerely regret that the failure of the late attempt to provision Fort-Sumpter, should be the source of any annoyance to you. The practicability of your plan was not, in fact, brought to a test. By reason of a gale, well known in advance to be possible, and not improbable, the tugs, an essential part of the plan, never reached the ground; while, by an accident, for which you were in no wise responsible, and possibly I, to some extent was, you were deprived of a war vessel with her men, which you deemed of great importance to the enterprize.”
“I already made the case”
Really? People whose way of life so revolved around slavery are worthy of celebration?
Tell that to the northern slavetraders or the Africans who sold them (it still exists in Africa today). Holier than thou don’t work if one is a serious student of history. All races and ethnic groups were both slaveholders and slaves. Get off the moral high horse.
“Rubs hand together* I was HOPING someone would bring this up… Hee hee.
Uhhh, Ft. Sumter was an installation in Confederate territorial waters, and occupied by armed troops of a foreign nation.”
Sooo glad to have made your day. But seriously, your whole argument revolves around the legitimacy of the Confederacy, and the right of a state to succeed, with was not settled at that time.
It’s certainly settled now, and quite decisively.
“Tell that to the northern slavetraders or the Africans who sold them (it still exists in Africa today). Holier than thou don’t work if one is a serious student of history. All races and ethnic groups were both slaveholders and slaves. Get off the moral high horse.”
Excuses. Excuses. You’re basically saying others did it too, so why blame me for what I did? The actions of others do not lessen the responsibility for actions by Americans. Nobody here has said the the North was pure as the driven snow. Nobody here said that the North didn’t have its own guilt from its own history of the slave trade. But it wasn’t the North that tried to rip the country apart to preserve it. Since you claim to be such a student of history, surely you’ve read some of the various declarations of secession. The one for TX is particularly vile. They leave zero doubt the the continuation of African slavery was VERY high on their list of priorities and a major cause of their decision to leave.
Sure you did. But since you have your back to the wall, you want to steer the argument into the ditch. Bottom line is that if you want to bring up the “guilt” of the South, then let’s start from square one. What is wrong with that?
Fact is, Africans sold their own into slavery and northern slave traders were more than willing to make a profit off of the trade. At least be honest. In fact, many of the northern shipping merchants, and other merchants, made a hell of a living — in some form or fashion — off the existence of slavery in the South.
Again, read the link to the true ugly history of it all in the Northern states. If you don’t want to, perhaps others will.
Want to get into laws about “segregation” and “Jim Crow”? Think the northern states had any moral superiority in that regard? Many of the northern states actually prohibited the presence of blacks in their states. The only real difference was that the South was less hypocritical about it all. After all, when forced busing moved up north, where was the worst resistance? It was in Boston, Detroit, and Cambridge, etc…
DeToqueville once said (correctly):
” In that part of the Union where the Negroes are no longer slaves, have they come closer to the whites? Everyone who has lived in the United States will have noticed just the opposite. Race prejudice seems stronger in those states that have abolished slavery than in those where it still exists, and nowhere is it more intolerant than in those states where slavery was never known.”
Sure. Let’s read all 11 of them together. In fact, this was mentioned earlier. But anyway, go ahead; I have studied every one of them. But anyway, start and let’s go!
You’re not saying anything that I don’t already know, or hasn’t been discussed before in this blog. But we at least are looking at all this history of slavery, South AND North, and seeing it as a shame, not something to celebrate. To celebrate the Confederacy, to say that Lee and Jackson and Davis were such swell, honorable, brave guys, and gloss over exactly what they were fighting for, is to wear blinders. If you don’t gloss over it, why should you feel like celebrating?
WHAT are you talking about?? Hey, guy, give up the ludicrous idea you are going to put me on the defensive. LMAO
What difference does it make to you? Your attempt to put me on the defensive it not only obvious but silly! LOL
I don’t have to. You’re digging yourself into a nice hole without any help from me.
