Normally I wouldn’t waste space over such trifling things; but it has to do with history, and I will take any opportunity to spread historical facts that have been obscured by the years of bias and revisionism.
First of all, the controversy has to do with flags. A flag is a symbol; and symbols may mean different things to different people. To some, it means slavery and oppression. To others, it means state’s rights and independence. Nobody is wrong, but as we will see – no one is completely right.
The problem here is that both sides are stomping their feet, yelling as loud as they can, proclaiming that they are right. But let’s ask – what if they are both wrong?
The Civil War, at least at the outset, was neither about slavery or state’s rights. It was, like our own revolution, a war over taxation.
Admiral Sennes of the CSS Alabama writes, “fully three quarters of the expense of maintaining the United States Government was paid for by the South.” We may estimate that as much as one million dollars per year (in the currency of the day) was collected in the Southern states and sent to the north, where it was used for internal improvements there. The South saw little of the money it sent to Washington ever again.
This money was even used to subsidize industries in the North, at the expense of the South. Most tax revenues would have been collected as tariffs, and this placed a burden on the Southern economy. (Years before, the nullification debate was sparked when the Federal government attempted to raise the rate of those tariffs.)
Is it not understandable that the South wanted to be free of this economic burden? The North, however, did not want to loose their cash-cow; and they betrayed the principles of 1776 to keep them.
Yes, the South did support the practice of slavery but remember, few anywhere in the North wanted to see it completely abolished. Perhaps they wanted to stop it’s spread, but that was only to balance political power (agricultural viz. industrial interests) and those abolitionists we so often hear about were in a small, radical minority. Lincoln had no intention of abolishing slavery; had the rebellion never happened, he likely never would have issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
Why? The Emancipation Proclamation was a political move. England was looking into giving assistance to the South; for the southern cotton fed the English factories. At that point of the war, due to the genius of the Southern generals and the experience of the southern soldiers, it looked like the South might win the war on their own – who knows what might happen if the powers of England were behind them.
But Lincoln knew that the English were vehemently anti-slavery; turning the war into a battle over slavery would discourage England. That is exactly what happened; though England continued to sell the South weapons and other necessities for hard money through the duration of the war.
But look at the glorious Emancipation Proclamation: it freed the slaves in states that Lincoln had no jurisdiction over. Slaves in Northern states where the practice was still permitted (Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and West Virginia) would have to wait until 1865 for their freedom. So much for Lincoln’s glorious emancipation of the slaves.
Now for the issue at hand. Should the flag be removed at the South Carolina capitol building? I don’t care. It really doesn’t matter.
But remember – the Confederate Flag never flew on a ship importing Slaves from Africa – the southern states, long before the congressional resolution of 1808, had banned the practice on their own. The flag of the United States, however, did.
The Confederate States of America never invaded another sovereign nation, save for the journeys into Maryland (1862) and Pennsylvania (1863) – but the destruction of these two campaigns paled in comparison to the devastation brought on by the United States in the south.
The Confederate States of America never meddled in the affairs of other nations; caused bloody wars for economic benefit, etc.
The only stain upon the Confederacy was slavery. But is this not a stain on the United States as well?
Anyway, enough of this.
A shady fast track trade agreement has passed the Senate, giving greater power to pass equally shady trade agreements. Though we cannot know fully what it will do – many of it’s provisions are still shrouded in secrecy.