Plus ça change… As we view allegations of massive voter fraud during the election of 2020 — along with the reigning Democrats' haughty and disdainful attitude in the wake of Joe Biden's dubious "victory" — it leaves a bitter taste in the mouth to go back in time and read about the disturbing truth concerning the South's secession conventions of 1860-1861.
These used to be presented by historians and history teachers as straight-forward as well as a reflection of the Southern people's true desires; but they turn out to present the same lack of scruples as the presidential election 160 years later. (Remember that an American election is not one single election for the White House, but 51 elections for the presidency… Oh, and by the way, regarding this post's title, if you protest that there were 11 states that formed the Confederacy, I am speaking only of the slave states — seven, slightly less than half the total number — which had seceded prior to the war's outbreak at Fort Sumter.)
This is the third post in a series of three on the Civil War era compared with modern times, and evidence of the lack of scruples in the Democrat party since its very inception.
- Jaffa on the Civil War Era: For Democrats of the 21st Century as of the 19th, "the emancipation from morality was/is itself seen as moral progress"
- The Greatest Myth in U.S. History: Yes, the Civil War Era Did Feature Champions of States' Rights, But No, They Were Not in the South (Au Contraire)
But before we delve into details of the "the great secession winter," we need to establish some parameters. (If you want to skip directly to the meat, it is below the cover image of Stephanie McCurry's audiobook below…)
Did you know that in the 1850s, members of the Democrat party were referred to regularly as fire eaters or as locofocos? Just as one of this blog's most prominent posts over the past 17 years explained how we are (now) living in The Era of the Drama Queens.
As talk over the past two or three years has warned of a second civil war, doesn't it sound like the Democrats have not changed an iota since the 1850s and perhaps even since the party's foundation by Andrew Jackson?
Moreover, as I have written before, prior to his becoming the Republican Party's 1860 candidate, Abraham Lincoln held a speech in February 1860 (indeed, his Cooper Union speech galvanized the Republicans to eventually choose him as their candidate) in which he told his audience how he would address himself to them as if they were composed of Southerners and Democrats:
… when you speak of us Republicans, you do so only to denounce us as reptiles, or, at the best, as no better than outlaws. You will grant a hearing to pirates or murderers, but nothing like it to [Republicans]. In all your contentions with one another, each of you deems an unconditional condemnation of [Republicanism] as the first thing to be attended to. Indeed, such condemnation of us seems to be an indispensable prerequisite — license, so to speak — among you to be admitted or permitted to speak at all. Now, can you, or not, be prevailed upon to pause and to consider whether this is quite just to us, or even to yourselves? Bring forward your charges and specifications, and then be patient long enough to hear us deny or justify.How many democrats amd MSM outlets in this day and age are willing to be "patient … to hear [Republicans] deny or justify"? Don't CNN, MSNBC, and the New York Times deem "an unconditional condemnation of [Republicanism or Trumpism] as the first thing to be attended to"? "Reptiles, outlaws, pirates, murderers"… How often have Republicans been called (domestic) terrorists in the past years? (And in the years, in the decades, before that?).
Doesn't Lincoln's Cooper Union
speech sound like something a Donald Trump or a George Bush could legitimately say (obviously, in different words) in the 21st century?
Locofocos. Fire eaters. Drama Queens.
As their name implies, the leftists' raison d'être is to constantly search for melodrama, to find offense in everything, and to lie, or at least to exaggerate, to the very limits of reason (the first example in more recent times that comes to mind being Ed Driscoll's observation that every Republican candidate since the 1940s has been likened to none other than Adolf Hitler).
(This led to another of my posts on — present-day — leftists: The Leftist Worldview in a Nutshell: A world of Deserving Dreamers Vs. Despicable Deplorables.)
The hysterics of such locofocos is what leads to the Democrats' creation of the Ku Klux Klan, Antifa, and Black Lives Matter, along with opening fire on Fort Sumter. And by the way, before you mention racism, don't forget: the Southern slave states of the 19th century were all solidly Democrat, just as later, the (same) Jim Crow states of the 20th century were all solidly Democrat.
In that perspective, another lie, as we have seen, is that, contrary to modern leftists' contention that the two parties have switched since the Civil War era, such people as Dinesh D'Souza and Prager University's Carol Swain have demonstrated that during the so-called Big Switch, only one single solitary Dixiecrat in fact joined the Republicans while in the very first election after the Nixon/Ford administrations, and their alleged winning "Southern Strategy," the South was swept by the Democratic nominee, Jimmy Carter.
Again, as I have written before, we have all heard that the debate about what caused secession and ergo the Civil War: Was It Slavery and/or States' Rights? Wasn't It Rather Something Else — the Election of a Ghastly Republican to the White House? The victory of such a despicable being made the Democrats' locofocos go bat-shit crazy and proceed to tear the country for the next four years apart… That wouldn't sound like the 2016 election now, would it?
This brings us to the meat of this post, which is the secession conventions of 1860-1861, which turn out to resemble the 2020 election more than anything else…
The Youtube video maker Have History Will Travel uses the book Confederate Reckoning (Power and Politics in the Civil War South) to answer the question How Popular Was Secession? (video embedded below)
"each state campaign was a struggle by politicians to win — or appear to win — the unanimous consent of the people"
… However, as the [South's] public began to turn their backs on secessionists, and disagree with their policies, other means were used to combat treason [!] to secession.… "In the end, secession in the American South was neither a popular Democratic movement nor the accomplishment of a small slave-holding political élite. It was instead a hybrid thing, evincing at once the character of an administrative coup and of an open-fisted Democratic brawl"South Carolina stands as the symbol of secession, since it had on more than one occasion attempted to leave the Union. In December 1860, its secession convention voted unanimously to secede, not one vote against. However, those numbers are misleading, as McCurry describes. After the Compromise of 1850, [the Palmetto State] had attempted secession, but had been voted down by the yeoman up-country population. In 1860, fire-eaters were now going to risk not gaining a full withdrawal from the Union.
Anticipating the possible rise of the Republican Party to national prominence, and in the wake of John Brown's raid at Harper's Ferry, secessionists began to form paramilitary groups in districts all over South Carolina, in their words to defend against threats to the state. However, secessionists used the paramilitary groups to attack political opponents, by harassing, brutally beating, whipping, tar-and-feathering, running them out of town, and lynching them. This was all used to force Unionists against voting in the upcoming elections, particularly for the electing delegates to the secession convention.
South Carolina had subverted the democratic process in their state. More than half of the elections were uncontested, with only one person running for a position. Therefore, even the unanimous decisions in South Carolina was done under duress and did not reflect the opinions of the people.
Alright, got that? Because the secession-supporting Democrats (suffering from extreme LDS (Lincoln Derangement Syndrome)?) were so upset over the previous (special) election, they decided to use extralegal methods, not least violence (prefiguring the postbellum Ku Klux Klan) as well as an administrative coup d'état, in the following election. Don't you recognize this one? Ain't it 2016 and 2020 all over again? (All over again, except it takes place 160 years previously…)
Had Time Magazine existed in the 1860s, how would it have reacted to a shadow campaign to produce the “proper outcome of the election”? Plus, note that 1860's Democrats had no compunction about calling the fellow (state) citizens/voters who do not follow the their desires as operating from a mindset of "treason."
But you know about Fulton County in Georgia (the 2020 version), correct? (That is, you do if you read and watch beyond the mainstream media…) Wait until you hear about what happened in the Peach State in January 1861…
Similar things happened all over the South. Let's look at one more state. Georgia's secession debate was fraught with election fraud. The vote by citizens on secession was suppressed by the governor until after the delegates voted in the secession convention. The delegates had a few test votes, and the first one resulted in 166 for secession and 130 against. There was [therefore] a prominent group of delegates that supported cooperation. But the fire-eaters had the advantage. The debate raged between the delegates and many of the cooperationists caved under the pressure of secessionists in the final vote, which resulted in 208 for and 89 against.
Pro-secessionist delegates did not get the unanimous decision they hoped for. They knew if they formed their own country, that dissent would threaten their independence. After the convention confirmed leaving the Union, the governor released the election results, showing secession with an advantage of 54%.
However, the governor had cooked the numbers. Up until the 1970s, that number was used by historians. But new research and documents demonstrated that those against secession had gotten just over 50% of the vote, meaning that Georgia left the Union under false pretenses.
Again, political maneuvering done all across the South to gain a majority towards secession. It was not clear-cut. Many states displayed a loyalty to the Union. Stephanie McCurry uses these examples to support the argument that the South was not a cohesive unit…
It's the Georgia debacle all over again. (Except, of course, it is not "again"; since it happened 160 years ago.) Indeed, it sounds like Georgia (and perhaps a handful of other states?) might have become like a state-size West Berlin enclave inside the CSA had the rules been adhered to properly. (A couple of interesting questions: how would that have affected General Sherman's march to the sea and his desire to "make Georgia howl"? Since there was no reason to make the Peach State howl, the march probably would never have happened… At the risk of having a Union enclave inside their midst — which Union troops (under perhaps a Georgian general?) could use to march West (or North, towards and through the Carolinas and Virginia) — wouldn't Confederate armies have tried to invade and occupy their (non-)sister state?) In real life, interestingly, Georgia would be the final of the 11 secessionist states to be re-admitted to the Union, five years after Appomattox.
An enclave is something that, FYI, almost happened to Washington, DC, had Maryland joined the secessionists. Interestingly, Lincoln gets a lot of flack for suspending habeas corpus and imprisoning Maryland delegates and newspaper publishers, but as we can see from Stephanie McCurry's book, Democrat shenanigans and stealthy machinations that were far worse (but that Honest Abe, as well as a significant number of contemporary Americans, must have known about) have been ignored, ignored for a century and a half…
One final note:
In the Amazon's customer reviews section, I am not sure to what extent the commenters realize how close the Democrat Party of the 1850s/1860s (Southerners "professing to have perfected the US Constitution" — Lydia E. York) is to the Democrat Party of the 21st century. One Jacob H. Herring writes that
I found this book most valuable because it answered two questions for me; one, I didn't even know I had and another that has always puzzled me. I'd always assumed, unconsciously, that the states of the Confederacy decided to leave the Union through legitimate, democratic means and that the vast majority of Southerners (except those in what is now West Virginia) supported that move. In Confederate" Reckoning, I learned that in several of the states, the Planters used the same tactics used by the Klan in the post-Civil War period to coerce the exit upon those white Southerners who didn't agree with the move.
Second, I'd always wondered why the average Southern white male, most of whom didn't own slaves, was willing to fight for those slave owners who did. McCurry explains this by describing the dynamic of getting all Southern white men to buy-into the notion that they were fighting to protect Southern white womanhood -- their mothers, sisters, wives and sweethearts. As before the war, so after the war. One thing that Souther white men and women were not taught widely in the South, either before or after the Civil War; i.e., to think critically and for themselves, 600,000 people died as a consequence of this lack of education.…
A lack of education in the 19th century, not being taught to think critically and for themselves? We just keep getting more and more descriptions of life in America under the Democrat party in the 20th and the 21st centuries. Plus ça change…
Plus ça change…
Related: • What Caused Secession and Ergo the Civil War? Was It
Slavery and/or States' Rights? Or Wasn't It Rather Something
Else — the Election of a Ghastly Republican to the White House?
• Wondering Why Slavery Persisted for Almost 75 Years After the Founding of the USA? According to Lincoln, the Democrat Party's "Principled" Opposition to "Hate Speech"
• Why Does Nobody Ever Fret About Scandinavia's — Dreadful — 19th-C Slavery Conditions?
• The Confederate Flag: Another Brick in the Leftwing Activists' (Self-Serving) Demonization of America and Rewriting of History
• How to Prevent America from Becoming a Totalitarian State
• Inside of a month, Democrats have redefined riots and election challenges from the highest form of patriotism to an attack on democracy — And by “democracy”, they mean the Democrat Party
• The 1619 Project Summarized in One Single Sentence