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Two special sub-sections are included within the main body of this page for the years:
2017 and 2020.
They appear about 1/2 way down the page.
 Much information for the 2020 subsection comes from overseas media & correspondents. 

Internet Google, Facebook, Twitter, and U.S. 'mainstream media' are being censored for what you can see and search for.
They are deliberately engaging in propaganda to control the way you think.

Youtube which is owned by Google is currently taking down off their internet search engine any video which deals with our 2020 Election.
CENSORSHIP HAS ARRIVED IN THE UNITED STATES
Here are examples of what is being censored by Google and 'mainstream media':
2021 Update:
U.S. MEDIA IS DELIBERATELY ENGAGING IN PROPAGANDA:
CNN IS EXPOSED FOR CREATING FALSE NEWS:
Journalists who broke Hunter Biden laptop story, reported on this webpage, are vindicated:
"The Old South"
in the days of the
Read and Wauchope
families

Geographically, "The Old South" is a sub-region of the American South, differentiated from the Deep South by being limited to those Southern states represented among the original thirteen British colonies, which became the first thirteen U.S. states.

 

Culturally, "The Old South" is used to describe the rural, agriculturally-based, pre-Civil War or antebellum economy and society in the Southern United States.

Henry Grady
was the Editor of the Atlanta Constitution and coined the phrase "The New South."

He presented an important speech at the close of the War Between the States, which is presented below, with questions to think about, based on his remarks.

Also included below, is a short film about his life.
Dr. Brion McClanahan
presents the lecture
"The Old South and the New South"
Recent and Recommended for further reading and research on "The Old South"









"Social Life in Old Virginia" is now in public domain, and can be viewed in the pdf document below:

A Special Note For those friends of, or are members of the Hughes, Read, and Wauchope families, who are looking at this webpage, I cannot apologize for the truth of what is found here, especially in the Special 2017 and 2020 subsections, with which you may disagree. 

 

I was taught to tell the truth and we will continue to do that on this page.  All aspects of the 2020 Election were examined in detail. 

 

The preponderance of evidence discovered, including how Joe Biden has lied to the American public (exposed again, as late as December 29, 2020, when the Ukraine government revealed new tape recordings of Joe Biden's dealings with their officials and the subsequent graft and corruption, and not just with his son Hunter) led to conclusions you may disagree with, but they are the truth, nevertheless.


Let me provide you a recent example of what I'm talking about.  In the first week of February, I had a phone conversation with someone who attends my church.  It came out during the conversation that they had no idea that the Black Lives Matter organization had been founded by 3 Marxists (read: Communists).  This individual was astonished.  Yet, that is the trend among those who are wed to what they have been 'spoon fed' by the 'main stream media' for over the last year of 2020.

 

Careful historical research led me past the veneer of 'main stream media' which I avoid like the plague, to the truthfulness of original documents and other source material.


And finally, you will see the latest inside information, as of February 2021, on how the 2020 Election was rigged.

A Narrative Introduction
to this web page...........
As Professor William Marvel has stated, the accepted role of the historian is to explain what happened, rather than to guess what might have been. The most intensely objective historical studies sometimes adopt an unintentionally narrow perspective through a reluctance to address alternatives available to the participants. 

Historians unwilling to consider the conditional past tend to present historical developments as the only possible results of immutable chains of events. 

In professional circles the examination of alternatives is associated with futile, lowbrow speculation, and indeed the genre of "counter-factual" history often descends to ludicrous levels of political science fiction.  Nonetheless, the refusal to weigh actions and events against some measure other than what they actually wrought leaves the historian functioning too much like an annalist and too little like an analyst.

It is my hope to present on this page a balanced viewpoint of the Old South in those days gone by, when John Read, who having fought in the War of 1812, lived out his years in Mississippi on a cotton farm.  He and his family are discussed in more detail on "The Read Family Story" webpage. 

This page has been expanded to present the truth concerning "the fury over the monuments," as Dr. Robertson called it, with a view that we hope, will educate and inform.  Several of his lectures are presented toward the end of the special sub-section(s) that deal with the monument problems of 2017 and 2020.  I sincerely hope that you, the reader, will take time to examine all the facts and data that are presented here.  You may be uncomfortable with several viewpoints which are examined in detail, but it is hoped you will come to an informed conclusion.  It is important to you, as it was to the Read and Wauchope families, that each part of the data is examined carefully and in detail.  It is a matter of record, that John Read was one of the few heads of households that was reimbursed by the Federal Government after the war was over, for the destruction of his cotton farm.  He had remained loyal to the Union and his house located near the Vicksburg campaign, was spared from destruction.

And after the war ended, none of those in the Read, Wauchope, or Hughes families, who served in the Confederacy, ever joined the KKK.  They supported our American heritage of freedom, not the Marxism and anarchy which is being espoused by many uneducated individuals in the year 2020; movements they have not researched and fully understood.  The special sub-sections on this webpage 2017 and 2020, will explore that further. 

You will also be introduced to the false revisionist history of the "1619 Project" which is pure nonsense.  It is an attempt to take rewritten history and insert it into our Junior and Senior High Schools.  Indeed, some schools in our country have started using these materials without any critical examination of them.  As a former high school history teacher, I firmly stand against this ideology based on one woman's interpretation of history, which many subject-matter historians in this country have roundly dismissed as fake.

One other Marxist-laden history of our country, which has been around for some time supported by Howard Zinn, a member of the Communist Party, will be examined in depth.  I also do not recommend his books.

I attended schools with teachers who emphasized our American Christian values and the freedom we enjoy in our country.  Kids today, unfortunately, are not being taught the founding principles of our nation.  Some of our schools are now teaching the rubbish like the "1619 Project" which perpetuates lies about how and why our nation was founded.

I grew up in a Christian home. We prayed and read the Bible together as a family.  My father and mother came from not well-off circumstances.  My father lived on a farm and had to rise early to milk the cow and then after the chores were over, walk some distance to school.  My mother grew up during the depression of the 1930s.  Her own mother had to pawn her wedding ring to get money to get the children's teeth fixed at the dentist office.  Money was extremely tight.  Both her grandparents had worked as Missionaries in Indian Territory before Oklahoma was a state (the details of which can be found on "The Read Family Story" webpage). 

This family heritage carried over to my brother and I, growing up in a small town.  I can remember people who had even less than we, would sometimes come to the back door of our house in South Norfolk, and mother would invite them in to supper with us.  That was just who she was; and the color of one's skin meant no difference.  Our family always treated everyone with dignity and respect.  In my early college years during the turbulent 1960s, I did volunteer work with other students in the inner city area of Berkley, Norfolk, which was a very poor section of the city at that time.

During one Christmas Eve, my brother invited a graduate student from the college we were attending, home for dinner.  He was from India and was studying engineering.  My mother gave him a Bible; the first time he had ever seen one during the years he had been in our country.  So I hope you understand that from my own background, I have a hard time understanding why folks in our country are not trying to have a rational conversation about the circumstances surrounding the 2017 and 2020 events that are detailed further down on this page.

Also, please keep in mind, that as you read this page, you will be presented with opposing views from 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st Century sources.  They do not, repeat, do not necessarily represent my personal viewpoint.  However, keep in mind that no one in my immediate family would ever support a "Democratic Socialist" or Socialist or Communist backed organization.  Nor would anyone in our immediate family support or vote for any politician who supports that. 

Yet, people can be gullible to any passing political philosophical persuasion, when they do not investigate the background of a situation thoroughly; when they 'take as gospel' everything said in a high school or college classroom, as did a great grandchild of one of my deceased Aunts, who is ignorant of American history; who has associated with other like-minded individuals, in joining a radical online movement founded by Marxists, and which, his mother has unfortunately praised on her Facebook, showing her own ignorance. 

When I taught History in public and private schools some years ago, I did not teach that subject from a personally slanted modern day political viewpoint.  The students on some occasions would state that, by my teaching any period of history as historical fact, from the primary source materials and documents, they could not figure out which political party I espoused.  That is the intent here.  I will not tell the reader of this page which party ideology I espouse, except as pertaining to the current 2020 election.  I will simply present the facts of the Antebellum period and the Civil War and the accompanying 2017/2020 special sections as they are.

You will find good information on this page from unbiased news sources in England and Australia.  Much of what we now call the 'mainstream media' have censored what a viewer on TV may see.  Late in the 2020 election, it has been accurately revealed that the 'tech giants' have censored news on Google, Twitter, and Facebook.  You will find that I have had to come to the conclusion, during this 2020 election year, that only one candidate truly supports the Christian values our family cherished.  We live in unusual times, but we must remain true to what the Bible teaches as truth.
 
(See Dr. Gary Gallagher, Professor of History Emeritus, UVA, short video below, in which he answers the question concerning how he teaches History).

Did the Read, Wauchope, and Porter families know what was going on, in the run-up to the Secession Crisis?  Yes they did.  Their letters and documents attest to that.  They certainly had newspapers (2 in the Vicksburg/Edwards Depot, MS area, and 2 in the Jackson, MS area) for them to draw upon, as well as friends and relatives who were in and out of the area prior to the Fort Sumpter event. 
These diverse newspapers (which are detailed on this page) presented the political news of the day from which to make informed decisions. 

You will find that he and his eldest son Jesse remained loyal to the Union in the antebellum years, as well as during the Civil War.  It is important for any reader to not be "wed" to any one news source, but read through a wide range of papers and TV sources to enable one to come to a fair and accurate conclusion.

There was also a railroad depot at the town of Edwards, with documentation which shows Read family members arriving by train, to visit John Read's plantation.  Charles "Savez" Read even visited his grandfather in the early years of the War Between the States.  They didn't have radio and television.  They didn't watch the 24 hour news cycle on one of the stations currently broadcasting opposing views.  They remind me of a professor I had who didn't have a television in his home, and received all his news either by radio or by reading the newspaper.  Today, you cannot be "wed" to one network or another; but separate the proverbial "wheat from the chaff" when dissecting truth from fiction, and fake news from real news.
-J. Hughes
Dr. Gary Gallagher answers a question after a lecture at UCLA about teaching history as history:
The importance of Newspapers to the Read family, 1800-1860

3 Films explain their importance:

1.  The American Newspaper: Introduction

2. The City Newspaper

3.  The Country Newspaper

Newspapers John Read "read"

 

By following from the early 1830s thru 1860 and beyond, you get a sense of what the people of Vicksburg, and Hinds and Yazoo Counties Mississippi thought about. These papers gave detailed information about Cotton and Sugar prices, which directly affected John Read's plantation.  One paper had an article about "King Cotton" which is discussed further down on this page.

Mississippi Antebellum Politics

POLITICS IN THE VICINITY OF EDWARDS DEPOT, MS

Home of John Read
The Antebellum Congressional Elections

 

 

1846 ELECTION:  Won by Patrick W Tompkins (Whig) with 52.1% of the vote.

 

1848 ELECTION:  Won by William Mcwillie (Democrat) with 52% of the vote.

 

1850 ELECTION:  Won by John D Freeman (Union) with 51.8% of the vote.

 

1852 ELECTION:  Won by Otho R Singleton (Democrat) with 55.6% of the vote.

 

1854 ELECTION:  Won by William A Lake (Opposition) with 52% of the vote.

 

1856 ELECTION:  Won by Otho R Singleton (Democrat) with 54.3% of the vote.

"Who were the Southern Whigs?" by Charles Grier Sellers, Jr.
adds much to our understanding of the politics in the area where John Read's family lived:
"The Whig Party and it's Presidents" is an article that throws light on the history of the party:
The politics of the John Read family
John Read originally born in Halifax, NC, migrated to Tennessee, where he married Dicey Duke.  He eventually moved to Alabama, then to Mississippi and established a plantation there.  He and his eldest son, Jesse, born in Alabama, were, in my opinion, not Whigs, but Jacksonian Democrats.  They both participated in two wars (Indian and War of 1812) prior to the Civil War.  Their objection to participation in the Confederate cause is a typical Jacksonian response.  Jesse in particular, refused to put on a Confederate uniform and was conscripted into that army, although was later released after his disability due to involvement to the earlier conflict, which now caused his discharge.  This information may be found on the "Read Family Story" web page.

Of course, not all John Read's grandchildren followed suit, as the Read story will explain; with many entering Confederate Army and Naval service.
Unfortunately, there is much fallacious reasoning that goes on, and the attempt to think 'inside the box' and miss the true story of what happened during the War Between the States.  With so many turbulent political factions in operation today, we tend to look at our turbulent past as if they had only two sides, and we tend to give the greater interpretive deference to whichever side came out on top.


We tend to learn our history of the past as if everything worked out for the best; that there were no other real alternatives available to the participants.  At every historical juncture, there are alternative courses of action available.  It's almost impossible to argue that things work out for the best.


Defense of their homeland was the real incentive for a Southerner to volunteer, not slavery.  This is evident from reading the original source materials. 


At the beginning of the war, in the North, it was not patriotism and selfless devotion that was the real motivation for enlistment.  It was money...mercenary motivation.  Then as now, many enlistments were found, especially in the first call to the colors, in the poorer sections of the North.  There was little sympathy for Abolition; there was a hostility against it. 


Most of the Northern population were racist, even as Lincoln was. (Lincoln was an early member of an organization {documentation provided on this page} that wanted to deport black slaves out of the United States; create colonies for them in other countries).  This becomes apparent by reading the original documents forward, not reading backward in the sources.  Contemporary sources show the real story.  Many Northern soldiers' re-enlistments were also for the money.  (Professor Bill Marvel has done extensive research/statistical studies on this).


Some who read what is presented here may say this is "revisionist" history.  When someone, and especially a historian, casts around the word "revisionist" or "speculation" as epithets, they are demonstrating their hostility to innovative thought, and their ignorance of the very field they have chosen to pursue.  The reason we follow history is to see what is new in it.  And if there be no revisionism or nothing new in it, then there is no reason to pursue it.


Another newly added section on this web page will deal with the Read and Wauchope families, many of whom were members of the Presbyterian Church, and the split that occurred in that church.  We know that John and Dicey Read were members of the Methodist Church in the Edwards Depot, Mississippi area.  Charles "Savez" Read was a member of the First Baptist Church, Meridian, Mississippi prior to his death.  But John Jeremiah Read, and many of his descendants, were members of the Presbyterian Church.  It is the antebellum Presbyterian Church on this page we will examine, concerning how they perceived the coming Civil War.



What you will find on this web page represents original documentation, much of it never discussed in current 'popular' history books or in the classroom.  Too many books about the War Between the States deal with all the battles, strategy, politics, and generalship.  You can read about R.E. Lee, Grant, Sherman, Davis, and Lincoln.  But not much is available which focuses on the common soldier or the civilians.  Some books written in the late 1800s were "war stories" invented out of "whole cloth" and totally fiction.  An example of that is given further down on this page.


We will examine 6 examples of how the general reading public has been misled by individuals, either by design, or by ineptness.


First, we consider General John Bell Hood's report of his army's retreat after being defeated at the battle of Nashville in December of 1864:

"From Pulaski I moved by the most direct road to Bainbridge crossing on the Tennessee River, which was reached on the 25th, where the army crossed without interruption, completing the crossing on the 27th, including our rear guard...After crossing the river the army moved by easy marches to Tupelo, Miss."


In 1880, Hood wrote his post-war memoirs, "Advance and Retreat."  He devotes two paragraphs to describing the retreat from Nashville to Tupelo.  He DOES NOT mention the cold weather, the rain, the sleet, the lack of rations, or his barefooted and starving troops.  He does note that his retreating army "therefore continued...to march leisurely, and arrived at Bainbridge, on the 25th of December."  In the next paragraph, he launches into a multi-page explanation of his strategy and defends his handing of the Army of Tennessee during the Atlanta and Franklin-Nashville campaigns.


Perhaps General Hood was on a different retreat than that of his soldiers.  Here is how 2 Lt. Samuel Robinson of the 63rd Virginia Infantry saw it:

"we have retreated some 200 miles through the wet and cold mud half leg deep and a great many men was entirey barfooted and almost naked.  The men marched over frozen ground till their feet was worn out till they could be tracked by the blood and some of them there feet was frosted and swolen till they bursted till they could not stand on there feet."


Yes, many letters have spelling errors and problems with grammar; but as with 2Lt. Robinson, there is absolutely no problem feeling "feet (that) was fropsted and swolen till they bursted till they could not stand...?" You DON'T get the same feeling from General Hood's "easy marches to Tupelo."


(My thanks to Jeff Toalson who has done a superb job of editing many diaries and letters of Confederate soldiers, from which comes the above example).


(For a look at major re-writing of military history done by General Grant in his "Memoirs," see the "Read Family Story" web page for two articles, documentation, and video lectures).

Second, we consider a brief synopsis of General Grant's
re-write of military history found in his "Memoirs" which were used by many historians in writing various battle histories.


Was Ulysses S. Grant a brilliant and unparalleled general who won the American Civil War, a magnanimous and incorruptible man, and an honest and accurate chronicler of history? Or was he remarkably untruthful, careless, persistent, indolent, aggressive, unjust, biased, impetuous, and lucky?


A stringent and detailed examination of Grant’s generalship and character in the war has long been necessary. Standard histories and biographies, founded on a lengthy succession of biased and erroneous writings, have much of it wrong.


Many of these inaccuracies originated with the General himself, in his official reports, in his Personal Memoirs, and in his other writings. While Grant possessed many positive attributes and achieved valuable objectives, his reputation as a military mastermind with a virtuous character is hopelessly exaggerated. Grant Under Fire: An Exposé of Generalship & Character in the American Civil War, thoroughly establishes this.


Below are corrections to just a few of the commonly accepted narratives:

  • Contrary to his later assertion in his Personal Memoirs, Grant did receive John Frémont’s orders to occupy Paducah (if possible), before he departed Cairo.
  • In a report revised years after the battle of Belmont—but falsified to look as if written just ten days later—Grant fabricated communications to cover up his insubordination in attacking. And he scapegoated Colonel Napoleon Buford, who had avoided the ensuing rout of the federal expedition by taking a separate route to the riverbank. Yet, Grant had written a day after the battle that, “I can say with gratification that every Colonel without a single exception, set an example to their commands that inspired a confidence that will always insure victory when there is the slightest possibility of gaining one.”
  • Grant drank—and got drunk—with the enemy on flag-of-truce boats after the battle.
  • Despite commendations for honesty, Grant engaged in corrupt practices for the benefit of friends and family, which at least indirectly helped himself. Of some fraudulent practices at Cairo, an Assistant Secretary of War wrote about Grant and his quartermaster, “It appears strange that officers, having an eye to the interests of the Government, could in such a manner countenance, much less certify to, such injustice.”
  • On February 15th, when Grant finally arrived on the battlefield at Fort Donelson after being absent all morning, he initially wanted to pull the troops back, according to Lew Wallace. This would have facilitated the enemy’s escape. John McClernand apparently advised a counterattack which Grant denied hearing. Both subordinates remarked how Grant wanted to withdraw from the positions gained in the subsequent counter-offensive. On the other flank, General Charles Smith waited for Grant to give direct orders before doing anything significant, yet Grant awarded him the honors over Wallace who insubordinately saved the day for the Union.
  • When the Confederates surprised his almost completely unprepared army at Shiloh—which he denied to the end of his life—Grant did nothing to facilitate reinforcement by Don Carlos Buell’s force (pointing “Bull” Nelson’s division into the swamps without a guide doesn’t count) and he dispatched Lew Wallace to Sherman’s right (but had to backtrack as the lines had fallen back), but refused to admit it. Evidently, his only orders at the brigade or division level during the first day’s fight led to Benjamin Prentiss’ surrender. When he repeated his instructions for that officer to hold on, the enemy was outflanking the Hornets’ Nest position left and right. His Memoirs, instead, blamed Prentiss for being captured, while he kept changing his accusations in the scapegoating of Lew Wallace.
  • Grant was often inebriated, although it is impossible to establish the extent to which his being so affected the war effort. While Grant was on a binge up the Yazoo River, however, several regiments of raw Black soldiers at Milliken’s Bend were fighting for their lives with their backs to the Mississippi, without artillery, and with only serendipitous reinforcement. Henry Halleck related how the General’s riding accident outside of New Orleans—where observers witnessed Grant’s intoxication—delayed his assumption of a larger command at a crucial time in the West. The General’s defenders often transform these accounts into mere “rumors.”
  • Interspersed with periods of activity, Grant displayed a physical and mental laziness and confessed to a lifelong habit of indolence. He showed little interest in map making, signals, engineering, and other facets of generalship. Many of the staff chosen by Grant early in the war were not only idlers, but were hard drinkers, as well.
  • Extreme partiality may have been Ulysses’ greatest character defect. His choice of officers and even the conduct of operations frequently hinged on personal feelings, as opposed to pertinent military factors. Favorites, such as William T. Sherman and Philip Sheridan, could do no wrong, as Grant raised them up to higher commands. Likewise, he held grudges against fellow officers for little or no good reason, refusing them opportunity, promotion, and justice (either in army courts of inquiry or in the courts of history). Grant’s defenders almost invariably blame everyone else and make him the victim.
  • His cotton-speculating father, Jesse, is regularly accused of provoking Grant’s General Orders No. 11, which banished all Jews, as a class, from his military department. But Ulysses’ intention to discriminate against members of that religion had been repeatedly expressed. And he permitted his cotton-speculating friend and financial adviser, J. Russell Jones, to personally accompany him down the Mississippi.
  • Colonel Robert Murphy was chosen to be the main scapegoat for the destruction of the Holly Spring’s supply depot, but General Grant committed a series of mistakes which made it possible. (And Grant had saved Murphy after William Rosecrans arrested him for abandoning military stores at Iuka.)
  • Grant falsified the history of the Vicksburg campaign by claiming that he placed no faith in his various failed Delta schemes—which he impetuously initiated without proper preparations and with insufficient engineering resources—that his men were as healthy as could be expected, and that he always meant to pass the Vicksburg batteries. His own contemporary writings disproved these assertions.
  • One of Grant’s most blatant untruths concerned the spectacular Union charge up Missionary Ridge at Chattanooga on November 25, 1863. He stole the credit from the soldiers and subordinate officers, maintaining that his orders intended them to ascend, when they actually put the men in dire jeopardy at the lower rifle-pits, sitting ducks for the Confederates. His subordinate, George H. Thomas, delayed the attack for an hour (as more brigades of Thomas’ old Army of the Cumberland and from Hooker’s mixed contingent were getting into position to assault), yet Thomas is somehow turned into a passive-aggressive incompetent by Grant’s defenders.
  • Denying that his blunder-filled Overland campaign was a catastrophe, General Grant misrepresented the size of the two armies, their casualties, and the results. Grant Under Fire relates how: “Each of his four maneuvers (passing through the Wilderness into open country, reaching Spotsylvania first, crossing the North Anna, and flanking Lee around Cold Harbor) failed. Each of his three major engagements ended in defeat. The stalemating of Grant constituted a major Confederate victory, which was reflected in Lincoln’s political woes, his potential electoral defeat, and the high price of gold.”
  • After the ignominious debacle of the charge at Cold Harbor on June 3, 1864, Grant refused for days to send a flag of truce to rescue his wounded men. He thought that Meade could send a flag, but didn’t want to do it himself. This repeated Grant’s failure to request a truce after the May 22nd assault on Vicksburg a year before. He then implicitly blamed Robert E. Lee for his own callousness. As to his regretting the attack at Cold Harbor, he thought about attacking again two days afterward.
  • Once the mine did not ignite when expected at the Battle of the Crater, Grant ordered the troops to charge right over the time-bomb. Here, as he did elsewhere, the General tried to keep Black troops to the rear and out of the fight.
  • Grant assisted Sheridan in the dismissal of corps commander Gouverneur Warren at the Battle of Five Forks, by preemptively providing authorization to sack Warren and then supplying incorrect information which made Warren look bad. As General-in-Chief and as President, he quashed Warren’s repeated requests for a court of inquiry. Once Grant left office, President Rutherford B. Hayes appointed a court of inquiry that basically sided with Warren.
  • Although often portrayed as a principled individual, Grant helped to deprive many other officers—William Kountz, Lew Wallace, Robert Murphy, John McClernand, Jacob Lauman, Winfield Hancock, and Stephen Hurlbut—of their chances to gain justice through a court of inquiry.
  • Grant basically admitted to public corruption for his personal benefit (subsidizing Adam Badeau’s three-volume Military History of Ulysses S. Grant) in giving Badeau a temporary grade of Colonel, three grades beyond his actual rank; unusual access to papers and documents; the assistance of several staff officers to provide historical and military information; diplomatic office abroad during which Badeau could finish the biography; the assistance of other staff officers to furnish information while he was away; and even contravening regulations by sending national archives overseas “at the risk of their being lost,” along with a copy of Grant’s headquarters records.


