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Mon Nov 12, 2012, 11:28 AM

Since We Are Playing The "What If " Game? Re : Reconstruction

This discussion thread was locked as off-topic by ellisonz (a host of the Politics 2014 forum).

What if the occupation of the south after the Civil War was more similar to the occupation of Germany after WW ll. I am sure the Germans were made painfully aware they were a defeated people and they needed to accommodate themselves to a new order. I am also quite sure that many southerners were not made to feel like a defeated people. In many parts of the south the Confederacy is still glorified. There are no parts of Germany where the National Socialists are openly glorified. There are statues of Robert E Lee and Stonewall Jackson in the south. How many statues of Hitler and Rommel are there in Germany?


There is nothing glorious about fighting a war to own other human beings.

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Arrow 33 replies Author Time Post
Reply Since We Are Playing The "What If " Game? Re : Reconstruction (Original post)
DemocratSinceBirth Nov 2012 OP
The Magistrate Nov 2012 #1
bemildred Nov 2012 #2
DemocratSinceBirth Nov 2012 #6
bemildred Nov 2012 #9
The Magistrate Nov 2012 #12
bemildred Nov 2012 #17
DemocratSinceBirth Nov 2012 #3
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #5
geek tragedy Nov 2012 #7
DemocratSinceBirth Nov 2012 #13
geek tragedy Nov 2012 #19
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #4
DemocratSinceBirth Nov 2012 #8
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #25
Paladin Nov 2012 #11
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #26
The Magistrate Nov 2012 #14
csziggy Nov 2012 #10
DemocratSinceBirth Nov 2012 #15
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #27
The Magistrate Nov 2012 #16
NutmegYankee Nov 2012 #18
The Magistrate Nov 2012 #21
NutmegYankee Nov 2012 #28
The Magistrate Nov 2012 #29
bemildred Nov 2012 #30
bemildred Nov 2012 #22
csziggy Nov 2012 #31
The Magistrate Nov 2012 #32
thucythucy Nov 2012 #20
bemildred Nov 2012 #24
FDRLincoln Nov 2012 #23
ellisonz Nov 2012 #33

Response to DemocratSinceBirth (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 11:34 AM

1. It Was Botched, Sir

My own inclination is to the 'state suicide' view of secession, that the states seceding from the Union ceased to exist as elements of the United States....

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #1)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 11:37 AM

2. Indeed Sir.

Another 150 years of this crap because the job was not properly finished, the victory not driven home. And the fault lies in the North, not the South, they were in fact thoroughly beaten, as they would be again.

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Response to bemildred (Reply #2)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 11:42 AM

6. What's Ironic Is That Too Many Americans What We Are Saying Is Blasphemous.

Unbelievable, isn't it?


BTW, can you tell me the difference between the Nuremberg Laws and Jim Crow, if there were any differences?

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Response to DemocratSinceBirth (Reply #6)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 11:47 AM

9. Perhaps if you were to clarify what you mean, I would be able to respond to it.

As it is, I don't really know what you are trying to say.

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Response to bemildred (Reply #2)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 11:49 AM

12. Good People, Mr. Bemildred, Tend To Botch The Exploitation Phase Of Victory....

I fear it is inherent, as much which must be done in that phase of battle does not just seem to be but is cruel and unfair.

"They say war is an art but it's not. It mostly consists in outwitting people, stealing from widows and orphans, and inflicting suffering on the helpless for one's own ends, and that's not art: that's business."

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #12)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 12:05 PM

17. It is certainly true, Sir, that examples of successful prosecution of a

newly won civil peace are rare, these things DO tend to go on and on, and they hinge less on the virtue of the conqueror than on the through discrediting of what went before, which is the thing that we failed to accomplish in the aftermath of the Civil War, the thorough discrediting and removal from power of the antebellum ruling elites, and we have been cursed with their antics ever since.

I think I want to point out that the examples of Japan and Germany do not really apply, we were external conquerors there, whereas the post-bellum South both could and did play it both ways, seeking sympathy as fellow citizens while working feverishly to keep the underclasses (both black and white) in their place and hang onto power.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #1)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 11:39 AM

3. There Are Good And Bad People In The South, As In Everywhere

Blame it on "original sin" if you must. But I am still happy we have a United States , even with southerners in it.

