Remembering Alabama’s Secession and “Lincoln bin laden”

You gotta love these commemorative events that on the surface seem to be about the Civil War, but are little more than forums for folks to complain about what they perceive to be our own oppressive government.  They always seem to bring together a true cast of characters.  In this case there is John Eidsmoe, Professor Emeritus of Constitutional Law Emeritus at the Thomas Goode Jones School of Law, who goes on and on about the compact theory of government and states rights as an explanation for Alabama’s secession without ever mentioning slavery, as well as a woman who wears a t-shirt with Frederick Douglass, who she believes was an advocate for limited government.   All of them were brought together as a result of one Patricia Godwin who believes that the decision on the part of Confederate forces to fire on Fort Sumter was carried out because “Lin­coln bin laden had fortified the fort with arms and sup­plies.”  By the way, you won’t find one black person in the audience.  I guess they don’t remember secession as a crucial moment of freedom from an oppressive government.  The best part of this video is the end when a few of the participants are asked what would have happened if the southern states had never seceded.  Their responses are priceless.  I guess I just find it funny that people who believe in limited government would identify so closely with the Confederacy.  They must not know their history.

By the way, just in case you are interested in why the state of Alabama seceded, you will not find it in this video:

WHEREAS, the election of Abraham Lincoln and Hannibal Hamlin to the offices of President and Vice-President of the United States of America, by a sectional party, avowedly hostile to the domestic institutions and to the peace and security of the people of the State of Alabama, preceded by many and dangerous infractions of the Constitution of the United States by many of the States and people of the northern section, is a political wrong of so insulting and menacing a character as to justify the people of the State of Alabama in the adoption of prompt and decided measures for their future peace and security; therefore,

Be it declared and ordained by the people of the State of Alabama in Convention assembled , That the State of Alabama now withdraws, and is hereby withdrawn from the Union known as “the United States of America”, and henceforth ceases to be one of said United States, and is, and of right ought to be, a Sovereign and Independent State.

66 thoughts on “Remembering Alabama’s Secession and “Lincoln bin laden”

  1. R.Taubman

    The professor’s statement that Canadian provinces have a say in foreign affairs is not true. Canada’s federal government speaks with one voice, not 11. Well, maybe Quebec gets to say a bit more about foreign affairs than the rest of the provinces. That’s when she’s not complaining about how hard done-by she is.

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  2. mariannedavis

    Patricia Godwin might have to explore her point a bit. What is a fort if not “fortified . . . with arms and supplies?” As for the Professor Emeritus, though the Thos Goode Jones School has been around since 1928, the American Bar Association only granted them full approval in December of 2009. Do we have the seeds of another Yankee imperialist dirigiste plot here?

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  3. Matt McKeon

    Professor emeritus of Constitutional Law emertius? Maybe he was actually in the Redundancy Department of Redundancy.

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      1. margaretdblough

        Kevin-In many, if not all, states, you can't even take the bar exam if you haven't graduated from an accredited law school unless you meet a whole lot of additional, rather severe requirements. The Pennsylvania rule for being eligible to take the bar exam is at http://www.pabarexam.org/bar_admission_rules/20…. I'll get off the bar exam topic now. I passed mine on the first try, but I still have some dandy PTSD moments about the whole thing.<g>

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  4. Ken Noe

    Patricia Godwin is best known in these parts for (a) erecting a monument to Nathan Bedford Forrest in a black neighborhood of Selma (0r “Zimbabwe on de Alabamy” as she likes to call it), and (b) her appearance in the NPS movie at the Selma-to-Montgomery March Visitor's Center, an occasion she describes succinctly as ” the mother of all orgies….They were told that they would have all the sex, all the liquor, and all the interracial relationships that they could stand.” Perhaps not surprisingly, Judge Roy Moore of Ten Commandments monument fame, whose foundation hosted the event, already is trying to distance himself from it: http://tinyurl.com/yasyedz

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    1. Johnnie McEwen Parker

      I know Patricia Godwin personally and have never once heard her make a statement like that. Her name is smeared all over the net as having made statements of this sort….. the net is well used in this manner by those who wish to further their cause or agenda of hatred.

