The South Was Right
Alabama State Senator Charles Davison's Entire Speech for deliverance on the Senate Floor in support of the amendment to return the confederate battle flag to the top of the Alabama State Capitol. From the Confederate Heritage Fund, P.O. Box 771, Andalusia, Alabama, 36420. Received by E. Burnthorn on February 28, 1997.
My fellow members of the Alabama Senate, our south, our Confederate history and by extension, our Confederate battle flag have suffered for many years from the relentless hatchet job of false propaganda heaped upon them by the news media, the education system and of course, Hollywood and television. It appears that they wish to drive a wedge between southern blacks and whites, much as the carpetbaggers did after the War for Southern Independence and much as the northern news media drove a wedge between the North and South before the war.
It is important to remember that movies such as Roots and North and South are make believe fiction; in other words they are not true, just like Uncle Tom's Cabin written before the war was not true. One must wonder if the only reason such false propaganda is produced and promoted by the movie and television industry is to make blacks hate whites, especially southern whites.
For example, the confederate battle flag has no more to do with the Ku Klux Klan than the Christian cross which the Klan carries and burns or the flag of the United States that the Klan says the Pledge of Allegiance to, yet the news media and Hollywood constantly tries to connect our Confederate flag to the Ku Klux Klan and their propaganda. However, the news media never asks preachers if they are Klan members because they wear a cross around their neck or link the American Legion to the Klan because they carry the U.S. Flag. It is time to put an end to this anti-confederate bigotry. It is past time that the truth was told. Hitler's tactic of tell a big enough lie often enough and people will believe it has been utilized to the fullest extent, and to smear the Confederate States of America and her symbols such as the battle flag.
Fortunately, most people have not been deceived such hate mongering tactics as is evidenced in a recent Lewis Harris Poll which shows that 92% of the Southern people, of all races are not offended by our Confederate battle flag and that national wise 68% of blacks are not offended. Unfortunately, a few too many have believed the lies about our Confederate battle flag, which has resulted in unjustified and horrible intolerance, bigotry, hatred, violence and even murder.
Today, I come before you to set the record straight – to repudiated the myths and false propaganda and to remind you of the truth concerning our Confederate ancestors and history. It is my hope and fervent prayer that truth will replace fiction; that tolerance will replace intolerance; that peace will replace violence; that love will replace hate; and that unity will replace division. In John 8, verse 32 our Lord Jesus said, "And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free"; in this case free from hate and intolerance of our Confederate symbols. So, I beg of you to listen with an open mind and a Christian heart.
The first lie concerns slavery and its link to racism. The lie is; that only blacks were slaves and thus have some special right to a "slavery pity party" because their ancestors were slaves and therefore, anyone who owned slaves were racists. This is not true.
The word slave is Greek for the word Slav and rightly applies only to white European slaves or Slavs from the countries of Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Salvinia, Russia, Poland, Hungary and others. The Slavonic tribes are the root of all European white people. So for a thousand years, so many millions of these white European slaves were captured and sold as servants, that the word "Slavs" or "slaves" became universally used for the word "servant". It was only later applied to black servants. Every white person in America has ancestors who were slaves at some time or other, including the Scotch, British, French, Spanish and Germans. In the early colonies of America whites were regularly sold as permanent slaves. If it were justifiable, whites would be more justified in having "a chip on their shoulders" or "a pity party" over slavery than blacks because more of their white ancestors were slaves and for a longer period of time than blacks. Almost all blacks - 95% in the United States – were under slavery for less than a hundred years and only 5% of all black slaves shipped by black masters ever came to the United States, because almost all black slaves were shipped to south America or the West Indies.
The white European Slavs - or slaves - were sold to Romans, Arabs, Germans, and yes, even to "black American masters" in norther Africa such as Egypt, Libya and Ethiopia. Are these black masters in Africa racist because they owned white European Slaves? The Bible tells us that the blacks of Egypt owned the Oriental Jews as slaves for 400 years. Does that make Africans in Egypt racists because they owned the Jews as slaves for 400 years? The Bible also tells us that Abraham, who is the father of the Jews, the Christians and the Muslims owned hundreds of slaves; God also required Abraham to circumcise those slaves that he bought with money, as well as those slaves that were home born. Moreover, Abraham's slaves fought for Abraham in a war with the King Chedorlaomer to rescue Lot. In addition, Isaac, Jacob, Daniel, Job, Joseph, and David all owned slaves and even the Apostle Paul returned a white runaway slave to his Christian master in the Book of Ghilemom.
