Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Few Thoughts on Slavery

And Why it's Unavoidable
By: Jonathan Harris


Spiritual Slavery

A couple weeks ago we had a guest speaker at our church talk on the subject of slavery. The main point of the message was that as Christians we are slaves of Christ. There has been what John MacArthur calls a "conspiracy" concerning the Greek word Doulos which often times is translated as simply "servant," when in reality it means "slave." Certainly there are far-reaching implications for the Christian who considers himself a slave of Christ. He no longer belongs to himself, he belongs to Christ entirely. The language of Scripture is crystal clear when it comes to the subject of spiritual slavery. We were "bought" with a price as 1 Cor. 6:20 says. Over and over again we see Christians referring to themselves as slaves. Paul, James, Jude, Peter etc. and even Christ considered themselves slaves of God. Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master; neither is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him." If one studies the Bible thoroughly they will find there are only two options- either you are a slave of God, or a slave of sin (Mark 6:24, John 8:34). So the question is not, "Am I a slave," but rather, "Who's slave am I?" Now of course we are speaking in spiritual terms right now, but what about chattel slavery? We all know that's wrong right? This question has come up in many discussions I've been apart of , and I want to see if this issue can be addressed from a Biblical and historical perspective without waxing long or sounding boring. It's my hope that this information will help you defend your faith from those who want to point the finger at "those racist Christians!" and also help you think rightly in your own mind.

The first thing we need to figure out is what the Bible says about chattel slavery. I know there are some of you out there who immediately want to discount anything the Old Testament has to say on the topic, so in deference to you, I will start with the New Testament.



New Testament on Slavery

Let's start with Christ. He lived at a time when slavery was commonly practiced (i.e. the slave girl who confronted Peter when he denied Christ, the slave of the high priest whose ear Christ healed, etc.) and said nothing negative about it. There was no speaking out against it on his part, only passive approval. Some of you may argue, "But His purpose was to seek and save the lost, not champion social causes." I'm not sure this premise is completely valid because Christ had a lot to say about society, government, relationships, etc., but even if we grant this premise we still have to deal with the parables Christ told involving slavery. The parable of the landowner (Matt. 21:33-46)?, the parable of the slave's duty (Luke17:7-10)?, and the parable of the wise slave (Matt. 24:45-51)?, etc. must be reckoned with. Christ often used slavery as a spiritual analogy. Does this mean He approved of the institution on an earthly level? Perhaps so, perhaps not. At the very least it does mean that he didn't oppose it.

Many have tried to use Paul's writings to renounce slavery, but nothing could be further from the truth. Let's look at a couple of the most quoted passages on the subject. In Col. 4:1 (and Eph. 6:8) Paul states, "Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven." Here we can see a "bridge" coming into focus between the idea of spiritual and chattel slavery. Notice Paul doesn't say, "Free your slaves for it is a sin." Instead he instructs for masters to treat them kindly. It is utterly shortsighted for people to use what Paul said in the previous chapter to support the idea that Paul was opposed to the institution simply because he said there was no "slave and freeman" in Christ. All it means is that when Christ is held in common there is nothing significant dividing slaves and freemen because they are equally significant. Paul also says there is no "circumcised and uncircumcised." Does that mean that we should all be circumcised? It can't because that would contradict Paul's other writings on the subject.

Paul also wrote a letter (the book of Philemon) to Philemon on behalf of Onesimus, a runaway slave, who Paul had converted. Paul's intention was for the Philemon to accept Onesimus back into his service. If slavery was a sin would not Paul have warned Philemon of his sin instead of encouraging him to continue in it?

The major text used to support the notion that Paul opposed slavery is 1 Cor. 7:21-24 which states:

Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that. For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord's freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ's slave. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. Brethren, let each man remain with God in that condition in which he was called.

Most anti-slavery proponents forget about the last portion of the phrase for good reason, because it would totally negate their point. In context, Paul is talking about the physical condition of converts- Jews and Greeks, slaves and freemen. He then relates chattel slavery to spiritual slavery showing that if one is a converted slave he is free from sin in Christ, and if he is free, then he is Christ's slave. In other words, a restatement of the idea that Christ unifies all social classes and ethnic distinctions, not a statement on whether slavery is right or wrong. His command to "not become slaves of men" must be contrasted with the first phrase in the sentence stating that we "were bought with a price." It means, Christ is our primary master. He paid the most for us. We have a duty to disobey our earthly masters when it conflicts with Christ. Likewise, if we can become free as verse 21 says, we should do it! It gives us greater freedom to serve God. This is not a statement about slavery being a sin, but rather a personal admonition to follow Christ first. To make more of it is nothing short of eisegesis.


The Old Testament

We could talk for weeks about what the Old Testament has to say on the subject. My goal however is to find out primarily what it says. i.e. I'm not looking to know every single law concerning slavery. Instead, I just want to know if it was approved, and if it was, to what degree. Before we start however I must make one thing clear. The Old Testament does matter. Some of you might say, "But that was given to the Jews." True enough, the moral and ceremonial laws have been negated by the New Covenant (or at least aspects of them), and they don't apply to gentiles, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't look at them. My reason is simple. The same God reigned then that reigns now. His nature does not change, and therefore his moral standard is unmoving. His principles are the same yesterday, today, and forever. With this being said, I am not arguing that we must apply the Old Testament to today for fear of sinning if we don't. I'm arguing that we should apply it. In other words, it's the best model we have. Sure there are differences between a Theocracy and a Republic, but this doesn't mean the civil magistrate is therefore not required to punish murderers etc. in the latter. He still "bears the sword" to "punish evil" and promote good as Romans tells us. We only know what justice is and how it should be carried out by the government on society by looking at the Old Testament. So on that note, we shall proceed.

Slavery was definitely accepted both for kinsmen (Ex. 21:2) and for those captured in battle (Deut. 21:10), however there were limits placed on it. As I stated in a previous post Leviticus and the Goodness of God:

Biblical slavery, is not based on race, it is based on economic standing (see Ex. 21:2-6; Deut. 15:12-18). Hebrews would sell themselves into slavery for the purpose of obtaining livelihood (our equivalent of declaring bankruptcy). Also, criminals would become slaves as a way to pay for their crimes (our equivalent of community service). Therefore, it was voluntary. . .“kidnaping” was not an option. . . the Israelites were never to go out and capture slaves. In fact in Exodus 21:16, the death penalty was instituted for those who engaged in such practices. . . Hebrew slaves were freed after six years (Ex. 21:2), All slaves were freed on the year of Jubilee ( Free slaves were released with a handsome payment (Deut. 15:12-15), slaves were given responsibilities such as having families (Ex. 21:3-4), runaway slaves from other cultures curious about Israel’s God were not to be returned (Deuteronomy 23:15-16), excessive punishment was forbidden (Ex. 21:26-27; Lev. 24:17), foreign slaves could become proselytes (Lev. 22:10-11), slaves could share inheritances (Prov. 17:2), slaves were to rest on the Sabbath, and female slaves were to be protected (Exodus 21:4-11).

So much for the Old Testament being "anti-slavery" since the Jews were slaves in Egypt. The real problem in Egypt wasn't slavery, but an unjust slave system.



