View single post by Confederado
 Posted: Fri Apr 21st, 2006 10:22 pm
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Joined: Tue Apr 18th, 2006
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I have no objection to indy19th's suggestion to move portion(s) of this thread to separate folders as new topics.  I presume some posts, which straddle topics, would have to either be split apart or duplicated in full in both folders.

On the topic of sovereignty I can not dispute the legal definition as I am not a lawyer (I had a proper upbringing, don't you know) but it would seem to my mind that there is some grey area here.  It is my understanding that one of the intended strategic goals of the campaign that led to Gettysburg was to give the South a victory which would facilitate the British government (and perhaps the French) giving formal recognition to the South as a sovereign nation.  If I remember correctly, this assurance had been given to Southern diplomatic agents by the British.  That lends credence to the legal definition as offered in Indy19th's post, which I again don't have expertise to argue.  From recent international events, I have seen that there are layers or degrees of recognition that form a spectrum between formal and informal, so I'm a bit confused as how external recognition can be the only test of sovereignty. 

Take Taiwan as an example.  China (People's Republic of) definitely does not recognize Taiwan as a separate nation.  Taiwan (ROC) does not recognize China as a sovereign nation.  The ROC was recognized as being sovereign, and was even one of the charter members of the UN security council.  Now they are not even members of the UN.  The U.S. refused to recognize China as being sovereign for the longest time, but the defacto state of their sovereignty was rather hard to ignore.  They were, and are, a player on the world scene.  Where does ROC fit in the context of the legal definition?

There are not point-by-point parallels between the PRC/ROC and the U.S./Confederacy, but the Confederate States of America was also a player on the world scene.  The CSA government, duly elected, as were the governments of the newly re-independent States, had all of the required offices and functions of a required of sovereign power.  The CSA engaged in commercial and diplomatic intercourse with the World's family of nations.  Is this any different than the fledgling United States of American was less than 100 years earlier? It declared its independence in 1776, but it wasn't until not just our war but the global British/French war ended that we became recognized with the Treaty of Paris in 1783.  Until that time, I guess the Independent States were really not that at all, much less the United States, and all of their combatants could be and were classified as traitors.  The difference was that those States were declaring a right that had not existed until that point.  The Southern States were restating that same right.

If you really want to get neck-deep in the right-of-secession issue, I found the link below yesterday.  This was obviously written by a lawyer and my poor non-legalistic brain had to re-read it several times before I made sense of some of it, but according to this guy our Founding Fathers (most of whom were lawyers) didn't do a very good job of crossing their t's and dotting their i's and the United States itself isn't legit.  Before you decide he's a whacko (and he may be, for all I know, since I haven't done any checking on him) read his legal argument.  If any of you have some legal training, or even better are a bone fide constitutional scholar, I'd like your take on what he says.

