The Civil War and Slavery

Wednesday, August 19, AD 2015

We’re not fighting for slaves.

Most of us never owned slaves and never expect to,

It takes money to buy a slave and we’re most of us poor,

But we won’t lie down and let the North walk over us

About slaves or anything else.

                              We don’t know how it started

But they’ve invaded us now and we’re bound to fight

Till every last damn Yankee goes home and quits.

Stephen Vincent Benet, John Brown’s Body

 

I certainly agree with video above from Prager University that the Civil War was started over slavery.  As Jefferson Davis stated in his initial address to the Confederate Congress:

 

In the meantime, under the mild and genial climate of the Southern States and the increasing care and attention for the wellbeing and comfort of the laboring class, dictated alike by interest and humanity, the African slaves had augmented in number from about 600,000, at the date of the adoption of the constitutional compact, to upward of 4,000,000. In moral and social condition they had been elevated from brutal savages into docile, intelligent, and civilized agricultural laborers, and supplied not only with bodily comforts but with careful religious instruction. Under the supervision of a superior race their labor had been so directed as not only to allow a gradual and marked amelioration of their own condition, but 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. With interests of such overwhelming magnitude imperiled, the people of the Southern States were driven by the conduct of the North 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. Here it may be proper to observe that from a period as early as 1798 there had existed in all of the States of the Union a party almost uninterruptedly in the majority based upon the creed that each State was, in the last resort, the sole judge as well of its wrongs as of the mode and measure of redress. Indeed, it is obvious that under the law of nations this principle is an axiom as applied to the relations of independent sovereign States, such as those which had united themselves under the constitutional compact. The Democratic party of the United States repeated, in its successful canvass in 1856, the declaration made in numerous previous political contests, that it would “faithfully abide by and uphold the principles laid down in the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions of 1798, and in the report of Mr. Madison to the Virginia Legislature in 1799; and that it adopts those principles as constituting one of the main foundations of its political creed.” The principles thus emphatically announced embrace that to which I have already adverted – the right of each State to judge of and redress the wrongs of which it complains. These principles were maintained by overwhelming majorities of the people of all the States of the Union at different elections, especially in the elections of Mr. Jefferson in 1805, Mr. Madison in 1809, and Mr. Pierce in 1852. 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.

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39 Responses to The Civil War and Slavery

  • Here is how I responded to this last week on Facebook:
    ***
    “Note to historians:

    “Dualistic interpretations and explanations that are utterly lacking in nuance; engaging in demonization; arrogant displays of cultural and/or regional superiority; inattention to (or completely glossing over) those details that detract from the particular “narrative” you seek to create; and, in general, triumphalist, oversimplified, chest-thumping bravado, constitute utter rubbish as history.
    ***
    “And I don’t care what your credentials are, what rank you hold, how proud you are of the uniform you wear, or which institution of higher learning you work for. If you do the above, you’re crap as a historian.”

  • I followed up with this:
    ***
    “I hope that I’m an honest enough student of history that I can acknowledge the fact that differences over slavery and over the South’s economic reliance thereon and Northern reactions thereto were at the root cause of the division between North and South. With that in mind, I utterly reject neo-Confederate interpretations that seek to diminish the primary role slavery played in leading up to the War.
    ***
    “But I also utterly reject the sort of “Nyah, nyah, you suck!” chest-thumping jingoism that seeks to downplay all other considerations that went into the decisions of 11 states to secede. Did Virginia secede over slavery, after having initially voted down secession in convention? Or did Virginia secede over Lincoln’s decision to call up troops from Virginia to invade their fellow Southern states? Did Robert E. Lee resign his commission in the U.S. Army — a decision over which he seems to have agonized — over slavery?
    ***
    “Any “historian” who glosses over the differences between why, for example, South Carolina seceded a mere 4 months after Lincoln’s election and why Virginia ultimately voted to secede, and goes straight for “ALL Southerners who supported secession and/or who fought for the South did so with the sole intention to keep black people in bondage” is not being an honest broker. Col. Ty Seidule is NOT an honest broker. He is a political HACK.
    ***
    “My objection to Col. Seidule is primarily to the tone of his presentation, to what he has left unsaid, and to his appearance of having a simplistic, dualistic ulterior agenda beyond presenting historical facts.
    ***
    “As noted above, I don’t seek to downplay our Nation’s sordid history regarding chattel slavery. I hope that this comes through in many of my posts about the American Revolution — I’ve noted on at least two occasions the irony of American patriots producing prose about freedom from bondage and all men being created equal, yet punting on the issue of slavery for future generations to have to deal with, all the while their supposed British oppressors were actually proclaiming freedom for slaves. I’ve said many times before: history is rarely as cut-and-dried as some try to make it. You will very rarely find simplistic answers to the questions history presents to us.”

  • Amen, Jay. While slavery was in some sense the proximate cause of the War of Northern Aggression, there are important facts that do not neatly line up with the current anti-Confederate hysteria.

    Virginia’s secession is exhibit #1. My state did not want to secede and, as the first among the southern states, had voted against secession… until Lincoln insisted on forcing states to raise armies and traverse states in order to invade South Carolina and other seceding states. It was then, and only then, that Virginia took the principled position that the Federal government has no constitutional authority to send armies into peaceful states, such as Virginia, and make those states party to an invasion of a sister state.

    As usual, history is more nuanced than the narrative of the victors. Certainly there were firebrands who wanted to secede over the issue of slavery. But there were Northern firebrands also, like John Brown, who hoped to provoke a war to end slavery, which would be an entirely lawless unconstitutional war, since like it or not, slavery was a practice guaranteed protection under the Constitution. And, contrary to Lincoln’s change of heart on the issue, no state, combination of states, or the Federal government, had (or have) a right to invade a state simply because they disapprove of a lawful practice of that state.

    But if the claim is “the Civil War was caused by slavery” I deny it as an incomplete statement: Virginia’s secession alone proves that for at least for Virginia, the direct “but for” cause of the war was Lincoln’s demand that a peaceful state provide troops for an invasion of a sister state, and allow that invasion force to traverse the sovereign territory of the state.

  • An excellent summation of how Virginia tried to avoid the extremes of Lincoln and the deep south states: http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Virginia_Constitutional_Convention_of_1861

  • I wish I could have said that, Jay Anderson.

  • As a Southerner, I have friends who are descendants of slaves, and friends who are descendants of slaveowners. Is it prudent to uproot an entire society from top to bottom, in order to correct a grave injustice? I know that my friends have differing opinions on that question. Sometimes, it works, e.g. Germany and Japan post-World War II. Sometimes, it does not work, e.g. Iraq.

    I do not rejoice over the sufferings of others. Making an extrapolation from Southern history, it seems that Iraq may face 100 years of violence before she ever finds peace again.

  • “We’re not fighting for slaves.
    Most of us never owned slaves and never expect to,”
    The example of the British West Indies showed that slavery was of dubious economic value to the slave owner. The cost of sugar production showed a small but significant fall after abolition. Free labour could be hired when needed, paid piece-rate and laid off when not required and capital was not tied up in a wasting asset. A very significant part of the compensation was paid to bankers and others with interests in security in slaves.
    Walter Bagehot, usually a shrewd observer, believed that many in the South saw slavery as an essential police measure for the control of the black population, not primarily as an economic issue at all.

  • The whole “northern aggression” argument is, to put it mildly, bunk.
    Virginia’s argument and its modern-day advocates is basically that a government may not respond to a coup d’etat by sending in loyal troops.

    As for why so many non slaveholders fought for the south, they were tied to the slave economy just as much as slaveholders. Plantation owners ginned and marketed cotton for local farmers. Thousands of jobs depended on moving and housing slaves who were transported from one market to another. For a modern parallel just picture just image all the jobs that depend on long-haul truckers (motels, restaurants, services stations).

    The war was caused by the South’s Satanic pride — oops! I mean “honor”.
    Like today’s pro-choice and gay-marriage advocates they would not be satisfied until everyone admitted was slavery was a positive good and legal everywhere.

  • Victor Davis Hanson has documented how many Union soldiers who began Sherman’s march through Georgia with indifference to slavery were actively anti-slavery by the time they reached Savannah. They saw the reality of slavery in a way that no museum could recreate today and still expect their patrons to keep their meals. As Don McClarey has alluded, It is really hard to advocate for slavery’s place as a casus (and continuous) belle without facing the fact that people’s perceptions and motives changed during the course of the war, and not only for tactical political reasons.

  • No one here has taken issue (at least I haven’t) with the FACT that slavery was the cause of the war. I have taken issue with Col. Seidule’s slanted presentation of the facts (not to mention his glossing over and completely ignoring those facts that detract from narrative).
    ***
    But not to worry. The view of the “Satanic South” has apparently prevailed in our culture so that monuments of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson will be removed wherever they are located, and those once-honored men and the men who fought for them will no doubt be seen by posterity as little more than the American version of Nazis. And not even historical reenactments of battles will be safe from the ban hammer of the zeitgeist:
    ***
    http://www.thefederalistpapers.org/us/breaking-liberals-now-forcing-cancellations-of-civil-war-reenactments
    ***
    Rather than comparing the “Satanic South” to “today’s pro-choice and gay-marriage advocates” that will “not be satisfied until everyone” conforms to the “correct” view of things, you might want to look at those forces for “progress” for whom victory was not enough — those who seek to wipe out all historical vestiges that don’t conform to “the right side” of history.

  • I think the formal/material distinction works for the motivations of the participants in the Civil War.

    For some, slavery was the formal cause from the beginning–what they were expressly fighting against or for–Jeff Davis, radical Republicans.

    For many Unionists, it became their formal cause after the Emancipation Proclamation, though many Unionists would disavow that long after it was issued (e.g., George McClellan).

    For your average Johnny Reb who didn’t own slaves, I think he could quite credibly deny that he was deliberately fighting *for* slavery right to the very end. That wasn’t the formal reason he took up arms, and he was being honest about that.

    But for everyone, the war was materially about slavery, and what drove the conflict.

  • Dred Scott died in 1858, denied citizenship, sovereign personhood, and freedom. Using the Fifth Amendment, Scott became eminent domain, property of his owner, not to be taken away from his owner. Maybe the Civil War was not about slavery but about, defining the human being as a person, a battle still being waged in Roe v. Wade.

  • “All historical eras are equally near to God.” –Leopold von Ranke

  • “The war was caused by the South’s Satanic pride — oops! I mean “honor”.
    Like today’s pro-choice and gay-marriage advocates they would not be satisfied until everyone admitted was slavery was a positive good and legal everywhere.”

    OK, let’s not overstate the case. The *logic* of the slaveholder argument (and of the Dred Scott decision) led to a claim that slavery should be universal. Lincoln certainly argued that during and after the debates with Douglas. And, indeed, at least one popular pro-slavery extremist (George Fitzhugh) argued that all free laborers should be enslaved, regardless of color. That said, I don’t think most southerners, even the “fire eaters” ever argued that it should be universal across all states. Their essential argument was that it should be preserved where it was and that they be allowed to take slaves into certain of the territories. And that seemed to be the national consensus with the passage of the Compromise of 1850. Then Stephen A. Douglas and Roger Taney blew that consensus to bits with the Kansas-Nebraska Act and Dred Scott, respectively.

  • and Johnathan Swift argued that Irish babies (of which some people claimed that there were too many) must be eaten before two years old as after two years old the babies got tough.
    That all men are slaves for having to work for their bread by the sweat of their brow is true. That one person can own another person to deny them their freedom and sovereignty, or cannibalize them or buy and sell them as property. It is a miscarriage of Justice to define the human person as property…as all men are created equal…as “We hold these truths to be self-evident…” Did Taney read our founding principles?

  • Yes he did, and like Napoleon, the pig of Orwell’s fable, he thought some were more equal than others.

  • Last time I checked, Roger Taney was not a Confederate. Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky and Missouri were slave states, but they stayed in the Union. So please stop painting the South with a broad brush.

  • I do not know Taney’s state of residence . I do know Taney’s state of mind. Taney was politically correct… but he still had not read…that “all men are created equal and that “We, the people hold these truths to be self-evident truths. But not Taney. Did Taney not consider himself one of the people? Then Taney impeached himself…and everyone who held that the Negro, Dred Scott, was not a sovereign person also impeached themselves. North or South, anyone who did not hold these self-evident truths, that all men are created equal, were responsible for the Civil War. The Confederate states rejected The Declaration of Independence when it came to self-evident truths, and then used The Declaration of Independence to declare their independence. Wouldn’t you say?

  • Funny me, I actually believe in the rule of law and the vitality of the Constitution. That document grants express powers to the federal government. Nowhere in those express powers do I find that the federal government has the right to demand that states provide troops. Nowhere do I find the right for the federal government to send armies through a state, such as Virginia, without its consent, for whatever reason.

    And nowhere do I find the authority for the federal government to abolish by force of arms a practice entirely within the power of individual states.

    Sorry, but Virginia was perfectly within her rights to resist Lincoln’s unconstitutional attempt to compel her to provide troops and a venue by which the federal government would attack a sister state.

    Slavery was a moral evil, but was permitted under the constitution. Was abolishing it worth the discarding of the constitution and the establishment of a centralized federal government that would never again respect constitutional restraints and its limited role under the system of federalism devised by the founders? Perhaps the person who equated the south with pro-choice and gay marriage advocates could tell us, since those two evils have become federalized as a direct result of the passage of the 14th Amendment, a Reconstruction amendment forced on the country by the triumphant radical Republicans.

  • Lincoln had declared martial law under the Constitution, suspended habeas corpus and the press from denigrating him as president with martial law power. This is a good subject to familiarize oneself for when Obama declares martial law under constitutional powers, but not to save the Union but to impose one world government under the godless world bank.

  • Slavery was never permitted under the Constitution. The South had laws to execute any person who would teach a Negro how to read and write. The South denied the Negro the acknowledgement of personhood and citizenship. The Negro had no rights without personhood. See Frederick Douglass See Fort Sumpter. Once the southern states had joined the Union it was not their right to secede.

  • “Nowhere in those express powers do I find that the federal government has the right to demand that states provide troops. Nowhere do I find the right for the federal government to send armies through a state, such as Virginia, without its consent, for whatever reason.”

    Constitution: Article One, Section Eight:
    “Clause 15:

    To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

    Clause 16:

    To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;”

    Militia Act of 1807:

    Ҥ 332. Use of militia and armed forces to enforce Federal authority

    Whenever the President considers that unlawful obstructions, combinations, or assemblages, or rebellion against the authority of the United States, make it impracticable to enforce the laws of the United States in any State or Territory by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, he may call into Federal service such of the militia of any State, and use such of the armed forces, as he considers necessary to enforce those laws or to suppress the rebellion.”

  • “Was abolishing it worth the discarding of the constitution and the establishment of a centralized federal government that would never again respect constitutional restraints and its limited role under the system of federalism devised by the founders?”
    .
    Ben Franklin commented on the ratification of the Constitution, “You have a republic, if you can keep it.” The CW and the stuff committed likely were the beginning of the end of the republic. Today, we operate under the whimsical misrule (and ruination) of omnipotent men and women; corrupt and incompetent bureaucrats, elites, politicians; not laws.

  • “The CW and the stuff committed likely were the beginning of the end of the republic.”

    Rubbish on stilts. The Tories in the Revolution, many of whom had their property confiscated and went into exile at the end of the War, would have loved to have been treated as the erst-while Confederates were after the War. The Civil War has zip to do with the pathologies that currently beset the nation.

  • Rubbish on stilts.

    People do tend to confuse priority with causality.

    If you were serious about this, T. Shaw, you’d understand that the beginning of the end of the Republic occurred when wire-pullers intent on expanding the reach of the central government outrageously mis-interpreted ‘To establish Post Offices and post Roads;’ to mean the federal government could build post roads rather than merely designate post roads. William Voegli, take it away…

  • Slavery was a moral evil, but was permitted under the constitution. Was abolishing it [i.e. the Moral evil of slavery] worth the discarding of the constitution and the establishment of a centralized federal government that would never again respect constitutional restraints and its limited role under the system of federalism devised by the founders?

    Could this be the same Tom whos been haranguing us all this month about the immorality of The Bomb? Why, if I didn’t know better, I’d think you were just here to troll.

  • I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more thorough refutation of an argument than Don’s response to Tom above. I doff my cap, sir.

  • “Could this be the same Tom whos been haranguing us all this month about the immorality of The Bomb? Why, if I didn’t know better, I’d think you were just here to troll.”

    Without the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Tom might well be speaking Japanese.

  • Is there anyone in this forum who would be in favor of dropping a nuclear bomb on Atlanta or Vicksburg in order to shorten the Civil War?

  • If the Confederacy had killed twenty million civilians in the War, with a death toll of 300,000 each month? Sure. Since they didn’t, no.

  • Mico Razon: If the atomic bomb were dropped on Atlanta Georgia or Vicksberg, make no mistake, the blood guilt and the guilt would be all Jefferson Davis’ and any other individual who gloried in the enslavement of another human being and the denial of sovereign personhood to the other person. Start with Roger B. Taney.

  • “Dred Scott died in 1858, denied citizenship, sovereign personhood, and freedom.”

    Not quite — he died a free man, at least. At the time Scott filed his original suit for freedom in Missouri in 1846, he “belonged” to the widow of an Army doctor who had taken Scott to duty stations located in free states and territories (giving Scott a basis for claiming he was legally free). Several years later, while the case was still winding its way through the courts, the widow married a staunch abolitionist. She later “sold” Scott to a relative of his original owner, who was NOT favorably inclined toward slavery, and who clearly intended Scott’s suit for freedom to be a test case. This owner freed Scott, his wife and his daughters shortly after the Supreme Court decision; the only reason he didn’t do so sooner was to keep the court case alive.

    Today, one of Scott’s twice-great-grandchildren runs a foundation in St. Louis dedicated to preserving Scott’s memory and to promoting genuine, faith-based racial justice:

    http://www.thedredscottfoundation.org/dshf/

  • Fascinating Elaine. I was unaware of the Dred Scott Foundation.

  • Scotland had its equivalent of Dredd Scott – the case of Knight v Wedderburn, but with a very different result..

    A Scottish gentleman, Mr. John Wedderburn of Ballendean, who owned plantations in Jamaica, bought Mr Joseph Knight In 1762 from the commander of a vessel, in the African trade.

    In 1769, Wedderburn came over to Scotland, and brought Knight along with him, as a personal servant. Knight wished to learn a trade and Wedderburn paid for his apprenticeship with a barber in Dundee.

    Knight continued in Wedderburn’s service until 1774 and married Annie Thompson, a fellow-servant of Wedderburn. He had got her pregnant and Wedderburn dismissed her from his service, but allowed her to lie in at Ballendean, paid her doctor’s bills and for the funeral of the child, who died. She moved to Dundee and Knight continued the relationship. Thompson fell pregnant again and Knight married her. All this appears to have led to a falling out between Knight and Wedderburn.

    Knight decided to leave Wedderburn’s service. Wedderburn had him arrested and the local justices found “the petitioner entitled to Knight’s services, and that he must continue as before.”

    Knight saved up his pocket money and took proceedings to suspend the warrant before the Sheriff of Perthshire (the sheriff is a judge in Scotland). The Sheriff Depute, John Swinton, pronounced an interlocutor without proof, finding “the state of slavery is not recognized by the laws of this kingdom, and is inconsistent with the principles thereof; that the regulations of Jamaica, concerning slaves, do not extend to this kingdom;” and repelled the defender’s claim to a perpetual service. Mr. Wedderburn having reclaimed, the Sheriff found, “That perpetual service, without wages, is slavery; and therefore adhered.”

    Wedderburn took the case to the Court of Session, where Knight was represented by Mr. M’Laurin, afterwards Lord Dreghorn and Mr. Maconochie, afterwards the great Lord Meadowbank.

    Lord Kames declared that “we sit here to enforce right not to enforce wrong” and the court emphatically rejected Wedderburn’s appeal, ruling that “the dominion assumed over this Negro, under the law of Jamaica, being unjust, could not be supported in this country to any extent.”

  • Perhaps I should have added that, at the hearing in presence, Henry Dundas, the Lord Advocate and future 1st Viscount Melville, led for Knight.

    The Lord Ordinary took it to report, upon informations and these were drawn by M’Laurin and Maconochie. Being a question of general importance, the Court ordered a hearing in presence, and afterwards informations of new, upon which it was advised.

    It is much to the credit of the Scottish Bar that a litigant of such slender means was so ably represented by the leaders of the profession.

    Wedderburn was also reperesented by two future judges, Mr. Ferguson, afterwards Lord Pitfour, and Mr. Cullen, afterwards Lord Cullen

  • Thanks for posting this Michael! It is rather sobering to compare the history of slavery in other English-speaking and European nations with the history of American slavery. I don’t believe any other nation had to resort to civil war to end slavery — IIRC, Brazil was the last Western Hemisphere nation to abolish slavery in 1888, but they did so by a system of gradual emancipation somewhat similar to those proposed in the U.S. prior to the Civil War.

  • Haiti did. The horrific violence involved may have had a role in hardening Southern resistance to ending slavery. I doubt if slavery would have been abolished so easily in Great Britain if slavery had been wide spread in Great Britain. The prime slave holding regions of the British Empire were far from Great Britain and lacked the political clout of the American South, or the ability and willingness to rebel.

    In regard to slavery, a good case can be that in much of the contemporary Arab world it goes on under other names. Migrant workers held in debt slavery and treated abominably in many cases by their “employers”.

  • Elaine Krewer wrote, “IIRC, Brazil was the last Western Hemisphere nation to abolish slavery in 1888, but they did so by a system of gradual emancipation somewhat similar to those proposed in the U.S. prior to the Civil War.”

