The Myth of Black Confederate Soldiers
"The lies are in the Text, the Truth is in the footnotes"
Asa Hines Gordon


The City Paper
 The Myth's "Roots"
The Southern Patriot
The Osceola Sentinel
Richard Rollins
Edward C. Smith
X - neo-Black Confederates
MOSES DALLAS
 X - Headstones


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 
 

The "Roots" of the Black Confederates Myth

  The following excerpts from  "Reports of the Adjutant in Chief" of  the Sons of Confederate Veterans in re-action  to the Televised Broadcast of the mini-series  "Roots" reveal the neo-Confederate motivation in the creation of the  "Black Confederates" myth.
 
 

GENERAL HEADQUARTERS
SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS
Jackson, Mississippi
Report of the Adjutant-in-Chief


Jan. 31, 1977
Feb. 28, 1977
April 30, 1977

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
From the Report of the Adjutant-in-Chief, Jan. 31, 1977:

2. Commander-in-Chief Dean Boggs has asked that the following comments on “Roots” be printed:

  “This TV movie, endorsed by the National Education Association, and exhibited nation-wide by American Broadcasting Co., in my opinion, was a great disservice to our Country and the public welfare. It was the modern “Uncle Tom’s Cabin".

  It was made to appear that black tribesmen in the interior of Africa were kidnapped by white men and sold into slavery; that generation after generation of slaves in the South were subjected to the most inhuman physical cruelty; that black female slaves were ravished; that black families were broken up and sold; all by their white masters or overseers.

  Millions of viewers, black and white, ignorant of history, believed this movie to be a truthful portrayal of history. As its producers and exhibitors must have foreseen, it could only produce hatred of whites by blacks, it could only have a divisive effect. Further, it slandered the South and the Southern people.

  An ABC official was quoted as being “ecstatic” over its high rating for viewing audience. The damage was compounded by some school officials making the movie required viewing and the book required reading for credit for some of their classes.
...
  I have written a letter to the Chairman, Federal Communications Commission, 1919 M Street, N. W., Washington, DC, as an individual, protesting the showing of this movie, requesting an investigation, and sent a copy. to the President, American Broadcasting Co., 1330 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019. I feel this sort of thing should not be allowed to pass without objection. If you feel as I do, I hope you will do the same. Please write as an individual, not as a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans."


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
From the Report of the Adjutant-in-Chief, Feb. 28, 1977:

1. THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF SAYS:

Commander-in-Chief Dean Boggs has requested that the following information be published.

To counteract the drive of NAACP to ban the display of the Confederate Flag, the playing of Dixie, etc. and to counteract such propaganda movies as “Roots,” I have persuaded Compatriot Francis W. Springer, a historian and talented Virginia writers to write a book on the contribution of Negroes in the south to the Confederate war effort.

He is going to research all sources available but feels sure the sources available to him will not tell the whole story by any means. Thus, I call your attention to the following request from Compatriot Springer for assistance from all Compatriots.
 

COMPATRIOTS! GET ON THIS PROJECT RIGHT AWAY. SEARCH YOUR FAMILY PAPERS FOR LETTERS AND DIARIES OF 1861-18 65; WRACK YOUR MEMORY FOR STORIES HANDED DOWN BY THE “OLD FOLKS”; VISIT YOUR LOCAL MUSEUMS AND LIBRARIES FOR RECORDS OF SERVICES PERFORMED BY SOUTHERN NEGROES, SLAVE OR FREE, FOR THE CONFEDERACY

Suddenly, after more than 100 years, it seems to have become “good politics” to assert that the flags, uniforms, and songs of the Confederacy are repugnant to negroes. This is childish nonsense. Politics often ignores the truth, and the truth is that the majority of Southern Negroes, slave and free, sided the Confederate war effort tremendously. Some were under arms and in combat. 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
From the Report of the Adjutant-in-Chief, April 30, 1977.

1.  THE COMMANDER- IN-CHIEF SAYS:

Commander-in-chief Dean Boggs has requested that the following information be published:

CONTRIBUTIONS OF SOUTHERN NEGROES TO THE CONFEDERATE WAR EFFORT

"All Compatriots are reminded of the announcement in the last issue of the General Headquarters News Bulletin that Compatriot Francis W. Springer, a talented writer and historian, has been persuaded by the Commander-in-chief to write a book on the above subject.

