Showing posts with label Slavery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Slavery. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Was The American Civil War About Slavery?

Here is a great answer to that question...

Was the Civil War About Slavery?
New Video! "Was the Civil War About Slavery?"What caused the Civil War? Did the North care about abolishing slavery? Did the South secede because of slavery? Or was it about something else entirely...perhaps states' rights? Colonel Ty Seidule, Professor of History at the United States Military Academy at West Point, settles the debate once and for all.
Posted by Prager University on Monday, August 10, 2015

Saturday, July 04, 2015

A People's Contest

This is essentially a people's contest. On the side of the Union it is a struggle for maintaining in the world that form and substance of government whose leading object is to elevate the condition of men; to lift artificial weights from all shoulders; to clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all; to afford all an unfettered start and a fair chance in the race of life. Yielding to partial and temporary departures, from necessity, this is the leading object of the Government for whose existence we contend.

--President Abraham Lincoln, in a letter to Congress, July 4, 1961. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Good Question (s)

Are We Still Yammering About Whether the Civil War Was About Slavery? Really?

Are we still arguing about whether the Civil War was really fought over slavery? Seriously? What's next? The Holocaust was really about Jews overstaying their tourist visas? The Inquisition was a scientific exploration of the limits of the human body? The Romans were genuinely curious about whether a man could kill a hungry lion? The Bataan death march was a controlled trial of different brands of army boots? WTF?


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Pants on Fire!

Ever had some old,m conservative uncle in your family foam at the mouth about how the Civil War wasn't really about slavery? What follows is invariably a giant pile of wacky, ideological nonsense.

The fine folks at Politifact recently tackled this very same issue and ruled it PANTS ON FIRE.

The erratic anti-feminist and purposefully politically incorrect Gavin McInnes added his take on the Confederate flag controversy. McInnes, a frequent Fox News guest, tweeted to more than 50,000 followers on June 23, 2015, that the Confederate flag should continue to fly. Why? Because, "The Civil War wasn't about slavery," he wrote. "It was about secession." In a companion tweet, McInnes said anyone, like Northerners, who think the Civil War was about slavery should go to Google. "Look it up," said McInnes, who was born in England and grew up in Canada. 

So we did.

And what did they find?

We typed in "causes of the Civil War." The first hit was which told us, "The burning issue that led to the disruption of the union, however, was the debate over the future of slavery. That dispute led to secession, and secession brought about a war in which the Northern and Western states and territories fought to preserve the Union, and the South fought to establish Southern independence as a new confederation of states under its own constitution." The second link on Google was to PBS and its History Detectives series. There we read, "What led to the outbreak of the bloodiest conflict in the history of North America? A common explanation is that the Civil War was fought over the moral issue of slavery. In fact, it was the economics of slavery and political control of that system that was central to the conflict." No. 3 on the Google hit parade was That page offered five main reasons and the first one was "Economic and social differences between the North and the South." And what were those differences? 

Well, slavery.

The fourth link on Google was from the Civil War Preservation Trust. The trust wrote "The Civil War was the culmination of a series of confrontations concerning the institution of slavery." 

Perhaps they should have been directed to those sites which tell the (ahem) real story. You know that ones I'm talking about, right? They all have the same common, unspoken theme: I can't face the ugliness in my own ideology so I'm going to blame the victim and redirect. 

Of course, the internet can be wrong so Politifact reached out to some experts on the Civil War.

Eric Foner, professor of history at Columbia University, used the words of secessionists themselves as proof of their intentions. "Read South Carolina's Declaration of the causes of secession," Foner said. "It is all about protecting slavery." Indeed, the first sentence refers to slaveholding states, and throughout, the institution of slavery is the pivot point around which all else turns. Historian Stephanie McCurry at the University of Pennsylvania points to Mississippi’s declaration of secession. Sentence two begins, "Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery." 

So just to be clear: Slavery led to secession, which led to the Civil War.

Of course, we here on this blog know how the conservative brain works. The more facts they get, the worse they get and we all get to experience the backfire effect. My advice is to simply chuckle and say, "Sure, Unc...anything you say."

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Nominee For Best Picture: 12 Years A Slave

I found people's reaction to 12 Years A Slave to be both sad and amusing. They were shocked (!) at how awful slavery really was and couldn't believe that plantation owners were that harsh. The film certainly doesn't pull any punches but it's pretty much what I expected. How quickly people forget their own history...

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Where's Her Apology?

Martin Bashir has resigned from MSNBC after taking Sarah Palin to the mat over her ridiculously awful comparison our debt to slavery. Not only was she insensitive but she demonstrated (once again) that she is sorely lacking in an understanding of our debt. On his Nov. 15 broadcast, Bashir called Palin "a world class idiot" because she made a comparison to slavery while discussing U.S. debt to China. The host then read an excerpt from the diary of a former plantation manager who wrote of forcing one slave to "S-H-I-T" in another slave's mouth, and said "if anyone truly qualified for a dose of [such] discipline... then she would be the outstanding candidate." He has since apologized for the remarks and now tendered his resignation from the network.

What I'm wondering is where is Sarah Palin's apology? Does she get to play with different rules?

Yes. Yes, she does.

In fact, so do all conservatives. They get to act like jack wagons because...well...they are. And their base eats it all up. But liberals don't get to act that way because they are the adults in the political arena, hence Bashir's resignation. If the Fox News personalities were held to the same standard, there would be no one working at the network.

