Thursday, April 29, 2010

Confederate Memorial Day

A few weeks ago residents of the Union States found out that governor's of the Confederate States typically declare April Confederate History Month -- the whole flap in Virginia brought this to light. What has gone totally unreported is that most of the Confederate States have two Confederate related state holidays: Confederate Memorial Day and Jefferson Davis' Birthday. This past Monday (April 26) Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Texas observed Confederate Memorial Day. The other Confederate States celebrate the day on other dates.

Confederate sympathizers are quick to point out that the day has nothing to do with slavery -- it's merely about honoring the soldiers who fought and died for the Confederacy in the War of Northern Aggression Civil War. I suppose this would be like the German government creating a holiday called Wehrmacht Memorial Day which honors the soldiers who fought and died for the Third Reich, but of course, the holiday doesn't endorse the principals and objectives of the Third Reich.

Based on how there seemed to be no recognition by the general public of Confederate Memorial Day -- the only businesses closed were state offices; the were no major public observances; my co-workers had no clue that it was Confederate Memorial Day -- I think it's really just a tiny, but extremely vocal group of Southerners who not only cannot get over the War of Northern Aggression Civil War, but despite it having happened about 150 years ago, feel extremely victimized by the Union for not allowing the South to secede. They act as bitter and victimized as Poland still does about being invaded and slaughtered by the Germans and Russians, but in Poland's case, it's kinda justified. The whole victimization thing is what makes it so ridiculous. They just don't get that they were on the losing side of history.

And they're always trying to whitewash history by claiming that slavery was just one of many, many things that the War of Northern Aggression Civil War was fought over. Well, I decided do some historical research and see what some primary sources had to say. I found Message of Jefferson Davis to the Provisional Congress of the Confederate States of America which was delivered on April 29th, 1861 just a few blocks down the street from where I work.

Davis begins the speech by rambling on about state's rights. In the the fourth paragraph he talks about how slaves are crucial to the Southern economy:
[slave] labor had been so directed ... to convert hundreds of thousands of square miles of the wilderness into cultivated lands covered with a prosperous people; towns and cities had sprung into existence, and had rapidly increased in wealth and population under the social system of the South; the white population of the Southern slaveholding States had augmented from about 1,250,000 at the date of the adoption of the Constitution to more than 8,500,000 in 1860; and the productions of the South in cotton, rice, sugar, and tobacco, for the full development and continuance of which the labor of African slaves was and is indispensable, had swollen to an amount which formed nearly three-fourths of the exports of the whole United States and had become absolutely necessary to the wants of civilized man.
He then goes on to say:
With interests of such overwhelming magnitude imperiled, the people of the Southern States were driven by the conduct of the North [outlawing slavery] to the adoption of some course of action to avert the danger with which they were openly menaced. With this view the legislatures of the several States invited the people to select delegates to conventions to be held for the purpose of determining for themselves what measures were best adapted to meet so alarming a crisis in their history ... In the exercise of a right so ancient, so well established, and so necessary for self-preservation, the people of the Confederate States, in their conventions, determined that the wrongs which they had suffered and the evils with which they were menaced required that they should revoke the delegation of powers to the Federal Government which they had ratified in their several conventions. They consequently passed ordinances resuming all their rights as sovereign and Independent States and dissolved their connection with the other States of the Union.
So there you have it. Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, in his first message to the Confederate Congress recapping how they got to this point, says that the South seceded because the Federal Government was going to take away their slaves (which they viewed as their property) and that would be bad for their economy. Case closed.

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