American History and Slavery

I will admit that it's hard to use the term slave (even though it comes from a derivative of Slav who were white) without it conjuring up images of racial injustice. In our country sadly this has happened, but let's be fair, there's plenty of blame to go around and plenty of blessing to remember. African waring factions sold rival tribe members for rum in the first place. New England slave merchants (note: they are from the North) then bought these slaves in the horrendous Triangle Trade and eventually shipped some of them (4% of those that came to the New World) to the South (Read my post on Northern involvement in slavery here). The less than 5% of Southern whites who used slavery (there were both black and white masters) did so in an honorable way in accordance with Paul's admonition for Masters to treat their slaves with respect (Read my post on Southern slave conditions here). The Northern opposition to the "expansion of slavery" had everything to do with protection for white labor, not care for black families. Still, in spite of all the wrongs done both in the North and South, God's purposes were served. Former pagans were exposed to the Gospel in Christian homes. Western Civilization has blessed those who continue to work hard for their living even today in what was once the slave community. It is for this reason that I can look at all the problems with it (i.e. man capture and racism which were both forbidden by Scripture) and say, "Thank God that the slave trade brought the Gospel to the heathen." Insofar as the slave masters lived in accordance with the Word of God, they were doing nothing wrong, even if their government was.



We're All Slaves Now

Yes, I realize the header is politically incorrect (well...just about everything about this post is), but it is true. Think about it for a moment. On a spiritual level (that which is of the utmost value compared to our flesh) we are all slaves of something, otherwise Christ was a liar. However, we are also slaves of someone in the physical dimension as well. You see, I don't believe the Bible conveys the idea of "ownership" but rather "stewardship." This applies to property both animate and inanimate. Slave masters are stewards of what God has entrusted to them because after all, "All authority has been given to Christ." So in that sense, slave master's are completely responsible for their slaves. In the same way however, governments are responsible for their people, parents for their children, and pastors for their sheep (we are to be "subject one to another). What happened during reconstruction was the federal government became the slave's new masters and the welfare doles started with the Freedman's Bureau. Today it has expanded into an empire of slavery, only this type of slavery is not warranted by Scripture. The sons of former slaves find themselves today to be slaves (in general) to Uncle Sam. The only differences are they don't work for their privileges, and they lack the love and support of kind masters. What's the result? A moral catastrophe. My point is three fold. 1) We are all slaves in a loose sense. 2) Those who were suffering injustice in our country at the hands of slavery are now under a greater injustice undergoing an unauthorized form of slavery.3) Slavery will always be around (Rev. 13:16)



Apologetic Approaches

Now hopefully even if you don't agree, you have a Biblically informed opinion on this topic now. The information provided here may be fine and dandy for most Christians but what about the nonbeliever? How do you deal with them if they ask the question, "Doesn't the Bible support slavery?" Really the question is very simple to answer, and I have used this approach first-hand. This will require some knowledge of presuppositional apologetics (check around this website for tons of material), but it's fairly easy to grasp once you understand what to do. Basically, the unbeliever has no transcendent ethical standard to appeal to. So you can say, "Yes the Bible does allow a form of limited slavery." Then ask, "Why is this wrong." A nonbeliever will not be able to give you a rational answer. They may appeal to convention (well people say it's wrong) or their own arbitrary standard (I don't like it) but both fail in the long wrong. Very simply stated, Hitler winds up being right either way you cut it by these criteria, and you could in fact use that logic to prove that slavery is right under the proper circumstances. In Muslim countries the majority agrees that slavery is fine (although not a Biblical type at all), so it must be. Or, I think it's fine, therefore it is. What looked like your biggest problem to overcome with the unbeliever soon becomes your biggest asset because it provides an opportunity by which to do an internal critique of his or her worldview. Don't forget though, be sure to at least make sure the nonbeliever knows what the Biblical position is (so they don't get the wrong idea) and if you have the historical background, what American slavery truly was. (Note: Apologetics is about reaching people with the Gospel, so don't get bogged down in rabbit trails like slavery for too long)

In closing, I think it can be seen that slavery can either be a good or a bad thing depending on your master. Christ is a good master. Sin is not. Southern plantation owners were primarily good Christian masters. The federal government is not. Yes, there are injustices because of sin, but don't criticize an institution because of individual sin. Simply advocate that the government does its job and punishes the individual instead of abolishing the institution.Under the former logic we should get rid of the institution of marriage because the divorce rate is so high. Remember, God has not been silent. He speaks through His word, and He has given us principles to defend. Let us not be ashamed of them because of our culture. Let us instead defend them! It's called making disciples.

For further reading check out:

Are Christian's Racist?

Leviticus and the Goodness of God

Slave Treatment in the South 

Northern Involvement in Slavery

Abraham Lincoln: The Great Discriminator

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Confederacy: America's Worst Idea

If You Know How to Pick Cherries That Is
By: Jonathan Harris

A Feminist Look at the Antebellum South

In the December 2010 edition of American History magazine, the editors chose Stephanie McCurry, an author and professor of history at Penn State to author their front page article entitled, The Confederacy: America's Worst Idea with the cover title Did the Confederacy get What it Deserved?: Coming to Grips with the Civil War. McCurry's faculty biography states that she "is a specialist in Nineteenth Century American history, with a focus on the American South and the Civil War era, and the history of women and gender." However, the biography should have read, "specialist in Nineteenth Century American history, with a focus in reinterpreting the American South and the Civil War era, through the lens of the history of women and gender." McCurry is nothing more than a modern-day revisionist motivated by her commitment to feminism maintaining that:

. . . the mass of Southern women had emerged as formidable adversaries of the government in the long struggle over its military policies. By insisting that the state live up to its promises to protect and support them, even taking up arms to do so, these poor white women, who had never participated in politics before, stepped decisively into the making of history.

To support her assertion she cites the fact that, "Mobs of women. . . carried out at least 12 violent attacks on stores, government warehouses, army convoys, railroad depots, salt-works and granaries" between the middle of March and the middle of April in 1863. Yeah, that was what crippled the Confederacy. A month in which wives rioted for food. It wasn't so much the Northern Army, lack of resources, and lack of man-power- it was a handful of angry women. Even more ridiculous is McCurry's insensate characterization of the Confederacy as "the white man's new republic" because "3.5 million were enslaved" and another 3 million (women) were "disenfranchised" since they couldn't vote. My question for Professor McCurry would be, "And how did this differ from the North?" She forgets that the Northern states didn't allow women to vote either, and the few blacks that did live there were almost universally barred from voting. Naturally, I was appalled at what I was reading. A cover story in American History ends up really being just an opinion piece on how women get the credit for defeating the South and they should have been given the right to vote? Something's wrong in our history departments, and I think it can be traced back.

It was twenty-one years ago that Drew Gilpin Faust- the present day president of Harvard University- managed to "rub everyone the wrong way" by stating that the Confederacy lost the War Between the States most likely as a result of the lack of support among women in the South. Stephanie McCurry, who was moderating Faust's panel at the time, remembers the audiences reaction.

The audience at the talk, she says, "went nuts." To military specialists, to historians of slavery, to economic historians, even to some feminist historians, Faust's argument seemed at once radical and wrong-headed, and at the conference and afterward many people let her know that. Faust was verbally attacked. "I'd never seen anything like it."

Even other revisionists and anti-South historical hacks such as James McPherson had a problem with Faust. However, as we can see, what was out of step twenty-one years ago is now the front page of one of the premier American history magazines.What's happening to our educational integrity in this country?

Who Started It?

