Thomas Carlyle said that it takes men of worth to recognize worth in men (1). Among the many worthy men across Western Civilization who recognized the worth of General Robert E. Lee was Sir Winston Churchill who summed it up, saying Lee was one of the noblest Americans who ever lived and one of the greatest captains in the annals of war (2). But now the Lee Monument in Richmond has been taken down by mobs of rioting Harpies, leaving only the towering, vandalized base upon which it rested. Our groveling Governor, who loves his office more than his honor, says Lee no longer represents the values of Virginia. Judging by the filthy graffiti that has desecrated the Lee Monument, I would say no truer words have ever been spoken. What remains is a monument to the moral depravity of this Age without a Name. We are in a Marxist revolution. Critical Race Theory merely replaces traditional class warfare with race warfare, with White people – and particularly Southern White people and the conveniently long-dead Confederacy – as the “oppressors” and scapegoats for all the racial ills in Yankee-land.
Ever since the Spring of 1864, we Southerners have been on the defensive. No war was ever won on the defensive, but we have spent barrels of ink explaining the righteousness of our Cause, mistakenly confounding the many causes of secession with the single cause of the war, which was secession itself. That, is what the war was “about,” and what we were fighting for was simply our independence from those who would deny it, just as in 1776, when the thirteen slave-holding (3) Colonies seceded from the British Empire. But, rather than hammering our detractors with this simple Truth, we instead get ourselves into involved defensive explanations that cause their eyes to glaze over, and when “the defense rests,” they calmly look at us and say “Slavery.” It is a political axiom that whenever your opponent gets you to explaining, you have already lost the argument. I take a different approach. I indict the hypocrisy of our detractors and their Myth of American History. The agitation over our Confederate monuments rests upon this fossilized myth, which proclaims that “The Civil War was all about slavery, the righteous North waged it to free the slaves, and the evil South fought to keep them. End of story. Any questions?”
Well, yes. I have quite a few. First, to claim that the South went to war to keep their slaves, one must also claim that the North went to war to free them. The simple fact is, that it did not. Abraham Lincoln boldly admitted that fact in his First Inaugural (4). So my first question to them is, do they expect me to doubt the word of “Honest Abe”? My next question is, if the North went to war to free the slaves, why was slavery constitutional throughout the entire war (5)? When some of the Northern States abolished slavery for its inutility in their industrializing society, they did not free their slaves. Instead, they sold them South before their State abolition laws went into effect (6). But there still were “slave States” in the Union throughout the war. So if the righteous North went to war to free slaves, as the Myth of American History has it, why didn’t they free their own? And why did Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – issued halfway through the war when the South was winning it – say that slavery was all right as long as one were loyal to his government (7)? And why did he admit West Virginia, a so-called “slave State,” into the Union six months later? And why did Lincoln – a documented White Supremacist (8) – choose to inaugurate the bloodiest war in the history of the Western Hemisphere to, in effect, drive Southern slavery and four million Southern Blacks back into the Union, when he could have well been rid of them all without firing a shot? Do the grammar school histories indoctrinating our children or the Marxist professors of our highest universities say anything about all this bald-faced hypocrisy of the self-righteous North? In his Second Inaugural, Lincoln claimed that the South was fighting to expand slavery into the Territories (9). That was certainly a political issue before the war, but with the South out of the Union, the Confederacy had given up all claims to the United States Territories, making Lincoln’s specious claim just one more smelly “red herring” to cover the tracks of his murderous usurpation of power in waging his war of invasion, conquest, and coerced political allegiance against the South. But since Lincoln did not recognize the Southern States as being out of the Union (10), by his own definition he was committing treason under Article III, section 3 of the Constitution by waging war against them. What does The Myth of American History have to say about that? .
Secession is merely freedom of association writ large. There were many causes of secession, not least of which that Southerners no longer wished to be associated with those people who slandered, despised, and hated them so. But that begs the question of why those people waged the war to prevent their departure. To hear their vitriol, one would think they would have been glad to be rid of these Southern Apostates polluting what the New England Pilgrim Fathers called their “Citty upon a hill.” But they weren’t, for running like a river beneath their bigoted pieties was their avariciousness. Follow the dollar and know the truth. Quite simply, cotton was “king” in 1861, and the South’s “Cotton Kingdom” was the North’s “cash cow.” With the South out of the Union, the North’s “Mercantile Kingdom” would collapse (11)! So Lincoln rebuffed every Southern overture for peace and launched an armada against Charleston Harbor to provoke South Carolina into firing the first shot (12). South Carolina responded to Lincoln’s provocation just as Massachusetts had responded to George III’s provocation at Lexington and Concord. Lincoln got the war he wanted (13), but it put him in the shoes of George III.