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          1. Johnnie McEwen Parker

            Went to the links posted and the things she speaks of here did happen in Selma. If we desecrated monuments in your part of the country would you not loudly complain??? As for the “Orgy” comment, that was passed on to our family (no relation to Godwin) by a close relative who was with the AL. State Troopers at the time. It was also in print in a few newspapers who refused to sugar coat the situation. Also, I suppose Godwin has the liberty to sign her name in any form she chooses as this is a free country. What she has said is in no way any worse than what the north says about the South. If I had your education and where-with-all I do believe I would use it to help mend the hard feelings in this country rather than just outright make fun of someone. We’re tired of being called “trailer park trash” down here! If our ancestors who fought against one another could get over it in their day there is certainly no respect being shown to them by makng things worse now. Pat Cleburne said it best; “Surrender means the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy.” He was right and even though I admire the man’s foresight, it is sad that he was right. Delete what I write if you wish to or keep it around so you can have a good laugh over my words but I speak from my heart…….. and these are my feelings, not just words.

            Johnnie McEwen Parker,
            Sylacaua, Alabama

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            1. Kevin Levin Post author

              I don’t see anyone here being disrespectful to you and the people who read and comment on this blog do not fit into your neat little categories of North v. South. That’s your world.

              Not sure why you are responding to me since I did not make the claims your are responding to

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              1. Ken Noe

                No disrespect here, I was just trying to point out that I wasn’t engaged in a “smear” or making things up.

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  5. margaretdblough

    Som many errors in such a short clip (I wish there could be a law against the abuse of the Scottish national flag, the saltire, by these yo-yos. <sigh>.) Of course, it appears that Ms. Godwin doesn't know or doesn't care that Ft. Sumter was already a federal fort, which made it federal property under the Constitution or that Anderson moved his men from the increasingly insecure Ft. Moultrie to Ft. Sumter while Buchanan was president and that Buchanan not only refused to order Anderson to abandon Sumter but mounted the first attempt to resupply Ft. Sumter in January with the failed “Star of the West” expedition. As for taxes and tariffs, the Walker tariff of 1857 brought tariff rates so low that it was blamed by many non-Southerners for the Panic of 1857 and ensuing depression.

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  6. margaretdblough

    Ironically, the got them liquored up scenario was one of the two major rationales by which Confederates tried to eliminate the cognitive dissonance between their beliefs about black capabilities and bravery by black units in the US Army (the other was the logistically mind-boggling belief that the troops were forced to attack by whites with bayonets at their back.)

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  7. Michael Lynch

    I wonder where she got the idea that Lincoln's resupply mission to Sumter included arms. Come to think of it, I wonder where she got a great many of her ideas.

    –ML

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    1. Johnnie McEwen Parker

      I believe you will find an account of Fox’s orders from lincoln in the O.R. Might want to check that out. The supply shipment was bringing armed reenforcements per orders from lincoln….. and his sec. of war. It’s in there so look it up and you won’t have to wonder. And btw, I am after the truth here, not an argument.

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  8. pathfinder

    Kevin, thanks for the post. It was interesting to see my old law professor, John Eidsmoe, making your blog. I had Eidsmoe for Constitutional Law I and II. I'm not quite sure how he evolved into becoming one of the Confederacy's most ardent defenders. He is a midwesterner! However, I do not recall his personal opinions ever getting in the way of his teaching. He only had positive comments about papers that I completed on Hugo Black and Earl Warren! His opinions outside the classroom are another matter, but you may find this the case in any institution of higher education.

    Since I may be the only graduate of the Thomas Goode Jones School of Law of Faulkner University who reads this blog, I would caution some of the readers not to attack the intergrity of the law school unless you have some substantive knowledge of it. Graduates of the law school have been permitted to take the bar exam in Alabama since the school's founding. There have been a number of fine jurist in the state who are among its graduates. While it may not measure up to a Harvard or a Yale, it currently has one of the highest pass rates on the bar exam in the state. There are a number of states which do allow graduates of non-ABA approved schools to sit for the bar. We are not in Pennsylvania, so the rule there doesn't apply to us! While this certainly doesn't apply in the case of Jones, any start-up law school would not initially have ABA approval. While a lot has changed at Jones since I graduated, it has made monumental strides in becoming one of the premier law schools in the state. It has provided a great service over the years.

