Alexander Stephens' famous "Cornerstone Speech" tells us what the Civil War and the Confederacy were truly about.
I’ve been reading that there was a “slave bible” bible that had been edited to take out liberation passages. Certainly many churches supported slavery and the confederacy. Maybe a post on that.
Just last night I was searching for instances of the use of "Slave Power" in free state newspapers in 1858 and it struck me that many of the anti-slavery editors subtly claimed the rhetoric of "state's rights." It's easy to understand. Since the passage of the U.S. Constitution, slave states had worked to ensure to protection of slavery, but by the 1850s, they had become aggressive in advocating for a default Congressional stance on new territories that they would by default be slave territories, that free state citizens had to participate in the return of freedom seekers, and desired a Congressional and Constitutional settlement on the national question of slavery (in its favor, of course). So, they sought to secure slavery as a national concern and compel other states to respect that... they weren't just sitting back asking to be "left alone."
That part where Stephens condemns the founders is as interesting as anything else. It reveals that this is all much, much, more than simple economic advantage for enslavers. Instead, it was a deeply conservative world view that begins with the firm belief that races are not equal, and could not live together as equals, lest violence break out (well, violence to white folks, since white folks already imposed violence on Black people). One did not have to enslave people to believe that to have been a historical fact widely accepted at the time. And it also opens up a view into which we can see that this invocation of an allegedly flawed founding document and the Constitutional order it bequeathed could be so intertwined with the cause of slavery that it's sometimes difficult to tell them apart. (I read these primary sources on a daily basis.) So it makes it difficult for me to insist that these guys woke up in May 1865 and invented from whole cloth the idea that this was all a matter of constitutional issues rather than a defense of slavery, when all of that was exactly the same thing in 1860--no matter where ex-Confederates put the emphasis on a massively complex issue after 1865.
All I'm saying is that, yes, as you say, it WAS always about slavery. And it helps me to understand how slavery found ways to bend political thinking, faith, culture, and social order to it's will, rather than think about it as an either/or proposition.
There’s nothing like “receipts” and source documentation to blow up false narratives and miseducation!
I live in Florida. Ron Desantis has signed legislation that forces educators to teach that slaves benefited from slavery. I was a PCA member for over 40 years. I resigned 5 months ago from my church after reading excerpts from the infamous Cornerstone Speech. They were unfazed. It told me fathoms about Evangelicalism in America today. Acts 1:6. We want to rule your kingdom sir!
I’d like to hear more about Christian religion sects protected and championed slavery in the U.S. (particularly in non slave states, such as California)(
I'm curious to know more about Native Americans' involvement in the war. My understanding is that they fought on both sides, and I'm guessing motives varied. My step-dad is a white-passing tribally-enrolled Lower Creek member from Tulsa. He tends towards the mythic Southern view but I'm sure the actual history has layers!
We visited Charleston a few years ago and passed Mugdock Castle. I looked it up online and was amazed at the way they framed the history of the place in Southern Rebel fashion. Looking at the website today, it seems they have taken out some of the more egregious language, but it still states that on April 15, 1861, “Lincoln issued a call for 75,000 troops from the states remaining in the Union. Until that point, Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, had been unwilling to secede. However, dismayed by the President’s actions and uncomfortable with the untenable idea of compulsory union, they voted to break with the United States and join the Confederate States of America. On May 27th, the U.S. Army invaded Virginia. The War to Prevent Southern Independence (aka “The Civil War”) had begun.” We saw this kind of language on monuments too, but to see it on a website was eye opening to this Midwesterner. The Civil War in quotes! Thank you Dr Tisby for Substack today. Your insights are helping my husband and me on our journey of understanding the full history and current state of our country.