The Monster’s Appeal

Friday, February 10, AD 2017


“Pitchfork” Ben Tillman was a monster.  Governor of South Carolina from 1890-1894 and US Senator from South Carolina from 1895 until his death in 1918, in a time of overt public racism Tillman stood out.  He openly boasted on the floor of the Senate of murdering blacks during Reconstruction to help whites regain political power.  He offered blacks in South Carolina the choice of being helots or extermination.  His racial views are repugnant not only to our eyes, but to many, perhaps most, of his white contemporaries.   He achieved the disenfranchisement of blacks at the South Carolina Constitutional Convention of 1895, a disenfranchisement that would survive his death for almost a half century.

This terrible racism now obscures the main reason why Tillman had such a political hold on South Carolina for a generation and a half, and why he was a very effective legislator in the Senate.  With his racism he combined a radical populism that appealed to small farmers and laboring men who held the balance of power in South Carolina.  He appealed to them against the traditional rulers of South Carolina who seemingly had no answers to the economic challenges that beset the poor of South Carolina.  With his radical message he became a well paid speaker on the Chautauqua Circuit, giving speeches throughout the nation in which he made little effort to conceal his racial views.

The essence and power of Tillman’s economic message was shown at the Democrat convention in 1896 at which bi-metalism, an economic theory that was complete hooey, was regarded as the economic nostrum to cure the nation’s ills.  Tillman gave a brief speech:

When this convention disperses, I hope my fellow citizens will have a different opinion of the man with the pitchfork from South Carolina. I am from South Carolina, which was the home of secession. [Great hissing.] Oh, hiss if you like. There are only three things on earth which can hiss—a goose, a serpent, and a man, and the man who hisses the name of South Carolina has no knowledge whatever of its grand history. But I tell you I do not come from the South Carolina of 1860, which you charge brought about the disruption of the Democratic Party. The war there declared was for the emancipation of the black slaves. I come now from a South Carolina which demands the emancipation of the white slaves. You charge that in 1860 South Carolina brought about the disruption of the Democratic Party. I say to you now that I am willing to see the Democratic Party disrupted again to accomplish the emancipation of the white slaves. New York for twenty years or more has been the one dominant factor and dictator of the National Democratic Party. While we want to thank New York and Connecticut and New Jersey for the aid extended to us in the past, I want to say to you here that we have at last recognized in the South that we are mere hewers of wood and drawers of water, while the great states I have named have eaten up our substance. My friends say this is not a sectional issue. I say it is.

[Great scenes of disorder then ensued, and quiet was restored with difficulty. Many times the senator was interrupted, but he went on:]

I deny utterly that there is any sectional feeling over this silver issue. I have been in the East ten days, and nine-tenths of the voters in those States are for silver. The Democratic and Republican political machines, by the use of money, have stifled the sentiments of the people on this money question.

[References by the speaker to Senator Hill brought a renewal of the storm, and Senator Tillman was obliged to raise his voice to a shout as he ended:]

As Grover Cleveland stands for gold monometallism, we have repudiated him. We are diametrically opposed to his policy, and why should we write ourselves down as asses and liars? They ask us to say that he is honest. Well, in reply I say he signed a contract for bonds in secret, with one of his partners as a witness. Nobody disputes his boldness or obstinacy. He had the courage to overthrow the Constitution of the United States when he overrode the rights of the citizens of Illinois and sent federal troops into this state. You ask us to indorse his fidelity. In reply, I say he has been faithful unto death—the death of the Democratic Party. We have denounced him in South Carolina as a tool of Wall Street, and what was prophecy then is history now. Senator John Sherman’s speech in the Senate in support of the Administration’s money policy was but the certificate of a Cleveland Republican. I tell you that the Democratic Party of the United States will turn out the party in this fall’s election if it dares indorse Grover Cleveland here. I tell you you dare not go before this country after indorsing the Cleveland administration. We of the South have burned our bridges behind us so far as the Eastern Democrats are concerned. We have turned our faces to the West and they have responded. I have only a few more words to say, and I know that you will be asked to do this by time-serving politicians, the men who follow and never lead public opinion. Once again I say to you that we must refuse to indorse the Cleveland Administration or go before the country stultified.

Continue reading...

4 Responses to The Monster’s Appeal

  • Well, he appears to have been a powerful speaker. What happened to his eye? Was it always like that?

  • He lost his eye to an infection as a teenager which kept him from fighting in the Civil War.

  • The only thing that has changed in the Democratic Party is that instead of openly advocating for the extermination of the black race, its members shackle the people of that race and other minorities to the strangulation of affirmative action and the teat of the public treasury. Other than that, Pitchfork Ben Tillman would do well supporting loony leftist causes with phrases such as, ” We have denounced him in South Carolina as a tool of Wall Street…”

  • I don’t see why America should be immune from the violence prompted by racism that afflicted the Balkans during this same time period and which led to the assassination of Austria’ s empress and of Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austrian throne.