    Lord Melville, in Parliament and as a government minister, favoured a gradual abolition of the slave trade, as a prelude to emancipation. Of course, as an advocate, he would never allow his personal views to affect the way he represented his client’s interests.

    One of the judges in Knight v Wedderburn, was Lord Auchinleck, father of James Boswell, Johnson’s biographer. He delivered a trenchant opinion: “Although in the plantations they have laid hold of the poor blacks, and made slaves of them, yet I do not think that is agreeable to humanity, not to say to our Christian religion. Is a man a slave because he is black? No. He is our brother; and he is a man, although not of our colour; he is in a land of liberty, with his wife and child, let him remain there.”

    Don’t forget, most British plantation owners did not live on their plantations; a majority never even visited them. For them, it was an investment pure and simple; very different that to the American system.

    The serious opposition came from the ship-owning and underwriting interests; slave-owners were given handsome compensation, much of which went to the British banks that held the slaves in security. Slave traders, by contrast, got nothing. These was not a cause to excite general sympathy.

March 13, 1865: Confederate Congress Authorizes Black Troops

Friday, March 13, AD 2015

 

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Perhaps a war winning measure if the year had been 1861, by 1865 the action of the Confederate Congress authorizing the enlistment of black troops could only be regarded as a just before midnight measure of a dying nation. The measure is interesting for two reasons:  the black troops were to be treated precisely the same as white troops in regard to pay and rations, and the measure explicitly did not provide for enlisted slaves to be granted their freedom.  A historical curiosity now, the whole issue of black troops might have been one of the few paths to victory for the Confederacy if it had been undertaken prior to Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.  However, if the leaders of the Confederacy had been willing to consider such a measure at the onset of the struggle, it is likely that secession would never have occurred, since the preservation of slavery was the core reason for the creation of the Confederacy.  Here is the text of the statute:

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4 Responses to March 13, 1865: Confederate Congress Authorizes Black Troops

  • I don’t know where I found this quote regardingg the movie, “Glory”, assault on Fort Wagner.
    .
    “In the disastrous assault led by Colonel Shaw, the 54th suffered very heavy losses, most notably the loss of their commander, and nearly half of the men present were killed, wounded, or missing. Despite this, the unit showed exceptional bravery and honor, never retreating as they waited for the reinforcements which would never arrive.”

  • We have had this discussion before ad nauseum. For the average soldier in the field on either side, the war was not about slavery.

    Don your saying that was their motivation for fighting does not make it so. I would fight right now to keep my friends & loved ones safe. And you would as well most likely.

  • PS. Many were “drafted” in the war & had little choice but to fight. Regardless of the reason.

  • Well, apparently in using my phone, I have put my comments on the wrong post. I apologize.

February 5, 1865: Lincoln Proposes Compensated Emancipation

Thursday, February 5, AD 2015

Lincoln, February 5, 1865

Throughout the War Lincoln had made several attempts to propose compensated emancipation to end the War.  All such initiatives were still-born, killed by the twin facts that Congress was uninterested in providing the funding and that the slaveholders were uninterested in ending slavery, even with compensation.  On February 5, 1865, Lincoln proposed this plan to his cabinet:

Fellow citizens of the Senate, and [February 5, 1865]

House of Representatives.

I respectfully recommend that a Joint Resolution, substantially as follows, be adopted so soon as practicable, by your honorable bodies.

“Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives, of the United States of America in congress assembled: That the President of the United States is hereby empowered, in his discretion, to pay four hundred millions of dollars to the States of Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West-Virginia, in the manner, and on the conditions following, towit: The payment to be made in six per cent government bonds, and to be distributed among said States pro rata on their respective slave populations, as shown by the census of 1860; and no part of said sum to be paid unless all resistance to the national authority shall be abandoned and cease, on or before the first day of April next; and upon such abandonment and ceasing of resistance, one half of said sum to be paid in manner aforesaid, and the remaining half to be paid only upon the amendment of the national constitution recently proposed byPage  261congress, becoming valid law, on or before the first day of July next, by the action thereon of the requisite number of States”

The adoption of such resolution is sought with a view to embody it, with other propositions, in a proclamation looking to peace and re-union.

Whereas a Joint Resolution has been adopted by congress in the words following, towit

Now therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do proclaim, declare, and make known, that on the conditions therein stated, the power conferred on the Executive in and by said Joint Resolution, will be fully exercised; that war will cease, and armies be reduced to a basis of peace; that all political offences will be pardoned; that all property, except slaves, liable to confiscation or forfeiture, will be released therefrom, except in cases of intervening interests of third parties; and that liberality will be recommended to congress upon all points not lying within executive control.

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One Response to February 5, 1865: Lincoln Proposes Compensated Emancipation

  • One of the great “what-ifs” of history, if both sides had exercised some reasoned and enlightened self interest. I believe compensated emancipation had worked elsewhere, in South America.

    Sad that the big slaveholders in the South, even with their destruction in sight, could not bend; just as the firebreathers in the Republican party could not see their way to following the lead of their own president.

    Much bloodshed and the effective re-constitution of our nation from a limited federal republicanism could possibly have been averted.

Pro-Life Democrats?

Thursday, February 28, AD 2013

Matt Archbold at Creative Minority Report explains to us why the concept of “pro-life” Democrats is almost entirely a sick joke:

Here’s what it seems happened. When the bill limiting abortions to the first 20 weeks hit the Arkansas legislature last week, pro-life Republicans and pro-life Democrats joined together to vote for it. Nice, right? But it seems now that the only reason the pro-life Dems voted for it was because they knew that the “pro-life” Democratic Governor Mike Beebe was going to veto it.

Because what happened now was that moments after the veto was announced the pro-life Republicans sought to mount a vote to override the veto. You might remember that last week the bill got 80 votes. But yesterday when the vote hit the House floor, all but two of the “pro-life” Dems walked out so they didn’t have to cast a vote. That’s right. They left empty chairs in their place. These legislators are profiles in cowardice.

Their empty chairs are the perfect symbol of pro-life Democrats. When push comes to shove, the overwhelming majority of pro-life Dems are Dems first and foremost.

Two Democrats showed an enormous amount of courage by voting for the override – John Catlett and Jody Dickinson. They deserve our praise and admiration for standing up to their government and the party for the unborn.

Now, the bill moves on to the Senate where I’m certain pro-life Dems will be fleeing out the windows of the legislature to avoid a vote. Pray that some stand up for the unborn.

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61 Responses to Pro-Life Democrats?

  • “Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

  • Allegedly “pro-life” Democrats, just as with “Catholic” Democrats, are ALWAYS Democrats first and foremost. As I noted the other day, they will get FAR more exercised over someone calling their party the “Democrat Party” than they will ever get over the fact that the Democrat Party is head over heels in love with abortion on demand.

  • Contemplating Beebe…

    Remember Buddy Roemer of Louisiana, Ivy League Democrat turned Republican? He was all for restrictions on abortion, it was just that the legislature could never seem to pass a bill with just the right provisions and more in sorrow than in anger he had to veto them all.

    Justice was done when he ran for re-election. He placed third to rogue Edwin Edwards and David Duke in a nonpartisan primary. Edwards won the run-off big with a great slogan, “Vote for the Crook. It’s Important”.

  • What exactly is being argued here? That “pro-life” Democrats aren’t actually pro-life…or are politically incapable of being pro-life? Some clarification please.

    Also, the Lincoln quote doesn’t really apply here…it seems like it’d be a better indictment of people who call themselves “personally pro-life, but…”, not Democrats who actually do consistently vote pro-life.

  • “What exactly is being argued here? That “pro-life” Democrats aren’t actually pro-life”

    Bingo. With pro-lifers like the vast majority of “pro-life” elected Democrats, who needs pro-aborts?

    “Also, the Lincoln quote doesn’t really apply here”

    Rubbish. Lincoln was speaking about Democrats who claimed to oppose slavery and then refused to take any action against it which is precisely what happened in Arkansas.

  • JL doing some expert hair-splitting here

  • What exactly is being argued here? That “pro-life” Democrats aren’t actually pro-life…or are politically incapable of being pro-life? Some clarification please. –

    I think if there is not a critical mass in a legislative body (and there may still be in the Pennsylvania and Rhode Island legislatures), nearly all of them cave push comes to shove. William Lipinski was the odd exception in Congress.

    With regard to opinion mongers, I suspect if you did a content analysis of Commonweal and other venues you would discover telltale signs that the contributors would prefer to be discussing anything but the non-negotiable issues and are addled by contempt for those vulgar enough to emphasize them. I do not think that described Peter Steinfels, ca. 1983, but liberal Catholics have lost a lot of juice since then.

  • Some of them do not bob and weave, though. Before he was silenced by a head injury at the end of 2008, Andrew Greeley had a great deal to say about topical political questions (and was shoveling cash into B.O.’s presidential campaign per the Federal Election Commission).

  • JDP, pardon me if I’m not comfortable with blanket statements that actually fly in the face of real-life instances. I agree that the Dems are by and large sickly beholden to abortion, but there are definitely instances of principled pro-lifers who are also democrats. Rather than vilify them, I say we encourage them and hope they can impart some sort of internal reform in their own party. Doubtful, I know, but better than berating them as “not really pro-life,” as if you’d rather have an actual non pro-life candidate running for office.

  • “Rubbish. Lincoln was speaking about Democrats who claimed to oppose slavery and then refused to take any action against it which is precisely what happened in Arkansas.”

    I agree that it does seem to resonate with this particular case in Arkansas, but not Democrat pro-lifers across the board.

  • pardon me if I’m not comfortable with blanket statements that actually fly in the face of real-life instances.

    In a country with 308 million people in it, there are always examples of anything. Also, most people do not do a whole lot of pondering of matters religious or political and do not feel the need to harmonize what appears rather discordant.

    I think there was a self-identified Democrat (and aspirant office holder) who used to post here, but he was unusual. The Vox Nova crew used to chime in here more often, and a couple of them seemed more or less sincere though one of the two was given to evasions now and again. It would be better if certain ends could be pursued through either party, and they could in 1970, but we have not lived in that world in a while.

    Robert Casey was born in 1932, William Lipinski in 1936, David Carlin in 1938, John La Falce in 1939. See a pattern?

  • Yes, a vowel constitutes the second letter of each man’s first name.

    ; )

  • “Rather than vilify them”

    take it up with the Democratic Party

  • apparatus i mean.

    you seem very willing to keep these people the benefit of the doubt, when if the GOP does something symbolically/for political purposes exclusively i’m sure you’d be all over that

  • I commend authentically pro-life Democrats because there is an immense amount of pressure on them to conform to their national party’s whims. In this way, one can be fairly certain that Democrats who vote consistently pro-life do so out of principle and personal conviction (I don’t think abortion is generally much of a constituent-salient issue, at least in most state-wide elections). On the other hand, I think it’s fairly certain that some (SOME) Republicans pay lip-service to the pro-life cause for political reasons (curry party favor), rather than personal beliefs.

    Donald’s right to call into question the actions of the Arkansas state reps, but I don’t understand why we would want to attack pro-life Democrats in general. I would much rather have two pro-life options on the ballot.

  • “but I don’t understand why we would want to attack pro-life Democrats in general”

    They have a history of being lukewarm at best and backstabbing cowards at worst. All too often “pro-life Democrat” simply means “not-rabidly-pro-abortion-Democrat.” The bar isn’t set very high.

  • It may be that we even need to pull back from too close an association with the Republican party. The fact is that their bar isn’t set very high these days either. I don’t think either party aims at Christian-informed decisions. But we exhalt the party that happens to temporarily share a couple of our positions.

  • Couldn’t agree more Jon. Unfortunately, third party politics are essentially impossible in the American system for structural reasons. I think the reality is that we have to be pragmatic. Just as we are called to be in but not of this world, I think we should also be in a party (essentially the only way to get anything done politically) but not of them (always true to comprehensive Catholicism, and hopefully shaping the parties we belong to). This is why I would encourage us to support authentically pro-life Democrats, especially Catholic ones. They’re a dying breed, for sure, but there’s a reason for that, and I’d say it has a lot to do with the partisan tribalism of too many American Catholics. Honestly, there is nothing more paradoxical and challenging than being a politically-engaged and impactful American Catholic.

  • Well, JL, I think your’re right. We must avoid complete identification with the parties and the political tribalism that plagues the country now.

    As for myself, I’m too catholic to be Catholic. So for me, the most comprehensive way is to read scripture in light of tradition and reason, recognizing scripture as my final authority. I believe in drawing on all traditions with a lower-case t for the best they have to offer.

  • given that there is exactly 0% chance of appointing anti-“Roe” justices under a Democratic administration/Democratic Senate (and despite justifiable concerns about how serious some in the GOP are, they have appointed such justices, albeit not with a 100% success rate) someone claiming they’re pro-life and voting Dem nationally doesn’t make a ton of sense unless the issue isn’t particularly high-priority for them. the party made its choice on this a long time ago, the “tribalism” is just a function of how charged issues like this are.

  • i said national cuz i assume there may still exist certain states with Dem reps who actually are more conservative on this than the national party. even then though, when you notice a pattern like this…fool me once etc.

  • Look, I’m not in love with the GOP myself. The McCain-Graham wing of the Senate is repugnant and loathsome to me, with its interventionism abroad and disregard for civil liberties at home. The RNC is also staffed by some of the most politically incompetent fools I have ever encountered in all the political history I have ever read.

    But the party has actually been solid on life issues. About as much as could be done, short of repealing Roe, was done under G.W. Bush. The party had a good pro-life track record during those years. We can inveigh that more wasn’t done, but we do have a democratic-republic that is controlled by a two-party system. There are limits to what either party can do.

    There’s simply no comparing the GOP and the Dems on this issue.

  • Pardon my ignorance, but who ARE these “pro-life Democrats”? Which of them voted against Obama Care?

  • McCain-Graham wing of the Senate is repugnant and loathsome to me, with its interventionism abroad and disregard for civil liberties at home.

    You need to dial it back.

    The RNC is also staffed by some of the most politically incompetent fools I have ever encountered in all the political history I have ever read.

    A number of years ago, Grover Norquist was asked why Gray Davis, an uninspiring old hack, had managed to get himself the Democratic nomination for Governor of California over a demonstrably capable businessman who had financed an extensive advertising campaign. His response was banal but worth considering, “politics is harder than it looks”. There are people in this world (Daniel Larison comes to mind) who are quite verbose and insistent in telling politicians how to do their jobs (while never themselves having been anywhere near the matrix in which these politicians work). Politicians make bad policy all the time, and often for indefensible reasons, but even well-intentioned are invariably maneuvering in a madcap environment.

  • liberal Catholics – pro-life democrats- libertarian Catholics ? ? ?

    Pro life democrats belong to a party whose officlal party stance is anti life.
    The cognitive dissonance is deafening

  • All right I shouldn’t have thrown libertarian Catholics in there. It veers off the course of this thread… and it depends how libertarian they are. But you get the picture.

  • Names, please – pro-life democrats????? And shame on the bishops who are too cowardly to publicly ex-communicate so-called Catholics legislators who vote for abortion “rights”, and bills that finance Planned Parenthood, and abortion abroad.

  • Even if the pro-life democrats are truly pro-lifers with a steel spine, they are the exception, not the rule. The Democrat party is the party of death. Look at their positions: pro-abortion, pro-infanticide, pro-suicide, pro-euthanasia, pro-narcotics, pro-homosexual unions (death of souls) and on and on.

    You can criticize the Democrats on these issues and not be rah-rah Republican. The GOP has its own score card. While not perfect, it is light years better than the Dems.

  • AD,

    “You need to dial it back.”

    You can expect me to dial it up.

  • “All right I shouldn’t have thrown libertarian Catholics in there.”

    I don’t even know that many self-identified libertarian Catholics. What I do know is that our high-profile representatives – Tom Woods, Judge Andrew Napolitano, and Jeffery Tucker, to name three that come to mind – are all traditional pro-life Catholics. You can add me to that list if you like.

  • I think Lew Rockwell is a Catholic too. Not positive though.

  • “Names, please — pro-life democrats???”

    Congressman William Lipinski of IL-3 voted against Obamacare in its final form and specifically cited abortion as his reason for doing so. I believe he was the only Catholic Democrat in Congress to do so. Last I heard he was being considered to replace Doug Kmiec as ambassdor to the Vatican (probably a convienient way of “kicking him upstairs” and filling his seat with a more pliable pro-abort, but we shall see).

  • Joe Donnelly (D-IN) is a good one.

  • Doug Kmiec was ambassador to Malta. No way was he ever going to get the gig at the Vatican. Miguel H. Díaz is the Ambassador to the Holy See.

  • “Joe Donnelly (D-IN) is a good one.”

    we’ll see once there’s an actual related vote

  • Oops, Jay, I really messed that one up. First of all the guy in question is DANIEL Lipinski — William Lipinski is his father who also held the same seat in Congress — and he is in line to replace Miguel Diaz, not Kmiec. (I knew Kmiec was ambassador to some really tiny almost 100% Catholic country over in the Mediterranean, though) 🙂

  • Pro-Life is not simply limited to opposition to abortion. Of course, that is a primary stance. But the Church supports Life from “conception to natural death.” Where are pro-life conservatives in ensuring that the poor and sick have access to life-saving medicine and treatment?

    Where are the pro-life conservatives protecting the Earth (aka, God’s Creation) from wanton ecological destruction? How about when corporations blow off the tops of mountains and pollute streams/rivers with toxic sludge? Human life in those areas become threatened, not enhanced. Pollution is not pro-life.
    ———-

    Site well worth a read:

    Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Conservation Center

    http://conservation.catholic.org/

    Long before today’s environmental movement,
    the Bible and Tradition of the Catholic Church taught us to be
    stewards of God’s creation with love and wisdom.

  • But the Church supports Life from “conception to natural death.” Where are pro-life conservatives in ensuring that the poor and sick have access to life-saving medicine and treatment?

    All right Ben, what precisely are you doing? Have you started a small business and provided jobs to anyone so that they earn a decent living and have access to health insurance? Have you supported politicians who promote policies aimed at expanding the entrepreneurial class, or do you instead vote for politicians who make lofty claims about providing more welfare benefits? There is a mistaken assumption on the part of left-wing Catholics that social justice is an impersonal government entity handing out taxpayer dollars. THAT isn’t a Catholic position, and I’m tired of people such as yourselves claiming the high moral ground, because the policies people like you support are precisely the policies that keep people beholden to the state, and mired in poverty. Just feeling bad about the poor isn’t actually demonstrating a truly Catholic ethic. No wonder your state is a laughing stock.

    Pollution is not pro-life.

    Mindless sloganeering is not informative.

  • Paul,

    Thanks for saving me the time of responding to Ben (and doing it better than I would have.)

  • “The poor will always be with you.” In St. John’s Gospel Judas complained that the expensive perfume the woman used to anoint Jesus could have been sold and the money used to help the poor. The quote was Jesus’ response to the complant.

    In addition to being pro-life (anti-death penalty, anti-waterboarding, for aerial drone assassination), democrats are “all-in” with the preferential option for the poor.

    In fact, democrats are so strongly preferential for the poor, Federal policies, programs, regulations, and taxes daily are adding thousands to the poverty-stricken category. Since 2009, 75 Americans went on food stamps for each new job created.

    And, their cure for global warming/save Erda: higher fuel prices, higher food prices, more desperately poor people.

  • “Have you supported politicians who promote policies aimed at expanding the entrepreneurial class, or do you instead vote for politicians who make lofty claims about providing more welfare benefits?”

    Some politicians who claim to be doing the former have no qualms about “providing more welfare benefits” of a sort to big businesses in the form of tax breaks and other targeted economic incentives. While these incentives may be well intentioned to “save jobs”, when it gets to the point that large businesses routinely demand these concessions to the tune of millions and threaten to close or move when they don’t get them, then I would say it becomes a “preferential option for the rich, powerful, and well connected” that leaves the small or medium-size business, which doesn’t have the clout to lobby for these tax breaks, holding the bag. If you really want to expand the entrepreneurial class, I suggest lower taxes or other incentives for EVERYONE, not just big business.

  • “Where are the pro-life conservatives protecting the Earth (aka, God’s Creation) from wanton ecological destruction?”

    If far-left economic and social policy were the key to environmental preservation, China and the former Soviet bloc nations would be, or have been, among the cleanest places on Earth. Instead, they are riddled with pollution that dwarfs even the bad old days of the Cuyahoga River catching fire.

  • You’ll get no disagreement from me there, Elaine. Big government and big business usually walk hand-in-hand.

  • when people shift the pro-life topic to a broad definition, what they’re usually saying is they aren’t actually pro-life.

    i like to define things technically, and “pro-life” _does not_ refer to anything outside of abortion obviously. that’s what the term’s used for. these sorts of obfuscations are like when libertarians try to turn “small government” against conservatives and argue for their insane minarchist definition of society. now we could talk about what the Catholic position is/should be on other things but that’s a different topic.

  • JDP,

    Donnelly served 6 years in the House before his election to the Senate. He has a pretty solid pro-life track record:

    http://votesmart.org/candidate/key-votes/34212/joe-donnelly-sr/2/abortion-issues#.UTVBmTCsiSo

    “when people shift the pro-life topic to a broad definition, what they’re usually saying is they aren’t actually pro-life.”

    Come again?

  • “Donnelly served 6 years in the House before his election to the Senate. He has a pretty solid pro-life track record:”

    Actually he pounded Joe Mansour for thinking that it is terrible to kill a child who is luckless enough to be conceived in rape.

