Thursday, April 29, 2010

Complicity

Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from SlaveryHow the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery 
By: Jonathan Harris

Three journalists of the Hartford Courant, all hailing from Northern States, made a startling discovery a couple years ago as they researched a local lawsuit involving a demand for reparations from modern companies involved in the slave trade. Investigating what appeared to be a peculiar civic incident turned into year and a half post-magazine endeavor turned into a book entitled Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery. The three Northerners describe their initial reaction to the evidence incriminating their homeland as follows:

Our first response 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. . . We are journalists, not scholars, and want to share what surprised, and even shocked, the three of us. We have all grown up, attended schools, and worked in Northern states, from Maine to Maryland. We thought we knew our home. We thought we knew our country. We were wrong.

It is well worth emphasizing the these journalists are not Southern sympathizers by any stretch of the imagination. Their conclusion seems to be, "The South was wrong but so was the North. We just didn't realized what hypocrites we were." Still, the book is primarily research, and although every author has a bias, these guys do a great job sticking to their facts helping readers, North and South, to draw their own conclusions. Although, in one portion of the book highlighting the horrors of the Middle Passage, we are almost lead to believe that the South possibly could have had the moral high ground (or a pit not quite as deep depending on how you look at it).

Such practices [related to the Middle Passage] underscore the essential difference between the slave traders and slave masters. For better or worse, the lord of a plantation had to coexist with his slaves. The slave trader had only to deliver them.

Most people don't know that the slave trade itself (the cruelest portion of the entire institution) was almost exclusively (at least in the U.S.) a Northeastern business venture. The Great Triangle, in which slave captains sailing from Connecticut and Rhode Island would sell their Northeastern rum in exchange for slaves, and the slaves in exchange for Molasses in the West Indies, is wiped clean from most public school history accounts.  Even after 1808, millions of slaves were still being traded by Northeastern merchants- New York itself, being notorious for turning a blind eye to the nefarious trade made it the staple of its economy. It is thought that Massachusetts Bay in its early years would not have been able to survive without the human flesh trade, and America itself would not have been an economic powerhouse if it weren't for the often hidden, but still created wealth the trade brought. It was the American flag which flew over all slave vessels bearing their precious cargoes to South America, the West Indies, and the American South in the first half of the 19th century- this enabled ships to resist seizure by the British who would capture and deport any slave cargo found (if the slaves weren't sold instead). It was Northerners in "Free States" who often exhibited violence towards those opposed to slavery. William Lloyd Garrison's being chased, roped, and paraded in 1835 Boston, or Elijah Lovejoy's murder by an Illinois mob in 1837, are two of the most famous incidents. And not only was the North a fertile hostility ground for blacks and abolitionists, but it was also from whence came the true intellectual firepower which scientifically justified slavery- Philidelphia's Samuel George Morton and his crew of Northeastern University professors.

Here's a tip of the iceberg sampling of just some of the facts this work expands upon:

In 1760 the slave population of New England and the Mid-Atlantic States was 41,000.
In 1790 New York alone had 20,000 slaves.
In 1807, the DeWolf family ships (one company in a humongous enterprise) brought 2,000 Africans to Charleston in a 7 month period.
In 1822 Cotton is 40% of New York's domestic exports, and the North is the nations hub for Cotton mills.
In 1842 The Prigg decision (precursor to Dread Scott) is written in Massachusetts.
In 1854 Types of Mankind is published by Northern academia challenging the Genesis creation account and scientifically affirming that blacks were inferior to whites.
In 1862 The Comstock, Cheney piano-key manufacturing company is formed in Ivoryton, Connecticut monopolizing a trade for the next fifty years that would enslave or put to death millions of Africans.
In 1863 Draft rioters in New York City kill scores of blacks and set fire to a Colored Orphan Asylum. 

The facts indicting the North are too numerous to highlight in this review so I suggest to anyone interested in studying this hidden history further, pick up a copy, and while you're at it pick up Myths of American Slavery (a book on the slave trade from a Southern perspective) as well. Click on either link below to order.

Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery

Myths of American Slavery

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Abraham Lincoln: The Great Discriminator

His Views on Race, Slavery, and Their Implications Towards His War
By: Jonathan Harris

Ask a group of average elementary school students in our nation what the 16th president's greatest achievement was and they're likely to parrot back in robotic synchronization, "He freed the slaves." The view that Lincoln picked up the torch of Thomas Jefferson's "all men are created equal" assertion, and then passed it on to Martin Luther King Jr. and Barack Obama (his political descendant) is after all, common knowledge. Less common is to find someone who's actually studied Lincoln's writings and primary sources to find out what he really believed on the subject of racial equality. Below is a comprised look at what our 16th president thought when it came to these crucial subjects. I warn anyone reading this to beware- the implications of the truth will cause you to question the motives behind the War Between the States which is a very unpopular thing to do. If you care about the truth and the misuse of a lie I encourage you to read on.

According to Ebony magazine editor Lerone Bennett, Jr., “On at least fourteen occasions between 1854 and 1860 Lincoln said ambiguously that he believed the Negro race was inferior to the White race.” Some of Lincoln’s quotes will sound truly remarkable to the ears of average Americans who’ve been told their whole lives of the anti-racism of Lincoln. In an 1858 debate in Ottawa Illinois with Stephen Douglas Lincoln said these words:

I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races. There is a physical difference between the two, which in my judgment, will probably forever forbid their living together upon the footing of perfect equality; and inasmuch as it becomes a necessity that there must be a difference, I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position. I have never said anything to the contrary.

In another debate Lincoln rhetorically asked, “Free them and make them politically and socially our equals? My own feelings will not admit of this. . . we cannot then make them equals.” So much for the 16th president’s “all men are created equal” reference in the Gettysburg Address. It should be noted that Lincoln’s views were no different than many Americans at the time. Before black codes were ever enacted in the South, many Northern states expressed their racism in state laws. The Revised Code of Indiana for instance, prohibited Negroes and mulattos from even coming into the state.

All contracts with Negroes were null and void; any white person encouraging Negroes to enter the state was subjected to a $500 dollar fine; Negroes and mulattos were not allowed to vote; no Negro or mulatto having even one-eighth part of Negro blood could legally marry a white person – an act punishable by tens year’s imprisonment and a fine of up to 5,000; any person counseling or encouraging interracial marriage was subject to a fine of up to 1,000; Negroes and mulattos were forbidden from testifying in court against white people, from sending their children to public schools, or from holding any political office.

Such laws were common in almost every Northern state as of 1860. No wonder the underground railroad's final stop was Canada and not Massachusetts. Foreign observer Tocqueville noted that “the prejudice of race appears to be stronger in the states that have abolished slavery than in those where it still exists; and nowhere is it so intolerant as in those states where servitude has never been known.” Lincoln’s home state of Illinois senator Lyman Trumbell summed up this sentiment in the statement, “Our people want nothing to do with the Negro.” The South on the other hand, due to its agrarian cotton economy did want something to do with the Negro. And the coffers of Northeastern capitalists (who almost entirely financed the slave trade from the ports of Boston and New York) were amply supplied by meeting this demand.

Most standard American textbooks highlight the stressing regional differences between the North and South preceding the “Civil War” by crowing the “Free Soil” movement as the most guilty culprit in pitting both regions against each other; however, the motivation behind the Free Soilers is often left either assumed or misrepresented. It is doubtless that many abolitionists, both violent (John Brown and the Secret Six) and non-violent, were in favor of free soil as a way to stop the extension of slavery for noble reasons, but many more including Lincoln had motives which we would not find to be so honorable. Commenting on the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 Lincoln stated:


Whether slavery shall go into Nebraska, or other new territories, is not a matter of exclusive concern to the people who may go there. 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. Slave States are places for poor white people to remove from; not to remove to. New free States are the places for poor people to go to and better their condition.

