Browsing "Southern Statesmen"

Southern Remembrances in Stone

The South has not produced a domestic architecture since 1865 as distinctive as that of the Old South, though the traditions of older styles of architecture prevail to this day and thwart the acceptance of mediocre and soulless modernist (read: Marxist) boxes. The cities, big and small, of the South also enjoy a plethora of important works by notable sculptors commissioned to create permanent reminders of those who fought for the liberty and independence of the South.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Southern Remembrances in Stone

“America could never be called a sculpture-loving nation like France or Italy. A trip through either of these countries impresses one with the poverty of America sculpturally. The emotions, aspirations, and triumphs of these nations seem to have crystallized through the centuries into marble and bronze monuments.

A ready excuse for the lack of sculpture in the South is the poverty that was prevalent after the Civil War, the period in which the North erected so many of its monuments. That this explanation is not truly sufficient, however, is evident when one checks the sculptural commissions given in the South since the [First] World War.

The only State in the South that can boast of a long list of sculptured possessions is Virginia. Richmond as the capital has a fine array of monuments. Notable among these are Washington by Houdon; Robert E. Lee by Mercie; Jefferson Davis and General Wickham by Valentine. Charlottesville, the seat of the University of Virginia, has almost as many monuments as Richmond and several of high quality – a Lewis and Clark group and an equestrian Stonewall Jackson by Charles Keck; a second monument to George Rogers Clark of great merit by Robert L. Aitken, and the expressive Thomas Jefferson by Karl Bitter. Arlington, of course, adds to the State’s total.

A glance through the list off monuments in other cities in the State shows work by Henry Adams and Bryan Baker, monuments by Charles Keck in several places, and many monuments by George Julian Zolney. Even the smaller cities in Virginia are thus seen to call upon sculptors of national reputation to design their memorials.

After Virginia several States group together in the quantity and quality of their sculpture. Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas are about in the same class.

At Stone Mountain, near Atlanta, Georgia, the most stupendous sculptural undertaking is in progress that has ever been conceived anywhere in the world. The idea of carving the face of the gigantic Stone Mountain as a memorial to the Confederacy originated with Mrs. Helen Plane and was adopted by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1916.

Gutzon Borglum was appointed sculptor, and carving was begun on 1923. In 1925, following severe disagreements, his contract was cancelled and Augustus Lukeman was appointed his successor. At present the three main figures of the central group, those of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Stonewall Jackson, are being carved. Immediately upon the completion of these figures, however, the next phase of the work to be undertaken will be the Memorial Hall.

In Georgia there are of further note several monuments by Daniel Chester French. The Spencer Memorial in Atlanta and the General Oglethorpe Monument in Savannah are by him, and both have harmonious bases by Henry Bacon, architect.

Mississippi possesses an important repository of sculpture in the National Park Cemetery at Vicksburg. Among the memorials in the Park are the works of such men as Lorado Taft, Herbert Adams, A.A. Weinman, and Solon Borglum.

In New Orleans, Lousiana . . . [is] the Wounded Stag by Antoine Louis Barye, which stands in front of the Delgado Museum of Art. The center of the historic Jackson Square is accented by one of Clark Hill’s famous equestrian statues of General Jackson. Effectively place on the plaza in front of the Courthouse is the bronze figure of Chief Justice White by Bryan Baker.

[In Austin, Texas are] her monuments to General Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin, and the cemetery her figure of Albert Sidney Johnston.

In the 1933 edition of the American Art Annual are listed thirty-three native Southern sculptors. The most widely known name among these is that of Augustus Lukeman, a native of Virginia. Others in the list who have achieved more than a local reputation are William Couper, Nancy Cox McCormick, Angela Gregory, Ernest Bruce Haswell, Bonnie MacLeary, Waldine Amanda Tauch, and Enid Yandell.”

(The Fine Arts, Ula Milner Gregory; Culture in the South, W.T. Couch, editor, UNC Press, 1934, excerpts, pp. 275-277)

Conservative Southern Democrats Turn Republican

In 1952, liberal Republicans pushed aside conservative Robert A. Taft in favor of a man with no discernable political principles – Dwight Eisenhower. As FDR’s Democrat Party adopted virtually every plank of the Communist Party USA platform by 1944, conservative Southern Democrats like Virginia Senator Harry Byrd, were criticized by their own party for voting against Truman’s liberal policies and with “Mr. Republican,” Ohio’s Senator Taft. In a historic shift, Eisenhower carried the State of Virginia in 1952 with more than 56 percent of the vote.  Conservative Southern Democrats would have more of FDR-Truman collectivism.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Conservative Southern Democrats Turn Republican

“What would Harry Byrd do now? Four years earlier, at his suggestion, Virginia Democrats had endorsed Dwight Eisenhower for President. Now the general was the Republican presidential nominee, and the senator’s loyalists had played a part in bringing that about. But Eisenhower was a war-hero, the kind of popular figure who could capture the imagination of the American people and put an end to two decades of liberalism in the White House.