    “I think rape is a heinous and violent crime in every instance,” said Donnelly. “The God I believe in and the God I know most Hoosiers believe in, does not intend for rape to happen—ever. What Mr. Mourdock said is shocking, and it is stunning that he would be so disrespectful to survivors of rape.”

    http://www.wishtv.com/dpp/news/politics/donnelly-speaks-out-on-mourdock-rape-comment

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/10/31/ind-dem-donnelly-walks-careful-line-on-abortion/

    We will see how he votes in the Senate.

  • Actually, Donald, what he did is what any other politician would do: capitalize when a political opponent makes a (well-intentioned, but) boneheaded gaffe.

    Donnelly’s exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother are disappointing, but he’s no different in that regard than the majority of Republicans.

    And I have no idea who Joe Mansour is.

  • JL, when someone’s first response to a conversation on this subject is to talk about how pollution, the death penalty, etc. etc. mean select pro-lifers aren’t “really pro-life,” that’s a sign to me that don’t view abortion as a particularly high-priority issue. sure that’s not true for everyone but it’s a common tactic for people who don’t agree with pro-lifers in the first place. furthermore questions of just war, putting criminals to death, enviro. policy, and so on are obviously of a different nature than abortion

    maybe framing things as anti-abortion vs. pro-abortion would make this easier so people don’t play semantic games.

  • JDP,

    I agree with everything you just said in the 8:30 PM comment, but that’s not the same as someone NOT being pro-life.

  • God knows how Richard Mourdock became Joe Mansour in my mind. I think Donnelly leaping on the issue, especially considering the fact that Donnelly has played up throughout his political career that he is a faithful Catholic, betokens a man who will sell out the pro-life cause, and that will make him a typical “pro-life” Democrat. He voted for Obamacare so I expect next to nothing from him in regard to abortion. I hope I will be pleasantly surprised but I doubt it.

  • JDP, exactly. Pro-life is far more than one issue, so it is important to specify what aspect of the matter one is referencing.

    If the GOP was consistently pro-life, which it is not, then it would have a better shot in American elections.

  • “Pro-life is far more than one issue”

    Give me a break. Over a million innocents slain a year and you want to mix up the fight against abortion with your pet green issues!

  • Catholic Answers recently hired an apologist who is really good in explaining the pro-life position. His name is Trent Horn, and I think the best pro-life apologist I’ve heard. The issue of the scope of the pro-life movement was raised during a 2 hour radio show on 1/28/2013. Very much worth a listen.

    http://www.catholic.com/profiles/trent-horn

    The short version is the mission of the pro-life movement is narrow, to secure the right to life for all human beings. Holding the movement accountable for other issues makes as much sense as holding the fireman accountable for finding a home for those whose home has burned down. While these acts outside the primary mission are charitable and worthwhile, they are not the focus of the pro-life movement.

  • “If the GOP was consistently pro-life, which it is not, then it would have a better shot in American elections.”

    some of the things you mentioned as “not pro-life” have more support than the pro-life position. the death penalty for example. so no.

    cool talking points though

  • ok you didn’t mention the death penalty, you mentioned…enviro. regulation and healthcare. which i assume means the GOP must support the exact EPA approach Obama does and support Obamacare as well or it is not “really” pro-life. k.

  • I am torn on the death penalty, though Pope Benedict even called for its global repeal: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/pope-benedict-end-the-death-penalty/

    I know that if some criminal broke into my home, seeking to bring harm to my family, it would be shoot first, and then ask question afterwards. I am no leftist by any standard.

  • It’s not even that the GOP should “follow” Obama. It would be outstanding for the Republican Party to its historic, traditional pro-environment stance. Republicans were the first “green party” in a sense. ConservAmerica (formerly Republicans for Environmental Protection) has been working diligently since 1995 to

    To quote the late, great Russell Kirk, ““Nothing is more conservative than conservation.” Heck, both words share the same root. It is very disappointing how conservatives ceded to the Left what was a traditional, bedrock conservative principle.

  • The natural world and its inhabitants, first and foremost, belong to almighty God. The Bible is absolutely clear in various passages, but I will highlight my favorite. Psalms 24:1: “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.” Yes, we are granted “dominion” over the planet, but that does not mean “desecration” or “destruction.” I was asked by my parents to watch our home while they went on trips. DId I go and knock down walls and break the windows?

    To go one step further, St. Paul explains that Nature/Creation is evidence FOR God. Romans 1:19-20 – since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

    Destruction of Nature is destruction of God’s Creation. They are inseparable. Humans have to stop acting as if we are superior to God and that we stand outside the Web of Life. We are intimately connected to it all. If you think yourself outside of Nature, then hold your breath and plug your nose and don’t inhale Oxygen.

    God bless.

  • oh snap he referenced Russell Kirk

    game over

  • “Destruction of Nature is destruction of God’s Creation.”

    The problem of the left, the green police, is they confuse consumption with destruction. Human consumption, other than their own of course, is a boil on earth and must be lanced.

    It’s not that they believe they can save earth. They are looking for a pet crisis for which they can justify their authoritarian control and profligate spending.

    The idea the GOP does care about conservation is silly. Review the many green initiatives started under GWB’s watch. Many of the green projects taking place under Obama’s had already begun under GWB’s. No. The GOP has no interest in America’s children drinking poisoned water or hiking on deforested national parks. Stereotype tripe.

Trembling for my Country

Tuesday, January 22, AD 2013

Abortions since Roe

Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep forever.

Thomas Jefferson, 1785

I have always agreed with this sentiment of President Abraham Lincoln:

“Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

If the Civil War was the punishment visited upon the nation for slavery, what plague will visit us for celebrating the “right” to abortion?

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6 Responses to Trembling for my Country

  • In 1974, the legendary folk/pop duo Seals and Crofts released this song, probably the first pro-life song ever recorded. It was a gutsy move given they were at the zenith of their career at teh time and were hit with calls for boycotts of their concerts and by pro-abort groups as well as pressuring radio stations not to play the song.

  • THE INTENDED MEANING OF LIFE

    Humanity has forgotten the real meaning of life.
    They are the victims of their invention of endless strife.
    Created in God’s image, Adam lived in paradise.
    Creating Eve, his wife, soon precipitated demise.

    They failed God’s only test and introduced the world to sin.
    Driven out in shame – would heaven ever open again?
    God knew man would sin, and the Son would reopen heaven.
    The Son would become man through the Holy Spirit leaven.

    The only meaning in life is to save your immortal soul.
    Your guardian angel will help you live a soul-saving role.
    Life in this world where both good and evil abound is a test.
    Reward for a life obedient to God’s will is best.

    The Declaration of Independence has lost its soul.
    It was overruled by the Supreme Court child-killing role.
    Marriage between a man and woman is God’s moral law.
    The Supreme Court is now being asked to call that a flaw.

    The God our Founding Fathers trusted is not now in vogue.
    He is being superseded by a socialist rogue.
    If our nation can’t regain the moral meaning of life,
    I can assure that it will bring us never ending strife.

    Bob Rowland
    I/XIX/MMXIII

  • Amen, Donald! Hosea chapter 8:

    1 Set the trumpet to your lips, for * a vulture is over the house of the LORD, because they have broken my covenant, and transgressed my law. 2 To me they cry, My God, we Israel know thee. 3 Israel has spurned the good; the enemy shall pursue him. 4 They made kings, but not through me. They set up princes, but without my knowledge. With their silver and gold they made idols for their own destruction. 5 I have * spurned your calf, O Samaria. My anger burns against them. How long will it be till they are pure 6 in Israel? * A workman made it; it is not God. The calf of Samaria shall be broken to pieces. * 7 For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind. The standing grain has no heads, it shall yield no meal; if it were to yield, aliens would devour it. 8 Israel is swallowed up; already they are among the nations as a useless vessel. 9 For they have gone up to Assyria, a wild ass wandering alone; Ephraim has hired lovers. 10 Though they hire allies among the nations, I will soon gather them up. And they shall cease * for a little while from anointing * king and princes. 11 Because Ephraim has multiplied altars for sinning, they have become to him altars for sinning. 12 Were I to write for him my laws by ten thousands, they would be regarded as a strange thing. 13 They love sacrifice; * they sacrifice flesh and eat it; but the LORD has no delight in them. Now he will remember their iniquity, and punish their sins; they shall return to Egypt. 14* For Israel has forgotten his Maker, and built palaces; and Judah has multiplied fortified cities; but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour his strongholds.

  • The Civil War for slavery. Atheism for abortion.

  • Chastisement is underway.
    Religious Freedoms mocked.
    National security breached. ( members of Islamic brotherhood entrenched in administration. )
    2nd. Amendment threatened.
    The days when men of good character are told to stop reciting Scripture publicly or face the punishment of violating “hate crimes” is already upon us.
    We are there.
    Our silence has been deafening.
    Our apathy has been deadly.
    Our walk to the woodshed has begun.

  • The present is the full flowering of the Great Apostacy which started with the Reformation (De-formation) and has grown apace over the past centuries. Many of the “protesters” have lost the plot, supporting the various abominations in our western society.
    End times are on us – but how long they will last, “Only the Father knows”.
    Buckle up for the momentum gathering of the Persecution.

September 22, 1862: Lincoln Issues Notice of Emancipation Proclamation

Saturday, September 22, AD 2012

Something for the weekend.  Give us a Flag, the unofficial anthem of the United States Colored Troops during the Civil War, written by a private serving in the 54th Massachusetts.

Today is the 150th anniversary of the issuance of the notice by Lincoln of the Emancipation Proclamation, to take effect on January 1, 1863, Lincoln doing so after the Union victory at Antietam on September 17, 1862.  Reaction was, to say the least, mixed.  In the North the abolitionists were enraptured.  Most Northern opinion was favorable, although there was a substantial minority, embodied almost entirely in the Democrat party, that completely opposed this move.  Opinion in the Border States was resoundingly negative.  In the Confederacy the Confederate government denounced the proposed Emancipation Proclamation as a call for a race war.  Today, almost all Americans view the Emancipation Proclamation as a long overdue ending of slavery.  At the time it was very much a step into the unknown, and the consequences impossible to determine.  Lincoln had converted the War for the Union into a War for the Union and against Slavery.  It remained to be seen as to whether the War, whatever its objectives, could be won.  Here is the text of Lincoln’s announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation:

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7 Responses to September 22, 1862: Lincoln Issues Notice of Emancipation Proclamation

  • Replace “slave” with “Catholic taxpayer”, “religious believer” and “Catholic Church” and teach respect for freedom.

  • Reaction to the proclamation remains mixed even today, because from a practical, on the ground standpoint, it didn’t free ANY slaves, at least not immediately. It didn’t apply to border slave states still loyal to the Union, nor (in its final form) to Union-occupied areas of the Confederate states. The only areas that it applied to were areas where it wasn’t going to be enforced immediately. Some abolitionists were disappointed in it for that reason. It was a carefully crafted political move — but still a brilliant one. Also, what happened to the part about compensating slave owners who remained loyal to the Union?

  • Lincoln tried for compensated emancipation throughout the War in loyal slave states like Delaware and Kentucky and in offers to the Confederates in exchange for peace and Union. The slaveholders were never interested. By the end of the War slavery was dead, and after all the blood and treasure expended to accomplish that feat, Congress was in no mood to give to slaveowners what they had rejected during the war.

    Lincoln limited the Emancipation Proclamation to areas under Confederate control for several reasons. First, he believed he had no authority to abolish slavery except as a war measure. That is why he successfully pushed for the thirteenth amendment abolishing slavery. Second, he did not wish to alienate the loyal slave states.

    In regard to the Emancipation Proclamation it gave Union military commanders in Confederate areas the authority to abolish slavery, something a few of them had already attempted. Wherever the Union armies established control slavery ended. The Confederates understood this, which is why they reacted with such outrage to the Proclamation,

  • It was another in a string of unconstitutional acts by Lincoln. Just because we might like the object of the abuse of power does not make the abuse of power legitimate.

    And yes of course it was an entirely cynical ploy by Lincoln to buttress up flagging support for the war by throwing a moral patina on the business that “preserving the glorious union” did not have.

    Lincoln’s person view was expressed early on when he verified that the war was not about slavery and that he would use that issue only insofar as it would aid in his effort forcibly to unite the country, but that he had no interest in slavery per se as a war aim. After Antietam, to buck up failing domestic support and to ensure non-intervention by European powers, he made the calculated decision that he could indeed use the issue of slavery to advance what he considered the only aim of the war–reunion.

  • Wrong on all points Tom:
    “It was another in a string of unconstitutional acts by Lincoln”

    1. There is nothing unconstitutional about confiscating property in war time that is being used to support the enemy war effort. Slave labor was crucial for the Confederacy. The Confederates contended that slaves were property. Lincoln took them at their word and freed their “property”.

    “to buttress up flagging support for the war by throwing a moral patina on the business that “preserving the glorious union” did not have.”
    2. Incorrect Tom. Support for war for the Union was almost universal in the North except among Copperheads. In the border states it commanded at least 50% support. In the Confederacy support for war for the Union was quite popular in certain regions, especially West Virginia and East Tennessee. Lincoln was taking a big gamble in adding the war aim of the abolition of slavery.

    “Lincoln’s person view was expressed early on when he verified that the war was not about slavery and that he would use that issue only insofar as it would aid in his effort forcibly to unite the country, but that he had no interest in slavery per se as a war aim.”

    Lincoln’s personal view was always that slavery must be abolished. He separated that from his prime duty as President which was to uphold the Union. He expressed this well in his letter to Horace Greeley:

    “Washington, August 22, 1862.

    Hon. Horace Greeley:
    Dear Sir.

    I have just read yours of the 19th. addressed to myself through the New-York Tribune. If there be in it any statements, or assumptions of fact, which I may know to be erroneous, I do not, now and here, controvert them. If there be in it any inferences which I may believe to be falsely drawn, I do not now and here, argue against them. If there be perceptable in it an impatient and dictatorial tone, I waive it in deference to an old friend, whose heart I have always supposed to be right.

    As to the policy I “seem to be pursuing” as you say, I have not meant to leave any one in doubt.

    I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be “the Union as it was.” If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views.

    I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men every where could be free.

    Yours,
    A. Lincoln.”

    Of course at the time that he wrote this Lincoln knew that he was going to Emancipate the slaves and was using this letter skillfully to help butress his argument that the abolition of slavery was necessary for the preservation of the Union

  • Oh, and this is also the 150th anniversary of that *other* unconstitutional act, suspension of habeas corpus, which Lincoln also perpetrated.

    Don, I know you love your fellow Illinois-an, but really. The Constitution is a document which gives the president only limited, *expressed* authority. Declaring the property of every owner in many states to be confiscated, whether or not that property is involved in war, is not a power granted to the president.

    Really, it’s very simple: if the constitution does not *expressly* grant the president a power, he does not have it. No constitutional provision permits the president to declare the property of people forfeited, particularly without any kind of due process.

  • “Oh, and this is also the 150th anniversary of that *other* unconstitutional act, suspension of habeas corpus, which Lincoln also perpetrated.”

    And the suspension of habeus corpus was reaffirmed by Congress when it met in December of 1862. The Constitution clearly allows for the suspension of habeas corpus in the event of invasion or rebellion. I would note that Jefferson Davis also suspended habeas corpus and declared martial law.

    Confiscation of property used against the United States in war time has been upheld time and again by the US Supreme Court. Congress ratified the action of the President by legislation and the country ratified the action of the President by approving the Thirteenth Amendment.

Jackson’s Black Sunday School

Monday, August 13, AD 2012

One of the more interesting tidbits about Thomas Jonathan Jackson, universally known as Stonewall, is that he and his wife established a Sunday School for free and slave blacks in Lexington, Virginia.  The school taught free blacks and slaves to read although this was against Virginia law.

Jackson’s personal views on slavery are probably best summed up by this statement from his wife:

I have heard him say that he would prefer to see the negroes free, but he believed that the Bible taught that slavery was sanctioned by the Creator Himself, who maketh all men to differ, and instituted laws for the bond and free. He therefore accepted slavery, as it existed in the South, not as a thing desirable in itself, but as allowed by Providence for ends which it was not his business to determine.

Jackson continued to financially support the Sunday School during the War, and one his last pieces of correspondence prior to his fatal wounding contained his regular contribution.  Here is a letter Jackson wrote on June 7, 1858 describing the operation of the school to Lyle Davis, a Professor at Washington College and a member of the same Presbyterian Church in Lexington that Jackson attended:

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Deconstructing the “Bible Endorses Slavery” Meme

Monday, April 30, AD 2012

One of the more fashionable responses to any Christian’s objection to the legalization of “gay marriage”, or for that matter, any objection to anything blatantly immoral in modern society, is to immediately announce that since the Bible (allegedly) endorses slavery, anything it has to say on any moral issue is completely irrelevant.

I suppose the argument goes something like this for most people in their heads: “so your Bible says that (insert the sin you want to justify here) is immoral, eh? Well let me tell YOU something:

The Bible says slavery is moral. (Premise 1)

Slavery, as we all (allegedly) know is immoral. (Premise 2)

Therefore the Bible endorses something that is immoral. (Premise 3)

Therefore, the Bible is not a legitimate source of moral arguments. (Conclusion)”

Have I got that right? I think I do. So let’s deconstruct these premises and demonstrate why this ever-so popular argument is really just another lazy, uncritical, decontextualized, factually-deficient and hypocritical canard.

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70 Responses to Deconstructing the “Bible Endorses Slavery” Meme

  • Slavery in the Roman Empire was a mixed bag. House slaves were often almost treated like members of the family. Slaves in the mines endured living death. Manumission was not rare, and neither were slave revolts, the most famous being that led by Spartacus in 73BC-71BC. I am sure that many slaves would have agreed with the sentiment expressed in the movie Spartacus that death was the only freedom that a slave knew:

  • The interesting thing about slavery in the Roman Empire was that after the conversion of the Empire to Christ, slavery, after a few centuries, was on its way out. Likewise, eventually with serfdom in Western Europe, and afterwards with negro slavery. The Christian West was the only civilization which, over time, abolished slavery several times, a universal institution around the globe. In the absence of Christianity, I have no doubt that slavery would still be universal. Additionally, where Christianity weakens we will see a return to slavery, as happened in the Communist states, with their millions of Gulag state slaves, and with the state slaves in the concentration camps of the Third Reich.

  • I would not say that slavery is recognized as a “legitimate social institution” but rather that it is acknowledged as a social reality of the time.

  • Not only was chattel slavery condemned by the Church, it is also condemned in the OT and NT under “man-stealing”.

  • As with so many ideas in the Bible, in the Greek, variations or levels of concepts had different words. The English “love,” for instance, has the four Greek concepts of eros (physical, romantic,) storge (familial, parental,) philia (brotherly, fraternal,) and agapas (spiritual, unconditional.) Perhaps it is this way for different types of servitude. Any chance there would be further elucidation on this subject, just to be able to smear the idiots a little more abrasively?

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  • Well WK, I only know modern Hebrew, but the word for slave is closer to worker. There is a second word for slave which is often translated as servant, though, but I am not sure which is used in the Bible. Either way, though, chattel slavery is not implied by either.

  • I differ. God gave chattel slavery to the Jews; and Pope Nicholas V gave it to the Portuguese in 1455 in Romanus Pontifex inter alia …mid fourth large paragraph.
    God was right; Pope Nicholas and three successive Popes were not.
    Documentation:
    Leviticus Chapter 25…God gives chattel slavery to the Jews in a nomadic culture…
    44 “Slaves, male and female, you may indeed possess, provided you buy them from among the neighboring nations. 45 You may also buy them from among the aliens who reside with you and from their children who are born and reared in your land. Such slaves you may own as chattels, 
    46 and leave to your sons as their hereditary property, making them perpetual slaves. But you shall not lord it harshly over any of the Israelites, your kinsmen..”

     Here is Pope Nicholas V giving Portugal the right to enslave in 1455 in Romanus Pontifex which Pope Paul III tried to overcome in the quote under it in a 1537 bull:

    Pope Nicholas V:
    ” — We [therefore] weighing all and singular the premises with due meditation, and noting that since we had formerly by other letters of ours granted among other things free and ample faculty to the aforesaid King Alfonso — to invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue all Saracens and pagans whatsoever, and other enemies of Christ wheresoever placed, and the kingdoms, dukedoms, principalities, dominions, possessions, and all movable and immovable goods whatsoever held and possessed by them and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery.”

    Pope Paul III trying to undo the above in Sublimus Dei:
    ” We define and declare by these Our letters, or by any translation thereof signed by any notary public and sealed with the seal of any ecclesiastical dignitary, to which the same credit shall be given as to the originals, that, notwithstanding whatever may have been or may be said to the contrary, the said Indians and all other people who may later be discovered by Christians, are by no means to be deprived of their liberty or the possession of their property, even though they be outside the faith of Jesus Christ.”

    Portugal in the long run obeyed the bad one because it contained this caveat to ward off future Popes:
    ” And if anyone, by whatever authority, shall, wittingly or unwittingly, attempt anything inconsistent with these orders we decree that his act shall be null and void.”

    The bad one by the way also had the written affirmation of three subsequent Popes. Because Pope Leo XIII and another 19th century Pope wrote short histories of the Church and slavery that left out Pope Nicholas V and his endorsers (3 Popes), many many Catholics suppose unbroken papal opposition to slavery.

  • Bill,

    I acknowledge the kind of slavery approved by Pope Nicholas V in my posts, and make a clear distinction between it and chattel slavery.

    Perhaps you didn’t catch that part.

    ” The context is also important; in one Papal bull endorsing this kind of slavery, the context of unending war with Islamic pirates, who captured and enslaved thousands of innocent Christians year after year, is ever-present. The taking of Saracen prisoners of war as slaves was more of a retaliatory war effort than an official social institution. I simply will not condemn it as inherently evil, even if I wouldn’t endorse it today for a thousand different reasons.”

    You can’t just lump every type of slavery into one category.