Virginia, “The Mother of States and of Statesmen,” stood solidly for the Union she had done so much to create, but when Lincoln called for her troops to subjugate the Southern States, Virginia refused, indicted Lincoln for “choosing to inaugurate civil war” (14), seceded from the Union, and joined the Confederacy. Four other States – including occupied Missouri – followed her out. But after four years of arduous service, as General Lee said at Appomattox, the South was compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources (15), and Lincoln drove the Southern States back into the Union at the point of the bayonet. Although John Wilkes Booth made a martyr out of America’s Caesar, Reconstruction cemented his conquest. With an Army of Occupation and the pretense of law, and with the Union Leagues stirring up racial hatred and putting the South under Negro rule, a corrupt Northern political party transformed the voluntary Union of sovereign States into a coerced Yankee Empire pinned together by bayonets.
The conquered Southern States, accepting the situation at the behest of General Lee, sent their representatives to Congress in December of 1865, but they were not allowed to take their seats. Vindictive Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania stated: “The future condition of the conquered power depends on the will of the conqueror. They must come in as new States or remain as conquered provinces. Congress … is the only power that can act in the matter… Congress must create States and declare when they are entitled to be represented… As there are no symptoms that the people of these provinces will be prepared to participate in constitutional government for some years, I know of no arrangement so proper for them as territorial governments. There they can learn the principles of freedom and eat the fruit of foul rebellion…” (16)
In that session, the Thirteenth Amendment, abolishing slavery in the United States, was proposed, sent to the States, and ratified – three years after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. The Fourteenth Amendment was then proposed. This would gave illiterate Blacks the right to vote and serve on juries. It barred all ex-Confederates from Federal and State offices, and it required the Southern States to share in the payment of the Union war debt and repudiate their own. Tennessee ratified, but the ten ex-Confederate States that rejected it lost their identities in March of 1867 with the passage by Congress of the First Reconstruction Act (17).
The Reconstruction Act of 1867 put the ten Southern States under martial law and divided them into five military districts, with Virginia being designated as “Military District Number One.” It stipulated that each Southern State frame a new constitution that met with Yankee approval. This was to be done by a convention consisting of male delegates “of whatever race, color, or previous condition” – with the exception of all Confederate soldiers and most other Southern White people, all of whom were disfranchised. Then, when the new legislature elected under this new constitution had ratified the proposed Fourteenth Amendment, that State would then be “readmitted into the Union” with representation in Congress. But if these States were out of the Union and under martial law, how could they ratify an amendment to the Constitution? And if they were in the Union, how could they be compelled to ratify it? The answer, of course, is Federal bayonets. Reconstruction was as much a calculated revolution as the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, freeing slaves, then enslaving free men to a totalitarian government – a government entirely in the hands of the North. With the destruction of the voluntary federated Republic of sovereign States bequeathed us by the Founders, one might say that George Washington was “The Father of his Country” and Abraham Lincoln was “The Father” of his.
Results? For the North? “The Gilded Age.” For the South? Grinding poverty in a land laid waste and the curse of being ruled by little men. For the Blacks? A recent study of military and Freedman’s Bureau records has revealed that between 1862 and 1870 perhaps as many as a million ex-slaves, or twenty-five percent of the population, died of starvation, disease, and neglect under their Northern “liberators” (18)! Freed from their master’s care, “Father Abraham, The Great Emancipator,” had told them to “root hog, or die.” The enfranchisement of Blacks in the South (but not in the North until the ratification of the XV Amendment in 1870) was not due to any Northern altruism, as The Myth of American History would have us believe. It was merely a cynical Northern political tool to cement the North’s conquest, and once she had achieved it with her so-called “Reconstruction,” the North abandoned her Black puppets to the upheaval she had wrought in Southern society and turned her attention to the Plains Indians, who were in the way of her trans-continental railroads. But that’s another story – let the Indians tell you that one.
The gradual reconciliation after Reconstruction came in part from the South’s “acceptance of the situation,” and in part from the North’s recognition of the South’s difficulty in suddenly assimilating millions of Africans into Western Civilization. Since the North had gotten all she wanted – which was unfettered control of the Federal Government – she was content to let the South deal with that problem. However, when Southern Blacks started moving north to the Promised Land, they found themselves relegated by a cold Northern racism into segregated ghettoes, and discovered that the Northern rhetoric about social equality was a political sham.