Hundreds of other such examples are described in Grant Under Fire: An Exposé of Generalship & Character in the American Civil War.


Grant had few of the skills needed to organize and discipline an army. In battle after battle, he showed little tactical ability. Instructions were often meager, with little forethought or planning.


The General repeatedly threw his soldiers into impetuous frontal assaults and against fortifications. Except after crossing the Mississippi to march on Vicksburg, his operations displayed little of a much-publicized reputation for strategic genius. Neither did his expressed methods. These ranged from the simplistic (“find out where your enemy is, get at him as soon as you can, and strike him as hard as you can, and keep moving on”), the merely aggressive (“the only way to whip an army is to go out and fight it”), the unthinkingly aggressive (“When in doubt, fight”), and the ham-handed (“Oh! I never manœuvre”).


Other officers and the soldiers fortunately made up for much of his strategic and tactical deficiencies. The faults of judgment, bias, and performance in the Civil War mirrored the multitude of errors in his two terms as President. Ulysses S. Grant, the man, didn’t change.  And where was his wife in all of this?  In some cases, in the theater of operations with her husband and her "slaves"!

General Grant had a drinking problem, which in some 21st Century histories of the War, gloss over it and excuse his behavior as either it didn't happen, or he only drank occasionally and it didn't interfere with his supervision of the Union Army.  Unfortunately for some historians, the truth is too glaring to overlook: he did drink to excess.  Perhaps not a falling down drunk, but he was, in the clinical sense, an alcoholic.  We include some information here concerning his problem.

Grant and Drinking Revisited

-Brooks D. Simpson

 

Professor Joan Waugh often lectures on the Civil War and she will discuss the reports of Ulysses S. Grant’s drinking.


It seems to me that too many discussions of Grant’s relationship with alcohol follow a predictable pattern.  We hear Dr. Waugh proclaim that Grant was never drunk when it counted.  That’s a claim I’ve heard for a long time.  In short, whether or not Grant drank, if he did so, no one was hurt by it, and so what’s the big fuss?

I do not concur with this line of argument.


Let’s highlight three reports of Grant’s intoxication during the American Civil War where it’s clear something happened:  the Yazoo bender of June 6, 1863; Grant’s fall from a horse at New Orleans on September 4, 1863; and a report that Grant drank and fell ill while inspecting the Petersburg lines on June 29, 1864.  In each case we can debate and even disagree on what happened in detail, but’s let’s look a bit more carefully at these incidents.


As for the Yazoo, Mississippi bender: we know that Grant had been ailing, that Sherman’s medical director had advised him to take a drink for relief, and that there had been some drinking at Grant’s headquarters on June 5, although it’s far from clear whether Grant was drinking, drinking to excess, drinking to relieve some pain, or not drinking.  However, the journey up the Yazoo the next day was not a pleasure cruise, but an effort to assess the situation in light of reports that Joseph Johnston was mounting a relief expedition to attack Grant’s rear.  Grant appears to have been ill that day, and one could conclude that he had indeed taken a drink or two for relief.  That hypothesis receives support from a draft of an manuscript by James H. Wilson in the Wilson papers at the Library of Congress.  So, is this a story of Grant as irresponsible drunk?  Probably not.  Is this an example of the intersection of illness and alcohol?  Probably.  Was Grant engaged in doing something important to the security of his command?  Yes.  So let’s dismiss the notion that the Yazoo bender, whatever happened there, was undertaken during a lull in the campaign.  That’s simply not true.


Now let’s turn to New Orleans.  Grant was on a visit to Nathaniel P. Banks to confer about possible operations.  Banks took Grant to review two corps, including the Thirteenth Corps, which was part of Grant’s own Army of the Tennessee.  There was quite a reception afterward, complete with drinks.  We don’t have any evidence that anyone saw Grant drinking at the reception, but we do have accounts by Banks and William B. Franklin that Grant was drunk.  Other witnesses did not support that claim.  On the way back, Grant’s mount, alarmed by a train whistle, threw its rider, and Grant fell hard, losing consciousness.  His left leg was seriously injured.  He was laid up for weeks, and had not recovered when he went to Chattanooga six weeks later.  Hard to conclude what exactly happened here, but one could see Grant, feeling a buzz, being a little careless in handling an unruly horse and suffering the consequences.  Putting a general out of commission with a serious injury certainly ends his usefulness in the field for a while, and it could have been worse.


Finally, on June 29, 1864, a hot day, Grant, while inspecting his command, and complaining of a headache, reportedly downed a few drinks, became sick, and vomited.  No, he was not laid up for days, and the vomiting may have resulted from a combination of the heat and the alcohol.  But we can’t say that this was a lull in campaigning, either, as Grant was busy dealing with Lee and pondering what to do next.  The fact is that when you are general-in-chief there is no lull in the fighting, because somewhere someone’s fighting.


Note that I’m setting aside reports of Grant drinking at Chattanooga because I don’t find enough to craft a compelling enough case.  Besides, highlighting these three cases should be sufficient to challenge the notion that there’s some sort of cover-up going on (although there will always be folks who insist that).  These three examples should cause us to set aside the notion that Grant drank when it didn’t matter and when nothing important was going on.  When you are a general in command of an army, something important is always going on, and it would be bad business for a general to assume a lull in the fighting to relax before being surprised.  Think Shiloh.


I’ve written before about Grant’s drinking.  Sometimes I suspect that people don’t pay careful attention to what I’ve written, because the debate seems to be carried on between admirers and antagonists.  I don’t see how that has anything to do with getting the story straight, or in trying to piece together what happened and why.

The pattern that Grant‘s drinking assumed during the Civil War strongly suggests that he was a binge drinker. Binge drinking is well understood today, as well as carefully defined: five or more drinks in a single session by a man, four or more drinks by a woman. A heavy binge drinker is one who experiences three or more such episodes over a two-week period. A less formal definition of binge drinking is drinking simply to become intoxicated. If they do their drinking in private, binge drinkers often avoid detection. When not drinking, although often depressed and angry, they may function more or less normally, holding down jobs, raising and caring for families, displaying not only rationality but also discretion and incisiveness. All of these qualities characterized Grant’s Civil War drinking.

At least three times during 1863, Grant became intoxicated while in public, horrifying those concerned with preserving his position and reputation, especially his staff officers. Although historians continue to debate the extent and the effectiveness of his efforts, Grant’s adjutant general, John A. Rawlins, a zealous cold-water man from Grant’s home state of Illinois, strove to cover up his boss’s indiscretions and swear him to abstinence. Grant appears to have given in to his urge to imbibe only on those occasions when Rawlins was not on hand to ensure his sobriety. Nor did Grant drink when Julia and the children visited him in the field, rescuing him from lassitude and loneliness.

Grant reached the pinnacle of his career when brought to Virginia in the spring of 1864 to accompany the Army of the Potomac as general-in-chief of United States forces. He is not known to have drunk during the opening phases of the Overland Campaign, when pressing Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia toward Richmond via the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House, the North Anna River, and Cold Harbor. But in June 1864, with his offensive bogged down at Petersburg, the lieutenant general went on a raucous bender that might have ruined his career had his inner circle not conspired to hush it up and discredit a disgruntled subordinate who tried to publicize it for personal gain.

Ulysses S. Grant continued to wrestle with alcohol after 1865. Liquor never caused scandals for him like it did during the War Between the States, but his occasional relapses ultimately took their toll. Heretofore his slow, painful death from cancer of the mouth and throat had been assumed to be the consequence of heavy smoking. But a 1978 Department of Health, Education and Welfare report of alcoholism concludes that alcohol is "indisputably involved" in the cause of several types of cancer. Among these are "cancers of the mouth and pharynx, larynx . . ."  Evidently the courageous soldier who defeated the Confederates lost his longer war with the disease of alcoholism.


(A United Press International description of this HEW report, complete with Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare Joseph Califano's accompanying statement, is printed in the Rocky Mountain News [Denver], October 18, 1978, 70.)

 

Third, we now consider a book written in the late 1800s by a Civil War Union veteran who filled his memoir with complete untruth.


Many stories have been spun about the American Civil War; some of them better than others. In the modern marketplace, everything from AK-47 wielding Confederates, to a vampire-slaying Lincoln, permeates the battlefields in search of profit. With this as a backdrop, let us re-evaluate the scorned story of one soldier of the Union in "A Load of Buell?"-- Another look at "The Cannoneer."

 

Park Ranger Bert Barnett leads a talk investigating the fraudulent writings of Augustus Caesar Buell.
(Ranger Barnett and the NPS hold the rights to the lecture and notes; film courtesy of the National Park Service).  

Fourth, Consider the long-running Lincoln Forum which meets annually in Gettysburg, PA.
The Forum states on their website the following:

“The Lincoln Forum is an assembly of people who share a deep interest in the life and times of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War era.  Through a roster of activities and projects including symposia, tours, student essay competitions, teacher scholarships, a newsletter, and annual awards to recognize special contributions to the field of Lincoln studies, the Forum endeavors to enhance the understanding and preserve the memory of Abraham Lincoln.”

In a recent Forum meeting, an introduction of Professor William C. "Jack" Davis was given by Forum Chairman Frank Davis.  Davis stated that Lincoln learned his leadership skills and all about army life, from his service in the Black Hawk War.

That sounds all well and good on the surface, but Lincoln's only military service was 3 months in a local militia during that Black Hawk War of 1832, where all he accomplished was getting demoted from Captain to Private.  He never saw action.

Ironically, this war was ended by Second Lieutenant Jefferson Davis (later president of the Confederacy) who personally captured Chief Black Hawk.

Fifth,  we consider what the general public watches on television and why they need to sift the "wheat from the chaff" when delving into Civil War online video lectures and films.  I have heard many professors state that they will not use such films as "Gods and Generals" in their classrooms, and consider them as more melodrama than factual. 

So-called "Television Documentaries" need to be vetted for accuracy.

Consider the 2015 article, "PBS’s “The Civil War”: The Mythmanagement of History" by Professor Emeritus Ludwell H. Johnson, College of William and Mary:

(This piece was originally printed by Southern Partisan magazine in 1990.)


In the September issue of the American Historical Association’s newsletter, a rave review predicted that the PBS production “The Civil War” might become “the Gone With the Wind of documen­taries.” After watching almost all of it, I would suggest Uncle Tom’s Cabin as its fictional alter ego. But let us not (like “The Civil War”) be unfair. It is probably the best of the various kinds of “Civil War” tele­vision extravaganzas to appear so far. As anyone who watched the others will know, this is faint praise. When Boswell asked that arch-conservative Dr. Samuel Johnson who was worse, Rousseau or Voltaire, Johnson replied, “Sir, it is difficult to settle the proportion of iniquity between them.”


On the plus side, the pictures in Ken Burns’ documentary were excellent, as they have always been, whether seen on television or in the old "Miller Photographic History" or in the more recent "Image of War" by William C. Davis. The letters from and to soldiers were inter­esting and frequently moving. Shelby Foote’s comments often struck a note of sane moderation. The background music was well-done if repetitious. There were occasional though ineffectual attempts at im­partiality in the narration.


Now for the minus side. In the first place, a program like this is inherently incapable of explaining complex historical events. It can only illustrate the cruelty and suffering of war, the romantic naivete, the poignancy, pathos, courage, cowardice. But even with the best of intentions untrammeled by prejudice or ideological imperatives, to attempt to explain so much by such means is inevitably to distort. When bias, ideology, and sheer ignorance are loaded onto the in­herent limitations, then we have something like “The Civil War”, a caricature often reminiscent of Republican postwar “Bloody Shirt” political propaganda.


To turn to some of the larger deformities, take slavery, both as the cause of the war and as an institution. The mono-causation theo­ry—slavery as the cause—was put forward many years ago by James Ford Rhodes. That view was the received wisdom among the post­war generation, but was powerfully challenged by scholars between the two World Wars.


In the era of the civil rights movement, the importance of slavery was again strongly emphasized by what some have called the Neo-abolitionist historians. But even they never completely turned the clock back to Rhodes, as Mr. Ken Burns has tried to with his popular documentary. To pluck one factor out of a complex historical matrix and offer it, clearly but tacitly, as the cause of war is the result, one can charitably assume, of sheer ignorance.


As for slavery itself, it is likewise torn from context and held up as a uniquely Southern sin. No mention of those Africans in Africa who for generations sold their brothers into slavery; or of the New Englanders who profited for so many years by buying them in Africa and selling them in America; or of the pervasive anti-black prejudice in the Northern states so ably documented thirty years ago by Leon Litwack.


Purported mortality statistics for slaves are presented without comparison to mortality rates among free blacks or whites. There is no hint of the fact that the growth rate of the country’s black popula­tion was less for seventy years after emancipation than it was before, no awareness of the latest revisionist studies (by Northern scholars) that contradict the raw-head-and-bloody-bones vision presented by producer Ken Burns and his coadjutors.


The handling of Lincoln and the questions of race and slavery are equally unbalanced. The level of discourse here was suggested by Shelby Foote’s interviewer, who persisted in believing that Lincoln was an old-line abolitionist. Foote, who one hopes was embarrassed by a good deal of what went on during the eleven hours of the pro­gram, gently demurred, but his questioner bulled ahead anyway. In one of those rare and aberrant bows to ostensible impartiality, it is pointed out that Lincoln initially opposed only the extension of slav­ery, and that he said in his first inaugural he had no intention of in­terfering with slavery where it existed (the adjoining clause in which the Great Emancipator says that neither does he have any inclina­tion to interfere with it is delicately omitted) and that he issued or­ders for the return of runaway slaves. (Incidentally, Lincoln flatly refused to issue such an order.)


Then after the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation we are treated to an out-of-context quotation from Lincoln’s December 1, 1862, message to Congress, including the famous sentence, “we shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth.” That com­ment was made at the end of the second half of his message, which is a plea by Lincoln for congressional approval of a constitutional amendment that would postpone emancipation until the year 1900, compensate slave owners and provide funds to colonize the ex-slaves somewhere outside the United States.

“I cannot make it better known that I strongly favor colonization.” And to those Northerners who feared the freed black would “swarm forth and cover the land,” he said they wouldn’t, and if they tried, “cannot the north decide for itself whether to receive them?” View­ers of “The Civil War” documentary were never told that this is the context of “nobly save or meanly lose the last best hope of earth.” It is an excellent example of the editorial policy of the series.


Nor is the audience told that, at the Hampton Roads Conference in February 1865, when the Confederacy was collapsing, Lincoln sat silently by while his Secretary of State invited the Southern negotia­tors to bring their states back into the Union and vote down the pending Thirteenth Amendment; or that Lincoln, when visiting fallen Richmond, himself made the same offer to Calhoun’s old lieutenant, Duff Green.


As for Lincoln and race, the authors of the program are evidently wholly ignorant of the categorical white-supremacist statements Lin­coln made repeatedly and publicly during the 1850s, and do not know that in the late summer of 1862 he told a black delegation that but for the presence of their race, white men would not be killing each other, and it would be best for both blacks and whites if blacks left the country.


As another example of distortion by omission, take the attack on Fort Sumter. In the program, the Confederates suddenly fire on the Union fort, no reason being given. Nothing is said about the repeated assurances given Confederate officials by Lincoln’s Secretary of State that the fort would soon be evacuated, assurances offered even while plans to hold the fort were being devised. There is no mention of the warnings the Confederate government began to receive about an ex­pedition being secretly prepared, or of the fact that when the order to capture the fort was issued by the Davis administration, they knew that a flotilla of undetermined strength was coming down the coast, perhaps (as some informants had warned) to capture Charleston. No, nothing of that—the rebels just attacked, it is im­plied, without cause or provocation.


Other subjects are treated with a degree of unfairness that is bound to raise suspicions as to intent. Space does not permit more than a sampling. Take Fort Pillow. All we come away with is the as­sertion that the Confederates killed black soldiers after they surren­dered. Doubtless some were killed, just as black soldiers sometimes killed Confederates after they had surrendered. What is not told is that, according to the laws of war, if a fortified place refused to sur­render after being warned that otherwise an assault would take place, the attackers were entitled to kill all the defenders. Bedford Forrest’s men did not do this, even though there was never any formal surrender of the Fort and in spite of the fact that some black sol­diers surrendered and then picked up weapons and shot their cap­tors. Of the 557 men in the garrison (295 white, 262 black) 336 survived. Forrest took 226 prisoners, 168 whites and 58 blacks. That was the “massacre.”


As for the Battle of the Crater, we are told that Confederates again shot black soldiers as they attempted to surrender. Doubtless some did. But we are not told that when the black troops were sent into the battle they were also shot by Union white soldiers, even as happened in the Battle of the Bulge in the Second World War. And poor old Burnside was entirely responsible for the disaster at the Crater. Did no one tell the script writers that a black division had carefully drilled to lead the assault but was withheld by Grant and Meade at the last moment, and that this was the probable cause of the failure?


As bad as these examples are, nothing except perhaps the treat­ment of slavery approaches the handling of the subject of prisoners of war. We are transported back to the days of the “Bloody Shirt.” The horrors of Andersonville are depicted, and horrors there were, and the living skeletons (emaciated by dysentery, which killed more men than bullets) that were a staple item in Republican atrocity pro­paganda are again put on display. The viewers are not informed of conditions in Northern camps, where a deliberate policy of depriva­tion was instituted or of the mortality rate in those camps, which, despite the vastly superior resources available to the Lincoln admin­istration, was nearly as high as in the Confederacy. After all, what more can one expect of a producer (Ken Burns) who characterizes Lee as a “traitor”?


A similar one-sidedness can be found in the presentation of Sher­man’s march through Georgia and the Carolinas. Destruction of property and robbery, including robbery of the slaves, are conceded: how could they not be? But there is nothing about the disgusting desecration of churches, digging up the dead to rob the bodies, noth­ing of the murder and torture of civilians, of gang rapes, or of the mass rape of black women. No, mainly just the destruction of prop­erty to show the Southerners the war was lost and thus save lives — that’s all “Old Cump” and his boys were up to.


As for poor George B. McClellan, who certainly had his faults, he is made to look bad so that Lincoln can be made to look good. Just think what that poor man had to put up with! The savaging of Mc­Clellan has been de rigueur among the faithful, especially since Nicolay and Hay deliberately set out to destroy McClellan’s reputation in their massive biography of Lincoln. One point will have to suffice: in the winter of 1861-1862, McClellan (I think this is nearly a direct quotation from the documentary) “took to his tent with a fever rather than move his army.” It was a fever, all right, typhoid fever, said his doctors, and he was in his bed for three weeks.


When all the teachers who have been burning up their VCRs tap­ing “The Civil War” show it to their classes, one can only hope that they will linger over a vignette toward the end, one of the Gettysburg reunion of 1913. It showed those old Confederates retracing their steps up the slopes of Cemetery Ridge, held again by a handful of their old adversaries. But before the old Rebs could totter to the crest, they were met by the old Yanks who rushed down to embrace them. No doubt, to the makers of the film this was just a pleasing touch of sentimentality; but to those who know something of the war, it has far more significance.


During the conflict, soldiers from generals to privates blamed the war on the politicians, and many was the time when Rebs and Yanks, meeting along the picket line, would say: “if they would just leave it to us, we could settle it all quickly and peaceably.”


Then as now, the common soldiers were sent by others to suffer and to die, and the survivors soon began to wonder how the quarrel got started and whether it could possibly be worth the agony they saw all around them. But by that time it was too late to stop. The result is tragedy. And the tragedy is compounded by people like Ken Burns and his collaborators. Too bad they could not have been as just to the Confederate soldiers and their Cause as the old Union veterans at Gettysburg in 1913.

Sixth, we now consider the facts and fiction retold in books written concerning generals in the Civil War, not by the generals themselves, as in the previous example of General Hood, but by 21st Century historians; and we will use General James Longstreet in this example.

In the following 2-part lecture, Park Historian Robert Krick details the facts concerning the controversial career of James Longstreet.  The lecture was given on July 2, the second day of the three-day Battle of Gettysburg, on the occasion of the 137th anniversary of that battle.  
Yankee Confederates: 
New England Secession Movements Prior to the War Between the States

Contrary to standard accounts, the birthplace of American secessionist sentiment was not Charleston, South Carolina in 1860, but the heart of the New England Yankee culture -- Salem, Massachusetts -- more than half a century before the first shot was fired at Fort Sumter. From 1800 to 1815, there were three serious attempts at secession orchestrated by New England Federalists, who believed that the policies of the Jefferson and Madison administrations, especially the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, the national embargo of 1807, and the War of 1812, were so disproportionately harmful to New England that they justified secession.

The Protective Tariffs were a real concern to cotton grower, John Read.

John Read (seen in the next photo), Charles "Savez" Read's grandfather (whose life is discussed on the "Read Family Story" web page), was a soldier in the War of 1812, and later owned a plantation in Mississippi with slaves.  But during the War Between the States, he remained loyal to the Union cause, and when Federal forces marched through Mississippi, they occupied his house but did not burn it.  He was a Unionist, but several grandchildren put on the Confederate uniform.

John Read was well aware of the protective tariffs being enacting to protect Northern business interests.  This affected Read's profits on the export of his cotton which was used by Northern industry.  The tariffs of 1828 were called the "Tariffs of Abominations."  Designed to protect American industry from cheaper British commodities, it adversely affected the Southern planter.

 

By the time the fighting reached John Read's plantation in Edwards, MS, he had 3 years worth of cotton stored in a cotton gin house which had not been sold.  The Federals under General Sherman burned most of it.  Some of it was saved when some of his family and plantation workers were able to put some of it into a nearby creek.

"The Morrill Tariff"

Protective tariffs:

A Primary cause of the Civil War


Although they opposed permanent tariffs, political expedience in spite of sound economics prompted the Founding Fathers to pass the first U.S. tariff act. For 72 years, Northern special interest groups used these protective tariffs to exploit the South for their own benefit. Finally in 1861, the oppression of those import duties started the Civil War.


In addition to generating revenue, a tariff hurts the ability of foreigners to sell in domestic markets. An affordable or high-quality foreign good is dangerous competition for an expensive or low-quality domestic one. But when a tariff bumps up the price of the foreign good, it gives the domestic one a price advantage. The rate of the tariff varies by industry.


If the tariff is high enough, even an inefficient domestic company can compete with a vastly superior foreign company. It is the industry’s consumers who ultimately pay this tax and the industry’s producers who benefit in profits.


As early as the Revolutionary War, the South primarily produced cotton, rice, sugar, indigo and tobacco. The North purchased these raw materials and turned them into manufactured goods. By 1828, foreign manufactured goods faced high import taxes. Foreign raw materials, however, were free of tariffs.


Thus the domestic manufacturing industries of the North benefited twice, once as the producers enjoying the protection of high manufacturing tariffs and once as consumers with a free raw materials market. The raw materials industries of the South were left to struggle against foreign competition.


Because manufactured goods were not produced in the South, they had to either be imported or shipped down from the North. Either way, a large expense, be it shipping fees or the federal tariff, was added to the price of manufactured goods only for Southerners. Because importation was often cheaper than shipping from the North, the South paid most of the federal tariffs.


