New Texas History Books are Going to Whitewash the Truth About the Civil War and the Confederacy

greg-abbott-texas-1I’ve often accused the Republican party (and conservatives in general) of behaving more like a cult than a grouping of millions of people who thrive on facts or reality. In my opinion, they seem to care more about what they want to be real as opposed to actual reality. I’m fine with having a difference of opinions, just as long as both opinions are based on actual facts – not delusions or propaganda.

Well, as most people reading this probably know, there’s been a heated debate recently concerning the Confederate flag, the Civil War and how both are tied into racism and slavery – not to mention treason. I won’t lie, even as a Texan, I’ve been caught off guard by just how many people seem to believe that slavery really wasn’t that big of an issue as it pertains to the Civil War.

Of course, that belief is completely asinine.

Well, get ready for more because new Texas history books are literally going to whitewash the Civil War, the Confederacy, slavery, segregation, Jim Crow laws and racism altogether.

According to the Washington Post

Five million public school students in Texas will begin using new social studies textbooks this fall based on state academic standards that barely address racial segregation. The state’s guidelines for teaching American history also do not mention the Ku Klux Klan or Jim Crow laws.

And when it comes to the Civil War, children are supposed to learn that the conflict was caused by “sectionalism, states’ rights and slavery” — written deliberately in that order to telegraph slavery’s secondary role in driving the conflict, according to some members of the state board of education.

Slavery was a “side issue to the Civil War,” said Pat Hardy, a Republican board member, when the board adopted the standards in 2010. “There would be those who would say the reason for the Civil War was over slavery. No. It was over states’ rights.”

I’m guessing these text books won’t include these parts from the Texas Ordinance of Secession declaring their reasoning for joining the Confederacy:

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.

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.

You know what’s really interesting about those passages, during one of the many debates I’ve had over the last several weeks concerning the Civil War, I presented them to a conservative who found them so outrageous that he accused them of being fake.

But let’s go ahead and address this idiotic “states’ rights” argument.

If this was about states’ rights, as many of these conservatives claim, exactly what “right” were they claiming was being violated by the federal government? Here, let me phrase it in the form of a multiple choice question: The states that formed the Confederacy were arguing that the federal government was trampling on their rights to do which of the following:

  • A) Manufacture alcohol
  • B) Grow Corn
  • C) Continue to own African-Americans as property, while pushing to expand slavery into the Western Territories
  • D) Own guns

So, which “right” was it that the North was trying to strip the South of being able to have? I’ll give everyone a hint: It’s not A, B or D.

That’s what’s so completely ridiculous about the “states’ rights” argument. Using that to try to twist around what the Civil War was about is like someone saying Nazi Germany was really just about German pride.

Though there’s another question I’d like answered: If the Civil War wasn’t about slavery, then what the hell was the Emancipation Proclamation about? Why, at that moment, weren’t all the slaves in the South freed?

Oh – I know why! Because the Civil War was started by the Confederacy in an effort to keep slavery legal and expand it to new territories in the West. 

Then there’s this, also reported by the Washington Post: 

Students in Texas are required to read the speech Jefferson Davis gave when he was inaugurated president of the Confederate States of America, an address that does not mention slavery. But students are not required to read a famous speech by Alexander Stephens, Davis’s vice president, in which he explained that the South’s desire to preserve slavery was the cornerstone of its new government and “the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution.”

So, let me summarize this:

  • Slavery’s role in the Civil War is going to be de-emphasized.
  • The state guidelines for teaching history do not include Jim Crow laws or the KKK.
  • Students will be required to read Jefferson Davis’s speech – but not required to read Alexander Stephens’s where he called slavery the cornerstone of the Confederacy.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you literally whitewash United States history.

For those of you saying, “Oh, who cares, it’s just Texas” – not quite. Being that Texas is so large, often the books they approve are the ones used in several other states as well.

So, when people like myself say to liberals that they really need to start caring more about voting in elections other than the ones that roll around every four years when we elect a president – we’re not joking. It’s all well and good to elect the president we all want, but a lot of the damage to our nation is being done at the state level… and that’s where Democrats are getting their butts kicked far too often because too many liberals skip those elections.

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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