The invention of television gave Northern politicians a way out of this embarrassing situation by giving them the means to divert Black attention from de facto Northern segregation onto the codified segregation in the South, but their demagoguery provoked race riots up North. Desperate, guilt-ridden Northern White Liberals were driven to devise further crusades upon which to divert the attention of their unwanted Black population onto Southern scapegoats. First came the “Freedom Riders” – locked arm-in-arm with Black marchers – protesting Southern segregation and posting their Progressive virtues before the TV cameras for all to see. But while they were delivering tutorials on proper race relations to the benighted Southerners, the Blacks up North were burning their cities down – and they have been doing so ever since, forever compelling Desperate White Liberals to devise new crusades upon which to post their virtues.
Their latest crusade is against Confederate Monuments. But when all of the Confederate monuments have been vandalized and torn down, who will their next targets be? Be assured that these self-righteous, Latter-Day Puritans will not rest, for crusading, witch-burning and virtue-posting are in their DNA. It came over in the Mayflower. Meanwhile, Monument Avenue in Richmond is a desecrated shambles; Thomas Jefferson is under assault at UVA; W & L has repudiated General Lee; and VMI has repudiated “Stonewall” Jackson, while her Cadets who fought and died at the Battle of New Market and are buried at VMI have become an embarrassment (and a rebuke.) But not to worry! When all the Confederate monuments in the South have been torn down, peace, love, and diversity will flow like a river from Minneapolis and Seattle to Chicago and Philadelphia, and Desperate White Liberal Crusaders will be anointing themselves before the TV cameras all across Yankee-land.
As the mania for Equity for every conceivable definition of race, gender, and species reaches beyond the point of absurdity in the Victimhood Olympics, we have been carried away into Babylon, with women being sent into combat, while men push baby buggies around town; with the government funding infanticide and sex-change operations, while girls become Boy Scouts and men “choose” to be women; with children “deciding” their gender and being given access to the bathroom of their choice in school, while anarchy rules the classrooms and teachers are being assaulted by their students without redress; with government schools turned into Marxist indoctrination centers where Critical Race Theory is taught as history, while conservative speakers at colleges are being hounded off campus by Antifa and Black Lives Matter mobs; with “affirmative action” and race-norming instead of merit and SAT scores determining college admissions, while grading in classwork is being abolished as “racist”; with laws being made to conform to barbaric behavior instead of barbaric behavior being made to conform to the law, while convicts are being paroled into society to create racial parity in prisons and the defunded and demonized police are throwing down their badges in disgust; with the National debt approaching thirty trillion dollars and the US Government running riot with it like a teenager with a bottle of whiskey and his daddy’s car keys, while inflation runs rampant and the homeless are begging on every street corner for the increasingly worthless money; with a totalitarian government bankrupting businesses and threatening free citizens with draconian penalties if they don’t take the covid-19 vaccine, while the Third World is swarming across the open borders unchecked and unvaccinated… As one commentator said recently, we have become so open-minded that our brains have fallen out. Do not hope to reason with these people, for trying to reason with them is like singing hymns to a fence post with a boom box perched on top of it blasting gutter-grunts from some Hip-Hop Rapper. If Reconstruction was calculated like the Communist Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917, today’s “Woke Revolution” is mindless fanaticism like the French Revolution’s bloody Reign of Terror. I am waiting for the Confederate monuments to be replaced with the guillotine.
Progressives consider the march of history to be a linear march towards a secular Utopian perfection, where the oppressive Laws of God have been repealed. It began with the New England Puritans. While Southerners were following Daniel Boone through the Cumberland Gap, these Yankee Utopians were burning witches in John Winthrop’s “Citty upon a hill”; and while Southerners were five hundred miles west of the Mississippi in Texas defending the Alamo, these Yankee Utopians were a hundred miles west of the Hudson in New York, establishing their collectivist, Free-Love communes, and setting themselves up as the standard by which all true Americans should be measured. In this they have been remarkably successful, to the point where today they have the inmates running the Equality Asylum. But as the Preacher says in the Book of Ecclesiastes, “Consider the works of God, for who can make that straight which He hath made crooked?”
The righteous “Woke” and their rent-a-thug “Social Justice Warriors” love to claim they are on “The Right Side of History.” But Southerners know that history is not a linear march that will end in a rosy Utopia, but a cyclic March of Folly where rosy Utopian dreams end in totalitarian nightmares. Thus Southerners are and always have been Apostates in this Brave New World, where “all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,” as Kipling wrote (19). Southern monuments speak Truth to this Power, and stand as an indictment against the levelling mediocrity of these times. Lee, Jackson, and Stuart were heroes in the Classical mold of noble Hector of windy Troy, or the fierce Achilles, or the brave Odysseus, or the dauntless Aeneas. No wonder the Heathen rage at our Confederate monuments, for these little men who swarm about in this age without a name are shamed by them. As Tennyson wrote, “Yea, they would pare the mountain to the plain, to leave an equal baseness” (20).