Naturally, the feminist reinterpretation of the South was not the only problem with McCurry's article. Just about every sentence had some kind of a bias or blatant inaccuracy, and without actual citations, most references are hard to actually look up. McCurry starts her "historically researched" article by saying, "In December America will mark a unique and largely embarrassing anniversary [i.e. the beginning of the War for Southern Independence]." Yeah, that's the way to start a historical paper. Tell us what you really think right off the bat. She continues, "The secessionist states hazarded all [meaning since they started the war, they are responsible for all the damage it brought.]" However, could not one say equally that the North "hazarded all." After all, Lincoln was the one that mobilized an army and sent in troops. The Battle of Fort Sumter- in which no one died- was a manipulated event with Lincoln's name all over it. However, even if you for some reason think that the South Carolina "started" the war (despite the riots in Maryland and Missouri instigated by Federal troops enforcing marshal law to keep them from seceding), this does not explain why the Feds went after the other ten Confederate States. The South seceded, the North invaded. It's as simple as that. Tell me, who's the one causing the hazard- the folks wanting to be left alone, or the invading force?

He Said It Once, He Said It Again, But He Was Lying

In the next paragraph, McCurry indirectly contradicts herself. She states, "Jefferson Davis and other Confederate leaders cast secession as a constitutional move designed simply to restore government to what the Founding Fathers had in mind." She then quotes Davis as saying in his post-war memoir The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government:

The goal of secession was merely to protect the rights of "sovereign" states from "tremendous and sweeping usurpation by the federal government. . ."The existence of African servitude was in no wise the cause of the conflict, bot only an incident."

What would a normal person gather from all this? That if the Confederate leaders reasons at the outset and after the war were the same, they must be the actual reasons for which they fought (at the very least in their minds). What does McCurry say? Nothing of the kind. She says people who believe this line of thinking have, "lost sight of the true nature of what the Confederates attempted to do" which was of course keeping slavery legal. So basically the Confederate leaders were involved in a conspiracy to reinterpret the war in their favor before the war even started? Davis's account of the war she labels "mythology." After all, he was only the president of the country, what did he know anyway?

The Confederate Constitution

As the article goes on, the claims become more and more bizarre. Maintaining that the Confederacy had no right to secede- without supporting it with one shred of evidence- McCurry then notes that the Confederate Constitution precluded their own states from seceding. This has to be one of the stupidest things I've ever read. Davis, who says secession is inherent in the U.S. Constitution, becomes president of a country which forms a constitution which is almost verbatim the same as the U.S. (with a couple common-sense changes), yet somehow what he "really meant" was that no state could leave. Really? McCurry continues to put her lack of knowledge on display by even claiming that the document "eliminated any opportunity for the new government ever to change the law of slavery." She quotes from the Article 1, Section 9, "No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed." It's key to remember here that the effect of the U.S. Constitution was really the same exact thing, excluding the term "negro slave," even though by law they were covered under "property." However, what the U.S. Constitution did not allow for was the individual banning of slavery by States, which the Confederacy allowed. Neither did the U.S. Constitution itself ban the slave trade which the Confederate Constitution specifically did in Article 1:

The importation of negroes of the African race from any foreign country other than the slaveholding States or Territories of the United States of America, is hereby forbidden; and Congress is required to pass such laws as shall effectually prevent the same.

I mean, you can tell right? These guys really wanted to preserve slavery!

Conclusion

There exists a pile of other inaccuracies and misinformation contained in McCurry's article, however if I were address all of them I would likely have an essay on my hands five times the length of this one. We could talk about her handling of the Cornerstone Speech, characterization of slave insurrections, predictions on how slavery would have continued for generations if the South had won, etc. Suffice it to say, whatever McCurry is, she's not a historian. She's a pop-mystic, speaking about history as if it is a type of deity ordaining the ultimate triumph of almighty woman. I will be canceling my subscription to American History.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Modern Prophets

How the Confederates "Saw it Coming"
By: Jonathan Harris

In a recent discussion I had, two men of differing political persuasions- one was conservative, the other libertarian- were bemoaning the direction of our nation under "Gasp!" Obama. Ironically, although I'm not a libertarian, I tend to empathize with how most libertarians see our history. They tend to see the wisdom in the "Anti-Federalist Papers," the usurpation of Liberty during the "Civil War," and the rise of globalism during the Progressive era as a problem. In contrast, most of my fellow conservatives, up until recently, have looked back to the 1950s as the ideal period. "If everything would just go back to the way it was when I was a kid," or, " ...when my father was a kid." They don't tend to see the War of Northern Aggression, or the Progressive era as problems. In fact, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt are usually the prime example of a "tough" conservative's hero. It's only been recently, through the voice of Glenn Beck I suspect, that conservatives have woken up to Roosevelt and Wilson's true legacies, albeit not Lincoln's unfortunately. Obama however has, in a good way, joined these two forces. Everyone knows he didn't come out of nowhere (or should I say "He?"). Obama's election has been brewing for over a hundred years as America's foundation has been under erosion. Both libertarians and conservatives can see this clearly now. During our conservation I pointed out that there was a group of people similar to us, devoted to limited government, the Bible, federalism, the free-market, and everything a true conservative fights for. They were called "Confederates," and they predicted our modern dilemma before the progressive era had even gained sway. We would do well to revive their prophecies concerning our time to glean from their wisdom. Perhaps if more people started reading the Confederate soldiers in their own words, they would see that they weren't a bunch of hick ignorant racists, but rather the most humble of the intelligent that bore arms in defense of their homeland. It's time to stop slandering them and start honoring them; if anything, for their foresight. In the words of Robert E. Lee, "A nation which does not remember what it was yesterday does not know where it is today."

General Patrick Cleburne

Every man should endeavor to understand the meaning of subjugation before it is too late. We can give but a faint idea when we say it means the loss of all we now hold most sacred - slaves and all other personal property, lands, homesteads, liberty, justice, safety, pride, manhood. It means that the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy; that our youth will be trained by Northern school teachers; will learn from Northern school books their version of the War, will be impressed by all influences of history and education to regard our gallant dead as traitors, our maimed veterans as fit objects for their derision, it means the crushing of Southern manhood, the hatred of our former slaves, who will on a spy system, be our secret police. The conquerors policy is to divide the conquered into factions and stir up animosity among them, and in training an army of Negroes the North, no doubt, holds this thought in perspective. - Gen. Patrick Cleburne 1864

General Cleburne, an Irish immigrant, wrote the preceding in reaction partially to the Northern policy of raising Blacks to fight for the Union; a policy Cleburne, along with fifteen Confederate cosigners, thought the South should emulate. If the war had continued another year, this plan would have been fulfilled under the direction of Jefferson Davis upon the urging of Robert. E. Lee. Although many blacks did already fight for the Confederacy (Some estimates put the number higher than blacks fighting for the North), most were consumed with non-combat duties. It is hard to estimate the number of blacks in the Confederacy largely because of the lack of segregation. Northern armies created official black regiments (racism anyone?), while the South had slaves fighting right along with their masters (see General Nathan Bedford Forrest).

Despite the primary issue of urgency being described here, there is something rather prophetic. Cleburne's admonishment was that "Every man should endeavor to understand the meaning of subjugation before it is too late." We think of that today under Obama. Unfortunately, we're too late! Cleburne's words were from 1864. What were the aspects of this subjugation? Cleburne states, "We can give but a faint idea when we say it means the loss of all we now hold most sacred - slaves and all other personal property, lands, homesteads, liberty, justice, safety, pride, manhood." We have a few categories being presented under, "all we now hold most sacred."