“As mentioned, it was unforeseeable because the idea of an MLK day was not even introduced at the federal level until about a decade later, much less considered by the state.
I openly challenge the author of this piece — or anyone else — to prove otherwise.”
The first Federal bill to create a national holiday for Martin Luther King’s birthday was filed by Rep. John Conyers four days after King’s assassination in 1968.
Petitions supporting the holiday proposal with more than 6 million signatures were submitted to Congress in 1970.
Pressure emerged immediately to create the holiday with bills introduced in numerous state legislatures in the years that followed.The first successful bill to pass was, as stated in the article, in Illinois in 1973 (sponsored by Harold Washington). That’s the same year the Texas legislature moved their Confederate holiday to roughly coincide with a threatened King birthday celebration.
Massachusetts and Connecticut followed in ’74. New Jersey in ’75. And so on.
South Carolina was the final state to resist adopting the holiday, holding out until 2000.
Can’t find anything in the state constitution that would limit the number of available holidays. Absent such a provision (which would be an odd thing to find a constitution) the Legislature, as the legislative branch, can simply change said law if it exists. Again, can’t find any mention of this provision anywhere in state law, not that it would have any bearing anyway.
Let me know if there’s anything else I can help you with.
Good response, Lifer. True intentions are hard to document so many years later, but it certainly appears there is reason to question the scheduling conflict of the two holidays. Then, would it be better to ignore the Confederate Heroes Day rather than repeal it, and, instead, invest more deeply in celebrating the significance of the Martin Luther King Holiday? Is the MLK Holiday treated with the respect and seriousness that it deserves? Is the MLK Holiday expanding civil discourse about race relations in our country? Recent events in America and globally illustrate what happens when people live with hate. That is the real issue and, it is one we can change.
And? Nothing you can help me with. LOL On the other hand I hope I have educated *you* a bit. How does any of this this apply to your thesis of the Texas holiday? You can’t and you know you can’t.
When did Texas move the Confederate Heroes Holiday? This is nuts to the point of squirrels storing it away for the winter. Geez…
Confederate Heroes Day was created in 1973, long before MLK ever became introduced as a federal holiday to be considered made official in the individual state. Whatever other states did — sorry if I didn’t make this clear — are not relevant at all to what you have implied by your article. It is total deflection. And totally ludicrous and idiotic.
To back up a bit, holidays can be created in states without having any affect on another state. After all, Texas observes “Texas Independence Day” — even Emancipation Day — but has nothing to do with what another state does. Some legislators in Texas have moved to make “Cinca De’ Maya” an official state holiday…so the fact MLK day was introduced as a state holiday in another state has little bearing on your fiction about the history of it in Texas. I still await it.
You can make your case better by not using a coloring book. BUT…to be fair. Go ahead, show how Confederate Heroes Day was “moved” to be some sort of insult to Dr. King’s Birthday. I almost beg you to try.
I might also toss out that it was King who once said — when the Civil Rights movements began in the North — said something like “If you want to teach a white Southerner how to hate, send him to Chicago”. Yeah, the state that rubber-stamped the holiday sure does get a pass on racial tolerance, huh. Lord..
“I might also toss out that it was King who once said — when the Civil Rights movements began in the North — said something like “If you want to teach a white Southerner how to hate, send him to Chicago”. Yeah, the state that rubber-stamped the holiday sure does get a pass on racial tolerance, huh. Lord..”
I suggest that you go browse through the archives of this blog. This issue of Northern racism has been broached here before.
So what is your point? You repeat just only a truism. Of sorts. Actually, the mention of northern racism — to the extent it has really been done at all — is but feeble attempt to justify a condemnation of the South. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have been brought up at all. The common denominator is to slam the South…then make the (obvious, as if it isn’t known, anyway, for anyone who wants to really research it) qualifying statement that, wellll, yeah, ok, the North had its share of “racism” too.
