Tue Aug 23, 2011
Why the War Was Not About Slavery
American historians up to the 1960s tended to treat the War Between the States as a tragic or as a bungling affair. The moral challenge posed by slavery was seen as an aspect of why war broke out, but one overshadowed by deep and long standing constitutional, economic, and political conflicts. Today, however, historians, inspired by Marxist-style analysis, preach the one-dimensional doctrine that the confl ict at its core was a moral struggle over slavery. The South was willing to destroy the Union in order to protect slavery and expand it. The North fought to eliminate slavery by preserving the Union. more...
Tue Jul 19, 2011
Sherman's Exile of the Roswell Mill Women
This is one of the many war crimes committed by "Kerosene Willie."
Mon Jun 27, 2011
Movie Review: "The Conspirator" (2011)
My son and I recently went to see "The Conspirator," the debut film from The American Film Company which was directed by Robert Redford. The script is the product of eighteen years of research on the part of screenwriter James D. Solomon, and the minute attention to detail is a testimony to his labor.
The story begins with the assassination of Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theater on 14 April 1865 at the hands of actor John Wilkes Booth, and the simultaneous attack on Secretary of State William Seward by Lewis Powell. From there, the movie focuses on Mary Surratt (Robin Wright), the lone woman charged in connection with the conspiracy which was allegedly conceived within the walls of her boarding house in Washington, D.C. The Surratt family were outspoken Southern sympathizers, so when the duty of defending Mrs. Surratt falls upon Union war hero, Captain Frederick Aiken (James McElvoy) of Lowell, Massachusetts, it is met with more than a little reluctance on his part. As the illegal military trial progresses, it becomes increasingly clear to Aiken that a guilty verdict is a foregone conclusion. He is thus faced with the uncomfortable dilemma of siding with his Government against his own conscience, or defending the rights of an “enemy” who may very well be innocent. His client maintains the dignified comportment of a proud Southern lady throughout the ordeal and even teaches Aiken a few lessons on holding firmly to one’s convictions no matter the cost. In the end, Aiken suffers the loss of social standing and apparently also his fiancée as he persists in a cause he cannot win. Mary Surratt is the first woman in U.S. history to be executed by the Government - ironically at the very location where the Supreme Court building now stands.
An ancient Roman maxim stands out as the "(im)moral of the story." Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton (Kevin Kline) has insisted on guilty verdicts in order to placate the temper of the Northern people and discourage other acts of revolt against the Government. Objecting to this sacrifice of justice to political pragmatism, the idealistic young Aiken insists that the Constitution, and the sacred rights it guarantees, should not be cast aside. The answer from the prosecutor, Judge-Advocate General Joseph Holt, is immediate: “In times of war, the law falls silent.” In other words, there are no constitutional guarantees for Americans once their Government declares a national emergency. Such philosophy was utilized by Lincoln to justify his usurpations during the War Between the States, and again by the radical Republicans during the Reconstruction period, and it continues to be used today by the Government in its “war on terror” or whatever other emergency it declares. The counter-proposition that the Constitution was drafted for times of war as well as peace fell on deaf ears then and still does now.
According to James Solomon, “The Conspirator” is “a story no one knows wrapped in a story everyone knows.” If you have not yet seen this movie, I highly recommend it. For an excellent treatment of the trial of Mary Surratt, see The Judicial Murder of Mary Surratt, by David Miller DeWitt. For a more detailed discussion of the subject of the Government’s so-called emergency war powers, see America’s Caesar: The Decline and Fall of Republican Government in the United States of America (available online free in its entirety and also in paperback.
Fri Sep 10, 2010
The Face of Religious Terrorism
The 11th of September, 2001 is a date that will long "live in infamy" in the minds of Americans. On that day, they were confronted with the face of religious terrorism on their own soil — remorseless killers disdaining law and order and committing their horrendous acts in the name of "God's higher law." However, it was not the first time that this country has witnessed such fanaticism. The Northern Abolitionists of the mid-Nineteenth Century bore many similarities to their recent Islamic counterparts. For example, a book entitled The Impending Crisis of the South was published in 1857, which called for "an exterminating war" against the Southern people — one in which not only slaveholders, but also those who did not actively oppose the institution of slavery, as well as their wives and children, were threatened with a "dire scene of atrocity and carnage" that would make St. Bartholomew's Day pale in comparison. This was to be accomplished by a massive uprising of the Negro slaves, led by White Abolitionists. This book was hailed almost as inspired writ by radical Northern Republicans such as William Duvall of New York, who envisioned a time when the streets of America would "run with blood to the horses' bridles" under the "retributive justice of heaven," and Theodore Parker of Massachusetts, who theorized that a slave had the natural right to "kill any one who seeks to prevent his enjoyment of liberty," and that anti-slavery Whites had the duty "to aid them in killing all such as oppose their natural freedom."
