Learn the Truth About Confederate Heritage & History

Confederate flagI couldn’t agree more. You can start here.

Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth

“Levin’s study is the first of its kind to blueprint and then debunk the mythology of enslaved African Americans who allegedly served voluntarily in behalf of the Confederacy.”–Journal of Southern History

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22 comments… add one
  • bob carey Aug 2, 2016 @ 12:24

    Did anyone happen to notice that one of Trump’s sons came out in favor of Mississippi retaining the current design of its’ flag. The old man supported Gov. Haley in South Carolina when the State removed the CBF from capitol grounds. There seems to be a bit of duplicity here, or is the media going to be blamed again?

    • Kevin Levin Aug 2, 2016 @ 12:29

      His position conflicts with Trump’s position against the display of the Confederate battle flag, which he voiced last year.

    • Andy Hall Aug 2, 2016 @ 14:43

      I saw that, but I didn’t read anything in his comments suggesting that the younger Trump was especially informed on the matter — he seemed simply to be using what is now the campaign’s usual line about not being “politically correct.” I get the impression that he was doing what his father does instinctively (and well) — reading the mood of the audience and responding to that without actually saying anything specific.

  • James Simcoe Aug 2, 2016 @ 12:02

    Budiansky’s ‘The Bloody Shirt’ underscores how vital the dynamics of ‘control of narrative’ were to the post war former secessionist apologists. Led by our very own Josef Goebbels, Jubal Early, with the full support of the head of The Southern Historical Society, John Gordon, it WAS a matter of, ‘Get the people to believe the Big Lie and you can then make them believe anything’, Goebbels perfect summation of mind control theory. Am I anti – Southern? Hardly, some of my favorite Americans of the 19th century are Southerners – Prince Rivers, Frederick Douglass, George Thomas, James Longstreet, John Mercer Langston, Cassius Marcellus Clay, Charles Hayes of Alabama and Patrick Cleburne. Mr. R. E. Lee never had a good word to say about Black Folks. The author of the groundbreaking, ‘Reading the Man’ indicated that she had not chosen the worst examples of hiss ethno-phobia. The General told the questioner at his congressional hearing after the war that his desired effect of gradual emancipation was that all Black persons residing in Virginia would be removed.
    In 1900 (’02?), the initial platform statement of the Democratic Maryland nominating convention stated, “There is only one issue before us, and that is Negro suffrage, forced on us against our will.” You know, the South did rise again, its called Jazz, Blues, rock and roll and Country Western. If you weren’t paying attention, you missed it.

  • Bryce Hartranft Aug 2, 2016 @ 11:42

    Re: the Confederate battle flag was turned racist, rather than always being racist.

    I have had this discussion with people before. They always resort to some of the same points.

    1) North during the Civil War was just as racist as the south. E.g. lynchings of blacks during NY draft riots.
    2) American flag was founded under a slave government, why not get rid of it also?

    I feel like there are more, but they are not coming to me at the moment. Has anyone gotten these before and how do they respond?

    • Kevin Levin Aug 2, 2016 @ 11:47

      1) Whites in the North were racist and many of the states did pass discriminatory laws at different points during the antebellum period.

      2) The flag of the United States is connected with the early history of the United States as a slaveholding nation. There is no way around it. All of us have a responsibility to acknowledge that history and do our part to bring this country closer to its founding ideals. That is why we ought not to get rid of our flag.

      • Bryce Hartranft Aug 2, 2016 @ 15:24

        Devil’s advocate:

        1) If the north was racist, how can you criticize the south?

        2) “The flag…is connected with the early history…as a slaveholding nation. There is no way around it….That is why we ought not to get rid of our flag.” How is this different than Confederate flagger arguments?

        • Kevin Levin Aug 2, 2016 @ 15:34

          1) What do you mean by, “criticize the South”?

          2) The Stars and Stripes is the flag of this nation. The Confederate battle flag is not.

          • Bryce Hartranft Aug 2, 2016 @ 17:15

            1) If the North during the Civil War was racist, how can you criticize the Confederacy?

            2) Fair enough.

            • Kevin Levin Aug 2, 2016 @ 17:18

              I still don’t understand the comparison you are trying to make. The Confederacy was fighting to protect and defend slavery. The United States was not.

              • Bryce Hartranft Aug 2, 2016 @ 17:23

                Your arguments run about the same as mine did.

                1) North may have been racist, but at least they officially fought to end slavery.

                2) America deserves more consideration since they are our country.

                Still didn’t convince them.

                • Kevin Levin Aug 2, 2016 @ 17:26

                  Probably more accurate to say that the United States fought to preserve the Union and ending slavery proved to be a means of achieving that end.

                  • Erick Hare Aug 2, 2016 @ 20:01

                    Kevin, this is probably the most succint explanation of the North, and Lincoln’s objectives in the war. If people simply took some time to see how this duality motivated Lincoln, Grant, Sherman, and subsequently the Union’s war effort then there would be a lost less boneheaded arguments over these issues.

                    The problem is I don’t see certain segments of the people debating these issues willing to take time to really research things from the time, much less really listen to others who have done research to any credible degree.

                  • Forester Aug 2, 2016 @ 23:09

                    Kevin said: “The Confederacy was fighting to protect and defend slavery. The United States was not.”