February 8, 1915: Birth of a Nation Debuts in Los Angeles

Wednesday, February 8, AD 2017


The film Birth of a Nation, D.W. Griffith’s masterpiece, was  controversial at its release and remains so.  At three hours the film was a pioneering effort using then cutting age technology to produce a movie that stunned viewers with its cinematic quality, something that no one had ever seen before.  At the same time the film, based on the pro-Ku Klux Klan novel the Clansman by Thomas Dixon, a friend of President Woodrow Wilson, drew outrage from Grand Army of the Republic Union veterans and black groups with its depiction of the Klan as noble heroes attempting to fight against evil Unionists and its depiction of blacks as little better than beasts who walked erect.  Race riots broke out in cities where the film was shown.  President Wilson viewed the film in the White House and was reported to have said, “It is like writing history with lightning. And my only regret is that it is all so terribly true”.  The White House denied the remark, and in the wake of continuing protests, Wilson eventually condemned the “unfortunate production”.  The film used quotes from Wilson’s scholarly works to buttress its negative depiction of Reconstruction and its positive depiction of the Klan.  Considering the fact that Wilson imposed segregation on the Civil Service it is difficult to discern what he found to be “unfortunate” about the film.

Continue reading...

3 Responses to February 8, 1915: Birth of a Nation Debuts in Los Angeles

  • I have seen “Intolerance,” or at least most of it. It is a brilliant piece of film-making and the origin of the “cast of thousands.” Some of the shots still astound.

    It does a beautiful job of condemning religious prejudice, feeding into a Protestant audience’s feelings with a grim depiction of the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre and then throwing a brutal change-up: the next chapter features an innocent Catholic man being framed for a crime and sentenced to execution.

    If only he could have done something with respect to the hatred depicted in the also-brilliant but hellishly racist “Birth,” which is no less than grotesque in parts.
    “Intolerance” is still worth a watch, despite its predecessor.

    Oh, and Wilson turns my stomach. If only Teddy had won in 1912…

  • DW Griffiths’ movie “Birth of a Nation”: “with its depiction of the Klan as noble heroes attempting to fight against evil Unionists.”

    Then, as now, Hollywood was controlled by the Demonrats: then, the military wing of the Demonrat party was the KKK; now it is “Occupy!”, BLM, and “Black Rock.”

    How little has changed.

  • Dale
    If you can tolerate 3 hour movies here is the link

July 15, 1870: Georgia Readmitted to the Union

Friday, July 15, AD 2016


Georgia was the last of the former Confederate States to be readmitted to the Union.  Congress refused to sit Georgia representatives or senators in Congress in 1869 due to the action of the Georgia legislature in expelling black members of that body.  This was followed by an attack by a white mob in the town of Camilla, Georgia on a Republican gathering that killed 12 blacks.  Federal military rule was reimposed in December of 1869.  In 1870 the troops were withdrawn and the Georgia Congressional delegation seated, when the Georgia legislature agreed to sit blacks.  By 1872 Geogia was firmly under the control of one of the so-called “Redeemer” white governments throughout the old Confederacy that used a mixture of legislation and terrorism to disenfranchise blacks.  The Civil War ended slavery and preserved the Union.  The Reconstruction era failed to protect the civil rights of blacks, a sad legacy that is still impacting the nation.

Continue reading...

10 Responses to July 15, 1870: Georgia Readmitted to the Union

  • God bless you and yours Maister McC.

  • “The Reconstruction era failed to protect the civil rights of blacks, a sad legacy that is still impatcing the nation.”
    It is the blatant racism of Barack Hussein Obama and his wife Michelle which injures and demeans black people into a servitude of hatred and violence against themselvs, white people, and police, and that legacy may be harder to undo than the legacy of what happened in the Reconstruction era.

  • LQC is 100% correct. From Bookworm Room blog: “if black lives really mattered, blacks would stop killing each other. Blacks would stop committing genocide against themselves by aborting more black children than they allow to be born. Blacks would stop consigning generations to poverty by having the majority of their children out-of-wedlock. Blacks would stop treating education as punishment and instead treat it as an opportunity.”