The first is, "slaves and all other personal property." To those who have been educated from a politically correct perspective, this automatically sounds like racism. "See, the South was fighting for slavery!" Well, in a sense, that is true. Although less than 5% of whites owned slaves, they were all fighting in part to maintain their economic system while progressively eliminating slavery. Robert E. Lee said in a letter to Lord Acton- which we will look at shortly- that the elimination of slavery after the war under the 13th amendment "is an event that has been long sought, though in a different way, and by none has it been more earnestly desired than by citizens of Virginia." From an economic perspective, the worst thing that could have possibly been done to the slaves was to grant them freedom, especially after destroying their master's wealth. This lead the way for the North to start programs which made blacks dependent on the Federal government. Ironically, the modern welfare state many blacks live in has its origins not in the Confederacy, but in the Federal government. The former slaves haven't been freed, they have merely been granted a less compassionate master: Big Brother. The North had progressively eliminated the institution (although for wrong reasons concerned with "white" labor) and so had most other nations in a peaceable way. That's really all the South was fighting for when it came to slaves. That's why the Confederate Constitution outlawed the slave trade (which was being furthered almost entirely by the North). In Cleburne's letter, a distinction is made between slaves and "all other personal property." This is because the Confederate's recognized a distinction did in fact exist. One was a man, the other was inanimate. This is why slave masters generally treated their slaves different than their other property to the extent that less racism and more prosperity for blacks both free and slave existed in the South. (See: "Slave Conditions in the South") Unfortunately, both forms of property would be confiscated by the Federal government. This happened under reconstruction as Sherman's Army raided, raped, and repossessed the "rightful" property of the Union. It's also happening today in an indirect way: Progressive taxation and inflation. Obama may be sneakier, but he's nothing new when it comes to legalized theft. In fact, the first American income tax and national currency came under another president: Lincoln.  

The second aspect of subjection is the stealing of "lands [and] homesteads" which also took place under reconstruction through unconscionably high taxes imposed by carpetbaggers along with the Federal military government. It is noteworthy that after the war, the same Union Army marched West to steal Indian land. Surely this type of thing doesn't happen today though does it? Can anyone say, "Imminent Domain?"

How about the third aspects, which I am combining given their common inanimate traits. "Liberty, justice, safety, pride, [and] manhood." We could all perhaps talk for hours about the loss our rights, the lack of justice in our court system, the refusal of our government to stop illegal immigration and thereby protect us, the pathetic lack of American patriotism, and the demise of true manhood. We live in a world predicted by Cleburne to the "T." Regulations have taken our liberty, political correctness has robbed us of both justice and safety, "white-guilt" and by implication "American-guilt" have robbed us of our pride, and feminism has neutered our men. Could this really all be predicted solely based on the erosion of State's rights? The answer is clear: There's more to nationalism than merely "preserving the Union." There's a humanistic religion behind it.

The fourth facet of subjugation is education. The wise general stated accurately:

The history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy ... our youth will be trained by Northern school teachers; will learn from Northern school books their version of the War, will be impressed by all influences of history and education to regard our gallant dead as traitors, our maimed veterans as fit objects for their derision.

Talk about specific! How did he know what we'd be learning as standard curriculum in school today? Perhaps being Irish helped him on this one through his observations of what the English had done to his own culture. What is happening in our country right now is often referred to as "cultural genocide." The stable center of our nation referred to as the "Bible Belt" is under constant attack. In fact, it's even more far-reaching than that. Christianity itself is also under attack from a historical perspective. The avowed Czechoslovakian  communist Milan Kundera said, "The first step in liquidating a people is to erase its memory. Destroy its books, its culture, its history. Then have somebody write new books, manufacture a new culture, invent a new history. Before long the nation will begin to forget what it is and what it was." This is precisely what we are under. The founders were "white racist capitalists." The Confederates, who blatantly stated their commitment to the founder's principles are even white and more racist.

The General's fifth prediction concerns race. It is profound to think that a Confederate soldier could have the foresight to see our modern racial divide. The North would bring about "the hatred of our former slaves, who will on a spy system, be our secret police. The conquerors policy is to divide the conquered into factions and stir up animosity among them." Whenever modern students are taught the history of "Civil Rights,"- which I look forward to writing about from a Southern viewpoint- they are always told that it was the "legacy of slavery." Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality it was the legacy of reconstruction. The slaves lived in a relatively unsegregated society (especially in comparison to the North). It was Northern policy, pitting blacks against whites, that caused racial tension in the middle of the 20th century South. Had the Confederate's won, I highly suspect a civil-right's movement would have been even necessary. It's hard to study historical hypotheticals, but if the modern Confederatos, the only known "un-reconstructed" group of Southerners, are any example of how it might have been, it most certainly would have been safe for both the black and white man. As it stands in today's America, there are places neither one is safe, especially the white man. We have a president elected by 96% of the black population, with their support unwavering even though their promises haven't been delivered. It is obvious a racial divide exists. The Confederates knew it would come to this. They believed in Galatians 3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Notice even today, most blacks carry vestiges of their Confederate heritage, being Christian and for all intensive purposes being traditionally Southern. Unfortunately, politically speaking there has been a divide do to the breakdown of the family, welfare, and poor education: all elements of reconstruction, not slavery. During reconstruction, former slaves were given more government posts, extra rights including voting privileges, and the ability to get off easier for crimes. This was the start of the resentment that carried through the 1960s.

General Robert. E. Lee

I can only say that while I have considered the preservation of the constitutional power of the General Government to be the foundation of our peace and safety at home and abroad, I yet believe that the maintenance of the rights and authority reserved to the states and to the people, not only essential to the adjustment and balance of the general system, but the safeguard to the continuance of a free government. I consider it as the chief source of stability to our political system, whereas the consolidation of the states into one vast republic, sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home, will be the certain precursor of that ruin which has overwhelmed all those that have preceded it.

-Robert E. Lee to Lord Acton 1866

Lee's words ring true today more than ever. Solely based on the erosion of "constitution power of the General Government" through the actions of the Union, Lee predicted a government which would be "aggressive abroad and despotic at home." Although libertarians and I may differ a bit on the "War on Terror," I hope we can all agree that since the War Between the States the U.S. has in fact been more aggressive than it would have otherwise. The Indians wars are a prime example of imperialism at its worst (although I do acknowledge good and bad on both sides). The unwarranted interaction in both the Spanish American War and World War 1 should make any conservative scratch their head a bit on why we even entered them? The fact that we have around 160 military bases abroad currently should make any proponent of small government a bit curious. Is this the aggression Lee was referring to? How about being despotic at home? Words cannot contain the examples coming to the forefront of the minds of every conservative.