Much of the tariff revenue collected from Southern consumers was used to build railroads and canals in the North. Between 1830 and 1850, 30,000 miles of track were laid. At their best, these tracks benefited the North. Many rail lines had no economic effect at all. Many of the schemes to lay track were simply a way to get government subsidies. Fraud and corruption were rampant.


With most of the tariff revenue collected in the South and then spent in the North, the South rightly felt exploited. At the time, 90 percent of the federal government’s annual revenue came from these taxes on imports.


Historians Paul Collier and Anke Hoeffer found that a few common factors increase the likelihood of secession in a region: lower wages, an economy based on raw materials and external exploitation. Although popular movies emphasize slavery as a cause of the Civil War, the war best fits a psycho-historical model of the South rebelling against Northern exploitation.


Many Americans do not understand this fact. A non-slave-owning Southern merchant angered over yet another proposed tariff act does not make a compelling scene in a movie. However, that would be closer to the original cause of the Civil War than any scene of slaves picking cotton.


Slavery was actually on the wane. Slaves visiting England were free, according to the courts in 1569. France, Russia, Spain and Portugal had outlawed slavery. Slavery had been abolished everywhere in the British Empire 27 years earlier, thanks to William Wilberforce. In the United States, the transport of slaves had been outlawed 53 years earlier by Thomas Jefferson in the Act Prohibiting the Importation of Slaves (1807) and the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act in England (1807). Slavery was a dying and repugnant institution.


The rewritten history of the Civil War began with Lincoln as a brilliant political tactic to rally public opinion. The issue of slavery provided sentimental leverage, whereas oppressing the South with hurtful tariffs did not. Outrage against the greater evil of slavery served to mask the economic harm the North was doing to the South.


The situation in the South could be likened to having a legitimate legal case but losing the support of the jury when testimony concerning the defendant's moral failings was admitted into the court proceedings.


Toward the end of the war, Lincoln made the conflict primarily about the continuation of slavery. By doing so, he successfully silenced the debate about economic issues and states’ rights. The main grievance of the Southern states was tariffs. Although slavery was a factor at the outset of the Civil War, it was not the sole or even primary cause.


The tariff of 1828, called the Tariff of Abominations in the South, was the worst exploitation. It passed Congress 105 to 94 but lost among Southern congressmen 50 to three. The South argued that favoring some industries over others was unconstitutional.


The South Carolina Exposition and Protest written by Vice President John Calhoun warned that if the tariff of 1828 were not repealed, South Carolina would secede. It cited Jefferson and Madison for the precedent that a state had the right to reject or nullify federal law.


In an 1832 state legislature campaign speech, Lincoln defined his position, saying, “My politics are short and sweet, like the old woman’s dance. I am in favor of a national bank ... in favor of the internal improvements system and a high protective tariff.’ He was firmly against free trade and in favor of using the power of the federal government to benefit specific industries such as Lincoln’s favorite, Pennsylvania steel.


The country experienced a period of lower tariffs and vibrant economic growth from 1846 to 1857. Then a bank failure caused the Panic of 1857. Congress used this situation to begin discussing a new tariff act, later called the Morrill Tariff of 1861. However, those debates were met with such Southern hostility that the South seceded before the act was passed.


The South did not secede primarily because of slavery. In Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address, he promised he had no intention to change slavery in the South. He argued it would be unconstitutional for him to do so. But he promised he would invade any state that failed to collect tariffs in order to enforce them. The statement was received from Baltimore to Charleston as a declaration of war on the South.


Slavery was an abhorrent practice. It might have been the cause that rallied the North to win. But it was not the primary reason why the South seceded. The Civil War began because of an increasing push to place protective tariffs favoring Northern business interests and every Southern household paid the price.


David John Marotta is president of Marotta Wealth Management Inc. of Charlottesville. University of Virginia graduate Megan Russell, systems analyst for the company, also contributed to this commentary.

Jefferson Davis Posthumously Responds to Readers’ Reactions

by David John Marotta and Megan Russell on June 27, 2013:

Lessons on Tax Effects, Inequality -

The Inherent Evil of Tariffs, and

Cascading Markups


When the Civil War began, Henry C. Carey was the nation's most widely known political economist. He had published a major three-volume work entitled Principles of Political Economy which had first established him as a serious thinker on the subject. His subsequent volume, The Harmony of Interests, set out a justification for protective tariffs, based mostly on speculative savings on transportation costs in foreign commerce. That work earned him the adulation of the men who wanted protective tariffs.

"True causes of the Uncivil War: Understanding the Morrill Tariff"

By Mike Scruggs


(Photo of Justin S. Morrill):

Most Americans believe the U. S. “Civil War” was over slavery. They have to an enormous degree been mis-educated. The means and timing of handling the slavery question were at issue, although not in the overly simplified moral sense that lives in postwar and modern propaganda. But had there been no Morrill Tariff there might never have been a war. The conflict that cost of the lives of 650,000 Union and Confederate soldiers and perhaps as many as 50,000 Southern civilians and impoverished many millions for generations might never have been.


A smoldering issue of unjust taxation that enriched Northern manufacturing states and exploited the agricultural South was fanned to a furious blaze in 1860. It was the Morrill Tariff that stirred the smoldering embers of regional mistrust and ignited the fires of Secession in the South. This precipitated a Northern reaction and call to arms that would engulf the nation in the flames of war for four years.


Prior to the U. S. “Civil War” there was no U. S. income tax. In 1860, approximately 95% of U. S. government revenue was raised by a tariff on imported goods. A tariff is a tax on selected imports, most commonly finished or manufactured products. A high tariff is usually legislated not only to raise revenue, but also to protect domestic industry from foreign competition. By placing such a high, protective tariff on imported goods it makes them more expensive to buy than the same domestic goods. This allows domestic industries to charge higher prices and make more money on sales that might otherwise be lost to foreign competition because of cheaper prices (without the tariff) or better quality. This, of course, causes domestic consumers to pay higher prices and have a lower standard of living. Tariffs on some industrial products also hurt other domestic industries that must pay higher prices for goods they need to make their products. Because the nature and products of regional economies can vary widely, high tariffs are sometimes good for one section of the country, but damaging to another section of the country. High tariffs are particularly hard on exporters since they must cope with higher domestic costs and retaliatory foreign tariffs that put them at a pricing disadvantage. This has a depressing effect on both export volume and profit margins. High tariffs have been a frequent cause of economic disruption, strife and war.


Prior to 1824 the average tariff level in the U. S. had been in the 15 to 20 % range. This was thought sufficient to meet federal revenue needs and not excessively burdensome to any section of the country. The increase of the tariff to a 20% average in 1816 was ostensibly to help pay for the War of 1812. It also represented a 26% net profit increase to Northern manufacturers.


In 1824 Northern manufacturing states and the Whig Party under the leadership of Henry Clay began to push for high, protective tariffs. These were strongly opposed by the South. The Southern economy was largely agricultural and geared to exporting a large portion of its cotton and tobacco crops to Europe. In the 1850’s the South accounted for anywhere from 72 to 82% of U. S. exports. They were largely dependent, however, on Europe or the North for the manufactured goods needed for both agricultural production and consumer needs. Northern states received about 20% of the South’s agricultural production. The vast majority of export volume went to Europe. A protective tariff was then a substantial benefit to Northern manufacturing states, but meant considerable economic hardship for the agricultural South.


Northern political dominance enabled Clay and his allies in Congress to pass a tariff averaging 35% late in 1824. This was the cause of economic boom in the North, but economic hardship and political agitation in the South. South Carolina was especially hard hit, the State’s exports falling 25% over the next two years. In 1828 in a demonstration of unabashed partisanship and unashamed greed the Northern dominated Congress raised the average tariff level to 50%. Despite strong Southern agitation for lower tariffs the Tariff of 1832 only nominally reduced the effective tariff rate and brought no relief to the South. These last two tariffs are usually termed in history as the Tariffs of Abomination.


This led to the Nullification Crisis of 1832 when South Carolina called a state convention and “nullified” the 1828 and 1832 tariffs as unjust and unconstitutional. The resulting constitutional crisis came very near provoking armed conflict at that time. Through the efforts of former U. S. Vice President and U. S. Senator from South Carolina, John C. Calhoun, a compromise was effected in 1833 which over a few years reduced the tariff back to a normal level of about 15%. Henry Clay and the Whigs were not happy, however, to have been forced into a compromise by Calhoun and South Carolina’s Nullification threat. The tariff, however, remained at a level near 15% until 1860. A lesson in economics, regional sensitivities, and simple fairness should have been learned from this confrontation, but if it was learned, it was ignored by ambitious political and business factions and personalities that would come on the scene of American history in the late 1850’s.


High protective tariffs were always the policy of the old Whig Party and had become the policy of the new Republican Party that replaced it. A recession beginning around 1857 gave the cause of protectionism an additional political boost in the Northern industrial states.


In May of 1860 the U. S. Congress passed the Morrill Tariff Bill (named for Republican Congressman and steel manufacturer, Justin S. Morrill of Vermont) raising the average tariff from about 15% to 37% with increases to 47% within three years. Although this was remarkably reminiscent of the Tariffs of Abomination which had led in 1832 to a constitutional crisis and threats of secession and armed force, the U. S. House of Representatives passed the Bill 105 to 64. Out of 40 Southern Congressmen only one Tennessee Congressman voted for it.


U. S. tariff revenues already fell disproportionately on the South, accounting for 87% of the total even before the Morrill Tariff. While the tariff protected Northern industrial interests, it raised the cost of living and commerce in the South substantially. It also reduced the trade value of their agricultural exports to Europe. These combined to place a severe economic hardship on many Southern states. Even more galling was that 80% or more of these tax revenues were expended on Northern public works and industrial subsidies, thus further enriching the North at the expense of the South.


In the 1860 election, Lincoln, a former Whig and great admirer of Henry Clay, campaigned for the high protective tariff provisions of the Morrill Tariff, which had also been incorporated into the Republican Party Platform. Thaddeus Stevens, the most powerful Republican in Congress and one of the co-sponsors of the Morrill Tariff, told an audience in New York City on September 27, 1860, that the two most important issues of the Presidential campaign were preventing the extension of slavery to new states and an increase in the tariff, but that the most important of the two was increasing the tariff. Stevens, a Pennsylvania iron manufacturer, was also one of the most radical abolitionists in Congress. He told the New York audience that the tariff would enrich the northeastern states and impoverish the southern and western states, but that it was essential for advancing national greatness and the prosperity of industrial workers. Stevens, who would become virtually the “boss’ of America after the assassination of Lincoln, advised the crowd that if Southern leaders objected, they would be rounded up and hanged.


Two days before Lincoln’s election in November of 1860, an editorial in the Charleston Mercury summed up the feeling of South Carolina on the impending national crisis:

     “The real causes of dissatisfaction in the South with the North, are in the unjust taxation and expenditure of the taxes by the Government of the United States, and in the revolution the North has effected in this government, from a confederated republic, to a national sectional despotism.”


With the election of Lincoln and strengthened Northern dominance in Congress, Southern leaders in South Carolina and the Gulf states began to call for Secession. Lincoln endorsed the Morrill Tariff in his inaugural speech and promised to enforce it even on seceding Southern states. He signed the Act into law a few days after taking office in March of 1861. The South was filled with righteous indignation.


At first Northern public opinion as reflected in Northern newspapers of both parties recognized the right of the Southern States to secede and favored peaceful separation. A November 21, 1860, editorial in the Cincinnati Daily Press said this:

     “We believe that the right of any member of this Confederacy to dissolve its political relations with the others and assume an independent position is absolute.”


The New York Times on March 21, 1861, reflecting the great majority of editorial opinion in the North summarized in an editorial:

     “There is a growing sentiment throughout the North in favor of letting the Gulf States go.”


Northern industrialists became nervous, however, when they realized a tariff dependent North would be competing against a free-trade South. They feared not only loss of tax revenue, but considerable loss of trade. Newspaper editorials began to reflect this nervousness. Events in April would engulf the nation in cataclysmic war.


Lincoln met secretly on April 4, 1861, with Colonel John Baldwin, a delegate to the Virginia Secession Convention. Baldwin, like a majority of that convention would have preferred to keep Virginia in the Union. But Baldwin learned at that meeting that Lincoln was already committed to taking some military action at Fort Sumter in South Carolina. He desperately tried to persuade Lincoln that military action against South Carolina would mean war and also result in Virginia’s secession. Baldwin tried to persuade Lincoln that if the Gulf States were allowed to secede peacefully, historical and economic ties would eventually persuade them to reunite with the North. Lincoln’s decisive response was,

     “And open Charleston, etc. as ports of entry with their ten percent tariff? What then would become of my tariff?”


Despite Colonel Baldwin’s advice, on April 12, 1861, Lincoln manipulated the South into firing on the tariff collection facility of Fort Sumter in volatile South Carolina. This achieved an important Lincoln objective. Northern opinion was now enflamed against the South for “firing on the flag.” Three days later Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to put down the Southern “rebellion”. This caused the Border States to secede along with the Gulf States. Lincoln undoubtedly calculated that the mere threat of force backed by a now more unified Northern public opinion would quickly put down secession. His gambit, however, failed spectacularly and would erupt into a terrible and costly war for four years.


Shortly after Lincoln’s call to put down the “rebellion;” a prominent Northern politician wrote to Colonel Baldwin to inquire what Union men in Virginia would do now. His response was:

     “There are now no Union men in Virginia. But those who were Union men will stand to their arms, and make a fight which shall go down in history as an illustration of what a brave people can do in defense of their liberties, after having exhausted every means of pacification.”


The Union Army’s lack of success early in the war, the need to keep anti-slavery England from coming into the war on the side of the South, and Lincoln’s need to appease the radical abolitionists in the North led to increasing promotion of freeing the slaves as a noble cause to justify what was really a dispute over fair taxation and States Rights.


Writing in December of 1861 in a London weekly publication, the famous English author, Charles Dickens, who was a strong opponent of slavery, said these things about the war going on in America:

     “The Northern onslaught upon slavery is no more than a piece of specious humbug disguised to conceal its desire for economic control of the United States.”


Karl Marx, like most European socialists of the time favored the North. In an 1861 article published in England, he articulated very well what the major British newspapers, the Times, the Economist, and Saturday Review, had been saying:

     “The war between the North and South is a tariff war. The war, is further, not for any principle, does not touch the question of slavery, and in fact turns on the Northern lust for power.”


The Tariff question and the States Rights question were therefore strongly linked. Both are linked to the broader issues of limited government and a strong Constitution. The Morrill Tariff dealt the South a flagrant political injustice and impending economic hardship and crisis. It therefore made Secession a very compelling alternative to an exploited and unequal union with the North.


How to handle the slavery question was an underlying tension between North and South, but one of many tensions. It cannot be said to be the cause of the war. Fully understanding the slavery question and its relations to those tensions is beyond the scope of this article, but numerous historical facts demolish the propagandistic morality play that a virtuous North invaded the evil South to free the slaves. Five years after the end of the War, prominent Northern abolitionist, attorney and legal scholar, Lysander Spooner, put it this way:

     “All these cries of having ‘abolished slavery,’ of having ‘saved the country,’ of having ‘preserved the Union,’ of establishing a ‘government of consent,’ and of ‘maintaining the national honor’ are all gross, shameless, transparent cheats—so transparent that they ought to deceive no one.”


Yet apparently many today are still deceived and even prefer to be deceived.


The Southern states had seen that continued union with the North would jeopardize their liberties and economic wellbeing. Through the proper constitutional means of state conventions and referendums they sought to withdraw from the Union and establish their independence just as the American Colonies had sought their independence from Great Britain in 1776 and for very similar reasons. The Northern industrialists, however, were not willing to give up their Southern Colonies.


In addition to the devastating loss of life and leadership during the War, the South suffered considerable damage to property, livestock, and crops. The policies of “Reconstruction” and “carpetbagger” state governments further exploited and robbed the South, considerably retarding economic recovery. Further, high tariffs and discriminatory railroad shipping taxes continued to favor Northern economic interests and impoverish the South for generations after the war. It is only in relatively recent history that the political and economic fortunes of the South have begun to rise.


Unjust taxation has been the cause of many tensions and much bloodshed throughout history. The Morrill Tariff was certainly a powerful factor predisposing the South to seek its independence and determine its own destiny. As outrageous and unjust as the Morrill Tariff was, its importance has been largely ignored and even purposely obscured. It does not fit the politically correct images and myths of popular American history. Truth, however, is always the high ground. It will have the inevitable victory.


Had it not been for the Morrill Tariff there would have been no rush to Secession by Southern states, and very probably no war. The Morrill Tariff of 1860, so unabashed and unashamed in its short-sighted, partisan greed, stands as an astonishing monument to the self-centered depravity of man and to its consequences. No wonder most Americans would like to see it forgotten and covered over with a more morally satisfying but largely false version of the causes of the Uncivil War.

"Lincoln's Tariff War" is explained by Professor of Economics
Dr. Thomas J. DiLorenzo.
(One can see how it affected the price of
John Read's cotton crop).

The Confederate leadership hoped to use Southern cotton production to assist their attempt to persuade Britain and France to recognize their newly formed government.  With huge stockpiles of cotton, the effects of the Union blockade prevented the previously predicted cotton sales that would have resulted in credits in Europe for purchases of arms, medicines, and other supplies.  Instead of being able to sell the large stockpiles of cotton, most Southern cotton was destroyed or sold to Northern speculators.

 

John Read, grandfather of Charles, John and Joe Read, was one who lost money on his cotton, even though he supported the Union cause.  We have documentation that Union soldiers who came through the area during the Vicksburg campaign, indiscriminately burned much of his cotton stored in his cotton gin house.

 

The very influential 1855 book, “Cotton Is King” by David Christy, was used by politicians to support the idea that the continued production and stockpiles of cotton would be the leverage to win the war.

 

We know that in 1860, the South was providing 2/3 of the entire world’s supply of cotton….and England was especially dependent

on it for its textile mills, which had a million workers employed.

 

So, with the above mentioned facts in mind, we find the Confederate politicians seeing an opportunity to withhold cotton

to drive prices up, thus compelling Europeans to come and help the Confederate government overcome the Union blockade. 

 

But the Confederacy didn’t play it’s trump card: instead of selling it’s large surplus of cotton before the Northern blockade reached it’s zenith, they encouraged an embargo of cotton shipments and, indeed, many Southerners, (not including John Read) burned many of their 1861 cotton crop to bolst3r their perceived economic leverage.  In the end, King Diplomacy had failed and the Confederate leadership missed the economic and military support they could have gained from abroad.

This collection of publications from leading members of the pro-slavery movement, provides a valuable insight into the moral and intellectual world from whence it came. The individual works are "Cotton is King: Or, Slavery in the Light of Political Economy" (David Christy), "Liberty and Slavery: Or, Slavery in the Light of Moral and Political Philosophy" (Albert Taylor Bledsoe, LL.D.), "The Bible Argument: Or, Slavery in the Light of Divine Revelation" (Thornton Stringfellow, D. D.), "Slavery in the Light of Social Ethics" (Chancellor Harper), "Slavery in the Light of Political Science" (J. H. Hammond), "Slavery in the Light of Ethnology" (S. A. Cartwright, M. D.), "Slavery in the Light of International Law" (E. N. Elliott, LL.D.), and "The Bible Argument on Slavery" (Charles Hodge, D.D.). The leading article is by Christy, who he is often listed as the author of the entire collection.. Elliott is the editor. The cover features seventh vice-president John Calhoun, who used his sharp intellect in support of slavery.

How the Cotton Gin Changed America:
Cotton was so important that John Philip Sousa, who lived through the Civil War era, wrote a piece of music called,
"King Cotton March."

Changing of Guards May 2016 -

"King Cotton March"

"King Cotton March" -

"The President's Own" U.S. Marine Band

Another cause of the Civil War:
Union armies invasion and occupation of the South.

There is clear written evidence in primary sources that one young Read boy, William, (seen in the next photo) joined the Confederate troops as the Union forces came through his hometown.  He saw the Confederate soldiers fighting the Federals near his home; and he picked up a gun that had been dropped by a dead Confederate....and joined the fight....that's how he got involved. 

Thus, he joined, not because of slavery (he didn't own any; he wasn't even old enough to enlist) but because the Northern Union forces had invaded his state and hometown. (Full discussion about him is on the "Read Family Story" web page).

Clement Eaton's "A History of the Old South; The Emergence of a Reluctant Nation" 3rd Edition, is one of the standard textbooks on the era under discussion here.  It is clear that young William Read was not of the planter class, his father did not live in a plantation mansion, but, he is an example of a vastly larger middle class of yoman farmers and villagers who came from Colonial origins.  He did not live like the privileged planters, but did absorb something of the spirit and sense of values of the Southern gentry. 


He knew about hospitality, the importance of religion, the importance of the family cemetery...an important reason for the love of the home-place among Southerners.

He had observed his kinsfolk who were distinguished by a remarkable sense of pride; upholding a code of gentlemanly conduct.  Honor, both personal and regional, was a talismanic word in the Southern vocabulary, and was an important cause of secession.....not the ownership of slaves.


Out of the original documents I have examined in the Mississippi state and various county archives, written by the Reads and their relatives, I can state that slavery had nothing to do with their support of the Confederacy.  One such documented story appears on the "Read Family Story" web page, which concerns Bettie Read and the Union soldiers who came through the Vicksburg area; burning, robbing, and killing innocent civilians.  Slavery was not the issue for this Read family.  It is simply a historical fact and part of the Read family history.  It is not something that should be erased or ignored.  It is part of our family history and heritage. 


Thus, as we have seen so far, this web page will address "The Old South" where the Read and Wauchope families lived. They were familiar with the racial bias in the North, as well as where they lived in the Southern states.  They knew about the Black slave owners in the South, and the rising tariffs on goods coming through the ports, most of which were in the South.  Charles "Savez" Read was born in a small village located on the Yazoo River and became very familiar with the commercial trade on the Mississippi River.  He was also a personal acquaintance of Jefferson Davis in the Antebellum South.  (But, as someone has misstated on another website, he was not a part of the Davis family.) 


On this web page, you will find information on: Black slave owners; Native American Indian slave owners; Black slaves and free men of color serving in the Confederate army and navy; the fact that (according to the 1860 Census) 98.8% of people in the Northern free states were white; 96.5% if you include all the the loyal states who had slaves and were white.


And all of these, both North and South, had racist views that offend our modern sensibilities; and those in the North were not in favor of Emancipation except toward the end of the war, when they thought that it would help them defeat the South by getting rid of slavery which supported the South's economic base; the plans of Abraham Lincoln to deport slaves to other countries; and post-war Confederates who left to settle in other countries.....by the thousands; the plan of New York City to secede from the Union; the rampant slavery in the North.  One town in up-state New York actually did vote to leave the Union, and didn't rejoin the Union until President Harry Truman was president!

 
After the war, several in the Read and Porter families (a Porter married John Jeremiah Read) considered moving out of the U.S. into another country.  One (Rev. A.A. Porter and one of his children) wrote of their disappointment in seeing the desperate circumstances the Southern civilian population had been left in.  Destruction was widespread.


General R.E. Lee had been invited to join in the exiles who went to Mexico, discussed below, after the war.  He declined.  He felt it his duty to stay and influence his former comrades to work together in harmony for Union.


It is unfortunate that many in our country have not studied history and learned the facts surrounding the issue of slavery in the early days of our country, not only in the antebellum South, but in Colonial America, and, I might add, in the North.

The first slave owner in Virginia, was a Black man.  This may come to many as a surprise, but I learned this fact years ago, while studying history at Old Dominion University.

Then, it may surprise you to learn that many Native American Indians also owned Black slaves.  John Jeremiah Read was well aware of this in Indian Territory, after he became a missionary for the Presbyterian Church in that area before Oklahoma became a state.  Some of these former Black slaves were later discriminated against, by the Indians, when the 5 Civilized Tribes were re-formed under new Peace Treaties.  Some of these treaties were used by one tribe in particular, to enforce discrimination and the continuation of slavery.