                    Gotta disagree there. They both fought for slavery; the Confederacy just called a spade a spade and owned it.

                    The United States bent over backwards to bury slavery in euphemisms (“other persons”) while still codifying slavery into their new constitution. And why not? The Somerset decision of 1772 had Americans (and not all of them southern) shaking in their boots. Slavery probably would have ended thirty years earlier if the Americans had lost.

                    • Kevin Levin Aug 3, 2016 @ 1:42

                      They both fought for slavery; the Confederacy just called a spade a spade and owned it.

                      I think you need to do a better job of explaining this statement.

                    • Forester Aug 3, 2016 @ 5:59

                      Sorry, I was tired last night. I wrote that around 3:00am.

                      What I was trying to say is that the Confederate constitution called slavery what it actually was, where the US constitution avoids the word “slave.” But functionally, both constitutions protected slavery.

                      But I’m confused about the conversation here — are we discussing the Civil War or “the early history of the United States as a slaveholding nation”? The comment thread is rather confusing.

                    • Kevin Levin Aug 3, 2016 @ 6:25

                      One constitution was enacted specifically to protect the institution of slavery and the other protected it as property, but left open the possibility for its abolition. That’s at least how I see it.

        • Ken Hoffman Aug 2, 2016 @ 21:09

          There is a very significant reason for not flying the Confederate flag on any government building in the U.S. beyond slavery and racism. That flag was the symbol of a group of people who started a war against the U.S. government because they did not like the outcome of an election. According to the U.S. Constitution, what they did was an act of treason. Even if the nonsensical claims that the war was about tariffs, states’ rights, etc., instead of slavery were actually true, the “heritage” of the Confederacy would still be one of treason. Flying its flag on a U.S. government building is not only insulting to any truly patriotic American, it is just plain idiocy.

      • Josh Liller Aug 3, 2016 @ 16:11

        2A) The USA flag is the flag of a nation that dates back, more or less, to the 1770s. All CSA flags are flags from a failed insurrection that lasted barely more than 5 years.

        2B) The USA was founded as a nation that included slaveowners, but did not specifically enshrine the protection and perpetuation of slavery into its constitution like the CSA did.

        2C) The USA flag is also the flag of emancipation and abolition; no CSA flag is.

        2D) The USA flag that flies today is not the same flag that flew then; the current flag design dates to the admission of Alaska and Hawaii as states. The USA flag has changed repeatedly (albeit not significantly) since the abolition of slavery.

    • Jimmy Dick Aug 2, 2016 @ 17:15

      Oh, the fun we have with this.
      1. The United States was founded upon the principles of freedom, liberty, and egalitarianism. The Confederacy was not founded on those principles. In the US those principles continued to expand to encompass all races, all creeds, all genders, etc. The Confederacy rejected those expansion of those principles to any but white males. It also was designed to keep power in the hands of an elite class.

      2. The US over time questioned the paradox of liberty and slavery. The Confederacy never bothered to question it.

      3. The US flag saw black men fight under it multiple times in multiple conflicts. The CBF did not see black men fight under it at all. In fact, the CBF’s nation rejected the very idea of black men serving as armed soldiers until the very end of the conflict and even then Confederate legislators tried to prevent it from occurring. In the end, no blacks fought under the CBF in battle.

      4. The US Flag is a great symbol. Unfortunately some of the people that served under it were scum. That is true of all flags. While the US Flag has been used for all kinds of purposes by some truly evil people, the other people rejected those evil people and what they represented thus preserving the symbolic meaning of the US Flag. The CBF has and still is being used by some evil people. Instead of rejecting those evil people, the heritage movement has embraced those evil people on multiple occasions. Until those evil people and the evil they represent are rejected the CBF will remain a symbol of racism, tyranny, and ignorance.

      The ball is in the heritage folks’ court. So far they haven’t done anything to impress me.

      • James Simcoe Aug 3, 2016 @ 7:18

        An often overlooked feature of the Emancipation Proclamation is that it granted the British Navy the ‘Right of Boarding.’ Led by to-be Prime Minister Palmerston, England had been working to suppress the now illegal (After Wilberforce, et al) slave trade out of Africa and the Caribbean. However, French, Spanish, Portuguese ships would purchase U.S. registry and fly the Stars and Stripes; gaining protection of their human cargo. By 1863, this was no longer an option. ‘In the Shadow of the Alabama’, ‘The Cause of all Nations’, and ‘Our Man in Charleston’ all deal with aspects of this issue.

    • Kristoffer Aug 3, 2016 @ 5:03

      1) Not all of the North’s racial violence was automatically Northern in origin. For instance, NYC, which you cite, was a hotbed of Southern and later Confederate sympathizers. And there’s a reason the KKK had a highly successful branch in Indiana. Southern sympathies in Indiana go all the way back to de Tocqueville’s time, as Brooks has mentioned: https://cwcrossroads.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/tocqueville-on-slavery-and-prejudice/

      2) The US government didn’t cause slavery to arrive to the North American continent. As Lincoln put it: http://rogerjnorton.com/Lincoln95.html
      “In the first place, I insist that our fathers did not make this nation half slave and half free, or part slave and part free. I insist that they found the institution of slavery existing here. They did not make it so, but they left it so because they knew of no way to get rid of it at that time.”

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