I'm not a neo-secessionist; we all now have so much more in common now than then that the fabric couldn't be torn along the same broken thread.  We are where we are in history and we collectively have a lot more pressing things on our plates.  I do get miffed when the other parts of the country look down their long noses at us in the South and treat us as though we were all ignorant rednecks.  And I get chapped when all the racist trash gets dumped on our front lawns because we were the last ones (in North America) to practice it.  How did racism ever come only to mean something directed at blacks?  Blacks aren't racist?  Hispanics aren't racist?  American Indians aren't racist?  There has been a lot of attempts with this topic to try and isolate the argument to whether the Confederate flag(s) are racist and deflect any counter-argument as to whether any other flags might share the distinction.  Beyond trying to bottle-up the blame, are any of you honestly trying to claim that the Northern States were not racist?  The New England States were up to their eyeballs in the slave trade...while it profited them.  There were Northern businessmen who owned plantations and slaves in the South.  There were armed Northern townspeople after the war who turned blacks away because they were not welcomed.  There were ex-slaves who volunteered for the U. S. Colored Troops, but there were also ex-slaves who were forced into those units to fight and there were many more ex-slaves who were forced into construction crews.  And there were many slaves who were forced off the plantations and farms by "liberating" Yankees whether they wanted to leave or not and often as not left to starve.  And come to think of it, if the object of the North's altruism was to liberate the (Southern) slaves, then what kind of plan was that?  To crush the places where they lived, burn the fields, burn the houses, burn the warehouses, the mills, the shops.  The Yankee troops carrying back home all the valuables they could carry and the carpet baggers coming after them to steal the rest?  Hardly any stock animals left, no seed, no money, many households without men.  And to turn the nearly 9 million slaves lose into this, skilled mostly in now useless labor, penniless and property-less and not welcomed "up North" so left to compete for the same meager resources -and eventually power- as the ex-Confederates.  Well, why not?  It was the same plan used to push the American Indian further and further westward, using war and land-grabs and disease and later the wanton killing of their buffalo herds.  But that apparently doesn't count as racist.  Treating the large influx of Chinese workers as expendable railroad workers and denying them citizenship (same Supreme Court justice responsible for the "Jim Crow" laws) wasn't racist, either.  The uncomfortable truth is that all of the 19th century was racist, here in America and abroad.  To people of Northern European stock, anyone who was not white was beneath them and were treated with either benevolence or malevolance as time or circumstances or economics made fashionable.  And bigotism extended beyond races, as anyone from a different country or socio-economic background was looked down on.  If you can think of a derogatory name then it was used on all sides against all other sides: Jews, Irish, Germans, Italians and on and on and on.  If the Yankees had been half-smart, they would each and every one reached in their pocket and paid for the manumission of the Southern slaves (I think the Mississippi Decleration of Causes valued the loss of slave property at $4billion) and found some home for them and sent volunteers to train them for new trades and how to function independently.  This was proposed by James Monroe (Southerner) and others before the war (Liberia) and Ulysses Grant after the war (by annexing Santo Domingo and populating it entirely with "colored people", paragraphs 18 and 19 of the Conclusion in his Memoirs).  If Southerners had been half-smart they would have freed every slave and gave them a Xerox copy of a map to show the way North.  I'm sure the kindly Yankees would have opened their doors and hearts and larders and pocketbooks and would never have thought, with the problem so close at hand, to have segregated their schools and businesses.  Or their army up till the Korean Conflict.  And their numerous trade associations would have gladly allowed low-cost competition for their jobs.  The often-touted Underground Railroad was a trickle, but would the North have tolerated the flood or would they have turned out the militia to guard the borders and turn 'em all around?

Now that I've got you thinking that I'm a racist (the white on black kind) well, maybe I am some.  I wouldn't want my daughters to date or marry a black man, or a yellow or a red man, either.  But if I were black or yellow or red I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want my daughters to marry a white man, so I'm not sure what that proves except that I'm not a white-supremacist.  Ethnocentric, maybe, in the sense that I prefer my own kind - whatever that kind is.  I'm disgusted with welfare abuses, so-called "diversity" as it being implemented, corporate blackmail by Jesse Jackson, and the attitude that all of problems plagueing the black community somehow stem from slavery.  (Slavery may not given them te tools to jump right in as productive members of society, but the Northern "cure" sure didn't either, nor has most of the well-meaning modern cures, either.)  But I have friends who are black, I have no problem admitting that in college I had a black girl in my classes who, with her intelligence, had more right to be there than I did, or that I would have no problem with working for a black boss or voting for Colin Powell or Condoleeza Rice for President.  So, if there is a scorecard for racism, I don't know how I would score or, if they were honest, how most people of any color would score. 

But I am a product of the 20th century (the last six or seven years haven't changed me much) and whatever scorecard can be used for me today cannot be used for a 19th century man.  I cannot imagine going to a public hanging and taking my family and us all eating treats from a vendor while watching some guy die.  I cannot imagine standing by while a sailor was strapped to a cannon or hatch and flogged into unconsiousness (U.S. Navy banned only in 1851).  Or having to work all day and well into the night to bring the crops in (under a harvest moon) for weeks on end.  Or settling "questions of honor" with a duel.  Or having death from disease (and quite often from the medical practice used to treat it) and from childbirth being rampant.  I am lucky enough to have letters written during those times by my ancestors and I can only marvel at their courage and their trust in God.  They expected only sorrow and toil during their walk on Earth -and why not?- with the only relief coming with the end of the journey when they were certain that they'd spend eternity in Paradise.  As a 20th century man I cannot imagine having slaves.  I would not even feel comfortable having a maid.  But I was not born into a slave-owning family, having grown up alongside slaves who's fathers had grown up alongside my father, all products of unbroken millenia in a slave-owning world.  Does that make slavery right?  Because one set of States outgrew the need for slaves, does that suddenly (in little more than a century) wrong?  Understand, I'm not advocating slavery.  I just don't understand how the use of slaves is like a game of tag; that the last one to have been touched is "it", where in this case "it" is the appellation of being a racist.

-Confederado (sorry so long...I had some extra time on my hands).

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