    Jimmy

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  9. boydharris

    hilarious. Especially the lady who believes the war was fought over high taxes and tariffs! Yeah, nothing riles up people more than tariffs. 620,000 dead and nearly a million wounded because of tariffs. LOL!

    Take away all the comments about the Confederacy and just focusing on the bumper stickers and signs, this seems like an outgrowth of the Tea Party movement. I think I even saw a sign advocating the abolishment of the Federal Reserve. I do have a question, about your title having “bin laden” after Lincoln. I did not hear anyone refer to him that way in the video. Did I miss a previous post?

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  10. heidic

    Very interesting – the gentlemen who believes the South would have come to assume a dominion-like status had the South not seceeded is clearly not familiar with the certian degree of subjugation that comes with being a dominion. These people need to study history, but memory obscures history…and is much more powerful than reality…

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  11. EarthTone

    What's amazing is that these folks don't see the irony and absurdity of their comments. One guy says the war was about freedom and liberty… and apparently ignores the 4 million slaves who were deprived of their freedom and liberty.

    And the woman with the Frederick Douglass shirt… what is she thinking?

    If somebody had made this into a satirical skit, some folks would complain that the skit was making fun of certain groups of Southerners. But for these people it's not a joke… it's just scary bizarre.

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    1. margaretdblough

      That particular bit of cognitive dissonance plagued the republic from its earliest days. Samuel Johnson famously wrote in “Taxation No Tyranny”: How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?” Abigail Adams wrote John Adams in 1774, ” “it always appeared a most iniquitous scheme to me to fight ourselves for what we are daily robbing and plundering from those who have as good a right to freedom as we have.”

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  12. lilchungly

    I think what that lady meant to say was, “Frederick Douglass appreciated the sanctity of life because for a grand period of his, he had been limited to being governed by a whip. It was because of this tyrannical form of government, he took the responsibility upon his own person, to free himself, and become a profound supporter of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments of the Constitution of the United States.”

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  13. Dan Wright

    If everyone who reads this blog would contribute a dollar or two, we could buy a poster-size print of the Alabama Ordinance of Secession – maybe even frame it – and send it to this group. Maybe they would display it among the Confederate flags and photos of Confederate heroes. Who knows, somebody might even read it.

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  14. Denver

    The only fact mentioned I disagree with; by firing on Ft. Sumter, Davis did in fact provoke the War of Northern Aggression. Had the South not attacked, Lincoln would have had no choice but to accept secession.

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    1. Margaret D. Blough

      How can it be “northern aggression” if Davis provoked it? Other than that, you’re quite wrong. Lincoln had no intention of accepting secession/rebellion. There was plenty of precedent. Washington led an army to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion. Madison was prepared to use military force to suppress secession if the Hartford Convention had voted in favor of it & he supported Jackson’s promise to use force during the Nullification Crisis. What Ft. Sumter did was solidify Northern support for suppressing the rebellion. It’s been likened to the effect that Pearl Harbor had in eliminating opposition to US entry into WW II. Robert Toombs, the only member of the Confederate cabinet who opposed ordering the attack on Ft. Sumter (you know you’re in trouble when Robert Toombs is the most reasonable person in a group) predicted what happened when he told Davis during that fateful cabinet meeting, ““Mr. President, at this time it is suicide, murder, and will lose us every friend at the North. You will wantonly strike a hornet’s nest which extends from mountains to ocean, and legions now quiet will swarm out and sting us to death. It is unnecessary; it puts us in the wrong; it is fatal.”

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      1. Kevin Levin Post author

        No one was “forced” to do anything. Confederate authorities chose to respond by firing on Fort Sumter.

