Let’s Talk about That Flag

confederate battle flagAfter a heated and emotional series of debates earlier this week, the Confederate flag that flew at South Carolina’s state capitol was lowered from its flagpole and taken to a “relic room.” This move came as a direct result of the slaughter of nine people in a historic black church in Charleston. That act of violence, motivated by racism and hatred, sparked a debate about whether or not the Confederate flag had a place in modern society, a debate that, at times, generated a lot more heat than light. So naturally, I waited until things had pretty much settled down before I opened my big mouth.

Part of that is deliberate. I know I had some very strong, knee-jerk reactions when all of this was fresh. But rather than speak out (aside from a few comments on friends’ Facebook posts), I thought it better to let my thoughts simmer a little, to make sure that I was responding, not reacting. For whatever reason, that simmering reached a critical mass today, and I thought that today might be the right day to share my thoughts.

But before I do, I think I need to acknowledge one of the elephants in the room:

Yes, I Know that Flag Isn’t the Official Flag

Let’s just get it out of the way, shall we? Yes, I know that the flag that was removed from the capitol grounds was never the official flag of the Confederate States of America. YouTuber CGP Grey does a great job of breaking down the history of the Confederate flags, so I’ll let him take care of things:

One thing that Grey doesn’t mention, but I believe bears mentioning, is the meaning of the “stainless banner.” The reason for the white field was not to surrender, but it was a reminder of the supremacy of white people over their black slaves. As the editor of the Savannah, Georgia, Morning News put it:

“As a people, we are fighting to maintain the heaven-ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored races. A White Flag would be thus emblematical of our cause.”

That’s kind of an important point, and I’ll be coming back to it in a bit.

But in the meantime, I get it. The battle standard that was adopted by the Army and Navy of the Confederacy was never the official flag of the entire Confederate government. But, as Grey puts it, close enough. You see the battle standard, you don’t think “ah, that’s the flag of the Confederate’s military.” No, you think CSA, simple as that. So let’s not quibble about names or official designations.

The Confederate battle standard isn't the official flag, but 'close enough.' And that's still a problem. Click To Tweet

The more important question we need to ask is the thornier one, namely…

What Does This Mean?

(Can you tell I’m a Lutheran through-and-through?)

The entire debate over whether or not this flag should still be flying centers on what this flag, as a symbol, means. What does it stand for?

For many people, especially minorities, the battle standard of the Confederacy stands for fear, hatred, and racism. This is a symbol that has been used by many violent and angry people as an emblem of their fight. The sight of a Confederate flag conjures up images of men dressed in white robes, Jim Crow laws, midnight lynchings, and so on.

But for other people, they want the flag to be about “heritage, not hate.” They see it as a reminder of their history, especially their family histories if they have an ancestor who fought in the Civil War for the Confederates. To them, this flag has nothing to do with racism.

For still other people, they see this flag as an important symbol of the struggle between the states and the federal government. These folks usually try to argue that the reason why the South seceded in the first place wasn’t slavery, it was because the federal government was trying to trample on their states’ rights, and they weren’t going to take it anymore. By extension, they look at the way that they believe that the federal government has overreached in recent years, and they see in the Confederacy kindred spirits, folks who were willing to take a stand for what they believed in against a tyrannical government that tried to crush them.

Hoo boy. This is where I think I’m going to upset a lot of people.

The Cassus Belli

Let’s start with that last group first, the folks that say that the Confederate flag is a symbol of the struggle for states’ rights. I suppose you could argue that the Confederates were fighting for their rights, but my friend and fellow author Clay Morgan, a history professor who made an insightful video on the origins of the Confederate flag, had an interesting observation on that particular argument:

Maybe you could say that the Civil War was fought over states’ rights, but a state’s right to do what?

That, right there, is the million dollar question. What states’ rights were the Confederates afraid of losing? What was the threat that pushed them over the edge to the extreme step of seceding from the Union?

Well, a reporter for the Atlantic named Ta-Nehisi Coates took a detailed look at the documents of secession and other writings of Confederate leaders to see what they thought the war was about. As the subtitle of his article puts it:

The meaning of the Confederate flag is best discerned in the words of those who bore it.

