Slavery issue oversimplifies Civil War

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Ignorance and prejudice are powerful forces. In his letter "Confederate flag still offends many" (May 13), Greg M. Garnett beautifully illustrates the power of both. His letter is based upon pure emotion, and sadly lacks historical facts.

The Georgia state flag was changed in 1956 to incorporate the Confederate battle emblem to celebrate the approaching centennial of the War Between the States. If Mr. Garnett would take to time to make use of the Internet, books and even legislative records, he might overcome his prideful ignorance and discover the truth.

Slavery has been around for thousands of years and has been practiced in every corner of the world. Slave trafficking is still practiced today in some Muslim nations.

At the time of the American Revolution, the colonies still engaged in slavery. However, the British had abandoned the "peculiar institution." From these facts we could conclude that our war for independence was fought over the singular issue of slavery. The colonists wanted their slaves and feared that the Crown might remove this right.

But we all know that the American Revolution was not fought over slavery -- and neither was the War Between the States. There was a whole host of issues that led to the war between the North and South. To say otherwise is to oversimplify the complexity of political associations.

We might also need to remember that it was the Stars and Stripes that flew over many a slave ship chartered out of Northern ports. Many Northern families grew wealthy from slave sales in the South. There is enough blame to go around for everyone, not just the former Confederate states

I recall the words of my grandfather who died in 1978 at the age of 87 years. He always spoke with pride regarding his grandfather, a private in the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia.

The South has every right to honor her past with the symbols of her history.

James L. Cavanah II

Rincon

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Tigger_The_Tiger
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Tigger_The_Tiger 05/26/10 - 05:57 am
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Retired....how about you

Retired....how about you point out and prove something he said as wrong, instead of the silly comment.

Dixieman
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Dixieman 05/26/10 - 06:12 am
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Sigh. Let's try this again.

Sigh. Let's try this again. Here are the actual texts of the secession resolutions from 1861 (other Confederate States' are similarly worded). Read them and then tell me slavery was not the #1 issue:Georgia:
The people of Georgia having dissolved their political connection with the Government of the United States of America, present to their confederates and the world the causes which have led to the separation. For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery. They have endeavored to weaken our security, to disturb our domestic peace and tranquility, and persistently refused to comply with their express constitutional obligations to us in reference to that property…
Mississippi:
In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course.
Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization…
South Carolina:
The people of the State of South Carolina, in Convention assembled, on the 26th day of April, A.D., 1852, declared that the frequent violations of the Constitution of the United States, by the Federal Government, and its encroachments upon the reserved rights of the States, fully justified this State in then withdrawing from the Federal Union; but in deference to the opinions and wishes of the other slaveholding States, she forbore at that time to exercise this right. Since that time, these encroachments have continued to increase, and further forbearance ceases to be a virtue…
Texas:
Texas…was received [into the United States] as a commonwealth holding, maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery-- the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits-- a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time. Her institutions and geographical position established the strongest ties between her and other slave-holding States of the confederacy…

nofanofobama
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nofanofobama 05/26/10 - 06:26 am
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my family was on the north

my family was on the north side of the civil war being from minnesota. i was always taught that the civil war was fought entirely over slavery. but that was wrong. while slavery back then and as well as now is morally wrong, the slave trade was on its last legs because of technology. while technology would never elimnate the total use of slaves it would greatly reduce its importance.. but what convienced me most of all that it was states right [which i am a huge advocate of] LEE
invaded the north to find food and shoes for his troops, resulting in the decisive battle was at GETTYSBURG. probably over 90% where dirt poor being in a state of proverty not much better than slaves of the wealthy. shoes and food where the reason because of the condition of his army.when i walked the final last battle of gettysburg **picketts charge** where the south was slaughtered. and the more than the mile the troops walked into withering fire ..the majority of theses men where dirt poor they were not fighting to keep slaves. they didnt own them and where just as poor in most cases. it was over states right and trade practices of the north. slavery was a side issue , important yes but not to the rank and file of those killed in the southern army during the civil war...

Techfan
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Techfan 05/26/10 - 06:45 am
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"The Georgia state flag was

"The Georgia state flag was changed in 1956 to incorporate the Confederate battle emblem to celebrate the approaching centennial of the War Between the States." I'm sure it wasn't at all related to the 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education. No, they were looking 5 years ahead to the anniversary of the Civil War. Interesting, since the Ga flags from 1879-1956 were already based on the first flag of the Confederacy. More SCV revisionist history.