This is to counteract the efforts of the NAACP to portray the Confederate Flag and the playing of "Dixie", as offensive to blacks, and the propaganda line of such movies  as "Roots," By their work on the farms, by accompanying their masters to War, and in many other ways, Southern Negroes made a valuable contribution to the Confederate war effort. After they were freed, many of them would not leave their former masters.

It is believed that the record will show that the majority of Southern Negroes made a greater contribution to the Confederacy, than the minority did for the Union.

Compatriot Springer is going to research all sources available to him but he is sure the sources available to him will not tell the whole story. He needs your help!

Please forward to him all items on this subject in your family history and records, and please research your local library and any other sources available to you. Mail all such items to: Mr. Francis W. Springer, Schuyler, VA 22969.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 




















 
 


















 
 
 
 

Enemy Activity ...

The NAACP and its fascist friends have taken the campaign against the flag in South Carolina lower than a snake's belly. These bigots have introduced a new poster depicting the battleflag and a hooded Klansman. Let's face it, folks, we're at war with these people, and the stakes are our cultural survival. Their use of emotionally sensational imagery belies their own claims for reasoned tolerance, and ` is a patently dishonest manipulation of our Southern symbols.
 
On another front we find the Douglass (as in Frederick) Institute of Government, which spews out 'anti-neo-Confederate Civil War propaganda.' The Director, Asa Gordon, writes: 'How can the USA seriously hope to enter the future with a-unity of purpose while we insist on honoring the present as legitimate the CSA's .lost: cause' dreams of disunion in the past? How do we preach the gospel (italics ours) of universal democratic participation and respect for the will of the majority while we revere the memory of those who gave their lives to reserve the right of a minority to withdraw its consent to be governed by a majority....?' The DIG has also produced a pamphlet on R. E. Lee entitled 'Portrait of a Racist-A Traitor [and] A Defender of Slavery & White Supremacy.' The admonition of the Douglass Institute is, not surprisingly, 'Agitate, agitate, agitate.' Contact them by e-mail at <digasa@aol.com>. The League is one of their primary targets.

November-December 1999 VOL. 6 NO.6

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
The Osceola Sentinel
SUNDAY, JULY 5, 1998 -- An Edition of The Orlando Sentinel
Historian: Civil War 
tales are pure bunk 
History doesn't lie. Right? Well, the winners want history to make them look good. Sometimes the losers get their say, too.
Perspectives can change. Villains can be made to look like heroes. Interpreting the past can lead to lively debates. 
  And because it is history, often the only confirmation comes from what was written down or told orally through generations. 
Even so, care must be taken.
  When talk turns to the Civil War and blacks' role with the Confederacy, there is no room for revisionist theories for Asa R Gordon.
  For instance: 
  • The Confederate states were interested in white supremacy. 
  • The war between North and South was not about states' rights or a War of Southern independence. 
  States' rights and independence are WHATS of the Civil War. The WHY of it was to preserve slavery, Gordon told a small group at St. James AME Zion church in Kissimmee last week. Simply put, there should be no memorials honoring men like Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. 
 They and others resigned from the Union Army and fought against their country. 
 They were rebels, and they are traitors to the United States. Nations normally don't honor traitors, Gordon, a retired astrophysicist, said to a crowd that included a group from the Osceola Children's Home. 
  People normally don' t build memorials for traitors, racists or those who practice genocide. 
  There are no memorials to the Nazis. 
  In the United States, Confederate memorials dot the countryside. The flag is flown with pride. The Nazi flag - and Nazi leaders - inspire hatred.
  It should he no different for Lee and others who fought for the South. The real heroes, Gordon said, are those Southerners who fought for the North. 
As for those who try to promote the idea that blacks were willing soldiers for the South, Gordon's research disproves it. 
In a lecture that was close to three hours long, the founder and executive director of the Washington, D.C. -based Douglass Institute of Government left no doubt about the fantasies and historical myths of Afro-Confederates.
"The South won in peace what it lost on the battlefield," Gordon said. 
  The commitment to the neo-Confederate movement is often emotional rather than intellectual, he said.
It cannot stand the scrutiny of scholarship. 
  The belief that blacks willingly served in the Confederate Army is ludicrous and harmful, he said. "A slave didn't have a choice. If his master said he was going, the slave couldn't say no. He was a slave."
  Those who say blacks fought for the South should look at Confederate documents, which ban blacks serving as regular members of the Army. They also need to look at records showing that those who did serve deserted when they got the chance. 
  Propagation of the present-day theories make it hard for people to realize that blacks were unhappy about their condition, Gordon said. 
  "How can you owe a people anything, if in fact they were so satisfied with the state that suppressed them?" he asked. "How can you correct that legacy if you are in denial about the true reasons?" 
  Gordon's visit was sponsored by Ann Tyler and Evan McKissic. McKissic, a retired Osceola teacher, has been critical of the theories of another retired local teacher, Nelson Winbush. 
  Winbush travels the country recounting the stories of his grandfather, who he said willingly and proudly served with Southern forces. 
  "I try to get the truth out. I talked with my grandfather, and I know what he said," Winbush said. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Osceola Sentinel
SUNDAY, JULY 12, 1998 -- An Edition of The Orlando Sentinel