You don’t have to read too far to get the gist of what they thought it was all about. For example, here’s a choice quote from South Carolina’s documents:

A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that “Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,” and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction. This sectional combination for the submersion of the Constitution, has been aided in some of the States by elevating to citizenship, persons who, by the supreme law of the land, are incapable of becoming citizens; and their votes have been used to inaugurate a new policy, hostile to the South, and destructive of its beliefs and safety.

It sounds like they’re just trying to defend themselves from the big, bad government, but what did they fear the government was going to do? Mississippi’s statements make it pretty clear:

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. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin…

So why did the southern states secede? Because they were worried that Abraham Lincoln, who had just been elected president, would take away their slaves. That is the right they were fighting to defend. Remember, this was pre-New Deal America. The federal government didn’t have the power, influence, or reach that it does today.

Yes, the Civil War was about what everyone says it was. And that's why the CSA flag is a problem. Click To Tweet

Coates’s article is much longer than these two quotes that I pulled from it, but if you keep reading (and you definitely should), you get a very distinct picture that for the leadership of the Confederacy, the war was all about the right to own another human being. It’s all about slavery, and it doesn’t matter how you try to dress it up otherwise. A pig is still a pig no matter how much lipstick you smear on it. I mean, I know, some people call the Civil War the “War of Northern Aggression,” but I just have one question for those folks: who fired the first shot again?

Now I get it. I’m troubled by some steps that the federal government has taken in recent years. I worry that it does overstep its bounds, and we need people who are ready and willing to stand up to “Big Government” and say, “Hey, back off!” But I question whether it’s wise to associate your cause (i.e. smaller, less intrusive government) with a symbol that is so wrapped up in racism. But then again, I suppose that America doesn’t have much in terms of symbols the represent standing up to a government. None whatsoever. ahem

Heritage, Not Hate

Now some people are willing to acknowledge that yes, much (if not all) of the motivation for the government of the Confederacy to go to war was slavery. But the reason why they cherish the Confederate flag has nothing to do with government ideologies. Instead, they remember how their great-grandfather (or whoever) went to war and fought with bravery and honor. These ancestors never owned a slave themselves.

And that may be true. But my question is this: is “I was only following orders” a legitimate excuse in an unjust war?

Allow me to make an argument by way of analogy. Let’s say that, in September of 2039, Germany decides to start flying the Nazi flag outside the Chancellery building. They insist that this is not to celebrate or glorify the Holocaust, but to remember the bravery of the German men and women who served with integrity and honor in World War II. Many of those men and women never killed any Jewish people or sent them off to concentration camps. They simply fought for their country. And that’s why the swastika flies in Germany once again.

Okay, okay, I know. I’ve technically just lost my entire argument (but if the Confederacy teaches us one thing, it’s that you don’t have to stop making noise even if you’ve lost!). But I don’t think any of us would buy that. The symbol of Nazi Germany is too tied up in the horrors that they inflicted on their victims. There very well may have been members of the German military who disagreed with what Hitler was trying to accomplish, folks who fought for their Fatherland, not for the Fuhrer (and we know that there were). But using the swastika to honor them would be in questionable taste.

Same thing is true here, I think. The reason why someone has to go to war is just as important as how they conduct themselves in that war. And the symbol of that cassus belli is just as important too.

Why you fight a war is just as important as how. Click To Tweet

Remember bravery, integrity, and honor, definitely. But don’t wrap those virtues up in a symbol of white supremacy.

I guess what I’m ultimately trying to say about the flag is this:

Symbols Have Inherent Meaning

You can’t divorce a symbol completely from the intention of the people who created it.  You can try to import new meanings into it, but you can’t gloss over what it originally stood for. The battle standard of the Confederacy has an inherent meaning to it, one that was intentional. It was used as symbol for a government that wanted to continue the enslavement of people based on the color of their skin. That is what was being fought for. You may see it as a symbol of states’ rights or as a reminder of your ancestor’s courage. That’s fine. But it also stands for hatred. It also stands for violence. It’s also been used by people who rallied around it to terrorize and brutalize minorities. You can say that we should ignore those incidents, but I’m not sure we can.