Chaplain Robert Lewis Dabney

The State will fall into the hands of teachers who will not even teach secular learning honestly; money will be wasted, and the schools will become corrupting examples to their own pupils of slighted work and abused trusts. . .Christians must prepare themselves then, for the following results: All prayers, catechisms, and Bibles will ultimately be driven out of the schools. . . Infidelity and practical ungodliness will become increasingly prevalent among Protestant youth, and our churches will have a more arduous contest for growth if not for existence.- R.L. Dabney 1879


All Christians would do well to read the writings of R.L. Dabney, General Jackson's Chief of Staff. He predicted both the future of the feminist movement and the outcome of government controlled education (an outcome of the war and reconstruction). He saw a day when Bibles and prayers would be taken out of schools. No doubt many of his contemporaries denounced him as crazy. The Bible was practically universally taught. However, Dabney was dead on when speaking about education. Not only would Cleburne's prediction come true concerning the teaching of history, but the teaching of secular humanism would also commence. in the 1860s-70s the Federal government tool control of the states, the economy, and the children, all of which was an overstep created by a secular humanist worldview. It is not government's job to school. It's the parents. It's not government's job to run the economy. It's the responsibility of individuals. It's not the government's job to interfere with the states responsibilities either. Biblically speaking, all three of these things were rooted in an anti-Scriptural view of reality, that somehow through consolidation and control a utopia can be created perfecting humans by their own wisdom. The Confederates, with a Biblical worldview, saw this and rejected it.

President Jefferson Davis

The principle for which we contend is bound to reassert itself, though it may be at another time and in another form. - Jefferson Davis, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government 1881

Perhaps this is the most encouraging prophecy of all. Sure, bad things happened as a result of the war, but the cause of limited government will one day reassert itself. Incidentally, I believe the Tea Party movement is not far off from picking up where Jefferson Davis left off though not many of them know it. Unfortunately, most of them see secession as a last resort, which really means, a tool never to be used. Davis perhaps can empathize. "I worked night and day for twelve years to prevent the war, but I could not. The North was mad and blind, would not let us govern ourselves, and so the war came." The very president of the Confederacy had a hard time separating from the country he had helped shape and loved, and last of all he wanted a war on his hands. We should have the same mentality. Secession is a viable option, but that doesn't have to mean war. If it does mean war, we are not the aggressors. In fact, secession is the very epitome of a peaceful solution to a political problem. If we are afraid to reassert this right, we must ask ourselves, "What are we afraid of?" And if we are afraid, "What does that say about our current state of freedom?" I think another Jefferson might have some wisdom to shed on this. "When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty." - Thomas Jefferson

Will we honor the memory of our Confederate forefathers, or continue slandering them? They are more than our "conservative" forefathers. They are our "Christian forefathers." (yes, I know there are some exceptions). Their predictions, legitimize their cause. We would do well to place them in high esteem. In the words of Winston Churchhill, "A nation that forgets its past is doomed to repeat it," and again, "No nation can long survive without pride in its tradition."

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Red Republican's and Lincoln's Marxists

Marxism in the Civil War
By: Jonathan Harris

Red Republicans and Lincoln's Marxists: Marxism in the Civil WarBefore reading the book "Red Republican's and Lincoln's Marxists" I have to admit I was a bit skeptical. Despite my predisposition to be wary of any fiber of genuine Christian morality flowing within the veins of Lincoln not to mention the founders of the GOP, I did not think it likely that any of them would be sympathetic towards the precepts of communism. After all, communism is a monster of the 20th century isn't it? Wilson, FDR, Johnson, and Carter may have been affected, but Lincoln? Having given up the fantasy that "Honest Abe" "freed the slaves" and "saved the union" by maintaining the constitution and being authentic with the true intentions of Thomas Jefferson, I decided to see whether or not this association between Lincoln and the teachings of Marx was legitimate. What I found was shocking - perhaps more so to the average products of public education than I, but admittedly I was astonished. Herein I will endeavor to acquaint my readers with a couple of the more damning facts which give us reason to question the allegiance of the Republican party to free markets and limited government. While I cannot offer nearly half of the information I'd like to, I encourage you if interested to pick up a copy of the book by clicking on the icon above. These are facts historians have conveniently left out and its time Americans became introduced to them. They will explain the "state capital" tendencies of the GOP, expose the Lincoln cult, and trace the origin of the progressive disease in the US. I ask you to continue to read and in so doing unlock history's best kept secrets.

Marx and Lincoln

When we survey the history of the "Civil War" through the eyes of the world's most notorious communist, we are acquainted with a man who hated (as can be seen in his post-war letter to President Johnson) the South out of pathetic ignorance. Karl Marx supposed that the South had in secret prepared to undermine the United States for years, that Jefferson Davis was a "dictator," that  the Confederate Constitution (which outlawed the slave trade) promoted slavery, that the Supreme Court was a tool of slaveholders, and that the South geographically encompassed three-quarters of the Union.

In the autumn of 1861 Marx, the Father of Communism, wrote the following regarding the "American Civil War."

The war of the Southern Confederacy is, therefore, not a war of defense, but a war of conquest, a war of conquest for the extension and perpetuation of slavery.

It is interesting to observe that virtually all Liberals and a majority of modern day conservatives would heartily agree with such a statement. This should raise a "red flag" in the minds of those who love liberty.Why is it that the majority of Americans, even those who advocate the free-market, agree with the way in which Karl Marx of all people framed the cause of the war? Though Marx and his partner in communism Fredrick Engels lived in Great Britain, they served "as propaganda agents for the Northern cause in Europe." The authors point out that "while most Americans think of abolition of slavery as an end in itself, communists had a completely different view of abolition." Marx stated in The Civil War in the United States, "Labor cannot emancipate itself in the white skin where in the black it is branded." After the war was over Marx said in a speech:

And the successful close of the war against slavery has indeed inaugurated a new era in the annals of the working class. . . Still the Civil War offered a compensation in the liberation of the slaves and the impulse which it thereby gave to your own class movement. 

As one can see, the freeing of the slaves was not an end in itself to the Father of Communism, but rather a means to an end- that end being the revolution of the working class against the proletariat. I should note that the authors do dismantle Marx's notion that the South was aggressively fighting to "perpetuate" slavery. On the contrary, the War Between the States was a war of centralism vs. federation, of humanism vs. Christianity, of socialism vs. capitalism, and of imperialism vs. popular sovereignty. We do not have time to address Marx's popular lie in this review, but would encourage those curious regarding this issue to pick up a copy of Myths of American Slavery.

After Lincoln's second inaugural victory, Marx delivered a congratulatory letter to the 16th president on behalf of the International Workingmen's Association which stated in no uncertain terms where the allegiance of the communist community lay. The last paragraph of the letter is as follows:


The workingmen of Europe feel sure that, as the American War of Independence initiated a new era of ascendancy for the middle class, so the American Antislavery War will do for the working classes. They consider it an earnest of the epoch to come that it fell to the lot of Abraham Lincoln, the single-minded son of the working class, to lead his country through the matchless struggle for the rescue of an enchained race and the reconstruction of a social world. 

Though no conservative should have a problem with the rescuing of  "an enchained race" (Although it may be pointed out that Lincoln never accomplished this task, and the radical republicans enchained all men to civil slavery while in the process making the lot of the slave even worse) all of our eyebrows should raise when we hear the words "reconstruction of a social world." Was Lincoln fulfilling the next step in creating a world in Marx's image? How can this be?