  • Bonchamps
    But Paul III is addressing the mistakes of the Pope you are defending by context. But you’re dealing with a Pope Nicholas V who was dealing not just with Saracens but three categories to include: ” all Saracens AND PAGANS whatsoever, and OTHER ENEMIES OF CHRIST.”. All the Americas were pagan and in the Americas these permissions were soon used in line with that wording by the Pope. Later Pope Alexander VI was to give Spain the exact same permissions as the Americas were just discovered. One of his mistresses was the sister of Pope Paul III who reformed his own life and opposed this whole late 15th century group of Popes who, like Boniface VIII in Unam Sanctam a century and a half before them, saw the Popes as having both spiritual
    and physical power over all the earth. ” The Church That Can and Cannot Change” by Federal Judge, John Noonan Jr. goes into this period in great detail but also shows that contemporaneous with the 8 or so Papal bulls against slavery, there was both in the decretals and in University theologians exceptions. The one as to born to a slave mother means slavery for the child can be seen in the supplement to the Summa online where Aquinas gives the decretal ( canon law) cites: Supplement, question 52, art.4
    ” wherefore children follow the mother in freedom and BONDAGE; whereas in matters pertaining to dignity as proceeding from a thing’s form, they follow the father, for instance in honors, franchise, inheritance and so forth. The canons are in agreement with this (cap. Liberi, 32, qu. iv, in gloss.: cap. Inducens, De natis ex libero ventre) as also the law of Moses (Exodus 21).

  • Shalom.

    You should also link to the church documents/encyclicals on that topic.

  • I do not know Bill. It seems to me that in giving only King Alfonso the Great this power, and giving him this power before the discovery of the Americas, Pope Nicholas’ intention is pretty clearly limited to Iberia. It sounds like the legal language which covers all possible eventualities. Alexander VI, correct me if I am wrong, forbade slavery of the converted indigenous people of the Americas, and saw slavery as a punishment for failure to convert.
    This forced conversion strikes us as pretty perverse, but given that the aliens in the ancient Levant and the Medieval New World were into large scale child sacrifice, might this practice be more amenable to our modern condemnation of slavery, which even now allows for it as a punishment in our own Thirteenth Amendment?

  • Ike
    Again the fact that Pope Paul III took exception and he lived in that context too, argues against context as excuse. If one is against child sacrifice, then end it by war….don’t enslave in order to withdraw silver from Pitosi for a century as Spain did in Peru. Pope Nicholas V may have dreamed about Iberia converting others as primary but in fact, Brazil and Peru right now til this day lead the world in the number of uncontacted tribes.

  • I am not sure that Paul III is objecting to Nicholas V so much as clarifying the statement in a post-Columbian world. Nicholas and Paul were writing in different contexts since one writes during the Reconquista and before the discovery of the Americas (and as you might expect, his statements concern the Reconquista and not the Americas – which he did not know existed) and the other writes after the Reconquista and after the discovery of the Americas (and as you might expect, his statements have the opposite concerns). And I am not saying that the practice or the reasoning behind the allowance of slavery was something other than wrong; I am just wondering if given all the evidence one can judge the papacy so harshly.

  • or say that this constitutes an allowance of chattel slavery which has no regard toward defending some legitimate good – even if done in a bad way.

  • Bill Bannon,

    It is clear to me that the indigenous peoples of the Americas were at no time ever considered “the enemies of Christ”, even if they were technically pagans. This is made absolutely evident by the very first bull condemning the expropriation and enslavement of natives, Sicut Dudum, written in 1435.

    You’re hung up on what appears to me to be an incredibly thin argument, a nit-picky technicality that really doesn’t convey the truth of the situation in the least degree.

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  • Bonchamps
    You began by implying the Bible doesn’t endorse slavery. I gave Leviticus to the effect that it and God does. Why did He? Because there were in those nomadic or near nomadic times no prisons for three groups: criminals, captured enemies, and debtors. Therefore two violent groups were farmed out into slavery. God gave it as a solution to an overflow that was dangerous in two of those cases. That’s why the Old Testament allows violence toward fools because you as a small farmer or herder might have a robber as a slave and thus you were part warden in a culture without prisons. Suddenly these types of violent passages make sense:

    Pro 10:13 In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod [is] for the back of him that is void of understanding.
    Pro 26:3 A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool’s back.
    Exd 21:27 And if he smite out his manservant’s tooth, or his maidservant’s tooth; he shall let him go free for his tooth’s sake.

    If you have a robber as a slave and you constantly find him dozing off, you just might blt him in the mouth.
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
    On Romanus Pontifex, you want to believe it had little effect and was a blip in the history.
    Unforetunately it proved to have the most power of the bulls with Portugal who became a principal slaver and the last Euro nation out of the slave trade. Romanus Pontifex was gold to the Portuguese who harried three other Popes into reconfirming it in writing: Pope Calixtus III in 1456; Sixtus IV in 1481; and as late as 1514, Pope Leo X. Pope Paul III writes just 23 years after Leo. The other bulls against slavery appear here and there precisely because traditionally Catholic countries were recurringly involved in slavery. The later Popes weren’t writing for the British. They were writing
    against the impetus caused by another Pope…Nicholas V whose permissions for Portugal were
    repeated by Pope Alexander VI, the Borgia Pope, in one of his Inter Caetera for his native Spain…the same ” privileges, favors, liberties, immunities, exemptions and indults..” ( Noonan,
    page 65 of mentioned book).

    The Old Testament slavery was dealing with a surfeit of violent men in a culture without large prisons. That’s not the situation of Portugal who caused African tribes to capture each other in war in order to barter for goods with Portugal. Africans were far from innocent in this. The Catholic universities allowed that capture in a just war was a good exception that allowed slavery. Portugal had Catholic chapels in its African trading ports. She presumed slaves were captured in just wars but really by having permanent slave trading posts, she caused the wars in part because it became an industry…profitable to the Africans who won those tribal wars.

  • Ike
    Read Romanus Pontifex or you will create a history. It refers to a reality far away from Iberia.
    Quotes from within it:

    “The Roman pontiff, successor of the key-bearer of the heavenly kingdom and vicar of Jesus Christ, contemplating with a father’s mind all the several climes of the world and the characteristics of all the nations dwelling in them and seeking and desiring the salvation of all”

    shortly after: “vanquish them and their kingdoms and habitations, though situated in the remotest
    parts unknown to us”

    “strengthened, however, always by the royal authority, he has not ceased for twenty-five years past to send almost yearly an army of the peoples of the said kingdoms with the greatest labor, danger, and expense, in very swift ships called caravels, to explore the sea and coast lands toward the south and the Antarctic pole.”

    ” Thence also many Guineamen and other negroes, taken by force, and some by barter of unprohibited articles, or by other lawful contract of purchase, have been sent to the said
    kingdoms. A large number of these have been converted to the Catholic faith, and it is hoped, by
    the help of divine mercy, that if such progress be continued with them, either those peoples will
    be converted to the faith or at least the souls of many of them will be gained for Christ.”

    That’s all quotes of Pope Nicholas V talking in Romanus Pontifex. In short, the Reconquista is maybe a small part of RP…exploration southward is the main topic.

  • Bill,

    “You began by implying the Bible doesn’t endorse slavery.”

    I acknowledge very clearly that the Old Testament permits slavery. I do question the extent of the relevant contextual and historical knowledge of the know-nothing bigots who attack Scripture to further their own demonically perverse political agendas.

    “On Romanus Pontifex, you want to believe it had little effect and was a blip in the history.”

    No, I simply want to acknowledge that it is NOT referring to indigenous peoples, nor could it be, since there are Papal bulls in which the expropriation and enslavement of indigenous peoples is clearly outlawed and forbidden, such as the one I mentioned in my previous comment. You’re conflating two very distinct issues.

    “She presumed slaves were captured in just wars but really by having permanent slave trading posts, she caused the wars in part because it became an industry…profitable to the Africans who won those tribal wars.”

    This sounds like a lot of speculation to me.

  • I have to go give a final exam. I’ll be back later today to talk about Romanus Pontifex, which I believe you are misreading and misusing.

  • Bonchamps,
    You write: ” No I simply want to ackowledge that it (Romanus Pontifex) is not referring to indigenous people.”

    What the hell would you call Africans in 1455?

    Romanus Pontifex: ” Thence also many Guineamen and other negroes, taken by force, and some by barter of unprohibited articles, or by other lawful contract of purchase, have been sent to the said kingdoms. A large number of these have been converted to the Catholic faith, and it is hoped, by the help of divine mercy, that if such progress be continued with them, either those peoples will be converted to the faith or at least the souls of many of them will be gained for Christ.”

  • Pope Nicholas V’s apparent endorsement of slavery is easy to reconcile.
    The Muslims were persecuting Christians every where they could and enslaving them, or force converting them or executing them for not conforming in an unjust war of conquest and assimilation. They were beyond war criminals and the west was well within its just right to kill them and repel them as a just response. In these times it was the practice to execute wounded soldiers captured or if coming from wealthy families to ransom them back for booty or to enslave them for perpetual work until they perished. Nicholas was authorizing under a just war doctrine a more generally merciful condition of life long imprisonment as slaves rather than just and rightful execution for committing war crimes against the Christian Nation. That’s really merciful considering that these were deserving of execution as this particular enemy was unrelenting and radically opposed to Christianity and sworn to kill Christians at every opportunity. To even imprison such individuals was a risk since an escape could put more innocent lives at risk. This is why society still justly executes some prisoners – because some individuals are so violent and hardened to evil that they will not hesitate to kill again if given the opportunity to escape incarceration. There were no elaborate and well constructed frontier prisons in the day and it was a considerable risk to even take prisoners – not to mention the cost of guarding and feeding etc. So in this context even taking prisoners and putting them to the punishment of slavery for their crimes is VERY just – especially for the harshness of this period of time. Also, the pope’s letter was not a universal teaching for all places – only a limited area of conflict.

  • Bonchamps,
    Sicut Dudum of 1435 by Pope Eugene IV which you say prohibits enslaving indigenous people us actually about about and against enslaving baptized natives and those seeking baptism. Read it closely. Here is its ending warning:
    ” We will that like sentence of excommunication be incurred by one and all who attempt to capture, sell, or subject to slavery, baptized residents of the Canary Islands, or those who are freely seeking Baptism, from which excommunication cannot be absolved except as was stated above.”
    A year later the same Pope gave Portugal the right of conquest over infidel Islands of the Canaries ( ibid, Noonan, page 243).

  • Jesus Christ, Who came to set men free in Truth, did indeed. Anyone who believes in Jesus Christ is a free man, no matter what anybody says. The Bible is the story of Jesus Christ’s coming, His salvation of man, and His second coming. FREEEDOM is from God. FREE WILL is from God. Jesus came that we may have life and have it more abundantly. Those who are bought and sold and called slaves are free men, even death cannot change truth.

  • InvictusLux,
    You have to ignore the text of Romanus Pontifex to get to the Muslim only theme as I’ve already shown and as Romanus Pontifex shows. See e.g. my 6:23 AM post to Ike.

  • Bill Bannon,

    There is absolutely no logical connection between the two very separate statements in Romanus Pontifex.

    This: “We [therefore] weighing all and singular the premises with due meditation, and noting that since we had formerly by other letters of ours granted among other things free and ample faculty to the aforesaid King Alfonso — to invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue all Saracens and pagans whatsoever, and other enemies of Christ wheresoever placed, and the kingdoms, dukedoms, principalities, dominions, possessions, and all movable and immovable goods whatsoever held and possessed by them and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery”

    Is not in any contextual way related to this:

    “Thence also many Guineamen and other negroes, taken by force, and some by barter of unprohibited articles, or by other lawful contract of purchase, have been sent to the said kingdoms.”

    The first statement is a decree; the second statement is simply a statement of fact. There’s no sanction there for the enslavement of these people. As for the statement that follows:

    ” A large number of these have been converted to the Catholic faith, and it is hoped, by the help of divine mercy, that if such progress be continued with them, either those peoples will be converted to the faith or at least the souls of many of them will be gained for Christ.”

    Still not a decree, simply the expression of a hope. Nowhere does it say “go out and capture blacks for the purpose of converting them to Christianity.”

    Then of course there is Paul III, whom you already mentioned:

    ” We define and declare by these Our letters, or by any translation thereof signed by any notary public and sealed with the seal of any ecclesiastical dignitary, to which the same credit shall be given as to the originals, that, notwithstanding whatever may have been or may be said to the contrary, the said Indians and all other people who may later be discovered by Christians, are by no means to be deprived of their liberty or the possession of their property, even though they be outside the faith of Jesus Christ; and that they may and should, freely and legitimately, enjoy their liberty and the possession of their property; nor should they be in any way enslaved; should the contrary happen, it shall be null and have no effect.”

    Note the “may be said” – there’s never any admission that this is what Nicholas V was actually teaching. At no point did the Church say, “yes, we used to allow the enslavement of any and all indigenous peoples who didn’t believe in Christ but now we are putting a stop to it.” At BEST, Church teaching on the matter had not been clearly settled. If you look at the debates between some of the priests in the 16th century on the indigenous peoples, you can see that this wasn’t a settled matter. So as she always does, once the controversy reached a certain point and absolute clarity was required, the Church spoke. Paul III did not “correct” Eugene IV or Nicholas V, then – he ruled on a matter that had never been ruled on before.

  • I’ll grant your point, though, about the bull Sicut Dudum.

  • Bonchamps
    None of this is Church teaching. It’s Papal choices and prudential judgements which are based on papal beliefs that are not in the realm of teaching even though they are beliefs. Even teaching of a formal nature can be incorrect as when John Paul II called slavery an “intrinsic evil”
    in section 80 of ” Splendor of the Truth”. Levitcus 25:44-46 suffices to correct him. God gave chattel slavery and God never gave an intrinsic evil like incest to the Jews. Both he and Benedict have immoderate feelings about things that God commanded and they sidestep them by the use of critico-historical hermeneutics…John Paul in sect. 40 of Evangelium Vitae and Benedict in section 42 of Verbum Domini.
    In any event, neutral readers here have enough bric a brac from both of us to sort through. Two days of slavery is enough for me. I need now 🙂 to pray for the Knicks…that Lebron…King James…and D. Wade do not murder them again and this time up here in Madison Square
    Garden. Dare I watch.

  • Bill,

    I don’t believe the Church has ever sanctioned an “intrinsic evil.” That’s all I’m going to say on that topic. My point about the textual context of that bull stands. There’s no evidence that the Church ever permitted or endorsed chattel slavery.

  • In a similar way, it’s worth pointing out that the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution does not forbid everything that might be called slavery.

    Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

  • I am greatly impressed by the scholarly comments of Bonchamps and Bannon. However, the original question seemed to be whether the Bible approves of slavery and, perhaps for some, does God approve of slavery. The precepts of the Torah are the works of men and reflect the institutions of the time and ancient near Eastern practices as in the code of Hammurabi. They in no way are the decrees of God or necessarily even approved by God. The interesting question debated by Bonchamps and Bannon is did the Church officially approve of slavery. Some today would consider such papal decrees as reflections of the ordinary Magisterium of the pope and quasi-infallible moral teachings. What was the authority or the Magisterium of the mentioned Papal Bulls? There seems to be here a real conflict in moral teaching.

  • It is not the difference between ancient and modern forms of slavery that is the point of defense against this meme. The Chosen people adopted a radically different approach to slavery than all of the surrounding cultures of the time, because they understood that all men are made in God’s image and they had been slaves in Egypt. Hence they freed ther indentured servants every jubilee year and were not allowed to mistreat fellow human being’s.

    Reading through the old testament to the new, clearly shows that understanding deepening with God’s revelation until you have Paul declaring that a runaway slave is his master’s brother in Christ.

    In order to treat men like property you have to turn away from all of the lessons God so patiently and lovingly teaches throughout the span of the bible.

    Atheists like Savage don’t bother to look at or understand the whole picture. They are only interested in negating the passages that apply to their sin so as to find acceptance by turning ignorant people away from the source of goodness with out of context quotes and misrepresentation.

  • The precepts of the Torah are the works of men and reflect the institutions of the time and ancient near Eastern practices as in the code of Hammurabi. They in no way are the decrees of God or necessarily even approved by God.

    That would be the heresy of Marcionism — a very popular idea these days.

  • Howard:

    You claim that Flamen is insinuating that the God of the Jews is not the same as the God of the New Testament. I can’t claim to know what he means, but I don’t believe that this is a necessary conclusion of what he says. He may simply mean that we do not need to believe that God actually said what some particular Old Testament scripture said that God said, and that we may safely believe that the passages on slavery are examples of the children of Israel assuming the divine authorship of their laws regardless of the truth of this authorship. Similarly, we may believe that the creation account does not relay the actual “words and actions” of God but rather a mythological account of the origins and nature of the universe, or that the biblical histories may sometimes put commands into the mouth of God (such as the command to kill children) which are not actually commands of God. You may still disagree with this, of course, but it is a very different claim than what you are interpreting it to mean.

  • The video of Michael Savage is a picture of a lost soul enslaved to homosexual behavior. To balance the wretchedness of his face against the validity of his words is a chasm that may not be breeched. Michael Savage’s soul speaks unmitigated enslavement while his words hurl vitriol at the Word of God, God, and the children of God, for his free will choice. That, he (Michael Savage) has chosen badly is no one to blame. He refuses to accept his free will and his wretched choice. Blessed be God in His angels and in His saints.

  • Scotty

    I have deleted the previous exchange because I do not want this devolving any further. Naturally I feel that your accusations were sufficiently “mucky” to justify muck of my own. I want to stop this now. I think you have horribly misunderstood my intentions with this piece, and I don’t want to debate further your interpretation of my interpretation of someone else’s interpretation of Scripture.

    You can see this as me squelching an ever-so-fascinating exchange and storm off, or you can stick around and perhaps we can have a real discussion.

    To get to the real point: no, I don’t think you can categorically say that every kind of slavery is inherently and always wrong.

    There are some things that are always wrong, and some kinds of slavery would fall into that category.

    There are other things that are matters of prudential judgment, and other kinds of slavery would fall into that category.

    That is my position. If you want to wave your arms and shout “see, he thinks slavery is ok!”, go ahead. I do think certain forms of slavery are morally permissible, though I would not advocate them or participate them myself.

  • @Scotty Ellis

    Back up your words with documentation. The actual scope of how we may interpret Scriptures is not without bound.

  • Oh, and if the God of the Old Testament was just an example of Near Eastern fairy tales, then either He is different from the God of the New Testament (i.e., Marcionism), or the God of the New Testament is also a fairy tale, which could be almost any flavor of unbelief whatsoever, but cannot be Christianity.

  • “The video of Michael Savage is a picture of a lost soul enslaved to homosexual behavior.”

    Um, I take it you meant DAN Savage. If Michael Savage, the talk show host, is “enslaved to homosexual behavior” then Rush Limbaugh is a Communist, Michael Moore is anorexic, and I’m George Washington.

    Michael Savage was fired from his brief stint at MSNBC in 2003 for telling a caller who identified himself as gay: “So you’re one of those sodomites. You should only get AIDS and die, you pig; how’s that?” (He also endeared himself to me, and probably to Don and others with autistic children, in 2009 by claiming that 99 percent of autistic children are merely spoiled brats who haven’t been disciplined enough.)

  • “He also endeared himself to me, and probably to Don and others with autistic children, in 2009 by claiming that 99 percent of autistic children are merely spoiled brats who haven’t been disciplined enough.”

    Indeed Elaine. The man specializes in ignorance and bile, also the trademarks of Dan Savage. In my more intemperate moments I might wish that Michael and Dan Savage were marooned together on a very tiny desert island with one very sharp knife between them.

  • Almost makes me wonder if Dan Savage isn’t Michael Savage’s evil twin, or is it the other way around? 🙂

    Getting back to our topic…

    Seems to me that the Church steered more or less a middle ground between those who demanded immediate emancipation and abolition of slavery at any cost (including war) and those who insisted that the right to own slaves included the absolute right to treat them as mere objects, and not as human beings created in the image of God.

    There were Catholic slave owners in America before the Civil War, although they were a pretty small minority of overall slaveholders. I don’t know of any instance in which a Catholic slave owner was excommunicated or otherwise barred from the sacraments until they freed their slaves.

  • Scotty Ellis,

    I’m not going to publish your last comment, because I don’t want what became a personal dispute between the two of us to dominate this discussion.

    If you do want to have substantive discussion, you can respond to my post above about the morality of different kinds of slavery.

  • You can also offer your account of how anything can be “wrong” on the basis of atheistic materialism.

  • Flamen,

    “The interesting question debated by Bonchamps and Bannon is did the Church officially approve of slavery. Some today would consider such papal decrees as reflections of the ordinary Magisterium of the pope and quasi-infallible moral teachings. What was the authority or the Magisterium of the mentioned Papal Bulls? There seems to be here a real conflict in moral teaching.”

    Yes, the Church officially approved of certain types of slavery as far as I can tell. But it never approved of chattel slavery, and Bill Bannon’s attempts to use the mere appearance of the word “pagan” in Pope Nicholas V’s bull as proof that the Church did endorse chattel slavery is simply wrong.

    As for the level of authority, there is a difference between the ordinary Magisterium and the ordinary and universal Magisterium. The latter is infallible. The former isn’t. A bull addressed only to one one nation does not rise to the level of infallibility, as an encyclical letter to the universal Church does. That is why Paul III’s bull is of far greater importance than Nicholas V’s.