A further surprise to some, may be that Abraham Lincoln, had he not been assassinated, planned to deport all Blacks and resettle them in colonies away from the United States.


And still another surprise:  all former Confederates or their widows were entitled to U.S. government pensions through the state governments!  (On the "Read Family Story" web page, you will see actual documentation that proves that fact; in addition to samples included on this web page).  (A fact which the website "Snopes" got wrong)!  In addition, families of Confederate veterans can request and receive at not cost, headstones for their loved ones in a cemetery, even now in the 21st Century!!


The recent unfortunate events in New Orleans (2017) concerning the removal, under the cover of darkness, of Confederate monuments, and the removal in 2020, is representative of blatant Black racial bias.  It is an example of politicians who are caught up in the emotional moment; misunderstanding the history of our American historical memorial landscape. It is a blatant act of violence, by those who have not "read" history, of trying now to "erase" history. Those City Council members who vote for such removal in that and other cities in our nation, show their ignorance of history.


As the years of the Old South closed, how did the Veterans of North and South view each other after the war?  You may be surprised that many fought together in the Spanish-American War.  You may also be surprised that many who survived, came together in reunions.  Also, one of the major monuments to the Confederate dead in Arlington National Cemetery was put there by Union veterans.  Two videos further down on this page, represent what they thought of each other, and how they lived out their days.



This was the closing period of the Old South and the beginning of the New South.  It was in this context that John Jeremiah Read and members of the Wauchope family, would minister to various Native American tribes in Indian Territory, which later became the state of Oklahoma.  Some members of the Wauchope family were actually doing missionary work among Native Americans before the War Between the States, and had to leave once it started.  Some Census records reveal that several Wauchope families before Reconstruction had "house servants" who lived with them.   Some of these are discussed on the "Wauchope Family Story" web page.  The Wauchopes would discover, as did Rev. John J. Read, that many Indians willingly or unwillingly, as the case may be, served as soldiers and scouts in both the Union and Confederate armies.


The reader should also note, that the author/compiler of information on this particular page does not subscribe to only one "cause" which started the War Between the States.  Several issues were involved in a very radioactive mix.  It has only been in the last 10 years that more information has been discovered which proves the case of Lincoln as a confirmed racist, and his plans to deport all Blacks, both slave and free, out of the United States.  Although, much of this information was previously known, it is now getting greater publicity in new books and articles.

-J. Hughes

A fresh look at why young men enlisted in the Confederate Army is provided by Civil War graduate student, Adam Matthew Jones of Virginia Tech, in his study "Enlistment Motivations for Civil War Soldiers in Montgomery County Virginia," which can be read in the PDF file below, in it's entirety:
The "States' Rights" Dilemma:
another cause of the Civil War

Gibbons v. Ogden:  a prelude to the issue of states' rights, and the issue of slavery.


GIbbons v. Ogden presents a conflict between the States and Congress over the authority to regulate commerce. In this case, which linked States' authority to license steamboats in federal waters with a seemingly unrelated issue, slavery, Chief Justice Marshall interpreted the Constitution to give the Federal Government the duty to determine the rules of commerce and established how to lay the foundation for an American common market nearly a century before Europe enjoyed it.  The following film is part of the series, "Equal Justice Under Law."


The Committee on the Bicentennial of Independence and the Constitution
The Judicial Conference of the United States

Co-Chairmen
Chief Judge Clement F. Haynsworth, Jr.
Chief Judge Edward J. Devitt

Coordinator
Chief Judge Howard T. Markey

Consultants
Professor William Swindler, College of William and Mary
Professor Anthony Penna, Carnegie-Mellon University
Professor Robert Potter, University of Pittsburgh
Professor Richard Seeburger, University of Pittsburgh
Professor Irving Bartlett, Carnegie-Mellon University

Art Direction, Sets and Costumes
In cooperation with the drama department of Carnegie-Mellon University

Metropolitan Pittsburgh Public Broadcasting, Inc.

"The Classical Liberal States' Rights Tradition"
-Dr. Thomas J. DiLorenzo
Slavery was not the primary cause for Virginia leaving the Union.  One needs to first understand that the 10th Amendment of the Constitution guaranteed the right of U.S. Citizens to own slaves.

Several states, primarily Virginia, did not see itself as a secessionist state.  In fact, in the run up to the final state-wide voting on the issue, even Jubal Early, who later became a Confederate General, was a staunch Unionist and was against secession.

Professor William Marvel has done an excellent job of outlining, in his book, "Mr. Lincoln Goes to War" the reasons why Virginia was pushed into voting for secession.
On page 72, he states the obvious about Lincoln's uncharacteristically clumsy response to the secession crisis: as psychological impulse rather than by political imperative.

When Lincoln called for the call-up of militia, that act, in itself, laid down the gauntlet at the feet of all Virginians, large numbers of whom would have preferred to remain in the Union, if not asked to take up arms against the seceded states.

We need to understand that the Virginia convention had voted only tentatively to secede, pending ratification by a vote by the public at large.

But the disdain that Lincoln's mobilization order showed for states' rights had so infuriated Virginia citizens, that they voted overwhelmingly to leave the Union.

Dr. Marvel has correctly analyzed the voting totals and by locality to draw the correct conclusion.  Only in some of the westernmost counties did Union sentiment prevail.  Secession won by lopsided margins in the interior counties, particularly in Southside Virginia, where some counties voted unanimously to leave the Union.  Even in the border regions like Loudoun County, which had heavy concentrations of Quakers, loyal Germans, and conservative Whigs, formed a substantial Unionist stronghold, secessionists outnumbered the Union faction better than two to one.

The implied threat of and subsequent invasion by Federal troops settled the question for Clinton Hatcher and his family, the only child of an older couple who farmed a place near Purcellville, Virginia.

Clinton Hatcher (in above photo), had come home from Columbian College (now George Washington University) in the District of Columbia, at the news of Lincoln's militia proclamation, and within a month, his correspondence had assumed a relentlessly hostile tone.  Keep in mind that Hatcher was a Quaker. 

On May 23rd, he participated in his first election, voting in favor of the secession ordinance.  Then, after persuading his mother to withdraw her objections, he backed up that vote by signing the roll of a local rifle company.  Scores of his neighbors had already enlisted;  they did their voting in military encampments around the county.

Prior to the secession crisis, he was, at 6 feet 7 inches, conspicuous as a student at Columbian College.  He even met President Lincoln at a White House reception shortly after the inauguration.  Probably out of  modesty, Hatcher tried to avoid a meeting, but Lincoln stopped him, explaining, "Whenever I see a man taller than me I make it a point to shake hands with him."  (The March 9, 1861 "Sunday Star" newspaper noted, Lincoln was 6 feet 4 inches.)

The meeting supposedly was civil enough, but young Hatcher did not become a Lincoln fan.  As the secession crisis deepened, the young Quaker who would become a soldier, became an ardent Southern "fire-eater," ready to watch Yankees slain at the earliest opportunity.

He studied the then current soldiers' manual of arms, "Hardee's Tactics," and participated in the Battle of First Manassas.  He described in one letter of being unable to wait "until he can bayonet a Yankee," observing, "I never felt whole days if there were a possibility of a ball's striking me.  I had a kind of pre-sentiment that I would not be killed."  ("Fire-eaters" were radical southern secessionists who had long been committed to the dissolution of the United States).

Unfortunately, Sgt. Thomas Clinton Lovett Hatcher fell at age 21, on October 21, 1861, during the Battle of Ball's Bluff, and as an unarmed color-bearer (which was the same assigned field position as that of Joseph Read).
Thus, we have in this story, a Quaker whose family did not believe in war-making, who went from being a pacifist against secession, to voting for secession due to Lincoln's disregard of Virginia's states' rights.

According to studies done by Professors Fellman, Gordon, and Sutherland, defense of home was a strong motivation for Confederates, especially since Union armies were "invading" their new nation.  Proving one's manhood, too, was a powerful influence that combined with many other factors, such as duty, patriotism, and defense of home, to inspire enlistment.  Others joined because there was communal or peer pressure to do so, and staying behind would have been far too embarrassing.  Money also played a role in luring men to enlist, especially in the North, where bounties were higher.

Curiously, slavery, which was an underlying cause of the war, was not the cause for which most Civil War soldiers volunteered to serve.  To be sure, Confederate soldiers believed firmly that they had to protect their "way of life" and beat back the hated Yankee aggression, but they seldom enlisted to defend slavery per se.  For most of the Southern aristocracy who owned the slaves, it was about the right to import slavery into the new territories and states.  Similarly, Union white soldiers, especially in 1861, although convinced that they faced a "slaveocracy" that threatened their free-labor economy, were none too keen on the notion of emancipation, let alone racial equality.  There were, of course, true abolitionists in the ranks of the Union from the war's start, but their number was always a minority, even when the war became one to end slavery.


There are literally hundreds and thousands of soldiers letters and diaries located in archives. In looking over many of these one finds verification of the Union soldier's racist comments and the fact that they had not enlisted for any Abolitionist cause.

Serene white mansions, aristocratic planters, ladies descending graceful staircases in crinoline skirts, slave gangs singing in the cotton fields, and the fragrance of moonlit gardens form a tenacious stereotype of the Old South.
Such scenes of glamour and ease for the privileged class actually existed in those areas of the South possessing rich soil and accessibility to markets.  This romantic stereotype, however, omits from the landscape the large middle class of farmers, the barefoot women, the log cabins, and the sweaty toil of white men under the hot sun.

In actuality, 3/4 of the white population of the antebellum South, which included the Read and Wauchope families, did not belong to slaveholding families, and the typical home was not a Mount Vernon or a Tara Hall, but a log cabin or a modest frame cottage or house.  The stereotype has taken certain real aspects of Southern society, especially the life of the small class of large planters, and has generalized and exaggerated them so that they appear to be typical of the South as a whole.
The romantic image of the Old South is a creation of a number of forces, not the least of which is the contribution by the Abolitionists with their propaganda that represented the land of Dixie as inhabited chiefly by haughty aristocrats, debased "poor whites," and black slaves.

The 1860 Census indicates something else: 
the South of slavery days was predominantly a region of small independent farmers.  Indeed, the social pyramid bulged greatly at the sides, and the social structure was flexible enough to permit the movement of the sons of numerous poor men to a higher economic and social status.

At the top of the social pyramid were the planters and according to the arbitrary classification of the census bureau the planter status was based on the ownership of 20 or more slaves engaged in agriculture.  The accurate definition of a planter, however, should also include the ownership of a considerable acreage of land, a minimum of between 500 and 1,000 acres, of which at least 200 were in cultivation.

The Census of 1860 reported a surprisingly small number of "planters," only 46,274 persons, most of whom were heads of families, owning as many as 20 slaves.  Out of this privileged group, only 2,292 persons belonged to the large planter classification, that is, persons owning as many as 100 slaves.

Green Mont plantation in eastern Virginia is an example of a small planter with 50 slaves raising crops of wheat and corn.  The father was a doctor and justice of the peace.  The son worked on the plantation, plowed with the slave hands and did other work on the plantation.  His relations with the Negroes were friendly and informal, for slavery at Green Mont was a paternal institution.

Religion played an important role in the life of this family that had departed the Episcopal faith of earlier generations to join the Baptist church. The Fleet family combined the Puritan with the Cavalier traditions.  Fond of visiting, hospitable, enjoying dances, home-made wine and the reading of novels, they were nevertheless strong supporters of the church.

Benny Fleet, who grew up on the plantation, has an interesting diary which begins on January 9, 1860, when he was 13 years old and ends when he was killed in Confederate uniform at the age of 17.  This family had the Southern idea of honor, which made them look down upon those who were forced into the army by draft, and they made quite a distinction between "gentlemen" and the common people.


In the whole land of Dixie, the Census officials of 1860 reported finding only 1 slaveholder, an individual in South Carolina, having as many as 1,000 slaves, and only 13 persons owning between 500 and 1,000 slaves.

Thus, the large slaveholders were very few in number and comparable to the millionaires of modern America.  And I can state categorically, that the Reads and Wauchopes, although they lived in The Old South, were not at the top of the aristocratic planter class.
Slavery in the North before and during the War Between the States? 
Yes; and many white people who live in the North today are in denial about it; some have been openly resentful that several historians have recently reported and published books about it.

Several programs are included on this page which explain this is detail.
Cotton is still grown on land close to the original plantation of John Read seen in this picture taken by Joe Hughes, a descendant of John Read, near Edwards Depot, Mississippi, in 2016.
"The 1619 Project"
which was released in 2019,
is filled with
historical heresy and
false claims.
It attempts to re-write our history.

All major historians in the United States have condemned this outlandish attempt at re-educating our children.

The American Mind: the dangerous falsehoods of the NYT’s ‘1619 Project’

Washington, June 24, 2020


The following op-ed appeared at the American Mind, a publication of the Claremont Institute, on June 24, 2020.

-Congressman Jim Banks, Indiana


Have you turned on the news, seen organized groups pulling down statues—not of Confederate soldiers, but of our Founding Fathers or other presidents—and found yourself wondering what’s going on? My wife Amanda and I have watched with disgust as memorials to our country’s great heritage are attacked and vandalized. Our three girls are watching too. They ask: Why is this happening? I’ve been wrestling on how to give them an answer.

 

We could try to give these groups the benefit of the doubt. Was it too dark and they didn’t see that they were pulling down a statue of George Washington? Perhaps our education system has failed and some don’t realize Thomas Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence and was a critical figure in our fight for Independence? Or that Ulysses S. Grant actually fought to save the Union, the Confederacy surrendered to him at the Appomattox Court House and was a great leader in the Reconstruction efforts? Surely, they forgot that Abraham Lincoln was the signer of the Emancipation Proclamation that ultimately led to the abolition of slavery in America?


But that’s not what’s going on. I don’t know how to tell my daughters the truth, because the truth makes Amanda and I feel sad and angry.


You see, pulling down these statues isn’t a mistake. The groups pulling down statues are taking their cues from prominent figures in our nation’s elite. You can find their ideas in op-ed pages of the New York Times, on the news and even our children’s textbooks.


What’s going on, then? Some call it a revolution, but it’s a fundamental shift in the narrative about who we are, what we are, and why we are a nation.


On one of the statues of George Washington pulled down in Portland, the numbers 1619 were graffitied on his side.

What is 1619? It’s a reference to the year African slaves were brought to North America for the first time. It’s also the name of a new school curriculum published by the New York Times that’s being presented to our children in school.


The 1619 project teaches that America, at its core, is an irredeemably racist nation. According to Nikole Hannah Jones, the brainchild of the 1619 project, the Founding Fathers fought for independence from Britain not to protect the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness like they said they were, but to uphold the institution of slavery.

 

This is an absurd recasting of the birth of our nation, and it’s completely false. They don’t want you to dwell on the fact that George Washington freed his slaves toward the end of his life and expressed to see a plan for abolition in his will. Or that Civil Rights icon Martin Luther King fought for equitable treatment under the law using Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence.


But members of the Pulitzer Prize Board ignored those pesky details and historical inaccuracies. Earlier this year, they announced they’re giving Nikole Hannah Jones, the founder of the 1619 project, our country’s most coveted recognition and highest honor—the Pulitzer Prize. Not only did they accept these lies as truth, the Pulitzer Prize Board celebrated them and signaled we should celebrate them too. If they can get you to accept this rewriting of history, they can get you to say anything.


And so, taking their cues from our nation’s most prominent voices and cultural elites, lawless “protesters” are ripping down statues of some of our country’s revered figures. They say, and I’m paraphrasing, “Anyone who helped build America is a racist because America is a racist nation”—that’s what they think. “You can’t have pride in a country that is irredeemably racist. You shouldn’t honor the flag that represents it. And when that flag is presented, you should kneel.”


This is bigger than a simple call for police reform. This is a dramatic retelling of the American story. If we don’t push back on it, we may find ourselves living in a nation we don’t recognize when this is all done.

 

"On August 19 of last year (2019) I listened in stunned silence as Nikole Hannah-Jones, a reporter for the New York Times, repeated an idea that I had vigorously argued against with her fact-checker: that the patriots fought the American Revolution in large part to preserve slavery in North America.



Far from being fought to preserve slavery, the Revolutionary War became a primary disrupter of slavery in the North American Colonies. Lord Dunmore's Proclamation, a British military strategy designed to unsettle the Southern Colonies by inviting enslaved people to flee to British lines, propelled hundreds of enslaved people off plantations and turned some Southerners to the patriot side. It also led most of the 13 Colonies to arm and employ free and enslaved black people, with the promise of freedom to those who served in their armies. While neither side fully kept its promises, thousands of enslaved people were freed as a result of these policies….

 

Despite my advice, the Times published the incorrect statement about the American Revolution anyway, in Hannah-Jones' introductory essay. In addition, the paper's characterizations of slavery in early America reflected laws and practices more common in the antebellum era than in Colonial times, and did not accurately illustrate the varied experiences of the first generation of enslaved people that arrived in Virginia in 1619.

 

Hannah-Jones has tended to be extremely dismissive of the project's critics, who include The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf and the American Institute for Economic Research's Phil Magness. Perhaps she will have a more difficult time discounting criticism from a historian whose expertise her project drew on.

 

In any case, these ongoing issues with the project's accuracy are a good argument against school districts' swift mandates that it be taught in seventh-grade history classrooms."


-Leslie M. Harris is professor of history at Northwestern University, and author of In the Shadow of Slavery: African Americans in New York City, 1626-1863 and Slavery and the University: Histories and Legacies

 

A Divisive, Historically Dubious Curriculum

'1619 Project' Winning the Pulitzer Shows Deep Corruption of Our Institutions

 By Jarrett Stepman | May 18, 2020

 

 

The New York Times’ “1619 Project”—despite being riddled with historical inaccuracies—is now the winner of a Pulitzer Prize, an outcome that is unfortunate but utterly unsurprising.

 

The award was given specifically to journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, the architect of the 1619 Project.

 

But her lead essay in the project has been lambasted by historians as inaccurate, in large part because of her assertion that the American colonists fought the Revolution to protect slavery.


That contention flowed from the project’s stated goal of showing that the country’s true founding was in 1619, when the first slaves from Africa were brought to the United States, rather than 1776, when the colonies declared their independence from England.

 

After months of pressure, The New York Times finally issued a correction—which it called a “clarification”—to the claim that slavery was the “one primary reason the colonists fought the American Revolution.”

 

As my colleague, Jonathan Butcher, a senior policy analyst in The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Education Policy, wrote, The Times hedged on this assertion to say that “some of” the colonists fought in the American Revolution to preserve slavery.

 

The idea that the American Revolution was motivated primarily by the desire to uphold slavery has been rightly assailed by numerous respected historians of all stripes, from conservative to liberal to even socialist.

 

The World Socialist Website, of all things, called the project “a politically motivated falsification of history.”

 

I’ve seldom, if ever, agreed with a socialist on anything, but that is spot on.


As I detailed in my book “The War on History: The Conspiracy to Rewrite America’s Past,” there has been a long-term and accelerating trend of distorting our history, to bury our accomplishments, and embellish our country’s sins.

 

The 1619 Project is even upfront with its stated intention to “reframe” America’s past. It does this not simply by making a different argument or interpretation, but by distorting the record, as so many historians have noted.

 

It’s important that when we discuss the past, we do so with a commitment to truth and accuracy. That shouldn’t be a left or right thing. Fake news is problematic, whether it has to do with reporting on the president or what happened in 1776.

 

So why would the Pulitzer Prize board, which supposedly gives awards for excellence in writing and journalism, give an esteemed award to what is at the very least a deeply flawed piece of work?


The truth, as those with common sense already know, is that the Pulitzer Prize recipients are chosen through a lens of politics. The 1619 Project might not be correct in fact, but it’s “correct” in feeling. It’s correct by the measure of the identity politics ideology that has become the de facto ideological lens of our country’s elite, liberal institutions.

 

This is hardly the first or only wild miss by Pulitzer. After all, Walter Duranty, The New York Times’ onetime Moscow bureau chief who lied about the Soviet Union’s starvation of Ukraine in the 1930s, never had his award rescinded, and the Times still occasionally touts Duranty as a past winner of the prize.

 

It seems that if you want accolades without regard to truth or accuracy, your best bet is to be on the political left and write for The New York Times.

 

The 1619 Project didn’t have to be excellent. It just had to be politically correct and written by the right people at America’s liberal publication of record. None of the criticism or flaws even mattered.

 

The Nobel Prize is hardly any different. Remember when then-President Barack Obama, after just nine months in office, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009? Can anyone actually recall what he did to deserve it, other than being a liberal president and not George W. Bush?


If one wants to look for an indication of why trust in America’s leading institutions—from Congress to the media—is in a state of collapse, this is a prime example.

 

Our meritocracy, to many Americans, is not very meritocratic. Our cultural elites are not so elite, but rather, committed to self-aggrandizement. Being “woke” is more important than being right. And the cultural elites are not content to simply hold those views and leave the rest of us alone. Instead, they work relentlessly to ensure that entire generations are all taught to think this same way, hence their war on school choice and homeschooling.

 

Despite the 1619 Project’s being so clearly flawed, and how obviously political the Pulitzer Prize board was, the award nevertheless provides an “official” stamp of approval that makes it a more effective tool to use in schools around the country. My wife, Inez Stepman, explained why in The Federalist:

 

"Unfortunately, endorsement of the 1619 Project goes beyond the establishment media and attendant self-congratulatory organizations. In large part due to the Pulitzer Center’s blessing, Common Core-compliant curricular materials based on the inaccurate history in the project are used in more than 3,500 schools across all 50 states. Thousands of American students are learning false historical information that gives them an unduly negative view of this country."


That’s bad enough, but now frustrated parents will be told that it’s all good, because after all, it won a Pulitzer Prize.

 

The left wields enormous power over our most powerful cultural institutions, a power wholly unjustified by its record. If there’s a characteristic that Americans from the time of the founding to today have maintained through the centuries, it’s our utter intolerance of a false aristocracy.


That’s why it’s essential that Americans now have a choice and the tools to work around those institutions and commit to giving themselves and their children those tools and the education necessary, such as those provided by the Woodson Center’s excellent “1776” project, to withstand the tide of mis-education.

 

Jarrett Stepman is a contributor for The Daily Signal.

The 1619 Project isn’t just a series of articles placing slavery fraudulently at the center of the American story. It is also a curriculum that is sweeping the land.


It teaches socialism—which forces man to work for others without remuneration, and expropriates private property—that is akin to slavery.


Teachers and Administrators will have to unite and act, now that the Pulitzer Board has allowed its coveted prize to be used in selling this project.

An Interview with James McPherson about the "1619 Project" and is author of dozens of books and articles, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Battle Cry of Freedom, widely regarded as the authoritative account of the Civil War.

An interview with historian

Gordon Wood on the New York Times’

1619 Project

“When the Declaration says that all men are created equal, that is no myth”

By Tom Mackaman
28 November 2019

Gordon Wood is professor emeritus at Brown University and author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Radicalism of the American Revolution, as well as Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815, and dozens of other books and articles on the colonial period, the American Revolution and the early republic.

Historian Gordan Wood speaks with WSWS about American Revolution and the NYT 1619 Project


Q. Let me begin by asking you your initial reaction to the 1619 Project. When did you learn about it?



A. Well, I was surprised when I opened my Sunday New York Times in August and found the magazine containing the project. I had no warning about this. I read the first essay by Nikole Hannah-Jones, which alleges that the Revolution occurred primarily because of the Americans’ desire to save their slaves. She claims the British were on the warpath against the slave trade and slavery and that rebellion was the only hope for American slavery. This made the American Revolution out to be like the Civil War, where the South seceded to save and protect slavery, and that the Americans 70 years earlier revolted to protect their institution of slavery. I just couldn’t believe this.


I was surprised, as many other people were, by the scope of this thing, especially since it’s going to become the basis for high school education and has the authority of the New York Times behind it, and yet it is so wrong in so many ways.


