This coming Friday & Saturday, citizens of Mecklenburg County will have the opportunity to see firsthand just how “balanced” the views of the Virginia Sesquicentennial Commission actually are. The Civil War “History Mobile” will be in Boydton for the annual Boydton Days event. The sesquicentennial is advertised as a “commemoration, not a celebration.” According to their website,” the commemoration will seek to portray a balanced story of Virginia's participation in the American Civil War that includes stories from African-American, Union and Confederate perspectives; battlefront as well as home front; slavery and freedom; and the causes of the war and its enduring legacies.”
This traveling travesty would be more appropriately described as the “Slave Emancipation” mobile, or perhaps the “Northern Propaganda” mobile, as its main theme is an apology for slavery. It continues to propagate the same inaccurate “history” that has been shoved down the throats of generations since the South lost the war in 1865 – the noble North versus the sorry South. Thousands of school children, and not a few adults, will tour this “history” mobile and come out believing that all southern whites were slave owners, the slaves did all of the work, the slave owners fought the Northern states to keep their slaves but the North won so the slaves got freed. Pretty simple, isn’t it?
Simple maybe, but not very accurate. Since this is supposed to be a “balanced” display, when do we hear about the Morrill Tariff, tax of 47% that a Northern Congress sought to impose on the South. Or Abraham Lincoln’s true reason for declaring an unconstitutional war - when encouraged by Colonel John Baldwin to allow the seceded southern states to leave in peace, Lincoln replied, “And open Charleston, etcetera as ports of entry with their ten percent tariff? What then would become of MY tariff?” Just in fairness, perhaps it could be pointed out that the “Great Emancipator” viewed the Negro race as inferior and desired to deport all blacks from the country. And perhaps, during all of the talk of slavery, it might be acknowledged that the “underground railroad” for escaped slaves went to Canada because the Union states did not want blacks in their territory. Instead of inaccuracies and half-truths, give the public real disclosure. It is not as simple as the South was bad and the North was good.
While I would never argue that slavery played no part in the War, I reject the interpretation that it “caused” the War. Historical records of the time (and “of the time” is important) have provided a more accurate account of the conflict and its multiple causes. Unfortunately, few people bother to read the real historical accounts, preferring to rely on current, easily accessed & politically corrected versions. We, all southerners, are partly to blame for this, because we have allowed the spread of this skewed version for so long that even our own people are ignorant of the truth. In 1864, Confederate General Patrick Cleburne prophetically stated that “Surrender means that the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy; that our youth will be trained by Northern school teachers; will learn from Northern school books their version of the War; will be impressed by all the influences of history and education to regard our gallant dead as traitors, and our maimed veterans as fit subjects for derision.”
There is one truth that cannot be argued. The Civil War ended slavery for the black race of that time. But under the continued & expanded yoke of Lincoln’s “big government” policies, we are all, black & white, now slaves to Washington.