That being said, I think Abraham Lincoln played a horrible hand the best that he could and it's nearly one hundred fifty years too late to second guess him.

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Response to DemocratSinceBirth (Reply #3)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 11:41 AM

5. Had he lived, reconstruction might have been carried out better...

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #1)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 11:43 AM

7. Problem is, the only thing worse than having the South inside the US would have been

to have a retrograde slave state with its own military competing with us in the hemisphere, forming strategic alliances with European and eventually Asian powers, etc.

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Response to geek tragedy (Reply #7)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 11:51 AM

13. On The Other Hand , Slavery Would Have Made Them International Pariahs/nt

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Response to DemocratSinceBirth (Reply #13)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 12:07 PM

19. Colonial Britain and France would have been flexible in their outrage

over such practices, as evidenced by their governance over their empires.

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Response to DemocratSinceBirth (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 11:40 AM

4. C'mon,

It was Germany vs the most of Europe and the US...not northern Germans vs southern Germans. You need to read up more on reconstruction if you don't think it was very painful for very many southerners. Jim Crow Laws, segregation and a host of other abuses are a backlash to not just the loss of the war, but the pain of reconstruction. It was done imperfectly and we are still paying for that imperfection. Regardless of our differences, we are all Americans...it appears there are too many from both latitudes who forget that simple fact.

Northern soldiers were amazed by the fact that when they captured "Johnny Reb", and they could understand his accent, interrogation showed they were fighting for "states rights" not slavery. Most confederate soldiers owned no slaves.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #4)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 11:44 AM

8. There Is No Such Thing As States Rights Only Human Rights

When you deny the latter in the name of the former you are denying our common humanity.

And I read plenty about Reconstruction. Like how unreconstructed Confederates like Nathan Bedford Forrest started the Klan to scare the bejeesus out of the freedman, as if he hadn't suffered enough.

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Response to DemocratSinceBirth (Reply #8)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 12:25 PM

25. We are talking about history here....

We are discussing the same nation that, at its inception, thought it was okay to reduce slaves to 3/5th of a human being. Yes, NBF was a deplorable human being, but he and his Klansmen were not the only southerners.

I do not deny that slavery is an affront to human rights, I simply point out that our founding fathers thought that issue was less important than creating a union...I don't happen to agree with that attitude, but then I have the luxury of having been born almost 160 years after the constitution was written and ratification was begun.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #4)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 11:49 AM

11. Neo-Confederate Blather.


"'State's rights' and not slavery"? I guess that one will never die, will it? As another poster put it, it's way too late for this sort of agenda-driven attempt at historical revision. Particularly on a Democratic site.

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Response to Paladin (Reply #11)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 12:27 PM

26. I'm a Yankee through and through...

The politicians waged the war over slavery...the uneducated and uninformed then, as now, bought into the nonsense that their states rights were being trammeled.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #4)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 11:51 AM

14. Nonesense, Ma'am

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Response to DemocratSinceBirth (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 11:48 AM

10. Actually Southerners were humiliated

The original KKK and the glorification of the Confederacy were a reaction to the way they felt about how they were treated after the Civil War. I don't have links for this but my mother's family has lived in the South since before the Revolutionary War and I have family history research that shows this to me.

Even Southerners who were not directly or willingly a part of the Confederacy had to apply for amnesty to have their rights restored (I have a copy of the application for restoration of rights of my ggg-grandfather in which he claims he was against secession and did not support the Confederacy - but four of his sons and two of his sons in law joined the Confederate Army and fought in the war). Northerner carpetbaggers and former slaves were encouraged to run for office while Southerners were pretty much prohibited from representing themselves. Many if not most of the wealthiest Southerners had lost their wealth and had to sell their land to the carpetbaggers.

Some of the low income people who now remember the "glory days" of the Confederacy are descendants of the plantation owners who bet their wealth on the success of secession. Many whose ancestors had nothing to do with the South are just racists who believe the delusional tales of the "Rebel" advocates.