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        1. Johnnie McEwen Parker

          Alright, the South seceded from the union……. lincoln resupplies sumpter afterward…. what did lincoln think the South would do upon his resupplying that fort???? He certainly did not think they were going to throw their hands up in the air and surrender now did he. He knew they would fire on sumpter and he pushed for that so he could claim the South started the war…… we fired the first shot! That got lincoln and the north off the hook didn’t it?? Of course. Use your head please.

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          1. Kevin Levin Post author

            Mr. Parker,

            I have absolutely no interest in engaging in a discussion with you over a personal belief based on absolutely no evidence and a great deal of assumption.

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  15. Johnniie McEwen Parker

    Please know your facts before you spew stupidity. What was said in this video is correct. As for reason for secession; Take a look at _both_ the Articles of Secession and Causes of Secession. The language is a bit different and there is an Article and a Cause for each Southern State.

    The Bedford Forrest monument was not placed “In a black neighborhood,” rather was erected at the Smitherman Bldg. in Selma where you will also find a small Confederate Museum and Confederate balls are held here each year. There is not one thing wrong with preserving history as it was rather than rewrite it as most of you would like to do!!! Instead of remaing ignorant on Forrest….. Please read author Jack Hurst’s bio on him and get the facts….. then distort them any way you wish…… if you can!!!

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    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      The Bedford Forrest monument was not placed “In a black neighborhood,” rather was erected at the Smitherman Bldg.

      You seem to think that only African Americans might find a monument to Forrest to be problematic – how convenient. As for a biography of Forrest, I recommend Brian Steel Wills’s book. Thanks for the comment.

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    2. Andy Hall

      Your response seems to be in response to Ken Noe’s comment from 2+ years ago. It would be more clear if you replied directly to it.

      As for Jack Hurst’s biography of Forrest, it’s very clear about — among many other things — Forrest’s involvement with the Klan and his false and dissembling testimony to Congress about it later. Forrest was a complicated man, to be sure, but there’s plenty in his history that should give people pause.

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      1. Johnnie McEwen Parker

        Groan…. Someone had already posted that the Forrest monument was placed in a “black neighborhood”….. I was merely telling you where it was placed.

        Thanks for the suggested reading, however I read the book you mentioned and every other book on Forrest I could find……. have studied the man for the past 20 years. Forrest was a man of his time so please tell me how you would compare him to officers in the union army such as Sherman, Sheridan, Turchin and (shall I go on) who did wage war on non combatantants in the South? Or was their disgusting behaviour acceptable so long as it was done only to Southerners?

        Authors often state opinion as fact in their books and I have found this to be the case in many of the books I read on Forrest especially the earlier ones because some of those statements and accounts were given falsely, even back then for the “tellers” fifteen minutes of fame! I refuse to quote speculation as fact because there are too many conflicting accounts written by different authors. I dig for my facts. A half truth is no truth at all.

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          1. Andy Hall

            For someone who comes trolling around on a two-and-a-half-year-old comment thread, you sure have a strong sense of entitlement to demand an immediate response to a question posed at 3 o’clock in the morning. Wow.

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              1. Michael Rodgers

                “Or was their disgusting behaviour acceptable so long as it was done only to Southerners?” is not a question but an accusation. And, it really, really goes without saying, unfounded at that.

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        1. Andy Hall

          Forrest was a man of his time so please tell me how you would compare him to officers in the union army such as Sherman, Sheridan, Turchin and (shall I go on) who did wage war on non combatantants in the South?

          They were just “men of their time,” of course. (I can play that game, too.)

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      2. Ken Noe

        Last time I looked, Andy, the Smitherman Building was “in a black neighborhood.” Of course I haven’t been in Selma in a couple of years.

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        1. Johnnie McEwen Parker

          The Smitherman Bldg. was not originaly in a black neighborhood. Check your history on Selma.

          I was there the day the monument was unveiled and several black protestors behaved rudely, using foul language and obscene gestures. Our people were decent enough to not respond to that kind of behaviour. We ignored them. One young black man was standing no more than three feet away from me. After shaking his head slowly back and forth I heard his say these words; “There are times my own race is an embarasment to me!” (No, he was not a protestor… he was there because one of his ancestors rode with Forrest…. just as one of mine did.) I simply do not understand the hate mongering here and I didn’t understand it then…… neither did that young man. We had something in common even though we were of different races. Good-day and God Bless.

