Confederate Pride

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Humble response to Mr. A. J. Cortez
By Carleton S. Wilkes


From: carleton_wilkes@hotmail.com
To: ajcortez@yahoo.com

Mr. Cortez,

I came across one of your emails, and humbly allow me to interject.

At the outset, let us agree that slavery is wrong, as is racism. So is the loss in vain of 620,000 Americans.

Your points are well made, and provide a positive exchange on this passionate, and unfortunately, misunderstood flag (and other CSA issues).

We can (and sometimes should) agree to disagree on opinions, but let us also agree that we can and should agree on the facts.

My apologies for the length....it should be LONGER.....

(As a personal aside which is NOT relevant to the discussion at hand, my ancestors fought, and some died, in all of the wars the USA has been involved in since and including the Revolutionary War. I believe I have ancestors that fought on BOTH sides of the War Between the States. Two ancestors signed the Declaration of Independence, and at least one of these men was in the Sons of Liberty. My father proudly served in D-Day on Utah Beach. I could go on, but the point is that I am a patriot, proud of the USA, and take my history and country very sincerely and seriously. By the nature of your comments, I believe you and I share these (un)common traits.)

Your comments are underlined, quotes are in italics, my comments are regular text.

However, this Confederate heritage is based on war against this nation.

The best comment to date I have found is from General Pat Cleburne:

"As to my own position, I hope to see the Union preserved by granting the South the full measure of her constitutional rights. If this can not be done, I hope to see all the Southern States united in a new confederation and that we can effect a peaceable separation. If both of these are denied us, I am with Arkansas in weal or woe. I have been elected and hold a commission of captain of the Volunteer Rifle Company of this place and I can say for my company that if the Stars and Stripes become the standard of a tyrannical majority, the ensign of a violated league, it will no longer command our love or respect but will command our best efforts to drive them from our state.

I am with the South in life or in death, in victory or in defeat...... I believe the North is about to wage a brutal and unholy war on a people who have done them no wrong, in violation of the Constitution and the fundamental principles of government. They no longer acknowledge that all government derives its validity from the consent of the governed. They are about to invade our peaceful homes, destroy our property, and inaugurate a servile insurrection, murder our men and dishonor our women. We propose no invasion of the North, no attack on them, and only ask to be left alone." Major General Patrick Cleburne

"We feel that our cause is just and holy; we protest solemnly in the face of mankind that we desire peace at any sacrifice save that of honour and independence; we ask no conquest, no aggrandizement, no concession of any kind from the States with which we were lately confederated; all we ask is to be let alone; that those who never held power over us shall not now attempt our subjugation by arms." President Jefferson Davis, 29 April, 1861

That flag which arouses such passion in so many was never even the flag of a nation, but a battle flag for that nation.

It is a battle flag (for that nation).

It symbolizes an attack on this country,

Actually, history shows that Lincoln created the provocation that started the war. Also the fact that he raised 75,000 troops while Congress was not in session (unconstitutional) contributed to the outbreak of war. Of course, the southerners were dumb to fire any shots at Ft. Sumter. I credit Lincoln for being shrewd to sucker the South into firing first. See the comment in italics:

In order to coalesce the forces in the North, Lincoln had to stage an incident to inflame the populace, which he did. The firing on Sumter was by his own admission a setup for just such action. Lincoln was aware that provisioning Sumter could provoke a war. Lincoln's letter to Gustavus Fox on 1 May, 1861, makes it clear that he was pleased by the result of the firing on Ft Sumter..." You and I both anticipated that the cause of the country would be advanced by making the attempt to provision Fort Sumter, even if it should fail; and it is no small consolation now to feel that our anticipation is justified by the result."

Their cause was for the freedom of whites to hold blacks in slavery to perpetuate the outdated agrarian economic system. The Southern economy relied on slaves and that was the right they wanted for themselves. The rest is just claptrap.

History and the facts do not support your opinion. I suggest you also see the original 13th Amendment signed by Lincoln, but not approved by the States. See these (mostly) contemporary comments:

If the South had only wanted to protect slavery, all they had to do was go along with the ORIGINAL 13th Amendment, offered in early 1861 after several states had seceded, which would have protected slavery for all time in the states where it then existed. This was not inducement enough to bring South Carolina or any others back into the fold. The States of the Confederacy, even today, could block the passage of the 13th Amendment, and certainly could have then. This is exactly why the Slaveholders wanted to stay in the Union.. Their "property" was protected by the Constitution.. Charlie Lott (modern)

The Northern onslaught upon slavery was no more than a piece of specious humbug designed to conceal its desire for economic control of the Southern states." Charles Dickens, 1862

"Under Federal Legislation, the exports of the South have been the basis of the Federal Revenue. Virginia, the two Carolina's, and Georgia, may be said to defray three fourths of the annual expense of supporting the Federal Government; and of this great sum, annually furnished by them, nothing or next to nothing is returned to them, in the shape of Government expenditures. that expenditure flows in an opposite direction -- it flows north, in one uniform, uninterrupted and perennial stream. This is the reason why wealth disappears from the south and rises up in the north. Federal Legislation does this." - Senator Thomas Hart Benton

