(Was he perfect? No, but he was the last legally elected president to lead the South… All others since have been usurpers – DD)
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(The Abbeville Institute) – Following the suggestion of a fellow Alabama Gazette columnist, I read through “Let’s celebrate the real history of Jefferson Davis”, by Josh Moon. No surprise—it is just more “Righteous Cause” blather.
The sub-title claims the South fought to “protect” slavery, yet the institution was constitutionally legal and Abe Lincoln and the Republicans stated ad nauseum that they had no intention or authority to interfere with slavery where it existed. A central reason for Republican opposition to slavery expansion was clearly explained by Horace Greeley: “All the unoccupied territory…shall be preserved for the benefit of the White Caucasian race—a thing which cannot be except by the exclusion of slavery.”
Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and Oregon enacted laws that partially or totally restricted Blacks from living in those States yet we are supposed to believe they were fighting to end slavery. Both Alexander Stephens and abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison understood that remaining in the Union was the best way to protect slavery.
Jefferson Davis believed in federalism (States’ Rights) and understood the U.S. Constitution is a compact among sovereign States, i.e., a voluntary federal republic. To reiterate a point made in a previous article, in 1846 Davis succinctly described the only legitimate federal powers are those delegated by the States.
Conscription was used on both sides. “Drafts” have been implemented as far back as ancient Egypt. However, the Union went far beyond conscription. Approximately 500,000 Union soldiers were foreigners. They scoured Europe to “recruit”, sometimes offering financial incentives. Many “Union recruits” were actually mercenaries and some were literally criminals. The July 1863 New York Draft Riots–the most violent riot in American history–came about as a result of many Irish and German immigrants (largely Catholic) being forced into Union service. Most came to America for opportunity, not to join a fight they had no interest in. The Draft Riots resulted…