  • Here LQC, is a good summary of what CBC has become; by Michelle Malkin yesterday…

  • Jesus wept… 🙁

    Once again, thanks for this Maister McC and God bless…

  • Slavery is and was a terrible thing. I may be wrong but wasn’t the Federal gov. also wrong in just telling them(the slaves) you are free go find a job and prosper. If they were slaves then they most likely had no education. There seem to have been no thought given to that part of freeing the slaves. They were never allowed to leave the plantation so how were they to know were to go and what to do? Were they knowledgeable enough in 1869- 70 to set in the legislature? I know that I’m not!
    I know I’m not as smart as the rest of you nor do I have the education some of you do. I just have always thought of this and have never seen it addressed. God’s Blessing to all

  • The Freedmen’s Bureau was set up to help the newly freed slaves. It did a fair amount of good work in regard to education. However it could not reshape the hard political realities in the South that would eventually strip blacks of their new found political rights in the South. This was a tough problem that even Lincoln would have had a hard time addressing successfully, and once Lincoln was removed from the equation a successful outcome was impossible.

  • Just Me wrote, “If they were slaves then they most likely had no education.”
    Is that really true? If so, it is in stark contrast to the ancient world. Just think of freedmen like Marcus Antonius Pallas (Greek, despite the Roman name), who was Secretary to the Treasury under Nero and Claudius. His brother, Marcus Antonius Felix was Procurator of Judea. Then there was Tiberius Claudius Narcissus, who was head of the Imperial Chancellery under Claudius. The civil service was very largely composed of slaves or freemen. One also recalls Epictetus, the Stoic philosopher and a particularly elegant writer, a freedman.
    There must have been any number of others in high positions in the bureaucracy and in commerce, too, like the Vetii, who owned one of the finest villas in Pompeii, and whose names have not come down to us.

  • My understanding is that in some ante-bellum, deep-south states, education of slaves was illegal.
    FYI, those Southerners that stripped the freed men of their rights (for 100 years) were 100% Democratic party members/voters. It was called the “Solid South.”
    My opinion, many American Africans are in as bad or in worse state in 2016 than at any time since 1866. Hope and change.
    It’s not my fault.

  • Yes, I think some of the house slaves were educated.

What Might Have Been

Thursday, April 14, AD 2016

One of the great tragedies of American history is that Abraham Lincoln was assassinated before he could implement his post war reconstruction policy.  In a letter in January 1864 to Major General James Wadsworth, a wealthy New York politician and philanthropist who helped found the Free Soil Party, Lincoln set forth his basic policy:

You desire to know, in the event of our complete success in the field, the same being followed by a loyal and cheerful submission on the part of the South, if universal amnesty should not be accompanied with universal suffrage.

Now, since you know my private inclinations as to what terms should be granted to the South in the contingency mentioned, I will here add, that if our success should thus be realized, followed by such desired results, I cannot see, if universal amnesty is granted, how, under the circumstances, I can avoid exacting in return universal suffrage, or, at least, suffrage on the basis of intelligence and military service.

How to better the condition of the colored race has long been a study which has attracted my serious and careful attention; hence I think I am clear and decided as to what course I shall pursue in the premises, regarding it a religious duty, as the nation’s guardian of these people, who have so heroically vindicated their manhood on the battle-field, where, in assisting to save the life of the Republic, they have demonstrated in blood their right to the ballot, which is but the humane protection of the flag they have so fearlessly defended.The restoration of the Rebel States to the Union must rest upon the principle of civil and political equality of the both races; and it must be sealed by general amnesty.

Continue reading...

5 Responses to What Might Have Been

  • He would presumably have also had to convince northern states to grant the franchise to blacks where that had not yet occurred. Ironically, Grant in 1868 probably won his narrow victory because of black votes in the south, while in NY he lost, but might have won if blacks in NY could have voted. The 15th Amendment would not be ratified until 1869, so where the south allowed blacks to vote under reconstruction, in some northern states, blacks could not vote until after the ratification of the 15th Amendment.

    If Lincoln had really given full amnesty and civil rights to former confederates, the reconstruction amendments would likely never have passed. Hard to see how those policies would have been implemented otherwise than they were, by disenfranchising vast swaths of the white southern population for a time, and by conditioning “re-admission” into the Union upon ratification (i.e., compelling votes under coercion).

  • Actually, Tom New York was one of the 4 states which continued to allowed (free) blacks to vote since the revolution.

  • My statement was a bit too broad. *Some* blacks in NY could vote, but NY did effectually disenfranchise most blacks by specifically excluding them when the state constitution was amended in 1821 to remove freehold property ownership as a requirement for voting. In the north, NY, Delaware, Connecticut, and Massachusetts had such property requirements, and as NY’s constitutional amendment demonstrates, racial bias was a prime reason for them.

  • It seems that Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire were the only antebellum states that did not restrict the franchise to whites. Rhode Island disenfranchised blacks by law in 1822 and then re-enfranchised them by the state’s new Constitution in 1842.

    In NY, in addition to what I mentioned above, black males were required to have paid taxes and lived in the state for three years, while white males could vote after one year of residence and the payment of taxes or the rendering of highway or military service.
    New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Lincoln’s own Illinois, and Indiana all placed some type of racial restriction on voting.

  • All women were disenfranchised during this time. Period.