It was this same Theodore Parker who financed the personal crusade of John Brown, a self- proclaimed "prophet" who believed it was "better that a whole generation should pass off the earth — men, women, and children — by a violent death" than that slavery should continue to exist in the United States. His killing spree began in the Kansas Territory in 1856 where he and his assassins kidnapped James Doyle and his two sons in the middle of the night and hacked them to death with sabers. Although the Doyles were not slaveholders, they held pro-slavery views, and their deaths were meant to be a warning to others of like-mind. Not long afterward, Brown appeared in Harper's Ferry, Virginia, leading a band of insurgents with the intent of creating the servile insurrection threatened in Helper's book. When his plan failed, Brown was captured and finally hanged as a traitor by the State of Virginia. His last words were, "I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land can never be purged away but with blood."
Just as fundamentalist Muslims around the globe exulted in the destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001, lauding the perpetrators as "martyrs of Allah," so did the Abolitionist press throughout the North praise John Brown for his devotion to "God's will." The well-known painting of Brown pausing on his way to the gallows to kiss a Black infant held forth by an adoring slave woman, was typical of the near worship of this convicted felon. The lyrics "John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the grave" were written to the tune of an old Methodist hymn and were sung by Northern troops in the early years of the ensuing war against the South. Eventually, Julia Ward Howe, wife of Brown supporter Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, wrote the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" to this tune — a song which speaks of a martial god, whose "fiery gospel" is "writ in burnished rows of steel," and of the army's messianic mission to "crush the serpent" and "trample out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored." Such is the unvarnished truth about the North's "crusade" to "end slavery" and "preserve the Union."
Mon Jan 18, 2010
Tue Nov 03, 2009
Fall of the Republic
This lengthy documentary is worth watching.
Thu Jul 02, 2009
The Nationalist Myth and the Fourth of July
This weekend, millions of Americans will gather in stadiums across the country to celebrate a myth - one that has been carefully constructed over many years to elicit the highest levels of emotion and devotion, while just as carefully concealing the historical facts which undermine it. The myth: we commemorate the birth of our nation on the 4th of July.
The truth is that there was no birth of an American nation on 4 July 1776. Instead, there was merely a joint declaration of independence of thirteen States from their former allegiance to the British Crown - an allegiance that each, while in their colonial character, owed separately, not collectively, to the King via their individual charters. The official title of this declaration was "The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America." This was a shortened form of "The unaminous Declaration of Georgia, New York, Virginia, Massachusetts, etc." The lower case letters in the words "united" indicated that their association with each another was one of purpose, not of a political nature. Prior to 1781, the closest the several States had ever come to establishing a common political bond between themselves was the First Continental Congress, which met briefly in Philadelphia in 1774 and consisted of delegates from twelve of the colonies (Georgia was not represented), chosen to consider an economic boycott of British trade and to petition King George III for a redress of their grievances. The Second Continental Congress was simply a reconvening of the First, for the purpose of organizing the defense of the colonies against British invasion and whose power was limited to issuing resolutions which had no legally binding authority whatsoever over any of the thirteen coloinies. In fact, its resolutions and requests for funding for the Continental Army were frequently ignored. more...
Mon Feb 09, 2009
Lawmakers in 20 States Move to Reclaim Sovereignty
As the Obama administration attempts to push through Congress a nearly $1 trillion deficit spending plan that is weighted heavily toward advancing typically Democratic-supported social welfare programs, a rebellion against the growing dominance of federal control is beginning to spread at the state level.
So far, eight states have introduced resolutions declaring state sovereignty under the Ninth and Tenth Amendment to the Constitution, including Arizona, Hawaii, Montana, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Washington.
Analysts expect that in addition, another 20 states may see similar measures introduced this year, including Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Nevada, Maine and Pennsylvania. more...