LMAO. So what does THAT prove, other than the obvious…? Is that supposed to be some sort of blinding revelation…? Oh man…
It seems clear to anyone with a working brain that the mere threat (anywhere) that someone would push for a holiday to honor an uppity negro could very likely have caused the genteel and very pale gentlemen of the Texas legislature to have rediscovered their Confederate roots and create a “fact on the ground” that would – tragically – preclude recognition of any sort of MLK holiday. And, just in case my sarcasm is missed here, what I am saying is that Confederate “Heroes” Day was the product of pure, naked racism, terrified that their boots would soon be pried from the necks of black Americans. It is mystifying and sad that someone out there is actually defending a holiday to commemorate slavery created 108 years after the Civil War ended.
Oh wow. I bet you really think you made a devastating point here. In fact, it really just sounds like a rant.
Not that you needed any help with this Chris but this is from the Texas State Library
“3rd Monday – Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Senate Bill 485, 70th Legislature Regular Session. Chapter 159. Approved May 25, 1987 and Effective August 31, 1987 as an optional holiday.
Senate Bill 134, 72nd Legislature Regular Session. Chapter 445. Approved and Effective on June 11, 1991 as an official state holiday.”
Ok, compelling data points but I’m still ready to believe that racist Texans were just too stupid to see the writing on the wall in 1973. If that is indeed the argument that texasreb is making…
“I might also toss out that it was King who once said — when the Civil Rights movements began in the North — said something like “If you want to teach a white Southerner how to hate, send him to Chicago”. ”
No one here has claimed the issue of racism is solely a Southern phenomenon. But history shows us that as bad race relations were in the North, many African-Americans left the South for the North to be able to enjoy greater freedoms and opportunities.
During slavery the Underground railroad ran mostly North where “freedom” was available to slaves of the south.
Both parts of the country have horrible histories with race but to claim that the North is somehow more guilty is being willfully dishonest.
Fair enough. Was the North more righteous?
No, it is giving a long overdue balance to the whole issue and topic!
“The common denominator is to slam the South…then make the (obvious, as if it isn’t known, anyway, for anyone who wants to really research it) qualifying statement that, wellll, yeah, ok, the North had its share of “racism” too.”
The South gets slammed because it still has segments of its population that celebrate the Confederacy. Can you provide examples of any Northern states where people take pride in the portions of their heritage that involve the slave trade?
This is really — with all due respect — silly as hell, and contrived in the same way. The purpose of Confederate holidays in individual states is to honor our Southern heritage and the fighting spirits of our ancestors.
No, I can’t name a northern state that “celebrates slavery” (just as no Southern state does either), but it sure seems like some want to “white wash” their history as to dealings in slavery (trade, profit, etc).
“No, I can’t name a northern state that “celebrates slavery” (just as no Southern state does either), but it sure seems like some want to “white wash” their history as to dealings in slavery (trade, profit, etc).”
Cut the crap. Nobody here is whitewashing anything. You want to express a contrary opinion, go for it. But if you keep engaging in that sort of intellectual dishonesty (making false claims about what people here say) I can promise you that you won’t be treated well here.
So big deal. Think I care a lick if I will “be treated well here”? Let me make something very clear about me: I am not easily intimidated…and least of all by cheap shots you seem to be making.
If I didn’t know ahead of time that my opinions would not be well received? Then I would never had started them to begin with. So try that crap on someone who is worried about it…
“Confederate heroes day is on Jan 19th and MLK day is on the third Monday in January and it’s totes coincidental anyway and has nothing to do with ra-hey! What’s so funny?”
And? What is your point here? Whew!
A funny thing happened on my way to the Forum…….
I have done a considerable amount of research on my family tree and found ancestors who fought and died on both sides of this debate, some heroically some not so much. The most striking thing to have discovered are my ancestors who fought on the side of the Confederacy. While this may not have been true of the majority of poor whites, it is certainly true that at least one of my family fought for reasons that had nothing to do with slavery or states rights but rather to save his family from starvation and retribution from the neighbors who decided that he had better choose the “right” side. From letters and diaries he describes in great detail what life was like in Texas just prior to the outbreak of the Civil War.