    Just thought I would point that out.

Lost For Over a Century

Friday, September 4, AD 2015

I once sent the government a check for some $35,000.00 to pay estate tax on behalf of a client.  The check was lost for several months by the Feds.  At the time I recalled this historical event:

Robert E. Lee was an advocate of reconciliation after the Civil War.  This was demonstrated by his application for a Presidential Pardon on June 13, 1865, high confederate officers having been excluded from President Johnson’s general pardon and amnesty of May 29, 1865 and being required to appeal directly to the President.  Lee wrote:

Being excluded from the provisions of amnesty & pardon contained in the proclamation of the 29th Ulto; I hereby apply for the benefits, & full restoration of all rights & privileges extended to those included in its terms. I graduated at the Mil. Academy at West Point in June 1829. Resigned from the U.S. Army April ’61. Was a General in the Confederate Army, & included in the surrender of the Army of N. Va. 9 April ’65.

Lee was not aware that an oath of loyalty was required and he took such an oath on October 2, 1865:

“I, Robert E. Lee, of Lexington, Virginia, do solemnly swear, in the presence of Almighty God, that I will henceforth faithfully support, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and the Union of the States thereunder, and that I will, in like manner, abide by and faithfully support all laws and proclamations which have been made during the existing rebellion with reference to the emancipation of slaves, so help me God.”

The oath went to Secretary of State Seward, and then it vanished from history for over a century until it was found by Elmer O. Parker, an archivist at the National Archives, in 1970 among State Department papers in a cardboard box  clearly indexed V for Virginia and L for Lee.  Lee had inquired frequently about his application over the five years he had to live from 1865-1870.  Whether his application was lost deliberately or lost through ineptitude is unclear.

On August 5, 1975 President Ford restored the citizenship rights of Lee, making these remarks:

Continue reading...

14 Responses to Lost For Over a Century

  • Interesting story about Lee’s petition, I’d not heard that.

    Lee was cut from the same cloth as Washington, and had the Confederacy prevailed, would no doubt be considered the Washington of that nation.

    Sadly, our modern day iconoclasts are diligently working to efface any memory of Lee from the many prominent public places in which he’s remembered here in Virginia.

  • Wish I could say I was surprised by a govt bureaucracy losing something that long!

  • Judging by recent petitions to remove Gen Lee’s name from schools and public buildings and his statues from public property in 2015, I’d guess that it was a punitive move by some beauracrat in 1865 when though vanquished by the North feelings against the South were still raw. Very sad that a man who contributed so much to the United States of America before and after the War Between the States would be still vilified by the politically correct know nothings. (That’s know nothings with lower case.) What must the old man have thought those last years of his life when there was no answer to his request?

  • “In 1865, Robert E. Lee wrote to a former Confederate soldier concerning his signing the Oath of Allegiance, and I quote: “This war, being at an end, the Southern States having laid down their arms, and the questions at issue between them and the Northern States having been decided, I believe it to be the duty of everyone to unite in the restoration of the country and the reestablishment of peace and harmony….”
    If only Lee had done this before the Civil War. Lee was fighting a war to establish slavery. History finds Lee wanting.

  • CAM: ” Very sad that a man who contributed so much to the United States of America before and after the War …” How about during the war?

  • Mary de Voe,
    During the war Lee’s service to the Confederacy did contribute in a way to the United States. His generalship on the field of battle was such that his tactics are still taught at his alma mater, the United States Military Academy. Lee Barracks was built in 1962 and named after him.

    Lee did not fight the war to establish slavery. It was already a fixture of Virginia plantations by 1640. (The first African-Americans, so called because they were from the Caribbean, had arrived in Jamestown as indentured servants in 1619.) In a letter to his wife Lee wrote that slavery was a moral and political evil and an evil to the white man as well.
    In 1857 the father of Lee’s wife, Mary Anna Custis Lee, died. She was the only child of George Washington Parke Custis, grand stepson and adopted son of George Washington. Lee was named Custis’ executor. The will stipulated that his slaves were to be freed within 5 years after all debts and expenses of his estate were settled. Because the estate was in disarray, Lee had to take a 2 year leave of absence from the army. He freed the slaves in 1862 as directed.

    Before the Civil War most U S citizens self identified according to their state. Despite being against secession, as a Virginian he reluctantly resigned his commission in the U.S. Army after a 32 year career.
    Realizing that the South needed more men under arms, General Lee urged the Confederate Congress to allow slaves to serve in the Confederate army with the proviso that they would receive the same training, pay and treatment as the white soldiers and additionally that they and their families would be manumitted. Under pressure from the agro-industrial complex Congress ultimately refused.

  • CAM: Lee’s strategies may have been wonderful but they were enacted and good men died.

  • Lee’s stated purpose for fighting with the Confederates was to defend Virginia.