Q. I want to return to the question of slavery and the American Revolution, but first I wanted to follow up, because you said you were not approached. Yet you are certainly one of the foremost authorities on the American Revolution, which the 1619 Project trains much of its fire on.


A. Yes, no one ever approached me. None of the leading scholars of the whole period from the Revolution to the Civil War, as far I know, have been consulted. I read the Jim McPherson interview and he was just as surprised as I was.


Q. Can you discuss the relationship between the American Revolution and the institution of slavery?


A. One of the things that I have emphasized in my writing is how many southerners and northerners in 1776 thought slavery was on its last legs and that it would naturally die away. You can find quotation after quotation from people seriously thinking that slavery was going to wither away in several decades. Now we know they couldn’t have been more wrong. But they lived with illusions and were so wrong about so many things. We may be living with illusions too. One of the big lessons of history is to realize how the past doesn’t know its future. We know how the story turned out, and we somehow assume they should know what we know, but they don’t, of course. They don’t know their future any more than we know our future, and so many of them thought that slavery would die away, and at first there was considerable evidence that that was indeed the case.


Map of Free and Slave states:

At the time of the Revolution, the Virginians had more slaves than they knew what to do with, so they were eager to end the international slave trade. But the Georgians and the South Carolinians weren’t ready to do that yet. That was one of the compromises that came out of the Constitutional Convention. The Deep South was given 20 years to import more slaves, but most Americans were confident that the despicable transatlantic slave trade was definitely going to end in 1808.


Q. Under the Jefferson administration?

A. Yes, it was set in the Constitution at 20 years, but everyone knew this would be ended because nearly everyone knew that this was a barbaric thing, importing people and so on. Many thought that ending the slave trade would set slavery itself on the road to extinction. Of course, they were wrong.


I think the important point to make about slavery is that it had existed for thousands of years without substantial criticism, and it existed all over the New World. It also existed elsewhere in the world. Western Europe had already more or less done away with slavery. Perhaps there was nothing elsewhere comparable to the plantation slavery that existed in the New World, but slavery was widely prevalent in Africa and Asia. There is still slavery today in the world.

And it existed in all of these places without substantial criticism. Then suddenly in the middle of the 18th century you begin to get some isolated Quakers coming out against it. But it’s the American Revolution that makes it a problem for the world. And the first real anti-slave movement takes place in North America. So this is what’s missed by these essays in the 1619 Project.


Q. The claim made by Nikole Hannah-Jones in the 1619 Project that the Revolution was really about founding a slavocracy seems to be coming from arguments made elsewhere that it was really Great Britain that was the progressive contestant in the conflict, and that the American Revolution was, in fact, a counterrevolution, basically a conspiracy to defend slavery.


A. It’s been argued by some historians, people other than Hannah-Jones, that some planters in colonial Virginia were worried about what the British might do about slavery. Certainly, Dunmore’s proclamation in 1775, which promised the slaves freedom if they joined the Crown’s cause, provoked many hesitant Virginia planters to become patriots. There may have been individuals who were worried about their slaves in 1776, but to see the whole revolution in those terms is to miss the complexity.

Granville Sharp

In 1776, Britain, despite the Somerset decision, was certainly not the great champion of antislavery that the Project 1619 suggests. Indeed, it is the northern states in 1776 that are the world’s leaders in the antislavery cause. The first anti-slavery meeting in the history of the world takes place in Philadelphia in 1775. That coincidence I think is important. I would have liked to have asked Hannah-Jones, how would she explain the fact that in 1791 in Virginia at the College of William and Mary, the Board of Visitors, the board of trustees, who were big slaveholding planters, awarded an honorary degree to Granville Sharp, who was the leading British abolitionist of the day. That’s the kind of question that should provoke historical curiosity. You ask yourself what were these slaveholding planters thinking? It’s the kind of question, the kind of seeming anomaly, that should provoke a historian into research.


The idea that the Revolution occurred as a means of protecting slavery—I just don’t think there is much evidence for it, and in fact the contrary is more true to what happened. The Revolution unleashed antislavery sentiments that led to the first abolition movements in the history of the world.

John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore, painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds

Q. In fact, those who claim that the American Revolution was a counterrevolution to protect slavery focus on the timing of the Somerset ruling of 1772, which held that slavery wasn’t supported by English common law, and Dunmore’s promise to free slaves who escape their masters.


A. To go from these few facts to create such an enormous argument is a problem. The Somerset decision was limited to England, where there were very few slaves, and it didn’t apply to the Caribbean. The British don’t get around to freeing the slaves in the West Indies until 1833, and if the Revolution hadn’t occurred, might never have done so then, because all of the southern colonies would have been opposed. So supposing the Americans hadn’t broken away, there would have been a larger number of slaveholders in the greater British world who might have been able to prolong slavery longer than 1833. The West Indies planters were too weak in the end to resist abolition. They did try to, but if they had had all those planters in the South still being part of the British Empire with them, that would have made it more difficult for the British Parliament to move toward abolition.


Q. Hannah-Jones refers to America’s founding documents as its founding myths…

Thomas Jefferson
painted by Mather Brown

A. Of course, there are great ironies in our history, but the men and the documents transcend their time. That Jefferson, a slaveholding aristocrat, has been—until recently—our spokesman for democracy, declaring that all men are created equal, is probably the greatest irony in American history. But the document he wrote and his confidence in the capacities of ordinary people are real, and not myths.


Jefferson was a very complicated figure. He took a stand against slavery as a young man in Virginia. He spoke out against it. He couldn’t get his colleagues to go along, but he was certainly courageous in voicing his opposition to slavery. Despite his outspokenness on slavery and other enlightened matters, his colleagues respected him enough to keep elevating him to positions in the state. His colleagues could have, as we say today, “cancelled” him if they didn’t have some sympathy for what he was saying.


Q. And after the Revolution?

A. American leaders think slavery is dying, but they couldn’t have been more wrong. Slavery grows stronger after the Revolution, but it’s concentrated in the South. North of the Mason-Dixon line, in every northern state by 1804, slavery is legally put on the road to extinction. Now, there’s certain “grandfathering in,” and so you do have slaves in New Jersey as late as the eve of the Civil War. But in the northern states, the massive movement against slavery was unprecedented in the history of the world. So to somehow turn this around and make the Revolution a means of preserving slavery is strange and contrary to the evidence.


As a result of the Revolution, slavery is confined to the South, and that puts the southern planters on the defensive. For the first time they have to defend the institution. If you go into the colonial records and look at the writings and diary of someone like William Byrd, who’s a very distinguished and learned person—he’s a member of the Royal Society—you’ll find no expressions of guilt whatsoever about slavery. He took his slaveholding for granted. But after the Revolution that’s no longer true. Southerners began to feel this anti-slave pressure now. They react to it by trying to give a positive defense of slavery. They had no need to defend slavery earlier because it was taken for granted as a natural part of a hierarchical society.


We should understand that slavery in the colonial period seemed to be simply the most base status in a whole hierarchy of dependencies and degrees of unfreedom. Indentured servitude was prevalent everywhere. Half the population that came to the colonies in the 18th century came as bonded servants. Servitude, of course, was not slavery, but it was a form of dependency and unfreedom that tended to obscure the uniqueness of racial slavery. Servants were bound over to masters for five or seven years. They couldn’t marry. They couldn’t own property. They belonged to their masters, who could sell them. Servitude was not life-time and was not racially-based, but it was a form of dependency and unfreedom. The Revolution attacked bonded servitude and by 1800 it scarcely existed anywhere in the US.



Indentured Servants deported from England:

The elimination of servitude suddenly made slavery more conspicuous than it had been in a world of degrees of unfreedom. The antislavery movements arose out of these circumstances. As far as most northerners were concerned, this most base and despicable form of unfreedom must be eliminated along with all the other forms of unfreedom. These dependencies were simply incompatible with the meaning of the Revolution.


After the Revolution, Virginia had no vested interest in the international slave trade. Quite the contrary. Virginians began to grow wheat in place of tobacco. Washington does this, and he comes to see himself as more a farmer than a planter. He and other farmers begin renting out their slaves to people in Norfolk and Richmond, where they are paid wages. And many people thought that this might be the first step toward the eventual elimination of slavery. These anti-slave sentiments don’t last long in Virginia, but for a moment it seemed that Virginia, which dominated the country as no other state ever has, might abolish slavery as the northern states were doing. In fact, there were lots of manumissions and other anti-slave moves in Virginia in the 1780s.


But the black rebellion in Saint-Domingue—the Haitian Revolution—scares the bejesus out of the southerners. Many of the white Frenchmen fled to North America—to Louisiana, to Charleston, and they brought their fears of slave uprisings with them. Then, with Gabriel’s Rebellion in Virginia in 1800, most of the optimism that Virginians had in 1776—1790 is gone.


Of course, I think the ultimate turning point for both sections is the Missouri crisis of 1819–1820. Up to that point, both sections lived with illusions. The Missouri crisis causes the scales to fall away from the eyes of both northerners and southerners. Northerners come to realize that the South really intended to perpetuate slavery and extend it into the West. And southerners come to realize that the North is so opposed to slavery that it will attempt to block them from extending it into the West. From that moment on I think the Civil War became inevitable.


Q. There’s the famous quote from Jefferson that the Missouri crisis awakened him like a fire bell in the night and that in it he perceived the death of the union...


A. Right. He’s absolutely panicked by what’s happening, and these last years of his life leading up to 1826 are really quite sad because he’s saying these things. Reading his writings between 1819 and his death in 1826 makes you wince because he so often sounds like a southern fire-eater of the 1850s. Whereas his friend Madison has a much more balanced view of things, Jefferson becomes a furious and frightened defender of the South. He sees a catastrophe in the works, and he can’t do anything about it.


John Adams, painted by Gilbert Stuart:

His friend Adams was, of course, opposed to slavery from the beginning, and this is something that Hannah-Jones should have been aware of. John Adams is the leading advocate in the Continental Congress for independence. He’s never been a slaveowner. He hates slavery and he has no vested interest in it. By 1819–1820, however, he more or less takes the view that the Virginians have a serious problem with slavery and they are going to have to work it out for themselves. He’s not going to preach to them. That’s essentially what he says to Jefferson.


By the early nineteenth century, Jefferson had what Annette Gordon-Reed calls “New England envy.” His granddaughter marries a New Englander and moves there, and she tells him how everything’s flourishing in Connecticut. The farms are all neat, clean and green, and there are no slaves. He envies the town meetings of New England, those little ward republics. And he just yearns for something like that for Virginia.


Q. How it is that the American Revolution raises the dignity of labor? Because it seems to me that this concept certainly becomes a burning issue by the time of the Civil War.


A. It’s a good question. Central to the middle class revolution was an unprecedented celebration of work, especially manual labor, including the working for money. For centuries going back to the ancient Greeks, work with one’s hands had been held in contempt. Aristotle had said that those who worked with their hands and especially those who worked for money lacked the capacity for virtue. This remained the common view until the American Revolution changed everything.


The northern celebration of work made the slaveholding South seem even more anomalous than it was. Assuming that work was despicable and mean was what justified slavery. Scorn for work and slavery were two sides of the same coin. Now the middle-class northerners—clerks, petty merchants, farmers, etc.—began attacking the leisured gentry as parasites living off the work of others. That was the gist of the writings of William Manning, the obscure Massachusetts farmer, writing in the 1790s. This celebration of work, of course, forced the slaveholding planters to be even more defensive and they began celebrating leisure as the source of high culture in contrast with the money-grubbing North.


Slavery required a culture that held labor in contempt. The North, with its celebration of labor, especially working for money, became even more different from the lazy, slaveholding South. By the 1850s, the two sections, though both American, possessed two different cultures.


Q. In my discussion with Professor James Oakes, he made the point about the emergence of the Democratic Party in the 1820s, that in the North it can’t do what the southern slave owners really want it to do, which is to say slaves are property, but what they do instead is to begin to promote racism.


A. That’s right. When you have a republican society, it’s based on equality of all citizens; and now many whites found that difficult to accept. And they had to justify the segregation and the inferior status of the freed blacks by saying blacks were an inferior race. As I said earlier, in the Colonial period whites didn’t have to mount any racist arguments to justify the lowly status of blacks. In a hierarchical society with many degrees of unfreedom, you don’t bother with trying to explain or justify slavery or the unequal treatment of anyone. Someone like William Byrd never tries to justify slavery. He never argues that blacks are inferior. He doesn’t need to do that because he takes his whole world of inequality and hierarchy for granted. Racism develops in the decades following the Revolution because in a free republican society, whites needed a new justification for keeping blacks in an inferior and segregated place. And it became even more complicated when freed blacks with the suffrage tended to vote for the doomed parties of the Federalists and the Whigs.


Purchase of Christian captives from the Barbary States:

Q. The 1619 Project claims basically that nothing has ever gotten any better. That it’s as bad now as it was during slavery, and instead what you’re describing is a very changed world...


A. Imagine the inequalities that existed before the Revolution. Not just in wealth—I mean, we have that now—but in the way in which people were treated. Consider the huge number of people who were servants of some kind. I just think that people need to know just how bad the Ancién Regime was. In France, we always had this Charles Dickens Tale of Two Cities view of the society, with a nobleman riding through the village and running over children and so on. But similar kinds of brutalities and cruelties existed in the English-speaking world in the way common people were treated. In England, there must have been 200 capital crimes on the books. Consequently, juries became somewhat reluctant to convict to hanging a person for stealing a handkerchief. So the convict was sent as a bonded servant to the colonies, 50,000 of them. And then when the American Revolution occurs, Australia becomes the replacement.


I don’t think people realize just what a cruel and brutal world existed in the Ancién Regime, in the premodern societies of the West, not just for slaves, but for lots of people who were considered the mean or lowly sort. And they don’t appreciate what a radical message is involved in declaring that all men are created equal and what that message means for our obsession with education, and the implications of that for our society.


Q. You spoke of the “consensus school” on American history before, from the 1950s, that saw the Revolution, I think, as essentially a conservative event. And one of the things that they stressed was that there was no aristocracy, no native aristocracy, in America, but you find, if I recall your argument in The Radicalism of the American Revolution, that though aristocracy was not strong, it was something that was still a powerful factor.


A. There’s no European-type aristocracy, the kind of rich, hereditary aristocracy of the sort that existed in England—great landholders living off the rents of their tenants. But we had an aristocracy of sorts. The southern slaveholding planters certainly came closest to the English model, but even in the more egalitarian North there was an aristocracy of sorts. Men of wealth and distinction that we would label elites sought to make the title of gentlemen equal some kind of aristocracy. “Gentleman” was a legal distinction, and such gentlemen were treated differently in the society because of that distinction. With the Revolution, all this came under assault.


It’s interesting to look at the debates that occur in the New York ratifying convention in 1788. The leading Anti-Federalist, Melancton Smith, a very smart guy but a middling sort and with no college graduate degree, gives the highly educated Alexander Hamilton and Robert Livingston a run for their money. He calls Hamilton and Livingston aristocrats and charges that the proposed Constitution was designed to give more power to the likes of them. Hamilton, who certainly felt superior to Smith, denied he was an aristocrat. There were no aristocrats in America, he said; they existed only in Europe. That kind of concession was multiplied ten thousand-fold in the following decades in the North, and this denial of obvious social superiority in the face of middling criticism is denied even today. You see politicians wanting to play down their distinctiveness, their elite status. “I can have a beer with Joe Six-pack,” they say, denying their social superiority. That was already present in the late 1780s. That’s what I mean by radicalism. It’s a middle-class revolution, and it is essentially confined to the North.


President Martin Van Buren, photo by Matthew Brady:

Q. You were speaking earlier of the despair of Madison, Adams and Jefferson late in life. And it just occurred to me that they lived to see Martin Van Buren.


A. That’s right. Van Buren is probably the first real politician in America elected to the presidency. Unlike his predecessors, he never did anything great; he never made a great speech, he never wrote a great document, he never won a great battle. He simply was the most politically astute operator that the United States had ever seen. He organized a party in New York that was the basis of his success.


Van Buren regarded the founding fathers as passé. He told his fellow Americans, look, we don’t need to pay too much attention to those guys. They were aristocrats, he said. We’re Democrats—meaning both small “d” and also capital “D.” Those aristocrats don’t have much to say to us.


Did you know that the “founding fathers” in the antebellum period are not Jefferson and Madison and Washington and Hamilton? In the antebellum period when most Americans referred to the “founders,” they meant John Smith, William Penn, William Bradford, John Winthrop and so on, the founders of the seventeenth century. There’s a good book on this subject by Wesley Frank Craven [ The Legend of the Founding Fathers (1956)].


It’s Lincoln who rescues the eighteenth-century founders for us. From the Civil War on, the “founders” become the ones we celebrate today, the revolutionary leaders. Lincoln makes Jefferson the great hero of America. “All honor to Jefferson,” he says. Only because of the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson didn’t have anything to do with the Constitution, and so Lincoln makes the Declaration the most important document in American history, which I think is true.


Q. For our readership, perhaps you could discuss something of the world-historical significance of the Revolution. Of course, we are under no illusion that it represented a socialist transformation. Yet it was a powerful revolution in its time.


A. It was very important that the American colonial crisis, the imperial crisis, occurred right at the height of what we call the Enlightenment, where Western Europe was full of new ideas and was confident that culture—what people believed and thought—was man-made and thus could be changed. The Old World, the Ancién Regime, could be transformed and made anew. It was an age of revolution, and it’s not surprising that the French Revolution and other revolutions occur in in the wake of the American Revolution.


The notion of equality was really crucial. When the Declaration says that all men are created equal, that is no myth. It is the most powerful statement ever made in our history, and it lies behind almost everything we Americans believe in and attempt to do. What that statement meant is that we are all born equal and the all the differences that we see among us as adults are due solely to our differing educations, differing upbringings and differing environments. The Declaration is an Enlightenment document because it repudiated the Ancién Regime assumption that all men are created unequal and that nothing much could be done about it. That’s what it meant to be a subject in the old society. You were born a patrician or a plebeian and that was your fate.


Q. One of the ironies of this Project 1619 is that they are saying the same things about the Declaration of Independence as the fire-eating proponents of slavery said—that it’s a fraud. Meanwhile, abolitionists like Frederick Douglass upheld it and said we’re going to make this “all men are created equal” real.


A. That points up the problem with the whole project. It’s too bad that it’s going out into the schools with the authority of the New York Times behind it. That’s sad because it will color the views of all these youngsters who will receive the message of the 1619 Project.

Slavery..........in the beginning...............

Stereotyping the Old South


As we approach the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, the war over that conflict's meaning is less civil today than ever.  Jack Hunter explains:

Where did African Slavery originate in North America?
Plantation System In Southern Life
The Plantation South
Virginia Plantations
America's Castles:  Plantation Era

Life in Old Louisiana (1830-1850)

Moonlight and Magnolia: A History of the Southern Plantation
The Colony of Virginia founded in 1607

 Native American Indian ownership of Black slaves is discussed in the documentary

"Black Slaves, Red Masters."

Indians in the Civil War Era

"The Union Indian Brigade in the Civil War" is available for free online at the Internet Archive website, where you can read it or download it by clicking with your 'mouse':


https://archive.org/details/unionindianbrig00britrich

Indians owned Black Slaves

From the late eighteenth century through the end of the War Between the States, Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians bought, sold, and owned Africans and African Americans as slaves, a fact that persisted after the tribes' removal from the Deep South to Indian Territory.


The tribes formulated racial and gender ideologies that justified this practice and marginalized free black people in the Indian nations well after the War Between the States and slavery had ended. Through the end of the nineteenth century, ongoing conflicts among Choctaw, Chickasaw, and U.S. lawmakers left untold numbers of former slaves and their descendants in the two Indian nations without citizenship in either the Indian nations or the United States. In this groundbreaking study, Barbara Krauthamer rewrites the history of southern slavery, emancipation, race, and citizenship to reveal the centrality of Native American slaveholders and the black people they enslaved.


Krauthamer's examination of slavery and emancipation highlights the ways Indian women's gender roles changed with the arrival of slavery and changed again after emancipation and reveals complex dynamics of race that shaped the lives of black people and Indians both before and after removal.

"The role of black Indians, largely omitted from or distorted in conventional history books, is traced by William Katz with careful and committed research. . . . he integrates their general history with brief individual biographies, including leaders, army scouts and soldiers, frontiersmen and explorers, (and) dangerous outlaws".--Booklist.

Slavery existed in North America long before the first Africans arrived at Jamestown in 1619. For centuries, from the pre-Columbian era through the 1840s, Native Americans took prisoners of war and killed, adopted, or enslaved them. Christina Snyder's path-breaking book takes a familiar setting for bondage, the American South, and places Native Americans at the center of her engrossing story.

Indian warriors captured a wide range of enemies, including Africans, Europeans, and other Indians. Yet until the late eighteenth century, age and gender more than race affected the fate of captives. As economic and political crises mounted, however, Indians began to racialize slavery and target African Americans. Native people struggling to secure a separate space for themselves in America developed a shared language of race with white settlers. Although the Indians' captivity practices remained fluid long after their neighbors hardened racial lines, the Second Seminole War ultimately tore apart the inclusive communities that Native people had created through centuries of captivity.

Snyder's rich and sweeping history of Indian slavery connects figures like Andrew Jackson and Cherokee chief Dragging Canoe with little-known captives like Antonia Bonnelli, a white teenager from Spanish Florida, and David George, a black runaway from Virginia. Placing the experiences of these individuals within a complex system of captivity and Indians' relations with other peoples, Snyder demonstrates the profound role of Native American history in the American past.

In The Native Ground, Kathleen DuVal argues that it was Indians rather than European would-be colonizers who were more often able to determine the form and content of the relations between the two groups. Along the banks of the Arkansas and Mississippi rivers, far from Paris, Madrid, and London, European colonialism met neither accommodation nor resistance but incorporation. Rather than being colonized, Indians drew European empires into local patterns of land and resource allocation, sustenance, goods exchange, gender relations, diplomacy, and warfare. Placing Indians at the center of the story, DuVal shows both their diversity and our contemporary tendency to exaggerate the influence of Europeans in places far from their centers of power. Europeans were often more dependent on Indians than Indians were on them.


Now the states of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Colorado, this native ground was originally populated by indigenous peoples, became part of the French and Spanish empires, and in 1803 was bought by the United States in the Louisiana Purchase. Drawing on archaeology and oral history, as well as documents in English, French, and Spanish, DuVal chronicles the successive migrations of Indians and Europeans to the area from precolonial times through the 1820s. These myriad native groups—Mississippians, Quapaws, Osages, Chickasaws, Caddos, and Cherokees—and the waves of Europeans all competed with one another for control of the region.


Only in the nineteenth century did outsiders initiate a future in which one people would claim exclusive ownership of the mid-continent. After the War of 1812, these settlers came in numbers large enough to overwhelm the region's inhabitants and reject the early patterns of cross-cultural interdependence. As citizens of the United States, they persuaded the federal government to muster its resources on behalf of their dreams of landholding and citizenship.


With keen insight and broad vision, Kathleen DuVal retells the story of Indian and European contact in a more complex and, ultimately, more satisfactory way.

Late in April 1861, President Lincoln ordered Federal troops to evacuate forts in Indian Territory. That left the Five Civilized Tribes—Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Creeks, and Seminoles—essentially under Confederate jurisdiction and control. The American Indian and the End of the Confederacy, 1863–1866, spans the closing years of the War Between the States, when Southern fortunes were waning, and the immediate postwar period.

 

Annie Heloise Abel shows the extreme vulnerability of the Indians caught between two warring sides. "The failure of the United States government to afford to the southern Indians the protection solemnly guaranteed by treaty stipulations had been the great cause of their entering into an alliance with The Confederacy, "she writes. Her classic book, originally published in 1925 as the third volume of The Slaveholding Indians, makes clear how the Indians became the victims of uprootedness and privation, pillaging, government mismanagement, and, finally, a deceptive treaty for reconstruction.