He talks about how some of his friends were “paid” or bribed into fighting by the rich plantation owners. Some were offered protection for their families.
There is nothing honorable about this time in history, in Texas or elsewhere, to celebrate. IMHO. Texas is as it has always been, a rough and tumble place with a mob mentality. Sometimes that is a good thing but most of the time it isn’t.
Just learned something- the CSA enacted the 1st American military draft:
And what a nice touch, to amend that law so that owning 20 or more slaves gave you an exemption from having to fight to defend that “right”.
Can you imagine as a slave parent watching your children sold to the highest bidder? Can you imagine as a man having to just bear the fact that the “master” or any white man could rape the person you loved at any given whim? Could you stand by and watch a family member go under the lash because of some infraction or the whim of the master or overseer? Those are the reason I would be killed, but by golly, I swear I would take a couple of white faces with me. There are NO confederate hero’s, only idiots that want to think that their “genteel” ancestors were without the sin of slavery.
You could also “buy” an exemption by paying someone to fight in your name.
No ROR I could not imagine any of those things and yet they did happen.
Not much about the institution of slavery was brave, noble or righteous.
Correct, there wasn’t So why was the slave-trade itself totally centered on northeastern ports? And that it was Africans who sold their fellows into slavery? And free black slaveholders? It was not clear cut and dried.
You’d have to be quite the cold-hearted bastard to tear children away from parents and husbands away from wives. But love of $ and the desire to lord over others has created many a cold-hearted bastard.
I am not sure if I am replying exactly right. In other words, if my replies are not coming out directed to the person intended. If so, for that, I sincerely apologize. But I did want to give some a thing to read. Reason is, that so much is mentioned about slavery. Ok, but how many know that the slave-trade itself was a totally northern commodity. Please read this link and all associated; northern profits on it, the absolute control of it, etc.
Also, this new book, written by northern journalists who were astounded to discover what they found. Here is the title and excerpts from the introduction:
COMPLICITY; HOW THE NORTH PROMOTED, PROLONGED, AND PROFITED FROM SLAVERY. How the North promoted, prolonged, and profited from Slavery
By Anne Farrow, Joel Lang, and Jenifer Frank of The Hartford Courant
We were now looking at nothing less than an altered reality.
“Our first reaction was confusion. Hold on, weren’t we the good guys in the Civil War? Wasn’t the South to blame for slavery? After all, Southerners had plantations, we had the Underground Railroad. They had Simon Legree, we had his abolitionist creator, Harriet Beecher Stowe.
But the more we looked, the more we found what appeared to be unshakeable proof of Connecticut’s complicity in slavery. What more, it quickly became obvious that our economic links to slavery were deeply entwined with our religious, political, and educational institutions. The truth is that Connecticut derived a great part, maybe the greatest part of its early surplus wealth from slavery.
What was true of Connecticut turned out to be overwhelmingly true of the entire North…
Also, thanks to those who wrote very objective replies. Even in disagreement with certain things, perhaps, they were well received and appreciated…
“COMPLICITY; HOW THE NORTH PROMOTED, PROLONGED, AND PROFITED FROM SLAVERY. ”
Even supposing that every word of that is true, that does not lessen the South’s guilt in the matter. All it does is add to the list of guilty people.
Of course it is true. It points out the hypocrisy of history. If northern apologists want to bring up slavery, then they should take the initial blame. The slaves could not have gotten to the South without the northern slave trade. Right? So what is your point?
Seems your statement is not quite true Texasreb. I believe that South Carolina is considered “the South”.
“If northern apologists want to bring up slavery, then they should take the initial blame.”