  • “Lee’s stated purpose for fighting with the Confederates was to defend Virginia.”

    Was Virginia a slave state?

  • Wikipedia shows that Virginia was a slave state. It would not be incorrect for me then, to believe that Gen. Lee was fighting to defend slavery.
    Gen Lee was fighting to defend the state of Virginia for what and from what?

  • “Gen. Lee was fighting to defend the state of Virginia for what and from what?”

    The horrors of being over run & conquered in a war, my dear. Remember, both sides thought at the beginning that the war would not last very long.

    How does one not fight to defend your neighbors, family, extended kin, property, and friends from being over run, killed, and lost? I would fight to defend my friends, family, community, & property.

    There are plenty of first hand accounts re: what happened to private citizens and their property through the actions of the Yankee soldiers over running their communities. My widowed great grandmother’s thousand acre farm was stripped of everything of value–even the doors to her house for use to carry the wounded. The Union Army left her with 10 children to feed on a stripped farm in the middle of a civil war.

  • Barbara Gordon, from the links you cited: Until the day after Ft Sumter was fired upon, all cadets entering USMA swore an allegiance to their home state. On the day after the entire corps of cadets were required to take an oath of allegiance to the United States. The Emancipation Proclamation did not free all slaves in the country; the border states were exempted (for obvious reasons). President Lincoln referred to secession as the cause for the war between the states. He could not tolerate the “rebellion”.
    Not being a native Virginian I did not know that Virginia seceeded later than the lower South. Today the South still seems mindful of states’ rights as regards the continued over reach of the federal government.

  • The article is nonsense. Edwin Stanton did not become Secretary of War until 1862. Cadets at West Point never took an oath of allegiance to their home states. Here is the 1857 oath of allegiance at West Point:

    I, ______ of the State of _______ aged _____ years, ______ months, having been selected for an appointment as Cadet in the Military Academy of the United States, do hereby engage with the consent of my (Parent or Guardian) in the event of my receiving such appointment, that I will serve in the army of the United States for eight years, unless sooner discharged by competent authority. And I ____________ DO SOLEMNLY SWEAR [emphasis original], that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the United States of America, and that I will serve them HONESTLY and FAITHFULLY [emphasis original], against all their enemies or opposers whatsoever; and that I will observe and obey the orders of the President of the United
    States, and the orders of the Officers appointed over me, according to the Rules and Articles of War.”

    In August 1861 Bowman, the Superintendent of West Point, had all the Cadets who remained at West Point sign an oath of allegiance to which these words were appended:

    ‘I will maintain and defend the sovereignty of the United States, paramount to any and all allegiance, sovereignty, or fealty I may owe to any State, county, or country whatsoever.’

May 29, 1865: Amnesty Proclamation

Friday, May 29, AD 2015



Eventually President Andrew Johnson and the Radical Republicans in Congress would come to bitter blows over the issue of amnesty for former Confederates.  However, for now they were in agreement, and the Presidential Proclamation of May 29, 1865 outlined the oath to be taken by former Confederates and the classes of individuals excluded from taking the oath:

Amnesty Proclamation


Whereas the President of the United States, on the 8th day of December, A.D. eighteen hundred and sixty-three, and on the 26 day of March, A.D. eighteen hundred and sixty-four, did, with the object to suppress the existing rebellion, to induce all persons to return to their loyalty, and to restore the authority of the United States, issue proclamations offering amnesty and pardon to certain persons who had directly or by implication participated in the said rebellion; and whereas many persons who had so engaged in said rebellion have, since the issuance of said proclamations, failed or neglected to take the benefits offered thereby; and whereas many persons who have been justly deprived of all claim to amnesty and pardon thereunder, by reason of their participation directly or by implication in said rebellion, and continued hostility to the government of the United States since the date of said proclamation, now desire to apply for and obtain amnesty and pardon:

To the end, therefore, that the authority of the government of the United States may be restored, and that peace, order, and freedom may be established, I, ANDREW JOHNSON, President of the United States, do proclaim and declare that I hereby grant to all persons who have, directly or indirectly, participated in the existing rebellion, except as hereinafter excepted, amnesty and pardon, with restoration of all rights of property, except as to slaves, and except in cases where legal proceedings, under the laws of the United States providing for the confiscation of property of persons engaged in rebellion, have been instituted; but upon the condition, nevertheless, that every such person shall take and subscribe the following oath, (or affirmation,) and thenceforward keep and maintain said oath inviolate; and which oath shall be registered for permanent preservation, and shall be of the tenor and effect following, to wit:

I, _______ _______, do solemnly swear, (or affirm,) in presence of Almighty God, that I will henceforth faithfully support, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and the union of the States thereunder; and that I will, in like manner, abide by, and faithfully support all laws and proclamations which have been made during the existing rebellion with reference to the emancipation of slaves. So help me God.

