What we hold to be true or false also extends into other basic fields of human existence, such as the economic, political and social systems under which we live, as well as the recorded history of such matters. As with religion, while differences in one’s approach to the political or social systems in which we believe can merely serve as a benign subject of individual choice and philosophical discourse, such differences can also lead to unreasoning fear or hatred, societal persecution or even actual conflict, with an excellent case in point being the American Civil War. In order to be politically correct today, one is forced to accept the premise that the North went to war to free the Southern slaves and that the South treasonously fought to defend its “peculiar institution,” as well as firing on Fort Sumter as an overt act of Southern aggression.
All Southern arguments that present any alternate facts detailing the actual economic, political and social causes of the War are, of course, ignored. Likewise, anything citing the fact that there is no specific clause in either America’s original Articles of Confederation or the subsequent Constitution which forbids the withdrawal of a state from the contract into which it voluntarily entered is also summarily dismissed as Southern propaganda to justify secession. The truth is that had such a restriction been inserted, it is highly doubtful if either document would have been ratified.
Today, both slavery and racial intolerance are presented, and generally accepted, as being unique to white Southerners. Even a cursory examination of history, however, would reveal that slavery actually began in the North, particularly in New England and New York in the 17th Century, and was ultimately exported to the South. As an example, a recent film based on the 1853 narrative of Solomon Northup’s ordeal, “Twelve Years a Slave,” fails to mention the fact that Northup’s father was a slave in Rhode Island . . . not in the South.
Furthermore, just prior to the time Northup’s father was given his freedom in New York, that state contained over 13,000 slaves, the second highest slave population in America, and that more than 35 per cent of all immigrants entering New York City did so as slaves. New York was also the scene of some the earliest slave uprisings, and in 1741 slaves attempted to burn down all of Manhattan. That revolt was brutally put down, with over a hundred slaves being hanged, burned alive or exiled.
It is also a fact that slavery and the slave trade in the North did not end until the early part of the 19th Century, and as late as 1865 in New Jersey. The same holds true in relation to racial discrimination and prejudice, and while the de jure “Jim Crow” segregation laws in the South are portrayed as being the sole representative of racial repression in America, we seldom, if ever, hear now of similar de facto segregation in the North. On that note, perhaps one of the greatest miscarriages of history is the portrayal of Abraham Lincoln as the “great emancipator” and the fatherly benefactor of African-Americans, when in truth history actually shows that Lincoln was not in favor of outright abolition, that he advocated a policy of slave colonization outside America, and on numerous occasions publicly stated his opinion that whites were superior to blacks and since the two races were incompatible, they would be unable to live together in harmony . . . feelings which were shared by many, if not most, Northerners both in Lincoln’s day and well into the 20th Century. In regard to this, while the Ku Klux Klan did originate in the South during the post-war Reconstruction era, by the mid-1920s the KKK had become a national anti-Black, anti-Semitic and anti-Catholic organization with as many as six million members, and 250,000 of them in Indiana alone.
Other areas in the North also had large KKK groups, such as Detroit Michigan’s 40,000 members, with smaller chapters reaching all across the North, from Oregon and Washington State to New York and New England.
Prejudice, however, presents a nasty saber that can cut both ways. Far too many people all across America today, both black and white, now believe, or are led to believe, that most ill will towards African-Americans is based on the perceived feelings of racism in the South that date back to the 19th Century and the cause that was lost in 1865. Because of this, the same voices that cry out against this so-called Southern racism also believe they can shout ethnic epithets with impunity at not only the people of the South, but the history and traditions in which Southerners firmly believe.
While these cries also include demands to permanently furl the banners of the Confederacy, many would like to carry their feelings against what they see as Southern prejudice still further. Like the Islamic Taliban in Afghanistan who, during 2001, blew apart the 6th Century Bamiyan Buddha statues, as well as the more recent acts of wanton destruction carried out by the so-called Islamic State against Assyrian, Roman and Christian antiquities, merely because each represents something in which the Islamic fanatics do not believe, there are those in America who now call for the total destruction or removal of Confederate statues and monuments, including even the historic carvings of President Davis and Generals Lee and Jackson on Stone Mountain in Georgia.
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