Why celebrate Civil War, slavery?
May 13, 2014 12:13 AM | 1750 views | 16 16 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
DEAR EDITOR:

In dismay, I read the front page MDJ article on Friday about the 150th anniversary and planned celebration of the Battle at Kennesaw during the Civil War. I’m asking myself why some Southerners, not all, still want to celebrate such a tragic event in our nation’s history that killed more than 600,000 people? It was not even for anything noble and correct. It was because the Southern states wanted to continue their way of life, including slavery. Maintaining slavery was the main reason.

I have lived in the South for more than two decades and have met many lovely people throughout the years. If there was a celebration to celebrate the Southern way of life, including the culture, food, unique expressions, Southern hospitality and weather, I would definitely attend such an event! But I, and many others, would not attend an event celebrating the “black eye” in our history called the Civil War.

Not all Southerners who fought in the war wanted to do so, but many were young and uneducated and went along with what their family members or local townsfolk did. Not all Southerners were pro-slavery. Many just went along with it because they were afraid to speak up. I say this because it’s not right to make blanket statements about groups of people because of the “sins” of some.

I find it ironic that amongst the schedule of events for the anniversary of the Civil War, I see the dates for the Juneteenth Festival, which celebrates the emancipation of slaves.

Maria Acevedo

Marietta

Comments
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Keith W.
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May 15, 2014
In America people are free to celebrate or commemorate any cause they wish, even lost causes and in the south nobody celebrates a lost cause better. Nearly 150 years since the end of the Civil War people of the south have yet to come to grips with the realities of the origins of that conflict and their ultimate defeat in it. Southerners seem to be singularly infused with revisionist history and deluded by pride into believing the south really did not lose the war; instead believing the confederate states sort declared a draw and went home. Many have commented that the war was not about slavery, but about states rights. A reading of the declaration of secession by the entire confederate states expressly states that maintaining slavery against northern efforts to limit the institutions expansion and fears of efforts to abolish slavery entirely was the main reason for their separation from the union.

Nothing is more illustrative of this revisionist ideology than John C’s comment that northern forces invaded the territory of a sovereign country, considering Confederate forces fired the first shots against Federal troops at FT. Sumter it appears someone’s history book may be missing some pages. The southern states were not a sovereign country but a legal body of the United States and federal forces successfully enforced that point at the cost of 620,000 soldier deaths on both sides.

Consider this, had the south won could this nation have survived divided. Could a divided nation have the strength or will to fight the future enemies of freedom. Could a divided nation endure with a wealthy industrialized north and a weak, agrarian south, dependent on human enslavement over industrial might.

Southern victory would have surely guaranteed another 50-70 years of slavery in America, followed by another 100 years of Jim Crow polices, placing the beginnings black civil rights squarely into the 1970s. I believe the just outcome of the Civil War and a nation united is the cause for celebration.

Commemorate if you must the valor and bravery of the young men who gave their lives for the cause they believed in, but to paraphrase the victor over that cause,

" that (Confederate) cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse.

U.S. Grant

Southern Patriot
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May 15, 2014
The preceding comments mirror my sentiments precisely........"God Save the South" from ignorant Yankees and rude foreigners.
Proud Yankee
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May 15, 2014
Trust me, if those of us in the "Yankee North" would have had any idea of the never-ending and problematic issues africans would eventually cause, we would have said KEEP 'EM!
bobby lee
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May 14, 2014
Carpetbagger
Southern-American
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May 14, 2014
"but many were young and uneducated and went along with what their family members or local townsfolk did"

Ms. Acevedo,

Don't you think the above quote from your letter could apply to the Yankee solders as well? It was a tragic situation and I am sure that solders on both sides were disappointed with the results of this horrible war.

I am proud of my ancestors who fought bravely at Kennesaw Mountain during the Northern attack on Atlanta, just as I am sure they were proud of their ancestors who had fought in the American Revolution and The War of 1812.

My Civil War ancestors' descendants went on to fight in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq. Were your ancestors American citizens during the War of Northern Aggression? Somehow, I doubt it.
anonymous
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May 13, 2014
"I’m asking myself why some Southerners, not all, still want to celebrate such a tragic event in our nation’s history that killed more than 600,000 people?"

