Why Southerners can’t forget
by Ken Kirk
October 30, 2013 12:09 AM | 5021 views | 16 16 comments | 40 40 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Northerners are bemused that Southerners seem fixated on the American Civil War. The debate over the causes for the War will be rekindled over the coming two years as the 150th anniversaries of its events are observed. It is time for a different perspective on the roles of the North and the South.

The North claimed a moral imperative for its war against the South. Let’s look closer. Slavery was first instituted in the U.S. in the North as far back as the 1770s and abolished in the early 1800s, only to be replaced with a different enslavement through the “Black codes” and today’s Federal plantation. The Civil War was fought to abolish slavery. However, the War’s root issue was the economic upheaval that abolition overnight would wreck on the Southern states. Southern slave owners had invested some $4 billion (in 1860 dollars) in its work force. Its agricultural economy depended on cheap labor. Did the North offer to share the economic burden abolition would cost the Southern states? The Civil War cost the Federal States about $6 billion and the Confederacy about $2 billion, significant resources that could have been used for freeing the slaves through mutual concessions.

Another tragedy of the Civil War was the failure of the Federal government to provide for the emancipated slaves. Suddenly, almost 4 million slaves (1/3 of the South’s population) were set free, but with no jobs, no resources and little educational opportunities.

One must question whether the War was a continuation of the oppression by the English in the North of the Scotch and Irish settlers of the South, as Margaret Mitchell believed.

French researcher De Toqueville in Democracy in America, observed in 1840: “So the Negro (in the North) is free, but he cannot share the rights, pleasures, labors, grief, or even the tomb of him whose equal he has been declared; there is nowhere he can meet him, neither in life nor in death.

In the South, where slavery still exists, less trouble is taken to keep the Negro apart: they sometimes share the labors and the pleasures of the white men; people are prepared to mix with them to some extent; legislation is harsher against them, but customs are more tolerant and gentle.

As Georgia’s governor in the mid-1940s, Ellis G. Arnall, fought discriminatory freight rates, he declaimed “I realized that the South was merely a colonial appendage of the imperial domain called the North; that the South was the economic doormat of the United States as Ireland was of the United Kingdom. Eastern and Northern writers,” he observed, “had field days in steady criticism of the South, its poverty and problems.”

In 1945, the 13 Southern states had 28 percent of the nation’s population and more than 40 percent of its natural resources yet produced only 10 percent of the nation’s manufactured goods and had only 10 percent of the nation’s financial resources. Most of the South’s wealth was destroyed during the War. Its banking system ceased to exist, handicapped in recovering as few national banking charters were available for Southerners. The South was dependent upon the North for capital. Northern capitalists concentrated on the exploitation of the South’s plentiful natural resources, confining Southern plants to the crude processing of raw materials, shipping them North for final fabrication. Since this primitive type of industry demands the payment of low wages, the South was mired in poverty. Racial conflict resulted from there being only “half a loaf” available to share.

According to Arnall, “after the Civil War, instead of rehabilitation, the North inflicted upon our people a program of retribution, discrimination, and restrictions. If ever the opportunity came, I was committed to bringing about the readmission of Southern States into our Union as equals with comparable economic and commercial opportunities....”.

After his Chicago march in 1965 where Martin Luther King Jr. was struck by a brick, he stated “I have seen many demonstrations in the South, but I have never seen anything so hostile and hateful as I’ve seen here today.” Earlier, King had been stabbed in Harlem.

The race riots of 1964 to 1967 occurred in Rochester, NYC, Philadelphia, Jersey City, Chicago, Watts, Cleveland, San Francisco, Detroit and Milwaukee.

For Southerners to “forget,” Northerners must: cease applying the raciest card to Southerners when Northerners are culpable; cease proclaiming their genetic superiority, when regional differences stem from economics; and, cease portraying Southerners with irrational disdain on TV, in movies and other media.

Ken Kirk is a former professor of finance at Kennesaw State University and former member of the Marietta School Board.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
November 11, 2013
A great overview of the rest of the story...the part that no one ever talks about!