5 Native American Communities who Owned Enslaved Africans
Slavery in Oklahoma

Indian Slavery/Slaveries in early

Eastern North America



Kristofer Ray, Dartmouth College, “Constructing a Discourse of Indian Slavery, Freedom, and Sovereignty in Anglo-Virginia, 1600–1830”


Margaret Newell, Ohio State University, “‘As good if not better then Moorish Slaves’: Region and Ethnicity in slavery—the case of New England”


Hayley Negrin, New York University, “Interconnected Regimes: The Indian Slave Trade in Carolina and Plantation Slavery in Virginia after the Westo War of 1679”

The Confederate Cherokee
In America’s Long History of Slavery, New England Shares the Guilt

Here is a picture of Puritan New England far different from the “city upon a hill” that John Winthrop hoped he and the other first settlers would leave for posterity. It opens with the kidnapping of a Patuxet Indian. It closes with one of the wealthiest men in Massachusetts justifying the enslavement and sale of Africans. In between, Wendy Warren, an assistant professor of history at Prince­ton, scatters massacres, a rape, beheadings, brandings, whippings and numerous instances of forced exile. The behavior of New England settlers differed less from that of their contemporaries who established plantation colonies in the Chesapeake and the Caribbean than might be assumed.

Warren’s theme in “New England Bound” — the place of slavery in the making of colonial New England — echoes preoccupations of the moment in the writing of American history, as the pervasive influence of slavery on the nation, its institutions and its cultures attains wider recognition. In time, perhaps, this perspective will no longer surprise, and even now, few familiar with colonial American history will be astonished by Warren’s account. She builds on and generously acknowledges more than two generations of research into the social history of New England and the economic history of the Atlantic world. But not only has she mastered that scholarship, she has also brought it together in an original way, and deepened the story with fresh research.


The economic ties between early New England and the Caribbean deserve to be better known. Prominent merchant families like the Winthrops and the Hutchinsons made their fortunes by linking New England farmers and fishermen to West Indian markets, by sending food to the sugar colonies, where, in the 17th century, the real wealth lay. Enslaved Africans came to New England through these same merchant networks, as one of several imports from the English Caribbean. These forced migrants never became more than 10 percent of the population. Still, many New England households soon kept a captive African or two.


Slave ownership reached down the social scale and into New England’s hinterland. African captives helped replace the ­Native-American communities displaced by English colonists. As enslaved Africans came in, New England merchants sent Indian captives out, banishing them to Barbados or somewhere else beyond the seas.


This economic dependence on West Indian slavery and the routine exploitation of Indian and African captives drew little comment from English colonists at the time. Warren finds some “wincing in the face of .?.?. cruelty,” but acknowledges that doubts about slavery ran no more deeply in New England at the turn of the 18th century than in any of the other European colonies in the Americas. The emergence of the antislavery North lay more than a century off.


What is most fascinating here is the detailed rendering of what individual enslaved men and women experienced in New England households. “New England Bound” conveys the disorientation, the deprivation, the vulnerability, the occasional hunger and the profound isolation that defined the life of most African exiles in Puritan New England, where there was no plantation community. Though the surviving record allows limited access to their thoughts, Warren effectively evokes their feelings. Ripped from kin on the far side of the Atlantic, “dreaming of other people and other places,” but unable to go home, the lost tried and sometimes succeeded in making meaningful connections with others suffering a similar fate. For this was the ordinary pain and sorrow of slave life in New England: Belonging to someone often meant having no one to belong to.

(Review written by Christopher L. Brown is a professor of history, director of the Society of Fellows and vice provost for faculty affairs at Columbia University.)

Colonial America Depended on the Enslavement of Indigenous People

Slavery in New England....a PowerPoint program:
Forging New Communities: Indian Slavery and Servitude in Colonial New England, 1676-1776
Colonists shipped Native Americans abroad as Slaves
Indian Slavery in New England

Dr. Margaret Newell:

New England Indians, Colonists, & the Origins of American Slavery

(A discussion on Ben Franklin's World podcast)

 

Did you know that one of the earliest practices of slavery by English colonists originated in New England?

 

In fact, Massachusetts issued the very first slave code in English America in 1641. Why did New Englanders turn to slavery and become the first in English America to codify its practice?

 

Margaret Ellen Newell, a professor of history at The Ohio State University and the author of Brethren By Nature: New England Indians, Colonists, and the Origins of American Slavery, joins us to investigate these questions and issues.

Dr. Margaret Ellen Newell

presents a lecture on "Brethren by Nature:

New England Indians, Colonists,

and the Origins of American Slavery."

Dr. Margaret Ellen Newell presents another lecture: The Influence of the Colonists’ Relations with American Indians

Native Americans shaped the colonial project in many ways. Indians made European colonization possible by supplying food, trade, technology, labor, and other resources –sometimes voluntarily, and sometimes involuntarily– that powered the North American economy. Indians incorporated Europeans into trade and military alliance networks that became essential to imperial power in North America. Indian affairs and wars dominated the affairs of colonial states and, later, of the U.S. government, for centuries. Indigenous actions influenced milestone events like the American Revolution, the Mexican-American War and the U.S. Civil War. Intercultural exchange was part of this story, and we will discuss mutual influences and cultural clashes.

Dr. Gary Gallagher, University of Virginia, in an excerpt from a lecture, "The Real Lost Cause," discusses why too many read history from the end instead of at the beginning; why the majority of people in the North were racist; why the Civil War could have ended with a victorious Union Army, and............ with slavery intact:

Problematic 'Political Correctness'

Political correctness and historical objectivity cannot coexist in the same textbook on the War Between the States.  Unfortunately, as Sam Mitcham recently stated in a new book on the battle at Vicksburg, political correctness and intellectual dishonesty are all too often synonymous.

I have found, all to often, that the 'politically correct' party line is: the war was all about slavery; that selfless, valiant, morally pristine Northern army (which was supposedly full of holy and righteous indignation) launched a holy crusade against the evil Southern slaveholders, and defeated them because of their superior military skills, selfless valor, and overwhelmingly great mental prowess.  That would be funny if so many people didn't believe it.

Many today have no idea that ONLY 6-7% of the Confederate Army was made up of slaveholders.

Even those who do not read, but watch television and have seen the movie "Gettysburg" should ask themselves, "Why would anybody go through that hell so somebody else could keep their slaves?"  The inescapable conclusion is they would not.  So, why did the Southerner fight?

There were several major causes of the war, with slavery as one; but it was not the only one.  Money was a big one; perhaps the most significant, as will be detailed later on this page, reference the tariff issue.

There was no income tax in the Antebellum South or North; the major source of income for the government was the tariff.

Consider:
.......that the Southern plantation owner and yeoman farmer produced more than 75% of the world's cotton 
.......the South, which contained 30% of the nation's population, was paying more than 85% of its taxes 
.......at the same time, approximately 3/4 of that money was being spent on internal improvements in the North.

That is why, when asked why he didn't just let the South go, Lincoln cried, "Let the South go?  Let the South go?  From where then would we get our revenues?"
Then, many self-ordained 'politically correct' individuals never mention the fact that the American slaves were originally enslaved by black Africans, not by white men on horseback who scooped up African warriors, as depicted in one movie.

They sold them to Northern or Arab (Muslim) flesh peddlers.  The slave fleets headquartered in Boston, Mass, and Providence, R.I., not in Charleston, New Orleans, and Savannah.

Yankee flesh peddlers then transported them across the ocean and sold them to Southerners and various other Americans...or at least what was left of them.

Of the 24 to 25 million slaves transported to the Western Hemisphere, only 20 million arrived alive.

4-5 million died in what was called the "Middle Passage."  (So much for Northern compassion).

6% of the survivors ended up in the colonies of the United States.

Slave fleets continued to operate throughout the Civil War.  They did not stop until 1885, when Brazil became the last country to outlaw the slave trade.

It is unfortunate that history is so vulnerable to those who want to dictate the present and control the future by changing the past.  And many 'politically correct' historians swell up in righteous indignation if you even bring up these inconvenient facts.
What was "Triangle Trade?"

What countries were involved in the triangle trade?

How do scholars get information about slave trading voyages?

The Cuban Slave Trade Connection:
Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade:
Rhode Island.....Slave Trading Hub:
Slavery in Rhode Island:
Slavery in Massachusetts:
February 26, 1638: First Slaves Arrive in Massachusetts

Forgotten History: How The New England Colonists Embraced The Slave Trade


American slavery predates the founding of the United States. Wendy Warren, author of New England Bound, says the early colonists imported African slaves and enslaved and exported Native Americans.

Interview with Wendy Warren on NPRs "Fresh Air" June 21, 2016:
The Presbyterian Church and the Coming Civil War

This presentation delves into religion and the American Civil War. Understanding religion and its importance for the Civil War era is too often a neglected topic in a period that is so often defined by cataclysmic political and military events.

With Ranger Zach Siggins.

Presbyterian Church publications dealing with the Civil War:
Rev. Isaac W. Handy, Presbyterian clergyman, preaching to POWs in Fort Delaware:
SLAVERY:  Dirty Secrets Exposed
Anthony Johnson:  First Slave Owner in America (in Northampton County, Virginia).....and he was Black.
John Casor:

In 1640, five years after being freed from slavery himself, Anthony Johnson (born in Angola, Africa), acquired a black slave named John Casar (sometimes spelled Casor or Gesorroro). In 1648, Johnson, who had come to the Eastern Shore in the 1620s, purchased four head of livestock from four different planters. Two years later he was given a patent for an isolated 250-acre tract of land on the north side of Nandua, where he settled with his wife Mary (who had arrived from Africa in 1622) and proceeded to build a livestock business. A patent was a legal claim to land given by the government in exchange for bringing dependents (called "headrights") into the colony. In 1654, he acquired a second slave, Mary Gersheene. Over the next few years, the Johnson's sons, John and Richard, accumulated 650 acres adjacent to their parents' land.


The accumulation of several hundred acres of land, a herd of cattle, and a few slaves constituted a singular economic achievement for a free black family in mid-seventeenth-century Virginia. Historians have pointed to Anthony Johnson as proof that in the early and mid-1600's at least, Virginia's free blacks sometimes operated on an equal footing with whites. It is true that during the 17th-century free black men occasionally purchased not only black slaves, but indentured white servants, and they sometimes married white women. They established profitable farms and livestock businesses, and successfully sued whites in court.


But more recent investigations into the lives of free blacks on the Eastern Shore suggest that while colonial blacks had relatively more opportunity and freedom than their descendants in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, they too suffered at the hands of the white majority.


The Johnsons, for example, were harassed by two of their white neighbors, George and Robert Parker, who connived to lure John Casar away from the Johnson household in early 1655. Johnson successfully petitioned the court for Casar's return, ironically setting an early legal precedent for slavery in Virginia. A white planter attempted to defraud the Johnsons out of their land in 1653, and in 1658 another planter, Matthew Pippen, succeeded in taking land away from Richard Johnson.


Perhaps seeking an atmosphere more congenial for free blacks, the Johnson family moved north to Somerset County, Maryland in 1665, where Anthony Johnson leased 300 acres and founded a tobacco farm that he called Tories Vineyards. But their Virginia troubles were not over. In 1667, Edmund Scarburgh, the Shore's most prominent planter and politician, cheated Johnson out of more than 1,300 pounds of tobacco. And in the greatest injustice of all, in 1670 a jury of white men decided that "because he was a Negroe and by consequence an alien," the Virginia land originally held by Johnson should revert to the Crown.


Anthony Johnson died on his estate in Somerset before the 1670 decision was handed down. Mary Johnson died there 10 years later. Only one son, Richard Johnson, born about 1632, remained on the Eastern Shore, on 50 acres given to him by his father. In the next generation this property was inherited by Anthony's grandson, John Johnson Jr., who named the farm “Angola” as a tribute to his grandfather's birth country. John Johnson was unable to pay the taxes on the property and subsequently lost ownership. He died in 1721.

The Johnson family's economic success is a tribute to their hard work and resourcefulness, but the attempts by their white neighbors to ruin them are indicative of the severe obstacles to success placed in the path of blacks even during colonial times.

(Source: Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, “Site of 17th Century Estate of Anthony and Mary Johnson,” African American Historic Sites Database.)

The First Official Slave and Slave Owner in (North) America...from "Stolen History, Part 2":

William Ellison: Largest African American Slave Owner and Breeder

in South Carolina.....

and he was Black

William Ellison's plantation:
The Borough Plantation

By 1860, William “April” Ellison was South Carolina's largest Negro slave owner; and in the entire state, only five percent of the people owned as much real estate as did William Ellison. His wealth was 15 times greater than that of the state's average for whites. Ellison also owned more slaves than did 99% of the South's slaveholders.

"Black Masters: A Free Family of Color in the Old South" is the complete documented history of William Ellison, Jr., a black man who was among the top 10% of all slaveholders and landowners in Sumpter county, S.C.  In the entire state of South Carolina, only 5% of the population owned as much real estate as Ellison.  Only 3% of the state's slaveholders owned as many slaves.  Thus, compared to the mean wealth of white men in the entire South, Ellison's was 15 times greater.  99% of the South's slaveholders owned fewer slaves than he did.

William Holmes Ellison, Jr. "April"

a Black (mulatto) Slave Owner in South Carolina

 

In 1800, the South Carolina legislature had set out in detail the procedures for manumission. To end the practice of freeing unruly slaves of "bad or depraved" character and those who "from age or infirmity" were incapacitated, the state required that an owner testify under oath to the good character of the slave he sought to free. Also required was evidence of the slave's "ability to gain a livelihood in an honest way." On June 8, 1816, William Ellison of Fairfield County appeared before a magistrate (with five local freeholders as supporting witnesses) to gain permission to free his slave, April, who was at the time 26 years of age. April was William Ellison, Jr. of Sumter County.


At birth, William Ellison, Jr. was given the name of "April." It was a popular practice among slaves of the period to name a child after the day or month of his or her birth. It is known that between the years 1800 and 1802 April was owned by a white slave-owner named William Ellison, son of Robert Ellison of Fairfield County in South Carolina. It is not documented as to who his owner was before that time. It can only be assumed that William Ellison, a planter of Fairfield district was either the father or the brother of William Ellison, Jr., freedman of Sumter County. April had his name changed to William Ellison by the courts, obviously in honor of William Ellison of Fairfield.

At the age of 10, William "April" Ellison was apprenticed and he was trained as a cotton gin builder and repairer. He spent six years training as a blacksmith and carpenter and he also learned how to read, write, cipher and to do basic bookkeeping. Since there are no records showing the purchase of April (later William Ellison of Sumter) by William Ellison of Fairfield, it is unknown as to how long April was owned by William Ellison. It is known that William Ellison of Fairfield inherited a large estate from his father Robert, and that the slaves of the estate, named in the will were left to his siblings. It is possible that Robert Ellison gave several slaves to his son before his death, so they would not have needed to have been mentioned in his will. William owned several slaves according to the census records. Both Robert and William were of an age to have been able to be the father of April.

April was trained as a machinist and he became a well known cotton gin maker. Upon receiving his freedom he decided to pursue his expertise in Sumter County, South Carolina where found an eager market for his trade. He is well known for perfecting the cotton gin invented by Eli Whitney.

William Holmes "April" Ellison was born in 1790, in Fairfield, SC, which was 40 miles NW of the High Hills, to William Holmes Ellison and Mary Harrison. He married a woman named Matilda and together they had the following children: Aliza Ann, Marie, Henry, William Holmes III, and Reuben Ellison. He had an illegitimate child named Maria Ellison that he sold. "April" was a slave owner and one time slave himself. It was told that he was hard on his slaves and interestingly none of his slaves were Mulattoes, they were all black. When he was 26 he became a free man and 3 years later at the Sumter District courthouse he had his name changed to William. William was the name of his former master (William Holmes Ellison I). He changed his name from April because it was tied to slavery.


He was known for being a Cotton Gin Maker. In 1822, he built his Cotton gin shop on an acre of land that he purchased for $375 from General Thomas Sumter. This shop would be operated by William and even his grandsons for many decades. The shop was located at the NW corner of a busy intersection of the roads of Charleston-Camden and Sumterville-Columbia, SC. Now at the Holy Cross Episcopal Church were he attend services, William rose in respectability. His family became so respected that they were the only colored family allowed to worship on the main floor. William Ellison was permitted to place a Bench under the Organ Loft for the use of himself and family. William Ellison died on December 5, 1861 in Statesburg, SC, and was buried with his wife, Matilda. His tombstone was placed in the first row of the family's graveyard.
------------------------------------

Additional Bio Info provided by Art Wells:

In 1800 the South Carolina legislature had set out in detail the procedures for manumission. To end the practice of freeing unruly slaves of "bad or depraved" character and those who "from age or infirmity" were incapacitated, the state required that an owner testify under oath to the good character of the slave he sought to free. Also required was evidence of the slave's "ability to gain a livelihood in an honest way." On June 8, 1816, William Ellison of Fairfield County appeared before a magistrate (with five local freeholders as supporting witnesses) to gain permission to free his slave, April, who was at the time 26 years of age. April was William Ellison, Jr. of Sumter County.

At birth, William Ellison, Jr. was given the name of "April." It was a popular practice among slaves of the period to name a child after the day or month of his or her birth. It is known that between the years 1800 and 1802 April was owned by a white slave-owner named William Ellison, son of Robert Ellison of Fairfield County in South Carolina. It is not documented as to who his owner was before that time. It can only be assumed that William Ellison, a planter of Fairfield district was either the father or the brother of William Ellison, Jr., freedman of Sumter County. April had his name changed to William Ellison by the courts, obviously in honor of William Ellison of Fairfield.

At the age of 10, William "April" Ellison was apprenticed and he was trained as a cotton gin builder and repairer. He spent six years training as a blacksmith and carpenter and he also learned how to read, write, cipher and to do basic bookkeeping. Since there are no records showing the purchase of April (later William Ellison of Sumter) by William Ellison of Fairfield, it is unknown as to how long April was owned by William Ellison. It is known that William Ellison of Fairfield inherited a large estate from his father Robert, and that the slaves of the estate, named in the will were left to his siblings. It is possible that Robert Ellison gave several slaves to his son before his death, so they would not have needed to have been mentioned in his will. William owned several slaves according to the census records. Both Robert and William were of an age to have been able to be the father of April.

April was trained as a machinist and he became a well known cotton gin maker. Upon receiving his freedom he decided to pursue his expertise in Sumter County, South Carolina where found an eager market for his trade. He is well known for perfecting the cotton gin invented by Eli Whitney.

In 1816, April, now known as William Ellison, Jr. arrived in Stateburg where he initially hired slave workers from their local owners. By 1820 he had purchased two adult males to work in his shop. On June 20, 1820, April appeared in the Sumter District courthouse in Sumterville. Described in court papers submitted by his attorney as a “freed yellow man of about 29 years of age,” he requested a name change because it “would yet greatly advance his interest as a tradesman.” A new name would also “save him and his children from degradation and contempt which the minds of some do and will attach to the name April.” Because “of the kindness” of his former master and as a “Mark of gratitude and respect for him” April asked that his name be changed to William Ellison. His request was granted.

The Ellison family joined the Episcopalian Church of the Holy Cross in Stateburg and on August 6, 1824, William Ellis was the first black to install a family bench on the first floor of the church, among those of the other wealthy families of Stateburg. The poor whites and the other black church members, free and slave, sat in the balcony of the church.

Gradually, Ellison built up a small empire, purchasing slaves in increasing numbers as the years passed. He became one of South Carolina's major cotton gin manufacturers and sold his machines as far away as Mississippi. He regularly advertised his cotton gins in newspapers across the state. His ads may be found in historic copies of the Black River Watchman, the Sumter Southern Whig, and the Camden Gazzette.

By 1830, he owned four slaves who assisted him in his business. He then began to acquire land and even more slaves. In 1838 Ellison purchased 54.5 acres adjoining his original acreage from former South Carolina Governor Stephen Decater Miller. Ellison and his family moved into a large home on the property. (The house had been known as Miller House but became known as Ellison House.) As his business grew, so did his wealth and by 1840, Ellison owned 12 slaves. His sons, who lived in homes on the property, owned an additional nine slaves. By the early 1840s, he was one of the most prosperous men in the area. By the year 1850, he was the owner of 386 acres of land and 37 slaves. The workers on Ellison's plantation produced 35 bales of cotton that year.

In 1852, Ellison purchased Keith Hill and Hickory Hill Plantations which increased his land holdings to over 1,000 acres. By 1860 William Ellison was South Carolina's largest Negro slave owner and in the entire state, only five percent of the people owned as much real estate as did William Ellison. His wealth was 15 times greater than that of the state's average for whites. Ellison also owned more slaves than did 99% of the South's slaveholders.

When War Between the States broke out in 1861, William Ellison, Jr. was one of the staunchest supporters of the Confederacy. His grandson joined a Confederate Artillery Unit, and William turned his plantation over from cotton cash crop production to farming foodstuff for the Confederacy.

William Ellison, Jr. died on 5 December 1861, at the age of 71 and per his wishes, his family continued to actively support the Confederacy throughout the war. Aside from producing corn, fodder, bacon, corn shucks, and cotton for the Confederate Army, they contributed vast amounts of money, paid $5000 in taxes, and invested a good portion of their fortune into Confederate Bonds which were worthless at the end of the war.

William Ellison, Jr. had died with an estate appraised at $43,500, consisting of 70 slaves. His will stated that his estate should pass into the joint hands of his daughter and his two surviving sons. He bequeathed $500 to a slave daughter he had sold. At his death he was one in the top 10% of the wealthiest people in all of South Carolina, was in the top 5% of land ownership, and he was the third largest slave owner in the entire state.


In 1816, April, now known as William Ellison, Jr. (not to be confused with one of his own sons, whom he would name William Ellison, Jr.) arrived in Stateburg where he initially hired slave workers from their local owners. By 1820, he had purchased two adult males to work in his shop. On June 20, 1820, "April" appeared in the Sumter District courthouse in Sumterville. Described in court papers submitted by his attorney as a “freed yellow man of about 29 years of age,” he requested a name change because it “would yet greatly advance his interest as a tradesman.” A new name would also “save him and his children from degradation and contempt which the minds of some do and will attach to the name April.” Because “of the kindness” of his former master and as a “Mark of gratitude and respect for him” April asked that his name be changed to William Ellison. His request was granted.

The Ellison family joined the Episcopalian Church of the Holy Cross in Stateburg and on  August 6, 1824, William Ellis was the first black allowed to install a family bench on the first floor of the church, albeit in the back of the church, among those of the other wealthy  families of Stateburg. The poor whites and the other black church members, free and slave, sat in the balcony of the church.

Gradually, Ellison built up a small empire, purchasing slaves in increasing numbers as the years passed. He became one of South Carolina's major cotton gin manufacturers and sold his machines as far away as Mississippi. He regularly advertised his cotton gins in newspapers across the state. His ads may be found in historic copies of the Black River Watchman, the Sumter Southern Whig, and the Camden Gazette.

By 1830, he owned four slaves who assisted him in his business.   He then began to acquire land and even more slaves. In 1838, Ellison purchased 54.5 acres adjoining his original acreage from former South Carolina Governor Stephen Decater Miller. Ellison and his family moved into a large home on the property. (The house had been known as Miller House but became known as Ellison House.) As his business grew, so did his wealth and  by 1840, Ellison owned 12 slaves.


His sons, who lived in homes on the property, owned an additional nine slaves. By the early 1840s, he was one of the most prosperous men in the area. By the year 1850, he was the owner of 386 acres of land and 37 slaves. The workers on Ellison's plantation produced 35 bales of cotton that year. 

In 1852, Ellison purchased Keith Hill and Hickory Hill Plantations which increased his land holdings to over 1,000 acres. By 1860 William Ellison was South Carolina's largest Negro slaveowner and in the entire state, only five percent of the people owned as much real estate as did William Ellison. His wealth was 15 times greater than that of the state's average for whites. Ellison also owned more slaves than did 99% of the South's slaveholders.


