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Dogs Of War

 

It is interesting that the demonizing of political opponents, who are but fellow citizens voicing their opinions about the direction of the country, was the main reason the Civil War was inevitable in the US what with the Abolitionists and Fire-eaters.  It’s why Catholics and Protestants have been burning each other at the stake since Luther’s time. It’s hard to find common ground when you “Cry 'Havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war”.


Now The Museum
 

Fast Forward to Jim Crow
 

Exhibit One: The Forging in Fire of our Current Republic:
 

In perhaps the most ironic consequence of the Civil War, the Souths insistence on succession led Lincoln to use force to preserve the Union. In losing that war, the “free” States of the South forever changed the Constitutional basis of the United States from a collection of unified former British Colonies and their offspring, only Texas had been a self-governing Nation and had the strongest case for secession, into a Single Federally controlled Nation State.
 

But what if Lincoln had acquiesced, as some assert he should have? Now we are into Alternate History, fiction by another name, but the Museum will propose this one:
 

First both countries would have scrambled for the border states, and in that scramble the Museum will claim that it will fall out like history, with Tennessee and Virginia going south, how could they not, and the border being drawn below a disgruntled Missouri, Kentucky and Maryland. The Union claims all the territories by right of arms as their forces are the only ones remaining in them. Now there is a long, militarized border between the two “nations”, and we quotation mark that because the North will never formally recognize the South (see Korea today).  The second result of this “peaceful” split is that the Fugitive Slave Act is no longer in existence in the North, indeed it is likely that the North goes strict abolitionist within the first few months of the Lincoln administration.
 

As Southern “Property Rights” are no longer protected in the North, they have to commit more resources to defend the border because of the flood of fugitive slaves, aided and abetted by Northern groups, the South will call them Terrorists, seeking freedom. Also, there is nowhere for the South to expand, except Sovereign States like Mexico and in the Caribbean, without coming into direct conflict with the North. So between “incidents” of Southern posses trying to reclaim Slaves who are slipping across the border, and military clashes in the former territories, how long would it really have been before the two primed and ready to fight “Nations” would have come to blows?
 

This is a powder keg that will go off. The Museum think Missouri is the most likely flash point, but it could be anywhere on the border, and collective incidents will lead to the same War we had, only a few months, at most a year, later. But now it is a war between two sovereign nations. Will Britain intervene? It is the same dilemma they had in History, wanting Southern Trade opposing Slavery. Even if they do how will it impact the outcome? Break the Northern blockade? Maybe, the Museum doesn’t think they would commit land forces. This is all fiction so who knows? Unforeseeable events would happen bringing unexpected consequences, and all this idle speculation is just that.
 

But one of the likely outcomes would still be a Northern Victory, but this time they would come not as two-sides of the same coin, they would come as conquerors and the fate of the conquered South would be much different.
 

This is one take on events, any other is just as valid. Real History is already written.
 

Exhibit Two: One Hundred Years Later
 

1854: Kansas-Nebraska Act:  It allowed people in the territories of Kansas and Nebraska to decide for themselves whether to allow slavery within their borders. It in effect repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820 which prohibited slavery north of latitude 36°30´. to 1954: Brown vs the Board of Education: "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal,"
 

1860: Lincoln elected

1960: Sit Ins at Public Businesses

1861: Fort Sumter

1961: Freedom Riders across the South

1862: Battle of Antietam

1962: University of Mississippi integration riots.

1863: Battle of Gettysburg

1963: George Wallace Speech; “"segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever,"

1864: Grant and Sherman take charge

1964: Freedom Summer in Mississippi, a movement to register black voters

1865: Surrender at Appomattox

1965: Voting Rights Act, which leads to the downfall of Jim Crow

 

Exhibit Three: Foundation and Empire

 

They say that history is written by the victors, but the Civil War has been the rare exception. Perhaps the need for the country to stay together made it necessary for the North to sit silently and accept the South's conception of the conflict. In any case, for most of the past 150 years, the South’s version of the war and Reconstruction has held sway in our schools, our literature and, since the dawn of feature films, our movies.

— The San Francisco Chronicle
 

The Lost Cause Mythos started soon after the war, as part of the greater “Who lost the South” literary battle. This was the Post Civil War version of a twitter war. Two of the most important figures in this were;
Jubal Early: Confederate General, and first President of the Southern Historical Society, the ground swell     of Lost Cause writing. This organization later led to the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
 

Jefferson Davis: President of the Confederacy, and author of the important, and well written, apologia of the Confederacy, “The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government.” This important two volume tome set up States Rights, and many other more peripheral issues, as the Anything but Slavery format for the Lost Cause.

 

Exhibit Four: Jim Crow
 

And this led to the Sons of Confederate Veterans mentioned above and probably more importantly the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the consolidation and justification of Jim Crow.
 

According to Karen Cox, a historian, University of North Carolina at Charlotte professor and author of numerous articles and books on Southern history and culture, including “Dixie’s Daughters: The United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Preservation of Confederate Culture […]
 

The UDC was very focused on the future. Their goal, in all the work that they did, was to prepare future generations of white Southerners to respect and defend the principles of the Confederacy. It wasn’t just Confederate monuments, either. They also rejected any school textbook that said slavery was the central cause of the Civil War; they praised the Ku Klux Klan and gave speeches that distorted the cruelty of American slavery and defended slave owners […]
 

The biggest spike in Confederate memorials came during the early 1900s, soon after Southern states enacted a number of sweeping laws to disenfranchise Black Americans and segregate society. During this period, more than 400 monuments were built as part of an organized strategy to reshape Civil War history. And this effort was largely spearheaded by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, who sponsored hundreds of statues, predominantly in the South in the early 20th century — and as recently as 2011.

  Adapted from: -Projects.fivethirtyeight.com>confederate-statues

Also:  history.com/news/how-the-u-s-got-so-many-confederate-monuments
 

At The Exit: And it Worked

 

The Daughters did their work so well that the Museum is just ending a two-part exhibit on The Lost Cause, 155 years after Lee surrendered at Appomattox. That we have a racist past is history. We can come to terms with it and learn from it, or we can hide from it and continue to perpetuate the mistakes. We are very fortunate to live in a Republic, Lincoln’s Republic, which still gives us that chance.

Unkwil

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Uncle Willie loves to have feedback from both readers who appreciate his point of view as well as from misguided souls who disagree.