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Rod O'Barr

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Setting Lincoln Straight

On March 7, 1862, Lincoln sent to congress and congress passed a joint resolution offering pecuniary aid to any State that would initiate gradual emancipation. However, no funding had been passed, only a declaration of intent. The offer fell on deaf ears in all the slave States, including those still in the Union. This prompted Lincoln to call a meeting…
Rod O'Barr
June 10, 2022
Blog

Slavery and Abolitionism as Viewed by a Georgia Slave

After 200 years of digesting Enlightenment ideals of natural rights, and reciting a pledge that concludes with “liberty and justice for all,“ it is hard for us to realize there are circumstances when slavery could be considered a “positive good.” John C. Calhoun has lately been excoriated for taking this position. Yet in 1861 an educated Georgia slave named Harrison…
Rod O'Barr
January 12, 2022
Blog

The Coerced Soldiers of the USCT

“That the negroes did not revolt is one of the incomprehensible features of our Civil War. Every chance for success was theirs, nor were they ignorant of their opportunity for striking an effectual and crushing blow against their oppressors.  Why was it not done? Several potent causes combined to render any widespread insurrection at that time impossible. There was in…
Rod O'Barr
January 4, 2022
Blog

John Rock and Yankee Hypocrisy

John Rock was an American teacher, doctor, dentist, lawyer and abolitionist. Rock was one of the first African-American men to earn a medical degree. In addition, he was the first black person to be admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States. On January 23, 1863, John Rock made a speech at the annual meeting of…
Rod O'Barr
November 11, 2021
Blog

What Did the Founders Intend? Ask a Canadian

Critical to the debate regarding the right of secession is where, in the minds of the founders, did sovereignty reside. Were the States sovereign principals and the federal government their created agent? Or was the federal government sovereign and the States its created agents? State sovereignty prevailed for most of the 70 years after the founding, but political prejudice and…
Rod O'Barr
November 3, 2021
Blog

Jefferson Davis on Slavery in the Territories

The modern academic narrative says that the South’s purpose in secession and war was to “preserve and extend slavery.” Any other purpose is labeled a post-war “Lost Cause Myth.” In a speech on the floor of the Senate, February 13, 1850, Senator Jefferson Davis argued against Sen. Henry Clay’s call for banning slavery in the territories. The speech is a polemic against the reason…
Rod O'Barr
August 26, 2021
Blog

Historical Context Explains Secession

That Southern secession was ultimately about independence with or without slavery is easily determined by primary sources. Often I hear that the primary sources I quote in defense of Southern secession are “cherry picked” or “out of context.” Those making these charges will then point to the four Declarations of Causes or The Cornerstone Speech as proof of my lack…
Rod O'Barr
August 12, 2021
Blog

Daniel Webster on the Expansion of Slavery

Daniel Webster was one of the most notable Northern statesmen of his day. He was an American lawyer who represented New Hampshire and Massachusetts in the U.S. Congress.  His list of accomplishments is impressive:  Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Massachusetts's 1st district; Chair of the House Judiciary Committee; United States Senator from Massachusetts; Chair of the Senate Finance Committee.…
Rod O'Barr
July 29, 2021
Blog

Secession Was Not About Slavery

Original in the possession of the Minnesota Historical Society. First some context. The South did not secede to “preserve and extend slavery.” Its “pro-slavery“ arguments were not in response to any major political party in the antebellum period calling for emancipation. There was none! Southern secession was a result of 70 years of defending itself against Northern economic exploitation, Northern…
Rod O'Barr
June 11, 2021