[Byrd] had become the central figure in the conservative coalition of Democrats and Republicans in the Congress that battled the President, and in 1949, Truman had declared in frustration, “There are too many Byrds in Congress.”

Facing fierce opposition from Southern Democrats, Truman decided to forego another reelection bid in 1952, but Byrd continued to hammer away at the evils of Trumanism.” “I’ve been asked what kind of Democrat I am,” Byrd told one campaign audience . . . I’m a Virginia Democrat, a true Democrat, and if any further definition is needed, I am not a Truman Democrat.”

With the Virginia Democrats having backed Eisenhower in 1948 [rather than Truman], Republicans hoped that an open GOP-Byrd organization alliance in support of the general could be arranged in 1952.

The Eisenhower strategy in Virginia was much the same as it was throughout the South. And, for the first time in years, a national Republican campaign featured the South prominently in its plans.

A confidential memorandum distributed to the Eisenhower campaign’s Southern operatives provided detailed instructions on how to woo voters who had never been Republicans. The remarkable document revealed a well-considered strategy for cracking the solidly Democratic South:

“For the South to “bolt” its traditional Democratic voting in 1952 will require a candidate who does not merely campaign under the Republican banner, but AN AMERICAN – worthy of the South’s political support.

One must understand and consider carefully the Democratic saga that pervades the Southern mind. Northerners are prone to look askance upon the traditional view that the South still has in its heart the War Between the States, and believe that the almost one hundred intervening years surely have settled the dust of that conflict. This is especially so as there is practically no living Southerner who could recall, from personal experience, the post-bellum carpet-bagger days, which history teaches did so much to alienate the South from the Republican Party.

True, a great deal of soothing water has passed over the dam that separates the South from the North, but there still remains a hatred and distrust of the Republican Party LABEL when attached to a candidate, particularly in the hearts and minds of those Southerners whose schooling has not been of the advanced type . . .

Specific suggestions for obtaining Southern support for Eisenhower include:

Do not try to sell the Republican Party to Southern voters – sell Eisenhower as the great American he is – whose principles of governing have been accepted by the Republican Party in making him their candidate . . .

Do not try to build a STATE Republican Party in the South while seeking to elect Eisenhower. In 1953, with Eisenhower in the White House and hundreds of thousands of Federal jobs available, will be the right time to build a strong Republican Party in the South . . .

Do not let the Negro question enter into the Southern campaign, for there is no Negro problem that the South cannot itself take care of. Even if it means alienating some of the Negro vote in populous Northern cities – what of it? The Negro vote no longer belongs to the Republican Party as in the days of old, for gratitude for freedom from slavery has long been forgotten.

In its place, we have 20 years of “handouts” to the Negroes by the Democratic Party, which the Negro cannot and will not forget at the polls. You cannot teach intelligent voting, except to a small number of Negroes higher education. The 136 electoral votes of the South mean more to the Republican Party than the possible loss of a few Northern States, even a big one like Pennsylvania, with its 32 votes. Absolute fairness and opportunity should be accorded the Negro, but for the South the question of segregation is holy and must not be disturbed.

Look upon the South with reality – a people sick of the type of Democratic rule they have had since FDR, but still too proud to embrace a Republican Party which would symbolize for them another surrender – another Appomattox.

Work in harmony with the Dixiecrats – they are anxious to defeat Trumanism . . .”

(The Dynamic Dominion, Realignment and the Rise of Virginia’s Republican Party Since 1945, Frank B. Atkinson, George Mason University Press, 1992, excerpts, pp. 47-51)

The Great, Lost Conservative Principle

In his 1991 introduction to the reprinted “John C. Calhoun, American Portrait” by Margaret Coit (original 1951), Clyde N. Wilson wrote that “Coit restored to our national pantheon this lost figure, surely a constructive and consoling experience. Her book was probably a decisive factor in the United States Senate designating Calhoun as one of its five greats in 1959, on the finding of a committee chaired by John F. Kennedy.” He adds that “a number of economic historians [have] found Calhoun’s grasp of fiscal and monetary policy superior” to his contemporaries, and that he was a Jeffersonian, and thoroughly conservative, Democrat.