“It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. ‘Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.’ If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether’. “ Lincoln’s- second inaugural address
I daresay the some people in the North were quite aware of their part in that mess.
RoR wrote: Could you stand by and watch a family member go under the lash because of some infraction or the whim of the master or overseer?
This image of slavery has always haunted me.
Also, the earliest slaves brought to America were shipped to the very southern city of St Augustine in Florida by the Spanish in 1565.
Slavery was an institution begun by the English to the Colonies for the cotton and tobacco trade and provided by the Dutch in 1619.
Four Quaker men made the first appeal for the equal rights of slaves in 1688 in Germantown.
Much more “true” information can be found here.
By the way, for anyone who imaged that this was just some forgotten holiday left behind to rot silently on the calendar:
Also in Virginia: http://www.roanoke.com/news/virginia/lee-jackson-day-focus-shifts-to-education-though-some-flag/article_c74618d9-7e6e-5dcd-a86e-7fa29fdc41e4.html
While in Baltimore the celebration attracts counter-protests, as it should: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md-confederates-quakers-20150117-story.html
Egads, the size of the blinders those people are wearing!!!!!! How do their necks take it??????
Not to mention a part of their anatomy a little further “south”.
Harsh world of slavery focus of Louisiana plantation museum. (Reuters) – Life-size sculptures of slave children haunt the clapboard church on the grounds of the old sugar cane plantation, where ceramic heads of black men will soon sway on pikes in the Louisiana breeze.
Unlike other plantation museums along the Great River Road between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, the newly opened and under-construction Whitney Plantation focuses squarely on the plight of slaves.
While nearby sites highlight their antebellum architecture and the lifestyles of the white people who lived there, only 11 minutes of the roughly two-hour Whitney Plantation tour are devoted to the grand house where the German-American masters resided.
More time is spent with the granite slabs bearing the names of thousands of Louisiana slaves, interspersed with painful snippets of their narratives.
I once stopped by the Oak Alley plantation museum on my way back from a vacation in NOLA. The tour guide did mention that slaves built the house, and where on the grounds the slave quarters once stood (they weren’t built to last), but other than that it was all about the lifestyles of the Southern aristocracy. Tour group was 100% white too. I did wonder to myself what sort of thoughts any black people in a tour group would have.
It’s quite a popular place for weddings and other celebrations. Despite its beauty, I never could host a party at such a place. Too much bad juju.
ROR, I read the reuters link on Whitney Plantation and it was powerful. I surfed a little and found this additional link in case others are interested (I am) in visiting this important museum which was established by a white man in a desire to educate those who lack understanding (most of us who are white) of black history. Thanks for sharing as I wouldn’t have known about this.
I’m always intrigued by the “what if” game with history. So what if the South had won, or Lincoln had not gone to war to preserve the union? What would life be like in TX or any portion of North American that comprises the USA in our version of events?
IMO if the South had won blacks would not be the only ones enslaved. The dumbarse poor whites that fought and were killed just so a few rich men could keep their cheap source of labor is mind blowing….oh wait, the South said it would rise again.
And the labor isn’t really that cheap:
I’ve said this before, but if I were black I would be very militant. I just can’t imagine what it would be like to be a slave, but one thing I do know, I would have been beaten to death or hung. God bless those scars on the black slaves back, and God damn the person that put them there.
Amen to that ROR!!!
What if the South had won? It would be northern Mexico, at least in terms of standard of living. It would have spent another few decades with slavery, a small aristocratic ruling class, and impoverished, though technically free, white working class scraping together livings on smallholdings. Eventually the slaves would have revolted and the entire thing would have collapsed.
I also wonder if just the North (assuming it carried on reasonably well economically on its own) would have attracted all the huge waves of immigrants that started later in the 19th Century. For me that’s quite personal, since 3/4 of my ancestry derives from that source.