Continue reading...

14 Responses to May 29, 1865: Amnesty Proclamation

  • It’s always struck me as odd that you would “preserve a union” by killing those with whom you wish to be united and destroying their homes, cities, and livelihoods.

  • It has always struck me as odd that the secessionists were willing to rend the Union in order to preserve the “right” to hold other people as chattels.

  • It has always struck me as odd that the unionists were willing to shred the constitution in order to preserve the union.

  • My only point is that a union that has to be held together by force is not a functioning nation based upon the consent of the governed. At the time of ratification of the constitution several states, including New York and Virginia, specifically reserved the right to rescind their ratifications. I’m not aware that the convention challenged that right. Ironically, the constitution of the confederacy expressly prohibited secession.

    Like the American colonies, the Southern states had every right to be independent, they just didn’t have the power to back it up.

  • “My only point is that a union that has to be held together by force is not a functioning nation based upon the consent of the governed.”

    The Union was given birth under such circumstances with some 20-30% of the free population supporting the British.

    “At the time of ratification of the constitution several states, including New York and Virginia, specifically reserved the right to rescind their ratifications.”
    Which of course had zero impact on the effect of the Constitution after they ratified the Constitution. The only way after that to change the Constitution was by amendment or armed revolution.

    “Like the American colonies, the Southern states had every right to be independent, they just didn’t have the power to back it up.”

    No, because there was no long train of abuses, in Mr. Jefferson’s phrase, to justify revolution.

  • While there was significant dissension among the colonists regarding the Revolution, the Revolution did not create a union. It merely established independence.

    Concur that the Constitution can only be changed by amendment or armed revolution.

    Had the South succeeded, the “long train of abuses” would have been just as apparent as those asserted against Britain.

  • “While there was significant dissension among the colonists regarding the Revolution, the Revolution did not create a union”

    It most certainly did in the Declaration of Independence.

    “Had the South succeeded, the “long train of abuses” would have been just as apparent as those asserted against Britain.”

    Only if slavery were still practiced in the Confederacy.

  • Declaration of Independence established a nation? Hadn’t heard that one.

    Don’t follow your second point. One of the primary reasons for the economic, cultural, and social division between north and south was admittedly the slave-based economy of the south vs. the industrial north. But that didn’t make those divisions any less real. Even if the south had ultimately been able to exercise the privilege of self-redemption on the issue of slavery (as every other Western nation did), the political and cultural divisions would have remained. The fact is that, as with the colonists and the mother country, the two sides had simply arrived at the point where they just didn’t like each other very much.

  • “Declaration of Independence established a nation? Hadn’t heard that one.”

    It says so in the text.

    We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

    “Even if the south had ultimately been able to exercise the privilege of self-redemption on the issue of slavery (as every other Western nation did), the political and cultural divisions would have remained.”

    Other than South Carolina during the Nullification Crisis of 1832-33, the South never attempted secession except over slavery. The differences between North and South never threatened national unity except over slavery.

  • “Free and independent states” is perfectly compatible with the mind of the south.

    Succession being about slavery is your belief, but I’m pretty certain that most southerners of the day didn’t think that way. They were quite aware that their “peculiar institution” was on the wrong side of the gospel. Pope Pius IX perceived danger for the church in the north if the 19th century movement towards secularism and attacks on ascribed authority were unchecked. Pius IX saw such intellectual trends as too liberal. Southern Catholics shared the Pope’s view of northern culture as a threat to the continued existence of Catholic Christianity. Slavery was in the mix, but was far from bei9ng the only motivation for secession.

  • ““Free and independent states” is perfectly compatible with the mind of the south.”

    Virtually none of the Founding Fathers, North or South, believed that they were doing anything other than creating a new nation, the United States of America, as indicated in the Declaration. How this new nation was to be governed was left for another day, but the creation of a new nation, made up of the States, was the whole point of the Revolution.

    “Seccession being about slavery is your belief, but I’m pretty certain that most southerners of the day didn’t think that way.”

    Jefferson Davis in his first address to the Confederate Congress said that secession was undertaken to defend slavery.

    “They were quite aware that their “peculiar institution” was on the wrong side of the gospel.”

    No, most white Southerners by the time of the Civil War viewed slavery as a positive good, and the only way the two races could live together. See the Cornerstone speech of Alexander Stephens, Vice President of the Confederacy.

    “Pope Pius IX perceived danger for the church in the north if the 19th century movement towards secularism and attacks on ascribed authority were unchecked. Pius IX saw such intellectual trends as too liberal.”

    No historical support at all for this contention. Pius IX did hate nineteenth century liberalism and regarded the Confederacy as a foe of liberalism. In this he was confused. But for slavery the Confederacy was the most liberal state in the world, except for the Union.