The Great, Lost Conservative Principle

“A republic goes to war to defend itself and its vital interests, including possibly its honour. Empires go to war because going to war is one of the things irresponsible rulers do. The point of reference for a republic is its own well-being. An empire has no point of reference except expansion of its authority. Its foreign policy will be abstract, and will reflect on the vagaries of mind of the rulers, who might, for instance, proclaim that it is their subjects’ duty to establish a New World Order, whatever the cost to their own blood and treasure.

An empire contains not free citizens, but subjects, interchangeable persons having no intrinsic value except as taxpayers and cannon fodder. A people’s culture may be changed by imperial edict to reflect a trumped-up multiculturalism (a sure sign of empire), or their religion persecuted.

We know the problems. Where should we look for solutions? Changing the personnel of the White House, Congress, and the Supreme Court has been of little avail. Thomas Jefferson gives us the answer: our most ancient and best tradition, States’ rights. In his first inaugural address, Jefferson remarked that in most ways Americans were very happily situated, and then asked:

“What more is necessary to make us a happy and prosperous people? Still one thing more, fellow citizens – a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits . . . and shall not take from the mouth of labour the bread that it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”

John C. Calhoun, speaking of exactly the same tradition a generation later, said:

“The question is in truth between the people and the supreme court. We contend, that the great conservative principle of our system is in the people of the States, as parties to the constitutional compact, and our opponents that it is in the supreme court . . . Without a full practical recognition of the rights and sovereignty of the States, our union and liberty must perish. State rights would be found . . . in all cases of difficulty and danger [to be] the only conservative principle in the system, the only one that could interpose an effectual check to the danger.”

By conservative principle he means not a political position of right as opposed to left – he means that which conserves the Constitution as it was intended. Contrast that with our present position. Forrest McDonald, our greatest living Constitutional scholar, writes:

“Political scientists and historians are in agreement that federalism is the greatest contribution of the Founding Fathers to the science of government. It is also the only feature of the Constitution that has been successfully exported, that can be employed to protect liberty elsewhere in the world. Yet what we invented, and others imitate, no longer exists on its native shores.”

(From Union to Empire, Clyde N. Wilson, Foundation for American Education, 2003, pp. 155-157)

The Great Glacier of Conservative Thought

Author Clement Eaton wrote that “the decline of the tradition of nationality below he Mason and Dixon line which began in the decade of the 1830’s was one of the great tragedies of our history.” He asserted that despite the secession of the lower South, strong unionism survived in the upper South until Lincoln forced the issue at Fort Sumter. At that point the upper South was forced to either help invade their neighbors, or help defend their neighbors.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

The Great Glacier of Conservative Thought

“Beyond the wave of emotionalism that took South Carolina and later the other cotton States out of the Union lay a great glacier of conservative thought. From being the most liberal section of the nation in the period of Jefferson and Madison the Southern States had become one of the most conservative areas of civilized life in the world.

Moreover, the leaders of the South regarded this conservatism with pride as an evidence of a superior civilization, forming a balance wheel of the nation, a counterpoise to Northern radicalism.

The American Revolution and the French Revolution were led by radicals and opposed by conservatives. The secession movement of the South, on the other hand, was truly a conservative revolt in that the South would not accept the nineteenth century.

By 1860-1861 many invisible bonds which held the Union together had snapped – one by one. The division of the Methodist and Baptist churches in 1844-1845 . . . was prophetic of a political split. The great Whig party which had upheld the national idea so strongly had disintegrated; Southern students attending Northern colleges had returned home; and Northern magazines and newspapers were being boycotted in the South.

As Carl Russell Fish has observed, “The Democratic party, the Roman Catholic Church, the Episcopal Church, the American Medical Association, and the Constitution were among the few ties that had not snapped.”

The tensions between the North and the South had become so great that the admirable art of compromise, which had hitherto preserved the American experiment of democratic government, failed to function in 186-1861. Only in the border States was there a strong movement for conciliation. The evidence indicates that Lincoln and the Republican party leaders entertained serious misconceptions about the strength and nature of Union sentiment in the South. They were not disposed therefore to appeasement.