My question is this: Is the anti-Southern news media, educational system, and Hollywood calling these great men of God like Abraham, a racist or evil or wicked because he owned hundreds of slaves? If not, then neither can they call Southerns like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Jefferson Davis racists because they owned slaves. What hypocracy and bigotry to criticize only white Southerners or the Confederate States for owning slaves. Almost every nation in the world owned slaves, especially the black masters in Nigeria, where most American blacks had their roots. Accordingly, if flags of nations that owned slaves and to be labeled racist, then almost all the flags in the world are racist, especially the African flag of Nigeria which dealt so overwhelmingly in slave trading.
Our ancestors in the old South were fundamentally Christians which means they believe that the Bible, Old and New Testament, were the opinions of Almighty God, Who does not change and not the opinions of man. On the other hand, the abolitionists from up North were Humanists. They believed that God changed with the times and that the Bible was merely the opinions of man and not necessarily the opinions of God. I shall read to you a little of what God says in the Bible concerning slavery and thus what our ancestors in the Old South believed.
In the Old Testament, Leviticus, 25; 44-46, God says, "As for your male and female slaves whom you have acquired – you may acquire male and female slaves from the Pagan nations that are around you. Then, too, it is out of the sons of the sojourners who live as aliens among you that you may gain acquisition, and out of their families who are with you, whom they will have begotten in your land; they also may become your possessions. You may even bequeath them to your sons after you, to receive as a possession; you can use them as permanent slaves."
In the New Testament, I Timothy, 6:1-5, God says; "Let all who are under the yoke as slaves regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine may not be spoken against. And let those who have believers as their masters be not disrespectful to them because they are brethren, but let them serve them all the more because those who partake of the benefits are believers are beloved. Teach and preach these principles".
People who are bitter and hateful about slavery are obviously hatful and bitter against God and His Word, because they reject what God says and embrace what mere humans say about slavery. This humanistic thinking is what the abolitionists embraced while Southerners and most Northerners embrace what God said in the Bible. These humanists' argument is not with me or the South or the United States but rather their argument is with God. They had made themselves out to be greater than God for they add to God's Word when they call something evil that God obviously allows. Is this what the abolitionists did? Teaching the doctrines of man as if they were the doctrines of God. The second lie is; that slaves were mistreated in the Old South. Again, this is not true. Colossians 4;1, Jesus said; "Masters, grant to your servants justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven." To say that slaves were mistreated in the Old South is to say that the most Christian group of people in the entire world, the Bible Belt, mistreated their servants and violated the commandments of Jesus their Lord. Anyone who says this is an accuser of the brethren of Jesus Christ, not a very good position to take. We in the South are offended by such accusations.
Just the opposite is true. In a U.S. Government PWA survey of former slaves, taken years after the war, 70% of former slaves had only good experiences to report about life as a slave and about the Old South. In the Old South there were numerous laws that protected slaves from abuse just like there are laws to protect wives and children from abuse, today. But just because a few men abuse their wives or children does not make marriage or having children a cruel, hateful endeavor. The same is true for slavery. Modern studies of slavery in the Old South proved that in food, shelter, clothing and medical care, Southern slaves were significantly better off than the free white factory workers in the North. The instance of abuse, rape, broken homes and murder are a hundred times greater, today, in the housing projects than they ever were on the slave plantations in the Old South. The truth is, that nowhere on the face of the earth, in all of time, were servants better treated or better loved than those were in the old South by white, black, Hispanic and Indian slave owners.
That's right, even blacks and Indians owned slaves in the Old South. While 7% of whites owned slaves, 2% of blacks in the South owned slaves. For example, in 1860, the United States census reported that around 10,000 free blacks owned some 60,000 black slaves.
It was a black slave master named Anthony Johnson who sued and won his case in a Virginia court in 1853 that changed temporary servitude to lifetime servitude. Thus, this black slave owner established permanent slavery in Virginia. Moreover, when the Cherokee Indians were moved by the United States Government along the Trail of Tears out West, more than 25% of the people who were moved were black slaves of the Cherokees.
Just as white European slaves were primitive, barbaric Pagans who practiced human sacrifice, incest, witchcraft and idiolatry; yet were converted to Christianity, learned trades and skills and became a civilized people under black, Oriental and white masters; so also did black African barbaric Pagans become civilized Christians with skills and trades under slavery in the Old South.