    “Southern Catholics shared the Pope’s view of northern culture as a threat to the continued existence of Catholic Christianity.”

    No historical support for this at all. Except for Louisiana, the number of Catholics in the Confederacy was quite small, and their political opinions tended to mirror the dominant opinions of the areas in which they settled, which meant throughout most of the South they were pro-Secession and pro-Slavery.

    “Slavery was in the mix, but was far from being the only motivation for secession.”

    No slavery: no secession. The myth that there were other issues that led to secession is a post war creation when few white Southerners were willing to admit, as they had freely at the beginning of the War, that secession was all about slavery.

  • Rather than offend you further, I’ll leave you to your beliefs. God bless.

  • I am never offended John when debating History. God bless you.

January 16, 1865: Special Field Order No. 15

Friday, January 16, AD 2015



In an attempt to deal with the tens of thousands of black refugees who were following his army, General Sherman issued Special Field Order No. 15.  Issued to deal with an emergency situation and not as an attempt to chart Reconstruction Policy, the order looms large in the mythology of Reconstruction and is the origin of the belief that freed slaves were all promised 40 acres and a mule.  The order was rescinded by President Johnson in the fall of 1865.

Sherman commented on the Order in his Memoirs:

During Mr. Stanton’s stay in Savannah we discussed this negro question very fully; he asked me to draft an order on the subject, in accordance with my own views, that would meet the pressing necessities of the case, and I did so. We went over this order, No. 15, of January 16, 1865, very carefully. The secretary made some verbal modifications, when it was approved by him in all its details, I published it, and it went into operation at once. It provided fully for the enlistment of colored troops, and gave the freedmen certain possessory rights to land, which afterward became matters of judicial inquiry and decision. Of course, the military authorities at that day, when war prevailed, had a perfect right to grant the possession of any vacant land to which they could extend military protection, but we did not undertake to give a fee-simple title; and all that was designed by these special field orders was to make temporary provisions for the freedmen and their families during the rest of the war, or until Congress should take action in the premises. All that I now propose to assert is, that Mr. Stanton, Secretary of War, saw these orders in the rough, and approved every paragraph thereof, before they were made public.

Here is the text of the Order:

IN THE FIELD, SAVANNAH, GA., January 16th, 1865.


I. The islands from Charleston, south, the abandoned rice fields along the rivers for thirty miles back from the sea, and the country bordering the St. Johns river, Florida, are reserved and set apart for the settlement of the negroes now made free by the acts of war and the proclamation of the President of the United States.

II. At Beaufort, Hilton Head, Savannah, Fernandina, St. Augustine and Jacksonville, the blacks may remain in their chosen or accustomed vocations–but on the islands, and in the settlements hereafter to be established, no white person whatever, unless military officers and soldiers detailed for duty, will be permitted to reside; and the sole and exclusive management of affairs will be left to the freed people themselves, subject only to the United States military authority and the acts of Congress.  By the laws of war, and orders of the President of the United States, the negro is free and must be dealt with as such.  He cannot be subjected to conscription or forced military service, save by the written orders of the highest military authority of the Department, under such regulations as the President or Congress may prescribe.  Domestic servants, blacksmiths, carpenters and other mechanics, will be free to select their own work and residence, but the young and able-bodied negroes must be encouraged to enlist as soldiers in the service of the United States, to contribute their share towards maintaining their own freedom, and securing their rights as citizens of the United States.

Negroes so enlisted will be organized into companies, battalions and regiments, under the orders of the United States military authorities, and will be paid, fed and clothed according to law.  The bounties paid on enlistment may, with the consent of the recruit, go to assist his family and settlement in procuring agricultural implements, seed, tools, boots, clothing, and other articles necessary for their livelihood.

Continue reading...

Joseph H. Rainey-First Black Congressman

Monday, January 17, AD 2011


The first black Congressman elected and seated in the House of Representatives was Joseph H. Rainey of South Carolina.  Born to slaves on June 31, 1832 in Georgetown, South Carolina, he became a free man soon after his birth, thanks to his father, Edward Rainey, a successful and industrious barber who purchased his family’s freedom.  He followed his father in the barber trade, until the beginning of the Civil War.  Drafted as a laborer, he worked on fortifications and blockade runners.  Escaping with his wife, they spent the rest of the war in Bermuda where Rainey resumed his trade as a barber.  After the war he returned to South Carolina and became active in Republican party politics.  Well read and intelligent, Rainey quickly made his mark.  In 1868 he was elected as a delegate to the South Carolina constitutional convention.  In 1870 he won election to the state senate of South Carolina and then, winning a special election to fill a vacancy, he was elected to Congress and would serve there until March of 1879, making him the longest serving black congressman until William Dawson of Illinois eclipsed his record in the 1950s. 