But now the rubber has to hit the road, because there have been a number of issues that have come up surrounding this flag. Rather than try to lump them together, I’m going to try to disentangle them as best I can:

State Governments Flying the Flag

Not a good idea, in my not-so-humble opinion. First of all, let’s remember that the South lost the war and was brought back into the Union. This flag is the symbol of rebellion. Why does it get to keep flying?

Plus, let’s not forget that the timing of when many of these flags started popping up. Ostensibly, it was to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Civil War. I’m sure that it was just coincidental that these flags went up the pole during the Civil Rights movement, during the days of desegregation, the unraveling of Jim Crow, and so on (which these states opposed at the time).

Just a coincidence.

It’s not right for the governments of the southern states to continue to fly this flag. South Carolina did the right thing by taking it down today. Other states should follow suit. Send the flag to a museum. That’s where it belongs.

Now do I believe that by taking down the flag, that will somehow magically solve all problems in our country, that racial tensions will dissipate and we’ll all go skipping off into a rainbow together? Of course not. Don’t be silly. No one seriously believes that. But this is a step in the right direction. Rather than enshrine what could be a rallying point for folks with racist views, we are removing it and relegating it to where it should have been all along. Baby steps.

Historical Depictions

A few weeks ago, I was stunned by the news that Apple was removing games from their app store if those games depicted the Confederate flag. That strikes me as an overreaction. Look, the Confederate flag is a part of history. It was carried into battle in the Civil War. If you’re making a game, movie, book, stage play, or radio drama that’s set during the time of the Civil War, you’ll have to include the flag for historical accuracy.

Okay, maybe not that last one, but you get the idea.

The old adage is true: those who don’t learn from history are destined to repeat it. It’s impossible to learn from history if you hide it. It may be uncomfortable. It may stir up difficult thoughts and feelings. But it’s important that we wrestle with those thoughts and feelings so we can grow as a society.

I think that goes for the General Lee from Dukes of Hazzard, too. It may have not been the best idea to slap the battle standard on the ol’ General Lee when the show was being made, but the show’s not being made anymore.

Now it is important to note that in both of these instances, Apple and TV Land made these decisions on their own. So far as I can tell, there were no petitions to remove the flag, nor was there any concerted pressure on them to do so. I’m assuming that the folks who made these decisions were trying to be proactive and they may have gone overboard a little. It’s hard to blame them for that. Our modern discourse has become so toxic and vile, it’s hard to have a conversation about serious subjects without some spewing venom all over the place.

And that brings us to the final issue:

Individuals Displaying the Flag

A few weeks ago, I stumbled across a blog post entitled Yes, you’re a racist… and a traitor written by a man in central Pennsylvania about one of his neighbors who was flying the battle standard outside his home. The author was…perturbed, to say the least. He was extremely upset that this person would fly that flag in his neighborhood.

I can understand his reaction, but I also understand the realities of the First Amendment. Freedom of speech means that people can fly the Confederate battle flag and I can’t tell them to take it down. They can plaster it on their shirts, belt buckles, even tattoo it to their forehead, and they’re perfectly free to do so.

But I think the words of John Oliver are important to remember:

John-Oliver-Con-Flag

Okay, that’s a bit extreme. It’s hyperbole. Very nice people can wear the Confederate flag. It’s not like you turn into a slavering monster the moment it touches you, but I think the underlying point is valid. If you choose to wear a symbol that people interpret as representing hatred and racism, you can’t get upset and insist that we not interpret it that way just because you say so.

So if you want to wear the flag, go ahead. You have the right, as an American, to do just that. It’s part of your First Amendment rights.

There we go. This post was a little longer and a lot more serious than what I usually do here, but I felt I had to get all of this off my chest.

21 Comments:

  1. I guess when the Confederate flag is securely in the museum — and not on the flag pole — we can and should remember that its meanings and historical significance were complicated and multi-faceted. After all, racist people might still have believed sincerely in good ideals besides the very bad one. If the symbol truly dies, I think you can look at it with grace. That’s Christian, right? – when someone or something dies completely, then it can be redeemed?