And how did he treat his slaves?  The records found in "Black Masters," tell us "He had a reputation as a harsh master.  His slaves were said to be the district's worst fed and worst clothed.  Hungry for more land and slaves, Ellison and his family lived frugally, and he probably was even more tightfisted in providing food, clothing, and housing for his slaves.   Harsh treatment could have stemmed from Ellison's need to prove to whites that, despite his history and color, he was not soft on slaves.  A reputation for harshness was less dangerous than a reputation for indulgence."


Did he pay for "slave catchers" to find his runaway slaves?  Yes, the record is clear on that point. 


He was also a slave "breeder" who sold off black slave girls to help raise the large sums he needed to buy more adult slaves and more land.  To him, slaves were a source of labor, and the laborers he needed most were adult men who could work in his gin shop and cotton fields.  Rather than accumulate slaves he could not exploit, it is seen that he sold twenty or more girls, retaining only a few who could eventually have more children, and in some cases, work in his home as domestics.  If Ellison sold twenty slave girls for an average price of $400, he obtained an additional $8,000 cash, a sum large enough to have made a major contribution to the land and slave purchases that made him a planter.  Thus, Ellison's economic empire was in large part constructed by slave labor and paid for by the sale of slave girls.  And from the local records available, local tradition is silent about Ellison's slave sales, but outspoken about his reputation as a harsh master.  In summary, his slaves were said to be the district's worst fed and worst clothed. 


When War Between the States broke out in 1861, William Ellison, Jr. was one of the staunchest supporters of the Confederacy. His grandson joined a Confederate Artillery Unit, and William turned his plantation over from cotton cash crop production to farming foodstuff for the Confederacy.

William Ellison  died on 5 December 1861, at the age of 71 and per his wishes, his family continued to actively support the Confederacy throughout the war. Aside from producing corn, fodder, bacon, corn shucks, and cotton for the Confederate Army, they contributed vast amounts of money, paid $5000 in taxes, and invested a good portion of their fortune into Confederate Bonds which were worthless at the end of the war.

 William Ellison, Jr. had died with an estate under-appraised at $43,500, consisting of 70 slaves. His will stated that his estate should pass into the joint hands of his daughter and his two surviving sons. He bequeathed $500 to a slave daughter he had sold. At his death he was one in the top 10% of the  wealthiest people in all of South Carolina, was in the top 5% of land ownership, and he was the third largest slave owner in the entire state. 


Slave records show that Ellison owned by year and number:

1820: 2, 1830: 4, 1840: 30, 1850: 36, and 1860: 63.

Skilled artisans who made and repaired cotton gins and other agricultural equipment were a common feature in many communities of antebellum South Carolina.  While some enslaved craftsmen and mechanics did this type of work, this was also a business for white laborers and even free persons of color.  The 1860 census, however, listed only 21 fulltime gin makers in the state.  The above newspaper advertisements shed light on the business of making and repairing cotton gins during the mid-nineteenth century.  The ad, “Improved Cotton Gins,” comes from William Ellison of Stateburg, a successful cotton gin maker, as well as planter, slaveholder, and free person of color. 

Ellison’s remarkable story began in 1790, as a child born into slavery in Fairfield District.  At the time of his birth, the South Carolina backcountry was still very much a frontier society.  His father was likely a white man (either Robert or William Ellison), who was among those early cotton farmers that helped transform the backcountry into a plantation society.  Around 1802, he became an apprentice to a nearby gin maker in Winnsboro, helping construct cotton gins for planters in the region.  In 1816, at the age of 26, he purchased his freedom, and he legally changed his name from April to William in 1820.  Changing his name was an important step, since “April” was considered a slave name.  William Ellison, as a free person of color and entrepreneur, set up his own successful gin shop in Stateburg.

1856 Newspaper Article on
William Ellison, Black Slave Owner:

William Ellison to Henry Ellison, 26 March 1857.  Document Description:

Freedman William Ellison’s cotton gin shop in Stateburg proved to be a lucrative enterprise for him and his family.  In this letter dated March 26, 1857, Ellison wrote to his son Henry, who was clearly involved in handling the accounts of the ginning business.  By the time of this letter, William Ellison and his family were a part of an elite group of free African Americans based largely in Charleston.  Ellison maintained his wealth and financial security by purchasing land and slaves.  By 1860, Ellison owned over 900 acres of land, as well as 63 slaves.  According to the census of 1860, Ellison was one of 171 black slaveholders in South Carolina.  His home in Stateburg, which had previously belonged to former governor, Stephen Miller, still stands today.


The above letter comes from the Ellison Family Papers, which consist of letters, notices, receipts, and accounts for William Ellison.  These papers are unique, since they are perhaps the only sustained collection of papers between members of a family of free African Americans during the mid-nineteenth century (ranging in time from 1848 to 1864).  Selected Ellison Family Papers have been published in Michael P. Johnson and James L. Roark, ed., No Chariot Let Down: Charleston’s Free People of Color on the Eve of the Civil War.  (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1984).

Citation:

William Ellison to Henry Ellison, 26 March 1857.  Ellison Family Papers, 1845-1870. Manuscripts Division, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.


Transcription:

Stateburg, March 26th 1857


Dear Henry,

Your letter of 23rd instant was duly received and I perceived by it that you had not received mine of the 22d.  John went over the river yesterday.  He saw Mr. Ledinham.  He said that he had not sold but half of his crop of cotton and had not the money but when he got the money and was working on this side of the river that he would send his son with it and rake up his account.  He also saw Mr. Van Buren and he was ready to pay but before he did so he wished his overseer to certify to it but John could not find him and as it became late he had to leave for home but left the account with Mrs. Mitchel, his wife.  You will find enclosed Mrs. Mathew Singleton’s account.  She will be found at No. 4 Akins range.  Mr. Turner said that it was his fault that the account was not paid before.  He thinks that she will get another gin.  There is one of the saws in the new gin that is worn half in two.  He says that he will send the gin over to be repair[ed] and also another old gin providing Mrs. Singleton don’t get a new gin.  As you did not get my letter in due time and for fear that you may not [have] as yet received it, I will mention a few items of importance that  I

[Page 2]

wish attended to at one if you have not done so.  Leave three hundred dollars in Messrs. Adams and Frost hands subject to my order.  And also the money that I have borrowed from William.  Mr. Benbow wrote to me and I sent you a copy in the letter that I wrote you.  Mr. E. Murray’s account and order was presented to him last Friday and he was to send his note when he sent to the post office but he failed to do so.  I want you to get me a half doz. weeding hoes.  No. 2 get two hand saws from Mr. Adger for the shop.  I want you to get me 8 bags of guano.  The above articles and instruction was states in the other letter.  I mention the same incase you should not have received my other letter.  We are all well as usual.  Give my respect to all my friends.

Your father,

William Ellison

The slave-holding, black, Ellison family, fully supported the Confederacy.
In addition to buying Confederate War Bonds and growing crops to help feed the Confederate Army, at least one of the Ellison sons (William Holmes Ellison, III) joined the Confederate army, seen in the next photo.
William Holmes Ellison, III
in Confederate uniform

Birth:            Jul. 19, 1819

Death:          Jul. 24, 1904

 

 Parents:

  William Holmes Ellison (1790 - 1861)

  Matilda Ellison (1764 - 1850)

 

 Spouses:

  Mary Thomson Mishaw Ellison (1829 - 1853)

  Gabriella Miller Ellison (1832 - 1920)*

 

 Children:

  William John Ellison (1845 - 1894)*

  Robert Mishaw Ellison (1851 - 1854)*

  Henry McKinzie Ellison (1852 - 1853)*

 

 Siblings:

  Aliza Ann Ellison Buckner Johnson (1811 - 1820)*

  William Holmes Ellison (1819 - 1904)

  Reuben Ellison (1821 - ____)*

 

Inscription:

At Rest

His two wives:

Mary Thomson Mishaw Ellison

Birth:            Sep. 4, 1829

Death:           Jun. 2, 1853

 

Consort of William Ellison Jr. Daughter of John Mishaw.

  

Family links:

 Spouse:

  William Holmes Ellison (1819 - 1904)*

 

 Children:

  William John Ellison (1845 - 1894)*

  Robert Mishaw Ellison (1851 - 1854)*

  Henry McKinzie Ellison (1852 - 1853)*

 

Inscription:

Mary Thomson Ellison, Consort of William Ellison Jr. and Daughter of the late John Mishaw, formerly of Charleston who departed this life in 2nf of June 1853 age 24 years, 9 months, & 28 days in the prime of life and vigor of youth she was visited with a painful & lingering disease & as a Christian she bore with patience thru faith in her redeemer until her spirit was called away unto him that gave it.

 

Burial:

Ellison Cemetery

Sumter

Sumter County

South Carolina, USA



Gabriella Miller Ellison

 

Birth:            Nov. 18, 1832

Death:           Dec. 24, 1920

 

Gabriella Miller is the daughter of Ruben Miller and Louise Barrett. She 1st married Charley Johnson with whom she had one daughter, Charlotte Johnson. After Charley's death, she married William Ellison III.

 

Family links:

 Spouse:

  William Holmes Ellison (1819 - 1904)

 

Burial:

Ellison Cemetery

Sumter

Sumter County

South Carolina, USA


Gabriella Miller Ellison's death certificate:

William Holmes Ellison, III
tombstone in the "segregated"
Ellison cemetery
This and other primary document evidence, refutes those historians like Gary Gallagher, who fervently believe that no Black man ever served in the Confederate Army. Other historians have examined the original documentation and have agreed with my assessment.
More information about Black Confederates is found further down on this web page.

 

John Wilson Buckner, of the Ellison family line,  also served with the CSA, in the company of Captains P.P. Galliard and A.H. Boykin, local white men who knew that Buckner was a Man of Color. Although it was illegal at the time for a Man of Color to formally join the Confederate forces, the Ellison family's prestige nullified the law in the minds of Buckner's comrades. Buckner was wounded in action on July 12, 1863. He did not die then. He applied for and received a pension from the Federal Government, as did all Confederate soldiers who applied. At his funeral it was held in Stateburg in August, of 1895 he was praised by his former Confederate officers as being a "faithful soldier."

 

1st Artillery

1. Man of Color --- appears on a report of operations and casualties Fort Sumter, August 23, 1863.

Report date: Ft. Sumter, Aug. 24, 1863.

Remarks: Severely wounded head (Unfiled Papers and Slips Belonging in Confederate Compiled Service Records)

 

2. John Wilson Buckner -- Co. I. Enlisted March 27, 1863 at Franklin S. C. for 3 years. Roll of May and June 1863-- present, July and August 1863--present wounded in action at Battery Wagner, July 14, 1863. Roll of Sept and Oct 1863 --present, Nov. and Dec. 1863 --present. Jan. to Oct 19, 1864 -- present Deserted Oct. 19, 1864.

 

It is believed that John Wilson Buckner served with other South Carolina Confederate units, Capt. P.O. Gaillard's company and later became a scout in Capt. Boykin's company, both South Carolina regiments; however we have not been able to prove service in these units at this time.


This information was put on his findagrave site:


John Wilson Buckner was born in Sumter County. Buckner joined the 1st South Carolina Artillery on March 27. 1863. He served in the company of Captains P.P. Galliard and Alexander Hamilton Boykin, local men who knew that Buckner was a Negro. Although it was illegal at the time for a Negro to formally join the Confederate forces, the Ellison family's prestige nullified the law in the minds of Buckner's comrades. Buckner was wounded at Fort Wagner on July 12, 1863, in the battle against the 54th Massachusetts Regiment. After recovering, he was a regular in Capt. P.O. Gaillard’s company and later became a scout in Capt. Boykin’s company, both South Carolina regiments. When John Wilson Bucker died in August, 1895, at his funeral, he was praised by his officers as being a faithful soldier.


1953 case of Hood v Sumter SC School District...Woodrow Hood (a descendant of Scotts and Oxendines who migrated down to Sumter from Robeson around 1805) sued to allow children of the Dalzell 'Turk' school to attend Sumter white schools. Two included as plaintiffs in this case were Henry Lowery and Ruth Lowery. While the Indian descent of their Scott and Oxendine ancestors were conceeded, it was the postion of the Sumter School Board that the plaintiffs were also descendants of the BUCKNER'S and Benehaleys who were believed to be part black. Woodrow Hood, the filier of the complaint, responded by testifying regarding the geneaology of the 'Turk' community, however his visceral response to the 'black descent' line of questioning was to adamantly claim that every single line of his ancestry was white, excepting one small line of Benenhaley's who were claiming to be part-Arab.No Proff. (John Buckner, the first Buckner to intermarry among the Scott/Oxendine/Benehaley's was described by an elderly Sumter resident in the late 1880's as "nearly full-blooded Indian") Regarding the Lowery family he states "I am informed that Lum Lowery, whose first name was possibly Columbus, and who was a white man who was not a member of our group, and whose geographical origin is unknown to me, came to our community many years ago, and married one Alice Benenhaley, and they settled in our community."

 

Family links:

 Parents:

  Willis Wilson Buckner (1809 - 1831)

  Aliza Ann Ellison Buckner Johnson (1811 - 1820)

 

 Spouses:

  Jane Johnson Buckner (1830 - 1860)

  Sarah Oxendine Buckner (1835 - 1919)

 

 Children:

  Henrietta Ann Buckner (1858 - 1918)*

  Infant Boy Buckner (1860 - 1860)*

  John William Buckner (1863 - 1881)*

  Henry Ellison Buckner (1865 - 1963)*

  Sam Buckner (1870 - 1925)*

  Charles Wilson Buckner (1873 - 1920)*

  Daniel Buckner (1875 - 1949)*

 

Information on his two wives:

Jane "Janie" Johnson Buckner

 

 

Janie Johnson was daughter of James Drayton Johnson and Delia and a sister to Charley and James Marsh Johnson. She married her Step nephew John Wilson Buckner  and had two children. Henrietta Ann "Harriett" and unamed infant son. Janie died suddenly and unexpectedly,  James Johnson was sure that she would receive God's condescending Love & Mercy and that her soul would be saved. He said her death was God's will. And we dare not to murmur. The family were members of the Holy Cross Church. Buckner's lived at Drayton Hall With the Johnson's.

 

Family links:

 Spouse:

  John Wilson Buckner (1831 - 1895)*

 

 Children:

  Henrietta Ann Buckner (1858 - 1918)*

  Infant Boy Buckner (1860 - 1860)*

 

Sarah Oxendine Buckner

 

Birth: Feb., 1835

Stateburg

Sumter County

South Carolina, USA

Death:             Jun. 16, 1919

Stateburg

Sumter County

South Carolina, USA

 

Sarah Oxendine is the daughter of Aaron Oxendine and Jane Scott.Wife of John Wilson Buckner. According to the book Black Slave Masters and Fire in the Charott Below. Also On one of the kids death record they had her name as being Sarah Benenhaley.

 

Family links:

 Spouse:

  John Wilson Buckner (1831 - 1895)*

 

 Children:

  John William Buckner (1863 - 1881)*

  Henry Ellison Buckner (1865 - 1963)*

  Sam Buckner (1870 - 1925)*

  Charles Wilson Buckner (1873 - 1920)*

  Daniel Buckner (1875 - 1949)*


"William Holmes Ellison " April" sons invested heavily in Confederate war bonds, and his grandson John Wilson Buckner was allowed to enlist in the South Carolina Artillery because of "personal associations and a sterling family reputation...." [pp. 305-307]

Source: Michael P. Johnson and James L. Roark, Black Masters: A Free Family of Color in the Old South (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1984)

(CSR, CWS&S)

The elder Ellison insisted that his children "toe the line" when it came to obeying and following his example.  One son, Reuben (brother of William Holmes Ellison, III) broke with that when he fathered black slave children born to Hannah Godwine, his young black domestic slave woman.  Hannah's eldest child, Dianna, was born in 1853, the year Reuben's mulatto wife, Harriett Ann died.  At two-year intervals thereafter, Hannah gave birth to Susan, Marcus, John, and Virginia....all black like their mother according to the 1860 Census.  When these slave children were baptized, Hannah was listed as the mother, but no father was indicated.  Reuben's illegitimate children continued to live the local black community in later years.

But the elder William Ellison continued to smolder with resentment at his son's behavior.  When Reuben died in the spring of 1861, he received a funeral at the church, but no headstone or marker of any kind in the family cemetery.  The old man had never scrimped on gravestones before, but the absence of a stone in this case reflects William Ellison's final judgment on Reuben's paternity of black slave children.  He also took no steps whatever to acknowledge kinship or even regard for Hannah's children. When he buried Reuben he hoped quietly to put to rest the distressing truth about slave Ellisons.
One of Reuben's slave children turned up in Oregon in later years, as evidenced by the death certificate seen below.  Notice that Hannah is listed as the mother (with no last name) and Reuben is listed as the father with his last name "Ellison" listed!

 

Another of Ruben's children by his slave mistress, John, later took the last name of Harrison, which was his father Ruben's middle name; and styled himself as John McKinsey Harrison.  His story follows, taken from "History of the American Negro" by A.B. Caldwell, 1919.

John M. Harrison's death certificate. Notice that his father's name, Ruben Ellison, is missing, while Ruben's mistress/wife Hannah, is on the certificate:
Father's name is missing:
After the elder Ellison died in December 1861, the remaining children continued to carry on their plantation and gin business.  They had considered becoming exiles and moving to another country like Haiti, but decided to stay put.  They made money from converting from cotton to growing food like sweet potatoes, corn, and peas; and selling it to the Confederate government.  Thus, they stayed in the "good graces" with their Rebel white slave owner neighbors.

As the war progressed, Sherman, after marching from Atlanta, pushed into South Carolina.  He sent General Edward F. Potter to march north from Charleston and destroy railroads, military stores, and homes of Confederate sympathizers, in the Sumpter district.  They passed through Stateburg where the Ellisons lived, and it was only by luck, that they were not also burned out.  Had Potter's troops known about the wartime activities of Ellison's, they might have paused long enough to light a fire.

After the war and during Reconstruction, the Ellisons were simply Southern Negroes.  The Republican party offered the Ellisons little but trouble.  As large landowners, they had no desire to share with anyone, white or black.  These mulatto Ellisons were not about to hasten the destruction of their status by joining hands with ex-slaves in Republican politics.  Thus they joined the local Democratic Club, surrounded by old white friends.  Indeed, from 1890 to 1910, Ellison family members are found on their rolls.

As the family continued to farm their land, they had become masters without slaves and had to hire freemen.  Their plantation system broke down.  They preserved peaceful relations with local white people but in 1870, the family itself began to disintegrate with Ellison's daughter's death.  Surviving family members sued each other in court for what they thought was their share of the old man's inheritance.  Finally, on July 24, 1904, the last of William Ellison's children, 85 year-old William Ellison, Jr., died.  The will directed that after all surviving spouses died, the estate would be sold and divided among any surviving grandchildren.  Provision was made to maintain the family cemetery.
The segregated Ellison Family Cemetery
(William Ellison, a mulatto, decreed that no whites could be buried there.)
Information about William Ellison's children, grandchildren, spouses.
Some Primary Sources:

Improved Cotton Gins, Sumter Banner, 13 December 1848. Newspapers on Microfilm, Published Materials Division. South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.

 

William Ellison to Henry Ellison, 26 March 1857. Ellison Family Papers, 1845-1870. Manuscripts Division, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.

 

Bill from Ellison to Waites, Thomas Waites Papers, 1733- 1838. Manuscripts Division, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina

 

1850 U.S. Census- Slave Schedule. Available from the South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Microfilm collection. Columbia, South Carolina. Accessed 17 February 2009.

Secondary Sources

 

Ellison Family Graveyard.  Available from the Internet, Palmetto State Roots Web Sites, Accessed 20 January 2009.

 

“Student Activity Packet, Activity #2: Fixing a Gin: Math and History at Your Desk”. The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. Available from the Internet,  National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. Accessed 24 July 2008.

 

Johnson, Michael P.  and James L. Roark. Black masters: a free family of color in the old South. New York: Norton, 1984.

 

Koger, Larry. Black Slaveowners : Free Black Slave Masters in South Carolina, 1790- 1860. Jefferson: McFarland, 1985.

"Dixie's Censored Subject: Black Slave Owners" by Robert M. Groom
Harvard University History Professor
Henry Louis Gates, Jr., discusses
what he calls the "dirty secret"
of black slave owners
Slavery in the Northern States prior to and during the War Between the States

It is unfortunate that many are ignorant of our American history.  A careful examination of the historical facts of our nation prior to and during the War Between the States might have tempered this year's dust up in Charlottesville and New Orleans, which was filled with racist rhetoric.

 

The 1850 Census clearly reveals that 98.8% of people living in the North before the War Between the States were White.  And if you add in the border/slave-holding states that stayed with the Union during that war, the percentage is still 96.5% White.

 

Many will find to their dismay and shatter their sensibilities, is that these Northerners were "racist."  Any desire for Northern whites in the 1850s to end slavery did not equate with a belief in racial equality.  The Blacks might be freed, eventually, but they would not be welcome to remain.

  

From my college courses in Colonial and Revolutionary America, which covered Indentured Servants and early forms of slavery in what was called the "Upper South," I discovered the North's profit from, indeed, dependence on, slavery, has mostly been a shameful and well-kept secret.  The "devil is definitely in the details" of this story about the lucrative Triangle Trade of molasses, rum, and slaves that linked the North to the West Indies, and Africa.  The reality is that Northern empires were built on tainted profits, run in some cases, by abolitionists, and thousand-acre plantations (yes, plantations in the North) that existed in towns such as Salem, Connecticut.


And what happened in the North after federal law banned the importation of African slaves took effect on January 1, 1808?  By 1860, the importation of slaves was alive and well.  New York was the hub of an international illegal slave trade that, like the latter-day traffic in drugs, was too lucrative and too corrupt to stop.  Ships were still being built and sold in New York to carry slaves, while customs agents, uncaring or bribed, looked the other way, as these slave ships sailed from New York harbor under thin disguises.  Fake owners, fake and forged documents, use of the American flag with it's guarantee of immunity from seizure by foreign nations, completed the modus operandi.


It was a virtual shell game: from voyage  to voyage, ship might switch from legitimate merchant vessel to slave ship and back again.  While crossing the Atlantic, slavers would carry duplicate sets of ownership papers, duplicate captains and crews, one American and one foreign.

 

So often Northerners liked to believe slavery in America was strictly a Southern sin, to which Yankees rarely yielded.

"The Northern slaveholder traded in men and women whom he never saw, and of whose separations, tears, and miseries he determined never to hear."

 

-Harriet Beecher Stowe

("The Education of Freedmen," The North American Review, June 1879.)  And author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin."

What school children are taught is the South's story is set on a plantation in Mississippi, South Carolina, or some other Southern state, where, with stories embellished and magnified 10-fold, of overseers brandishing whips over slaves picking cotton. 

 

By contrast, the North's story is thought to be heroic, filled with abolitionists running that Underground Railroad Train.  The few slaves who may have lived in the North, it has been believed, were treated like members of the family.  And, of course, the Northerners were the good guys in the War Between the States.  They freed the slaves.  That's not all mythology, but it is a convenient and whitewashed shorthand.

 

That's where most readers of history go wrong: trying to read the story backward; explaining to our current generation how their country grew to be the way it is.   In such a story, slavery is a single chapter in a history book; a background event limited to one region of the country and overwhelmed by the more recent events of Western Expansion, etc.

 

People who read the military history of the War Between the States, often have what we historians call the "Appomattox Syndrome."  They start at the end, thinking, "OK, now we know the South surrendered in April 1865, so those folks simply had to live with the outcome they knew was coming."  No.  The South had a very good chance to have won their independence on two occasions: one in 1862 and late 1864; and Gettysburg, contrary to what you may have been taught, was NOT the turning point of the war.