The Reverend Dr. Robert Lewis Dabney, one-time Chief-of-Staff of “Stonewall” Jackson, wrote that Southerners know in due time they will be avenged through these same disorganizing heresies which will redound upon the North. Are we not seeing it now with the monumental hubris of the North’s “Woke Revolution,” their godless mob rule, and their blasphemous demands for Equity to “correct” the works of God? They forget that man is merely the Master, not the Creator of the world. In Classical Greek mythology, Icarus in his hubris flew too close to the sun, but Nemesis brought him down. So let these arrogant and successful wrongdoers flout their disdain for our Confederate monuments and all they stand for. As Dr. Dabney said, “we will meet them with it again, when it will be heard; in the day of their calamity, in the pages of impartial history, and in the Day of Judgment” (21).
(1) Thomas Carlyle, Latter-Day Pamphlets, IV: “The New Downing Street” in The Works of Thomas Carlyle, 12 vols., Library ed. (New York: John B. Alden, 1885) 8: 134.
(2) Sir Winston Churchill, A History of the English Speaking Peoples, 4 vols. (New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1958) IV: 170-3.
(3) See the 1790 US Census in Thomas Prentice Kettell, Southern Wealth and Northern Profits (New York: George W. & John A. Wood, 1860) pg. 120.
(4) “First Inaugural Address” (1861) in Charles W. Eliot, LL D, Ed. The Harvard Classics. 50 vols. (New York: P. F. Collier & Son, 1910). Vol. 43, American Historical Documents, 43: 334.
(5) See Article XIII of the US Constitution, ratified December 18, 1865.
(6) Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 2 vols. Trans. Henry Reeve (New York: D. Appleton, 1904) The Henry Reeve text as revised by Francis Bowen (New York: Vintage Books, 1954) I: 381-2.
(7) “Emancipation Proclamation” (January 1, 1863), Eliot, Vol. 43, pg. 345.
(8) Lerone Bennett, Jr., Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln’s White Dream (Chicago: Johnson Publishing Co., 2000) pgs. 183-214.
(9) “Second Inaugural Address” (1865). Eliot, Vol. 43, pgs. 451.
(10) —. “First Inaugural Address” (1861). Eliot, Vol. 43, pgs. 336-7.
(11) Gene Kizer, Jr., Slavery Was Not the Cause of the War Between the States: The Irrefutable Argument (Charleston and James Island, S. C.: Charleston Athenaeum P, 2014) pgs. 56-69.
(12) Charles W. Ramsdell, “Lincoln and Ft. Sumter,” The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 3, Issue 3 (August 1937) pgs. 259-88, in Kizer, pgs. 197-248. See also John Shipley Tilley, Lincoln Takes Command (Chapel Hill: U of N. C. P, 1941) pgs. 179-87, 266-7, 306-12, with documentation from original sources, including the Official Records.
(13) “If the Union were to undertake to enforce by arms the allegiance of the confederate States by military means, it would be in a position very analogous to that of England at the time of the War of Independence,” quoted in Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 2 vols., Trans. Henry Reeve (New York: D. Appleton, 1904) II: 425.
(14) John Letcher, letter to Sec. Simon Cameron, April 16, 1861, in the Richmond Enquirer, April 18, 1861, pg. 2, col. 1. Microfilm. The Daily Richmond Enquirer, Jan. 1, 1861 – June 29, 1861. Film 23, reel 24 (Richmond: Library of Virginia collection).
(15) “Lee’s Farewell to His Army” April 10, 1865. Eliot, Vol. 43, pg. 449.
(16) Thaddeus Stevens, “The Conquered Provinces,” Congressional Globe, 18 December 1865, 72, in Walter L. Fleming, ed. Documentary History of Reconstruction: Political, Military, Social, Religious, Educational and Industrial, 1865 to 1906, 2 vols. (Cleveland: The Arthur H. Clark Co., 1906) I: 148.
(17) Acts and Resolutions, 39 Cong., 2 Sess., 60, in Fleming, ed. Documentary History, I: 401-3.
(18) Jim Downs, Sick from Freedom: African-American Illness and Suffering During the Civil War and Reconstruction (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012) passim. See also John Remington Graham, The American Civil War as a Crusade to Free the Slaves (South Boston, VA: Gerald C. Burnett, M. D., 2016) pg. 11.
(19) Rudyard Kipling, “The Gods of the Copybook Headings,” http://www.kiplingsociety.co.uk/poems_copybook.htm
(20) Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Idylls of the King, “Merlin and Vivien,” The Works of Tennyson, Hallam, Lord Tennyson, Ed. (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1932) pg. 386.
(21) Robert L. Dabney, D. D., A Defense of Virginia, [and Through Her, of the South,] in Recent and Pending Contests against the Sectional Party (1867; Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 1977) pg. 356.