I guess you could wonder hy people celebrate Good Friday and Easter. Only one Man died in that event, but in a cruel manner and million hve died since.

Now that you have made me aware, I won't celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus anymore. I can't thank you enough.

I have lived in the south for 25 years, 18 of them in Georgia. I have assimilated into the Georgia society. Also,as an amateur history buff, I think your simplistic Yankee definition of what the war was about needs more study. It might be of some help if you were to read about the Morrill Tariff.

Most issues are not as simple as one would like.

Good Point
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May 19, 2014
I have actually wondered why we would call the day Christ was crucified "Good Friday." I am grateful and humbled He died for my sins but I'm still rather puzzled. Easter Sunder should be Good Sunday when He rose again. Just a thought.
Bruce Clements
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May 13, 2014
Madam, you no notion of history. These things are a commemoration, not a celebration. Hence, the remembrance of Junetenth. What better time as the diversity of our heritage is celebrated. You should avail yourself of a cemetery tour in Marietta (National or City, or both). You might come to understand a little about what happened 150 years ago when right in our midst, tens of thousands of Americans were involved in a horrible experience of enormous historical importance to our country. What better thing to remember and maybe from which to learn.
Ben Twomey
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May 13, 2014
Since Maria is not native to tjhe aouth, or even, I believe, to the United States, one can forgive her for her ignorance of history.

Maria, in spite of what they teach in government schools, the Civil War was not fought over slavery. States' Rights was the issue. The south had long railed against the encroachment of government control. Particularly as the push was coming from the largely industrialized north, most of which had not knoweldge of the agricultural

south. The lid blew with the effort of the northern reformers to abolish slavery. Thus slavery was rhe catalyst, not the cause. The cause was still whether or not the gorvenment had to right to interfere.

Also, your education is sorely lacking about Juneteenth. Juneteenth, though celebrated in other places is primarily a Texas holiday. It is celebration of the enforcement (two years late) of the Emancipation Proclamation,in the the State of Texas, by miltary forces. the people of Texas decided not to acknowledge abolition and continued as usual until Federal Forces were sent there to enforce it.

As I said, we can forgive your ignorance of history, but your total lack of manners is another matter. You are a guest in the beloved southland. Please conduct yourself as one. If you see something that offends you, or that you clearly do not understand, have the good manners to keep

yo'mouf shut, Shuga. Frankly, honey, nobody wants to hear your whinin'.
why not
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May 16, 2014
@Ben Twomey Here comes the age old "States Rights" not slavery drivel. The war was indeed fought over States Rights, a States Right to own slaves!
Ben Twomey
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May 23, 2014
At "why not" States Rights was the issue. The right to keep slaves was the trigger. If not that it would have been some other Federal government government intrusion.
John C.
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May 13, 2014
Ms. Acevedo, it is still a (notionally) free country. You are of course free to refuse to attend this celebration of what you call a "tragic event." Others are just as free to attend this celebration of a sovereign country fighting against an invasion of its borders by a foreign country. You would seriously have us believe that the men and boys who were citizens of the Southern states, decided to lay their lives on the line solely on behalf of slave-owners? A group that made up ten percent at most of their states' population?

Why, yes, of course you would, because you've been taught in school (from textbooks that have been approved by those who won the war) that the Southern states fought the war to maintain slavery.
why not
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May 20, 2014
Perhaps John C you should try to educate yourself to Southern History. Alexander Stephens Vice President of the Confederacy said "Slavery is the cornerstone of the Confederacy", the Confederate Constitution specifically enshrined slavery in it. Southern men and boys defended slavery because the southern cotton economy and their way of life depended on racism and slave labor. I would suggest you read "Secession Debated" the transcripts of debate in the Georgia Legislature over secession, and the importance of slavery in it.
anonymous
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May 20, 2014
@ John C. asks the question, why would southern men and boys lay down their lives for slave owners. Nazi Hermann Goering has the answer. "Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? ....The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works every time".
part of our history
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May 13, 2014
I must say that I think it is rather rude of you to come here and then criticize the way we live. You say you have only been here two decades, so my dear girl, you are still a newcomer. Just relax and think of something else. As we like to say, don't fret.
Linsey G
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May 16, 2014
My, my, my these Yankees comin down hea'h telling all them stories has just got me all a'fluttah!
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