Folks still fighting over Civil War 'facts'

  As we approach the 21st century, there are still plenty of people intent on fighting a war that ended in the 19th.
  There are monuments and debates about whether we should have them. There are men who travel the country, lecturing on the war, on slavery, on the North and the South. Every facet of the conflict and events surrounding it has been covered. 
  Over and over. 
 Tread lightly because everybody' s sure their version of history is the right one. 
  Doubt it? My e-mail been filled to the brim ever since writing about a visiting lecturer who disputes what he calls the myth of blacks serving in the Confederate Army. 
  Even in 1998, that's asking for trouble. 
History shows that slaves went to war with their masters. The trip from fact to folklore to myth progresses from there. Whose story is true depends on which side you want to believe. 
  Asa R. Gordon gave his lecture in Kissimmee more than a week ago. It included: Documents of the Confederacy show that blacks were not allowed into the Southern Army until the final days of the war.
  Accounts of battles tell that blacks pressed into service wanted to escape - and wanted the North to win. Some blacks stuck by their masters. Who knows why? Maybe it was out of loyalty - or out of fear. 
Word of Gordon's talk riled members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans from Pensacola to Fort Lauderdale. And even further. 
  "I wish to protest the use of your newspaper as a format to propagate feelings of hate and racial unrest. I'm a proud member of The Sons of Confederate Veterans, whose goal is to honour our Southern American ancestors and and to use our free freedom of speech to give our point of view on the War Between the States," writes Larry J, Powell, commander of an SCV chapter in Fort Lauderdale. 
  To Powell's, add a sampling of letters from Larry W. Rowell, commander of the Private Louis Napoleon Nelson Brigade, Merritt Island; Martin Barker, Pensacola; Marvin Beck; and author  Richard Rollins of California.
  The counterattack is on - full force.
  "I'm tired of the ignorance of our nation. My ancestor did not fight and die for rich slave owners," Beck writes. 
  It's hard to say why any individual fought But they did and hundreds of thousands died. That' s the tragedy of war. It's harder to get around the stereotypes - of North and South. But hopefully we're stronger and wiser.
Even so, it' s difficult for many people to hear Gordon's words and criticisms. Accounts in Rollins' book, Black Southerners in Gray: Essays on Afro-Americans in Confederate Armies, are disputed by Gordon. And Rollins doesn't think Gordon has his facts straight.
  "The bottom line is that they were human beings not too different from us, and that they made choices based on the conditions of their lives, and those decisions were not always what a person of our time would like them to have made," Rollins said in an e- mail. 
  Glory, glory Hallelujah The truth marches on - in different directions. 

 
 
 

Author:  <Osopino1@aol.com> at Internet_TCO
Date:    7/10/98  9:49 AM
Priority: Normal
TO: Mark Pino at ORL-Finance
Subject: Fwd: Black Confederates
------------------------------- Message Contents -------------------------------
Mr. Pino:

I read your article on Asa Gordon.  He obvioiusly is speaking from  emotion, not reason. He also could not have read my book, the first  scholarly look at blacks who found their way into Confederate armies.

