The arguments about the removal of Confederate statues do get heated on both sides. Each also argue the premise of the Civil War. Some say the war was about slavery so that the Confederate statues must go. Others say the war was about states’ rights, and that the statues are part of our history and should stay.
Now, the left cries when they even think that their right of free speech has been infringed upon, yet they deem it appropriate to restrict that very same right when others decide to stand up for their beliefs, including the recent incident in Virginia. And it’s all over history – something that hasn’t affected them or their immediate family or even their grandparents. After all, the Civil War and slavery ended in the 1800s.
But this does call into question a serious history lesson. What was the Confederacy’s real connection to the institution of slavery?
The Confederate Constitution: Section 7
Paragraph (1) of the Confederate States of America – Constitution for the Provisional Government stated, “The importation of African negroes from any foreign country other than the slave-holding States of the United States, is hereby forbidden, and Congress is required to pass such laws as shall effectually prevent the same.” Paragraph (2) also stated that Congress had the right to stop confederate states from taking slaves from states that were not part of the Confederacy.
One would think that if the Confederacy and Civil War were “all about slavery,” then the Confederate Constitution would be more lenient toward accepting slaves from other countries and from Union states. Instead, it’s quite the opposite.
This is not to suggest that the Southern States were by any stretch anti-slavery. But this does tell us the war’s connection to the horrific institution was far more complicated that contemporary history classes teach. After all, the states’ rights argument holds solid ground as well.
In a Message to Congress from the Confederate States of America dated April 29, 1861, as ratification of the Constitution, Jefferson Davis opined that after the liberation from Britain, the Declaration of Independence said that each state would have its own government and would run itself. However, when the states ratified the Constitution, they “left out” the part that each state would have its own governance, instead opting for a government that ruled over all of the states. Thus, the states that did not agree with having a federal government over individual state governments chose to secede from the union.
At the time, the southern states were making a large profit on crops, including but not limited to rice, tobacco and cotton. With the implementation of a federal constitution, thus removing some states’ rights and adding taxes, the profits of the farmers in the south would suffer. The north, understandably, wanted some of these profits. Creating a federal government would force the states to share in all profits through taxation.
Due to the differences in opinion as to states’ rights and economic growth, several states decided to secede from the union and the Civil War began. The south lost the war and we became one United States of America instead of several states united against Britain and other countries. This is a part of the history which makes the United States what it is today.
The statues that honor Confederate generals and other figures serve to remind us of the war within our own borders. They also remind us to never forget that period of time, so that part of history is not repeated. The statues provide a learning opportunity for children and adults of all ages by providing a glance into our country’s often bleak history.
Many of the monuments and statues mark a place where a significant battle or other historical event took place. It would better serve the country to keep these statues and monuments in their original places so that future generations may be motivated to learn the history of these great United States.
18 U.S. Code 1369
The U.S. Code provides for up to a 10-year imprisonment for those who willfully destroy or makes an attempt to destroy any statue, monument, plaque or structure that commemorates the service of a person in any of the armed forces. However, to be charged, the monument must have been on federal property or someone would have had to “travel in interstate or foreign commerce,” or used the mail or another method of interstate or foreign commerce.
Authorities should be arresting any of those destroying historical public property, even if it’s on state, county or town property. If people think that removing the statues, monuments, plaques and structures remove their hurt feelings over something that happened well over 100 years ago, then they have a huge problem, and it’s not history. Instead, embrace history and teach it to your children so as we don’t repeat that portion of history that so invades your sensibilities.
~ Conservative Zone