|View single post by Texas Defender|
|Posted: Tue Dec 4th, 2012 01:13 pm||
In George F. Root's song: "Battle Cry of Freedom," there is no line that goes: "Down with the traitors, up with the flag."
The correct line that you profess to love goes: "Down with the traitors, up with the stars." (Or: "star" in some versions.).
The Battle Cry of Freedom
There were many 150 years ago who considered that secession itself or firing on federal facilities constituted treason, but treason can only be committed against one's own country. The Confederates claimed to no longer be part of the United States of America, and to have established a separate country.
When the war ended, many in the north wanted the major Confederate figures to be tried for treason, but no such trials were actually concluded. Jefferson Davis was indicted for treason in Virginia after the war, which began a legal wrangle that lasted four years.
It was well known that Davis planned to use the defense that secession was legal under the U.S. Constitution. If the Federal Government failed to convict Davis, that would have legitimized the legality of secession and undermined the Government's position that the Confederacy never existed as a nation, and that the eleven states had never actually left the Union. (This position was finally upheld legally by the USSC decision Texas v. White in 1869).
Faced with the dilemma about what to do in the Davis case, the Government kept delaying the trial. Well respected legal minds of the day pointed out that the Government did not have a strong case. Prominent figures like USSC Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase and U.S. Attorney General William M. Evarts did not want to risk losing the case, and so a way out was found and all charges against Davis were eventually dropped.
In the end, no Confederate official was ever convicted of treason against the United States.
Southern Heritage 411
As an aside, U.S. Attorney General William M. Evarts defended President Andrew Johnson in his impeachment case. He also officially dropped the charges against Jefferson Davis.
A great grandson of Evarts was Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor appointed to investigate the Watergate scandal over a hundred years after the conclusion of the Johnson impeachment trial, as well as the case against Jefferson Davis.
Last edited on Tue Dec 4th, 2012 02:41 pm by Texas Defender