The leaders of secession in the lower South also were in no mood for compromise. Representative David Clopton of Alabama, for example, wrote . . . “Many and various efforts are being made to compromise existing difficulties and patch up the rotten concern. They will all be futile.” He declared that the general impression in Congress among all parties was that the dissolution of the Union was inevitable.

Nevertheless, there was much conservative sentiment in the lower South as well as in the border States which would have welcomed a compromise to preserve the Union . . . In the election of 1860 Georgia and Louisiana, as well as the States of the upper South, had given a majority of their popular vote to [John] Bell and [Stephen] Douglas, the Union candidates – a fact which indicated that the people of these States had no desire to follow the lead of the fire-eaters.

Undoubtedly man of those who voted for [John] Breckinridge, the candidate of Southern extremists although he himself was a Unionist, desired to remain in the Union if a settlement protecting Southern rights could be secured [from the Republicans].

Whatever chance there may have been for a compromise was frustrated . . . [as] The Republican members [of the Senate Committee of Thirteen] voted against . . . concession [regarding the Crittenden Compromise]. Perhaps the best avenue toward a compromise would have been a national convention [of States] which was proposed by President [James] Buchanan and others; but it was not seriously considered.

Some modern students of the Civil War have emphasized economic factors as the most important factors as the most important reason for secession and the subsequent outbreak of war. Charles A. Beard minimizes slavery as a cause of the conflict and interprets the Civil War as produced by the struggle between rival industrial and agricultural societies to control the Federal government for their selfish economic ends.”

(A History of the Southern Confederacy, Clement Eaton, Macmillan Company, 1954, excerpts, pp. 11- 17)

Jefferson on Free Speech and Delegated Powers

Jefferson’s great admiration for Washington allayed his fears that the presidency might become monarchical – a fear that John Adams made real. Though Jefferson wrote that the true barriers of our liberty are our State governments, and that all States could not be restrained by one man and any force he could possess – he didn’t foresee Lincoln.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Jefferson on Free Speech and Delegated Powers

“With respect to the Sedition Act, which he detested more and condemned first, he took the ground that this sort of definition of crime fell within none of the delegated powers, and that this sort of action was specifically prohibited to Congress by the First Amendment. Though he did not say so here, he completely repudiated the doctrine that the federal courts already had common-law jurisdiction over seditious libel.

He regarded the doctrine . . . as an “audacious, barefaced and sweeping pretension.” Also, in view of the fact that freedom of speech and the press are guarded against congressional action in the same amendment with freedom of religion, he held that whoever violated one of them threw down the sanctuary covering the others. It should be noted . . . that he did not here deny to States the right to judge how far “the licentiousness of speech and of the press may be abridged without lessening their useful freedom.” This is certainly not to say that he set State rights above human rights . . . [but] he was not warning against possible misuse of State power, and to him it was federal power that represented the clear and present danger.

In the first of his resolutions [Kentucky] Jefferson categorically took the position that whenever the general government assumed powers not delegated to it by the compact, its acts were “unauthoritive, void and of no force.” Denying that there was a “common judge” (of federal usurpation), he concluded that each party to the compact had “an equal right to judge for itself, as well as infractions as of the mode and measure of redress.

Some deletion (of Jefferson’s words in the written Kentucky Resolutions) was in order anyway, since the draft was prolix and repetitious…(and) after saying that in cases of the abuse of delegated, a change in the members of the general government by the people was the “constitutional remedy,” he made this assertion:

“where powers are assumed which have not been delegated, a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy; that every State has a natural right in cases not within the compact . . . to nullify on their own authority all assumptions of power by others within their limits: without this right they would be under the dominion, absolute and unlimited, of whosoever might exercise this right of judgment over them . . .”

(Jefferson and the Ordeal of Liberty, Dumas Malone, Little, Brown and Company, 1962, pp. 403-405)

 

Mr. Tubman of Liberia

The country of Liberia was founded by the American Colonization Society, mostly Southerners and ably led by President James Monroe of Virginia. The intent was to settle freed slaves in their homeland and to plant responsible, republican government on that continent.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Mr. Tubman of Liberia

“The president of Liberia is a plausible and enterprising man in his middle fifties named William Vacanarat Shadrach Tubman, sometimes called by the nickname “Shad.” The Honorable Mr. Tubman has been Chief Executive of Liberia since 1944, and will probably remain president for a considerable time to come. He is a character of the utmost originality and interest, who gives forth a certain waggish note.