Thanks Mr. Kirk. Very well done!
October 31, 2013
Only the South had slaves and no one from the North ever participated or profited from it or benefited from it. Slavery, slavery, slavery is the reason. That is why the Northerners invaded the South and completely burned Southern cities, raped women, committed murders and stole everything they could from us. The South will never forget the way our ancestors were treated.

Ironically some of the same issues that were the REAL causes of the War for Southern Independence are running rampant today. We are being taxed without representation. Laws are being written that take away from one segment of the country to give to the other segment. Laws are being made that only apply to some and not others. Any of this sound famiilar?
Glenn Green
October 31, 2013
The Confederate Battle Flag is a sacred symbol to me and many of the 70 million descendants of Confederate soldiers. The CFB to me represents true freedom (LIBERTY) from governmental intrusion in my life.

The Spirit of the Constitution and our most primary founding document is the Declaration of Independence = (DOI) it gives Americans their prime directive to always be in control of the Government = whenever the current government does not act in the peoples best interest it is our sacred "Duty" to abolish it ASAP. The DOI is our only failsafe mechanism (THE RESET BUTTON) to protect us against a TYRANNICAL government. Abraham Lincoln’s policies of subjugation of the South at all costs forever rendered the DOI null and void and resulted in our enslavement as tax slaves forever with no recourse.

Being forced into a UNION of States against our will reminds me of a husband who beats his woman into submission and forces her to marry him.

The definition of slavery is being forced to work without compensation = (financial gain).

The average American worker works 5 to 8 months of every year to pay for Federal and State Income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, fuel taxes, manufacturing taxes on all raw materials, import taxes = taxes upon taxes = pay you taxes slave = all this was a result of Abe Lincolns policies. Our founding Fathers considered taxes evil = Abraham Lincoln and his cronies loved taxes they imposed the first Federal Income tax of 3% on every income over $800 in 1861.

Before the South’s Subjugation we were a nation of Liberty = because the government took over America by force we are now a Nation of Laws = Rule of Law = and there is a law that governs every aspect of your life = 100s of thousands of laws, (3000 new laws and regs are written every year) regulations, ordinances that dictate what you can do, when you can do it , who you can do it with the very air we breathe and every drop of water is regulated all ultimately resulted because the South lost the war and the Federal govt. assumed complete control of every American.

There is strong historical evidence that Ape Lincoln suffered from advanced syphilis, Marfan syndrome , was a closet homosexual all of which caused his inability to make competent decisions and resulted in the infection and insanity of his wife = Mary Todd.

According to Lincoln’s biographer, friend, and law partner for eighteen years, William Herndon, Lincoln told him that he had been infected with syphilis in Beardstown in 1835 or 1836. Herndon wrote to his co-author “Friend Weik” in January 1891, wishing that he had not put the confidence in writing:

If Abe Lincoln had not invaded the South there would have been no war and no deaths as a result of the WAR. Lincoln’s policies of invasion and subjugation resulted in the deaths of 750,000 soldiers , the permanent maiming of 1.2 million Americans and the deaths of 175,000 Innocent Southern civilians. And Slavery would have ended in America without bloodshed just like it did in all other Christian countries worldwide. = Of special note , did you realize there are 20 to 40 million slaves right now in Muslim and African countries = HOW COME WE ARE NOT INVADEING, KILLING THE SLAVERS AND FREEING THE SLAVES IN AFRICA???? .

Did you realize that throughout world history there were far more white people enslaved than black people. For example the Roman Empire lasted approx. 1000 years with a total population of approx 1 billion people. Of the total population at any one time 25% to 35% were slaves = approx. 400 million. 87 to 93% of these were persons captured and enslaved from Slavic countries = the word “Slave” is a derivation of the Latin word “SLAV”.
Kevin Foley
October 31, 2013
This is the best expression of the Southern inferiority complex I have ever read:

"For Southerners to 'forget,' Northerners must: cease applying the raciest card to Southerners when Northerners are culpable; cease proclaiming their genetic superiority, when regional differences stem from economics; and, cease portraying Southerners with irrational disdain on TV, in movies and other media."

