Hey everyone! I’m going to address a very controversial topic: Why did the Confederate States secede from the Union and why did they fight? First, let me give you the accepted myth of 1860’s history that is being taught all across the United States, even in southern schools, I’m sad to say.
“In the year 1860, South Carolina seceded from the United States of America upon the election of Abraham Lincoln because they knew he would not protect their right to own slaves. By May 20th, a total of 11 states had formed a rebellious government and declared war on the United States over the issue of Slavery. The freedom loving north accepted the challenge and went to war to subdue the rebels and free the slaves. By 1865, after giving the South a sound thrashing, the north accepted the surrender of Robert E. Lee, which ended the four years of bloody fighting, proving northern supremacy on the battlefield. And we’ve all lived happily ever after since then.”
Raise your hand if you believe the above history…no don’t…no one can see you anyway! :)
In this series of posts, I’m going to try and cover the following topics:
Why the South Fought
Okay, let’s go ahead and admit from the beginning that slavery did exist in the U.S. at this point in history. Let’s go ahead and acknowledge that slavery is wrong. Let’s go ahead and agree that it’s a good thing slavery was abolished. Now that we have that out of the way, we can proceed with the real cause for the War.
Here I will transcribe the words of Confederate Soldier Julius Howell. He was 101 years old when his testimony was recorded. (You can listen to the whole clip on YouTube by typing Confederate soldier Julius Howell Interview What the South Fought for)
“Now comes up the question of what we southern soldiers fought for. My friends, as a boy, I was sixteen and half years old, I didn’t think about any abolition of slavery. My mind wasn’t developed enough to take in what the politicians had in mind. And hence, there was no trouble after the freedom of the slaves…The South did not fight for the preservation or extension of slavery…What did you boys fight for then? Here is what a great many people do not know…what we struggled for…was for states’ rights. For states’ rights.”
There you have it from the mouth of a Confederate veteran. Here are a few quotes from blacks living during the war that you may find surprising.
“I suppose dem Yankees wuz all right in dere place, but dey neber belonged in de South. Why Miss, One of ‘em axe me what wuz dem white flowers in de fiel’? You’d think dat a gentleman wid all dem decorations on hisself woulda knowed a fiel’ of cotton! An’ as for dey a-setting me free! Miss, us [negroes\ wuz free as soon as we wuz bawn. I always been free!” –Hannah Irwin of Alabama, former slave.
“The Yankees didn’t beat us, we wuz starved out! ...I am a Confederate Veteran…” –Gus Brown of Richmond, Va.
Now, this except from my book will help explain a little about what we were fighting for. Silas Mason, the father, is explaining to his son how things got started…
“For years, the North has used the South’s productiveness to benefit them. I remember my Papa telling me that he used to sell cotton to northern contractors and they wouldn’t pay him enough to make any profit. One year he barely had enough to cover expenses. Then, the Yankees in return would make material and other things out of our cotton and sell it to us for outrageous prices. So, like other plantation owners, Papa took a contract with an Englishman. The English paid honest wages and Papa was able to make a decent living.
“Well, the Yanks didn’t like it that most of our cotton was going overseas. They were having to buy materials from England to make their goods and they weren’t making all that extra profit like they used to. We worked hard for the money we made and simply wanted to be paid what our materials and labor were worth. But the government raised taxes on imported and exported goods. The tax was supposed to ‘protect’ the Yankee factories by making it too expensive for us to trade outside of the U.S. They resorted to taxes rather than going out and working harder themselves or paying us decent wages.
“That was about forty years ago, back in the twenties and thirties when I was growing up. South Carolina threatened to secede then and almost did, but they got things worked out temporarily. They kept taxing us unjustly, though.
“Another thing that counts into the present state of things is that the North tries to change our way of life, saying we need to use factories instead of good old-fashioned, hard work. We don’t want to change and have no reason to. They keep trying, and we keep refusing. They have no right to force us, and we know it. The North is mad ‘cause we won’t change, and we’re mad because they won’t leave us alone. So now, the states have started seceding to protect their rights from being taken away.”
I think that's enough to start with. :) Next time, I will be posting on "Why Secession"
so stay tuned.
Supporting my Heritage,
Christian. American. Southern. Author.