That confederate thing was about slavery

More than once I have opined that we are sliding backward in the area of Civil Rights, that we are losing ground in the fight for equal rights for all. Lately we have seen a rise in white supremacy, violent protests against moving Civil War statues, and other disturbing trends. It has been said that the Civil War was not about slavery. Our friend Keith wrote an excellent post, and whichever side of this argument you stand on, I think his post and the comments at the end will give you some food for thought. Please take a few moments to read this excellent post and add your two cents in the comment section if you feel so inclined. Thank you, Keith, for sharing this and for permission, implied, to share!


Being raised in the South, I was taught the Civil War was more about states’ rights and northern aggression rather than slavery. I saw a recent poll that showed 48% people believed that states’ rights was the principal reason for the war and only 38% said it was about slavery. This recasting of history by groups promoting white supremacy or merely teaching a white-washed message is influencing too many people. To be frank, of course, it was about slavery.

Why do I say that? One needs only to look at the formal declarations of the states who seceded from the United States of America (see the third paragraph from Texas’ declaration below*). In those documents, the words to preserve the right to own slaves (or something similar) can be consistently found. The states’ rights argument was used in support of the need to perpetuate slave ownership. If people think otherwise, let…

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16 thoughts on “That confederate thing was about slavery

  1. Jill, I was reading Leonard Pitts’ column yesterday regarding the school system in Biloxi, Mississippi deciding to eliminate “To Kill in Mockingbird” from the required reading. The rationale is it made people feel uncomfortable. This book is one of the best object lessons of an ugly part of history in the United States and does so through the lens of a child. It won a Pulitzer Prize as a result. It is supposed to make the reader feel uncomfortable and think.

    The book was made into a commendable must see movie starring Gregory Peck as our conscious, the lawyer Atticus Finch. Choosing not to read this excellent and instructive book is in line with the above subject matter. I am as incredulous as Pitts is in his editorial column. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • I saw Pitts’ column also and I was infuriated. I have read To Kill A Mockingbird several times as well as seeing the movie at least twice, and it is a classic. As you said, it SHOULD make people uncomfortable. I home-schooled my granddaughter Natasha for 12 years, and I used this book one semester as a teaching tool, and then when we finished, we watched the movie together. If I were a parent in Biloxi, I would be protesting long and loud! And the secondary, but also crucial point here is … are we on our way to a return of book burnings at the whim of local yokels?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jill, a letter to the editor made a false equivalence to the book and the Confederate Monuments. The book attempts to show an African-American rights did not exist and an attorney who was fighting for them. The Confederate Monuments are honoring slavery plus the Jim Crow period which squelched those rights. There is a big difference that even the President fails to grasp or chooses not to grasp. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

        • That is definitely NOT an apples-to-apples comparison! So much I could say about this, but it is late and I am beat, but one thing that hit me just now … how is it alright to ban this book, but not alright to ban Richard Spencer from promoting his ideas of racial hate on college campuses? The term ‘cherry-picking’ comes to mind.


  2. I was raised in Louisiana and there was never any clouding of history in the sixties and seventies in my schools. Perhaps this is some newer, “softer” clouding of the facts that has been applied to try and soothe tensions.. Same thing done about Indigenous peoples and the US army. So much history, so little truth. Who in their right mind would not know it was about slavery? The other ‘issues’ were smokescreens.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I fully agree. I think this new tide of “white supremacy” began in response to the election of the first African-American president, and then when Trump/Bannon came on the scene, it escalated. The Civil War, in the minds of some, never really ended, but lives on in their spirits, if you will. I fear what comes next, though, as long as we have the Trump/Bannon team refusing to speak out against hate & bigotry … it’s like giving license to further episodes of racism.


  3. Jill, whoever said the Civil War was not about slavery, needs to take a long look at history. Of course, it was about the Civil War. Have our schools fallen so far that students walk away with a degree without knowing this was the cause? I just finished a book on Lincoln, called “The Lincoln Reader”. The entire book was about the foundations of Lincoln’s life that led him to the Presidency and how the situation was when he took over. The Civil War was destined because he could not stop the elements of the country that wanted slavery to continue and were willing to fight for the right to keep them. Great posting, as always. Best, Dave

    Liked by 2 people

    • Absolutely so! I’m not sure it’s as much a failure of the schools, (though they are not doing a stellar job either) as much as the new wave of white supremacy that, i think, started as resentment by some of having elected our first African-American president. And then came Trump & Bannon, Richard Spencer and the rest, and it has renewed the call for “Confederacy-worship”, for lack of a better term. The Civil War never actually ended in the minds of many in the deep south. They are few, mind you, but they are loud. And they insist that the poor southerners only seceded because the mean ol’ northerners were trying to tell them what to do. Some people buy into that. Sigh.

      Thanks, Dave, for your kind words!

      Liked by 1 person

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