Edward Ball, the fellow who found out that his aristocratic Southern family had, contrary to the clan’s official history as related to him as a youth, a 175-year history of slave ownership that was saturated in cruelty and brutality, is at it again, revealing the ugly truth behind various cherished lies. His target this time: The myth that “states’ rights”, and not wanting to keep enslaving other humans, was the alleged prime reason for the secession of the Southern states into the treasonous unit known as the “Confederacy”.
As Ball notes, the leaders of the Confederacy were considerably more honest:
But a look through the declaration of causes written by South Carolina and four of the 10 states that followed it out of the Union — which, taken together, paint a kind of self-portrait of the Confederacy — reveals a different story. From Georgia to Texas, each state said the reason it was getting out was that the awful Northern states were threatening to do away with slavery.
South Carolina: “The non-slaveholding states … have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery” and “have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes.”
Mississippi: “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery — the greatest material interest of the world. … There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union.”
Georgia: “A brief history of the rise, progress, and policy of anti-slavery and the political organization into whose hands the administration of the Federal Government has been committed will fully justify the pronounced verdict of the people of Georgia.”
In other words, the only state right the Confederate founders were interested in was the rich man’s “right” to own slaves.
It’s long been taboo to state that the preservation of slavery was the prime reason for the South’s secession in 1860. This taboo led to the creation of the “loyal slaves myth” — the comical lie that Southern gentry would have tolerated arming their slaves and allowing them to fight in Confederate uniforms. This was a lie that was readily debunked while there were still living veterans around to do so, but even without them, the surviving records of the Confederate Congress show how fiercely the slaveholders who had backed secession opposed the idea of allowing slaves to fight alongside them, even as late as February 10, 1865, when General Lee was begging Jeff Davis to be allowed to use black troops in the field: . . .
Mr. Wickham, of Virginia, moved the indefinite postponement of the bill. He was opposed to its going to a select committee. If it went to any committee it should go, in the regular channel, to the Committee on Military Affairs. He wished, however, this question of arming and making soldiers of negroes to be now disposed of, finally and forever. He wished it to be decided whether negroes are to be placed upon an equality by the side of our brave soldiers. They would be compelled to. They would have to camp and bivouac together.
Mr. Wickham said that our brave soldiers, who have fought so long and nobly, would not stand to be thus placed side by side with negro soldiers. He was opposed to such a measure. The day that such a bill passed Congress sounds the death knell of this Confederacy. The very moment an order goes forth from the War Department authorizing the arming and organizing of negro soldiers there was an eternal end to this struggle.-(Voice-That’s so.)
The question being ordered upon the rejection of the bill, it was lost-ayes 21, noes 53. As this vote was regarded as a kind of test of the sense of the House upon the policy of putting negroes into the army, we append the ayes and noes-the question being the rejection of this bill authorizing the employment of negroes as soldiers:
Why would allowing slave soldiers have sounded the death knell of the Confederacy? Because in the old Anglo-Saxon tradition of citizenship, only non-slaves (and nobly-born non-slaves at that) have the right to bear arms. (Now you know the origin of the famous NRA slogan, “An armed man is a citizen, an unarmed man is a subject”.) Allowing slaves to bear arms would mean to admit they were human beings, worthy of full citizenship — and that could not happen, so long as the South wanted to keep them enslaved. Which, again, shoots holes in the “states’ rights” lie.
And that’s the history lesson for today. Next time you hear someone talking up “states’ rights”, you’ll know what it is they’re really talking about. (See also: Southern Strategy.)