Inherent in Lincoln's words is a concern for the "free white people." The extension of slavery meant that poor whites would be put out of work due to competition from blacks, a reason which partially helped bring about the demise of the institution in the North. Lincoln's confidant and Secretary of State William Seward explained, "the motive of those who protested against the extension of slavery had always really been concern for the welfare of the white man, and not an unnatural sympathy for the Negro." Other than providing jobs for white laborers, the Free Soil Movement also desired to bring about the demise of Southern representation in Congress by discontinuing the expansion of the slave population in more states (Each slave represented 3/5 of a person according to the Constitution which gave Southern states an edge in Lincoln's mind). Lincoln not only wanted the "free" states untainted by Negroes, but he desired to see the whole United States become a white man's land. In his Cooper Union Speech of 1860, he advocated the peaceful "deportation" of blacks so "their places [would] be filled up by free white laborers."

During the1861 inaugural address Lincoln affirmed: "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so." This statement would seem to be in contradiction to the "Emancipation Proclamation" issued less than two years later which supposedly "freed the slaves." But did the "Proclamation" really free the slaves? The confiscation acts (which allowed slaves to be categorized as "contraband" so as to either be freed, or in some instances be enslaved again by the federal army) were already in effect, and none of the union slave states or enemy slave states under federal control were required to emancipate. The New York World, among myriads of other newspapers worldwide saw right through Lincoln's move.

The president has purposely made the proclamation inoperative in all places where we have gained a military footing which makes the slaves accessible. He has proclaimed emancipation only where he has notoriously no power to execute it. The exemption of the accessible parts of Louisiana, Tennessee, and Virginia renders the proclamation not merely futile, but ridiculous.

So what was the motive behind the proclamation if it wasn't freeing the slaves? Simply put, it was a war measure designed to keep anti-slavery European powers out, and possibly encourage slave insurrections in the South.The U.S. Army was in a very desperate situation, and if anti-slavery nations Britain or France agreed to ally with the Confederacy the war would have continued to favor the South. If however a new purpose was introduced (i.e. ending slavery), even if it was sincere or accurate, the executive could cast the war in terms of a "moral crusade." The proclamation was a rousing success though it did not free one slave.

Though I have not intended to uncover in this piece the true motives behind Lincoln's War, hopefully you can at least see that they weren't about slavery. Far from being a noble crusade, the "War of Northern Aggression" as so many Southerners and Constitutionalists like to call it, was fought to keep the South from leaving along with their tax money which financed infrastructure projects in the North. While the federal government's cause and methods were far from being noble, there were many Northern soldiers however who did feel they were doing the slaves a service, and they should not be forgotten (even if they're government did the slaves a great disservice). Lincoln's actions while president were reprehensible (i.e. suspending habeas corpus,  jailing thousands of political opponents, shutting down hundreds of newspapers who disagreed, authorizing "total war," and declaring a war and passing laws without the consent of congress) and far worse than even the usurpation President Obama has attempted to enact, but he is forever remembered as an American hero even by folks on the right (probably because he was the first Republican president).The only thing that makes him seem noble is this myth that he somehow freed the slaves and valued equality. Nothing could be further from the truth. Political tyranny is viewed through the lens of moral superiority, and therefore granted legitimacy.  It's time we unhinge ourselves from his legacy, or else we are in danger (as many have already) of becoming "big-government conservatives," using Lincoln's tools for our own "moral" crusades. The fact is, his tools cannot ever be used for moral crusades because they are immoral in and of themselves.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Confederados

Live Free or . . . Move!

Rather than submitting to the horrendous oppression which accompanied reconstruction, as many as ten to twenty thousand Confederate cotton planters traveled to Brazil at the invitation of Emperor Dom Pedro II in years following the War for Southern Independence. Today their unreconstructed descendants make up the "Confederado" population of Brazil. Fond of the Southern Cross and their uniquely American heritage, every year the Confederados celebrate the Southern aspects of their culture. It is worth noting that the racial problems Dixie is so often stereotyped for are nonexistent in the areas surrounding "Americana," the Confederate settlement- further supporting the idea that it was the North's undignified misuse of blacks as political tools during reconstruction which poisoned race relations in the South.

