Friday, February 12, 2010

State Rights, Slavery, and the War Between the States

The posting of my mom's Confederate Hero's Day post was rather late for me to post anything on that subject. I am a southern girl through and through!! I have the flag on a heart and I wear it every day (right by my "Ancora Imparo" pendent). I have more things that say "Southern by the Grace of God" or "100% American and 110% southern!" then I care to think about.

But I am not one of those people who thinks that the south was right in everything they did and that the North did everything wrong. Yes, I do know that both sides made mistakes and that both sides made some decisions that were right for that time, no they did not always make the correct decision and those were not always made at the best of times, but I will give you that there were good people on both sides as well as those not so good guys on either side.

But I will tell you that there are a couple things that are commonly said about the War Between the States that can get me madder than a wet hen. And with my views on the war I get to hear them over and over again and it really bothers me.

Right up there at the top of the list is the common belief that the war was fought over slavery. When I start talking about the war I get any number of answers or questions on how I am wrong or what I have I been reading? I never get to state the facts, I never get a chance to tell them that though the war was NOT fought over slavery in the beginning, after the Emancipation Proclamation it became a part of the reason for many, but for many in the South from start to finish it was a war that they fought for their state rights. Their states which they considered their homeland.

In many cases those that fought for the South were against Slavery, even if they were for slavery they were not fighting to keep the slaves, they were fighting to keep their state's rights; those rights that they believed had been given to them under the constitution. The same thing that their fathers had fought for against the British--Their right to make the choices for their state. (In fact the South had a better base from breaking from the Union then the colonies did from England.)

I find myself wanting to ask if the war was really fought over slavery how come most people fighting for the South didn't own slaves, never had and the chances of them owning any were slim to none.

Or if the war was fought for Slavery how come there were those who fought for the North who had owned slaves or who had family members who owned slaves as well? And how can a man whose wife owned slaves during the war fight on the side that was against slavery if the war was truly fought over freeing the slaves?

Yes, slavery was an issue but even Lincoln didn't make slavery a pivotal issue until it was politically expedient to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. This proclamation didn't actually free all the slaves just those in areas that were "in rebellion"--
"And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free;"
No, I am not condoning the act of slavery; in fact the very idea that people could own other people is beyond me. What I am saying is that I agree with the states, in that it was their right given to them by the Constitution, to decide state by state what they wanted to do about slavery. 
"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
Yes, some states may have made the wrong decision while others made the correct one, but then that is nothing new as we are all human and are prone to making a mistake here or there. At least they tried to do their best for their state at that time.

For people to say that the war was fought only for slavery is oh, so infuriating especially when there are men who would turn over in their graves if they heard people say that and to be told that I am harboring hate when I defend the South is just as infuriating.

Yes, I have kept an open mind about this, when I first started reading about the war I thought that the North and Lincoln were right. It did take a couple years for me to see things from the South's side (right about the time we started reading about it in history). And when I started reading about it from the South's side it didn't take long for me to see the south's side of things might be correct (even at the age of 12).

Not only the fact that I used to believe everything the "victors said" keep me with an open mind, but more members of my family are Northern or believe that the North was right, so I do have to be careful with what I say and do around them.

Now that I have stated my beliefs on slavery, state's rights, and the War Between the States, I am sure I will have a couple people leave a comment on how right I am about the war and the reasons, while I will have other people leave comments about how I am wrong for supporting the south.

Even though I have never had anyone get really nasty at me over this I have had my arguments and I have had to deal with people who think I am just plain crazy for believing what I believe about our history, but that is nothing new either.

Now a days those of us who dare to show our heritage, tend to get raised eyebrows at the very least. Honestly when I wear my St. Andrew's cross heart or ear rings, put a bumper sticker on my car that says "Heritage not Hate" with all the Southern flags, or in any other way show my "support" for the South it is not that I think we should break away from the Union (we tried that already and you see where it got us...)

Rather my bumper sticker explains it all..."Heritage not Hate".  It's my living out my heritage, my heritage that which God has given me and is part of what makes me, me.

It's your history as well as mine and I think it might do some people a world of good to read up on what makes their country the country that it is today and one way of doing so would be to go back and read some of those "horrid, old, dusty history books" and maybe they will see that there's more to the war then what the text books say there is.


Abigail said...

Well here's my comment to say how right you are about the war! :)

Dee said...

go Katie!