Sons of Confederate Veterans have a role in modern America
America faces a crossroads very similar to those prior to Fort Sumter. More government, less nationalism, maybe socialism, which way do we go? by Mark Vogl
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
What is this guy talking about?
Well, I will try to explain. It will only take ten short paragraphs.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans (S.C.V.) is a fraternal organization composed of male descendents of the men who served in the Confederate Armed Forces during the War for Southern Independence. Their emblems include the controversial Confederate battle flag. Their core responsibility is articulated in a charge given to them by Lt. General Stephen D. Lee which calls on them to defend the heritage, honor, and reputation of the Confederate soldier and the Cause they fought for.
The Cause they fought for was individual liberty, state's rights, the original Constitution and the right to secede. In essence, Confederates fought an aggressive Union which would not allow the states to exercise an accepted right of secession. This right had been exercised by all the original states when they withdrew from the government of the Articles of Confederation, and entered the present day United States of America. Further, the Tenth Amendment reserved all powers not addressed in the Constitution to the States and people respectively. And lastly, the new union was formed as each individual state entered the union.
So, despite the military victory of Grant and Sherman, and despite the victor's interpretation towards secession, the fact is that secession remains a right of the states, and a political alternative which some day will most likely be exercised.
Why the S.C.V. deserves a chair, not at the table, but right next to it is so today's policy makers see the colors of secession, the Confederate battle flag as they attempt to find the future for America.
America is caught in a vortex of highly controversial issues, many with no real compromise. You either kill an unborn infant, or you allow it to be born, for the infant there is no middle ground. You either allow homosexual marriage...even if you call it something else, or you don't. Either a person has a right to health care or they don't.
In the past, liberals have sold policy initiatives in half loaves, calling for compromise. But today, that sales strategy is burned out. We have seen the compromises develop into full blown, expensive, not effective policies. We have seen compromise go the way of the Missouri Compromise as socialism now raises it's ugly head in the form of national health care and government ownership of private business.
Americans are done with hearing about how government can solve the problems, when all government does is continually make new problems, add taxes, and never accomplish much. Further, Americans have watched the federal government act negligently with respect to its primary duty...ie., protect the homeland at the border. The tens of millions of illegal immigrants have only expanded the need for government social services, increased health care costs and chasllenges, overwhelmed our education infrastructure, and filled our prisons. Illegal drugs flow over the border like a rushing river.
Whether you are a Democrat watching blue states vote red, or Republicans waiting their turn to take over the reigns of government, one thing is clear. Americans are out of patience, and want the solutions they have repeatedly called for. America is a new America. Not the America of the mid 20th century, or the world leader of the Cold War. We are now just one nation among many.
Are we a great nation? We can be. Should we lead in the world? Sometimes? But we are not the Super Power of an earlier era. We are no longer the wealthiest nation. We no longer have excess money to fix every problem in the world. We have to make choices. Real choices, with real ramifications. Washington is not where those answers are. They had their chance and through Clinton - Bush - Obama they have demonstrated they can't do it, are headed in the wrong direction, and we don't want 'em any more.
The S.C.V. should be present so as to remind politicians that the American people don't have endless patience. The S.C.V. is the very best living example, as the War for Southern Independence Sesquicentennial rapidly approaches, that if the federal government can't find a way, the states and the people will.
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I like the focus of your article and generally agree with you. I would caution against use of collectivist terms like 'we' and 'us' when speaking of the US federal government though. I certainly am not part of their regime and support basically nothing they do. Also the use of the word 'nation' to describe the US is not really accurate. There certainly exist many nations within the US: the American Indian tribes, for example, are each nations. I consider Southerners a unique nation of people within the US, as well, since we have a unique culture, history and dialect. Anyhow, just a few thoughts though again, I like what you had to say.¬†
Posted By: Peter Wingate
Date: 2010-02-02 15:25:46
Mark, I'm sincerely interested in your opinion about this question. Do you think if the majority of people in one state are unhappy with the outcome of a national presidential election, that they could/should vote to secede from the federal union? And, if so, when a future election is more to their liking, that they could/should vote to jump back into the union? What are your thoughts? Thanks very much.