There are many, many documented cases of black Southerners preferring to  fight for the South.  There were also many other decisions in their  lives that brought some to the situation in which they found themselves.

Rather than speak in generalities, I would like to send you a copy of  Black Southerners in Gray:  Essays onAFro-Americans in Confederate  Armies.  If you will read it, you will find more than enough information  to write a second article.

Your statement that his research "disproves it" is simply wrong.

I live in California, and grew up in the North.  I am not a  ne0-Confederate, nor a Confederate sympathiser.  I do, however, think  that both North and South have dealt with black Southerners in  stereotypical ways, as Gordon does.  THe bottom line is that they were  human beings not too different from us, and that they made choices based  on the conditions of their lives, and those decisions were not always  what a person of our time would like them to have made.

If you're interested, please respond.

Regards,
Richard Rollins


 

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Black Southerners In Gray
Essays On Afro-Americans In Confederate Armies
Copyright 1994
By 

Arthur W. Bergeron, Jr. Thomas Cartwright, Ervin L. Jordan, Jr.,
Richard Rollins,Rudolph Young

With An Epilogue By Andrew Chandler Battaile

Edited by Richard Rollins

Journal of Confederare History Series
Vol. XI
Series Editor: Dr. John McGlone

Richard Rollins is Vice-President of MidRange Software Solutions and Editor of Rank and File Publications, Redondo Beach, California. He received a Ph.D. in American lntellectual History from Michigan State University and taught at Michigan State, Ohio State University, Carroll College, and the University of Southern California.
 
John Parker
Thomas Morris Chester


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
 

{TEXT}

These units could have been free or bonded men, like those described by John Parker a slave who was pressed into service as an artilleryman at First Manassas. He had been a fieldhand on a large plantation The master went off to war in 1861, followed soon by the overseer. He had been sent to work on earthworks around Fredericksburg, Winchester, and Richmond. He records the black population’s excitement grew as the battle neared, when all the colored people ”were sent off to the frontlines to fight". I arrived at the Junction two days before the action commenced,” he recalled.
 
 
 

  They immediately placed me in one of the batteries. There were four colored men in our battery, I don’t know how. many there were in the others. We opened fire about ten o’clock in the morning of Sunday the 21st; couldn’t see the Yankees at all and only fired at random. Sometimes they were concealed in the woods and then we guessed our aim... My work was to hand the balls and swab out the cannon; in this we took turns. The officers aimed this gun; we fired grape shot. The balls from the Yankee guns fell thick all around. In one battery a shell burst and killed twenty, the rest ran. I felt bad all the time, and thought every minute my time would come; I felt so excited that I hardly knew what I was about, and felt worse than dead.139 

139. Quoted in James M. McPherson, The Negro’s Civil War: How American Negroes Felt end Acted During the War For The Union (Chicago: University of illinois Press, 1982), 22-23.(note:actually p.26) 

----------------------------------------------------------------------- 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

{FOOTNOTE}

Quoted in James M. McPherson, The Negro’s Civil War: How American Negroes Felt end Acted During the War For The Union 

p.25-28 
... "They said that all the colored people must then come and fight.[They immediately placed me in one of the battefies. There were four colored men in our battery, I don’t know how many them were in the others. We opened fire about ten o’clock in the morning of Sunday the 21st; couldn’t see the Yankees at alI and only fired at random. Sometimes they were concealed in the woods and then we guessed our aim... My work was to hand the balls and swab out the cannon; in this we took turns. The officers aimed this gun; we fired grape shot The balls from the Yankee guns felI thick all around. In one battery a shell burst and killed twenty, the rest ran. I felt bad all the time, and thought every minute my time would come; I felt so excited that I hardly knew what I was about, and felt worse than dead.]