Friday, April 09, 2010

How to Debate a Yankee

Learning From the SVC's Mistake
By: Jonathan Harris

As most of you probably know, last week the newly elected Republican governor of the state of Virginia made what shouldn't have been a controversial declaration honoring the month of April as "Confederate History Month." The two previous Democratic governors have withheld from issuing such a decree, but Bob McDonnell has reinstated the practice much to the joy of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Unfortunately, a couple days later found McDonnell backpedaling under heat from "Civil Rights" organizations who castigated him for daring to honor the "racist" defenders of Dixie. Both the Son's of Confederate Veterans and the Southern Legal Resource Center have posted some well thought out responses.

As I believe, and I'm sure many of my readers do too, the South has been the anchor for the United States. Even today it is the last real bastion of conservatism, and without the "Bible Belt," the moral degeneration would melt faster than a snowball headed for hell. The Confederate heritage of the South cannot be ignored. The condition that blacks are in today is a direct result of the way the Yankee conquerors have treated them, the economic condition of the South is only now beginning to recover from Sherman's march over a century ago, and the federal involvement every state has suffered from has its origin in Lincoln's treatment of the South. Our first presidents have come from the state of Virginia, liberty was one on her shores of Yorktown, and lost on at her courthouse of Appomattox - it's her heritage which is under attack today.

Unfortunately, the bedrock of American liberty has almost no one to defend her, save the members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and a few other small Southern organizations. Unfortunately, the SVC is not a political organization, and therefore its membership is not savvy to talking points and action words. The members act as if the U.S. is still living in 1950, a time when both sides of the War Between the States were respected. Today, a typical SVC member possesses a great amount of knowledge concerning battlefields, campaigns, and individuals, but not as much when it comes to the political or social aspects of the wartime South (Frank Conner also points this out in "The South Under Siege.") A lot of knowledge goes a short way when it's not organized properly. And a good stigma will always defeat a lousy dogma.

Brad Bowling, though I'm sure his views are accurate and his intentions pure, could not seem to shake his frustration and lack of coherence while debating liberal hack Roland Martin on Anderson Cooper 360. Martin, though he obviously knows almost nothing about the War for Southern Independence, possesses the high ground. Most folks in America are conditioned like zombies to repeat the mantra, "The South fought for slavery," and, "Abraham Lincoln fought to free the slaves." Martin does a great job with sounds bites staying on point and continually pounding the slavery talking point into the ground as it were. Bowling on the other hand has lots of knowledge, but no way of communicating it within such a narrow time frame. He therefore gives mixes messages confusing probably almost anyone watching who doesn't understand the true causes behind the "Civil War."

My solution for the SVC and every Southern organization is simple- get some talking points and form them into soundbites. We have uphill to climb, so we have to be three times as good at communicating our views. First, we must pick our talking point. In the AC360 debate, I believe Bowling should have picked this to be his thrust: "The Confederate Soldier defended Virginia from a harmful invasion, therefore he should be honoured." As long as that point was being pounded as equally as Martin's "slavery" point, the debate could have been won. Self-defense is the action directly connected to the highest form of inalienable rights - yes, even higher than liberty itself. You can have life without liberty, but you can't have liberty without life. As a distant second I would choose the "liberty" talking point (i.e. the South fought to preserve her liberty) as a refutation of Martin's point that the south cared only about slavery. Unfortunately, in our pluralistic politically correct culture in order for the SVC to survive they must change their ways and become aggressive with their words. Our Confederate ancestors gave their lives for ours. The least we can do is defend their lives by upholding their true memory, even when the governor of Virgina shirks from this responsibility. Unfortunately, in this day and age that means verbally challenging our opponents when provoked.

The video below shows the way the debate I believe should have gone. I've placed myself in Bowling's shoes to see what my talking point idea would look like when introduced. Obviously we can't see Roland's reaction to what potentially could have been said, but that's what the imagination is for!