Remembering Confederate Conscription

Given my last post I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that today is the 150th anniversary of the Confederate Conscription Act, which made  all white males between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five eligible to be drafted into military service.  This was the first draft in American history.

It could be celebrated by those who believe that that the Confederate government was justified in instituting any measure necessary to bring about independence from such a corrupt government in Washington.  The problem is that the memory of Confederate heritage tends to avoid any challenge to a vague notion of a principled defense of states rights such as the centralization of power in Richmond that only increased as the war dragged on.

What is lost, however, is any acknowledgment of continued resistance against the Confederate government by such governors as Vance and Brown as well as countless others, who worried about the dangers associated with concentrated power.  Instead folks such as Thomas DiLorenzo rail against Lincoln for his supposedly corrupt efforts and embrace Davis and the Confederacy as counter-revolutionary.  Such a picture completely ignores the rich history of states rights advocacy that continued within the Confederacy itself.

7 comments

What Would Your Confederate Ancestor Say?

SC Sen. Mike Rose tells fellow senators that if they don’t vote to let the state take over Medicare from the federal government, the ghosts of their Confederate ancestors will be very unhappy with them.  My guess is that this argument has less rhetorical appeal compared to years past.  I would love to have seen the faces of those African American state representatives.

By extension, I think we can safely assume that our Confederate ancestors would also not support voting for Obama this coming November. Here is an older post for those of you who are still convinced that the brief Confederate experiment had anything to do with the protection of states rights.

12 comments

Visualizing Emancipation

This is one of those days when I desperately wish I was in the classroom teaching my course on the American Civil War.  Yesterday the Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond released Visualizing Emancipation, which allows you to track individual emancipation events on a timeline.  As it stands you can track different types of emancipation events along, filter results by different kinds of records and even add your own events to the database.

The project will surely yield insights that are not discernible through traditional sources, but what emerges at first glance is the importance of both railroads and waterways as avenues of emancipation as well as the Union army.  Congratulations to Scott Nesbit and the rest of the team at DSL for producing such an incredible resource.

In other news, for those of you in the Richmond area there will be a slew of events on Saturday as part of their Civil War and Emancipation Day celebrations.  Check it out.

11 comments

Robert E. Lee’s Reflection

It’s been some time since we had fun with Civil War artists.  This is Mort Kunstler’s newest print, titled “Lee’s Great Decision.”  I’ve been looking at this for the past 15 minutes and I finally figured out what is bothering me.  Given the angle at which Kunstler painted this scene, the wall mirror should be reflecting the furniture  It just doesn’t work.  The perspective is all out of whack.  The other thing I don’t quite get is the placement of Lee’s sword on the chair.  I find it difficult to imagine that he would walk into such a room and place it there as if were a coat.

Finally, where are the Confederate flags?

27 comments

Steer Us To the Promised Land, Bubba

Bubba Watson winning this year’s Masters tournament may be just the boost that Confederate heritage folks are looking for.  Watson is the proud owner of the iconic General Lee from the “Dukes of Hazzard.”

The General Lee, like the Masters, was a dream. “I almost passed out when I saw it,” Watson said. The car is “jump ready” with roll bars, Watson said, and “it’s not like it’s easy to get into.” He did not plan to do any jumps in the car, even before he was the Masters champ.  “But I want to drive it,” Watson said in January. “I’m not going to sit like an old man and stare at it in the garage. I’m going to drive it, honk the horn at people and all that good stuff.”

Oh, he will do just fine.

8 comments