Originally created 04/21/01

Confederate history distorts truth



Allen Williams' April 13 letter, "Southerners fought for homes, families," is another example of the many pro-Confederate letters distorting the historical truth about the causes of the "War between the States."

Mr. Williams states, "If the Confederacy had wanted to stay in the Union and retain the use of slave labor, it could have easily done so by accepting the Crittenden Compromise..."

He further states, "As history teaches us, the Confederacy rejected the compromise because it failed to address the more important issue of states' rights."

These statements are outrageous distortions... The Confederacy never had the opportunity to accept or reject the Crittenden Compromise, because it was never offered. The compromise was first presented to Congress as a way to settle the secession crisis, but it was rejected by President Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party because it allowed slavery into the territories.

The Crittenden Compromise is important, as it informs us of what the politicians of the day thought the cause of the crisis to be. All of the proposed amendments in the compromise dealt with slavery issues important to the South.

Mr. Williams' statement that very few of the Confederate soldiers owned slaves and did not have anything to benefit from those that did is very misleading. Young boys in their teens and early 20s, as those who served the Confederacy, rarely owned property as valuable as slaves, but many of their families did.

Slaves were very important to the South's economy. Most everyone wanted to own them, because it was the way to achieve wealth and social status.

Poor whites didn't want them free because they didn't want the competition for land and jobs, and they certainly didn't want black people made socially equal to them. To most whites, it was all about maintaining "white supremacy."

I suggest Mr. Williams read Dixie President Jefferson Davis' first speech (April 29, 1861) to the Confederate Congress wherein he explains the importance of slavery (and) the necessity of secession to protect this Southern "institution."

Barry Speth, Augusta