Two Letters: The South and Secession
Thomas Allen and Deborah Allen
[Editor’s note: the following are two letters sent to the Durham Morning Harold in 1988 addressing attacks on the South, Southerners, and secession by Mr. Curtis Frantz.]
In his letter of March 25, 1988, Mr. Frantz is correct in that the South did provide an enormous, easily accessible market for the North. (Sounds like an imperialistic remark, doesn’t it?) That is a major reason that the North sought to subject the South even if it meant destroying the South. The North wanted a protected market and supported protective tariffs and import restrictions. The South wanted free trade. Tariffs were to raise revenue and not to limit imports. (The more effective a protective tariff is, the less revenue collected.) Lincoln ran on a protective tariff platform, which benefitted the North at the expense of the South. In effect, the industrial North wanted to enslave the agrarian South. The protective tariff versus free trade issue had more to do with the South seceding than slavery.
As for a democratic society, the majority rules. Numerical might makes right, as Mr. Frantz implies. If the United States were a democracy, the Whites, being a majority, could agree to exterminate all Blacks. Living in a democracy, Blacks, according to Mr. Frantz, could not object and secede, for the will of the people had spoken. If he were a good democrat, Mr. Frantz would abide by the will of the majority and accept the extermination as the proper, legal, and moral action to take.
As for Northern racism, Indiana prohibited blacks from entering that State. The reason that the people of Kansas Territory opposed slavery was not that they abhorred slavery per se. They opposed slavery because slavery meant bringing blacks into their territory. They did not want blacks in their territory. This attitude was typical of the Free-soilers, who were predominantly Northerners.
As for the abolitionist majority’s concern with the rights of all men, the abusive treatment that White Southerners received during Reconstruction refutes this claim. White Southern political and military leaders are the only group of people in the United States ever to be denied by constitutional amendment the right to hold public office. The only concern that the abolitionists had about the rights of men was that which contributed to their Nimrodic dream (nightmare!) of universal brotherhood with its one world government, religion, economy, language, culture, and race. The abolitionists had to destroy the South because the South was the principal bulwark to their demonic goal.
Mr. Curtis Frantz’s letter, which appears on the March 30 editorial page, needs some amplification.
Slavery could have been abolished by law. But it was not except in the sense of laws enacted to carry out the results of the war. When the Northern States abolished slavery, Northern slaveowners generally sold their slaves to Southern slaveowners instead of setting them free. Many of the Northern emancipating laws had grandfathering clauses such that if the Thirteenth Amendment had not been adopted, there could have been slaves in some Northern States into the 1870s. If the North had desired to abolish slavery, it could have followed England’s example and emancipated slaves without bloodshed. The Northern industrialists, abolitionists, and reformers, however, wanted no part of a peaceful solution. They wanted to destroy the South and her agrarian way of life. And that is what they did. Slavery was just an excuse.
As Mr. Frantz claims, the Confederacy did represent an antidemocratic movement. In a democracy the majority rules. The will of the majority is law. A democracy is a political system based on the concept that might makes right, where might is expressed in terms of numbers. Mr. Frantz implies as much when he writes that a democratic country cannot exist if any part thereof is free to withdraw. Hence, might makes right. In a democracy numerical might makes right. (If the U. S. were a true democracy, the whites, being a majority, could agree to exterminate all blacks. Living in a democracy, blacks could not object and secede, for the will of the people has spoken. If he is a good democrat, Mr. Frantz would have to abide by the will of the majority and accept the extermination as the proper, legal, and moral action to take.) Yes, the Confederacy was an antidemocratic movement. The peoples of the Southern States fought to keep the numerically superior North from oppressing them and destroying their way of life.
To the limited extent that he addresses the right of secession, Mr. Frantz shows his ignorance of the founding of the United States. The States existed before the United States. They created the United States. When ratifying the U.S. Constitution, several States, principally Virginia and New York, explicitly reserved the right to withdraw. Nearly all the leaders of any note of the United States, both North and South, until Lincoln became president acknowledged that States had the right to secede. Most of the Supreme Court rulings that addressed issues arising out of the war implied that the Southern States had the legal right to secede. The war did not prove who was legally or morally right. It did prove that might makes right, which is the lifeblood of a democracy.
As far as racism is concerned — and Blacks are as racist as Whites — the Negro has not fared any better in the North than the South. Have not nearly all race riots occurred in the North where Old Glory has always flown?
I agree with Mr. Frantz that to display and honor the Confederate flag as a symbol of racist feelings is wrong. For the most part, Northerners fighting under the Stars and Stripes had the same, if not a lower, opinion of the Black man as Southerners fighting under the Confederate flag. Therefore, racism could not have been much of an issue or cause of the war.
Being an antidemocratic person, I do believe that political and social minorities, as well as political and social majorities, should have the right to display their symbols.
Copyright © 1988 by Thomas Coley Allen.
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