The American System and Socialism

The answer lies in an idea of strong central government promoted by Alexander Hamilton, passed on to Henry Clay, and finally making its way into the White House through the election of Abraham Lincoln. The "American System" as it was called is defined by the authors as "nothing less than an attempt to increase the power of the Federal government beyond that which the Constitution authorizes." Clay, a politician Lincoln modeled himself after, was an advocate of centralized banking, internal improvements, and protective tariffs all of which conflicted with the Constitution and promoted a centralized state. Sometimes these policies are referred to as "State Capitalism," a system in which the government favors certain businesses and regions over others in exchange for favors and vice-versa. It goes without saying that it takes a strong central government to impose a system of redistribution. The communist transformation (note: communist and socialist meant the same thing in 1860) of America gained legitimacy under the leadership of the early Republican party due to these policies. If we compare the Communist Manifesto to Lincoln's actions we can see this quite clearly. The Manifesto calls for a "heavy progressive or graduated income tax." In comparison, Lincoln signed the Legal Tender Act in 1862, and the national currency acts in 1863 and 1864. Instantly a system of nationally charted banks were created and a federally run national banking monopoly was born. One of the leading supporters for nationalizing baking, (R) John Sherman of Ohio proclaimed, "Nationalize as much as possible [and thereby] make men love their country before their states." In 1862 Lincoln signed America's first income tax into law creating the first IRS service. Another idea supported by both Lincoln and Marx was Federal involvement in education. In 1862, Lincoln signed the Morrill act, named for Senator Justin Morrill who defended it this way: "The role of the national government is to mold the character of the American people." Instantly money that was made through Federal land grant sales went to funding colleges. It goes without saying that Washington controlled the curriculum. In Carl Sandburg's six-volume account of the life of Lincoln he highlights something conservatives should find disturbing. When referring to Robert Owen's (an early American socialist) utopia it is said that "the scheme lighted up Lincoln's heart." It is for these reasons that columnist Vin Suprynowicz has called Lincoln and his most ardent supporters "American Bolsheviks."

Communists in the Ranks

The communist connections and participants in Lincoln's War emphasized by Red Republicans are to numerous to mention within the limited space here, so for times sake I will mention some of the more influential men and important connections. After the failed socialist revolutions of 1848 which encompassed most of the European continent, many German, English, Hungarian, Bavarian, etc. atheistic socialists flocked to the United States having been banned from their homelands for treason. Ironically just about all of them wound up in the North (for a number of factors including an already strong progressive movement brought on by Transcendentalists and Unitarians) as ardent supporters of the Republican party. During the first GOP convention one of the main objectives of the Forty-Eighters was to assure that "Puritans and native born Americans" would not control the party. The Germans, being the largest of the immigrant groups, contributed the greatest to Lincoln's election. Frederick Engels (Marx's brother in arms) pointed out, "had it not been for the experienced soldiers who had entered America after the European revolution -- especially from Germany -- the organization of the Union army would have taken still longer than it did." The first GOP convention included 19 German -American delegates, most of whom were forty-eighters some of whom were personal friends of Marx and Engels. In fact, the GOP platform included  protection of voting rights for foreign-born citizens and promotion of the Homestead Act under the nickname of the "Dutch" (i.e. German) planks. Lincoln valued the German vote so much that he even secretly purchased a German newspaper, the Illinois Staats Anzieger before his election. In fact, just about every, if not all, of the German communist participants highlighted in Red Republicans were at some point journalists for German newspapers in the U.S.. It was the "default" vocation for exiled socialists.

A couple of the more influential German Forty-Eighters (i.e. communist revolutionaries) in the GOP were Carl Schurz who was a GOP delegate, Lincoln supporter, minister to Spain in Lincoln's administration, General in the Union Army, Secretary of the Interior under Hays, senator from Missouri, journalist, and president of the National Civil Service Reform League (a position he used to disenfranchise Native Americans just as he had the South).  Franz Sigel served as a general in the Union Army and became the superintendent of the St. Louis Public School system. It is worthy of mentioning that the uniforms of the Third Regiment of Missouri under his command had been customized to resemble the socialist revolutionary uniforms worn in Germany in 1849. Friedrich Karl Franz Hecter who led the German revolution was a key player in obtaining the German vote for Lincoln, he also led a German regiment in the war. August Willich, a personal friend of Marx (Marx described him as a "communist at heart") recruited more than 1,500 German soldiers and became a Union General. Louis Blenker was General of the 8th New York Infantry and gained a reputation in Northern Virginia as a looter from the way in which he commanded his men to steal from the civilian population. Edward Solomon and two of his three brothers became Generals (the 4th was a Sergent) in the Union Army, he himself became governor of Wisconsin. Another Edward Solomon (unrelated, who was a bit young to be a forty-eighter, yet  was still a socialist) became a General under General Grant and was awarded the appointment of governor of the Washington territory from President Grant. Friedrich Kapp, a newspaper man after the German revolution, was an elector for the GOP and became the commissary of immigration in 1867. Fritz and Mathilde Anneka were influential German revolutionaries who were also friends with Karl Marx and supported the Union war effort through speeches and journalism. Mathilde went on to be one of the original radical feminists in the United States. Karl Heizman was also a journalist and became an advocate of terrorism against the South by attacking civilians and women and children (an idea unfortunately implemented). Joseph Weydemeyer was a close associate of Marx's the Annekes and Willich starting the first Marxist organization in the U.S., the Proletarian League of New York, and starting two socialist newspapers which favored Lincoln. Peter Joseph Osterhaus became a postwar military governor in Vicksburg after serving under General Sherman. Max Weber migrated to New York from Germany to become a General in the Union Army, an IRD agent (modern day IRS), and finally a U.S. consul to Naples.

When we turn our attention to the Non-German socialists the connection between the Republican government and socialism becomes even more clear. It is thought that Lincoln himself offered Giuseppe Garibaldi, the Italian leader of socialism against the Pope the position of commander of Union forces, a position Garibaldi declined upon Lincoln's refusal to reframe the war as being "anti-slavery." Two of the members of John Brown's gang were Forty-Eighters (from Bavaria and Vienna). Frederick Hassaurek from Vienna edited a German newspaper in Cincinnati, campaigned for John Fremont (the first Republican candidate for president), and became a diplomat to Ecuador under Lincoln. Julius Staul, a Hungarian revolutionary, became the US consul to Japan and Shanghai after serving under Fremont in the Union Army as a General. Fremont's chief of staff was Alexander Asboth, also from Hungary.  He went on to become a U.S. diplomat to Argentina. In fact, Fremont (the famous explorer, GOP presidential candidate, and general) is so connected with socialism judging from the men he surrounded himself with, most of whom are not included in this review, that it leaves little doubt that he himself was a socialist.The commander of Fort Delaware (a notorious Union prison camp in which captured Confederates were tortured and killed) was Hungarian revolutionary Albin Francisco Schoepf. Thomas Francis Meagher was an influential Irishmen who helped substantially in the raising and commanding New York's Irish Brigade.  He was also a journalist, lecturer, and not to mention a convicted criminal having been first deported to Australia (penal colony) by Great Britain. Lorez Brentano, another Forty-Eighter became a senator from Illinois and served as a U.S. ambassador to Dresden.

Many of the early republican socialist leaders weren't foreign at all. John C. Fremont was the first Republican presidential candidate, Senator John Sherman was General William T. Sherman's brother, General Sherman himself was on a list of "approved communists", Charles A. Dana who was according to Lincoln the "eyes of the administration" was Assistant Secretary of War and a very close friend of Marx and Engels. Horace Greeley, a committed communist, hired Dana as an editor for his paper The New York Tribune, and included Karl Marx as a columnist. If we broadened our margins to include Unitarian, Transcendentalist, and other Utopian humanists supporters of the Union we would have a very large list of influential socialists indeed.