Here's what Southerners need to do: come to grips with the fact that they're part of 21st century America and start behaving that way. A bloody war of secession was fought 150 years ago, the Confederacy lost, and Confederate states rejoined the Union. End of story.

Time to move on, Ken.

Eric Smith
November 01, 2013
I nor any other Southerner I have ever met have a superiority complex. The fact we are represented as having such is an insult and just plain ridiculous. I am proud to be from the South, and would not wish it any other way. The fine folks from the rest of this country seem to enjoy thinking of us as backwards and ignorant. Sure there are people that meet those definitions here as well as the rest of the country, but the vast majority of us do not.

John C. Hall, Jr.
October 31, 2013
Upon my trip to Gettysburg to retrace my Confederate Ancestor's path leading the 3rd Ga on July 2, 1863 I came upon a battlefield guide. I asked to sit with him briefly. He said I had the wrong hat on and that it was the loser's hat. He then proceeded to say the 3rd Ga battle flag on my shirt was a rag. All along thinking he was jesting until he got up to leave and stated sharply that we were all americans. So it is not just the South that perpetuates the War but the yankees that still hold their snotty noses up and look down on us.
Clifton Palmer McLen
October 30, 2013
This article contains an inaccuracy.

To refute the oft-repeated canard that the War for Southern Independence (commonly, but erroneously, called the Civil War) was fought over slavery, I need only mention the Corwin Amendment. That amendment, proposed by Representative Thomas Corwin of Ohio, read “No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.”

If the seceded States had wanted to preserve slavery, they would have re-joined the Union and ratified the amendment.

They did not, because they had seceded to escape an overweening, all-intrusive central government – the same motivation that led thirteen States to secede from Britain in 1776, Mexico from the Spanish Empire in 1818, and Texas from Mexico in 1836.
Connie Chastain
October 30, 2013
Why Not, where did you hear that segregation, Jim Crow, lynching and the Ku Klux Klan were just a figment of your imagination? Not in this column...

October 30, 2013
The "figment of your imagination" is somehow thinking that these activities only occurred in the South...
why not
October 30, 2013
I am so happy to hear that segregation, Jim Crow, lynching and the Ku Klux Klan was just a figment of my imagination!
Yeah man
October 30, 2013
I am so happy to hear there were no ghettos, lynchings, race riots, busing to end school segregation, and Ku Klux Klan north of the Mason Dixon Line either.
Ken Kirk
October 31, 2013
My article contains not one word of defense for the brutal raciest history of the South.

Rather, it suggests that the deprivations inflicted on the South by the North under the guise of moral supremacy are heinous in their own right.

On segregation: the most segregated U. S. cities are and always have been in the North.

On Jim Crow: evolved from the Black Laws instituted in the North in the early part of the 19th century and were widespread in the North.

On Lynchings: the Tuskegee Institute reports that 3,446 blacks and 1,297 whites have been lynched in the U. S. Contrast this figure with the genocide of hundreds of thousands of native Americans by the blood-stained hands of predominantly Northerners such as U. S. Grant, Tecumseh Sherman and George Custer. In 1867, General William Tecumseh Sherman said, "We must act with vindictive earnestness against the Sioux [Lakotas] even to their extermination: men, women and children."

On the Ku Klux Klan: grew out of the lawlessness imposed on the South as retribution by the North after the Civil War.

One must also consider Sherman's "march to the sea" as an atrocity against humankind.

So, "why not", your comment is a fitting illustration of the failure of Northerners to accept responsibility for their own raciest history by pointing its soiled finger at the South.
October 30, 2013
Those POOR slave owners! God forbid they should pay anyone to pick their cotton!

Guido Sarducci
October 31, 2013
What an asinine, irrelevant price of trash you have written here, anonymous!
education rocks
October 31, 2013
This is perhaps one of the most uneducated and stereotypical comments I have ever seen. Wow.
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides