A Painful Lie

Certain individuals have perpetrated the lie that the Civil War had nothing to do with slavery. Just to clarify, here’s what the secessionists wrote when South Carolina committed treason and withdrew from the United States in December 1860:

These ends [to form a more perfect union, etc.] it endeavored to accomplish by a Federal Government, in which each State was recognized as an equal, and had separate control over its own institutions. The right of property in slaves was recognized by giving to free persons distinct political rights, by giving them the right to represent, and burthening them with direct taxes for three-fifths of their slaves; by authorizing the importation of slaves for twenty years; and by stipulating for the rendition of fugitives from labor.

We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.

So when the traitors fired on Fort Sumter 150 years ago today, they were asserting their right to own human beings.

Anyone who doubts the awful cruelty of slavery needs to look longer at this photo. I believe Frederick Douglass had it right: “America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future.”

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