  • Bonchamps
    You’re misrepresenting me. What affirms chattel slavery in Romanus Pontifex is not the word “pagan” but the combination of actions of taking the possessions and reducing them to perpetual slavery…” and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery.”. But chattel slavery can be good where it is a necessity (Leviticus 25… no or insufficient prison space) but a bad thing when it is not necessary ( making war likely due to trading goods for persons captured in war).
    Drunkeness is a related example. Condemned repeatedly in the Bible and ordinarily a mortal sin, it can however be the due act of virtue when the person is deeply troubled wherein Scripture
    requires the very thing it ordinarily condemns: Proverbs 31:6 ” Give strong drink to anyone who is perishing,and wine to the embittered;7 When they drink, they will forget their misery,
    and think no more of their troubles.”
    Amongst the uncontacted tribes of the Amazon wherein also there are no prisons, it right now may be the due act that they have slavery of criminals as in Leviticus 25 rather than having execution for simple theft and fraud e.g.
    When you go past my previous quote of RP a bit, you see the stealing involved:

    ” to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery, and to apply and appropriate to himself and his successors the kingdoms, dukedoms, counties, principalities, dominions, possessions, and goods, and to convert them to his and their use and profit –“. That became through the later reconfirmers of RP the tragedy of Latin America.
    The conquistador families ended up with the best land and huge tracts of it setting the stage for
    the rich poor divide that breeds crime and makes all Latin American countries less street safe than Shinto Japan.
    I’m going to try and leave again.

  • Bill,

    You said in your last post:

    “What affirms chattel slavery in Romanus Pontifex is not the word “pagan” but the combination of actions of taking the possessions and reducing them to perpetual slavery…” and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery.”

    This is what you said before, though:

    “But you’re dealing with a Pope Nicholas V who was dealing not just with Saracens but three categories to include: ” all Saracens AND PAGANS whatsoever, and OTHER ENEMIES OF CHRIST.”. All the Americas were pagan and in the Americas these permissions were soon used in line with that wording by the Pope.”

    So you were building your case on that word, and I don’t think it is accurate at all.

  • Bonchamps
    No….I was responding by those capitalizations to the concept that RP was only about Saracens which you gave immediately above my capitals post.. RP was about all distant humans as Portugal traveled south along the African coast. Eventually Brazil would have black slaves bought by Portugal, most of whom brought African animism with them but some of whom in Bahia were Yoruba who were Muslim.
    The capitalizations of the three groups is about the breath of RP that goes well past Saracens.
    Chattel slavery is separate and inferred by “perpetual” which is used in Leviticus in conjunction with that word…no rights henceforth is connoted by the stealing of their goods which happened in dramatic fashion in Peru with the endless taking of silver by Spain from Pitosi which became according to Niall Fergusson in the “Ascent of Money”….40% of Spain’s national budget which went into European wars.

  • The worst kind of slavery is sin!

  • Bill,

    I still don’t “pagans” = carte blanche enslavement of whomever you find in your explorations. If people got that impression, that’s one thing; the document doesn’t actually say that.

  • Bonchamps
    Well who else would you find besides RP’s 3: “Saracens” “pagans” “other enemies of Christ”…given that the Council of Florence a little earlier in that century said in the bull by Eugene IV that everyone outside the Catholic Church proper was damned even if they shed blood for Christ or gave alms if they did not enter the visible Catholic fold before death. Forget “pagan”. The really broad category was “other enemies of Christ” in that century.
    Think of the Council of Florence or at least Eugene IV’s bull therein as the anti ecumenical movement par excellence. He would have found looking for the good in Zen…a work of Satan.
    Had Eugene IV seen John Paul II kiss the Koran…oy…oy.

  • Bill,

    Given the political nature and context of the bull, as well as the phrase “other enemies” – implying that it is referring only to those pagans who can properly be classified as enemies of Christ – I think your interpretation is wrong. There are some pagans who are actively hostile to Christianity (indeed, Muslims were thought of as pagans by medieval Christians), and others who aren’t. What happened in the 16th century was that a debate ensued about the ontological status of indigenous peoples – were they human beings as well? They’d never been seen before. Some said no. The Papacy ruled that not only were they human beings, but that they had the same natural rights as everyone else and could not be enslaved.

    So I grant that there was confusion. I can even grant that Nicholas V may have been misinterpreted to justify the slave trade. But what I can’t grant is that his document actually establishes or endorses the slave trade, or that the Church ever held the position that it was morally acceptable to go into uncharted territory and enslave people for profit.

    I don’t know what the Council of Florence has to do with this debate. That is describing the spiritual reality, it has nothing to do with temporal matters. I am very familiar with Cantate Domino, which is dogmatic and infallible by the way.

  • Bonchamps
    You have a paradigm you are protecting. Hence the circle we are going in. It’s endless. Romanus Pontifex and its 3 reconfirmations for 42 years until 1514 and the Borgia Pope repeating their privileges for Spain were exactly what happened in Latin America and Africa…slavery and theft (or despoiling in the ruler’s view.) That breaks your paradigm of Church history as pristine. Pope Paul III tried to overcome those Popes and lost. Look at his text…it is an exact reproof of RP…exact….but it breaks your paradigm to admit it. He actually first had a caveat of excommunication for persons who enslaved new natives but withdrew it. Find out why in your reading someday. Ask when you find the answer, why he and other Popes didn’t interdict Portugal and Spain over the slavery and theft permitted them by RP. One Pope tried it on Venice and they laughed at him.

    History is not like a Thomas Kinkaid painting….turns out Kinkaid wasn’t like a Kinkaid painting.
    I’m gone now really. In ten minutes Lebron murders the Knicks. It’s a train wreck I must watch.

  • Bill,

    I quoted the text above, and I don’t think it is an “exact reproof.” There’s no evidence that he is even acknowledging, let alone reproving or repealing, anything that his predecessors said. Surely he is not referring to Nicholas V as “the enemy of the human race”, whose views he is exposing and rejecting in this bull!

    You’re mentioning a lot of things that you aren’t providing any evidence for. “Find out someday?” How about you support your claims now?

  • Bonchamps,

    Sublimus Dei text from your ” enemy of the human race” way down to the separate tone of correcting the Popes in question…keep in mind his sister was the mistress of the Borgia Pope…he did not have your problem of seeing Popes immune to satan:

    ” The enemy of the human race, who opposes all good deeds in order to bring men to destruction, beholding and envying this, invented a means never before heard of, by which he might hinder the preaching of God’s word of Salvation to the people: he inspired his satellites who, to please him, have not hesitated to publish abroad that the Indians of the West and the South, and other people of whom We have recent knowledge should be treated as dumb brutes created for our service, pretending that they are incapable of receiving the Catholic Faith.

    We, who, though unworthy, exercise on earth the power of our Lord and seek with all our might to bring those sheep of His flock who are outside into the fold committed to our charge, consider, however, that the Indians are truly men and that they are not only capable of understanding the Catholic Faith but, according to our information, they desire exceedingly to receive it. Desiring to provide ample remedy for these evils, We define and declare by these Our letters, or by any translation thereof signed by any notary public and sealed with the seal of any ecclesiastical dignitary, to which the same credit shall be given as to the originals, that, notwithstanding whatever may have been or may be said to the contrary, the said Indians and all other people who may later be discovered by Christians, are by no means to be deprived of their liberty or the possession of their property, even though they be outside the faith of Jesus Christ; and that they may and should, freely and legitimately, enjoy their liberty and the possession of their property; nor should they be in any way enslaved; should the contrary happen, it shall be null and have no effect.”

    Note the distance from your enemy passage to “whatever may have been or may be said to the contrary”…and hardly the same tone. Popes in those days fought each other. Pope Julius II had to flee for his life from a previous Pope, Alexander VI until the latter passed away. Paul III’s sister was Alexander VI’s mistress. Your seeing their reality as though it were your time. It was a very different time.

  • The Bible has countless passages endorsing slavery and telling slaves to be loyal to their masters.

    I was expecting a decent argument against this actually using the Bible, but you danced around this and ignored the Bible entirely. A church can teach whatever it wants, but what’s in the Bible is in the Bible, and the Bible is full of endorsements for humans as property.

  • @Thom,
    Actually… not. “full”? not. “endorsements”? not. “countless”? not.

    Since when is telling slaves to be loyal to their masters an endorsement of slavery?
    That’s like saying telling folks to be responsible citizens is an endorsement of [insert your favorite government over-step, whether rendition, militarism, corruption, etc].

    But speaking of what’s (actually) in the Bible… have you read any of it? In context?

    Are you aware of the book of Philemon (of which someone wrote elsewhere:

    In the time of the Roman Empire, runaway slaves could be tracked down and returned to their masters, who then had the ‘right’ to execute them; certainly a runaway slave would have been a fugitive for the rest of his life. Paul’s letter to Philemon concerning Onesimus makes sense in that light – by returning him to Philemon, Onesimus would no longer be a hunted man, and he would be welcomed back into Philemon’s household as a brother in Christ. So far from endorsing slavery, Paul was being realistic about Roman laws and their implications.

    )?

    Are you aware of the seminal Gal 3:28:

    There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

    Are you aware that long before the enlightenment, the vast majority of anti-slavery writing (of which there was considerable) was Christian?

    Are you aware that the basis of American abolition was also Christian?

  • @Thom,
    One last thing: there is not a respectable scholar on the planet who imagines that “humans as property” fairly represents the Biblical instantiation of slavery. The difference between “indentured servitude” and “chattel” is not inconsiderable — even if both have been historically labelled “slavery”.

  • Doug

    Leviticus Chapter 25…God gives chattel slavery to the Jews in a nomadic culture…
    44 ”Slaves, male and female, you may indeed possess, provided you buy them from among the neighboring nations. 45 You may also buy them from among the aliens who reside with you and from their children who are born and reared in your land. Such slaves you may own as chattels, 
    46 and leave to your sons as their hereditary property, making them perpetual slaves. But you shall not lord it harshly over any of the Israelites, your kinsmen..”

    Slavery in primitive cultures where there are no large prisons for criminals and war captures and deep debtors…makes sense and so God gave chattel slavery for that context. Modern slavery was wrong because as in Portugal’s slave trading stations vis a vis Africa, capturing people in war in order to sell them to Portugal became the purpose of tribal wars not a result of
    just war but the purpose of unjust wars.

  • @bill bannon,
    …as long as you don’t pretend that the Biblical provision for chattel constitutes support for

    the Bible is full of endorsements for humans as property

    …and as long as you don’t pretend that chattel represents the normative form of slavery in the Bible, I’m won’t disagree.

  • No….as time went on and prisons did exist, the legitimate reason for chattel slavery diminished.
    But in ancient times without prisons the alternative was to execute every criminal and all those captured in war. Leviticus’ chattel slavery was part of a system that saved lives in that context then and there.

  • In the book of Sirac it says that if you have a slave you should treat him like a brother. The word slave came about towards the end of the Roman empire when most slaves were Slavic slaves who were servants because they were captured during war and the word slave is actually just a racial slur of Slav.

  • God did not want his chosen people to be slaves, but he did not mind if they enslaved others?

    Exodus 3:7

    “The Lord said, “I have seen my people suffer in Egypt. I have heard them cry out because of their slave drivers. I am concerned about their suffering. ”

    Exodus 6:5

    “Also, I have heard the groans of the Israelites. The Egyptians are keeping them as slaves. But I have remembered my covenant. ”

    When Moses saved the Israelites from Egypt, God set forth the rules “his” people should follow in their new settlement

    ~ God shares these laws right after God his Ten Commandments

    Exodus 21:20-21

    “If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property.”

    Beating a slave is ok, as long as they do not die, because they are your property!

    I am trying to learn about Christianity by securing the Bible in my mind as the ultimate authority of truth, but it is so hard. I am sorry, you can justify anything.

    I believe in a higher power and I know there are some good truths in the Bible, but I believe this book was compiled by men.

  • “I am trying to learn about Christianity by securing the Bible in my mind as the ultimate authority of truth, but it is so hard. ”

    Ah. Well, it is a good thing you are really trying to learn about the faith, and not just saying that as a sort of sarcastic way of dismissing a religion and a book you know almost nothing about on the basis of an isolated quotation translated into modern vernacular.

    My Douay-Rhemis Bible renders Ex. 21:20-21 much differently. The word “property” is nowhere to be found in reference to a human being. Just a few verses later, which I am sure, in your diligent study of Scripture on your journey to a greater knowledge of Christianity, you are already familiar with, Exodus 21 states:

    “[26] If any man strike the eye of his manservant or maidservant, and leave them but one eye, he shall let them go free for the eye which he put out. [27] Also if he strike out a tooth of his manservant or maidservant, he shall in like manner make them free.”

    So if they actually did beat their slaves and cause them serious injury, by the law of God, that slave would have to be set free. Clearly we are looking at a situation in which slavery is an acknowledged reality (the entire world practiced slavery), but not one in which people are treated like animals. As I said in my post, the laws of God make humane even a situation like slavery when it is unavoidable. Masters have duties to their servants no less than servants do to their masters.

    And if slaves were really considered just “property”, how do you explain Deuteronomy 23:15-16?

    “Thou shalt not deliver to his master the servant that is fled to thee. “He shall dwell with thee ill the place that shall please him, and shall rest, in one of thy cities: give him no trouble.”

    So, a slave who escapes is considered free. Finally:

    I return to the point I made in my original post. What is your criteria, your standard, for judging and condemning the Bible? Your personal preferences?

  • Yes, Elaine Krewer, I mean Dan Savage. Thanks for the catch.

  • Elaine: Worse than that, I believe that the post was for the Dan Savage video. Can’t explain dumb.

  • Andy
    God did not want his chosen people to be slaves, but he did not mind if they enslaved others?

    Exodus 3:7

    “The Lord said, “I have seen my people suffer in Egypt. I have heard them cry out because of their slave drivers. I am concerned about their suffering. ”

    Exodus 6:5

    “Also, I have heard the groans of the Israelites. The Egyptians are keeping them as slaves. But I have remembered my covenant. ”
    Only the Chosen People cried out to the true God, therefore, only the Chosen People were heard by the true God.

  • I greatly appreciate the Christian Churches and followers for their service to God, which ultimately leads to a better humanity. All of the devout Christians I know are good people and our world is better having them in our world. I believe the Bible has really good stories, parables and lessons that are valuable to everyone.

    I am sorry if my language is strong, please read this in a light a manner, even though my writing may seem heavy at times.

    I question the Authority of the Bible, especially when followers of any religion judge and condemn others through claims of Divine Authority based on “God’s” word. For example, gay marriage, slavery and women’s rights. It just bothers me when people validate their opinions from the Bible, because it is “God’s” words. Did God write the Bible? Did Jesus write any of the books?

    Some religious folks say we get our morals from the Bible and without God we would be lawless. Was it a decree by God that we should abstain from enslaving or fellow humans? Was it a decree by God, that we should give women the right to vote? I believe it was noble men that knew it was right.

    Let me ask you this…

    What if one of your friends tells you, they met God at the park. They even describe some of the miracles he performed. Also telling you all of the noble parables and lessons they have learned. They even explain some of the laws you should now follow. Some of them you agree with some of them you don’t. Well, wouldn’t it be blasphemy to go against God’s words. You may also, not really know where you will go when you die and you are scared because you do not want to go to hell.

    Would you believe them? Or would you question their sincerity and ask to see God for yourself? Then they tell you, “you just have to believe and if you don’t believe you are going against God’s will.” In the time when many of our world religions were founded the people on earth, our ancestors were struggling to provide food and shelter. These holy books comforted our ancestors and helped them make sense of their environments.

    However, what about all of the other religions that were enslaved and conquered because they did not follow the one true God. What about all of the wide array of forms Christianity that did not make the final cut, therefore they were persecuted and prevented from following their form of Christianity, like the Gnostics, Marcionites, Ebionites and many of the early sects. The Dead Sea scrolls were hidden to protect them from the deadly ‘authority’ of the ruling Christian denomination.

    You may have known your friend at the park, but do you know anyone who wrote parts of the Bible? What makes the Bible any holier than any other book? Why is it that people from India follow Hinduism and people from the Middle East follow Muhammad?

    The Bible was used on both sides of the Civil War, and that was 1830 years after Christ came to earth. With all of the different sects and denominations of Christianity it seems all facets are up for discussion. I am saying the Bible might not be the word of God, based on some of the inconsistencies that can be attributed to archaic men.

    Jesus came to fulfill the law not to abolish it. He was so enraged with the money changers, yet he did nothing about the enslavement of humanity. It is a sin to own someone else. The slaves/servants were getting paid nothing and their labor was very valuable to the master. Slavery was avoidable.

    Let’s say, God intended for us to go through slavery and suppress women’s rights.

    Are those God’s words? Or just some rulers who wanted to justify the slavery, so they could line their pockets with their handwork? What about Eve the temptress causing all other women to be subjugated to ruling men. Were these laws from men who wanted to assert control? Immediately when the Bible was formed it was the ultimate authority and any other religions were destroyed. How did our form of the Christian Bible come to be? Why did it take 300 years to get a final cut of the Bible? What was left out? What was added? Who gave those leaders Divine Authority?

    Bonchamps as you said

    Your Douay-Rhemis Bible changes property for money. I am not really sure what your Bible means by money, but I can see how property, money and capital are interchangeable.

    You said: “So, a slave who escapes is considered free. Finally: ”

    The slaves were only free if they agreed to leave. What if they had formed a family?

    Exodus 21: 4 – 6
    “If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children shall belong to her master, and only the man shall go free.”

    ” But if the servant declares, ” I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free, then his master must take him before the judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.”

    Slave goes free, but they would have to leave their family behind?

    That is nice of a master to give his slave a wife, but was it just to make more slaves? Did the slave raise his family and grow attached to it? That is cruel to offer freedom to the man only, and force him to leave his family behind.

    Or he can stay and get branded with a dehumanizing slave earring, to mark his slavery?

    How humiliating would that be to know you are someone’s property and you and your family are supposed to obey them as you would the Lord for your entire life.

    The Bible does relay an attitude to be an obedient slave,

    Ephesians 6:5
    “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.”

    I would think a righteous God would be appalled by one man being a slave to another. Especially because he is giving him the respect he would to God. Doesn’t the Bible say not to have any idols besides the one and only Lord.

    Respect your masters and fear them? Fear of what? Fear does not seem like a friendly form of slavery, but I was not there and neither were you.

    In Deuteronomy, it explains how profitable slaves were even if you were to set them free.

    Deuteronomy 15: 18

    “Do not consider it a hardship to set your servant free, because their service to you these six years has been worth twice as much as that of a hired hand. And the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do.”

    No wonder slave trading was so lucrative, not only did the slaves get nothing, but the owners were able to double their profits off of the free labor. I have great respect for the Source of our world and the universe, but I do not believe the Totality of God is in one book and especially one that displays the ruling class of men.

    It is appalling to think that babies are born sinners and they deserve to burn in hell and the only way for their salvation is to worship the Lord. Part of me thinks portions of Christianity are trading one form of slavery for another. It just bothers me when I hear Christians say, “well the Bible says this, what you are doing is wrong.” It is kinda like one of those ink blots, you see what you want to see. I could be wrong and everything in the Bible could be the word of God.

    Sorry for my rant. Maybe I am spending too much of my energy on this, but it bothers me when people pick and choose parts of the Bible. I know you can attain Godly wisdom through reading the Bible, I just question its Divine Authority.

  • wow sorry for the long post

Was Lincoln a Reluctant Abolitionist?

Tuesday, November 15, AD 2011

 

 

Lincoln was first and foremost a politician, and the sincerity of politicians is always subject to question, but it is impossible after examining his speeches and private letters not to be convinced of his deep and abiding hatred of slavery.

His attitude towards slavery was well set forth in the following letter to A.G. Hodges on April 4, 1864:

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19 Responses to Was Lincoln a Reluctant Abolitionist?

  • Lincoln, like many politicians before and after, essentially supported the resettlement of blacks to Africa, which in hindsight would have been a better course than that which followed.

    The following link offers some perspective:

    http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v13/v13n5p-4_Morgan.html

  • Abraham Lincoln displayed precious little reluctance to killing 600,000 Americans.

  • Henry Clay was in favor of it along with many others. It was a completely idiotic idea as the cost would have been astronomical, there was no suitable land available in Africa for such large scale colonization and blacks were unwilling to go. Lincoln was always in favor of colonization if it was voluntary and in the Civil War it became apparent that the idea was completely impractical.

  • “No suitable land in Africa?” It’s the world’s second largest continent. As for the “cost being astronomical,” it would have been better to pay it than to lose 600,000 lives to “free” them. Today’s racial divide is as wide as ever and the assimilation of black into a white culture has been an abysmal failure.

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  • No suitable land Joe. American freed men transplanted to Liberia died like flies, which was one of several reasons why colonization was so unpopular among blacks. From1825-1867 a grand total of 13,000 former American slaves immigrated to Liberia. The idea that this was ever going to solve the problem of slavery in this country was idiotic in the extreme. Needless to say, most slave owners were completely opposed to any government purchasing their slaves and resettling them in Africa in any case. The whole concept was nothing more than a pipe dream.

  • “Abraham Lincoln displayed precious little reluctance to killing 600,000 Americans.”

    Yes, T.Shaw, it was all Lincoln’s fault that in order to maintain the precious civil right of holding other humans in bondage, Southern states seceded, and then it was Lincoln’s fault that they started a War that they were bound to lose.

  • On January 26, 1849 black abolitionist Frederick Douglass gave voice to the general feeling among American blacks about colonization proposals:

    “In view of this proposition, we would respectfully suggest to the assembled wisdom of the nation, that it might be well to ascertain the number of free colored people who will be likely to need the assistance of government to help them out of this country to Liberia, or elsewhere, beyond the limits of these United States—since this course might save any embarrassment which would result from an appropriation more than commensurate to the numbers who might be disposed to leave this, our own country, for one we know not of. We are of the opinion that the free colored people generally mean to live in America, and not in Africa; and to appropriate a large sum for our removal, would merely be a waste of the public money. We do not mean to go to Liberia. Our minds are made up to live here if we can, or die here if we must; so every attempt to remove us will be, as it ought to be, labor lost. Here we are, and here we shall remain. While our brethren are in bondage on these shores, it is idle to think of inducing any considerable number of the free colored people to quit this for a foreign land.