Hitler and Lincoln

Having recently finished Mein Kampf part I, I find it almost laughable to hear modern conservatives compared to Adolph Hitler. Hitler was nothing more than a "National Socialist" which is what the Nazi party stood for. His railings against communism were over a slight disagreement in their method of class warfare and international socialism. He chose race/cultural warfare instead of class, however still maintaining the basic principles of socialism (save perhaps destruction of the family). It is interesting to note that Hitler had much in common with Lincoln (No I'm not saying Lincoln was a Nazi). Hitler stated in Mein Kampf

The states that make up the American Union are mostly in the nature of territories. . . formed for technical administrative purposes. These states did not and could not possess sovereign rights of their own. Because it was the Union that created most of these so-called states. 

Abraham Lincoln said:

The Union is older than the States and, in fact created them as States. The Union, and not themselves separately, procured their independence and their liberty. The Union threw off their old dependence for them and made them States, such as they are. 

Aside from being completely wrong historically speaking the philosophy behind both statements is also wrong. Hitler believed in a Reich that would last 1,000 years. In other words a "perpetual" empire, insofar as human governments can be ongoing. Lincoln believed that the nation would "not perish from the earth." Since neither Lincoln nor Hitler were Christians in the orthodox sense it is doubtful that their token statements about God from a Christian perspective were legitimate. It is more likely that as master politicians they were able to fulfill the expectations of religious people while pursuing a centralized God-like state with their actions. Actions do speak louder than words.And Hitler's actions were akin to Lincoln's. The authors state:

. . .the Federal Republic of Germany was composed of twenty-five German states. . . free, independent, and sovereign. . .One of the first things done by Hitler. . . was to deny any claim of state sovereignty by these states and to consolidate all power into one big government.

Placing a government in a position of perpetuity is to ascribe to it an attribute of God, and deny Him the right to divide a people as He did at Babel and as He'll do when He returns. It places man's faith in a "stable" system instead of a stable God.

Conclusion

At the very least it should be mildly disturbing to hear that Hitler and Marx were named among the fans of Lincoln, and it should call into question just how "Republican" in the conservative sense Lincoln truly was. Far from being a sole indictment against Lincoln however, we should call into question the whole origin of the GOP. Are they truly conservative if they look back to Lincoln for inspiration? They were the original party to allow socialists to gained admittance into the U.S. government, which ushered in the progressive era of Roosevelt, Wilson, and FDR. It's clear that a "renewal" is not the answer for the GOP, but rather a complete start from scratch. Either that or the creation of a third-party that will adhere to the Constitution and stop trampling on the rights of states and people like both parties have been in the habit of doing over the past 150 years. Still, it is the principles of God that will save this nation, the God that Hitler, Marx, and Lincoln rejected, not political parties. It is a battle of humanism vs. Christianity and only revival in the orthodox Christian sense has any hope of restoring the government of the United States.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Jefferson Davis

An American President 
By: Jonathan Harris

Around midnight this morning I finished watching an almost four hour biography on the life of Jefferson Davis, the first and last president of the Confederacy. The documentary Jefferson Davis: An American President stands apart from the usual snide insults and cheap falsities that are attributed to the man behind the Southern nation. Drawing on the knowledge of top Davis scholars, the embodiment of the Confederacy is presented in a fair-minded way highlighting the facts and not the myths. Davis was of course borne in Kentucky but spent most of his life growing up in Mississippi. A statue of Davis in the state capitol of Kentucky stands in the background giving prominence to the central figure of the room Abraham Lincoln, another son of Kentucky. There are demands today to strip the less significant statue of Davis from the capitol grounds on the idea that the man was a traitor and racist. The documentary dispels much of these unfair claims by exposing the times in which Davis lived, and the principles on which he stood.

Davis on Slavery

Yes, Davis did own slaves, and yes he fought in Congress for the right of slave-owners to take their slaves with them to the territories of the United States- however his reasons for participating in both activities is rarely given a look, and all other actions made by him are rarely given any time at all in modern classrooms. Davis is the one pinned with slavery and sedition while folks like Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson generally get more respectable treatment, however all three had similar if not identical principles when it came to government and even the question of slavery. Davis's slaves were treated extremely well as the documentary shows. One story which stands out in my mind is the account of his top slave James Pemberton, who was in charge of managing the others in their work capacities. Davis offered Pemberton freedom at one point which Pemberton quickly turned down claiming he'd rather be the slave of Davis indefinitely. Pemberton was a loyal friend to both Davis and his wives. Another interesting story that gives a glimpse into the life of Davis's slaves is an incident that occurred after Davis was released from prison after the war. Having nothing and nowhere to go, one of his former slaves who was living in the North a freeman gave Davis a sizable amount of money simply in return for his kind treatment. One of the photos of Davis presented in the documentary shows him sitting in a Baptist church surrounded by blacks with a black man preaching at the pulpit. The personal view of the president of the Confederacy was that slavery had many evils associated with it but overall it was good for the Africans to come to the new world out of their paganism and be exposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He valued learning so much he educated his slaves and made it his personal goal to see them function in an adult capacity. Like most men at the time Davis believed that blacks were inferior, mostly due to cultural inadequacies, and he treated them as a loving father would treat his children. To him slavery was the stepping stone for the negro to become civilized. His views must be viewed in the historical context- in which he would have personally been seen as an extremely sympathetic man to the plight of slaves. There is no indication he ever sold a slave, and it was his constitution that allowed more possibilities for the peaceful freeing of all slaves (The Confederate Constitution protected slavery as an institution but allowed for the states to dissolve of it in their own ways and totally made illegal the slave trade. In contrast the U.S. constitution protected slavery and made it federally legal). His objection to disallowing slave-masters from going to the territories with their slaves stemmed from his strict-constructional view of the Constitution entirely. The 5th amendment could not be regarded as unimportant in his mind, and according to the logic of him and his fellow Southerners, if one section of the Constitution was ignored what was to keep the whole thing from being ignored? We've reaped the consequences of his loose-constructionist political rivals today.

Jefferson Davis: An American PresidentOn Secession

The tariff was another constitutional issue negatively impacting the South that Jefferson fought over, and while he did believe state's had the right to secede, as many both North and South did at the time, he did not want secession to take place. He tried everything to keep the Union together helping engineering the Crittenden Compromise which Lincoln refused to hear, writing a personal letter to Lincoln which was never replied to, and sending delegations to make treaties with the United States which were never heard. He had a hard time even seeing the U.S. flag knowing it was the flag he was still loyal to (the "Old Union" as he would always call it), the flag he got wounded under in Mexico, the flag he had fought for. It was the deaf ears of Lincoln and the Republican party that eventually caused him to rise to his nation's calling leaving the union. I would recommend for everyone to read his farewell address which outlines the peaceful relationship he cherished and would have liked to see continue as two separate peoples.

