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Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

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Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Civil War and the KKK

A commentary from Tim Birdnow on my post, "More Ignorance of History":

I come from a border state (Missouri), and often find myself caught in the middle on the issue. I tend to come down on the side of the Confederacy, since the Constitution does not say anywhere that the agreement is indivisible, and it states quite plainly that any powers not expressly granted to the Feds were reserved to the States. The slavery issue was raised later, which makes Mr. Lincoln`s war dishonest, in my view. Lincoln was, of course, basing his decision to go to war on the Force Act and President Andrew Jackson`s efforts to compel South Carolina to forgo nullification of the Tariffs of 1828 and 1832, but the Constitution should trump legal precedent. I do think the Union was worth fighting for, but a political compromise should have been reached. It WAS possible to end slavery, but nobody was willing to make the necessary compromises to accomplish it. I don`t think Lincoln should have gone to war. Frankly, if he were a true statesman[1], he would not have taken office.

On the Ku Klux Klan: the original Klan was a bit different from the racist entity that would come later, and it was an almost inevitable outgrowth of Reconstruction. There was chaos in the South, with crime running rampant and no way for Southerners to stop it. Many of the Northerners who immigrated south enjoyed the suffering of the ``damned rebels`` and so [Gen. Nathan Bedford] Forrest and company founded a vigilante organization to deal with the problem. Since many of the criminals were freed slaves, the Klan naturally went after them. I`m not claiming that the Klan was a good thing, mind you, but that it was a natural outgrowth of the times. The later racism of the Klan is a whole different story.

As to the name of the War, we`ll never get a consensus. I call it the Civil War, although it was only a civil war here in Missouri and in Kansas. "The War Between the States" is a better title, although it never caught on. Bear in mind, many things are misnamed; the Revolution was more of a conservative rebellion against changed policy by Britain, and as such is a misnomer; it should be called the "War of Independence." Precedent trumps accuracy, so I side with the majority.

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[1] President Harry Truman said that a statesman was a politician who had been dead for at least 10 years. ~~ SR

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