“Monday in Texas you’ll enjoy a leisurely rest from your labor, an opportunity to honor a man who gave his life to end racist oppression or to honor those who gave their lives in a bid to preserve violent white supremacy. “
I don’t want to know which of those the majority of Texans would choose. Judging by those who hold statewide public office, I have a pretty good idea.
There is no such thing as a Confederate hero. The Confederacy was a band of traitors, from Jefferson Davis to Robert E. Lee to every soldier who bore arms against the Union Armies, aka soldiers of the United States of America. For those Confederates, the United States was the enemy. Americans who see other Americans and the American government as the enemy and who set out to dissolve the Union and form their own nation are traitors plain and simple, and deserve no honor or commemoration in any form.
I would give a pass to those who fought on the side of the Confederacy who were either conscripted or otherwise coerced.
You might want to read over this one before you advance the notion that the draft started in the South. No question where the worse race riots occurred.
But you could go here if you want the truth…..
Here’s a little current MLK trivia from today’s The Hill post:
I am the great grandson of a Confederate war veteran and a Union veteran. The Union veteran before the war was an abolitionist and an underground rail road conductor. When the war started he declared for the north and got two days to move out of the state which after his homestead was burnt. Both of these men were southerners. The war was started by rich planters whose wealth and power depended on slavery and agriculture. But the fighting men were mainly being loyal to their state and had no interest in slavery. The Union ancestor hated slavery and was willing to risk his and his family lives to end it. Things are rarely black and white in history but shades of gray. I really think that Dr King’s movement adverted a civil war. I lived through that time and that is what I really believe. God rest that great man. As for those rich planters they got a bunch of men killed and set the south back a hundred years. They and Romney’s rich donors which he preach to about the 47% have lots in common. Neither care diddly squat about the everyday Joe and Janes they exploit. And BTW most of that 47% are either children or senior citizens that have spent decades paying taxes and contributing to society. Nothing conservative about that rhetoric at all.
I have been lurking since this site was created. I dropped out after chron.com overhauled their comments system. Also, I had been wasting too much energy and time dealing with the recently departed forum members with whom you couldn’t agree on the facts let alone opinions. Those of you who have persevered have my deepest admiration.
I have lived in Texas since 1997 and this is the first time I heard about Confederate Heroes Day. I don’t object so much to the day itself (1st amendment etc.), but to celebrate it on MLK day is just meanspirited.
Please let me apologize for a poor choice of words. I wish we could edit our remarks. I didn’t mean to say “wasting too much energy.” Instead, I meant to say I was spending too much time. That’s the hazard of posting without gathering ones thoughts completely.
No, actually wasting too much energy is an apt description. Trying to have a conversation with rocks and stumps does tend to wear one out 😉 Anyway, welcome back, I remember you from the other board.
vikinghou I remember you from the Chron as well. Welcome, and yes it does waste energy to deal with the one trick ponies and the bomb throwers. Some have weathered it better than others some of us just take little vacations. ; )
Been lurking for a while (about 2 months), and surprised to find there is a living Rockefeller Republican in our midst.
Usually holidays are supposed to unite people and make them feel a part of something special. What’s uplifiting and uniting about a holiday that is by its very nature, bound to make minorities, immigrants and others feel excluded and even uncomfortable? Those who the Confederate Heroes sought to keep in chains, and the neo-Confederate descendants fought to keep from full citizenship and even full human rights can hardly be uplifted by such a holiday. And if you are an immigrant, proud of the United States that gave you and your family welcome, a holiday that denigrates that nation is hardly one that you would celebrate.
Its as if they didn’t lose-where’s Union Heroes Day? Or a day named for Grant, Sherman, Sheridan and the rest.
This may be one way to kill Confederate Heroes Day. Have a northern state proclaim Union Heroes Day.
“This may be one way to kill Confederate Heroes Day. Have a northern state proclaim Union Heroes Day.”
Oh no no, that would be considered racist by the Tea Party element of society. Welcome Carol, your blog looks interested. BTW, I voted on where to place the President’s library.