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
We wish to our hearts that the Yankees would whip, and we would have run over to their side but our officers would have shot us if we had made the attempt.I stayed at my place till the order came for all to retreat, then every one ran thinking that the Yankees were close upon their heels.... I then left with six of my master’s men to go home,...When we got back we found all the cattle and mules gone and corn all grown up with weeds, but we didn’t care for that, all we wanted was a chance to escape. There were officers prowling, round the neighborhood in search of all the negroes, but we dodged round so smartly, they didn’t catch us.... I left at night and traveled for the star, I was afraid of the Secessionists in Maryland, and I only walked at night. I came to Gettysburg in a week and I thought when I saw the big barns that I was in another country. I am going from here to New York where I hope to meet my wife, she has two girls with her; one of my boys is with my master, and the other, who is 14 years old, I think was taken to Louisiana. My wife and I are going to travel from New York to Canada."
note:Parker reached Pennsylvania and later New York and subsequently earned a living in the North as a lecturer on the topic "The War and Its Causes, with Slavery Connected” at ten cents per admission, advertising himself as the only black soldier in the Army of Northern Virginia. He rater reunited his family and moved to Canada.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 


 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 

p.27 
{TEXT}

  As pointed out previously , some black Southerners had, spent the entire war supporting the Confederacy in numerous laboring roles in the infrastructure, and now they began to make the transition from support to combat. Thomas Morris Chester, a black newspaper correspondent from Philadelphia, was near Richmond at this time and interviewed several blacks soon after the fall of the city. He recorded that they were abuzz with a discussion of how they should react to the call to arms, and that “after a cordial exchange of opinions it was decided with’ great unanimity, and finally ratified by all the auxiliary associations everywhere, that black men should promptly respond to the call of the rebel chiefs, whenever it should he made, for them to take up arms" 171
 

171. Quoted in R.J.M. Blackett, Ed..Thomas Morris Chester, Black Civil War correspondent (Baton Rouge: LouisIana State University Press, 1989), 248.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

{FOOTNOTE}
Thomas Morris Chester ,Black Civil War Correspondent,His Dispatches from the Virginia Front;Edited, With a Bipographical Essay and Notes; by R.J.M. BLACKETT,p.247

BEFORE RICHMOND, FEB. 3,1865.

THE ARMING OF THE SLAVES.

From what I can learn from deserters and refugees, of both colors, who may be relied upon, there is no subject which is engrossing so much attention in Richmond as the proposition to arm a corps of negroes.....The more thoughtful of the negroes in Richmond rather liked the idea, and, hoping that it would be put into execution, began to prepare the minds of their people for an important chapter in this struggle in which they were praying to be permitted to take a part.

A GREAT SECRET ASSOCIATION OF “LIBERTY”

Secret associations were at once organized in Richmond, which rapidly spread throughout Virginia, where the venerable patriarchs of this oppressed people prayerfully assembled together to deliberate upon the proposition of taking up arms in defence of the South. There was but one opinion as to the rebellion and its object; but the question which puzzled them most was, How were they to act the part about to be assigned to them in this martial drama? After a cordial interchange of opinions it was decided with great unanimity, and finally ratified by all the auxiliary associations everywhere, that black men should promptly respond to the call of the rebel chiefs, whenever it should be made, for them to take up arms
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


HOW SLAVES WERE TO FIGHT FOR REBELLION.

A question arose as to what position they would likely occupy in an engagement, which occasioned no little solicitude, from which all  minds were relieved by agreeing that if they were placed in front as soon as the battle began the negroes were to raise a shout for Abraham Lincoln and the Union, and, satisfied there would be plenty of support from the Federal force, they were to turn like uncaged tigers upon the rebel hordes. Should’ they be placed in the rear, it was also understood that as Soon as firing began they were to charge furiously upon the chivalry, which would place them between two fires,.which would disastrously defeat the army of Lee, if not accomplish its entire annihilation.

THE PROOF OF AUTHENTICITY OF THE PLAN.

Such is the plan which I learned from the vice president of the combined movement, who delayed his exit from Richmond some six weeks, under the impression and the hope that negroes would be armed in the rebel service. Being satisfied that it would not be attempted, he took Passage upon the underground railroad and arrived safely within our lines.  ....