Posted By: David Tatum JR
Date: 2010-02-02 16:50:15
To understand the mission of the S.C.V. you have to read the Charge given by Stephen Dill Lee ===
"To you, Sons of Confederate Veterans, we will commit the vindication of the cause for which we fought. To your strength will be given the defense of the Confederate soldier's good name, the guardianship of his history, the emulation of his virtues, the perpetuation of those principles which he loved and which you love also, and those ideals which made him glorious and which you also cherish."
Lt. General Stephen Dill Lee, Commander General, United Confederate Veterans, New Orleans, Louisiana, April 25, 1906.
The winner writes the History, The history taught today is akin to "The Memory Hole" in Orwells' 1984.
Peter, I dont know how to respond to you personally, so I will respond here and hope you see it, or someone tells you that it is here.¬† First thank you for your inquiry. ¬† I do not condon secession because Obama was elected. But, I do believe that states are the components of the union, and that if the people of a state felt they wanted to secede, no matter the reason, that they have the right to leave.¬† In the case of 1861 Lincoln was not the sole reason for secession, but rather the signal to the South, from the people of north who elected Lincoln, ...that they did not care what the South thought... secession was not a secret strategy, many Southerners made it clear what options would be considered.¬† The north didn\'t care...or didn\'t believe, either way...they made their decision. Today, secession would be about the future, and the old Constitution.¬† Hope i have answered your question. ¬† ¬†
Posted By: Peter Wingate
Date: 2010-02-02 20:01:57
I appreciate your thoughts because, as a life-long southerner, this is a question that has bothered me --- especially given the context of the time in which my ancestors had left the safety of home in Britain in the 1600s to set up plantations with indentured servants and slaves in Virginia and Carolina; fought against the Spanish in the Carolinas; then turned away from their British homeland to fight for American Independence from a far off federal government; and later as plantation and lumber mill owners in Mississippi and Texas to again fight against a far away federal government in Mexico, only to find themselves yet again fighting for "states' rights" in 1861. ¬†I get that.
But it was my understanding that Republican Lincoln won 180 Electoral College votes, with (Northern) Democrat Stephen Douglas winning a meager 12 EC votes, (Southern) Democrat John Breckinridge winning 72, and Constitutional Union candidate John Bell winning 39. ¬†That's a combined non-Lincoln EC votes of 123. ¬†(The Democrats required two conventions in Charleston and in Baltimore to finally agree upon their candidate after delegate walk-outs at both, if I recall correctly.)
Had 25,069 New Yorkers voted for Douglas instead of Lincoln, Lincoln would have failed to achieve a majority in the Electoral College. ¬†Without New York's 35 EC votes, he would have received only 145 votes, seven short of the required 152. ¬†Even though no other candidate came anywhere close to that number, much less combined, it would have put it to the House which likely would have voted against Lincoln.
So I don't understand how it was any different from a playground boy taking his ball and going home when he didn't win the game. ¬†This is not a careless analogy. ¬†It is a central question in any democracy or representative republic as to what can happen in the ebb and flow of elections when our candidate or party loses. ¬†Do we take our ball and go home?
Regarding not caring what the South thought, only one of the three losing candidates even eventually went on to support secession (Breckinridge). ¬†In fact, the Constitutional Union Party campaign was started because they couldn't support the Republicans NOR the Democrats, and they won over THREE TIMES the EC votes of Northern Democrat Douglas.
Furthermore, Texas Governor Sam Houston (a life-long southerner, the hero of San Jacinto, former Republic of Texas President, and former US Representative from his home state of Tennessee), had run second in the nomination vote for the CU Party and, after the election of Lincoln, passionately lobbied his fellow Texans to NOT secede, of course without success. ¬†He was greatly distressed at Texas' secession.
To use your terms, one could argue that "the South" did not care what "the North" thought. ¬†I wouldn't phrase it that way, though, because Northern voters were not a homogeneous monolith, and neither were the Southern voters. ¬†Look at the percentages by state.
While my own direct southern ancestors had a vested interest in defending the economic and social system of the south, the vast majority of their fellow enlistees did not. ¬†I believe that most of those boys had grown up under the heritage of their fathers, grand fathers and great grandfathers, not wanting to submit to the dictates of a far-off and powerful federal government. ¬†This was also the case of recent European immigrants who migrated to the US because they were fed up with their oppressive federal governments back home.