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          1. Michael Douglas

            You really *are* a piece of work, y’know. You folks are always willing to trot out some “pet negro” who’s in opposition to the “bad” blacks to justify your bullcrap. Yes, I speak “subtext” quite well, thank you. ;)

            To pull a page from your playbook, let’s just say that these protesters were also people of their “time,” fully aware of the horror that bastard unleashed on their ancestors, and neither willing nor required to smile and shuffle about it.

            As far as behaving rudely, using foul language and obscene gestures go. . .maybe these people of their time remembered the hatred, obscenity and invective poured out upon the heads of innocent children attempting to attend school; hatred from the likes of those who would honor the founder of the Klan.

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            1. Johnnie McEwen Parker

              In Forrest’s time slave trading was legal but is usless to try to make that point here.

              I detest the klan with a passion and I detest the fact that there was ever slavery in the South. I hope anyone who reads that statement can understand that I mean that. Just keep in mind that northerners were the ones made rich off the slave trade by selling their human cargo to Southerners after the blacks became a people the north did not want to deal with. Try Grady McWhinty’s book, “Cracker Culter, Celtic ways in the Old South.” Read some of Frank Owlsley’s writing about life in the South. No one has yet to prove either of them wrong on what they wrote. Useless to go on about the info in the books. Read it for yourselves if you dare. That’s it for me…. I am a proud Southerner who will honor my ancestors and my heritage……. and brave men like N.B. Forrest!

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              1. Johnnie McEwen Parker

                Mr. Douglas, Forrest was not a founder of the klan (no caps ever.) I have studied this matter in defense of Forrest. In the Law Offices of Judge Thomas Jones, Pulaski, TN. the klan was founded by the following ex confederate soldiers; Frank O. McCord, John C. Lester, John B. Kennedy, James R. Crowe, Richard R. Reed and J. Calvin Jones…… all young, prominent men with nothing better to do. It started out as a joke and at first it was harmless enough. They passed their time playing pranks on balcks and some so called low life whites as well. The who, when, where and how of Forrest’s first introduction to the klan has never been known as this is lost to history. Some claim he was introduced to the klan by John Morton, some say John Gordon….. and on and on. The date of the founding of the klan is not even known…… speculation by experts, not by myself say it was founded in late 1865 or early 1866. It is believed that Forrest was introduced to the klan late in 1877 and it has never been proven that he was the klan’s grand wizzard. What is public knowledge is that Forrest called for an end to the klan when their actions became too violent. His statement calling for an end to the klan was published in newspapers in TN. as well as other states and can be found if you wish to look that up. If you want to talk about a mass uprising of the klan look for it it the state of INDIANA…. about 1933. Google D.C. Stevenson who was then the klan “boss” and had nearly every politician in the state of Indiana in his pocket ……. he ran that state until he was sent to prison for rape and murder. And those sir, are facts and they are facts you can find. Sorry, but that was a big boo-boo on your part when you named Forrest as the founder of the klan and tells me there is plenty of ignorance on this subject on this site. I am not a klan supporter, never have been and will not even spell the name of the kkk with caps. Keep in mind that everything I have said here can be verified…… All of you seem to have a problem with what anyone other than your people post on the net so I would suggest you go to a good library to do your research and think twice before you state an untruth as a fact!!!! For shame! :)

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                1. Andy Hall

                  “Some claim he was introduced to the klan by John Morton. . . .”

                  Um, John Morton claimed that in his own autobiography. Morton was a lifelong friend and admirer of Forrest, and assisted Thomas Dixon,. Jr., in writing a piece in 1905 for the Metropolitan Magazine about his (Morton’s) swearing in Forrest into the Klan in fall of 1866. Morton apparently liked it so much that, when he published a memoir of the war in 1909, he included an appendix in which Dixon expanded his earlier magazine story.