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 

"Calico, Black and Gray: Women and Blacks in the Confederacy"
CIVIL WAR:The Magazine of the CivilWar Society
Vol. VIII No. 3 May-June 1990 Issue 
by Edward C. Smith

{THE TEXT}

The Military Contribution

  In the small town of Canton, Mississippi, is probably the most unusual Confederate monument in the nation, dedicated to black Confederates. Erected sometime before the turn of-the century, the handsome granite obelisk honors the "loyalty and service" of the blacks who served in Harvev's Scouts, a crack cavalry unit that distinguished itself while opposing General Sherman's march through Mississippi and Georgia. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

{THE FOOTNOTE}

    The Howcott monument is a 20 foot high granite obelisk with inscriptions on three sides and is a smaller version of the Harvey's Scouts monument. The east side reads "Erected by W. H. Howcott in the Memory of the Good and Loyal Servants Who Followed the Fortunes of Harvey's Scouts during the Civil War." On the north face is inscribed "A Tribute to My Faithful Servant and Friend, Willis Howcott, a Colored boy of Rare royalty and Faithfulness Whose Memory I Cherish with Deep Gratitude." The south face reads " Loyal, Faithful, True Were each and all of them." The monument is surrounded by a wrought iron fence and set in the sidewalk leading to it is an inscription in blue tile that reads, "Colored Servants of Harvey's Scouts." In the 1980's, the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and members of the Howcott family from New Orleans renovated the monument and the surrounding park, which had fallen into disrepair.31 There is nothing on the monument to indicate that these "colored servants" were combattants while they followed their masters who belonged to Harvey's Scouts.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 

THE neo-Black Confederates


Justice Clarence Thomas
Dr. Walter Williams
 Text vs Footnotes

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Southern Partisan 2nd Quarter 1995 - 41
Justice Thomas and-the Nature of the Union
By William J. Watkins, Jr. editor of the Freeman magazine
   On Tuesday, May 23, 1995, the Court came within one vote of vindicating the Confederates’ view of the Constitution. Writing for the four dissenting justices in the U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton, Justice Clarence Thomas declared: “The ultimate source of the Constitution’s authority is the consent of the people of each individual state, not the consent of the undifferentiated people of the nation as a whole.. .The Constitution simply does not recognize any mechanism for action by the undifferentiated people of the Nation.”
    When one examines the words of Justice Thomas it is obvious that he has read the works of the intellectual father of the Confederate States of America, John C. Calhoun.
    The New York Times was noticeably vexed and nervously pointed out that Justice Thomas’s dissenting opinion almost “deposed the Federal Government from its primary role in the constitutional system and resurrected the states as the authentic organs of democratic government.”
    The nature of the union was and remains a critical issue in the life of the Republic.... Though the South came up one vote short of vindicating her view of the Constitution in U.S. Term Limits, the retirement of one justice could remedy the situation.
    That we could come so close to seeing our view of the federal compact triumphant 131 years after the surrender at Appomattox ought to hearten all Southerners and friends of constitutional government. The cause that the men in butternut fought for was a just one whose decision is not yet final. Only by the intelligent use of time, experience, and the history of the federal compact, will we see the tables completely turned.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


















 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 






































 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
























 
 

TEXT

The Foundation For Economic Education 
The Freeman; January 1999 -- Vol. 49, No. 1

The Civil War's Tragic Legacy
By Walter Williams

Walter Williams is the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and chairman of the economics department at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

FOOTNOTE

Declaration of Causes of Seceding States
South Carolina
Adopted December 24, 1860
[Copied by Justin Sanders from J.A. May & J.R. Faunt, 
*South Carolina Secedes* (U. of S. Car. Pr, 1960), pp. 76-81.]

Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union.
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 

The Nullification Doctrine

[S]outh Carolinians believed there was precedence for the nullification of unconstitutional federal laws. ...  The reasoning was that the federal government was created by, and hence was the agent of, the states.

