June 30, 2017

Confederate Memorials not about Honoring Slavery

My brother Brian continues his war with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, this time taking them on for supposrting the removal of the Confederate War Memorial in Forest Park:

To The Editor,
Those of us who still read the Post-Dispatch saw, once again, why the paper no longer commands the rank and respect that it once had. I refer, specifically, to the lead editorial of Tuesday, June 27th, entitled "Monument On The Move", expounding on the Confederate Monument controversy in Forest Park. What we saw here is a classic PD strategy of obfuscating an issue by drawing up a false or misleading premise, hammering on this logical fallacy as though it were indisputably true and creating a false paradigm. The newspaper then proceeds to slander, defame and ruin anyone who questions or seeks to debate the issue.

In the PD editorial in question the author asserts that the sole motivation of Confederate soldiers was the defense of slavery. (An accompanying Op-Ed basically accused every Confederate soldier of murder) Your paper stated, "...it (the monument) pays tribute to soldiers who fought for the cause of preserving slavery." Later in the piece your author dismisses the accomplishments of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson because they were, also, fighting to preserve slavery.

So, where those who fought for the south all fighting for the preservation of slavery? This in ridiculous on its face. Let's look at the facts. In 1860 a total of 27.75% of White Southerners owned slave, while 72.25% of White Southerners did not own slaves. Did those non-slave owning White Southerners fight to defend a social institution that they did not practice or even support? Hardly. Likewise, what about the nearly 67,000 Black Southerners who fought for the Confederacy? The Confederate government granted freedom to any slave who would enlist in the CSA armed forces. It is perfectly ludicrous to suggest that Black Southerners fought for the Confederacy to preserve slavery when they enlisted in order to secure freedom.

While on this topic it must be remembered that the Confederacy enacted three conscription bills that eventually required all Southern White Males between 17 and 50 years of age to serve in the armed forces. Where poor illiterate southern men who could not avoid the law and/or the conscription officers fighting to preserve slavery? What about those who fought because their homes and farms were in the path of advancing armies and they hoped to defend hearth and home? Were these men fighting to preserve slavery? Of course not.

Many of the southern partisans were fighting to perpetuate that evil institution but to insist that all were fighting for this reason is patently ridiculous. Still, it comes as no surprise that the PD would rather not engage in reasoned debate on this issue, but would, instead stoop to slander and defamation. It is sadly, what we have come to expect from this formerly great American newspaper.

Brian E. Birdnow

A QUICK NOTE FROM TIM:

How about the Native Americans who fought on the side of the Confederacy? On October 7 1861 Cherokee Chief John Ross signed a treaty with the Confederate States of America. In 1862 Ross's competitor Stand Watie imposed a draft on the Cherfokee, making able bodied men join the Confederate Army. General Watie was the last Confederate leader to surrender - a full two months after Lee surrendered at Appomatox.

Native American soldiers were important combatants at Pea Ridge, at Second Manasses (Second Bull Run), at Spotsylvania and Antietam.

The Catawba fought for the Confederacy, losing so many men that their existence was imperiled.

Do these brave Native Americans not deserve to be honored?  I can aassure you none of them fought to protect slavery.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 09:56 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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