                  Lots of other people who were in a position to have direct and personal knowledge of Forrest’s involvement stated flat-out that he was a member, including James R. Crowe, one of the group’s original founders in Pulaski.

                  Lookit, you can (and will) believe anything you want, and dismiss volumes of documentation as being insufficient “proof” for you. Fine, whatever. But for people who approach this objectively, the evidence is all there.

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                  1. Johnnie McEwen Parker

                    I have already tried to reply to your claim that Forrest and Morton were lifelong friends….. they were not. Sad to say that I did not care for some of Morton’s claims as none of them can be proven. What has been stated by myself about Forrest and the klan is in Jack Hurst’s book …… with references if you care to look them up. Bet this doesn’t make it to the board either. Bye y’all. I am going back to the real world where truth exists and people are allowed to have opinions without being treated rudely. J.M.P.

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                    1. Kevin Levin Post author

                      No one has treated you rudely. If you are not prepared to respond to serious questions than you probably will want to go elsewhere.

                      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

                    2. Andy Hall

                      At the risk of extending a dead-end thread still farther (sorry, Kevin), and giving you another excuse to complain about people being rude to you when they challenge your assertions, I cannot imagine why you keep citing Jack Hurst’s biography of Forrest, when he’s quite specific about Forrest’s recruitment into the Klan by John Morton and John C. Brown, his title as Grand Wizard, and his active involvement with the group. Furthermore, Hurst eviscerates Forrest’s testimony before Congress in 1871, which is often cited as “proof” that Forrest was not involved. It was, frankly, Hurst’s biography that convinced me not only of Forrest’s connection with the Klan, but his ongoing and active involvement in it.

                      Simply put, Jack Hurst’s book doesn’t say what you seem to think it does.

  16. Betty Hill

    Ft. Sumter was illegally occupied by the North after South Carolina had already seceded. Up until that time Ft. Sumter was unfinished and unoccupied. Therefore it reverted to South Carolina who was only required to reimburse the Federal Government. By the way the first legally owned for life Black slave in Jamestown Va. was owned by a Black man. See Anthony Johnson and John Casar. There were quite a few black slave owners at the time of the war of Northern Aggression.
    http://www.Citizensforaconstitutionalrepublic.com/benson_Jr1-1-09.html

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    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Hi Betty,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I highly recommend that you read Black Masters by Michael Johnson and James Roark.

      I don’t have much patience for websites that masquerade as sources for responsible history. This is a complex subject and Mr. Benson is not the one you want to be reading nor is such a website where you want to go for history. Thanks.

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    2. Michael Rodgers

      “Illegally” is a judgment that begs the question, “Says who?” “Already seceded” is another judgment: yes, secession had been declared, but had secession been accomplished? Who “required” South Carolina to reimburse the federal government? Ughhh.

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    3. Michael Douglas

      Been boning up on your Apologist Manual, I see. What does your dubious anecdotal rendering of the complex history of black slave-ownership have to do with this?

      My g-g-g-g-grandmother, a free mulatto woman, bought my g-g-g-g-grandfather, a black slave. My g-g-g-grandfather, a black and Cherokee man, owned my g-g-g-grandmother. Both of these partnerings were until death and both “ownerships” were for different reasons, none of them malign. So yes, there were black people who owned slaves. But to compare these complex stories to the culture of white supremacy and chattel bondage that were part and parcel of the culture of the “peculiar institution” is grasping at best and intellectually dishonest at worst.

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    4. SF Walker

      The shoals upon which Ft. Sumter was built were purchased from the state of South Carolina by the Federal government and the fort was built with Federal funds. Even after South Carolina’s secession, the installation thus still belonged to the US government. There is no provision in either the US or state constitution which decrees that it would revert to South Carolina’s control in any event. However, the President was under a Constitutional obligation to defend the fort. The issue thus becomes one of illegal seizure of Federal property by South Carolina.

      Even more egregious was the Rebel occupation of Fort Pulaski, Georgia, another Federal installation. The Georgia militia seized this fort on Jan. 3, 1861, before Georgia had even formed a convention to vote on the question of seceding from the Union. How can this act upon what was still US soil be justified by any existing law at the time?

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