Click on a label to read posts from that part of the world.
Jan 8th 2008 11:33AM I'm to page 10 of the comments. No one will probably ever read this because it is going to be posted so far down the list. But has anyone here actually studied the Ft Sumter issue? Yes, the Confederacy fired on Ft Sumter... after all other means failed to get the northern troops that had been strategically stationed in a southern fort to leave.
The South had every constitutionally gauranteed right to secede from the Union of States. Was secesssion a good thing? In hind sight, probably not. We wouldn't have become the nation we were during WW2 or the nation we are today had the USA split in this fashion. But do the ends justify the means? Lincoln had absolutely no constitutional authority to do what he did.
After the South had legally seceded, they politely (really...) requested that Northern troops leave Confederate soil or else swear allegiance to the new Confederacy. The troops at Ft Sumter were commanded by Lincoln to ILLEGALLY retain the fort as Union property in the middle of the Confederacy. The Confederacy instituted a blockade around Ft Sumter to try to civily "starve them out."
The Confederate troops ultimately fired on Ft Sumter, because Lincoln was sending supplies and reinforcements to Ft Sumter making Lincoln's intentions quite clear. If Ft Sumter was to ever be removed from its illegal occupation by the Union, then the Southern troops thought they needed to take immediate action before the reinforcements arrived.
The REAL provocation to the start of the civil war was Lincoln's ILLEGAL occupation of a Fort within the legally established Confederacy. Lincoln baited the Confederacy into firing on Ft Sumter. The South never intended to aggress the North. In fact, early in the war, General Robert E. Lee had the opportunity to invade the North and probably end the war early with a Southern victory, but his only goal was to defend the South's independence, not to wage war in Northern territory. Had Robert E. Lee been willing to agress the North, he could have sacked Washington DC, and he could have removed the military blockade on the hill above Baltimore than was stationed to fire if the Maryland legislature voted to secede (which they only didn't do out of fear for their lives). That would have brought Maryland into the Confederacy along with Virginia and the rest of the South and a forcibly seized DC. The Union would have been in shambles and the South would have been strategically strengthened. In fact, such strength would have probably encouraged several neutral states to join the South.
All evidence shows that the South were not the aggressors. Even when it would have been in the South's best interest to aggress, they restrained themselves. Instead, Lincoln ILLEGALLY sent his Union troops into the South and allowed them to burn, rape, and pillage and commit all sorts of atrocities to the civilians in order to demoralize the South and hasten a Northern victory. Hitler actually justified many of his "war crimes" on the basis of General Sherman's tactics that Lincoln was well aware of and chose not to stop, because it hastened an end to the war. No Union officers were ever punished for their war crimes. Instead Lincoln gave them medals and called them heroes.
In contrast, the South tried to be as moral as it could be during a war (every soldier who has ever lived has praised the morality and leadership of General Lee as well as the vast majority of his officers), while defending their rights as a legally established sovereign nation.
The only REAL debate is "should the South have seceded?" Well, they had every legal right to... Additionally, the North had control of the Congress and was passing high agricultural taxes and constitutionally questionable interstate tarriffs on agricultural products as a means of weakening the economic dominance of the Southern states. With such targeted governmental abuses, I don't blame my ancestors for seceding. It sure looks like they had every moral right to secede as well.
And FWIW, the brother of my ancestor was Benjamin Fitzpatirck. He had been Governor of Alabama, was President Pro Tem of the Senate. Priot to the war, the Northern politicians tried to get him to agree to be their Vice-Presidential candidate to help prevent the secession of the South. Fitzpatrick was opposed to secession, but would not align himself with the corrupt Northern politicians to help prevent the secession.
Benjamin Fitzpatrick educated and THEN freed his slaves after they had the skills to provide for themselves, BEFORE the Civil War. They chose to remain as his employees after he freed them. Fitzpatrick and many of the other dominant Southern political leaders had been proposing a planned phase-out of slavery which involved education and skills development. It was WIDELY recognized that mechanization of agriculture was making slvaery economically non-viable. The Southern leadership, except for a few vocal crackpots like Calhoun, were already headed towards eliminating slavery. But the Union won the war, and Calhoun's views are what are prominently quoted in the victor's history books.
The REAL Southern leadership, like Fitzpatrick were much more reasonable. Fitzpatrick argued vocally against secession. But when the final vote was taken, and Alabama seceded, Fitzpatrick reluctantly became part of the Confederate leadership. As he stated (loosely paraphrasing), "My first loyalty is to my country, which is my state (i.e. Alabama)." He really wanted to remain part of the USA, but his loyalty was to the decision of the people of Alabama. Back then the USA was more like the European Union with a loose central government, rather than the strong central federal government that Lincoln created through his war of Northern agrression.
Lincoln was never really opposed to slavery of which several others have already posted excellent documentation. In fact, Lincoln proposed a plan for the government to pay to send all of the freed slaves back to Africa, because he felt whites and blacks didn't need to be living amongst each other. Lincoln was actually quite the racist. Much more so than General Lee or Benjamin Fitzpatrick or many of the other prominent leaders of the South (most of whom were excised from the history books by the victors).
After winning the war by terrorizing the civilians in the South and destroying ALL southern infrastructure, the North politically decimated the Southern political leadership by never allowing experienced political leaders like Benjamin Fitzpatrick to hold office again. The North also ensured the continued poverty and servitude of the Blacks by encouraging a welfare state and not providing any means for education and skills training. Instead they promised but never delivered "40 acres and a mule" and told the ex-slaves that society owed them so they should let society take care of them now. As a result of such Reconstruction era indoctrination, generations of culturally indoctrinated welfare dependency has persisted.
Slavery was wrong and I can't imagine anyone would say it was right. But the way the slaves were freed did almost as much damage to the ex-slaves and to their descendents for generations to come as slavery itself. Lincoln was no saviour to the Blacks. And the Reconstruction era Democrats were no saviours either. They instituted a culturally based slavery (perpetual poverty) tied to welfare dependency (with little opportunity for education or skills development) in exchange for votes.
May 10th 2007 1:19AM Skin cancer is hardly ever fatal. High doses of Vitamin D prevents numerous forms of deadly cancers. Everyone should get 15 minutes of sun exposure over large portions of their skin. Dark skinned individuals living in Canada should get even more to produce enough Vitamin D to be healthy. Multivitamins don't have sufficient Vitamin D and neither does milk. It takes sun on skin to be healthy.
May 5th 2007 9:32PM Sarah McLachlan's haunting "Hold On" should not only be on the list, it should be number 1 on the list. A song about the painful process of a dying loved one and the hope of getting at least one more day together. "hold onto yourself, this is going to hurt like hell... know that only time will tell... Am I in heaven here or am I in hell"
Jan 30th 2007 1:17AM I had never thought specifically about this, but the article is right on... I would also add that the mandatory acceptance of differing cultural norms and world views during international travel makes it forever easier to get along with other people.
I lived in Japan for two years 17 years ago. For the past 10 years, I have traveled 15 to 20 days every month for business. In just the past 3 years I've been to 20 countries and the 48 contiguous states. I'll gladly agree with everything the author says.
I must be becoming one of the most confident and sexiest men around. [Yeah right -- not!] But I can certainly handle myself in almost any conversation that ever arises due to my various travel related experiences. It has really been good for my business career even if it hasn't helped this married man's social life very much.