    For two hundred and twenty-eight years has the colored man toiled over the soil of America, under a burning sun and a driver’s lash—plowing, planting, reaping, that white men might roll in ease, their hands unhardened by labor, and their brows unmoistened by the waters of genial toil; and now that the moral sense of mankind is beginning to revolt at this system of foul treachery and cruel wrong, and is demanding its overthrow, the mean and cowardly oppressor is meditating plans to expel the colored man entirely from the country. Shame upon the guilty wretches that dare propose, and all that countenance such a proposition. We live here—have lived here—have a right to live here, and mean to live here.”

  • I view the IHR as a suspect site. See Wiki entry on IHR or their own page “about us” where they put the word “Holocaust” in scare quotes.

  • Indeed Bob. They are a bevy of Holocaust deniers and “You know, Adolph really wasn’t that bad!” It has a colorful history:

    http://www.leonardzeskind.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=54&Itemid=27

  • I deleted your last comment Joe. This blog has zero tolerance for holocaust deniers and bashers of Jews.

  • Mr McClarey,

    You don’t have to be a holocaust denier or anti-semite to wonder about the wisdom of the Civil War and Abraham’s Lincoln’s part in it. As T. Shaw mentions above, the loss of over 600,000 American lives to have this fight, strikes me as a hard number to justify. Of course, I realize that no one knew it would take that many. But still, some of the blame surely belongs to Mr. Lincoln for those deaths.

    This is not to mention the utter havoc thrown upon the land as the war destroyed social fabric along with house and farm and town. The reintroduction of total war into civilized nations was also a grave consquence that resulted from this war.

    Would it have been so bad to see the southern states go there own way and create another version of America based on it’s own unique genius?

    The cause of this war is much deeper than most realize but the consequences are also deeper. I don’t know that that has been explored fully enough.

    Is the autonomous freedom that eventually came to slaves and likely would have come anyway within a few years due to technology, worth the cost of all the dead and wounded, the utterly destroyed social structure, the changed nature the Constitution, and the loss of the check on the central state that the individual sovereign states had been. Was it worth all that to throw the slaves off the land.

    I honestly don’t know.

  • We have fought and re-fought the merits of the Civil War on what seems like a semi-weekly basis. This post has nothing to do with the worthiness of fighting the war, but rather concentrates solely on Lincoln’s feelings with regards to slavery. Can we please return focus to that? Thank you.

  • I have no doubt that Lincoln was “personally opposed” to slavery. But he also knew that there was no Constitutional authority for the Federal government to interfere with the practice. The sad thing is, despite this knowledge, he cynically seized on emancipation as a war aim when the war was not going particularly well for the Union. Thus was an already Constitutionally suspect war to preserve the “Union” (yes, “scare” quotes, because a Union at the point of a bayonet is not much of a union) transformed into a war to free slaves, an aim which Lincoln himself knew was not constiutionally permissible.

    Thus we have the first large example in our history of Federal unconstitutional overreaching. That it occurred for an otherwise good cause should not blind us to the hazardous precedent it set.

  • Thus we have the first large example in our history of Federal unconstitutional overreaching.

    Thomas Jefferson doubled the size of the United States overnight with the Louisiana Purchase – an action of such constitutional dubiousness that Jefferson contemplated submitting a constitutional amendment before his advisers suggested that it was inconvenient as it would doom the purchase.

    Fifty years later Chief Justice Taney handed down his decision in Dred Scott v. Sanford, a decision far removed from both the constitutional text and even the context of the case that was before him – kind of like how your comment and Tim’s are not exactly germane to the topic of the original post. But we can’t have Lincoln’s name be mentioned on this blog without some carping from the usual corners, now can we?

  • I don’t doubt Lincoln’s personal convictions against slavery… he was not the only person who held these views, others like R. E. Lee also held them.

    It is just fairness to history and accuracy not to deify a man who, for whatever subjectively good reasons he may have had, ignored the Constitution when it suited him to do so.

    So, it IS germane to the topic: yes, Lincoln was an abolitionist, no he was not a reluctant one. He believed in it so much he ultimately surrended Constitutional government to the principle, and bathed the nation in blood.

  • No Tom, the ones who attempted to overthrow the constitution, in order to perpetuate slavery forever, were the secessionists, and Lincoln led the Union forces to victory to preserve the Constitution along with the Union. The ironic thing is that Lincoln was no threat to slavery where it existed in the states, so the Confederacy was created to fight against a non-existent threat to the Peculiar Institution.

  • The constitution is not what we wish it to be or imagine it to be; it is a written, clear document. Either it is followed in a particular circumstance or not.

    I can see no provision of the Constitution forbidding secession to the states. I can also find no provision authorizing the president to gather armies and invade the states militarily. Since the constitution is one of express, delegated powers with respect to the federal government, one must point to a provision of the constitution authorizing a president to invade several states, kill their citizens, blockade their ports.

    I submit you will not find such authority in an express provision of the constitution.

    On the other hand, you will equally find no provision forbidding the states from seceding. What power is not expressly ceded to the federal government is maintained by the state. There is no provision whereby the states ceded the power of withdrawing from the Union.

    These are fairly simple, unremarkable observations. We are supposed to be a government of law, not men. Lincoln upset that by ignoring the Constitution and invading the south.

    You may like that Lincoln did what he did, or believe it was required by some kind of necessity, or had good results that outweighed ignoring the constitution for a time, but it cannot be imagined that it was done consistent with the express terms of the constitution.

  • In order for a right of secession to exist Tom it would have to be expressly set forth in the Constitution. The Founding Fathers of the Confederacy clearly agreed with that contention, since they rejected, when drafting the Confederate Constitution, a right of secession to be set forth as called for by the South Carolina delegates. It is difficult to read a right of secession into the Federal Constitution when it contains the following provision:

    “Section 10
    No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation;”

    Why put such a provision into the Constitution if states could leave the Union at will? Additionally, other than the 13 colonies, all the other states, except Texas, were created by the Federal government under the Constitution. How could these creations of the Federal government have any existence apart from it? James Madison, the father of the Constitution, held that no right to secession existed. On the theoretical question of secession, I will defer to Robert E. Lee.

    “Secession is nothing but revolution. The framers of our Constitution never exhausted so much labor, wisdom, and forbearance in its formation, and surrounded it with so many guards and securities, if it was intended to be broken by every member of the Confederacy at will. It was intended for “perpetual union,” so expressed in the preamble, and for the establishment of a government, not a compact, which can only be dissolved by revolution or the consent of all the people in convention assembled. It is idle to talk of secession. Anarchy would have been established, and not a government, by Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison, and the other patriots of the Revolution. . . . Still, a Union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets, and in which strife and civil war are to take the place of brotherly love and kindness, has no charm for me. I shall mourn for my country and for the welfare and progress of mankind. If the Union is dissolved, and the government disrupted, I shall return to my native state and share the miseries of my people; and, save in defense, will draw my sword on none.”

    http://almostchosenpeople.wordpress.com/2010/03/14/lee-on-secession/

    As for rebellion, the Constitution gives the Federal government power to act under Section 8:

    “To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union,
    suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;”
    The Insurrection Act of 1807 gives the President the following power:

    “Whenever the President considers that unlawful obstructions, combinations, or assemblages, or rebellion against the authority of the United States, make it impracticable to enforce the laws of the United States in any State or Territory by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, he may call into Federal service such of the militia of any State, and use such of the armed forces, as he considers necessary to enforce those laws or to suppress the rebellion.”

    When it comes to the Civil War, I am always happy to debate these issues on behalf of Lincoln and the Union from a legal standpoint because I believe their case is strong. In a larger sense, I agree with these sentiments of another Confederate general John B. Gordon:

    “And the repeated manifestations of General Grant’s truly great qualities–his innate modesty, his freedom from every trace of vain-glory or ostentation, his magnanimity in victory, his genuine sympathy for his brave and sensitive foemen, and his inflexible resolve to protect paroled Confederates against any assault, and vindicate, at whatever cost, the sanctity of his pledge to the van-quished-will give him a place in history no less renowned and more to be envied than that secured by his triumphs as a soldier or his honors as a civilian. The Christian invocation which came from his dying lips, on Mount McGregor, summoning the spirit of peace and unity and equality for all of his countrymen, made a fitting close to the life of this illustrious American. Scarcely less prominent in American annals than the record of these two lives, should stand a catalogue of the thrilling incidents which illustrate the nobler phase of soldier life so inadequately described in these reminiscences. The unseemly things which occurred in the great conflict between the States should be forgotten, or at least forgiven, and no longer permitted to disturb complete harmony between North and South. American youth in all sections should be taught to hold in perpetual remembrance all that was great and good on both sides; to comprehend the inherited convictions for which saintly women suffered and patriotic men died; to recognize the unparalleled carnage as proof of unrivalled courage; to appreciate the singular absence of personal animosity and the frequent manifestation between those brave antagonists of a good-fellowship such as had never before been witnessed between hostile armies. It will be a glorious day for our country when all the children within its borders shall learn that the four years of fratricidal war between the North and the South was waged by neither with criminal or unworthy intent, but by both to protect what they conceived to be threatened rights and imperilled liberty; that the issues which divided the sections were born when the Republic was born, and were forever buried in an ocean of fraternal blood. We shall then see that, under God’s providence, every sheet of flame from the blazing rifles of the contending armies, every whizzing shell that tore through the forests at Shiloh and Chancellorsville, every cannon-shot that shook Chickamauga’s hills or thundered around the heights of Gettysburg, and all the blood and the tears that were shed are yet to become contributions for the upbuilding of American manhood and for the future defence of American freedom. The Christian Church received its baptism of pentecostal power as it emerged from the shadows of Calvary, and went forth to its world-wide work with greater unity and a diviner purpose. So the Republic, rising from its baptism of blood with a national life more robust, a national union more complete, and a national influence ever widening, shall go forever forward in its benign mission to humanity.”

Were the Founders Hypocrites?

Monday, November 7, AD 2011

In the 19th century it became fashionable among pro-slavery advocates to deride the idea that the Declaration of Independence’s ringing assertion that “All men are created equal” applied to blacks.

In the Dred Scott decision the majority of the Supreme Court stated that it was a simple historical fact that blacks were not included:

The general words above quoted would seem to embrace the whole human family, and if they were used in a similar instrument at this day would be so understood. But it is too clear for dispute that the enslaved African race were not intended to be included, and formed no part of the people who framed and adopted this declaration, for if the language, as understood in that day, would embrace them, the conduct of the distinguished men who framed the Declaration of Independence would have been utterly and flagrantly inconsistent with the principles they asserted, and instead of the sympathy of mankind to which they so confidently appealed, they would have deserved and received universal rebuke and reprobation.

Yet the men who framed this declaration were great men — high in literary acquirements, high in their sense of honor, and incapable of asserting principles inconsistent with those on which they were acting. They perfectly understood the meaning of the language they used, and how it would be understood by others, and they knew that it would not in any part of the civilized world be supposed to embrace the negro race, which, by common consent, had been excluded from civilized Governments and the family of nations, and doomed to slavery. They spoke and acted according to the then established doctrines and principles, and in the ordinary language of the day, and no one misunderstood them. The unhappy black race were separated from the white by indelible marks, and laws long before established, and were never thought of or spoken of except as property, and when the claims of the owner or the profit of the trader were supposed to need protection.

Interestingly enough, John C. Calhoun, statesman and chief political theorist in defense of slavery, disagreed with this line of pro-slavery argument.  While lamenting the inclusion of the “All men are created equal” phrase in the Declaration, he had no doubt that it was intended to apply to blacks:

They have been made vastly more so by the dangerous error I have attempted to expose, that all men are born free and equal, as if those high qualities belonged to man without effort to acquire them, and to all equally alike, regardless of their intellectual and moral condition. The attempt to carry into practice this, the most dangerous of all political error, and to bestow on all, without regard to their fitness either to acquire or maintain liberty, that unbounded and individual liberty supposed to belong to man in the hypothetical and misnamed state of nature, has done more to retard the cause of liberty and civilization, and is doing more at present, than all other causes combined. While it is powerful to pull down governments, it is still more powerful to prevent their construction on proper principles. It is the leading cause among those…which have been overthrown, threatening thereby the quarter of the globe most advanced in progress and civilization with hopeless anarchy, to be followed by military despotism. Nor are we exempt from its disorganizing effects. We now begin to experience the danger of admitting so great an error to have a place in the declaration of our independence. For a long time it lay dormant; but in the process of time it began to germinate, and produce its poisonous fruits. It had strong hold on the mind of Mr. Jefferson, the author of that document, which caused him to take an utterly false view of the subordinate relation of the black to the white race in the South; and to hold, in consequence, that the former, though utterly unqualified to possess liberty, were as fully entitled to both liberty and equality as the latter; and that to deprive them of it was unjust and immoral. To this error, his proposition to exclude slavery from the territory northwest of the Ohio may be traced, and to that of the ordinance of ’87, and through it the deep and dangerous agitation which now threatens to ingulf, and will certainly ingulf, if not speedily settled, our political institutions, and involve the country in countless woes.

Abraham Lincoln rose in defense of the Founders and the Declaration.  Lincoln has attained such a folksy image in American folklore that we lose sight of how incisive a mind he possessed.  It was on full display in this passage from a speech that he gave on June 26, 1857 on the Dred Scott decision:

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August 30, 1861: Fremont Orders Freeing of Slaves of Rebels in Missouri

Tuesday, August 30, AD 2011

John C. Fremont led a life of considerable achievement and seemed to many of his contemporaries a man of destiny.  However, in the Civil War his destiny  eluded him.  An engineering officer in the US Army Corps of Engineers, his personal charm led to his marriage in 1841 to Jesse Benton, a woman of considerable ambition and the daughter of the legendary Senator from Missouri, Thomas Hart Bent.  Now politically well connected, Benton achieved fame and the title The Pathfinder, by leading settlers along with scout Kit Carson over the Oregon Trail.  In the 1830’s Fremont had taken part in various topographical mapping expeditions into the West and this served him in good stead in determining the best routes for the pioneers.  His exploits were steadily followed in the eastern papers, and Fremont became a national celebrity.  During the Mexican War, Fremont played a major role in the conquest of California, although he displayed much energy but little military skill.  After the war he served as military governor for California, and, after California was admitted to the Union, Fremont served briefly as a US Senator for the state.

Although he was of Southern birth, Fremont was an ardent foe of slavery and became the first Republican candidate for President in 1856.  Obtaining a third of the vote, and 114 electoral votes, Fremont proved that the new Republican party was a serious contender in national politics.  His electoral slogan of “Free Men!  Free Soil! Fremont!”, resounded throughout the North, Fremont winning all of the Northern states except Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Indiana, demonstrating that if the North was unified, it could elect a President.  Fremont suffered in the election by false allegations that his father was a French aristocrat and that Fremont was a Catholic.  (Fremont’s father was a middle class Frenchman who fought for the Royalists in France and who immigrated to America.  Fremont was an Episcopalian.)  The Democrats also made hay of the fact that Fremont had been born out of wedlock, and that at the time they started their romance, his mother had been married to a man not his father.  Salacious political gossip is not an invention of the Twenty-First century.

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3 Responses to August 30, 1861: Fremont Orders Freeing of Slaves of Rebels in Missouri

  • “Lincoln was engaged in a delicate process of keeping the slave border states in the Union, and now Fremont, with no consultation with Washington, was doing his very best to ensure that all the slaveholders in Missouri regarded the Union forces as a deadly threat.”

    Well, he certainly succeeded in that regard. T.J. Stiles, in his book “Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War” (which I’m currently finishing up), says the implications and consequences of Fremont’s action were nothing less than “earth-shattering”:

    “Never before had a state been placed under the control of the armed forces; the idea was so new that Lincoln himself mistakenly referred to ‘military law’ instead of ‘martial law’…. For the first time in American history, military commissions began to prosecute U.S. citizens. The inaugural trial took place on September 5, when Joseph Aubuchon was found guilty of ‘having an attitude of open rebellion.'”

    According to Stiles, Lincoln didn’t completely revoke Fremont’s order. He did get Fremont to back off on the emancipation provision, and he also insisted that no civilians be executed without the White House reviewing their cases first. But the mechanisms for maintaining martial law (a network of provost marshals, spreading outward from St. Louis) remained pretty much intact.

    By the end of the war, according to Stiles, Missouri accounted for almost half (46.2 percent) of all recorded military trials of civilians nationwide, far more than in all 11 Confederate states combined. However, the people responsible for said trials were for the most part Missourians themselves, not soldiers brought from other states. That’s one reason, according to Stiles, why the war in the Show Me State took on an extremely personal, neighbor vs. neighbor aspect to an extent not often seen elsewhere. (Until Al Gore invented the internet, that is :-))

    You might want to check out this excellent blog post from the Kansas City Star on the parallels between Civil War Missouri/Kansas and modern-day conflicts like Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan:

    http://civilwar150.kansascity.com/articles/july/

  • Stiles has a point Elaine, although I think the war in Missouri would have been vicious in any case. Prior to the War Missouri pro-slavery “Border Ruffians” had done their very best to attempt to turn Kansas into a slave state. Although the slave population of Missouri was minute the pro-slavery forces in Missouri tended to go to extremes, and their sympathies were clearly with the Confederacy from the outset of the war. On the other hand, Saint Louis tended to be firmly abolitionist, especially with the influx into the city of German immigrants. Missouri during the Civil War combined elements of Massachusetts and South Carolina with predictable consequences.

  • True enough; if you read Stiles’ book more extensively he makes it clear that Fremont’s action was more like tossing gasoline on a fire that was already there, than actually starting the fire.

    For some reason, though, I can’t keep myself from laughing, at least slightly, at the notion that someone could be jailed merely for “having an attitude of open rebellion”, because that SOUNDS like something every person over the age of 2 has been guilty of at one time or another, at least in the eyes of their parents 🙂

William Tillman: Hero of the Union

Tuesday, August 2, AD 2011

One hundred and fifty years ago, while war raged on land in America, a lesser known struggle was also being waged on the high seas.  Confederate privateers were beginning  a campaign which would decimate the United States merchant fleet by the end of the Civil War.

William Tillman,  a free black, was cook and steward aboard the S. J. Waring.  Sailing out of Sandy Hook, New Jersey, the Waring was bound for Montevideo, Uruguay with a mixed cargo.  Three days out from Sandy Hook, at latitude 38 degrees, longitude 69 degrees, the Waring was captured by the rebel privateer Jeff Davis. The Captain of the Waring was taken aboard the Jeff Davis.  A prize crew was put aboard the Waring.  The Confederates advised Tillman that they were sailing the Waring to Charleston where she would be sold as a prize of war and Tillman would be sold as a slave.

Tillman continued to perform the duties of cook and steward and had the run of the ship.  Although the Confederates kept a careful guard on the Waring’s captured white crew and passengers, they paid little attention to Tillman.  That was a mistake.  Tillman decided that he would retake the ship, or die in the attempt, preferring to die rather than being sold as a slave.

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2 Responses to William Tillman: Hero of the Union

  • Thank you for the story about William Tillman. If the situation with the Waring were symbolic of, oh, any 2011 problem areas, then there must be light at the end of those current tunnels. The thought that the hand of God could be working through a William Tillman brings me hope.

  • There was one Confederate ship, the CSS Shanendoah, that actually took the fight to US whaling ships in Alaska of all place. It was also the only Confederate ship to circumnavigate the globe.

Patrick Henry, Liberty and Slavery

Thursday, April 14, AD 2011

In his day Patrick Henry was considered the finest orator in America.  Contemporary accounts often state that the cold words of the text of his speeches can give no true assessment of the impact of the words on his listeners as he spoke them.  I have always regarded his speech of March 23, 1775, prophetic in its prediction of the start of the Revolutionary War, to the Virginia Convention to be his finest, both for its fiery style, and for the timeless truths it conveys:

MR. PRESIDENT: No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do, opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely, and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfil the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offence, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the majesty of heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.

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3 Responses to Patrick Henry, Liberty and Slavery

  • Good post, Don. St. John’s, in the Church Hill neighborhood of Richmond, still functions as an Episcopal parish, and they do a wonderful reenactment every year of Henry’s “Give me Liberty or Give me Death” speech, and some of the actual debate before and after the speech. Period costumes, real actors, in the actual setting, it’s very neat to watch.

    It’s an interesting point that many southerners even among the aristocracy, such as Jefferson and later, Lee, were not morally comfortable with slavery (obviously, many had no such compunctions). But De Tocqueville observed that “race prejudice seems stronger in those states that have abolished slavery than in those where it still exists, and nowhere is it more intolerant than in those states where slavery was never known.”

    While slavery was an undeniable moral evil, the racism that undergirded it ironically (?) perdured even more strongly in the North it seems.

  • I would disagree that racism Tom was stronger in the North than in the South, although I would concede that it was virulent enough everywhere in the US, and around the globe for that matter, except, perhaps, among the most extreme abolitionist circles. ( Interesting that Frederick Douglass indicated that of the white men he had known only two treated him with indifference to his color: John Brown and Abraham Lincoln, reflecting the two conflicting wings of anti-slavery sentiment.) In regard to considering slavery an evil, I think most of the Southern Founding Fathers would have agreed with that sentiment. Lee held to that sentiment, although in that, as in most things, he was an honorable throwback to the time of the Founding Fathers and did not reflect the views of his white Southern contemporaries most of whom, at least publicly, regarded slavery as a positive good. In this, as in most things when Americans diverge from the Founding Fathers, tragedy resulted.

