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.


Facebook comments

  • Pat Hines

    The “why” of secession isn’t relevant.

    The illegal, murderous invasion of the lawfully seceded states is all that is relevant.

    Lincoln violated Article III, Section III of the US Constitution which defines making war against a state or states treason. His death sentence was carried out much too late, it should have been carried out no later than 1862.

    • Michael Ejercito

      Those seceded states fired on Fort Sumter.

      • Pat Hines

        No, that’s not what happened.

        Fort Sumter had no troops assigned to it when South Carolina seceded on 20 December, 1860. That made the fort automatically revert to South Carolina territory, a fact acknowledged by the US government when it agreed to not send troops out to it and work out any cost reimbursement for construction with the state of South Carolina.

        In the middle of the night, 26 December, 1860; troops assigned to Fort Moultrie illegally moved to Fort Sumter and occupied it. That’s an act of war.

        The second act of war occurred when the US government attempted to land an additional 300 troops on the chartered ship, “Star of the West”, which was driven off by South Carolina shore batteries.

        The third, and final, act of war by the US government was their sending 12 warships into Charleston Harbor, an illegal invasion of what had become Confederate States territory. These ships had 1400 troops on board, with their arms and ammunition, with which they were either going to invade Charleston itself, or reinforce Fort Sumter’s invaders.

        Then, and only then, Confederate shore batteries opened fire to end the occupation of its fort. No one was killed, they safely evacuated after the three and a half month occupation.

        Lincoln committed treason under Article III, Section III of the US Constitution. There’s simply no way around that fact.

      • TxChristopher

        You will never get people to listen to facts, they believe whatever they want to believe. It is far easier for them to make up their minds and take up a position based on the fantasy of their mind than to educate themselves.

    • MMikeJBenN

      So you think slavery should have been allowed to continue? That means you are scum. Read the Bible, THE ENTIRE THING, and you will see the error of your ways.

      • Pat Hines

        Your screed is meaningless, if you want to take a position, take it and provide facts. Otherwise, your statement is bunk.

        The United States invaded the lawfully seceded southern states, which in their own defense against this invasion, shoot as many US soldiers as possible. My ancestors didn’t kill enough or cause the deaths of those that would have stopped their illegal invasion.

      • Michael Ejercito

        Fort Sumter was U.S. territory; it did not automatically revert to South Carolina.

        South Carolina fired on Fort Sumter.

      • Pat Hines

        No, that’s incorrect. There were no troops stationed on Fort Sumter, it had not been completed.

        As soon as South Carolina seceded, the land on which the fort stood became South Carolina’s by law. South Carolina negotiated with the US government, which agreed to NOT send troops to the fort. South Carolina entered into negotiations to pay the US government for improvements to the land, which the US government ignored.

      • Solarflare The Magnificent

        Listen dipshit slavery was in affect in the north also, while you are reading your interpretation of the scriptures read some all inclusive early American history and learn something instead of your foolish assumptions.

      • MMikeJBenN

        That still does not make it right. What do you say to one of your kids, when chastising them, they say, “but he did it to”? You allow the rest of them to do it? Or do you tell them, “two wrongs do make a right”?

  • ClintJohnson

    Where is the condemnation of the followers of Islam selling slaves to the Northern slave ship owners in this discussion? That was the beginning of slavery in The South, yet Progressives can’t bring themselves to look at the entire history of slavery in this country; That would require Progressives to be honest – something most Progressives can not bring themselves to be.

    • MMikeJBenN

      I DO mention that Muslims and Arabs started the slave trade, as the racists always try to assert that Africans themselves started the slave trade.

      • Benjyman Pritchett

        You may want to read a book.

  • Benjyman Pritchett

    This is a poorly written and researched attempt to label republicans as racists, period. History didn’t begin in 1861 with the start of the Civil War. Slavery as a practice was dying in the south and wouldn’t have last much longer. What the author of this hit piece leaves out are the taxes, tariffs and other restrains the Federal Government was putting on the south in their lawful trade with Europe. Why, because the north was irreverent in the 1800s and Washington D.C. was their only source of power. The fights over slave states and non slave states was not truthfully over the practice of slavery but for power in the congress.

    The real ‘shame’ in this piece is the authors need to look at the 1800s through the eyes of a 21st century liberal. Times were different; that by no means defends the practice of slavery.

    I’d like to see a piece by this same author on the origin of slavery in America. The story about Africans capturing other Africans and selling them to the Dutch for the budding slave trade. Black Africans selling other black Africans.

    Rome was built by slaves. The Egyptian empire was built by slaves. America was in part built by slaves. There are no slaves in these places anymore. Maybe time would be better spent looking at places in the world that slavery still exists rather than looking to make cheap and inaccurate political points.

    • MMikeJBenN

      BUT, our constitution guarantees EVERYBODY equal protection under the law. Those other places did not have constitutions.

      • Benjyman Pritchett

        You are sort of an idiot. I’ve read some of your other comments and you seem to make short, silly statements that don’t add anything to the conversation. Do you even know when our Constitution was written? Eighty one years before the out break of the Civil War. Are you familiar with the Magna Carta?

      • MMikeJBenN

        YOU are the idiot. If you can’t understand short, brief statements, you sure as hell can’t understand long ones. The fact that our constitution was written BEFORE the Civil War just backs up what I said; “Our constitution guarantees EVERYBODY equal protection under the law”, not just White people. Read it. You will see that I am right.

  • Annie

    Too bad the Declarations of Secession couldn’t be published in the newspapers of the various confederate states so all could read the actual reasons for seceding. If they had been successful would slavery ever had ended voluntarily or would the south be a pariah in the world of nations like South Africa under apartheid. They lost the war but succeeded in demeaning the newly freed slaves with Jim Crow laws that last until the 1960s and fighting the Civil Rights Act vigorously.

    • Solarflare The Magnificent

      Guess what Annie, B lacks were treated just as bad up North as they were in the South, maybe even worse. Study some factual history you ninny.

      • MMikeJBenN

        That does not make the South right.

    • MyLovelyNose

      Slavery was the biggest part of the Southern economy. They couldn’t work the land without slaves, and the land was literally worthless as real estate (it wasn’t 2004, guys). They couldn’t borrow against land, but they could borrow against slave populations. The South was a slave-breeding economy, not an agricultural economy.

  • Wm Thomas Capps

    I notice an argument about 5% of the south owned the slaves. Well apparently the other 95% thought it was ok. That is like saying in Germany the SS was a small bunch of folks in Germany that were dealing with the Jewish question and it is not the fault of the others that stood by and did nothing.