Why You Shouldn’t be Celebrating “Confederate History Month”

by Joey deVilla on April 16, 2010

virginia confederate history month

Because the Confederates were committing treason in defense of slavery.

Be sure to read the article Lest We Forget Why They Fought, an excerpt of which appears below:

So if you are from the South, you have no need to apologize for the Confederacy. Even if your ancestors include men who fought and died for the Confederacy, this is not a matter which ought to cause anyone today to evaluate you as any different than anyone else. You are not your ancestors. You have to make your own choices, and one of those choices includes deciding whether or not to be proud of a Confederate ancestry. If I had Confederate soldiers among my ancestors (I don’t think I do, but you never know) I’d say I respected their bravery, and that I understood why they might have thought they were fighting for their country. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose.

But at the end of the day, they were fighting for a morally indefensible cause and while I might prefer to remain silent about that, if forced I would have to admit that yes, I thought they were on the wrong side of the war. Treason in defense of slavery is not a subject matter appropriate for any freedom loving people to celebrate. The Civil War had good guys and it had bad guys. The good guys were the ones who won.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Thane Eichenauer April 16, 2010 at 5:39 pm

How is it that the one side that caused 90,000+ deaths is the good guys? I have heard it suggested that the US government could have bought slaves from their owners but instead Lincoln chose to start a war.

Joey deVilla April 16, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Thane Eichenauer: But then you’d either be bitching about “Big Emancipation” wasting stolen tax money or shouting “Keep your Big Government hands off my farm equipment!”

I know we often agree to disagree, Thane, but I’m glad (and surprised, given the number of of posts I’ve written to which you’ve taken issue) that you’ve stuck around as a reader all these years.

Mark Jaquith April 16, 2010 at 9:29 pm

Seen this episode of The Simpsons?

Apu is an immigrant, applying for US citizenship

Proctor: All right, here’s your last question. What was the cause of
the Civil War?
Apu: Actually, there were numerous causes. Aside from the obvious
schism between the abolitionists and the anti-abolitionists,
there were economic factors, both domestic and inter–
Proctor: Wait, wait… just say slavery.
Apu: Slavery it is, sir.

Joey deVilla April 16, 2010 at 10:21 pm

Mark Jaquith: Yup, saw it, know the history and enjoyed the laugh. But note that the first cause Apu lists: the abolitionist/anti-abolitionist schism.

Richard April 17, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Next up: Nazi History Month.

Mark Jaquith April 18, 2010 at 1:33 am

But note that the first cause Apu lists: the abolitionist/anti-abolitionist schism.

He lists it as an obvious cause — because it is the most easily understood. You can describe it in a single word, as the proctor humorously demands Apu do. While the slavery disagreement was important, it was also a symptom of a larger and more nuanced rift. Let’s not whitewash (heh) and abridge the history to make it fit more neatly into “good guys” and “bad guys” boxes.

And yes, “Confederate History Month” is a stupid idea. We all ended up being Americans in the end, so why not just call it “War Between the States” month and cover both sides?

Chris April 18, 2010 at 3:41 pm

News to you “No longer need slaves to keep up our economy so let’s be holier than thou and now say slavery is bad” people do not, of course, get “it.” The southern men that made up the vast majority of those who fought in the Civil War never owned any slaves. So why would they go to war to keep slavery? No, the real reason that most southerners fought was, as quoted by Shelby Foote, noted Civil War historian, when asked by yankee troops why they fought, the rebel reply was “Because you’re down here!”

Joey deVilla April 19, 2010 at 1:02 am

Editorial cartoon with Virginia's Governor McDonnell: 'There were a lot of good things about the Confederacy...for instance, full employment for blacks.'

Transplanted Lawyer April 20, 2010 at 5:15 pm

Chris, of course, misses the point. The issue is not why individual soldiers fought. The issue is what motivated the states that seceded to do so; what motivated them to form the Confederacy; what animated the decision of this would-be new nation to risk war with the United States. That, as the documents written by the political elites who made the decisions to secede make clear, really was slavery.

R.E. Lee July 4, 2011 at 11:28 am

Here’s an idea…why don’t we just have a round 2 and settle it once and for all. Then, maybe after almost 150 years of listening to the North do everything they can to convince themselves they are the ‘good guys’, that the South was full of racist slaveowners (despite the fact that less than 25% of people even owned slaves) and that the war was justified, we can put this issue to rest. I’m mean you guys only paste it all over television and the movies to discredit any conservative theory. Gee…wonder why we still don’t get along all of these years later…why the South still doesn’t trust the North. Hmmm…

xyJames May 1, 2012 at 8:48 pm

Richard April 17, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Next up: Nazi History Month.

*cough* Godwin… Christ, simple Enet theory, who knew the bloke had something.

xyJames May 1, 2012 at 8:54 pm

Necromancy <3

Wasn't there slavery in the north as well as Black Confederates in the south?
These "racism, slaves, woe is my race at the hand of the White man." memes get old.

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