A note - I just looked at the Wikipedia article on Reconstruction (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reconstruction_Era_in_the_United_States). It seems that it was not Lincoln or Andrew Johnson who were behind the humiliation of the South but the 'Radical Republicans' who pushed it. If Lincoln had lived, it would have been a very different of US history and maybe have not left the South such a bitter, poverty ridden place.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #10)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 11:52 AM

15. I Wouldn't Have Wanted To Punish Southerners

Just make them treat black folks like everybody else.

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Response to DemocratSinceBirth (Reply #15)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 12:27 PM

27. Exactly.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #10)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 11:59 AM

16. Not Nearly Enough, Sir

The mildness of Federal conduct after our Civil War was a marvel of the age.

The confederacy was a colossal act of treason. Every person who bore arms under its flag, who served in its government, committed treason, and treason as narrowly defined in the Constitution. The penalties for treason are death and confiscation of all properties. The Federal government would have been well within its rights under both law and customary practice of the time to have hanged every member of the treasonous armed forces and government. The Federal government made a serious mistake by not hanging all officers of field grade and all persons holding elected office above county level, and failing to confiscate all landed properties in excess of one hundred acres. We pay for this mistake in our political life daily, even now.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #16)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 12:05 PM

18. We couldn't hang the officers or soldiers of Lee's Army.

The surrender at Appomattox Court House was accepted on terms proposed by Grant himself.

In accordance with the substance of my letter to you of the 8th inst., I propose to receive the surrender of the Army of N. Va. on the following terms, to wit: Rolls of all the officers and men to be made in duplicate. One copy to be given to an officer designated by me, the other to be retained by such officer or officers as you may designate. The officers to give their individual paroles not to take up arms against the Government of the United States until properly exchanged, and each company or regimental commander sign a like parole for the men of their commands. The arms, artillery and public property to be parked and stacked, and turned over to the officer appointed by me to receive them. This will not embrace the side-arms of the officers, nor their private horses or baggage. This done, each officer and man will be allowed to return to their homes, not to be disturbed by United States authority so long as they observe their paroles and the laws in force where they may reside.


They were pardoned from treason or prosecution in exchange for not raising arms against the US going forward.

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Response to NutmegYankee (Reply #18)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 12:15 PM

21. Just Part Of The Mistake, Sir

Lee's forces could have been, and should have been, destroyed in the field, and any surrender been a suing for quarter of men throwing down their arms at the point of a bayonet, without condition save not being killed on the spot. There was no need to grant terms; the thing would have been wrapped up in Virginia within a fortnight by force of arms, and remaining forces taken in detail over the next few weeks.

We leave aside whether Gen. Grant had the authority to grant exemption from prosecution on his own, without ratification by the government employing him....

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #21)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 12:33 PM

28. It was a matter of Honor.

And for their part, both General Lee and General Gordon responded with similar honor.

And the peaceful surrender led the further surrender of most other major CSA armies during the month of May. Had Appomattox Courthouse ended in a slaughter like the Battle of Rocroi, the remaining armies may have fought on for months or years.

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Response to NutmegYankee (Reply #28)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 12:46 PM

29. Honor, Sir, is And Has Always Been, Stuff And Nonesense

People blather about honor to cover over the fact that their business is either killing people at a disadvantage or extracting labor worth far more than they allow the laborer in pay. No respect is owed such deliberate obfuscations, even when the persons peddling them are taken in by their own prevarication. Lee was not an 'honorable man', he was a ripe shit of a lethal exploiter of humans he saw as inferior to himself, and does not get nearly the contempt he deserves.

That it would have taken more work to round up the rest if Lee's had been dealt with properly is acknowledged in my view, but it would not have taken more than a few months, and we would be far better off as a nation today for the extra effort.

"Give me that knife. I'm not sure he knows he's dead."

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #29)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 12:56 PM

30. +1.

Honor my ass.


Little Bill Daggett: Well, sir, you are a cowardly son of a bitch! You just shot an unarmed man!
Will Munny: Well, he should have armed himself if he's going to decorate his saloon with my friend.

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Response to NutmegYankee (Reply #18)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 12:15 PM

22. We could have, and justly too, but did not. That is all that document shows. nt

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #16)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 01:03 PM

31. Sir, I have little objection to the way the South was treated

Even though my treasonous ancestors were among those who lost everything. But the South as a region was humiliated by their treatment by the Radical Republicans following the war, which led to a backlash that extends to this day.