Techfan
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Techfan 05/26/10 - 07:00 am
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Other little tidbits from the

Other little tidbits from the 1956 Ga Legislature:Senate Bill 2 – Trespass on Public Property
Prohibits any person from entering any state-owned or operated property that has been closed to the public by executive order of
the Governor or by order of the department head having supervision over such property. This legislation’s purpose was to prevent
any former public school from operating after the governor ordered its closing.
Senate Bill 5 – Disposal of Public Recreation Facilities
Authorizes the state or any county or municipality to sell, lease, grant, exchange or otherwise dispose of any property or interest
comprising parks, playgrounds, golf courses, swimming pools, or other property which has been dedicated to a public use for
recreational or park purposes, or which has been dedicated to such a use by any private person or corporation and later acquired
by the state or any county or municipality.
Senate Bill 152 – Department of Public Safety – Enforcement of Public Safety
Empowers the Georgia State Patrol and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to enter any county or municipality, upon any official
thereof, to make arrests and otherwise enforce any laws of Georgia requiring segregation or separation of the white and colored races
in any manner or activity.
Senate Bill 153 – Peace Officers’ Retirement System
Provides that any peace officer who fails or refuses to enforce any law of this state requiring segregation of the white and colored
races in any manner or activity, shall forfeit all retirement benefits.
House Bill 108 – Atlanta Recreation Facilities
Empowers the mayor and board of aldermen to sell, exchange, farm out, lease, or rent any property and facilities dedicated to and
used as parks, playgrounds, golf courses, recreational facilities, together with all property connected therewith. All such property
may also be devoted to any other public use in the discretion of the mayor and board of aldermen.
House Bill 110 – School Systems – Eminent Domain
Empowers county boards of education and certain independent and public school systems to condemn private property for public
school purposes.
House Bill 267 – Waiting Rooms and Facilities for Passengers
Provides that all common carriers of passengers for hire in intrastate travel providing waiting room and reception room facilities,
shall provide separate accommodations for white and colored passengers traveling in intrastate travel. A violation will result in a
misdemeanor punishment.
House Bill 268 – Waiting Rooms for Passengers in Intrastate Travel
Requires that all persons traveling in intrastate travel occupy or use only the waiting rooms marked and provided for such persons.
A violation will result in a misdemeanor punishment.
House Bill 433 – County Superintendents of Schools – Suspension
Provides for a process of notice and hearing in cases of suspension of county school superintendents. HB 433 and its companion
bill, HB 434, makes it easier to suspend or remove county school superintendents who do not enforce segregation.
House Bill 434 – County Superintendents of Schools – Removal
Provides for a process of notice and hearing in cases of removal of county school superintendents.
House Resolution 51 – Censure of the Attorney General of the U.S. and the F.B.I.
Censures the Attorney General of the U.S. and the F.B.I. for the investigation of the Amos Reece trial’s jury. Mr. Reece, a black
man, was convicted of rape by an all white jury in Cobb County. The U.S. Attorney General maintained that Cobb County failed
to ensure that Mr. Reece be tried by a jury of his peers. House Resolution 185 – Interposition Resolution
This resolution declares the U.S. Supreme Court Decisions of May 17, 1954 (Brown v. Board of Education) and May 31, 1955
in the school segregation cases, and all similar decisions, by the Supreme Court “relating to separation of the races in the public
institutions of a state ... are null, void, and of no force or effect.Senate Bill 1 – Closing of Public School Systems
This legislation empowers the governor to close individual schools or school systems whenever he determines that the public
schools“are not entitled under the laws of this state to state funds for their maintenance and operation...” When the public
schools of any county, city, or independent school district are ordered to be closed by the governor, each child of school age will
be entitled each year to receive an educational grant from both state and local funds for the cost of attending a private school.
The sole purpose of this bill was to circumvent court-ordered integration by abolishing the state’s public schools and reestablish
them as private segregated schools.
Senate Bill 3 – Lease of Public School Property
Authorizes county and local school boards to lease school buildings and other school property for private school purposes. If
the provisions in Senate Bill 1 were ever enacted, this bill was intended to provide for a smooth changeover from public to private
schools by allowing private schools to utilize existing public facilities.
Senate Bill 4 – State School Building Authority – Leases
Permits county and local school boards to sublease any facilities they are presently leasing from the School Building Authority.
Senate Bill 6 – Teachers’ Retirement System – Amendment
Enables teachers in private nonsectarian schools to come under the state teacher retirement system and continue in the teacher
retirement system.
Senate Bill 7 – Power of the Attorney General to Prosecute Any Action or Threatened Action That Would Violate
Segregation Laws (Measure Failed)
Empowers the Attorney General of Georgia to enjoin any violation or threatened violation of the 1955 segregation laws
prohibiting the expenditure of state funds for mixed schools. Empowers the Attorney General to prosecute any action or
threatened action that would violate the segregation law or which may tend to bring about or require or encourage a violation.
Senate Bill 8 – Private Schools – Certificates of Safety (Fire Hazards)
Requires all schools to meet fire safety regulations. http://w.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2009_10/senate/publications/sro/committ... Yeah, nothing to do with race at all. Sorry for the long post.