And let me make one other point. ¬†While we obviously can't go back and change history, the election of 1860 did not take into consideration the views and wishes of large populations of Americans, such as slaves, women and indigenous peoples living in the states. ¬†Since Americans have evolved to include those three groups, would you agree that they should have had the right to vote back then, too? ¬†And if not, why not? ¬†And if so, how would they have voted? ¬†I would guess that the Electoral College vote for Lincoln would have been even more decisive, while taking into consideration what southerners thought.
So, as a conservative southerner, I don't think I'm any closer to a resolution, other than to say I really hate it when the bad guys win the election, but I'm not prepared to throw the baby out with the wash. ¬†I deeply regret that many of our southern values and traditions have indeed gone with the wind. ¬†But as bad as Reconstruction and much of the 20th Century were in many ways, I hate to think of what my beloved South would have been like as a separate confederation of states, and not part of "these" United States. ¬†I believe it would have been much worse.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. ¬†Any help with this would be appreciated.
Good article,but, the South seceded for the reasons given,once secession happened it was National Independence,Nationhood they fought for.When they understood their rights were infringed,and their political power disenfranchised they knew they would never get back that which was taken they opted to construct a new Nation with the old principles of Representative Republic,and Constitutional Liberty.
You said 'I hate to think of what my beloved South would have been like as a separate confederation of states, and not part of "these" United States. ¬†I believe it would have been much worse.'
What could possibly have been worse than the fate we have endured under the heel of Washington, DC for the last 150 years? DC has continually provoked and engaged in war with the rest of world, sending mostly poor Southerners off to die for empire. DC has engaged in Keynesian economics for the last 100 years or so and among the biggest losers in it all has been the poorer people of the South. DC has stripped us of our property rights and therefore, according to Bastiat, deprived us of one of the three things that makes us truly human. DC has forced tax-supported, compulsary public education in the Prussian model upon us, which according to Isabel Patterson is the very model of the totalitarian state. DC has established conditions which has reculting in the flooding of¬†our land with cheap workers from the third world and millions of Northern retirees who have a completely different culture from us - and this has radically altered our politics, pulling us ever more towards statism and away from our natural antipathy towards centralism, regulation and Big Government. In short, there has been nothing good about enduring 150 years of occupation by the United States of America. We have not been part of their fictious "union", but rather a subjugaged nationality living in a giant (and evil, in the true sense of the word) empire. I for one will¬†joyfully¬†toast the fall of this empire and hopefully the liberation of my State and our people¬†and what's left of our culture¬†from it.
Posted By: Peter Wingate
Date: 2010-02-03 11:44:56
Thanks, guys for taking the time to respond. ¬†I'm new to my dealings with the SCV and have been pleased to see such enthusiasm about history, for genealogy and pride of heritage. ¬†As a newbie, I'm trying to get a handle on the general ideology of the group, if there is in fact a common one. ¬†I imagine trying to get a consensus of views is probably like herding cats. ¬†But would you guess that the principles that both of you addressed are commonly held core beliefs of SCV members? ¬†Or are they more of your own individual views?
I think it would be interesting to have a conversation in person some time because I don't want to monopolize this space.
But for Palmetto Patriot, I'm curious as to how you would view a hypothetical modern-day confederacy if there had been no war and the southern states had seceded. ¬†I'm especially curious about what type of economic and social structures you think would exist, and how they would be manifested in the daily lives of those living in the confederacy. ¬†Do you think it would have been a modern pure capitalist system, perhaps a mercantilistic model, or perhaps an advanced version of the feudal plantation system envisioned by the founders of Carolina and Maryland? ¬†And what would the lives be like for the descendants of former slaves, indigenous peoples and women?
And given what you have said about the evil empirical occupiers of the South, I assume you abstain from the pledge of allegiance to the American flag at SCV meetings?
And for honest full disclosure, I really have conservative, pro-capitalist, anti-socialist and pro-life views on politics, from a national American perspective. ¬† But I guess what I think of as conservative is not necessarily the same for all conservatives. ¬†As all conservatives, I owe much of my own views to the Libertarians. ¬†But I do not consider myself a Libertarian, nor am I an isolationist.
