Debunking the Conservative Lie That the Confederacy Wasn’t About Racism and Slavery

confederate-flag-southLately, whenever I find myself discussing anything pertaining to slavery, the Confederacy or the Civil War, the popular thing for many Republicans to do is claim that the Confederacy wasn’t about fighting for their desire to own other human beings as property – it was just about freedom, states’ rights, and an opposition to the overreaching federal government.

Now, for those who like to try to rewrite history in an effort to deny that their roots are tied to one of the most despicable times in our nation’s history, I guess it makes sense to lie to yourself in such a way. As they say, denial is a powerful thing.

While there might have been other smaller issues driving the establishment of the Confederacy, the overwhelming factor was the movement in this nation to put an end to slavery while the slave-owning states wanted to expand it.

Recently I wrote an article where I declared that supporting the Confederacy, as many in the South still do, is tantamount to honoring Nazi Germany or any other hate group. Naturally, the Republican deniers came out in full force, declaring that I was an idiot and the Civil War wasn’t about slavery – just states’ rights.

Apparently the Emancipation Proclamation was all just some big liberal illusion.

That being said, I happened to run across the Texas Ordinance of Secession from February 2, 1861. This was the document that officially separated Texas from the United States.

Here are a few excerpts from this document, which I’m sure you can tell is absolutely in no way racist or promoting slavery as a way of life… right?:

She was received into the confederacy with her own constitution under the guarantee of the federal constitution and the compact of annexation, that she should enjoy these blessings. She was received as a commonwealth holding, maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery–the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits–a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time. Her institutions and geographical position established the strongest ties between her and other slave-holding States of the confederacy. Those ties have been strengthened by association.

In all the non-slave-holding States, in violation of that good faith and comity which should exist between entirely distinct nations, the people have formed themselves into a great sectional party, now strong enough in numbers to control the affairs of each of those States, based upon the unnatural feeling of hostility to these Southern States and their beneficent and patriarchal system of African slavery, proclaiming the debasing doctrine of the equality of all men, irrespective of race or color–a doctrine at war with nature, in opposition to the experience of mankind, and in violation of the plainest revelations of the Divine Law. They demand the abolition of negro slavery throughout the confederacy, the recognition of political equality between the white and the negro races, and avow their determination to press on their crusade against us, so long as a negro slave remains in these States.

By consolidating their strength, they hare placed the slave-holding States in a hopeless minority in the federal congress, and rendered representation of no avail in protecting Southern rights against their exactions and encroachments.

They have proclaimed, and at the ballot box sustained, the revolutionary doctrine that there is a “higher law” than the constitution and laws of our Federal Union, and virtually that they will disregard their oaths and trample upon our rights.

They have for years past encouraged and sustained lawless organizations to steal our slaves and prevent their recapture, and have repeatedly murdered Southern citizens while lawfully seeking their rendition.

We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.

That in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding States.

The full document in its entirety can be found here, but I think I’ve made my point with that excerpt from it.

That document literally says that this nation was created by white people, for white people and the only way African-Americans could be tolerated in this country is by being an inferior and dependent race.

But according to many Republicans, the Confederacy and the Civil War were really just about “states’ rights” and “freedom,” right?

So, the next time some asinine Republican tries to claim that honoring the Confederacy isn’t racist or bigoted, or that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery, be sure to show them this article – then ask them to defend what the Confederacy represents based upon the documented reasons why Texas decided to become a part of it.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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