I do wish the Federal government had done more to encourage better treatment of the freed slaves and in the long run required that Southern states treat workers better, extending union laws to the South and not allowing 'right to work' laws.

Confiscating property over a certain amount would not have made much difference. Most property owners with over one hundred acres could only support that much land by having slaves. In some areas, land owners negotiated tenant farming arrangements with former slaves but those deals generally did give much return for either the tenant farmers or the property owners.

I know my ancestors who were slave owners mostly lost all their property. The one I mentioned above only kept his because his sons, widowed daughters and daughters in law with their children all moved onto the land and worked it - if I remember correctly there were two or three adult men, six adult women and over fourteen young children working that property in addition to a very few of their former slaves who became tenant farmers or paid laborers. They barely scraped up enough money to feed and clothe all those people and often were behind on their property taxes. "Dirt poor" was the description appropriate to nearly every one of my Southern ancestors from the end of the Civil War to World War II.

Reading letters and papers left by those families, the immediate generations did not glorify the war. They knew what they did was treason, they knew that they lost. It's the third and fourth generations who were not directly involved and did not know those who were directly involved that have glorified it.

I thank my Mother for leaving her poisonous relatives and Alabama behind and raising us to appreciate the realities of history!

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Response to csziggy (Reply #31)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 01:13 PM

32. Again, Sir: Not Nearly Enough

The fact is that the thing broke down over the point of identity between the sections, namely convictions of white supremacy and negro inferiority. Properly dealing with the South required elevating the Freedman over the white traitors, and there really was not enough stomach for it. That is the key to the misfortune, which plagues us still.

But do not delude yourself that the south was treated unfairly or unduly harshly. If you want a contemporary example, look into the suppression of the Paris Commune in 1871, or of the Indian Mutiny in 1857.

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Response to DemocratSinceBirth (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 12:12 PM

20. Lincoln's version of reconstruction

would have included radical land reform. That's where "forty acres and a mule" comes from. His idea was to seize the massive estates of the slave-owning oligarchy, and divide the land among newly emancipated slaves and poor whites. This would have given poor whites a vested interest in reconstruction, and would, Lincoln hoped, eventually ween them from their self-defeating allegiance to the racist oligarchy. Lincoln was determined, by 1865, not just to win the war and end slavery, but to remake the entire social and economic structure of the south. Had he lived, the subsequent history of this country might have been very different.

The first thing Andrew Johnson did, on assuming the presidency after Lincoln's murder by a white supremacist, was to issue an executive order removing control of "abandoned" lands from the Freedmen's Bureau (the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands) and issue a blanket pardon giving the oligarchy back its land.

Read James McPherson's "Battle Cry of Freedom" and David Blight's "Race and Reunion" for good takes on this. BTW, McPherson's book contains the best refuting of the whole "the war wasn't really about slavery" blather I've ever read. His chapter on the racist hysteria that followed Lincoln's election in 1860 is amazing, and generally unacknowledged by other (American) historians.

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Response to thucythucy (Reply #20)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 12:18 PM

24. That's the core of it.

Eric Foner has written well on the subject too: http://www.ericfoner.com/

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Response to DemocratSinceBirth (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 12:17 PM

23. reconstruction

The average Southern soldier was not an evil person, but they WERE fighting to defend an evil system.

Grant's surrender terms were understandable, and I think a mild policy towards the average, non-slaveholding Southern citizen was wise.

HOWEVER...treatment of former Confederate officers and politicians was much too mild.

Jefferson Davis and most of his cabinet should have been hung for treason. Nathan Bedford Forrest should have been hung as a war criminal for massacring captured Union soldiers.

Lee and some of the other generals who tried to follow the rules of war should still have been imprisoned for treason, released eventually but with no voting rights.

Large and medium-sized plantations should have been seized by Federal authority and the land distributed among the slaves.

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Response to DemocratSinceBirth (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 01:15 PM

33. Locking

I'm going to lock this too as a continuation of the other thread which was off-topic. If you wish to appeal this decision you may do so to me, or you may simply post in another more appropriate forum. Thank you for understanding the need to stay with the parameters of our Statement of Purpose:

A forum for general discussion of United States politics, campaigns, and elections, at all levels of government in 2012.


Aloha.

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