Yes, The Confederacy Was About Racism. Confederate Leaders Said So.
“The Confederacy was not a racist nation,” writes Russell Lenzini.
“The so called “Civil War” was not about racism,” says the Raise the Flag Report.
“It’s been proven time and again the civil war was not about racism. Blacks in this country look for something to hate,” says the Support the Battle Flag group on Facebook, apparently believing that the best way to prove you’re not racist is to start talking about how “Blacks” are all a bunch of haters.
You’ve heard these excuses before. People claiming to simply be representing historical truth say that the Confederate States of America were misunderstood. They say that the Confederates didn’t have racist motivation in what they call “The War of Northern Aggression.” They say that the Confederacy was not about racism.
The problem with these arguments is that they are contradicted by an expert on Confederate political identity: Alexander H. Stephens, the Vice President of the Confederate States of America.
Stephens declared of the CSA, “Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It has been so even amongst us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well, that this truth was not generally admitted, even within their day. The errors of the past generation still clung to many as late as twenty years ago. Those at the North, who still cling to these errors, with a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of insanity. One of the most striking characteristics of insanity, in many instances, is forming correct conclusions from fancied or erroneous premises; so with the anti-slavery fanatics. Their conclusions are right if their premises were. They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights with the white man. If their premises were correct, their conclusions would be logical and just but their premise being wrong, their whole argument fails. I recollect once of having heard a gentleman from one of the northern States, of great power and ability, announce in the House of Representatives, with imposing effect, that we of the South would be compelled, ultimately, to yield upon this subject of slavery, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics, as it was in physics or mechanics. That the principle would ultimately prevail. That we, in maintaining slavery as it exists with us, were warring against a principle, a principle founded in nature, the principle of the equality of men. The reply I made to him was, that upon his own grounds, we should, ultimately, succeed, and that he and his associates, in this crusade against our institutions, would ultimately fail. The truth announced, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics as it was in physics and mechanics, I admitted; but told him that it was he, and those acting with him, who were warring against a principle. They were attempting to make things equal which the Creator had made unequal.”
The Confederate apologists are also contradicted by another top expert in Confederate ideology: Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederate States of America, who proclaimed in 1858 that if any civil war erupted between North and South, it would be over the South’s defense of the enslavement of “the servile race”.
Davis warned, “You too know, that among us, white men have an equality resulting from a presence of a lower caste, which cannot exist where white men fill the position here occupied by the servile race. The mechanic who comes among us, employing the less intellectual labor of the African, takes the position which only a master-workman occupies where all the mechanics are white, and therefore it is that our mechanics hold their position of absolute equality among us. I say to you here as I have said to the Democracy of New York, if it should ever come to pass that the Constitution shall be perverted to the destruction of our rights so that we shall have the mere right as a feeble minority unprotected by the barrier of the Constitution to give an ineffectual negative vote in the Halls of Congress, we shall then bear to the federal government the relation our colonial fathers did to the British crown, and if we are worthy of our lineage we will in that event redeem our rights even if it be through the process of revolution.”
As we observe Confederate Slavery Memorial Month, let’s remember that the leaders of the Confederacy themselves admitted that their cause was the preservation of a racist system of power.