 

A history told forward; you always read in the evidence forward, not backward; which pushes slavery into the foreground, inserting it into nearly every chapter.  The truth is that slavery was a national phenomenon.

Slavery has long been identified in the national consciousness as a Southern institution.  The time to bury that myth is overdue.

 

Slavery is a story about all of America:  the nation’s wealth, from the very beginning, depended upon the exploitation of black people on three continents.  Together, over the lives of enslaved men and women, Northerners and Southerners shook hands and made a country.  Keep in mind: the Constitution protected slavery.

 

Before the War Between the States, the North grew rich with slavery:

1.    In the 18th Century after the Revolutionary War, thousands of black people were enslaved in the North.  In fact, they made up nearly 1/5 of the population of New York City.

2.    Two major slave revolts occurred in New York City.

3.    The North sold food and other supplies to sugar plantations in the Caribbean.  Thousands of acres of Connecticut, New York, and Rhode Island had plantations that used slave labor.

4.    Rhode Island was America’s leader in the transatlantic trade: almost 1,000 voyages to Africa, carrying at least 100,000 captives back across the Atlantic.

5.    New York City was the seaport hub of a lucrative illegal slave trade.  Manhattan shipyards built ships to carry to carry captive Africans with these ships outfitted with crates of shackles and huge water tanks needed for their human cargo.  During the peak years between 1859 and 1860, at least 2 slave ships, each built to hold between 600-1,000 slaves, left lower Manhattan every month!

How the Slave Trade took Root in
New England
Fernando Wood,
Mayor of New York City

With the Southern secession movement underway, Mayor Wood proposed that New York City should also secede from the United States.
Why would New York City even consider leaving the Union?  The financial underpinning of the city was the Cotton trade.  Cotton was the root of the entire State of New York's wealth.  It wasn't just a crop, it was the national currency and responsible for America's growth in the decades before the War Between the States.  And, slave labor was what raised it.

Hundreds of merchants  made their fortunes off the cotton industry before the War Between the States, including:  Lehman Brothers, Junius Morgan, father of J.Pierpont Morgan, John Jacob Astor, Charles L. Tiffany, Archibald Gracie, to name a few.

The cultural context in the North is key to understanding, especially the economic climate....the wealth that the cotton trade created; New York was interlocked with the South.

Secession was not an original thought with Fernando Wood: all manner of politicians, watching the Union unravel over the slavery issue, wanted to partner with their Southern planter friends.  Much of the cotton in 1860, was brought to the 472 cotton mills in New England.

For 50 years before the War Between the States, cotton was the backbone of the American economy. It was king, and the North ruled the kingdom.  From seed to cloth, it was the Northern merchants, shippers, and financial institutions, many based in New York, who controlled nearly every aspect of cotton production and trade.  It was the large banks, most located in Manhattan, or in London, who extended credit to the plantation owners, between planting and selling their crop.  Slaves were usually bought on credit. 

The Middleman was important to king cotton economy.  The cotton "factor," were Northerners who linked the plantation owner with the Northern manufacturer.   These mostly New Englanders, were brokers or agents and bought a planter's supplies, advised him, and took charge of his finances.  He had to present himself to the planter as indispensable in return for his commission on the sale of cotton.

Northern influence was felt in every part of the cotton trade/industry.  Most of the ships that carried the cotton from plantation to market were built and operated by men of the North.  The provided the insurance to protect the cotton crop; and even produced coarse clothing for slaves called "negro cloth."

Consider the cotton season that ended on August 31, 1860:  America had produced 5 million bales of cotton, which translates to 2.3 billion pounds.  Of that amount, 1/2 or more than 1 billion pounds was exported to Great Britain's 2,650 cotton factories.

It has been estimated that the North took 40 cents of every dollar a planter earned from cotton.  No wonder that many were worried about the pending storm of session talk.

By 1860, mills in Massachusetts and Rhode Island manufactured almost 50% of all the textiles produced in America.  In that year, New England mills produced 75% of the nation's total: 850 million yards of cloth.

And the number of slaves involved in cotton production had growth to meet demand:  the first US Census in 1790, (3 years before Eli Whitney's invention of the Cotton Gin) recorded just under 700,000 slaves.  But 1861, there were almost 4 million slaves, with 2 1/4 million involved directly or indirectly, in growing cotton.  The 10 major cotton states were producing 66% of the world's cotton; and raw cotton accounted for more than 1/2 of all US exports.
The Cause of the
War Between the States:
a discussion with Judge Napolitano

Recent and Recommended:

 The book "Complicity" may be an eye-opener
for finger-pointing Northerners who like to believe slavery was strictly a Southern sin, to which Yankees rarely yielded.

It details the North's profit from....indeed, dependence on....slavery has mostly been a shameful and well-kept secret.  This book reveals the cruel truth about the lucrative Triangle Trade of molasses, rum, and slaves that linked the North to the West Indies and Africa. 

It discloses the reality of Northern empires built on tainted profits...run, in some cases, by Abolitionists...and exposes the thousand-acre plantations that existed in towns such as Salem, Connecticut. 

This book includes eye-opening accounts of the individuals who profited directly from slavery far from the Mason-Dixon line.  It is a fascinating and sobering work that actually does what so many books pretend to do: shed light on America's past.

The PDF file below is a Teachers' Guide and has a synopsis of the "Complicity" book which gives excellent insight into the research written by the three reporters.
You can find the authors' complete presentation on C-SPAN from their web-link https://www.c-span.org/video/?190396-1/complicity-north-profited-slavery-america). You can copy and paste it into your search bar.
 
But be forewarned: one thing I noticed during the Q&A at the end: all the questions from the New Yorker's in the audience (it was filmed at the New York Historical Society, NYC) expressed skepticism about the validity of their evidence. One audience member tried to blame the problem on the British; another wanted to know how their body of research could be connected to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, and suggested that all Blacks in New Orleans should receive some type of compensation, say, free college tuition.  Suffice to say, the authors seemed unprepared for the vitriolic response from the audience, as if they should be ashamed to be letting the proverbial skeleton out of the family closet.
Complicity: How the North Profited
from Slavery in America

On National Public Radio:

Slavery in the North during the War Between the States? Yes, and in the following program, you will see many who still live in the Northern states,
who are in denial:

from The Medford Historical Society:

Slaves in New England

The First African Immigrants

A central fact obscured by post-Civil War mythologies is that the northern U.S. states were deeply implicated in slavery and the slave trade right up to the war.

Contrary to popular belief:

  • Slavery was a northern institution
    • The North held slaves for over two centuries
    • The North abolished slavery only just before the Civil War
    • The North dominated the slave trade
    • The North built its economy around slavery
    • The North industrialized with slave-picked cotton and the profits from slavery
  • Slavery was a national institution
    • Slavery was practiced by all thirteen colonies
    • Slavery was enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and practiced by all thirteen original states
    • The slave trade was permitted by the federal government until 1808
    • Federal laws protected slavery and assisted slave owners in retrieving runaway slaves
    • The Union was deeply divided over slavery until the end of the Civil War
  • Slavery benefited middle-class families
    • Slavery dominated the northern and southern economies during the colonial era and up to the Civil War
    • Ordinary people built ships, produced trade goods, and invested in shares of slave voyages
    • Workers in all regions benefited economically from slavery and slavery-related businesses
    • Consumers bought and benefited from lower prices on goods like coffee, sugar, tobacco, and cotton
  • Slavery benefited immigrant families
    • Immigrants who arrived after the Civil War still benefited from slavery and its aftermath
    • Immigrants flocked to the “land of opportunity” made possible by the unpaid labor of enslaved people
    • Immigrants found routes to prosperity which were closed to the families of former slaves
    • Federal programs in the 20th century provided white families with aid for education, home ownership, and small businesses

Following the abolition of slavery in New England, white citizens seemed to forget that it had ever existed there. Drawing on a wide array of primary sources—from slaveowners' diaries to children's daybooks to racist broadsides—Joanne Pope Melish reveals not only how northern society changed but how its perceptions changed as well. Melish explores the origins of racial thinking and practices to show how ill-prepared the region was to accept a population of free people of color in its midst. Because emancipation was gradual, whites transferred prejudices shaped by slavery to their relations with free people of color, and their attitudes were buttressed by abolitionist rhetoric which seemed to promise riddance of slaves as much as slavery.


Melish tells how whites came to blame the impoverished condition of people of color on their innate inferiority, how racialization became an important component of New England ante-bellum nationalism, and how former slaves actively participated in this discourse by emphasizing their African identity. Placing race at the center of New England history, she contends that slavery was important not only as a labor system but also as an institutionalized set of relations. The collective amnesia about local slavery's existence became a significant component of New England regional identity.

In the long and rich historiography of North American slavery, relatively few scholars have explored the subject of slavery in New England or the impact of slavery and emancipation in the region on the racial attitudes of New Englanders. Joanne Pope Melish's book Disowning Slavery: Gradual Emancipation and "Race" in New England, 1780-1860 seeks, in her words, to put "slavery and the painful process of gradual emancipation back into the history of New England (p. 200)." Melish views as a blind spot the assumption by previous scholars that slavery in New England was peripheral to the economic, social, or political development of the region. She argues that New England slavery had a far more powerful impact on the thinking of New Englanders than they wanted to believe, and their longstanding view of the region as "free and white" has been a kind of historical amnesia, an effort to erase slavery and black people from the history of the region. That erasure of black people, she argues, resulted directly from white anxiety and confusion about how to view free blacks

in their midst and what to do with or about them.


Melish maintains that white New Englanders' views of black people emerged directly from their experiences with blacks living in bondage and from their association of blackness with slavery. She writes that the unsettling process of gradual emancipation in the region after the American Revolution stirred white fears that disorderly blacks would threaten the new republic. Whereas blacks assumed that they would become free and independent citizens, whites assumed that blacks still needed to be controlled. She also argues that white people experienced anxiety about racial identity, freedom, and servitude, wondering if freedom would turn black people white and if white people could become slaves.


Beginning in the late eighteenth century, Melish writes, New England whites gradually resolved these questions by coming to regard blacks as inherently inferior and in need of control. She argues that a clear ideology of race thus first emerged in late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century New England, in response to gradual emancipation. New Englanders, she argues, gradually came to view "racial" characteristics as immutable, inherited, and located in the body, and to view the black and white "races" as hierarchical and largely opposite in nature. Such a view permitted white New Englanders to seek to expell or erase black people, both literally and figuratively, from their region.


Melish's book makes an important contribution to the literature on slavery and abolition and fills a significant gap in our understanding of how slavery in New England affected both that region and the nation. Through her use of various local sources including town records, court records, slaveholders' diaries, and the letters, narratives, and freedom petitions of slaves, Melish brings the reader into the world of Revolutionary-era New England masters and slaves. She illuminates their daily interactions and offers insightful interpretations of how masters and slaves each understood the meaning of slavery and emancipation. She makes a compelling case that slavery was indeed significant in the New England economy and society. Using, among other evidence, racist broadsides from the region, she also illustrates clearly the willingness of many white New Englanders to denigrate, harass, and seek to erase black people in the decades after

the Revolution.


While Melish is right that most white New Englanders probably did wish black people would go away in the years of the early republic, she may overstate the extent to which New England whites were in agreement on this. She correctly observes that many white New Englanders supported the movement to colonize blacks outside the United States, particularly in Africa. But New England also produced a movement for immediate abolition that was explicitly opposed to colonization and demanded the right of free blacks to live as free and equal citizens of the United States. William Lloyd Garrison of Boston was probably the best-known white abolitionist in the country after 1830, and he was also a passionate opponent of colonization and a strong champion of the rights of free blacks in North America. Free blacks loved Garrison. A host of other New England activists stood with him, demanding the inclusion of free blacks as equal citizens. If most New Englanders sought to expell or eliminate blacks from their midst, these radical abolitionists often embraced the freed slaves, sought to educate them, published their narratives, and even, as in the case of Frederick Douglass, hired them as abolitionist speakers. One goal of the abolitionist efforts was to show the public that black people were fully human, able to be educated, and deserving of all the rights that whites had. Thus, well into the nineteenth century, a segment of white New Englanders actively resisted the view that blacks were inherently inferior and different from whites, and they fought to educate blacks for life as full American citizens. If, as Melish argues, New England whites sought to eradicate blacks, this process was contested by some whites as well as blacks.


Melish's most important contribution may be to the emerging body of literature on how North Americans constructed and made use of an ideology of race. Here she pushes to locate precisely when and how Americans racialized difference and came to define blackness and whiteness as fixed, immutable, biological categories. Her answer, that this process took place in New England during gradual emancipation, is new and surprising.


Melish suggests that New England was first in developing a new ideology of race because of its early experience with slave emancipation. However, the struggle to define the meaning of emancipation and the fundamental nature and place of blacks was also going on in the upper South. There, manumissions increased during and after the American Revolution, and the growing numbers of free blacks increased white anxiety. Indeed, anxiety there was more pronounced than in New England, because of the larger black population. Colonization was also very popular in the upper South, and much of the strongest and most persistent support for colonization came from that region. In contrast to New England, opponents of slavery in the upper South never embraced the idea that freed slaves ought to remain in the United States, and antislavery activists in the upper South always combined efforts at gradual emancipation with plans for colonization. The process that Melish describes of racializing identity and seeking to expell blacks may thus have been taking place simultaneously in New England and the upper South. A comparative study of emancipation efforts in the two regions would be illuminating. Of course, the upper South did not achieve gradual emancipation, and over time, antislavery activism and even voluntary manumission there were largely choked off.


Melish's book takes the reader through the process by which white New Englanders, through their responses to slavery, emancipation, and black people, created the myth of themselves and their region as free and white. Melish's angle of vision and her argument are both fresh, and she offers new insights and raises new questions about how the end of slavery led to a new construction of race in North America. This is a terrific book, one that all scholars of slavery, abolition, and the early republic absolutely must read. Enjoy this one; I certainly did.

-Reviewed by Vivien Sandlund (Hiram College)

Pot, meet kettle

-online amazon reviewer

By now, it should be general knowledge among anyone presuming to comment on American race relations and the Civil/War Between the States that the Northern states did not exactly have clean hands when it came to keeping African (and then African-American) slaves. Works like "Complicity" attest to the element of discovery that recent academic research and journalism have made possible. Nonetheless, it is taken as common knowledge that the Northern states achieved emancipation reasonably quickly after the Revolution, even if motivated chiefly by economics. It is still widely presumed that people in the Northern states, the New England states in particular, were particularly enlightened about slavery/emancipation and race, and therefore morally superior to Southerners.

For this reason, this book is shocking: while it delineates the gradual, compensated emancipation that was a feature of England's vaunted anti-slavery laws, and thus outlines an alternative method that could have been used to end slavery in all states, it demonstrates that this process coexisted with the kind of racism people routinely associate with the South and the South only. Dialect humor, "darkie" cartoons, and the lingering assumption that Black people owed labor to whites go against the cultivated image of enlightened New England. Even those already skeptical of such claims to Northern moral superiority cannot but find themselves taken aback by Melish's illustrations of Northern prejudice and dismissiveness. For one thing, she hauls a carefully cultivated image up short. For another, the attitudes she demonstrates among Northerners are those that give modern readers pause and cause them to react with distaste.

I sense that, down the road, there will or should be a national dialog about the received narrative of Northern clean hands/Southern dirty hands, based on the new expositions and explorations of the history of racial relations in America. This book should help facilitate that dialog.

DENYING the PAST

As the reality of slavery in the North faded, and a strident anti-Southern abolitionism arose there, the memory of Northern slaves, when it surfaced at all, tended to focus on how happy and well-treated they had been, in terms much reminiscent of the so-called "Lost Cause" literature that followed the fall of the Confederacy in 1865.


"The slaves in Massachusetts were treated with almost parental kindness. They were incorporated into the family, and each puritan household being a sort of religious structure, the relative duties of master and servant were clearly defined. No doubt the severest and longest task fell to the slave, but in the household of the farmer or artisan, the master and the mistress shared it, and when it was finished, the white and the black, like the feudal chief and his household servant, sat down to the same table, and shared the same viands." [Reminiscence by Catharine Sedgwick (1789-1867) of Stockbridge, Mass.]

Yet the petitions for freedom from New England and Mid-Atlantic blacks, and the numbers in which they ran off from their masters to the British during the Revolution, suggest rather a different picture.


Early 19th century New Englanders had real motives for forgetting their slave history, or, if they recalled it at all, for characterizing it as a brief period of mild servitude. This was partly a Puritan effort to absolve New England's ancestors of their guilt. The cleansing of history had a racist motive as well, denying blacks -- slave or free -- a legitimate place in New England history. But most importantly, the deliberate creation of a "mythology of a free New England" was a crucial event in the history of sectional conflict in America. The North, and New England in particular, sought to demonize the South through its institution of slavery; they did this in part by burying their own histories as slave-owners and slave-importers. At the same time, behind the potent rhetoric of Daniel Webster and others, they enshrined New England values as the essential ones of the Revolution, and the new nation. In so doing, they characterized Southern interests as purely sectional and selfish. In the rhetorical battle, New England backed the South right out of the American mainstream.

The attempt to force blame for all America's ills onto the South led the Northern leadership to extreme twists of logic. Abolitionist leaders in New England noted the "degraded" condition of the local black communities. Yet the common abolitionist explanation of this had nothing to do with northerners, black or white. Instead, they blamed it on the continuance of slavery in the South. "The toleration of slavery in the South," Garrison editorialized, "is the chief cause of the unfortunate situation of free colored persons in the North."[1]


"This argument, embraced almost universally by New England abolitionists, made good sense as part of a strategy to heap blame for everything wrong with American society on southern slavery, but it also had the advantage, to northern ears, of conveniently shifting accountability for a locally specific situation away from the indigenous institution from which it had evolved."[2]


Melish's perceptive book, "Disowning Slavery," argues that the North didn't simply forget that it ever had slaves. She makes a forceful case for a deliberate re-writing of the region's past, in the early 1800s. By the 1850s, Melish writes, "New England had become a region whose history had been re-visioned by whites as a triumphant narrative of free, white labor." And she adds that this "narrative of a historically free, white New England also advanced antebellum New England nationalism by supporting the region's claims to a superior moral identity that could be contrasted effectively with the 'Jacobinism' of a slave-holding, 'negroized' South." The demonizing adjective is one she borrows from Daniel Webster, who used it in the Webster-Hayne debate of 1830.


The word is well-chosen. Webster's "Second Reply," given in January 1830 during his debate with Robert Young Hayne of South Carolina -- the most famous speech in a famous clash of North and South -- shows the master orator of his time at the peak of his powers. In these speeches Webster compellingly turned New England sectional values into the supreme national values, while at the same time playing on the racist fears of the average Northerner, who loathed slavery less for its inherent injustice and more because it flooded the country with blacks.


Webster "articulated a clear and compelling vision of an American nation made up of the union of northern and western states, bonded by an interpretation of the origin and meaning of the union and the U.S. Constitution and reflecting the core values of New England political culture and history. Coded implicitly among those essential values were claims to historical freedom and whiteness, against which Webster could effectively contrast a South isolated by its historical commitment to slavery. Such an interpretation, appealing as it did to the widespread desire among northern states outside New England to eradicate their black populations and achieve a 'whiteness' like that of New England, could rally and solidify northern opposition to Slave Power."[3]


In the speech, Webster, like Pilate, washes his hands of anything to do with American slavery. "The domestic slavery of the Southern States I leave where I find it, -- in the hands of their own governments. It is their affair, not mine."


This allows him to keep within the frame of the Constitution, and at the same time cleverly disavow more than a century and a half of New England slavery and slave-trading, which had financed the first families and institutions of his home district.


After this contemptuous dismissal, he holds forth on the glories of pure Massachusetts, which he apotheosizes, above Philadelphia and Virginia, till it becomes the true genius of independence. "There is Boston, and Concord, and Lexington, and Bunker Hill; ... where American liberty raised its first voice, and where its youth was nurtured and sustained, there it still lives in the strength of its manhood and full of its original spirit."


This was the opening salvo. Within a few months, Webster's speech had been reprinted whole in newspapers across the country and published in pamphlets that ran through 20 editions. A single printing of it churned out 40,000 copies. Other Northern speakers and writers picked up the tone and carried it like a battle-flag down the years to the War Between the States.


"Indeed, by the outset of the actual war in 1861 the New England nationalist trope of virtuous, historical whiteness, clothed as it was in a distinctive set of cultural, moral, and political values associated with New England's Puritan mission and Revolutionary struggle, had come to define the Unionist North as a whole."[4]


Nothing illustrates this process better, perhaps, than the semantic development of the word "Yankee," which, in United States usage, always meant "a New Englander" before the Civil War. But within a decade of Appomattox, it was being used generically by Americans to mean "an American, regardless of place of residence."

 

1. "Liberation," Jan. 8, 1831.
2. Joanne Pope Melish, Disowning Slavery: Gradual Emancipation and 'Race' in New England 1780-1860, Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1998, pp. 222-223.
3. ibid., p.230.
4. ibid., p.224.

John Avery Emison writes about the Jim Crow laws in the North, as well as other myths that have hidden from public consciousness and the sheer moral enormity of Lincoln's invasion of the South.

In addition, Emison discloses new information about Generals Sherman, Pope and others who carried out war crimes in states, other than those usually mentioned in "Sherman's March to the Sea."

The book is also an eye-opener concerning the 4,000 German revolutionaries who immigrated to the U.S. just after 1848, and were employed in the northern military, and used as 'pawns' in Lincoln's 1860 election.

Writing in the "Mississippi Valley Historical Review," in 1942, historian Andreas Dorpalen states: "It is generally recognized today that Lincoln could never have carried the northwest in 1860, and with it the country, without German support." 

Donald V. Smith wrote in 1932, "that without the vote of the foreign-born, Lincoln could not have carried the Northwest, and without the Northwest, or its vote divided in any other way, he would have been defeated."

Historian W.E. Dodd said that "The election of Lincoln and, as it turned out, the fate of the Union were thus determined not by native Americans, but by voters who knew the least of American history and institutions.  The election of 1860 was won only on a narrow margin by the votes of the foreigners whom the railroads poured in great numbers into the contested region."
This table shows the effect of the German vote on Lincoln's election:

The following table lists the progression, by year and location. of the Jim Crow Laws in the North,
which 'kept the Negro in his place.'
When the Northern states began the slow process of the manumission (a word that means a slave owner freeing his slaves) of slaves held in their jurisdiction, a number of disquieting facts are worth noting because they are so frequently untold and unknown to most people:
As already mentioned on this page, Lincoln voted for Jim Crow when he was a member of the Illinois legislature.

According to Lerone Bennett, Jr., Lincoln voted for a resolution that stated, "The elective franchise should be kept pure from contamination by the admission of colored votes." ("Forced into Glory," p.115).
"The Color Barrier" worked well in Illinois where the total percentage of blacks fell with every census from 1820-1860.  By 1861, 249 of every 250 people in Illinois were white.

Jim Crow was working in other states, like Indiana and Ohio, where the percentage of blacks hovered around 1-5% during that period.

Consider the resultant Racial settlement patterns of Indiana and Ohio counties from 2000 Census data:
When Lincoln called for the invasion of the South there were more free blacks in Virginia, than Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio combined...and very little has changed in the 150+ years since.

According to the 2000 Census, there are still almost 500 counties in the states of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota that remain as they always have been: Lily White!

North of slavery; the Negro in the free States, 1790-1860

 

By Leon F. Litwack











Now in public domain:

Forgotten History: How The New England Colonists Embraced The Slave Trade



American slavery predates the founding of the United States. Wendy Warren, author of New England Bound, says the early colonists imported African slaves and enslaved and exported Native Americans.

Racism Continued in the North, well after the War Between the States ended

The Secret History of New England’s Sundown Towns

(New England Historical Society)

"It’s not Dixie’s fault"


By Thomas J. Sugrue July 17, 2015

The Washington Post

Many of the racial injustices we associate with the South are actually worse in the North. (AP Photo/Dave Martin, File) (Dave Martin/AP)