  2. Do you really think a government would have a war just to free slaves? Governments are always doing what benefits them. They don’t do something because it’s right. Slavery would have quickly died on its own, without the bloody war.
    Here’s a good article on the issue, which brings up why the war was fought. Slavery may have been used as a tool by both sides of the war, but it wasn’t the reason for the war.
    http://chuckbaldwinlive.com/Articles/tabid/109/ID/3336/The-Confederate-Flag-Needs-To-Be-Raised-Not-Lowered.aspx

    A few quotes by Lincoln:
    “Do the people of the South really entertain fears that a Republican administration would directly, or indirectly, interfere with their slaves, or with them, about their slaves? If they do, I wish to assure you, as once a friend, and still, I hope, not an enemy, that there is no cause for such fears. The South would be in no more danger in this respect than it was in the days of Washington.”
    “If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it.” He also said, “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so and I have no inclination to do so.”
    “I am not, nor have ever been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races. I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races from living together on social or political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white.”

    To me, there is enough evidence to prove the ware was not over slavery. For those who do believe it was over slavery, there is enough evidence to the contrary that they should not judge someone for thinking the South was right.

    If we’re taking down the Confederate flag, let’s take down every statue of Lincoln since the man was a racist, and got hundreds of thousands of Americans killed.

    • You seem to be under the impression that the Union started the war. Interesting.

    • So, your contention is that the Confederate states were confused as to their cause for rebelling, which they wrote down in their various declarations of war/secession (including the quoted sections above), and which were pretty uniformly on the line of “We’re going to war to keep our slaves,” is that correct?

      That maybe their words were saying “We’re fighting to keep our slaves and maintain the supremacy of the White race,” but that somehow that doesn’t matter because they were fighting for some abstract concept of states’ rights (to do what again?), regardless of what they wrote down as their casus belli?

      And to answer your question, no, I don’t think a government would likely go to war to free slaves, but I absolutely do believe the Confederates when they said they were going to war in order to keep their slaves and hang on to their faith in white supremacy.

      • I do not deny there was white supremacy in the South, but that was the way it was in the whole county. Just look at what Lincoln said.
        Lincoln had offered an amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing slavery, which happened before the war started. “On September 22, 1862, Lincoln had issued a preliminary proclamation warning that he would order the emancipation of all slaves in any state that did not end its rebellion against the Union by January 1, 1863,” from Wikipedia.
        If keeping slaves was the only thing the South wanted, then why did they fight when they could have kept their slaves?

        And what about the American flag? It’s offensive to some people and represents a government that is evil. Shouldn’t we take it down too?

        • You are correct, the American flag is indeed offensive to people, including some of our own citizens.

          The key difference, I think, lies in the fact that it is the symbol of an active, “living” government that exists today. The government that flag represents continues to grow and evolve as various men and women take and leave office, meaning that what that flag represents can change and evolve in drastic ways.

          The Confederate flag, however, represents a government that does not exist anymore. The country that it represents is no more. As such, it is a historical relic.

        • So their proclamations of war are just meant to be completely disregarded then? They didn’t know what they were saying?

          To my mind, flying the flag of traitors who went to war in any part to defend the institution of slavery is a pretty awesome way for the rest of us to know immediately that we can write someone off as a complete tool. Whether it was the main reason, the only reason, or just one of several reasons, it doesn’t really matter, does it? It was a bunch of rich white guys duping a bunch of poor white guys into going to war to protect the idea that people can be property. There was nothing noble in their cause, nothing to be admired about the reasons they went to war, regardless of any individual valour or courage. It was a disgusting chapter of American history that should be looked upon with shame, not pride.

          • Did you read the link in my first post? Pastor Baldwin explains the issue much better than I can.
            Traitors? Last I looked, the American flag was originally flown by “traitors” like George Washington, who were sick of the high taxes. (Oh, and some of them owned slaves too, but for some reason are still considered heroes.)
            I’m no tool. Lately, I’ve also seen quite a few pictures of African Americans flying the flag. I doubt it’s because they support slavery.
            Just to be clear, I am against all forms of slavery, including the military draft, which both sides of the War Between the States participated in. I support those who fly the rebel flag, but I rarely fly it due to both kinds of slavery existing under it. When I see someone flying it, I see it as a symbol of rebellion, not of racism. It is a symbol, and over time, the meaning of these symbols can change.