Liberia is sui generis — unique. I could use any of several adjectives about it — odd, wacky, phenomenal, or even weird. It is, as is well known, one of the five independent countries in Africa, and for a great many years (until Egypt became a republic in 1953) it was the only republic on the continent. Haiti in the West Indies aside, it is the only Negro republic in the world.

Monrovia, the capital, was named for President Monroe, and is practically the only city I have seen without either taxis or buses. The people are too poor, too mercilessly exploited. A village in Uganda or in the wastes of northern Nigeria will have bicycles in profusion, but not the capital of Liberia. There was no successful telephone service in Monrovia until last year [1954], and the system does not extend beyond the city.

Liberia is roughly the size of Ohio or Tennessee, but the entire country has only ten miles of paved road, five of which are in the capital. Liberia never had a road until 1916 when an enterprising American diplomat built one in Monrovia itself so that he could use an automobile that had arrived there by mistake, the first ever to be seen in the country.

Consider health and education. Only two native Liberians have ever become doctors. There are also two naturalized Haitian MD’s, but in the whole country there are probably not more than a half-dozen reputable physicians outside of Firestone and the [Christian] missions. Infant mortality runs as high as 75% in some areas . . . [and] no public health service at all existed until 1931—and Liberia had been an independent republic since 1847!

More than 90 percent of the population is illiterate . . . in 1946 the total sum allotted to education in the national budget was only around $50,000 (80% of education was taken care of by missionaries); it is substantially higher now, roughly $1.5 million out of a budget of $10,088,810.

Liberia College, the chief institution of “higher” learning in the country where several of its leading contemporary citizens were educated, had for years no library, laboratories or scientific equipment; a former head of this school calmly appropriated all its funds on one occasion, and with his loot sent his daughters to be educated in Italy.

Thievery — the cities swarm with thieves — is most conspicuous during the rains. First, rice is short then and people are hungry. Second, the noise of the rain makes it easy for thieves to get around. Stealing is, however, by no means confined to professional criminals or to the poor, who are so miserable that petty theft may easily be forgiven — it is almost a national sport. Newspapers talk openly of “wholesale stealing” in government departments . . . [and] recently the Italian delegation lost, of all things, its safe.

In the field of political corruption Liberia has some wonderful distinctions. One president of the republic (not Mr. Tubman) got 243,000 votes in a certain election, though only 15,000 persons were privileged to vote.

Most educated Africans in neighboring countries pay lip service to Liberia because it is an independent republic created by freed Negro slaves, but they despise it inwardly because it constitutes a betrayal of what modern Africans stand for. Even Ethiopia has higher standards. Liberia might almost be called a kind of perverse advertisement for imperialism since although the country is free, the people are so badly off compared to those in most French and British colonies.

One brief word on Liberian history. Liberia was created by the American Colonization Society, a private organization (its first president was a nephew of George Washington) formed in 1816 to transport freed American slaves to Africa, where they might settle and start a new life on their own.

The motive was only humanitarian in part. A good many American slaveowners wanted to get freed slaves out of the country; it was dangerous to have them around. Also in 1819, the American navy was empowered to seize slave ships on the high seas, free any slaves found and return them to Africa, as part of an attempt to suppress what remained of the organized slave trade.

Out of Slavery — Slavery

One of the most horrifying official documents I have ever read has to do with Liberia, the report made in 1931 by an international commission inquiring into the slave traffic.

For years rumors had been heard, which the Monrovia government persistently denied, that Liberia tolerated organized slavery. At last in 1929 pressure, largely from the United States forced an investigation. Henry Stimson, secretary of state at the time, wrote to the Liberian authorities: “It would be tragically ironic if Liberia, whose existence was dedicated to the principle of liberty should succumb to practices so closely akin to those its founders sought forever to escape.”

Facts uncovered by the commission were — and are — appalling. It found that “slavery as defined by the 1926 anti-slavery convention” existed in the country, that contract laborers “were recruited under conditions of criminal compulsion scarcely distinguishable from slave-raiding and slave trading,” and that high officials of the Liberian government not only connived at this traffic but made money out of it.

Mr. Tubman, current president of Liberia, was a Senator during this period and is mentioned twice in the commission report, each time in connection with the receipt of fees from native chiefs.”

(Inside Africa, John Gunther, Harper & Collins, 1955, excerpts, pp. 843-849; 860-861)

 

 

 

Wilson Schemes for the Big Idea

Claude Kitchin was born near Scotland Neck, North Carolina in 1869, and served in the US House of Representatives from 1901 until his death in 1923. In 1916, he witnessed US munitions manufacturers preening for war, and a proposal for an enlarged standing army that many saw as “a long step toward the Prussianization of America.” Kitchin stated that the only possible excuse for the army’s increase in strength “was a contemplated war of aggression.” Further, he said of the battleship building proposals: “If this program goes through, it will no longer be a question of whether we may become a nation given over to navalism and militarism, but we shall have become one.”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Wilson Schemes for the Big Idea

“In July, 1916, Great Britain announced the most high-handed of all her blockade [of Germany] policies – that of the Black List. Neutral firms alleged to be German-owned, or friendly to Germany, or to have been “trading with the enemy” or with other neutral firms having “enemy” connections were subjected to a ruinous boycott. Even [Woodrow] Wilson was momentarily incensed by thus extreme course.

Colonel House had slipped in and out of belligerent capitals, seeking to draw out diplomats as to the prospect of a settlement through American mediation. He had naively drunk deep of British and French propaganda, flattering himself the while that he was being treated to the frankest intimacies of the mighty.

It was bad enough that he disclosed to the Allies in this way the [Wilson] Administration’s bias in their favor, thus making Wilson more impotent in dealing with their transgressions; but it was worse that he inveigled the President into backing his ill-advised schemes.

The most notorious of these was the House-Grey agreement [which intended that the US government] might secretly reach an understanding with the Allies as to peace terms which they would be willing to accept. Whenever they thought to time opportune, Wilson, as arbiter, might submit such a proposal to both sides. The Allies, for effect, might appear reluctant at first, and then accept.

If the Central Powers agreed, the war would be ended by Wilson’s mediation; if they refused, as they almost certainly would, the United States would enter the war on the side of the Allies to force a “righteous” settlement. Though hesitant at first, Wilson came embrace the scheme. Aware, however, that only Congress could actually declare war he inserted the word “probably” in the clause that promised intervention on the side of the Allies.

When [Sir Edward] Grey inquired whether our Government would participate in a proposed League of Nations to maintain the post-bellum status and to prevent future wars, Wilson’s interest quickened. Here was a Big Idea.

Was it really possible that this horrible slaughter might be turned to purposes benign? A war to end war! Destroy German Militarism, — therefore all militarism; — redraw the map of the world on lines of justice and right (such as the Allies would agree upon) . . . and to punish any Power that sought to alter the new order. Even a world war – even American participation – might be justified as the price of such an outcome.

[On January 31, 1917] Germany announced [unrestricted submarine warfare]. An exception was made whereby American merchantmen might go to and from Falmouth England through a designated lane without hindrance, provided they were marked on hull and superstructure with three perpendicular stripes, a meter wide, of alternating white and red, and displayed from their masts large red and white checkered flags.

Three days later the Wilson Administration severed diplomatic relations with Germany. This was an almost certain prelude to war. Armed neutrality was the next move of the Administration [as it armed merchant ships].

One of the most condemnatory letters which Kitchin received with reference to his pacific stand came from a Methodist parson in Wilson, North Carolina. On the other hand, from the town of Littleton, also in his district, he received a petition from the ministers of the Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal, Methodist Protestant, Christian and Presbyterian churches, stating:

“1. A war that could be averted is murder on a national scale. 2. This war could be averted on the part of the United States. 3. There is not sufficient justification. 4. We are dealing with a nation which in a desperate struggle for existence has become exasperated and war mad. To arm our merchant vessels will tend to promote war. Hence [we are] opposed to any such measure.

Perhaps [Kitchin] took the President at his word when, asking Congress for the right to arm merchantmen, he pledged that he was not moving toward war. And he promised that, if granted this sanction, he would do all in his power to prevent actual hostilities.

In yielding the point, Kitchin said to the House [of Representatives]: “I shall vote for this bill but not without hesitation and misgiving . . . The nation confronts the gravest crisis . . . Already the European catastrophe threatens the faith of mankind in Christianity – in civilization. Clothed with the powers given him by the Constitution, a President of the United States can, at his will, without let or hindrance from Congress, create a situation which makes war the only alternative for this nation.”