You asked how I would see a hypothetical CSA today had there been no war. It is of course impossible to say precisely what would have happened. Yet there was a very strong decentralist tradition in the South put forth by people like John Taylor of Carolina, Patrick Henry and John C Calhoun. All of these tended towards hard currency, non-interventionism and local sovereignty. By the 1860's the economy of the South was evolving and slavery was becoming more and more expensive. Plus most other slave-holding nations were ditching the system by then. I think, like Brazil, the South would have paid slave-holders to free their slaves by the 1880's or '90's. I seriously doubt slavery would have lasted to the 20th century. I also think the South would have stayed clear of central banking and fiat money, therefore protecting it from the boom-bust cycle which has plagued the US since the Federal Reserve was founded. The South has always favoured free trade and I believe that would have continued, adding to the prosperity. In general I think that taxes would have been very low, tax-supported and compulsary public education would have been avoided and the government would have mostly stayed out of the economy. The South also probably would have avoided large standing armies and relied mostly on State militias. All these things are in line with the thinking of the Founders and close to modern libertarian (with a little 'l') positions. Pro-union legislation such as they have in the Rust Belt today would not have been introduced and therefore the South probably would have had lots of jobs and very low unemployment. I think we would have stayed out of WWI and therefore it's possible that communism and Nazism would not have risen in Europe since there likely would have been no Versailles Treaty. Anyhow, no one knows, but this is just how I think things could have gone.
You also asked about me pledging to¬†the US flag. I refrain from doing that. In fact, I quit one SCV camp that did that and joined another which is more pro-South and anti-Feds. I'm also a member of the League of the South which is a Southern nationalist organisation and we are all very much against the US flag being flown in Dixie. Afterall, we're talking about a flag which was flown over the rape and conquest of our land by a tyrannical central government we wanted no part of.
The differences between north and south did not start with the election with Lincoln.¬† His election was the final blow to any chance for compromise.¬† The differences started at the Constitutional Convention. Patrick Henry warned the South not to join the union! The "regional nations" were too different, the values, economic systems, and political views too incompatible.¬† And he threatened the north would be the aggressor...which they were.
Unlike you, I feel a Southern nation would have been a much better alternative for all concerned.¬† It would have taught American's that strong central government is oppressive and will be rejected by force if necessary.¬† The Confederate Constitution addressed and anwered to my satisfaction many of the questions we are wrestling with today.¬† I am not a United Stater...I am an American, and that does not mean, commitment to union, it means commitment to liberty, the original Constitution, the Founding Fathers, Christ, family.¬† As so many have done in the past we will just have to disagree.¬† But, to help you understand why the South seceded I strong suggest you attend THE ROAD TO SECESSION here in East Texas, December 1-5, 2010 where we will address the question "Why did the good and Christian people of the South chose Secession?"¬† For more information contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Now that the Federal government has ended the Republic our ancestors established here and buried the 10th Amendment, we have few options left.¬†¬†¬†Secession is certainly one.
Minor nit-pick:¬† please don't call the Confederate battle flag "controversial".¬† That's the word liberals use to describe things they don't like -- it's hardly ever used in print for any other purpose.
Posted By: Peter Wingate
Date: 2010-02-04 08:16:17
Check out this information on the cotton gin provided by Wikipedia.org. ¬†If you know of any definitive proof that they are wrong about the positive correlation between the use of the cotton gin and the resulting growth of dependence on slavery, I think you should try to get them to change their content.
"The invention of the cotton gin would cause massive growth of the production of cotton in the United States, concentrated mostly in the South. The growth of cotton production expanded by the bale from 750,000 in 1830 to 2.85 million bales in 1850, as a result of the ability to produce more cotton faster the South became even more dependent on plantations and slavery making it the largest area of the economy in the South.. In addition to the increase in cotton production,the number of slaves rose as well, from around 700,000, before Eli Whitney’s patent, to around 3.2 million in 1850.. By 1860 the United States' South was providing eighty percent of Great Britain’s cotton and also providing two-thirds of the world’s supply of cotton..
Cotton had formerly required considerable labor to clean and separate the fibers from the seeds, the cotton gin revolutionized the process. With Eli Whitney’s introduction of “teeth” in his cotton gin to comb out the cotton and separate the seeds, cotton became a tremendously profitable business creating many fortunes in the Antebellum South.
New Orleans and Galveston were shipping points that derived substantial economic benefit from cotton raised throughout the South.
According to the Eli Whitney Museum site, "Whitney (who died in 1825) could not have foreseen the ways in which his invention would change society for the worse. The most significant of these was the growth of slavery. While it was true that the cotton gin reduced the labor of removing seeds, it did not reduce the need for slaves to grow and pick the cotton. In fact, the opposite occurred. Cotton growing became so profitable for the planters that it greatly increased their demand for both land and slave labor. In 1790 there were six slave states; in 1860 there were 15. From 1790 until Congress banned the importation of slaves from Africa in 1808, Southerners imported 80,000 Africans. By 1860 approximately one in three Southerners was a slave.."