"They (the South) know that it is their import trade that draws from the people's pockets sixty or seventy millions of dollars per annum, in the shape of duties, to be expended mainly in the North, and in the protection and encouragement of Northern interest.... These are the reasons why these people do not wish the South to secede from the Union. They (the North) are enraged at the prospect of being despoiled of the rich feast upon which they have so long fed and fattened, and which they were just getting ready to enjoy with still greater gout and gusto. They are as mad as hornets because the prize slips them just as they are ready to grasp it." ~ New Orleans Daily Crescent, January 21,1861

"The sole object of this war is to restore the union. Should I become convinced it has any other object, or that the Government designs using its soldiers to execute the wishes of the Abolitionists, I pledge you my honor as a man and a soldier I would resign my commission and carry my sword to the other side." Gen. U.S. Grant

"We could have pursued no other course without dishonour. And as sad as the results have been, if it had all to be done over again, we should be compelled to act in precisely the same manner." General Robert E. Lee, C.S.A.

"Every one should do all in his power to collect and disseminate the truth, in the hope it may find a place in history and descend to posterity. History is not the relation of campaigns, and battles, and generals or other individuals, but that which shows the principles for which the South contended and which justified her struggle for those principles." Gen. Robert E. Lee

"All that the South has ever desired was the Union as established by our forefathers should be preserved and that the government as originally organized should be administered in purity and truth." Gen. Robert E. Lee

The war between the North and the South is a tariff war. The war is further, not for any principle, does not touch the question of slavery, and in fact turns on the Northern lust for sovereignty. Karl Marx, 1861 (smart fellow with other, bad ideas)

"It is to me simply incredible, that a people so shrewd and practical as those of the United States, should expect us to have discarded, through the logic of the sword merely, the convictions of a lifetime; or that they could be deceived by us, should we be base enough to asset it of ourselves. They know that the people of the South were conquered, and not convinced; and that the authority of the United States was accepted by us from necessity, and not from preference. [snip] The people of the South went to war, because they sincerely believed (what their political fathers had taught them, with one voice, for two generations) that the doctrine of State-sovereignty for which they fought, was absolutely essential as the bulwark of the liberties of the people." R. L. Dabney, minister, and CSA officer.

A nation preserved with liberty trampled underfoot is much worse than a nation in fragments but with the spirit of liberty still alive. Southerners persistently claim that their rebellion is for the purpose of preserving this form of government." --- Private John H. Haley, Seventeenth Maine Regiment, U.S.A.

"I shall return to my native state and share the miseries of my people, and save in defense will draw my sword on none." --- Robert E. Lee, 1861

When certain sovereign and independent states form a union with limited powers for some general purpose, and any one or more of them, in the progress of time, suffer unjust and oppressive grievances for which there is no redress but in a withdrawal from the association, is such withdrawal an insurrection? If so, then of what advantage is a compact of union to states? Within the Union are oppressions and grievances; the attempt to go out brings war and subjugation. The ambitious and aggressive states obtain possession of the central authority which, having grown strong in the lapse of time, asserts its entire sovereignty over the states.

Whichever of them denies it and seeks to retire is declared to be guilty of insurrection, its citizens are stigmatized as "rebels", as if they revolted against a master, and a war of subjugation is begun. If this action is once tolerated, where will it end? Where is constitutional liberty? What strength is there in bills of rights -in limitation of power? What new hope for mankind is to be found in written constitutions, what remedy which did not exist under kings of emperors? If the doctrines thus announced by the government of the United States are conceded, then look through either end of the political telescope, and one sees only an empire, and the once famous Declaration of Independence trodden in the dust of as a "glittering generality," and the compact of the union denounced as a "flaunting lie."

"I love the Union and the Constitution, but I would rather leave the Union with the Constitution than remain in the Union without it.''

Those who submit to such consequence without resistance are not worthy the liberties and rights to which they were born, and deserve to be made slaves. Such must be the verdict of mankind." --- Pres. Jefferson Davis

The fact that these rebel supporters are not arrested for sedition is a tribute to the tolerance of this country and perhaps an indicator that the right side won.

Sedition is not an issue. Support of the Constitution and its laws is. Be careful when you say might makes right. Dangerous logic. The North imprisoned Jefferson Davis for about two years without trial. His bail was eventually paid by Horace Greeley, of the North. The Pope in Rome sent his handmade crown of thorns to Jefferson Davis while he was imprisoned. Jefferson Davis never was tried in a court room.