Honestly, it's pretty fucking unfair if you ask me. It's almost like we simply have accepted that it's OK for conservatives like Sarah Palin to say offensive things. They get a pass and liberals don't. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013


The Second Amendment was Ratified to Preserve Slavery

Little did Madison realize that one day in the future weapons-manufacturing corporations, newly defined as "persons" by a Supreme Court some have called dysfunctional, would use his slave patrol militia amendment to protect their "right" to manufacture and sell assault weapons used to murder schoolchildren.

No shit.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Have All the Wrongs Been Righted?

Recently the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case on affirmative action at the University of Texas. The legalistic argument usually made against affirmative action is that racial preferences are bad no matter what, even if they exist to right historical wrongs.

But when you dig a little deeper, the general sentiment of many who oppose affirmative action is actually, "Get over it! Slavery ended almost 150 years ago. How long are you going to make us feel guilty for what our great-great-grandfathers did?"

But the surprising fact is that slavery did not really end until 1941! The Thirteenth amendment abolished it, but left an exception for punishment, which was widely abused in the South until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. At which point Roosevelt ordered a crackdown to avoid a propaganda attack by the Axis. The Thirteenth Amendment states:
Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. 
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Everyone knows about chain gangs and share-croppers in the South, which were effectively slave labor. But after Reconstruction whites in the South used the Constitutional exception to falsely imprison millions of blacks and force them into slavery in industries such as logging, manufacturing, construction and mining.

This practice, known as convict leasing, is the subject of a PBS documentary called Slavery by Another Name. It's based on a book by The Wall Street Journal's Atlanta bureau chief Douglas Blackmon. Blackmon, a white southerner, wrote an article in 2001 about how many companies, including U.S. Steel, used convict leasing in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He expanded his research into a book in 2008.

It worked like this: whites passed laws against vagrancy, loitering, gambling, spitting and so on. They also turned lesser crimes, such as stealing a pig worth one dollar, into felonies. Blacks were stopped on the street and if they couldn't prove they were employed, they were arrested on the spot. The state then sold the labor of prisoners, the vast majority of them black, to companies for a few dollars a month. The slave economy was back in full force, just in time to create an economic boom in the South as the industrial revolution hit.

Convict leasing was in some ways worse than slavery. It's in the best interests of slave owners to avoid abusing slaves because they have a lot of economic value: a slave can labor for decades. But convicts were leased by the month. If one died you just got another one. Many convicts were forced to work for 16 and 20 hours at a stretch at filthy, dark, cold, and wet jobs at coal mines, lumber camps and railroad lines. Overwork and mistreatment killed them by the thousands.

Another common practice in the South was peonage, or indentured servitude, where people were enslaved to work off debts. This practice was common in Mexico and supposed to be illegal in the United States. But in the South it was common for debtors to be forced to sign contracts to provide labor. Even worse, there were cases where law enforcement would round up blacks, claim they owed them money, get a justice of the peace to falsely "legalize" the claim, force them to sign a "contract," and then force them into slavery for money they never owed.

In one famous case in the early 1900s the U.S. government convicted the leader of one of these gangs, John W. Pace, of peonage. On appeal Pace claimed he was innocent because the people he enslaved didn't really owe him money, so he couldn't be guilty of peonage. And since there was no actual law against slavery—Congress didn't think to pass one since it was a Constitutional amendment—Pace's lawyers said he'd done nothing illegal. Teddy Roosevelt later pardoned Pace who went back to using peons.

Now, blacks weren't the only victims of these outrageous crimes, through they were in the vast majority. In 1923 a North Dakotan named Martin Tabert was arrested in Florida for vagrancy by Sheriff J.R. Jones. Jones had a contract with Putnam Lumber: he received $20 (plus expenses) for each prisoner he turned over to the company. Tabert had pleaded guilty to riding a freight train through Tallahassee, and was sentenced to pay $25 or serve three months of hard labor. He didn't have the money and was sent to the prison camp, where they worked him from 4 AM to 6 PM. One Friday Tabert was whipped 100 lashes for failing to keep up with the other prisoners as they marched back and forth to a swamp where they often worked in hip-deep water. He died four days later. Perhaps the worst thing is that Tabert's parents had wired their son some money but, as Sheriff Jones wrote in a letter, "it was sent in his name—I therefore returned it."

This sort of thing happened every day to blacks. But only when convict leasing killed a white man from North Dakota did it draw the attention of the New York Times (the full story is behind a paywall at the Times), and things start to change.

Perhaps the most vile aspect of this whole sorry episode in American history is the corrosive effect convict leasing had on the general impression of blacks. The PBS program points out that before the Civil War blacks were perceived as loyal and hard-working (as they are portrayed in movies about the era). Afterwards, subjected to massive unemployment and false arrest on trumped-up charges, they came to be viewed as lazy and criminal. Which makes me ask: was the pattern of absentee black fathers that society has decried for the past 50 years set in place when young black husbands were abducted off the streets by white sheriffs and sent off to slave labor camps?

There are Americans still alive today who were once enslaved by our justice system. There are Americans still alive today who were systematically prevented by their government from voting and using the same lunch counters, restrooms, buses, classrooms and drinking fountains as the rest of us. And there are Americans still alive today whose fathers and husbands were systematically murdered by their white neighbors while law enforcement participated or stood by and watched. Hell, these lynchings have occurred in my lifetime.

That means there are Americans still alive today who perpetrated those crimes. Can we really say all wrongs have been righted when there are still Americans alive today who feel those crimes were justified?