          • If you’re going to bring religious teaching into things, could you remind me, who was the very first rebel? I’m sorry, but rebel and traitor are pretty much synonyms, especially if you’re rebelling against lawful authority for awful reasons.

            And the fact that a few black people have been sucked into Southern revisionism is proof of the power of propaganda, not the validity of the idea that the flag isn’t a shameful reminder of one of America’s original sins and the American swastika.

          • Jesus also toppled the establishment, so I don’t see what the issue is.

            The media is a much more powerful propaganda pusher than whatever groups are siding with the South. After all, the victors always write the history. Don’t pretend only one side is pushing the propaganda.
            For the record, I’m not a big fan of the leaders in the South, but there were quite a few of them who were not in favor of slavery.

            And here comes Godwin’s law again. I guess it was already brought up in the original post.
            It was not the Confederates who committed genocide against the American Indians, or the ones that have allowed the abortion of nearly 60 million unborn babies. If you want to take down a flag that’s flown over more evil than the Nazi flag, just take down the American flag.
            Different people see symbols standing for different things, but the American flag has always flown over a country that was doing something morally wrong, while one could say that the Confederate flag has evolved into a symbol of southern culture and rebellion since the government that flew it has fallen.

            I’m not asking anyone to fly it, I’m trying to show people that those flying it should 1. Have the right to fly it anywhere flags are flown, and 2. Not be judged as racist, stupid, or backwards.

            On the original post, comparing the Nazi flag to the Confederate flag is a poor comparison since most of the German soldiers were not Nazis and would most likely not appreciate anyone flying that flag in their honor.

          • The flag didn’t start flying in the South again in earnest until the advent of the civil rights movement, particularly desegregation. Tell white people that they’re not allowed to exclude black children from their public schools any more, and suddenly everyone’s all about “southern pride”. It’s not a coincidence that the KKK love flying that thing, and it’s not just a crazy misunderstanding when racist fascists in Europe fly it in countries where other symbols of hate have been banned. It is a symbol of racial bigotry, hate, and intolerance, no matter how much whitewashing “rebels” want to throw on it. If anything, the symbolism attached to it got worse in the 20th century, and it’s little more than a dog whistle today.

            Also, you’ll note I said the similarities between rebels and traitors were at their strongest when rebelling against lawful authority for awful reasons, I don’t think Jesus kicking at the religious leaders of his time really falls under the “awful reasons” category.

    • You are taking those quotes out of context. He was trying to hold the country together and reassure the southern states that he was NOT an abolitionist that was going to try and free the slaves (costing the “property owners” hundreds of thousands of dollars). I do see the irony that he did end up doing that, but the South fired the first shot. Lincoln’s goal was to try and keep the union together at all costs. Both sides had reached the “point of no return” due to the Dred Scott ruling for the north, and the John Brown raid for the south. It didn’t help that politicians were literally beating each other in the nations capital over the issue (Sumner-Brooks). If you want to call Lincoln a tyrant for breaking the constitution to save it, you would have more of a historical standing than to call him a racist. (But that’s an issue for a different post).

      The fact of the matter is that the country was heading towards a conflict over slavery even since the constitutional convention. The 3/5 compromise also included a clause that the federal government would not attempt to address the issue of slavery for 20 years b/c the founding fathers knew the issue could prevent the country from coming together in the first place and didn’t want the issue to derail the constitution and the problems it was being written to resolve.

  3. Out of all the blogs I read yours is still in my email alot.

    I’d just like to say that I appreciate reading all of your stories and opinions.

    Thanks.

  4. I like your well thought-out article, even if I disagree with it. And since I love the Failstate series, I’m nervous to respond to it. 😀

    But for me, there was no “good” side in the civil war. I’m not going to go dig up articles or historical notes, but while the confederates may have started the war (after a declaration of separation to which the Union essentially responded to with “no U” 😀 ) the reason the Union fought in it was to preserve all the income and goods that came from the south. Not in a glorious crusade to stop slavery, which is so often portrayed in both modern ideology and media. And I’m not accusing you of that, because you didn’t say that. Just stating it as my opinion, and part of why I’m writing this.