Slavery was a family institution in the Old South, just like it says in the Bible in Galations 4;1 "As long as the son is a child he does not differ at all from a slave although he is the heir of everything". A typical family plantation had one family of whites living next door to one family of blacks. They had the same last name, worked in the fields and on the farms side by side, played together, prayed together, raised each others children, took care of each other in sickness and all in all, loved one another, just like family. It was on these small family farms that Southern blacks were taught about and converted to Christianity by the millions; I am sure that those converted black Southerners are grateful today, too, just like our white European ancestors are grateful for their conversion to Christianity while slaves of black masters in North Africa, such as the black Coptic Christians in Egypt, one of the oldest Christian groups in the world. Remember, it was not from Yankees that Southern black learned about Jesus Christ. For the most part it was from Southern slave owners.
It was here on the family plantations that blacks learned trades and skills from farming to saw-milling, to ranching to carpentry to bricklaying to producing textiles and iron, as well, driving railroad trains. Even the abolitionist Yankee government's Department of Education admitted in 1892, at the total failure of the so-called "reconstruction experiment" that the best technical education that the world has ever seen, was the education that was given by their masters to the slaves before emancipation.
Remember, that black slaves from Nigeria, the most populous region in Africa, were not civilized and not Christians, practicing Voo-Doo, cannibalism, and witchcraft, just like the white European slaves. These blacks were captured in tribal wars by other blacks in Nigeria. White people did not run through the jungles of Africa kidnaping blacks and making them slaves. Black Africans captured and sold other blacks as slaves. They were already slaves of black Africans before they ever set foot in a Spanish, Portugese, English or New England Yankee slave ship. Such ships stayed anchored offshore for their fear of jungle diseases and these slaves were rowed out in long boats by Africans and put on board. Many of these slaves were already riddled with disease and half starved. All slave ships from the United States sailed from the Northern states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey and Delaware under the United States flag. Not one southern ship sailed to Africa to bring back slaves and no ship ever sailed under the Confederate flag to bring back slaves. This slave trading was the big business of the rich New England Yankees. They traded rum made in northern factories to black African slave owners for their slaves and then traded most of the slaves to South America or the West Indies for molasses, only 5% of the slaves reached the US, and then manufactured the molasses into rum and made another trip. Then with rare exception, the life of a slave in the United States was ten times better than his life had been in Africa.
The third lie is; that the war for southern independence (or as the United States Congress declared it to be; the War Between the States, it was not a civil war), was fought over slavery with the north fighting to free southern slaves and the south fighting to keep her slaves. This is, of course, not true.
First off, all 13 original states that seceded from England in 1776 and formed the United States, from Maine (a part of Massachusetts at the time) to Georgia, owned slaves. Was the first American Revolution fought over slavery? No, then neither was the second American Revolution fought over slavery, when the southern states withdrew from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America. Is the 4th of July a racist holiday because all 13 original colonies had slaves? No, then neither are our Confederate holidays. Is the United States flag a racist flag because all 13 original states had slaves? No, then neither is the Confederate Battle Flag, or do these intolerant individuals and the news media ever advocate taking down the U.S. flag? If yes, they will need to take down almost all the national flags in the world starting with the flag of Nigeria in Africa who were more involved in selling slaves than any other nation. What blatant bigotry to call the Confederate flag racist!
During the war for southern independence (1861-1865), the south also had slaves, but refused to sell their slaves until after the war. Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, Missouri and West Virginia all owned slaves. Never seceded, and were under the control of the United States the entire war, however, they were not required to free their slaves by the United States Government, as proved by the fact that the U.S. Congress, from 1861 to 1864 refused to pass a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery, when the only senators and representatives in Congress were from the north. Remember, all southerners had left congress to form their own nation. How could the north be fighting the war to free southern slaves when they would not free their own, like U. S. Grant's personal slaves or Abraham Lincoln's father-in-law's slaves? What hypocracy!
Northern slaves were even exempt from Lincoln's emancipation proclamation, and therefore, remained slaves throughout the war! Furthermore, captured southern slaves on the Mississippi River were forced to work on the plantations as slaves for the United States Army, growing cotton for northern factories rather than be set free. Also, during the war just as many Union soldiers owned slaves as confederate soldiers and since only 7% of white southerners owned slaves, it is irrational to think that the other 93% were shedding their blood so these few could keep their slaves. Is the United States flag a symbol of slavery because the United States owned slaves during the war? No, then neither is the Confederate Battle flag. How could the war have been fought over slavery when both sides had slaves?
Even worse, in 1861, Lincoln and the U. S. Congress offered and passed a new constitutional amendment for the south guarantying permanent slavery forever in the slave states if only the southern states would return to the Union. Three states ratified the amendment before the war started. The south refused the offer. It is ridiculous to think that the north invaded the south to free slaves when the north had just voted to keep slavery in the south forever.