Thanks for your vote. Do you know that’s the first interactive thing anyone’s done on my blog?
I agree, Chicago would be the best choice for a library for both cost and access reasons. Unfortunately, the University of Chicago seems to be bungling this, with it’s not actually buying the land it wants to build the library one-a job one by any standard.
Back to Confederate Heroes Day. Here’s hoping that this is the last gasp of neo-Confederate “in your face” posturing.
Hi Carol and welcome to this blog. I just signed up for yours and will look forward to seeing more of your stuff in the future.
I suppose you cannot have culture without the cult, and there are some very cult like aspects to the TEA Party within the GOP. Just look at the party purge we’ve been enduring for the last 75 years or so. That’s my estimation as to when this phenomena begin, in earnest, within the GOP.
Before Roosevelt Southerners were Democrats. Of course before the Southerners were Democrats Teddy Roosevelt was a Republican. So what would TR do today? He would not disrespect the Southern conservative, but he would also draw a very clear line on the role of government in facilitating human progress. It’s tough to reprogram a grown man. It’s tough to man up and admit it when we’re wrong, but G-d dammit the South was wrong.
I live in Texas and I can assure you that it is great, but there’s always room for improvement. You can have a Confederate Heroes Day on any of the other 364 days in the year that you like. Why choose Dr. King’s Holiday? We could use the leap second. Wouldn’t that be a more intense realization of the painful sacrifice made by dignified Southern gentleman?
With that said (typed). Why not book end the argument with pop culture references sure to be understood by all of us old white guys.
and everyone loves George Wallace, even when he’s dead wrong.
memo to the past: get a haircut, hippie.
Heh. I think it’s time to break out the popcorn. 😉
Chris, I want to share with you a post I just left on the Fourth Turning forum, where I’m an intermittent participant. I included a link to this blog because, in all honesty, I’m impressed. Here’s the post:
What Republicans do has radically changed over the past few decades.
I’m going to recommend (I believe others have, too) a blog by Chris Ladd called “GOP Lifer”: https://goplifer.com/. As the name implies, Chris is a lifelong, committed Republican, but he’s old-style Republican: conservative, but not crazy. He also writes well and is quite insightful.
I was reflecting today on the fact that, in a sane and healthy political environment, Chris and I would be on opposite sides. He’s a conservative, I’m highly progressive, and we often disagree about a lot of things. But these days we end up allies against a common foe: the nut jobs, or “Wacko Birds” as he calls them, who now dominate the Republican Party. Conservatives I have no problem with. We each have our parts to play in a healthy political dialog. Progressives like me push for reform and change, while conservatives like Chris advise caution and preserve tradition against untested new ideas. Conservatives require progressive ideas to prove themselves before we rush to implement them, and that’s a good thing. Conservatives are the bones in the body, or the brakes on the car. No society can survive without them.
But conservative is one thing. Neo-Confederate looniness is another. That’s what the GOP is increasingly becoming, and it’s a rush to its own doom as a political party. Because if America is to survive, this civil conflict that’s been going on since shortly after the Constitution was ratified, and which is now in its final phase, must be won by the Union, decisively, finally, and completely. (And let’s not forget which party led the Union in the military episode of the conflict in the 1860s. Just to show how much things have changed.)
4th Turning Forum post: Solid thinking, Brian. I think you reflect the thoughts of many of us who comment on GOPLifer’s blog. We agree on the need for viable parties (plural…maybe more than two as Owl suggests) to keep Democracy alive and well. And, we seem to agree that diversity is here to stay and our lives are richer by embracing it.
Lifer is rational and he isn’t afraid to state the inescapable realities besetting the Republican Party, which is not only refreshing, it’s rare. (Democrats have their own realities, rest assured.) It’s obvious that Lifer has a big tent and welcomes and appreciates hearing from people with different views. Intelligent people don’t fear different ideas; they grow wiser for listening.