Lincoln's war implied, and the Gettysburg Address set to words, a firm message to the States of the Union - "I love you all, and if you leave me, I'll hunt you down and kill you." The Address was not the sagely comments of a wise statesman, rather the vain, obsessive rantings of a power-hungry demon engaging in a blood-thirsty mission of self-aggrandizement, no matter the volume of corpses required to attain it. Lewis Goldberg

"It is highly probable that had a popular election been held at any time during the year following the 4th of July, 1862, on the question of continuing the war, or arresting it on the best attainable terms, a majority would have voted for peace; while it is highly probable that a still larger majority would have voted against emancipation." Horace Greeley Yankee Reporter

Colonel Richard Henry Lee, of Virginia, at the dedication of the Confederate monument at Old Chapel in Clarke County, Virginia:

"Twenty eight years have passed since the close of our civil war. Time, I trust has healed the wounds of war, but with the revolving years the causes and events of that terrible struggle seem to be forgotten, or if not forgotten, considered as unimportant events of history. And even the history of those events, and the causes that led to that struggle, are not set forth fairly and truthfully. It is stated in books and papers that Southern children read and study that all the blood-shedding and destruction of property of that conflict was because the South rebelled without cause against the best government the world ever saw; that although Southern soldiers were heroes in the field, skillfully massed and led, they and their leaders were rebels and traitors who fought to overthrow the Union, and to preserve human slavery, and that their defeat was necessary for free government and the welfare of the human family.

As a Confederate soldier and as a citizen of Virginia, I deny the charge, and denounce it as a calumny. We were not rebels; we did not fight to perpetuate human slavery, but for our rights and privileges under a government established over us by our fathers and in defense of our homes." --- Richard Henry Lee

"We could have pursued no other course without dishonour. And as sad as the results have been, if it had all to be done over again, we should be compelled to act in precisely the same manner." General Robert E. Lee, C.S.A.

"All that the South has ever desired was the Union as established by our forefathers should be preserved and that the government as originally organized should be administered in purity and truth." Gen. Robert E. Lee

When asked "Why not let the South go in peace?" Lincoln replied: "I can't let them go. Who would pay for the government?"

Lincoln said: " ... in saving the union, I have destroyed the Republic. Before me I have the Confederacy, which I loath. But behind me I have the bankers, which I fear."

"I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery." First Inaugural Address - Lincoln

"I am a little uneasy about the abolishment of slavery in this District (of Columbia)." --- Lincoln To Horace Greeley

"If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it." --- Lincoln To Horace Greeley

"What then will become of my tariff?" --- Abraham Lincoln to Virginia compromise delegation, March 1861.

Senator from Massachusetts, , added years later, "It is safe to say that there was not a man in the country...who did not regard the new system as an experiment from which each and every state has a right to withdraw. " In fact, several states refused to accept such permanency. The states relented only after being assured of the possibility of 'peaceful withdrawal' if the experiment failed." Henry Cabot Lodge

The contest is really for empire on the side of the North and for independence on that of the South... London Times 7 November 1861

"Help me to dodge the n(expletive)--we want nothing to do with him. I am fighting to preserve the integrity of the Union and the power of the Govt--on no other issue. To gain that end we cannot afford to mix up the negro question--it must be incidental and subsidiary. The President is perfectly honest and is really sound on the n (expletive) question." --- General George B. McClellan

"The Gettysburg speech was at once the shortest and the most famous oration in American history... the highest emotion reduced to a few poetical phrases. Lincoln himself never even remotely approached it. It is genuinely stupendous. But let us not forget that it is poetry, no logic; beauty, not sense. Think of the argument in it. Put it into the cold words of everyday. The doctrine is simply this: that the Union soldiers who died at Gettysburg sacrificed their lives to the cause of self-determination -- that government of the people, by the people, for the people, should not perish from the earth. It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in the battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of their people to govern themselves." --- H.L. Mencken

You are to burn their houses, seize all their property and shoot them. You will be sure that you strictly carry out this order. You will inform the inhabitants for ten or fifteen miles around your camp, on all the roads approaching the town upon which the enemy may approach, that they must dash in and give you notice, and upon any one failing to do so, you will burn their houses and shoot the men. Lincoln's Brigadier General R. H. Milroy

The London (England) Spectator (in reference to the Emancipation Proclamation) said "the Union government liberates the enemy's slaves as it would the enemy's cattle, simply to weaken them in the conflict. The principle is not that a human being cannot justly own another, but that he cannot own him unless he is loyal to the United States.

West Virginia was the last slave state admitted to the Union, annexed in 1863. If the western counties of Virginia stuck with the Confederacy, they'd be forced to free their slaves by the Emancipation Proclamation. If they joined the Union, they could keep them. There's just no argument here. You can't say the Union fought to free the slaves when they were busy admitting a new slave state at the same time, as well as having 1/2 million slaves in Union border states. (What hypocrisy!)

Rational debates are so hard to come by these days.

Any society which suppresses the heritage of its conquered minorities, prevents their history, and denies them their symbols, has sewn the seed of its own destruction." Sir William Wallace 1281 A.D.

No Nation can long survive without pride in it's traditions. Winston Churchill I hope this email finds you well, and I welcome any (or no) response.

Best regards,
Carleton S. Wilkes