The war for southern independence was fought for local self government by the south verses centralized government by the north; the centralized government won and local self government lost. The Southern battle flag is the symbol of the right of local people and the states to govern themselves and is flown in memory and honor of all our confederate ancestors and veterans who gave their lives for less government, less taxes and southern independence.
In his inaugural speech of March 4, 1861, U.S. President, Abraham Lincoln, stated that he had "no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery. I believe that I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so" Furthermore, Union General, Ulysses S. Grant, said that if he "thought that this war was to abolish slavery, I would resign my commission, and offer my sword to the other side". A war over slavery? Not hardly! The Confederate States of America even offered to free all southern slaves in return for independence. Lincoln refused the offer.
The term "free" state meant free from blacks. Northerners did not want to live with blacks, slave or free and many northern states and territories actually passed a law prohibiting free blacks from entering into them. Abraham Lincoln, himself, stated the opinion of the northern people at a meeting with a group of black leaders during the war, Lincoln said to them, "there is an unwillingness on the part of our people, ‘northern whites' for you free colored people to remain with us. Whether it is right or wrong, I do not propose to discuss, but to propose it as a fact with which we have to deal. It is better for us both, therefore, to be separated".
Thereupon, Abraham Lincoln and the United States Congress purchased land, passed laws and started shipping free northern black out of the United States down to poverty stricken Haiti. Lincoln put together several such schemes to remove freed blacks from the U.S. to send some back to Africa and some to Central and South America. At the end of the war, a few weeks before Lincoln was killed, Union General Benjamin Butler, asked Abraham Lincoln what he was going to do with all the recently freed southern slaves. United States President Abraham Lincoln replied, "I believe it would be better to export them all".
Meanwhile, down south, Confederate States President, Jefferson Davis and his wife Barina are adopting an 8-year old freed black orphaned boy, named Jim Limber. After his mother died, Jim was placed with a free black family as foster parents but this black family badly treated this 8 year old black youngster to such a degree that the news reached the ears of Mrs. Davis and the President. Thereupon, President Jefferson Davis, in the middle of the war, took the time and effort to intercede and rescue Jim from this child abuse. Jim's wounds were doctored and he was welcomed into the Confederate white house as a member of the Jefferson Davis family. President Davis went to court in Richmond and had free papers registered for Jim so he would always be free. Even when our president was on his way to prison for trying to obtain independence and self government fro the southern people, he made arrangements for Jim Limber's future education and care. In the Old South it was not uncommon for black to take in orphaned whites or for whites to take in orphaned blacks, a relationship between black and whites that northerners, even today, do not understand nor appreciate. The war for southern independence was fought over the right of the local people to govern themselves rather than a centralist government by the few, the rich and the powerful. The south wanted less goverment, less taxes, independence, and decisions made at the local level where the people have control. The north wated more taxes, more government, centralism with a compulsory union a bayonet point and decisions made in Washington rather than by the local people.
The south stood on the principles of the southerner, Jefferson, who in the Declaration of Independence, said, "Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government". In other words the people should control government, not the government controlling people.
The north stood on the principles of the northerner, Alexander Hamilton, who believed that, "governments should be ruled by an intellectual aristocracy, maintained by the enlightened self-interest of the wealthy", rather than by common people governing themselves. Northern abolitionists like, William Lloyd Garrison, publicly burned the U.S. Constitution, calling the Constitution an "agreement with hell". U.S. President Abraham Lincoln brutally violated almost every article and amendment in the U.S. Constitution, throwing over 35,000 northern citizens in prison as political prisoners, including state senators, without cause or trial, as well as violently closing down hundreds of opposition newspapers and suppressing freedom of speech. President Jefferson Davis and the Confederate states never did any such thing. The southern people took the U.S. Constitution with them when they volunteerily withdrew from the voluntary union brought forth on this continent, a new nation, where the right of the local people to govern themselves was protected.
Just like the war for American Independence of 1776, the war for Southern Independence of 1861 was fought over "taxation without representation". The north was constantly trying to increase taxes on southerners through a high sales tax on imported goods, in order to protect the inefficient big business up north who could not compete with manufactured goods from England and France with whom the south traded cotton in exchange for their manufactured products. The south did not have factories, so had to import finished products. The Industrial Revolution allowed England and France to produce and ship across the Atlantic Ocean, products that were cheaper than the products of northern manufacturers, who refused to modernize, could produce with their white child labor; ten year old children working sixteen hours a day in polluted cities for pennies and sleeping in the streets. Slaves in the south were treated much better than white labor in the industrial north.