In Congress Rainey fought for civil rights for blacks and against the ultimately successful effort in the South to effectively disenfranchise blacks.  He brought to his efforts a keen wit and eloquence as can be seen in this speech which he delivered after disparaging remarks were made about blacks in the South Carolina legislature by Democrat Representative Samuel Cox of New York in 1871:

The remarks made by the gentleman from New York in relation to the colored people of South Carolina escaped my hearing, as I was in the rear of the Hall when they were made, and I did not know that any utterance of that kind had emanated from him. I have always entertained a high regard for the gentleman from New York, because I believed him to be a useful member of the House. He is a gentleman of talent and of fine education, and I have thought heretofore that he would certainly be charitable toward a race of people who have never enjoyed the same advantages that he has. If the colored people of South Carolina had been accorded the same advantages—if they had had the same wealth and surroundings which the gentleman from New York has had, they would have shown to this nation that their color was no obstacle to their holding positions of trust, political or otherwise. Not having had these advantages, we cannot at the present time compete with the favored race of this country; but perhaps if our lives are spared, and if the gentleman from New York and other gentlemen on that side of the House will only accord to us right and justice, we shall show to them that we can be useful, intelligent citizens of this country. But if they will continue to proscribe us, if they will continue to cultivate prejudice against us; if they will continue to decry the Negro and crush him under foot, then you cannot expect the Negro to rise while the Democrats are trampling upon him and his rights. We ask you, sir, to do by the Negro as you ought to do by him in justice.

If the Democrats are such staunch friends of the Negro, why is it that when propositions are offered here and elsewhere looking to the elevation of the colored race, and the extension of right and justice to them, do the Democrats array themselves in unbroken phalanx, and vote against every such measure? You, gentlemen of that side of the House, have voted against all the recent amendments of the Constitution, and the laws enforcing the same. Why did you do it? I answer, because those measures had a tendency to give to the poor Negro his just rights, and because they proposed to knock off his shackles and give him freedom of speech, freedom of action, and the opportunity of education, that he might elevate himself to the dignity of manhood.

Continue reading...

3 Responses to Joseph H. Rainey-First Black Congressman

  • “…do the Democrats array themselves in unbroken phalanx, and vote against every such measure?”

    “…but I will tell the gentleman that we are republicans by instinct, and we will be Republicans so long as God will allow our proper senses to hold sway over us.”

    Ah! Such militaristic imagery is clearly an incitement to violence. By a self-proclaimed Republican and against Democrats nonetheless. Will the hate of the right never cease?

  • The bloodthirsty democrat party continues as sworn ally of the devil. “And, unsurprisingly the hate goes on.” hat tip: Joe Green

  • T. Shaw you are so correct about the evils of the Democratic Party (not necessarily of individual Democrats). Of course, we can’t fail to point out that the less-evil party of the Republicans is still evil.

    When our choices are bad and less-bad, where is the good?

8 Responses to President What’s His Name

  • Good stuff. You can add Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton as the two other presidents that have been impeached (albeit that Nixon will be looked upon more favorable than Clinton in the years to come).

    I couldn’t find this movie on Netflix. This must be a real obscure film to boot.

  • What I do think is that with a political master like Lincoln at the helm Reconstruction would not have been quite the disaster it turned out to be. The Radical Republicans could not have run rough shod over Lincoln, a hero in the eyes of rank and file Republicans, as they did Johnson.

    Exactly. Johnson’s pigheadedness was a stark contrast to Lincoln’s masterful ability to deal with various egos. Who knows how Reconstruction would have fared under Lincoln (I’ve always thought of doing a “history” book on Lincoln’s second term based on the supposition that he survived), but I tend to think it would not have been such a disaster.

    And thanks for the extended biography. I usually only think of Johnson the president, but his greater body of work shows that he was a truly remarkable man.

    And Tito: Nixon was never impeached. He resigned before Congress was able to do so, though undoubtedly he would have been impeached had he continued in office.

  • Paul,

    That’s right about Nixon, it completely slipped my mind.

    So it’s just Clinton and Johnson.

  • It is indeed interesting that Andrew Johnston sort of brings us full circle as to the leadership of the SOuth and North and their views toward Catholics. Johnston’s counterpart ( VP Stephens also was very firendly to Catholics and fought tthe Know Nothings). In fact as to Stephens in a great bit of irony in Louisiana his Catholic Priest Nephew is buried right next to fellow Jesuit Priest Father Sherman who was son of the famous Gerneral Sherman.

  • Pingback: Pio Nono, the Washington Monument and the Purloined Block of Marble « The American Catholic
  • Pingback: Millard Who? « The American Catholic
  • Pingback: Millard Who? « Almost Chosen People
  • Pingback: Pio Nono, the Washington Monument and the Purloined Block of Marble « Almost Chosen People