If you sometimes participate forum, like boards where you and other fans discuss your favorite sports teams, you will understand what I am about to say. I just hate it when several participants are have a good discussion on some pertinent topic and someone seizes on some minor point and takes the discussion on a wild tangent and so he/she can rant about his/her pet peeve. Well, that happened recently to a discussion in which I was involved on a board dedicated to my favorite college sports teams. Out of no where this guy posted a reply to a perfectly normal sports discussion ranting about how the South was mistreated after the Civil War and comparing the leaders of the Confederacy to the patriots who founded our great country. Normally I would have posted a reply saying something like, “Why don’t we stay on topic”, but he upset some of my friends on the board, so I thought I would give him a history lesson. This was my reply to his post:.
If you don’t like what happened during “Reconstruction” after the Civil War, blame John Wilkes Booth and his henchmen. They believed they were striking a belated blow for the South, but in fact assassinating Lincoln was the worst thing that could have happened to the Southern states.
Lincoln’s plans to rehabilitate the South were far gentler and kinder than “Radical Republicans” who took over the party after Lincoln’s death. Most historians believe that if Lincoln had lived he would have had political power the keep the Radical Republicans at bay, but his predecessor Andrew Johnson obviously did not. Johnson did his best to fight off the Radical Republicans in Congress, but he was politically weak. Eventually the radicals impeached him in the House of Representatives and he was nearly convicted by the Senate. There is no way that would have happened to Lincoln.
With a weak President Johnson in the White House and later with their own man, Ulysses S. Grant, in the Oval Office, the Radical Republicans ran roughshod over the South for several years. They also ensured that the Democratic Party would ruled in the South for many decades to come.
On another issue, I have always had a problem with Southerns who equate the Civil War with the American Revolution. Unlike the colonists who had no representation in the British Royal Court or the English Parliament which imposed on them unpopular and unjust taxes and laws, the Southern states were properly represented in a functioning democracy.
Had they been able to continue to have their way through the elective and legislative process, as they did for a long time, the Southern states would have never considered succeeding from the Union. It was only when they realized that the popular vote was going against them, especially with the election of Lincoln, did they decide to go their own way.
How long would any democratic country survive if anytime a portion of the population doesn’t like how the rest of the country is voting they decide to break away and form their own county? If that were allowed, democracies would be the most unstable government systems known to man.
Had the Confederacy had been successful in breaking away, instead of one great nation we would have had two lesser countries with, at least for many years, diametrically opposed political philosophies.
How many generations would the South have taken to abolish slavery? Do you think that the Confederacy could have desegregated their schools and allowed everyone to vote freely by now? Would not the North and the South have fought over the remaining territories which were not states at the time the South succeeded? What would have happened if a strong, unified United States would not have been around to turn the tide in both World War I and World War II? These are only a few of the many ways the world would be different had the Confederacy been allow to succeed with or without a fight.
The few Southerns who equate the Civil War to the American Revolution and/or wish that somehow history would have been different are not only being unrealistic, their thinking is counter productive to the proper functioning of this great democracy we call the UNITED States of America.