(Claude Kitchin and the Wilson War Policies, Alex Mathews Arnett, Little, Brown and Company, 1937, excerpts, pp. 202-207; 212-217)

Sep 15, 2016 - Southern Culture Laid Bare, Southern Heroism, Southern Patriots, Southern Statesmen    Comments Off on Those Faded Jackets of Grey

Those Faded Jackets of Grey

 

“We had lived in South Carolina less than five years when I was dipped deep in the fiery spirit of Southern patriotism. This was the Confederate reunion of 1903, held in our home town of Columbia. It was but one in a long line of reunions.

In South Carolina they had a way of placing the first in the year 1876 — “the grandest reunion ever held in any State, one of the most sublime spectacles ever witnessed,” “thrilling the hearts” of the people of Columbia. They called it the first, but “there were no invitations, no elaborate programme, no committees of reception, no assignment of quarters, no reduced rates of transportation, no bands of music, no streamers flying.”

Of it they said: “The State was prostrate. The people had with marvelous patience restrained themselves from tearing at the throat of the Radical party. Hampton had been elected governor, and yet the tyrannical party would not yield.” (Wade Hampton and his “red shirts” had just overthrown Reconstruction.)  At that moment, the story goes — “It was the supreme moment of the crisis” — there appeared, coming into Columbia from every direction, by all the highways, “men in apparel which had become the most glorious badge of service since the history of the world — those faded jackets of grey.”

They came, it is said, ten thousand of them, converging on Columbia, making their way straight to the headquarters of the Democratic Party. They were resolved, they said, “to make this State one vast cemetery of free men rather than the home of slaves.”

Their voices shouted hoarsely, “Hampton!” “Forth came the great captain who stilled the tumult with a wave of his hand.” He said, “My countrymen, all is well. Go home and be of good cheer. I have been elected governor of South Carolina, and by the eternal God, I will be governor or there shall be none.”

I remember nothing of the Lost Cause movement before the Confederate reunion of 1903. I may have been drinking it in since the time of my babyhood . . . In 1903 I was verily baptized in its sentiments. In the air we felt a sense of urgency, as though the chance might never come again to honor the old men.

The oratory stressed it: “Ranks of the men who fought beneath the Stars and Bars — the beautiful Southern Cross — are thinner . . .” “Pathos . . . there cannot be many more reunions for these oaks of the Confederacy . . .”

“Not far from taps . . . for the many ties that bind will soon be severed . . . the high tribute is but their honor due.”

(The Making of a Southerner, Katherine Du Pre Lumpkin, UGA Press, 1991, (original 1946), pp. 112-114)

 

Critic of Roosevelt’s Imperialism

Senator Ben Tillman of South Carolina was a painful thorn in the side of “Roosevelt the First,” as Mencken referred to TR. When Roosevelt seized control of the Dominican Republic’s customs office after the United States Senate refused to ratify a treaty sanctioning this act, Tillman demanded that Senators should stand on their feet and say to Roosevelt, “You have got to obey the law or we shall take you by the throat, sir.”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Critic of Roosevelt’s Imperialism

“The most durable of Ben Tillman’s many animosities was his hatred of Theodore Roosevelt. This grew out of the President’s withdrawal of an invitation to attend the White House banquet of February 24, 1902, in honor of Prince Henry of Prussia. The South Carolinian was invited because he was a member of the Senate naval committee, but between the invitation and the dinner occurred the Tillman-McLaurin brawl. “Had the President sent a mutual friend in a quiet way suggesting that it would be an awkward situation, any man who knows me at all knows how quickly I would have relieved him of his obligation to me.”

He let it be known that he considered the President’s implications indecent and insulting and that he was willing to abide by the judgment of “all brave and self-respecting men.” Privately he declared that he had been treated “in a cowardly and ungentlemanly way” by “this ill-bred creature who is accidentally President.” He swore never to enter the White House again until it was occupied by another.

Earlier attacks upon imperialist policies were intensified when Roosevelt became responsible for them. The South Carolinian’s first foray was against efforts to subjugate the Filipinos. While the President insisted that for “every guilty act committed by our troops . . . a hundred acts of far greater atrocity have been committed by the hostile natives,” Tillman questioned the conduct of American soldiers. Were they not “occupying the attitude of butchers and practicing cruelties that would disgrace the Inquisition?”

Behind the administration’s plan of government for the Philippines he saw “the desire of some men to get ungodly and indecent wealth.” The President’s agents were given “the same autocratic power the Czar exercises in Russia” and were frustrating plans for local self-government.