    Essentially, the war was fought over money. The north, at that time, couldn’t sustain itself, or just didn’t want to go without, the goods and such that were grown in the south. And so couldn’t afford to let them secede. I think Northern written and Southern written history books disagree on that point.

    In effect, while they may have looked down upon southern slaver “pigs”, they were certainly willing to look past it for all the products and money that came from the south. Cotton, sugar, tobacco, food, ETC. Until the south, afraid of losing slavery, or fighting heavy taxes, or whatever, said “We gone”. And then the shooting started.

    Now, as a native Mississippian, I want to state clearly that I firmly believe racism in all it’s forms is incredibly wrong. Biblically, morally, humanly. It’s horrible. Was it on it’s way out in the south? I don’t know. I’ve heard that. It’s kinda a moot point, if the above facts are true. Since if they are, the war wasn’t fought over slavery at all. It may have been the match that lit the fire, but it wasn’t the wood that sustained it. And it’s still wrong, either way.

    As for the flag… If you were to ask, people fly that flag to let other’s know they’re proud of where they came from, and who brought them there. It’s not a symbol of white supremacy, it’s a symbol of loving the south. All people, all races and genders, are welcome to fly that flag if they’ve adopted the south as their home.

    Another part of it is that a lot of people down here still haven’t entirely forgiven the “North” for the war, and to them, it’s not over in spirit. That’s why the governments down here still flew the flag. That’s why people still fly it. It was, and is, essentially a raised fist to the “darn yankees”; while we may have lost the war, we didn’t lose our fighting spirit.

    Which…I dunno. It is what it is, I suppose. Probably not healthy for the nation as a whole, but it’ll explain why you hear a lot of “darn yankee” jokes if you spend time in the deep south.

    What does this have to do with the “southern flag”? Not much, admittedly. Part of being a native Mississippian is getting grumpy (or outraged, or ranty) when someone maintains the Civil war was fought over slavery, I guess. Apologies.

    For the flag issue, I’m honestly torn. I don’t like people telling me I can’t fly a flag, or trying to make a symbol which by and large simply means “southern pride” into anathema; or the current media flavor crusading against it in frankly ridiculous fashion. Because yes, I do believe the south is the best part of the US. I’m proud of where I was born, and for the most part, the people here. 😀

    But at the same time, I don’t want to fly or parade, or praise anything that would offend, hurt, or tear at my brothers and sisters in Christ, or people in general. And ff the flag truly does that…I ‘spose I’ll have to find something else to fly. It’s not worth it, I think.

    Maybe a fried chicken flag?

    Just my two scents (citrus and baking pizza).

    –Conner

    • Good post.
      My family had some slightly Southern roots, but we’ve been in the north for decades, so to us, the flag is a symbol of rebellion.
      When I did a post on the flag, I made sure to say I wasn’t racist. I think the best way to keep the flag from being seen as offensive is for people who are not racist to keep displaying it. If the non-racists all take it down because some see it as offensive, then it will only be seen as offensive.
      I myself rarely fly any flag, due to most having a stained past of some sort. In my view, the US flag is much worse than the Confederate flag(s). The US government is always changing, but it has never changed for the better, and it’s been doing evil for well over a hundred years.

    • While I still hold that slavery was the primary cause, I agree that there were other reasons. While the North did enjoy the money generated from tariffs and such from southern goods, they had a much more diverse economy than the South. The other two factors that went into the war were:
      1. Foreign relations. We were not great friends with the British at that time. They were considering supporting the South not just b/c they liked trading for the cotton for their mills, but also to stem the growing power of the United States. Had the confederates successfully broken away, that would have harmed the international standing of the U.S (only 50 years removed from 1812).
      2. The south stood to lose political power over the issue of slavery. They fought a civil war in Kansas to spread slavery to a state *where it would not be profitable* to have there just to get the senate seats. We had fought the war against Mexico earlier to open up territory to create more southern states. They had to maintain a balance in the Senate or they would lose their political power and feared the northern states would gang up on them to raise tariffs AND end slavery.

    • Conner, I’m never upset when someone says they disagree with me. That happens a lot. 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed the Failstate series and thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. 🙂

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