  • McK: “Perdured”: good word!

    Sadly, the country still suffers from the curse of slavery.

Blowing Out the Moral Lights Around Us

Saturday, February 12, AD 2011

Something for the weekend.  A tribute to our 16th President to the tune of Ashokan Farewell.  Today is the 202nd birthday of Abraham Lincoln.  As faithful readers of this blog know, I write quite a bit about him.  I do not do so only out of historical interest, but because I also believe that Lincoln, and his fight against the great moral evil of his day, slavery, is highly relevant to our own time.  Lincoln noted time and again that the pro-slavery forces, by their defense of slavery, were attacking the foundation of American liberty, the Declaration of Independence, and “blowing out the moral lights around us”.

Now, if you are opposed to slavery honestly, as much as anybody I ask you to note that fact, and the like of which is to follow, to be plastered on, layer after layer, until very soon you are prepared to deal with the negro everywhere as with the brute. If public sentiment has not been debauched already to this point, a new turn of the screw in that direction in all that is wanting; and this is constantly being done by the teachers of this insidious popular sovereignty. You need but one or two turns further until your minds, now ripening under these teachings will be ready for all these things, and you will receive and support, or submit to, the slave trade; revived with all its horrors; a slave code enforced in our territories; and a new Dred Scott decision to bring slavery upon into the very heart of the free North. This, I must say, is by carrying out those words prophetically spoken by Mr. Clay, many, many years ago. I believe more than thirty years when he told an audience that if they would repress all tendencies to liberty and ultimate emancipation, they must go back to the era of our independence and muzzle the cannon which thundered its annual joyous return on the Fourth of July; they must blow out the moral lights around us; they must penetrate the human soul and eradicate the love of liberty; but until they did these things, and others eloquently enumerated by him, they could not repress all tendencies to ultimate emancipation.

I ask attention to the fact that in a pre-eminent degree these popular sovereigns are at this work; blowing out the moral lights around us; teaching that the negro is no longer a man but a brute; that the Declaration has nothing to do with him; that he ranks with the crocodile and the reptile; that man, with body and soul, is a matter of dollars and cents.

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28 Responses to Blowing Out the Moral Lights Around Us

  • The “blowing out the moral lights” statement is one I hadn’t heard before and I agree it is very fitting to our own time.

    I have often felt that the pro-life movement is in dire need of someone who will tackle abortion in the same way Lincoln attacked slavery. If that were to happen, however, he or she would probably incur opposition from BOTH sides of the issue. Remember, abolitionists thought Lincoln was too soft on slavery, while proslavery people thought he was dangerously radical on the issue.

    Should we ever have a president who does for the unborn what Lincoln did for the slaves, I think he or she will come from a direction we may not foresee — not necessarily Republican or across-the-board conservative.

  • I believe Elaine that due to the fact that pro-lifers now control a majority of state legislatures we will see more legislation chipping away at Roe on the margins which I believe long term is an effective strategy. As the population gets increasingly pro-life as the years roll by, perhaps partially as a result of the “Roe Effect” of pro-lifers having more kids, a majority of the Supreme Court will eventually weary of their never-ending battle against pro-life legislation in order to uphold Blackmun’s Folly.

    “Should we ever have a president who does for the unborn what Lincoln did for the slaves, I think he or she will come from a direction we may not foresee — not necessarily Republican or across-the-board conservative.”

    Perhaps, although if such a politician is on the horizon, they have been almighty quiet. Today the Republican party is just as much the anti-abortion party as it was the anti-slavery party 150 years ago, and the Democrat party is just as much the pro-abort party as it was the pro-slavery party 150 years ago.

  • Honoring Lincoln should be done with caution. His supporters in the Republican Party were the political heirs of the Know-Nothings and the Republican Party was notoriously anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic. Ulysses Grant’s infamous “Jew Order” of December 1862 in Tennessee was an indicator of the North’s prejudices. Lincoln refused to pursue abolition until it was politically expedient and needed to prevent European intervention. He is part of the secular mythology of the USA, and while possessing admirable qualities that would have benefited the South had he lived, Lincoln is not someone to hold up for Catholics to admire any more than Jefferson Davis, who did have good relations with the Catholic Church and who saw, not too long after Lincoln saw it, that slavery as an institution was doomed.

  • Actually Lincoln stood up for Catholics when they were facing persecution and fought against the know-nothings. I quote from an earlier post I wrote on this subject:

    “In the 1840s America was beset by a wave of anti-Catholic riots. An especially violent one occurred in Philadelphia on May 6-8. These riots laid the seeds for a powerful anti-Catholic movement which became embodied in the years to come in the aptly named Know-Nothing movement. To many American politicians Catholic-bashing seemed the path to electoral success.

    Lincoln made clear where he stood on this issue when he organized a public meeting in Springfield, Illinois on June 12, 1844. At the meeting he proposed and had the following resolution adopted by the meeting:

    “Resolved, That the guarantee of the rights of conscience, as found in our Constitution, is most sacred and inviolable, and one that belongs no less to the Catholic, than to the Protestant; and that all attempts to abridge or interfere with these rights, either of Catholic or Protestant, directly or indirectly, have our decided disapprobation, and shall ever have our most effective opposition. Resolved, That we reprobate and condemn each and every thing in the Philadelphia riots, and the causes which led to them, from whatever quarter they may have come, which are in conflict with the principles above expressed.”

    Lincoln remained true to this belief. At the height of the political success of the Know-Nothing movement 11 years later, Mr. Lincoln in a letter to his friend Joshua Speed wrote:

    “I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we begin by declaring that “all men are created equal.” We now practically read it “all men are created equal, except negroes.” When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read “all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics.” When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty-to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy [sic].””

    In regard to Grant and his infamous Order # 11, I have written about that here:

    http://almostchosenpeople.wordpress.com/2010/11/09/general-order-number-11/

    “Ulysses S. Grant had an unerring capacity for failure whenever he stepped out of the two areas in life in which he excelled: his happy marriage and his ability to make war. On November 17, 1862 he demonstrated this ability to fail when he issued the notorious general order 11.

    “1. The Jews, as a class violating every regulation of trade established by the Treasury Department and also department orders, are hereby expelled from the Department [of the Tennessee] within twenty-four hours from the receipt of this order.

    2. Post commanders will see to it that all of this class of people be furnished passes and required to leave, and any one returning after such notification will be arrested and held in confinement until an opportunity occurs of sending them out as prisoners, unless furnished with permit from headquarters.

    3. No passes will be given these people to visit headquarters for the purpose of making personal application of trade permits.”

    Grant had been incensed for some time that traders were ignoring the regulations governing trade in a war zone. Many of these traders were Jews. It is possible that the order may have been aimed at Grant’s father Jesse, who had caused Grant considerable embarrassment by attempting to trade off of his son’s rank in order to profiteer from the war. Jesse Grant was in partnership with a Jewish merchant.
    Whatever the motivation, Grant, rightfully, was soon forced to rescind the order by Washington, and did so on January 6, 1863. The order created a furor among American Jews, and Democrats in Congress complained loudly about it. President Lincoln ordered the rescission of the order on January 3, 1863. Meeting with a delegation of Jews on January 6, Lincoln said: “to condemn a class is, to say the least, to wrong the good with the bad.” He told the delegation that he drew no distinctions between Jews and Gentiles and that he would allow no American to suffer because of his religious affiliation.”

    It should be noted that there is no evidence, other than this order, that Grant was personally anti-Semitic. He spent a fair amount of time thereafter successfully mending fences with the Jewish community after this incident. Each time he ran for President he captured a majority of the Jewish vote. In 1874 he and his entire cabinet attended the dedication of the Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, marking the first time an American president attended a synagogue service.”

    In regard to Lincoln and abolition, Lincoln made no bones about the fact that as President his primary goal was to preserve the Union. However, when the opportunity presented itself in the War he, against signifcant political opposition in the North, issued the Emancipation Proclamation, and successfully pressed Congress to pass the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery. He earned his title of The Great Emancipator.

  • Jefferson Davis never uttered a word during the War that indicated he believed slavery was doomed. He thought that education might ultimately end slavery in the very distant future, but throughout his career until the end of the War, he was an enthusiastic defender of the peculiar institution.

    In his inaugural address to the Confederate Congress on April 29, 1861, Davis explained that secession was undertaken to defend slavery:

    “The people of the Southern States, whose almost exclusive occupation was agriculture, early perceived a tendency in the Northern States to render the common government subservient to their own purposes by imposing burdens on commerce as a protection to their manufacturing and shipping interests. Long and angry controversies grew out of these attempts, often successful, to benefit one section of the country at the expense of the other. And the danger of disruption arising from this cause was enhanced by the fact that the Northern population was increasing, by immigration and other causes, in a greater ratio than the population of the South. By degrees, as the Northern States gained preponderance in the National Congress, self-interest taught their people to yield ready assent to any plausible advocacy of their right as a majority to govern the minority without control. They learned to listen with impatience to the suggestion of any constitutional impediment to the exercise of their will, and so utterly have the principles of the Constitution been corrupted in the Northern mind that, in the inaugural address delivered by President Lincoln in March last, he asserts as an axiom, which he plainly deems to be undeniable, that the theory of the Constitution requires that in all cases the majority shall govern; and in another memorable instance the same Chief Magistrate did not hestitate to liken the relations between a State and the United States to those which exist between a county and the State in which it is situated and by which it was created. This is the lamentable and fundamental error on which rests the policy that has culminated in his declaration of war against these Confederate States. In addition to the long-continued and deep-seated resentment felt by the Southern States at the persistent abuse of the powers they had delegated to the Congress, for the purpose of enriching the manufacturing and shipping classes of the North at the expense of the South, there has existed for nearly half a century another subject of discord, involving interests of such transcendent magnitude as at all times to create the apprehension in the minds of many devoted lovers of the Union that its permanence was impossible. When the several States delegated certain powers to the United States Congress, a large portion of the laboring population consisted of African slaves imported into the colonies by the mother country. In twelve out of the thirteen States negro slavery existed, and the right of property in slaves was protected by law. This property was recognized in the Constitution, and provision was made against its loss by the escape of the slave. The increase in the number of slaves by further importation from Africa was also secured by a clause forbidding Congress to prohibit the slave trade anterior to a certain date, and in no clause can there be found any delegation of power to the Congress authorizing it in any manner to legislate to the prejudice, detriment, or discouragement of the owners of that species of property, or excluding it from the protection of the Government.

    The climate and soil of the Northern States soon proved unpropitious to the continuance of slave labor, whilst the converse was the case at the South. Under the unrestricted free intercourse between the two sections, the Northern States consulted their own interests by selling their slaves to the South and prohibiting slavery within their limits. The South were willing purchasers of a property suitable to their wants, and paid the price of acquisition without harboring a suspicion that their quiet possession was to be disturbed by those who were inhibited not only by want of constitutional authority, but by good faith as vendors, from disquieting a title emanating from themselves. As soon, however, as the Northern States that prohibited African slavery within their limits had reached a number sufficient to give their representation a controlling voice in Congress, a persistent and organized system of hostile measures against the rights of the owners of slaves in the Southern States was inaugurated and gradually extended. A continuous series of measures was devised and prosecuted for the purpose of rendering insecure the tenure of property in slaves. Fanatical organizations, supplied with money by voluntary subscriptions, were assiduously engaged in exciting amongst the slaves a spirit of discontent and revolt; means were furnished for their escape from their owners, and agents secretly employed to entice them to abscond; the constitutional provisions for their rendition to their owners was first evaded, then openly denounced as a violation of conscientious obligation and religious duty; men were taught that it was a merit to elude, disobey, and violently oppose the execution of the laws enacted to secure the performance of the promise contained in the constitutional compact; owners of slaves were mobbed and even murdered in open day solely for applying to a magistrate for the arrest of a fugitive slave; the dogmas of these voluntary organizations soon obtained control of the Legislatures of many of the Northern States, and laws were passed providing for the punishment, by ruinous fines and long-continued imprisonment in jails and penitentiaries, of citizens of the Southern States who should dare to ask aid of the officers of the law for the recovery of their property. Emboldened by success, the theater of agitation and aggression against the clearly expressed constitutional rights of the Southern States was transferred to the Congress; Senators and Representatives were sent to the common councils of the nation, whose chief title to this distinction consisted in the display of a spirit of ultra fanaticism, and whose business was not “to promote the general welfare or insure domestic tranquillity,” but to awaken the bitterest hatred against the citizens of sister States by violent denunciation of their institutions; the transaction of public affairs was impeded by repeated efforts to usurp powers not delegated by the Constitution, for the purpose of impairing the security of property in slaves, and reducing those States which held slaves to a condition of inferiority. Finally a great party was organized for the purpose of obtaining the administration of the Government, with the avowed object of using its power for the total exclusion of the slave States from all participation in the benefits of the public domain acquired by all the States in common, whether by conquest or purchase; of surrounding them entirely by States in which slavery should be prohibited; of thus rendering the property in slaves so insecure as to be comparatively worthless, and thereby annihilating in effect property worth thousands of millions of dollars. This party, thus organized, succeeded in the month of November last in the election of its candidate for the Presidency of the United States.

    In the meantime, under the mild and genial climate of the Southern States and the increasing care and attention for the well-being and comfort of the laboring class, dictated alike by interest and humanity, the African slaves had augmented in number from about 600,000, at the date of the adoption of the constitutional compact, to upward of 4,000,000. In moral and social condition they had been elevated from brutal savages into docile, intelligent, and civilized agricultural laborers, and supplied not only with bodily comforts but with careful religious instruction. Under the supervision of a superior race their labor had been so directed as not only to allow a gradual and marked amelioration of their own condition, but to convert hundreds of thousands of square miles of 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 form 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. With interests of such overwhelming magnitude imperiled, the people of the Southern States were driven by the conduct of the North 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. Here it may be proper to observe that from a period as early as 1798 there had existed in all of the States of the Union a party almost uniterruptedly in the majority based upon the creed that each State was, in the last resort, the sole judge as well of its wrongs as of the mode and measure of redress. Indeed, it is obvious that under the law of nations this principle is an axiom as applied to the relations of independent sovereign States, such as those which had united themselves under the constitutional compact. The Democratic party of the United States repeated, in its successful canvass in 1856, the declaration made in numerous previous political contests, that it would “faithfully abide by and uphold the principles laid down in the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions of 1798, and in the report of Mr. Madison to the Virginia Legislature in 1799; and that it adopts those principles as constituting one of the main foundations of its political creed.” The principles thus emphatically announced embrace that to which I have already averted– the right of each State to judge of and redress the wrongs of which it complains. These principles were maintained by overwhelming majorities of the people in all the States of the Union at different elections, especially in the elections of Mr. Jefferson in 1805, Mr. Madison in 1809, and Mr. Pierce in 1852. 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.”

    http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/jdmess.html

  • I stand by my assertion that Lincoln arose from a bigoted, sectional party and inflicted total war on people who, he claimed, were his countrymen. After the war, he indicated that he would be generous, but the war was largely his doing and it was devastating to lives and property.

    The man was narrow. Look at this party’s ticket, representing Illinois and Maine in a time when sectional balance was particularly important. The other candidates made an effort to balance tickets, in the view of harmony. Douglas’ running mate was Herschel Johnson from Georgia, the Constitutional Union ticket represented Tennessee and Massachusetts, and even Breckenridge of Kentucky ran with Joseph Lane, a Virginian by birth but office-holder in Oregon. Only Lincoln-Hamlin ignored the South and the sectional discord of the day.

    For evidence on how contemporaries viewed Lincoln, note that Maryland’s Catholics supported the South.

  • Complete and total rubbish. You are long on assertion and short on evidence because you have none. Slavery was a building crisis between the North and the South since 1820. White Southerners, with very few exceptions, refused to tolerate any dissent on the slavery question. Laws were passed in the South banning abolition societies and literature. For decades, due to Southern pressure, a gag rule existed In the House of Representatives so that anti-slavery petitions could not even be presented in the House. All of the individuals you cited in this sentence: “Douglas’ running mate was Herschel Johnson from Georgia, the Constitutional Union ticket represented Tennessee and Massachusetts, and even Breckenridge of Kentucky ran with Joseph Lane, a Virginian by birth but office-holder in Oregon.”, were pro-slavery with the sole exception of Edward Everett, who was considered a moderate on the slavery question, and who went on to join the Republican party. ( Point of fact, most of the remnants of the Know-Nothing party supported the Constitutional Union ticket in the 1860 election.) Only the Republicans, to their credit, were anti-slavery, and they were made up of former Whigs and Democrats who came together to form an anti-slavery party, to confront the South that was uniformly in favor of the extension of slavery. Of course the Republican party wasn’t even allowed on the ballot in most Southern states in the election of 1860. The problem in 1860 was not Republican sectionalism, but the unwillingness of the majority of whites in the South to part with, in the ringing phrase of the Republican platform of 1856, “that relic of barbarism” slavery. Slavery was the reason why the Southern states seceded, ironically causing the Civil War that led to the end of their precious right to own other human beings as chattels. Thank God slavery was destroyed and the Union preserved.

    In regard to Maryland Catholics, actually Maryland sent far more troops to fight for the Union than the Confederacy: 60,000 to 25,000.

  • I stand by my assertion that Lincoln arose from a bigoted, sectional party and inflicted total war on people who, he claimed, were his countrymen.

    This is a rather annoying character trait of neoconfederate apologists for the south. When confronted with evidence that your assertions are demonstrably false, you completely ignore it and just re-assert what you’ve already said. Conversation with the likes of you are completely pointless.

  • Actually, I’m ashamed of myself … I too referenced Abraham Lincoln in my own Saturday post (specifically, the “House Divided” speech), but I’d completely forgotten it was his birthday.

  • Messrs. McClarey and Zummo are certainly passionate defenders of Lincoln, but Mr. Zummo is incorrect in his claim that I provided no evidence. Mr. McClarey ignores the effect that the actions of northern radical northern abolitionists had on Southern abolitionists – and there were some. These Southerners opposed to the institution were seen as abetting the violent acts of people like John Brown, financed by Boston abolitionists. Slavery had existed in the North but for reasons of climate, etc. did not become as common there and delayed manumission laws passed in places like Pennsylvania gave slaveholders time to sell their slaves to Southerners. Mr. McClarey also ignores the effect of the tariffs on the South. Tariffs were the major source of revenue for the Federal government in the antebellum years and the burden of tariffs fell disproportionately on the South, which accounted for most of the foreign trade of the antebellum US.

    I would say that the emotional and in parts, ad hominem, response of Mr. Zummo means that I struck a blow for truth.

    Deo vindice

  • I would say that the emotional and in parts, ad hominem, response of Mr. Zummo means that I struck a blow for truth.

    Nothing emotional. You just provided no evidence, re-asserted the same points over and over again, and did so again in your latest comment. You’re impervious to reason, so there’s no need to engage in anything more substantive with you.

  • I was reading the posts again and I note that Mr. McClarey provided some figures on Maryland’s combatants, but this does not respond to my statement that Maryland’s Catholics supported the Confederacy. I don’t have a breakdown by religion either, but I would point out the anti-Catholic bigotry that followed the trial of Mary Surratt. The same applied to another Catholic Confederate, Henry Wirz, who was executed for a death rate at Andersonville prison that was not significantly different from the rate at Northern prisons for Confederate POWs.

    Anti-Catholicism was rampant in the antebellum North. Contrast the reaction of the public to the presidential aspirations of two Franco-Americans. The first Republican presidential candidate, Fremont (Southerner by birth, incidentally), had to affirm that even though his father was French, he was not Catholic. This affirmation was not done for the benefit of the South because the Republicans were a sectional party at that time. Pierre G.T. Beauregard, on the other hand, was taken seriously as a possible candidate to succeed Jefferson Davis after the expiration of his constitutionally mandated single term.

    Also note that Pope Pius IX had a warm correspondence with Pres. Davis after the war. The Church knew of the ideology of the Northern Republicans.

  • from Mr.Zummo: “You just provided no evidence, re-asserted the same points over and over again, and did so again in your latest comment.”

    The tariff issue is a reassertion? Pennsylvania’s ethnic cleansing under the guise of manumission is a reassertion?

    I am the reasonable one here.

  • “Mr. McClarey ignores the effect that the actions of northern radical northern abolitionists had on Southern abolitionists – and there were some. These Southerners opposed to the institution were seen as abetting the violent acts of people like John Brown, financed by Boston abolitionists.”

    John Brown’s raid occured in December 1859. The raid was condemned by Lincoln and most anti-slavery advocates and abolitionists in the North. Laws against abolitionists in the South, making it a criminal offense to write or speak against the institution of slavery, predated his raid by decades in most Southern states. The violence was almost always a one way street in the slavery debate, with abolitionists in the South facing mob violence, not to speak of the violence done to run away slaves, and the violence routinely inflicted on many slaves as a matter of course in slavery.

    “Mr. McClarey also ignores the effect of the tariffs on the South.”

    Actually tariffs in 1860 were quite low due to the tariff act of 1857. The tariff played no part in the secession crisis of 1860-1861.

    “but I would point out the anti-Catholic bigotry that followed the trial of Mary Surratt. The same applied to another Catholic Confederate, Henry Wirz, who was executed for a death rate at Andersonville prison that was not significantly different from the rate at Northern prisons for Confederate POWs.”

    Neither Mary Surratt, nor Henry Wirz were executed because of their Catholicism. Indeed at Andersonville Father Peter Whelan became a national hero North and South for his efforts on behalf of Union prisoners.

    http://almostchosenpeople.wordpress.com/2010/01/25/priest-of-andersonville/

    Idiots who attempted to peddle the conspiracy theory that the Vatican was involved in the slaying of Lincoln were taken much less seriously than the tin foil hat brigade is today when they allege that 9-11 was an inside job, and their efforts to ignite anti-Catholicism over the death of Lincoln went no where.