His Contributions and Imprisonment

Many folks don't realize Jefferson Davis was the man mostly responsible for many things that affect our government today apart from the Confederacy. The Smithsonian Institution was sponsored by Davis as he valued learning very much, and the renovations that occurred at the Capitol building (i.e. the statue on the top, the gold leaf interior, the extensions) were his doing as Secretary of War. While serving in this position he also brought the United States armed forces into the modern age- a contribution he would later regret in a way, since he was the engineer in his own defeat. His book The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government is a call to constitutional government in the way our Founder's wanted it and would have served as the reasoning for his defense in court if he had been allowed to be tried. After he was caught by Federal troops in Georgia, Davis spent time in prison waiting to go to court. Of course, if he would have been acquitted the Confederacy would have been seen to be constitutionally in the right, and if he had been sentenced he would have become a martyr. Many Northeastern prominent abolitionists (who knew the ramifications) offered to pay his bail, which he refused to do. Living in a prison in which a guard stood by him at all times watching his every move, Davis had little privacy, but he strongly believed he was right to continue this arrangement indefinitely (despite many health illnesses from reoccurring malaria and war wounds as well) as long as there was still hope for the South. Davis wanted to continue fighting even after Lee had surrendered. He was a man of principle unlike his competitor up North who was a man of practicality. The trial started and Davis was quickly becoming the martyr for freedom in the world. European newspapers denounced the injustice being done to him, and the Pope even sent him a crown of thorns. Andrew Johnston and Radical Republicans decided it was better to just let Davis go without a trial which is what they did.

After the War

Having already lost one wife (which according to friends made him a more serious man. When he was a cadet at West Point he was known for partying, but that changed with tragedy.) and three children Davis was a man at his wit's end, and any other man would have gone crazy no doubt. Of his six children only two survived to adulthood, one dying in her early thirties. Davis tried living in Europe, starting a life-insurance company in Tennessee which went under, and eventually went back to planting, living near poverty the entire time. His planting prospects likewise failed with flooding problems. The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government gave him some success but not nearly what he had hoped for. Instead of writing a memoir he wrote what looked like a Constitutional justification for secession and the war. Always a Southerner, always a devout member of the old Union, Davis died in 1889. His death was grieved by all the South, and in New Orleans, where he died, the biggest public funeral ever was held as a parade marched in his honor. There lied a man with an idea of preserving self-government, state's rights, and constitutional authority in the tradition of the first Jefferson- Thomas. He will be forever revered in my mind and in the minds of those who know the truth about him. These are the reasons I highly recommend Jefferson Davis: An American President.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Slave Conditions in the South

Lashes or Love?
By: Jonathan Harris

Perhaps the most common tactic employed by Southern detractors is painting the whole South as a bunch of racists. If you can paint someone as racist in our day, nothing else they say seems to matter. The implications of this are far-reaching. Bill Maher loves to harp on the fact that the South is both racist and predominately Christian. The two have to be related right? It's the Northeast that shows true tolerance in the midst of their secularism. Indeed, the Christian God himself must be a racist if it's His people that exhibit this kind of behavior; you know what I mean, the cliche white male with a Southern accent beating a black man within an inch of his life while shouting racial slurs and sipping lemonade. This kind of perception may play well on the big screen or in the media, but it doesn't match the facts by a long shot. Let's examine what the truth is concerning Southern slave conditions by examining reliable historical sources- not radical abolitionist stereotypes. 

The Data

Our most reliable sources of information are not going to only be from selected first-hand accounts. If we based our whole argument around individual cases we could find ourselves in deep trouble of picking and choosing the cases that match our preconceptions. Let me give you an example. If I were to select accounts of home-schooled children who underwent abuse during their upbringing, and then ignore the vast majority of children who were treated well, I could make a very compelling case that homeschooling is a horrible institution by highlighting the hundreds of cases of abuse. Radical abolitionists were notorious for using this same flawed reasoning. However, by their standards I could demonize any labor system. So what sources of information are available today by which we can judge rightly the Southern slave situation? 

Slave Narratives

My favorite depictions of Chattel slavery comes directly from the slaves themselves and can be found in the  Slave Narratives- the cumulative result of two years of in depth interviews surveying over 2,000 former slaves by the Works Project Administration under FDR. In the book Time on the Cross, noble prize winning scientist Robert Fogel demonstrates that nowhere in the Western Hemisphere were slaves better treated and cared for than in the South. After studying the Slave Narratives Fogel concluded that 60 to 80 percent of all respondents had only positive things to say about their masters and their life during slave days.

The U.S. Census

If you're a big fan of raw data, perhaps the 1860 U.S. Census will have you convinced against radical abolitionist rhetoric. One way to assess the quality of life is to look at the rate of population increase. We can do this by comparing the number of live births with the number of deaths. In 1860, the Southern black population was shown to have increased by 23 percent, while the Northern black population only increased 1.7 percent. If we go back ten years to the 1850 U.S. Census something even more startling emerges. 1 out of every 1,000 white persons was deaf, dumb, blind, insane, or idiotic. In Northern states 1 out of every 506 black persons had the same handicaps. For Southern blacks it was merely 1 in 1,464 persons who possessed such inabilities. So the question is, based on raw data in which region were blacks treated better?

Foreign Observers 

Certainly if there are any unbiased individuals when it comes to the cultural conflicts between the North and South we should assume that they would be from somewhere other than the United States. Englishman James Silk Buckingham published his observation of Southern slavery in 1842 by stating that slaves were "well-fed, well dressed, and easy to be governed." They were in his view as well off as were English servants in the middle rank of life. In Democracy and America French observer Alex de Tocqueville stated that "the prejudice of race appears to be stronger in the states that have abolished slavery than in those where it still exists." Northerner Frederick L. Olmsted published Journey to the Seaboard Slave States in 1856. His assessment of slavery? According to Facts the Historians Leave Out:

He learned that the slaves were probably fed better than any comparable class of other countries. The labor required of house-servants he described as light, that of field-hands not appreciably heavier than that of laborer in the North. It interested him that slave marriages were frequently made occasions, attended by their owners; those of favorite slaves, performed in the master's house by the master's minister.

Common Sense

If we reasonably think through the topic of slavery in the South and the situation of modern blacks, the official Northern dogma looses credibility pretty quickly. Just ponder with me a minute. If you were to spend $1,000 a worker (what a sum in today's money!) and only receive a 10% profit how would you treat your indentured servant? I doubt you would abuse him/her. Even if you were purely a creature of economics you would want to keep your slaves as healthy as possible for as long as possible. Fortunately, Southerners weren't merely creatures of economics. They cared for their slaves on a personal level, in huge contrast to the way Northerner's in general treated black people at the time. This is why former slaves are almost universally Christian. Would you accept the religion of an abusive master and keep following it even after you were out from under your master's rule? Of course not! Southerners saw the slave trade as an opportunity for evangelism and many slaves were thankful for it. Sure the institution was far removed from what should have been happening Biblically, although this was primarily on the part of the Northern slave merchants (i.e. racism and man capture), but there were many benefits that often get ignored. I'm grateful my ancestors came over as indentured servants because what they left behind was much worse than what they found. Read the slave narratives and you'll find that many slaves felt the same exact way.

In conclusion: If you still aren't convinced that Southerners generally exhibited courtesy to their slaves and free blacks in contrast to the North, I challenge you to offer evidence to the contrary (which shouldn't include individual stories or accounts). In other words, where are the numbers?  Sure there were some nasty slave owners. I've had some nasty bosses in my short life. But what are the best sources of information for making a logical decision on this topic? They aren't stories, they're figures. There's a place for stories, but facts should take precedence. If they aren't, are we really being honest with ourselves?