When Congress threatened to raise tariffs to unprecedented levels and the Republican Lincoln was elected president, a special South Carolina convention unanimously adopted an Ordinance of Secession and a "Declaration of Causes" stating that "We assert that fourteen of the States have deliberately refused for years past to fulfill their constitutional obligations. {. . .} Thus the constitutional compact has been deliberately broken and disregarded by the non-slaveholding States; and the consequence follows that South Carolina is released from her obligation. {. . .} " Continuing, the Declaration, asserted, "We, therefore, the people of South Carolina, by our delegates in Convention assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, have solemnly declared that the Union heretofore existing between this State and the other States of North America is dissolved, and that the State of South Carolina has resumed her position among the nations of the world, as a separate and independent state, with full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent States may of right do." The next year war started when South Carolinians fired on Fort Sumter, an island in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

"Declaration of Causes"

{ We assert that fourteen of the States have deliberately refused, for years past, to fulfill their constitutional obligations,}  and we refer to their own Statutes for the proof.
    The Constitution of the United States, in its fourth Article, provides as follows: "No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up, on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due."
    This stipulation was so material to the compact, that without it that compact would not have been made. The greater number of the contracting parties held slaves, and they had previously evinced their estimate of the value of such a stipulation by making it a condition in the Ordinance for the government of the territory ceded by Virginia, which now composes the States north of the Ohio River.
    The same article of the Constitution stipulates also for rendition by the several States of fugitives from justice from the other States.
   The General Government, as the common agent, passed laws to carry into effect these stipulations of the States. For many years these laws were executed. But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery, has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the General Government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution. The States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa, have enacted laws which either nullify the Acts of Congress or render useless any attempt to execute them. In many of these States the fugitive is discharged from service or labor claimed, and in none of them has the State Government complied with the stipulation made in the Constitution. ...
{ Thus the constituted compact has been deliberately broken and disregarded by the non-slaveholding States, and the consequence follows that South Carolina is released from her obligation. }


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

{ Thus the constituted compact has been deliberately broken and disregarded by the non-slaveholding States, and the consequence follows that South Carolina is released from her obligation. }
   The ends for which the Constitution was framed are declared by itself to be "to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity."
    These ends it endeavored to accomplish by a Federal Government, in which each State was recognized as an equal, and had separate control over its own institutions. The right of property in slaves was recognized by giving to free persons distinct political rights, by giving them the right to represent, and burthening them with direct taxes for three-fifths of their slaves; by authorizing the importation of slaves for twenty years; and by stipulating for the rendition of fugitives from labor.
   We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.
   For twenty-five years this agitation has been steadily increasing, until it has now secured to its aid the power of the common Government. Observing the *forms* [emphasis in the original] of the Constitution, a sectional party has found within that Article establishing the Executive Department, the means of subverting the Constitution itself. A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that "Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free," and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction. 

 This sectional combination for the submersion of the Constitution, has been aided in some of the States by elevating to citizenship, persons who, by the supreme law of the land, are incapable of becoming citizens; and their votes have been used to inaugurate a new policy, hostile to the South, and destructive of its beliefs and safety.
   On the 4th day of March next, this party will take possession of the Government. It has announced that the South shall be excluded from the common territory, that the judicial tribunals shall be made sectional, and that a war must be waged against slavery until it shall cease throughout the United States.
    The guaranties of the Constitution will then no longer exist; the equal rights of the States will be lost. The slaveholding States will no longer have the power of self-government, or self-protection, and the Federal Government will have become their enemy.
   Sectional interest and animosity will deepen the irritation, and all hope of remedy is rendered vain, by the fact that public opinion at the North has invested a great political error with the sanction of more erroneous religious belief.
{ We, therefore, the People of South Carolina, by our delegates in Convention assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, have solemnly declared that the Union heretofore existing between this State and the other States of North America, is dissolved, and that the State of South Carolina has resumed her position among the nations of the world, as a separate and independent State; with full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent States may of right do. }


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Commemorative Program
for replacement 
U.S.C.T. Union Headstones 
Alexandria National  Cemetery, Pineville, La.
 Sun. June 16, 2002,~1:15pm

 
 
 
 
 
 


 
 



















 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 

Confederate Headstone
Southern Cross
A. Hamilton
U S C T
(United States Colored Troops)
CSA
(Confederate States of America)
1993  -  2002
Union Headstone
A. Hamilton
(Allen Hamilton - Co. F.)
(109th Regiment)
U S C T
(United States Colored Troops)

2002 -