    “Deo vindice”

    Oh He did, by the preservation of the Union and the destruction of slavery.

    “Anti-Catholicism was rampant in the antebellum North.”

    Actually anti-Catholicism before the War was fairly widespread wherever there were heavy Catholic immigrant populations. The Know-Nothing party was a national party, in the South as well as in the North. Most of the Catholic immigrants were in the North and far fewer in the South, so it was simply less of an issue in the South. Confederate mythology aside, the South prior to the Civil War, outside of Louisiana, was not notably more hospitable to Catholics than the North. By the mid-1850’s the Know-Nothing party had adopted a pro-slavery position, which helped kill it in the North.

    “The first Republican presidential candidate, Fremont (Southerner by birth, incidentally), had to affirm that even though his father was French, he was not Catholic.”

    Actually the main concern of the Fremont campaign was that he not be labeled as a French aristocrat. His name of course, because he was an anti-slavery Republican, was banned from the ballot in most Southern states. Rumors about his Catholicism (Fremont was an Episcopalian) were spread by the Democrats in order to cost him votes to the Know-Nothings.

    “Pierre G.T. Beauregard, on the other hand, was taken seriously as a possible candidate to succeed Jefferson Davis after the expiration of his constitutionally mandated single term.”

    In Beauregard’s always active fantasy perhaps. If the South had won its indendence I have absolutely no doubt that the second president of the Confederacy would have been Robert E. Lee. Union general Rosecrans, a Catholic convert, was offered the vice-presidency under Lincoln in 1864 but declined. The man chosen, Andrew Johnson of Tennessee, had fought throughout his career against the Know-Nothings on behalf of Catholics, and although not a Catholic, he often worshiped at Saint Patrick’s in Washington.

    “Also note that Pope Pius IX had a warm correspondence with Pres. Davis after the war. The Church knew of the ideology of the Northern Republicans.”

    The idea of Pio Nono supporting the Confederacy is a popular fable among neo-Confederates, but a fable nonetheless. Pope Pius never lifted a little finger to aid the Confederacy. He was polite to Davis and sent him a picture of himself when Davis was imprisoned after the war, but he never attempted to rally the Church behind the Confederacy:

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/08/13/jefferson-davis-and-pio-nono/

    Lincoln enlisted the aid of John Hughes, Archbishop of New York, in helping to make certain that the Church stayed neutral in the struggle

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2009/02/11/honest-abe-and-dagger-john/

  • Yes, the tariff of 1857 was low, passed during the Southern-friendly Buchanan Administration years. But it was still disproportionately paid by the South, and Southerners saw the writing on the wall as the North elected, without Southern votes, a president. They were right in suspecting only a temporary reprieve from Northern protectionism, as shown by the Northern passage of Morrill’s tariff in 1861, which led to increasingly higher tariffs so that the average tariff rate didn’t fall below 40 percent, according to Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970 (p. 888). Postbellum Northern dominance in trade culminated in the infamous Smoot-Hawley tariff. Smoot and Hawley were both Republican heirs of anti-free trade Abe.

    Southerners were so adamant about the tariff that Art. I, Sec. 8 of the Confederate Constitution specifically prohibited protectionist tariffs.

  • The Morill tariff would never have gotten out of the Senate but for the secession of the Southern states. It passed in March 31, 1861 because the states which had seceded no longer had Senators in the Senate. From the white Southern point of view of 1860, secession was a blunder of cosmic proportions, leading not only to the destruction of slavery but also higher tariffs.

  • Historian James McPherson on who paid tariffs prior to the Civil War:

    “DILORENZO IS ESSENTIALLY CORRECT that the tariff supplied ninety percent of federal revenue before the Civil War. For the thirty years from 1831 to 1860 it was eighty-four percent, but for the 1850s as a decade it was indeed ninety percent.

    But the idea that the South paid about seventy-five percent of tariff revenues is totally absurd. DiLorenzo bases this on pages 26-27 of Charles Adams, When in the Course of Human Events, but Adams comes up with these figures out of thin air, and worse, appears to be measuring the South’s share of exports, and then transposing that percentage to their share of dutiable imports. Exports, of course, are not subject to taxation and never have been, because such taxes are prohibited by Article I, Section 9 of the US Constitution — which Adams appears not to know. In any case, Adams claims that about eighty-two percent of exports from the U.S. were furnished by the South — he cites no source for this, and it is in fact wrong — the true figure was about sixty percent on the average, most of that cotton — and then by a slight of hand claims that this proves the South paid a similarly disproportionate share of tariffs. But of course the tariffs were only on imports.

    The idea that the South would pay a disproportionate share of import duties defies common sense as well as facts. The majority of imports from abroad entered ports in the Northeastern US, principally New York City. The importers paid duties at the customs houses in those cities. The free states had sixty-two percent of the US population in the 1850s and seventy-two percent of the free population. The standard of living was higher in the free states and the people of those states consumed more than their proportionate share of dutiable products, so a high proportion of tariff revenue (on both consumer and capital goods) was paid ultimately by the people of those states — a fair guess would be that the North paid about seventy percent of tariff duties. There is no way to measure this precisely, for once the duties were paid no statis tics were kept on the final destination of dutiable products. But consider a few examples. There was a tariff on sugar, which benefited only sugar planters in Louisiana, but seventy percent of the sugar was consumed in the free states. There was a tariff on hemp, which benefited only the growers in Kentucky and Missouri, but the shipbuilding industry was almost entirely in the North, so Northern users of hemp paid a disproportionate amount of that tariff. There were duties on both raw wool and finished wool cloth, which of course benefited sheep farmers who were mostly in the North and woolen textile manufacturers who were almost entirely in the North, but it was Northern consumers who ultimately paid probably eighty percent of that tariff (woolen clothes were worn more in the North than the South, for obvious rea sons). Or take the tariff on iron — it benefited mainly Northern manufacturers (though there was an iron indus try in the South as well), but sixty-five percent of the railroad mileage and seventy-five percent of the railroad rolling stock were in the North, which meant that Northern railroads (and their customers, indirectly) paid those proportions of the duties on iron for their rails, locomotives, and wheels. One can come up with many more examples. “

  • I agree that the Morrill tariff would have been blocked in the Senate without secession. That is my point.

    On the South paying tariffs, I am not familiar with Charles Adams’ work but would point out that the point at which a tax is assessed is not the same as the actual paying of the tax (tax incidence, to economists). And tariffs impose costs on consumers not just through tax incidence but also through higher prices for substitute goods.

    Free trade was as much a part of Southern antebellum ideology as protectionism was of Northern Republican ideology.

  • Actually free trade and protectionism did not break down purely along North and South lines. There were areas in the South, the Louisiana sugar planters being only one, that benefited from protective tariffs, and areas in the North, a fair amount of New England, that benefited from free trade due to their heavy reliance on imports. That is the main reason that South Carolina was unable to enlist states in the South to threaten to secede over the Tariff of Abominations in 1828. Tariffs were an irritant between North and South, but the true flashpoint that threatened the Union was always slavery.

  • The South may well have been rigth to some degree about every point of contention except slavery.

    On the question of slavery the South was completely and entirely wrong, and this was the central question of the day, thus the South, in the great defining matter made the wrong choice and forever tainted its other causes in doing so.

  • I disagree that the Cause is tainted. The South remains one of the few parts of the Western word where open disrespect for Christianity is not celebrated. To me that indicates that this culture is separate from the rest of the Union and its preservation is right.

  • “The South may well have been right to some degree about every point of contention except slavery.”

    Of course one could make a similar argument about the U.S. government today — as far as constitutional rights go, it’s right to some degree about every point of contention except abortion; and in this “great defining matter made the wrong choice, and forever tainted its other causes in doing so.”

    As for those who predict that life issues could spark another civil war, I think they are overlooking an important point. In the 19th century, travel and communications were very restricted in comparison to today. Most Northerners had no personal acquaintance with anyone who owned slaves; many probably went through their entire lives without ever meeting a slave or a slave owner. Perhaps it was easier for them to see slaveowners as an enemy worthy only of being punished or destroyed.

    Today, on the other hand, I doubt you will find too many pro-lifers who go through life NEVER knowing or meeting anyone who has had an abortion or at least contemplated doing so. (Many pro-lifers themselves fall into that category.)

    Abortion is far more pervasive throughout our country than slavery ever was. It’s not restricted only to certain states or regions. While that makes it a much greater evil, I think it also makes it harder for most ordinary people to “demonize” those who hold the pro-choice point of view. For that reason alone, I don’t think you will find too many pro-lifers rushing to take up arms in defense of the unborn, when that would mean doing so against their own families, friends and neighbors. I realize that some who fought in the Civil War did just that; however, they were a minority of those who fought and most of them came from the border slave states. If Union vs. Confederate sentiment had been just as sharply divided in New York or Massachusetts or Ohio, or in all the Northern states, as it was in Kentucky or Missouri, the outcome would probably have been much different.

  • Fascinating observations Elaine. Just a few points of my own.

    1. Most southern and northern political leaders knew members across the geographic divide fairly well, not only due to service in Washington and in the military, but because in those days before air conditioning wealthy Southerners would often vacation at Northern resorts. The Democrats and the Whigs were national parties, so Southerners and Northerners also knew each other well from these organizations. (That is how Abraham Lincoln and Alexander Stephens, future Vice-president of the Confederacy, became friends, as they were both leaders in the Whig party in their respective states.) The Civil War came not because the North and South demonized each other from lack of knowledge, but because they each clearly understood the different paths each were trodding in regard to slavery. The better the leadership understood each other, the classic example is the border states, the fiercer the fighting once it erupted tended to be.

    2. In regard to abortion, we only have it ubiquitous througout the nation now because of Roe. Without Roe, I think we would have a clear Red state Blue state break down in the legality of abortion, with Red states heavily restricting or banning it, and Blue states having little restriction. I do not expect a new Civil War to erupt, but our attitudes are clearly divided on many issues, largely along large urban areas, and everyone else lines. The vehemence with which the abortion debate has been fought between elite urban opinion, reflected strongly in academia and the entertainment industry, and everyone else, is an apt indicator of just how deep the divisions currently are.

  • Mr. McClarey, Are you surprised that among the states most opposed to abortion, you find the former Confederate States? W

  • “Mr. McClarey, Are you surprised that among the states most opposed to abortion, you find the former Confederate States? W”

    No, because opposition to abortion tends to be the norm outside of large urban areas, as demonstrated by the fact that outside of blue urban enclaves most of the country is deep red. That is certainly the case in Illinois. Most of the mega urban centers in this country tend to still be in the North and on the Pacific coast more so than in the Sorth. Where the South does have a large urban center, Atlanta for example, or Houston or Miami, those elected from the urban center tend to be just as pro-abort as their northern colleagues.

  • “No, because opposition to abortion tends to be the norm outside of large urban areas…”
    Vermont, Maine, Oregon…?

    I agree, it’s the norm in a lot of areas outside major urban centers, but plenty of exceptions exist. Face it, Mr. McLarey, the South is one of the few areas in the industrialized, Western world where respect for traditional Christian values is still the norm. Any fight to protect the South was not tainted.

    Deo vindice

  • Maine’s newly elected governor Paul Lepage is pro-life. Vermont is a small state that has been taken over by immigrants from large blue urban centers. Oregon has a highly polarized electorate with liberal California immigrants tilting the balance to the Democrats since 1988.

    There is much to admire in the South, but to say that respect for traditional Christian values is the norm there is not true in some ways. The South for example has a higher divorce rate than most of the country. Additionally, Dixie today is not the Dixie of 1860, mostly for the good, but somewhat for the bad.

Gosnell, Abortion and Reality

Saturday, January 22, AD 2011

 

“What we want, and all we want, is to have with us the men who think slavery wrong. But those who say they hate slavery, and are opposed to it, but yet act with the Democratic party — where are they? Let us apply a few tests. You say that you think slavery is wrong, but you denounce all attempts to restrain it. Is there anything else that you think wrong, that you are not willing to deal with as a wrong? Why are you so careful, so tender of this one wrong and no other?  You will not let us do a single thing as if it was wrong; there is no place where you will allow it to be even called wrong! We must not call it wrong in the Free States, because it is not there, and we must not call it wrong in the Slave States because it is there; we must not call it wrong in politics because that is bringing morality into politics, and we must not call it wrong in the pulpit because that is bringing politics into religion; we must not bring it into the Tract Society or the other societies, because those are such unsuitable places, and there is no single place, according to you, where this wrong thing can properly be called wrong!”

Abraham Lincoln, speech at New Haven Connecticut, March 6, 1860

Thirty-eight years ago today, the US Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade struck down the laws against abortion throughout the country on the grounds that they were unconstitutional.  The decision was, as Justice White noted in his dissent, a “raw exercise in judicial power”, as there was no basis at all in the Constitution to support the ruling.  Since that day approximately a million, on average, unborn children have been put to death each year, and a large and powerful faction has championed these deaths as right and proper and opposed all efforts to ban or restrict abortion.

It is fitting that as we observe this dreadful anniversary, the nation is shocked by the revelations at the murder mill run by abortionist Kermit Gosnell for over three decades.  As Paul noted in his post on Gosnell here last week the grand jury described his activities in gruesome detail and noted that he was able to do this only with the complicity of the local authorities:

We discovered that Pennsylvania’s Department of Health has deliberately chosen not to enforce laws that should afford patients at abortion clinics the same safeguards and assurances of quality health care as patients of other medical service providers. Even nail salons in Pennsylvania are monitored more closely for client safety.

The State Legislature has charged the Department of Health (DOH) with responsibility for writing and enforcing regulations to protect health and safety in abortion clinics as well as in hospitals and other health care facilities. Yet a significant difference exists between how DOH monitors abortion clinics and how it monitors facilities where other medical procedures are performed.

Indeed, the department has shown an utter disregard both for the safety of women who seek treatment at abortion clinics and for the health of fetuses after they have become viable. State health officials have also shown a disregard for the laws the department is supposed to enforce. Most appalling of all, the Department of Health’s neglect of abortion patients’ safety and of Pennsylvania laws is clearly not inadvertent: It is by design. …

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6 Responses to Gosnell, Abortion and Reality

  • Why am I not shocked?

    Those people hold the “trump card.” They totally support the “preferential option” for the poor . . . they (such as IL Sen. Obama who voted to de-criminalize this form of infanticide) get to orate at The University of Notre Dame . . .

  • Sorry, I don’t buy the line that “the nation is shocked” about this. In fact, the pro-choicers are all but defending the guy, as their comments on websites like Slate and Salon make it clear. Of course, they wish the place had been a little cleaner. But they have no problem at all with the purpose it served.

  • You are wrong Ron. Some of the pro-aborts are shocked:

    “Again, I am pro-choice but this tragedy occurred because the left violently resisted even the least regulatory oversight of even the most extreme late term abortions. The left has made abortion the highest good that trumps every other concern, and the resulting real-world policies border on the surreal.

    A school nurse cannot give a child an aspirin but any stranger can legally talk a 13 year old into an abortion at almost any term with no oversight whatsoever. The FDA paternalistically denies adults medicines and procedures that the FDA judges “unsafe” but allows children to decide about invasive medical procedures? WTF?

    All prominent Democrats claim to oppose third-term abortion except for cases that endanger the physical or psychological health of the mother. Of course, they leave out who the courts said gets to decide whether a necessary degree of physical or psychological danger existed: the woman and her doctor. So, after all the posturing, in the end the decision to kill a 8-month-and-29-day fetus rests in the same hands and has the same oversight as killing a two-week fetus.

    That’s insane.

    Hell, according to leftists, Gosnell’s only moral or technical crime was in not killing the babies inside the womb. Had he snaked a surgical instrument inside the womb and killed the viable baby there, he would be morally in the clear in the eyes of the left.

    That is insane.”

    http://chicagoboyz.net/archives/19228.html

    Additionally, the pro-aborts are not the nation. Their view of an unlimited abortion “liberty” is becoming an increasingly smaller viewpoint in this land. Gosnell and his murder mill will help make it even smaller.

  • Governor Tom Corbett is launching a probe, and what a fortuitous moment to have a newly elected pro-life governor of Pennsylvania:

    http://hotair.com/archives/2011/01/22/corbett-demands-probe-of-failure-to-regulate-abortion-clinics-in-pennsylvania/

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  • I’ve never seen those Lincoln quotations before. Excellent.

Edward Coles and Free Illinois

Thursday, August 5, AD 2010

Edward Coles, the second governor of Illinois, is largely forgotten today, which is a pity.  His actions in 1824 helped lead to Union victory in the Civil War.

Illinois came into the Union as a free state in 1818.  However, a majority of settlers in Illinois initially came from the South and some of them brought slaves, illegally, into the Sucker State.  In 1822 Edward Coles, a 36 year old native of Virginia who had settled in Illinois in 1818, was elected Governor.  Coles came from a slave-holding family, but he had long been convinced that slavery was morally wrong.  When he arrived in Illinois he freed his ten slaves and deeded to each head of a family 160 acres of land to help give them a new start in a free state.  He ran for governor because he was alarmed with the growing strength of pro-slavery forces in his new home state.  In a tight four way race he won.

As Governor, Coles fought against laws in Illinois that discriminated against blacks and against indenture laws that attempted to establish black slavery in Illinois under another name.  In 1823 pro-slavery forces had a call for a constitutional convention put on the ballot in 1824.  Had a convention been called, there is little doubt that Illinois would have been transformed into a slave state.  Working feverishly, Coles and his allies narrowly defeated the call for a constitutional convention at the ballot box in 1824 and Illinois remained a free state.  Had the Civil War begun with an Illinois that had been part of the Confederacy, or, more likely, split in two as Missouri was throughout the war between rival Union and Confederate camps, it is hard for me to see a Union victory.  Illinois contributed a quarter of a million men to the Union cause, and without those men the war in the West could never have been won.

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5 Responses to Edward Coles and Free Illinois

  • Fascinating. Thanks, Don. Never knew this even though I received my undergraduate degrees from an institution located smack dab in the middle of a county named after this remarkable gent.

  • I agree, very fascinating.

    I didn’t realize how divided Illinois was at the time.

    And an excellent analysis on Missouri. Though a “Union” state, the population was primarily a 60-40 (my guess) ‘States Right’ state.

    There were bloody reprisals all over the state and between Missouri Bushwackers, Confederate Irregulars, and ruffians of all sorts that engaged in inter-state terrorist activities (and war engagements).

  • “There were bloody reprisals all over the state”

    I suspect, though I can’t really prove it and haven’t seen this theory anywhere else, that this is the real reason Missouri came to be known as the Show Me State… because during the Civil War, your life literally depended on knowing where your neighbor’s, friends’, or family’s true loyalties really were.

    If you were loyal to the Union you couldn’t just assume your neighbor, for instance, was a Union man because if it turned out he wasn’t, he could end up killing you the next day. The fact that Union and Confederate sympathizers sometimes disguised themselves as members of the other side during guerrilla actions made things even more complicated.

  • Mike, I lived in Mattoon in Coles County for three years when I first started out as an attorney, and I am ashamed that I had no clue who Coles was at the time.

  • Didn’t know that Don. I used to drive to Mattoon for pizza (and hang with some fellas at the Sheraton (off I-57) back in the day. Even dated a Mattoon gal very briefly till she (understandably) lost interest in me.

Science and Technology in World History

Monday, July 5, AD 2010

Technological history is a unique point of view that always caught my eye.  David Deming of the American Thinker gives us a brief synopsis of his latest contribution in this genre.  Keep in mind how integral Christianity was to the recovery of Europe after the barbarian invasions and the safekeeping of knowledge by the monastic system that allowed Europe to recover and blossom into what we now call Western Civilization:

Both Greece and Rome made significant contributions to Western Civilization.  Greek knowledge was ascendant in philosophy, physics, chemistry, medicine, and mathematics for nearly two thousand years.  The Romans did not have the Greek temperament for philosophy and science, but they had a genius for law and civil administration.  The Romans were also great engineers and builders.  They invented concrete, perfected the arch, and constructed roads and bridges that remain in use today.  But neither the Greeks nor the Romans had much appreciation for technology.  As documented in my book, Science and Technology in World History, Vol. 2, the technological society that transformed the world was conceived by Europeans during the Middle Ages.

Greeks and Romans were notorious in their disdain for technology.  Aristotle noted that to be engaged in the mechanical arts was “illiberal and irksome.”  Seneca infamously characterized invention as something fit only for “the meanest slaves.”  The Roman Emperor Vespasian rejected technological innovation for fear it would lead to unemployment.

Greek and Roman economies were built on slavery.  Strabo described the slave market at Delos as capable of handling the sale of 10,000 slaves a day.  With an abundant supply of manual labor, the Romans had little incentive to develop artificial or mechanical power sources. Technical occupations such as blacksmithing came to be associated with the lower classes.

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2 Responses to Science and Technology in World History

  • The Europeans developed the stirrup which made possible heavy cavalry of armored knights. Before that cavalry rode in on the flanks of infantry and either fired arrows or threw javelins. Then retired. With the stirrup, the knight would remain on his war horse even waffter he skewered his foe.

    In my wasted youth (I was drinking more tha I was thinking) I had to take a course in European history in the Middle Ages. One of the books assigned was on technological developments in the Age. That was Spring 1970.

  • Could this be why BHO has just made ‘reaching out to the Muslim world’ foremost mission for NASA?

    That’s a great idea, they are killing us with low tech, so we should help them acquire high-tech so they can kill us better. Liberals are so smart.