History not always palatable

I have tried very hard to not get caught up in the flap over the Confederate flag. However, as a history buff, I have to correct some misconceptions about the War between the North and South and about the flag itself. Because of how things have changed and are perceived these days, and the fact that some want to rewrite history for various reasons, they no longer teach the same history which I learned in school.
You can take anything and make it mean whatever you want and can take offense to anything. People even take offense to the Bible. These are just symbols and people can read whatever they choose into them. I don’t have time to think about all of those things. I personally, do not own a Confederate flag but I know many who do feel that it represents pride and heritage, not racism or hate. It is often used as an emblem of rebellion against authority.
First of all, the current flag is not the Confederate Battle Flag, it is known as the Southern Cross. There were more than one Confederate flags designed and used throughout the war. The Southern Cross was never officially the national flag of the Confederate States of America but was recognized as a symbol of the Confederacy. It did not fly over any slave ships but the flag of the United States of America did.
It did fly over army units integrated with both black and white soldiers as they stood together to defend their homes and families. Many of the slaves volunteered to fight.
The issue of slavery, much like issues today, was used as a means to and an end and only one reason for the Civil War; not the major reason. In fact, we are fighting the same war today as the national government tries to take over states rights and individual rights and tries to pit us against each other. State rights was a major concern for the South.
Other reasons for the Civil War included the economic and social differences between the North and South; states versus federal rights; the election of Lincoln. The South felt that he favored the northern interests over southern ones and not just in the area of slavery.
The war would eventually be won by the North because of the economic differences.
Not only Southerners owned slaves, some Northerners also owned them. Robert E. Lee did not own any slaves. Grant had at least one. Both had relatives who owned farms with slaves. Not all Southerners owned slaves. Not all slaves were mistreated and not all were unhappy in their situations.
Lincoln actually didn’t believe in equality. Read about his debates in 1858 with his opponent in the Illinois race for U. S. Senate, Stephen Douglas. He did believe everyone had the right to improve their condition in society and to enjoy the fruits of their labor. He believed that colonization could resolve the issue of slavery and was for sending the freed slaves to Central America.
The Emancipation Proclamation was issued as a military measure and didn’t actually free all slaves, as it didn’t apply to some states. We must also remember that it was not the Southerners who brought slaves to this country. Black Union soldiers were paid less than the white Union soldiers until 1864.
Sadly, 625,000 died in the Civil War, more than in both World Wars, the Korean War and the Vietnam War; most from a disease. An astounding number were never identified. There were more Northern-born Confederate generals than Southern-born Union generals. It divided families and pitted brother against brother. Many of those who fought and died, believed they were fighting for their home and family; they did not own slaves. In fact only about one-fourth of the population were slave owners.
Many years passed before someone decided the Confederate flag was a negative emblem. Negative or not, slavery or not, it is part of history. We may not like it or agree with it but that doesn’t mean history should be changed. We should be learning from it. Those who fail to do so are doomed to repeat it and I daresay that’s what is happening now as our state rights are under constant attack by the federal government. Government interference is taking over our lives and I believe it is those in authority who are using whatever means necessary, especially the national media, to cause division among “we the people”.
We get so sidetracked with minute issues that we fail to see what is really going on and before you know it, we have totally lost our rights.
We also read about slaves in Biblical times. Today, unfortunately slavery still exists in some places and that is what we should be raising a ruckus about. Each of us can become a slave to one thing or another, whether to an addiction or an illness, or even to our jobs.
History is not always pretty or palatable, but that doesn’t mean it never happened. Why a tragic shooting in Charleston, SC was used to fuel the fire against the Confederate flag again is beyond my common sensibility. It wasn’t the church congregation who lead that charge, it was politicians and others with personal agendas and who want to keep us against each other with “hate” talk. It was not the flag, nor the gun which pulled the trigger and tragically shot those people. It was an individual with a twisted, sick mind.
To presume we know the mindset of the Confederacy or the Union by passing judgement based on our perspective today, is the height of arrogance.

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About vsimmons54

Veteran journalist of 40 years. Editor, Motivational Speaker, Ordained Minister, CEO of A Light in the Darkness Ministries, Lensclusive Photography, Babbling Brook Consulting and Design, event planner and author. I love to write and speak and I love Jesus. I also do copy writing and editing. Recently co-authored Vanished Towns Revisited.
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