To date, I have found no reliable proof of the commonly quoted assertion that "slavery was on the way out." ¬†If this is the case, why did the Democrat candidates in 1860 so passionately defend it, arguing that abolition would destroy the South's economy? ¬†You know how Confederates felt about abolitionists.
(By the way, how long do you think it would have taken for blacks to be even allowed to play college football at most universities in the South? ¬†Or do you think they wouldn't be allowed to enroll in the first place? ¬†Be honest. ¬†We now know that the government of Mississippi was running and funding a system of statewide discrimination as late as 1977. ¬†Do you think it would have been worse or better under a Confederacy?)
For my degree in economics, I studied extensively the economic history of Europe and the United States. ¬†And what I have found is that some people want to believe that somehow the Confederacy would have become a free-market capitalist model. ¬†Maybe, but I don't think so. ¬†Even though feudalism had technically faded from Europe, it permeated the social and economic culture and fabric of Europe, most notably Britain. ¬†Look at the history of Carolina, Maryland and Virginia. ¬†My ancestors were plantation owners in Virginia, Carolina and then in Texas, first with headright indentured servants, and then with slaves. ¬†Those colonies absolutely were established as a modified feudal system (albeit Maryland's system was influenced by the state's Catholicism, and Virginia/Carolina's prevailing Protestantism.)
Given the dominant role of cotton, tobacco, lumber and other agricultural commodities in the economy, I'm wondering how quickly the South would have moved from that type of evolving agrarian feudal system.
I agree with you that they would have stayed clear of a central banking system, and money would have likely been based on something like gold. ¬†But what we are both describing is the groundwork for a mercantilistic system, not a free market as so many of our friends like to believe. ¬†I believe it would have eventually evolved. ¬†But how long would it take? ¬†Furthermore, I suggest you go back and study more about the history of the monetary system in the US, and the reasons for establishing a central bank in the first place. ¬†I think you'll find it interesting.
¬†I would agree with you that the South would definitely have been a trading partner with other countries, particularly Europe. ¬†The Carribean, Central and South America for sure.
I could ramble on, but I won't. ¬†Your thoughts have certainly been interesting. ¬†Thank goodness we live in a country where we are free to amiably disagree. ¬†I will say that for all of our country's faults, and I agree with a number of your complaints, it's still the best option going out there.
"[W]hat I have found is that some people want to believe that somehow the Confederacy would have become a free-market capitalist model. ¬†Maybe, but I don't think so."¬† I disagree entirely.¬† The laws of the Confederate States guaranteed it.
Posted By: Tom Hackel Jr.
Date: 2010-03-09 21:16:10
Thanks for all the conjecture on the South retaining it's freedom from Federalism, but, very little emphasis has been put on the fact that we were at the end of "Little Ice Age." Northern ports were frozen over in the winter, therefore causing goods and services to be brought into the Southern ports and then transported to the North, ie..Railroads.
Even though cotton was the biggest exporter in the South, one drought could have brought all this to a halt. The South would have had to find another alternative to export. So, if you really think about it, the economies of the North and the South are totally intertwined.
The South would have rejoined the Union, state by state. So,¬†nothing would have really changed, except for the prejudice against Southern people, would have not been so severe, ie..reconstruction, which brought about other evils, ie...The KKK and other racist organizations.
¬†A lot of people dont even realize that only 3% of the people in the South, even owned slaves! Most slavery was conducted on large plantations, known today as Corporate Farming. Most Southerners went to war against the United States because of violations against their liberties. At that time, the State was your country!
So, if the SCV is to have a place at this table, then they need to be there to make sure that violence is unheard of in these seceding states and that every effort is made to follow the Constitution in keeping the good name of the Southern Confederate Veterans.
Thank you very much,¬†
Tom Hackel Jr., Son of The South.;¬†1st Lt. of¬†General Ron Brown, Staff Officer of Southern Volunteer Battalion¬†& 2nd Lt. 28th Ga Co K; Central Florida Reenactors; Descendant of A Confederate Veteran; Pvt. John Hackel 28th Ga Co K.