The coup by which Roosevelt secured Panama was of a startling character . . . [and it would have been preferable, Tillman said, to have taken Panama openly rather than intrigue] “in the disreputable, dishonorable creation of a so-called republic in a back room.” If it was true that the President had used the method of the “sneak-thief” and the “bully,” he ought to be impeached.

When Roosevelt denied complicity in the Panama Revolution, Tillman said that circumstantial evidence against the President was such that he should reveal all facts before the Senate ratified the treaty. This was a fair and simple demand [but] the Republican majority, brushing constitutional sophistries aside, acquiesced in what the President had done. To this day the mystery of the Panama Revolution remains unsolved.

Roosevelt’s extremely Northern attitude toward the black man seemed especially designed to inflame [Southern society]. Protests by Southern whites [against Reconstruction-like policies] were treated “with contumely and contempt” by the President. Venal motives underlay this action. The Republican machine desired to secure the Negro vote in the border States and to control the Southern Republican delegates in the national conventions. Such conditions accounted for the fact that outraged Southerners “rush to do an unjust and improper thing.”

(Pitchfork Ben Tillman, South Carolinian, Francis Butler Simkins, LSU Press, 1944, pp. 408-411; 415-416)

 

War Clouds in Late 1832

President Andrew Jackson, in early November 1832, sent a spy to South Carolina to monitor the nullification forces in South Carolina, and “transferred several military companies to Fort Moultrie and Castle Pinckney” in preparation for war against the State. Though using these measures to elevate his prestige, Jackson also urged Congress to lower the existing tariff and “attacked the protective system for the first time.” He had come to the view that like the national bank he opposed for making “the rich richer and the potent more powerful,” the Northern protective tariffs accomplished the same.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

War Clouds in Late 1832

“[Governor Robert Y.] Hayne’s [inaugural] speech was nothing short of a full-blown statement of State supremacy . . .”Fellow citizens, This is Our Own – Our Native Land,” declared Hayne.

“It is the soil of CAROLINA which has been enriched by the precious blood of our ancestors, shed in defense of those rights and liberties, which we are bound, by every tie divine and human, to transmit unimpaired to our posterity. It is here that we have been cherished in youth and sustained in manhood . . . here repose the honored bones of our Fathers . . . here, when our earthly pilgrimage is over, we hope to sink to rest, on the bosom of our common mother. Bound to our country by such sacred, and endearing ties – let others desert her, if they can, let them revile her, if they will – let them give aid and countenance to her enemies, if they may – but for us, we will STAND OR FALL WITH CAROLINA.”

The [South Carolina] legislature gave Governor Hayne authority to accept military volunteers, to draft any Carolinian between eighteen and forty-five (including unionists), and to call out the State militia. The legislators approved a $200,000 appropriation for purchasing arms and authorized Hayne to draw and additional $200,000 from a contingent fund.

On December 26 Hayne issued his proclamation asking for volunteers; by the beginning of 1833 the governor and his district commanders were raising, equipping and training an army. Soldiers constantly drilled in the streets, and for a season Carolina uniforms and blue cockades were standard fare in churches and at tea parties. Over 25,000 men – more than had voted for nullification in the first place – volunteered to defend South Carolina against Jackson’s armies.

[Former Governor James Hamilton’s military preparations] had a chance to win an immediate victory over the two badly exposed federal forts. Fort Moultrie had been built on Sullivan’s Island, and since South Carolina owned part of the island, Hamilton’s volunteers could lay siege to the fort. Castle Pinckney, erected on an island only a mile out from Gadsden Wharf, could be battered down by the nullifiers’ heavy cannon.

The necessity for a strategy of defense, however, weakened the possibility of quick victory. The governor, commanding his army with commendable restraint and caution, also knew that a concentration of troops might precipitate a needless war. Hayne insisted that volunteers train at home . . . [but with] the entire army in the uplands, Charleston would be vulnerable to a concentrated federal attack.

Hayne attempted to solve the dilemma with his mounted-minutemen plan. The governor asked each district to appoint a small cavalry unit which could race to Charleston on a moment’s notice. “If in each district only one hundred such men could be secured,” wrote Hayne, “we would have the means of throwing 2,500 of the elite of the whole State upon a given point in three or four days.”

(Prelude to Civil War, The Nullification Controversy in South Carolina, 1816-1836, William W. Freehling, Oxford University Press, 1965, pp. 264-266; 275-277)