Rhetor
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Rhetor 05/26/10 - 07:21 am
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This letter, once again,

This letter, once again, reviews the myth of the lost cause. Unrepentent Confederates continue to mouth words unconnected to reality. BTW, England abolished slavery in 1833, and the American Revolution was 1776-1783, so this uninformed letter, supposedly based on "history," has its basic facts wrong.

johnston.cliff
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johnston.cliff 05/26/10 - 07:45 am
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In today's politically

In today's politically correct and government educated society, the only recognized reason for the Civil War and its flag is to irritate the black voters into always voting for Dems and to give government educated whites something to snipe about.

lsmith
105
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lsmith 05/26/10 - 07:51 am
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techfan: that's a fancy bit
Unpublished

techfan: that's a fancy bit of cut and paste you dropped in here. Unfortunately, the point you were trying to make got lost in the gobly goop of legal mumbo jumbo. I stand by the letter writer. It has become politically fashionable to dismiss the north's particpation in the slavery business. Doesn't make it so.
Slavery happened, happened all over the world, still happens today. The United States is certainly not the worst who ever participated in it. The good news is slavery is no longer in America (unless you count the deadbeats wholy dependent upon the government master to feed and clothe them). The bad news is there are far too many idiots living in the past who don't appreciate the opportunities at their finger tips and the blessings of being an American citizen.

FaceTheMusic
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FaceTheMusic 05/26/10 - 07:59 am
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Techfan - as usual, you've

Techfan - as usual, you've nailed it! This is revisionist history at its worst. I expect a letter any day saying the North actually forced the South to have slaves, followed by a letter saying Clinton was actually responsible for the Civil War, and then a letter saying Obama actually required all states to have slaves as a part of his socialist, fascist, marxist, communist agenda! But, hey, we've got RaPaul on the horizon in Kentucky--it may yet come to pass!

Techfan
6461
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Techfan 05/26/10 - 08:07 am
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Sorry you couldn't comprehend

Sorry you couldn't comprehend the pro segregation "legal mumbo jumbo" of the 1956 Ga Legislature. It does go to show, however, that the LTE writer and his SCV slavery/secessionist revisonist history is nonsense regarding the changing of the Ga state flag.

justus4
103
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justus4 05/26/10 - 08:29 am
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Slavery was the economic
Unpublished

Slavery was the economic engine that produced the wealth of the South from 1700s until the 1890s. That wealth has been passed on within many families and institutions, whose attempt to distort historic facts are borderline lunacy. America owes a debt to those citizens who built the country with their sweat & hard work along with their blood. That stain CAN'T be washed away with half truths and lame distortions. It can only be washed away with Truth and the victims "made whole" in their humanity. That's what Christians would do and the nation is so-called "CHRISTIAN" isn't it? Fact is, the nation is NOT Christian and doesn't even come close and the clever cover up of such human atrocities will not endure. And the reason is...U guessed it: The Man upstairs.

Rhetor
1015
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Rhetor 05/26/10 - 08:30 am
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Politically correct my foot.

Politically correct my foot. Slavery, segregation, Jim Crow and all the rest of Southern history were mired in evil. Was evil also practiced elsewhere? Of course it was. But two wrongs don't make a right. People rarely wave the Confederate Flag to celebrate freedom. They wave it to celebrate the taking of freedom from African Americans. I honor my acestors' bravery for fighting for their home state, but I condemn the cause for which they fought.

justthefacts
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justthefacts 05/26/10 - 08:36 am
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Good Lord justus, you don't

Good Lord justus, you don't think we are paying dearly for the abomination of slavery everyday? I doubt there is a person alive who, with a chance to change the past, wouldn't.

WW1949
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WW1949 05/26/10 - 08:57 am
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Justus, How do you make whole

Justus, How do you make whole all those people who produced the wealth of the south as you say. They are all dead. And they are not the only ones who helped build this country with their sweat and blood. My family came from Whales and they had no slaves. My relatives toiled the land around Stone Mountain and they have no stain to wash away. Slavery is a institution that has been around forever and never would I condone it but to try and hold the white population of today accountable for something they had no part in is lunacy also. I am tired of hearing that same old song that never goes away. "It is your fault for the condition we are in". Hogwash.
Tell the young black men to get their pants up off the ground, get an eduction, give up the jive and land a decent job for their famileys. It can be done and maybe they can make themselves whole. Just yesterday morning I saw a young man walking up Walton way with his hat turned sideways, ear rings in his ear, plaid underware with his pants down to the bottom of his underware, cuffs not going to the top of his shoes and a wide white belt. He was holding up his pants in the front so they would not fall off. Do you think he could get a good job-probably not but he will say there are no jobs when it is his appearance that defines him to a potential employer.

Riverman1
84967
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Riverman1 05/26/10 - 08:58 am
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I love the South and the

I love the South and the Confederacy. I have ancestors who fought the Yankees, but, there's no doubt we were wrongly fighting for slavery. That's simply the way it was. It was a complex issue, but it was slavery.

State flags and so on, shouldn't offend a large part of the population. Flags should have benign symbols of trees and butterflies or something like that.

Dixieman
15352
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Dixieman 05/26/10 - 09:03 am
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WW1949 - My family came from

WW1949 - My family came from England, near the border with Wales which I think is close to Whales!
What the GA legislature did in 1956 has nothing at all to do with what happened in 1861-65, does it? Unless the letter writer has a time machine...

Techfan
6461
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Techfan 05/26/10 - 09:10 am
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Maybe WW can join the Sons of

Maybe WW can join the Sons of Jonah.

lsmith
105
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lsmith 05/26/10 - 09:39 am
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I just get tired of hearing
Unpublished

I just get tired of hearing the same old sour puss, disgruntled, anti American rhetoric from people who just can't find a place in todays America, or the South for that matter. If the south and southern heritage is so EVIL why on earth stay here???? Skeedoodle on up to Massachusettes, Vermont, Maine, South Dakota etc where the southern heritage can't haunt you? Oh there is just one problem with making that move, you won't find many blacks living up there, they're all down here in the evil, backwards, slave loving south. I just cannot for the life of me understand why someone would continue to live in an area of the country they hate so much.
Give me A break!!!

weekapaug05
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weekapaug05 05/26/10 - 10:01 am
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I don't know if any of y'all

I don't know if any of y'all have noticed, but our current state flag is pretty much the flag of the Confederate States of America. The first link is a picture of Georgia's current state flag, and the second link is the flag of the Conferate States of America.

http://www.streetlegaltv.com/photos/data/547/georgia.jpg

http://www.historical-flag.com/downloads/1st_confederate.gif

chascush
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chascush 05/26/10 - 10:59 am
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justus4, you really need a

justus4, you really need a history lesson. Almost all of the wealthy plantation owners, slave owners, lost everything during the war. A lot of their wealth was tied up in slaves which one reason they didn’t want to free them. The majority of the plantation owners even lost their land to the carpetbaggers from the north. A lot of their land was taken by the ‘new government’ for taxes because the owners had NO money to pay them. Please read come real history not the crap that is being preached by many black leaders for their own financial gain.

ekharonne
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ekharonne 05/26/10 - 11:55 am
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Ismith, I had to cut and

Ismith, I had to cut and paste this from your last post. "I just get tired of hearing the same old sour puss, disgruntled, anti American rhetoric from people who just can't find a place in todays America, or the South for that matter. If the south and southern heritage is so EVIL why on earth stay here???? Skeedoodle on up to Massachusettes, Vermont, Maine, South Dakota etc where the southern heritage can't haunt you..." I share your pain. I get the same feeling from the hoard of neoconfederates that relentlessly stream a daily dose of LTEs trying to sanitize hate. You have degenerate the discussion to the last bit of sarcasm that "you people" muster up. Ok, yall done help us build the South to what it is today now instead of bit_hing it, why don't yall just leave.

ekharonne
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ekharonne 05/26/10 - 12:13 pm
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Chascush, "Please read come

Chascush, "Please read come real history not the crap that is being preached by many black leaders for their own financial gain." Denigrating
" Black leaders" now? Which ones? Sharpton and Jackson? Darn it, we only got dem two to rely on. Another cheap shot like the one above. Used when there's nothing left for you people to say.

confederate american
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confederate american 05/26/10 - 12:17 pm
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The confederate flag will

The confederate flag will always fly,true southern people will always honor there ancestors and all the other men,women and children that fought for the south.We will always teach our children,grandchildren and great grandchildren about there ancestors and our hertiage.So you want to call me a racist go for it,as long as i know in my soul i'm not, it doesn't matter a bit what you think.I don't know if any of you have heard about the flags over the South,but we are putting up 110 ft flag poles with 25ftx35 ft flags on the Interstates and major hwys in ga,fla,al.sc so far we have about 35 of these giants flying,so proud to be born in the land of cotton.

chipshirley
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chipshirley 05/26/10 - 12:18 pm
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Long before the States of the

Long before the States of the Confederacy seceded from the United States because they found it "was no longer beneficial to their welfare", another group of Americans did a little seceeding of their own.

These Americans were seceding for a far different reason than the Confederate states did though. These Americans were seceding for the purpose of increasing human rights for the common man and for all people. They too fought a long and bloody war and I must say it was even more dramatic and amazing and far more positive than was our Civil War.

And they succeeded and then they wrote a constitution and elected George Washington as the first President of the United States.
When the USA was founded it was well known that the whole world was an Agrarian Society at that time. Food was the most valuable commodity. So everyone realized that even though the nation’s capitol was in Washington DC and our major cities were to our north, it was the south that was the economic engine of the United States and without that engine the nation would fail and the concepts behind our conception would be lost.

The Confederate states were seceding too, but their reasons were very different. Continuing slavery was a real bad idea. The fact that the southern states found it "was no longer beneficial to their welfare" is a moot point, that could have been said from day one. The agricultural industry dominated our society at that time. The major cities were to the north because we had no electric fans or air conditioning, obviously and the south was a hard place to live and work in terms of the heat. A city where people and buildings crowd together makes things even hotter, even back then, so our main cities were up north.

The fact that some Americans would be financially better off by seceding and killing the original American Dream doesn’t mean we should have seceded. If we had stayed independent after secession eventually the rich slave owners would have naturally become the first major industrialists and the whole racial divide might have never ended.

c.james
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c.james 05/26/10 - 12:39 pm
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Amen brother James L. Cavanah

Amen brother James L. Cavanah II, you hit the nail on the head. Most are so ignorant of southern history and the civil war that their mouth goes in gear before their brain. The Flag they refer to is not even the Flag used in the War! As a Northerner transplanted in the South many years ago I learned as much as I could about Southern Culture and History. Let’s keep the history of the South alive or our children will be listening to 50 Cent, eating purple pickled eggs and wearing Mr. T starter kits around their necks!

ekharonne
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ekharonne 05/26/10 - 12:55 pm
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Whoa! Either stone cold

Whoa! Either stone cold idiots or the Tea Party people about to take over now. I'm not staying around for that.

Mr. Thackeray
946
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Mr. Thackeray 05/26/10 - 01:29 pm
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Hmmmm.... this gets old. I

Hmmmm.... this gets old. I have lived in many parts of the South and never saw such comments anywhere else. Celebrate your ancestors NOT the lost cause!

ekharonne
20
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ekharonne 05/26/10 - 02:09 pm
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C. James, James Cavanah II,

C. James, James Cavanah II, hmmmm.., could be. I guess he didn't like the direction the debate was turning.

chascush
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chascush 05/26/10 - 03:22 pm
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ekharonne, I care very little

ekharonne, I care very little about the Confederate flag. I was trying to correct the lies that are being told. Many by black leaders like the Rev. Wright, Sharpton and Jackson.

georgiagray
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georgiagray 05/26/10 - 04:55 pm
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As to when England ended

As to when England ended slavery - In 1705 in Smith v Brown and Cooper, Chief Justice Holt stated: “as soon as a negro comes into England, he becomes free; one may be a villein in England, but not a slave”.

Although popular myth has it that it was Chief Justice Mansfield (the Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench) who, in 1772 in Somerset v Stewart held that a slave who sets foot in England is free, the actual distinction goes to Lord Henley LC, who, in 1762 in Shanley v Harvey (1762) 2 Eden 126, 28 ER 844 (HC Ch) uttered the immortal words: “As soon as a man sets foot on English ground he is free”, and to the earlier decision of the Court of Queen's Bench in Cartwright’s Case in 1569, which held “that England was too pure an air for a slave to breathe in”.

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