I was unaware of this Confederate Heroes Day in TX and its dubious history. I am disappointed that our media gives the TX Legislature a pass on this. The Houston Chronicle is setting a good example of leading by supporting good initiatives. It recently published the eloquent entreaty by Houston businessman Gerald Smith to the Greater Houston Partnership to step up their involvement in unequal racial law enforcement. To lead. To take responsibility within their community for all people. For equal justice. As Lifer has revealed in today’s post, there are many other rows to plow.
So, thank you, Lifer, for providing a platform for civil (mostly) discourse on weighty issues. It is important that each of us use our personal power to influence change. Surely, in the 42 years since this Confederate Heroes Day was passed, we should have learned that change is inevitable.
Upon re-reading your post, I was amused by your statement: …”Chris is a life-long, committed Republican, but he’s old-style Republican: conservative, but not crazy.” I’ll bet you got a smile out of Lifer on that description (-:
Is a conservative Republican who’s not crazy an oxymoron?!
I’m a native Southerner, but only first gen, and I also lived in a number a different states in my formative years (thinks to being in a semi-nomadic military family), so I absolutely do NOT grok all this celebration of this lost cause.
My choice of a quote for this occasion:
“Many a man will have the courage to die gallantly, but will not have the courage to say, or even to think, that the cause for which he is asked to die is an unworthy one.”-Bertrand Russell
Looks about right to me. Next kid should bring up a confederate white flag.
Never understood reenactments, looks like Ricky is going to run again. One can only hope, the comic relief should be outstanding.
At least he’ll be able to see what he’s shootin’ now that he’s got new horn-rimmed specs! ‘Course, seeing is one thing, reading is another, and comprehending, well now, that’s HARD!
You’re right TX, P will add a special touch to the line up…..Gosh, that’s gonna’ have to be a BIG debate stage, and, with so many dudes (forget it gals, this is the GOP we’re talking about here), they’re either gonna’ have 15 second responses or we’re gonna’ have 3 hr debates to work ’em all in….
I can’t wait (-:
I would argue that the biggest heroes to the Confederacy are the brave men such as Gen. Ulysses Grant, Maj. Gen. Tecumseh Sherman, Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler, Gen. George Meade, and all the other brave men who fought to restore the rightful rule of law in the states of the American South.
These men were powerful military leaders in the Civil War, but it is unusual to call them heroes to the Confederacy.
Imagine how much worse off the states of the American South would have been, had they not been successful in putting down the rebellion.
The true heroes to the Confederacy are the ones who successfully put it down.
Turtle 73 – See Desperado’s remarks above. He states it so much better than I did in my response. If all the people in the path of Sherman’s march were here to speak, I doubt they would call him a hero to the Confederacy. Just because something horrible ends something horrible, doesn’t justify the means. I agree to disagree with your logic on this issue.
They did? They were great believers in the equality of blacks, weren’t they? LOL But let’s play your game for a moment. Why did “they” want to “restore” rule to the Southern states which only wanted to be left alone?
What rightful rule? The northern states ruling the Southern states? To free the slaves? Don’t make me laugh. No serious historian believes that at all. The northeastern states wanted the Southern states tax dollars. Nothing more. It provided for their canals, roadways, and subsidies to industrial interests.
Lincoln wanted to send the blacks back to Africa and also made clear that his reason for opposing the spread of slavery into the western territories — which was pretty much the catalyst that started the War — was because he wanted them for the use of “free white people.” Want me to provide the quote? I will do so, anyway…
“The whole nation is interested that the best use shall be made of these territories. We want them for the homes of free white people. This they cannot be, to any considerable extent, if slavery shall be planted within them.”
I’m surprised this didn’t come out during Ricky Bobby’s train wreck of a Prez run. I guess too much other better material to choose from.
Or the racial epithet name of his Texas Tara homestead (ok it was a “hunting camp”) was enough dirty fodder representation of his character