When the saales tax on imports was raised then the price paid by the southern people for goods from England and France went up and of course the northern manufacturers immediately raised their prices for the products the south bought from the north. But the south did not receive any more money for its cotton to compensate for the increased prices. Therefore, the southern people, poor and rich, black and white, all paid the sales tax on imports or high-priced northern goods, while the north received the windfall profits and tax receipts to stand on their canals, railroads and other internal developments. The south paid much more in taxes than the north and received much less back in tax spending, a very burdensome, unfair situation for sotherners. This was in direct violation to the U.S. Constitution, which provided for taxes to be levied equally among the states. However, the south was outvoted in the U.S. Congress by the populous north and became little more than sheep to be fleeced by the north's oppressive taxation without representation. The south's only recourse was to either admit more states to the union that would vote against the oppressive taxes, or keep a low tax president in the white house, whose veto power would protect against higher taxes, or withdraw from the union and form another nation with lower taxes. For example, when the "tariff of abomination" was passed in 1928 and another such high tariff, "sales tax on imported products" in 1832, the state of North Carolina threatened to withdraw from the union, but these abominable taxes were repealed or diluted to a 20% tax on imports before her secession took place. Please note that South Carolina's threatened withdrawal from the union was not over slavery but over taxes.
For a period of years after that the south was able to keep the sales tax on imports "import tax" at a barely tolerable level of 20%, by electing presidents who would veto higher tariffs. Unfortunately, in 1860, in a four-way presidential election, Abraham Lincoln was elected by less than 40% of the vote, all from up north. Lincoln did not receive even one vote in the deep south. The minority elected president Lincoln had promised the rich big businesses in the north that, if elected, he would dramatically raise the import tax. That is why the southern states quickly began to escape from the tax net that Lincoln was spreading. Within Lincoln's first month in office, the United States Congress had passed the Morrill Tariff, which was the highest import taxes in U.S. history, which more than doubled the income tax rate from 20% to 47%, enough to bankrupt many southerners. This oppressive tax is what pushed southern states to legally withdraw from the volunteer union, not slavery. Now since these southerners had escaped the tax by withdrawing from the union, the only way the north could collect this 47% sales tax on imported goods was to invade the Confederate States and force them at gunpoint back into the union where they could be taxed. It was to collect this oppressive 47% import tax to satisfy his northern industrial supporters that Abraham Lincoln invaded our south and not to free any slaves. Lincoln's war cost the lives of 600,000 Americans.
When Lincoln invaded Charleston and then Virginia, all southerners; white, black, Hispanics, Indians, Orientals, Protestants, Catholics, Jews, rich and poor, male and female almost to a person, rose up and volunteered their services in defense of the Confederate States of America, because all were going to suffer from this horrible federal tax. Nowhere in the history of movements of independence and self government, have a people been so united in purpose and dedicated to the cause of independence. No, not even in ‘76 did the thirteen colonies receive such support and sacrifice by the people and that war was fought over a 3% tax on tea.
My fellow Senators, the south was right; the Confederate battle flag represents all southerners and even northern confederates from states like Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and others who supported the south and who even tried to secede from the Union and form their own nation but whose efforts for freedom were crushed by Lincoln's troops. Confederate Indians, Hispanics, blacks and whites all received confederate pensions after the war and attended Confederate reunions together year after year; just as they had suffered and fought together during the war year after year. The Confederate battle flag represents all confederates, regardless of race or religion and is the symbol of less government, less taxes, and the right of a people to govern themselves. It is flown in memory and honor of confederate ancestors and veterans who willingly shed their blood for southern independence. Their Confederate battle flag deserves the highest of honors, by being flown on top of our Alabama State Capitol.
The decision we make today is similar to the decision that was being made in Mississippi on February 11, 1890 regarding a monument to the Confederate dead. John F. Harris, a black Republican deligate from Washington county rose to speak for the bill saying, "When the news came that the south had been invaded, our men went forth to fight for their country and for what they believed, and they made no request for monuments... But they died, and their virtues should be remembered. Mr. Speaker, I went with them. I too, wore the gray, the same color as my master wore. We stayed four long years, and if that war had gone on ‘til now, I would have been there yet. . . I want to honor those brave men who died for their convictions. And sir, I shall vote for it. I want it known to all the world that my vote is given in favor of the bill to erect a monument in the honor of the Confederate dead". When the applause died down, the measure passed overwhelmingly, and every black member voted "Aye". May God grant that the same response occurs here, today. Thank you.
You may write Senator Davison and thank him for standing for the south at: State Senator Charles Davison, Rt1, Box 439-K, Jasper, Alabama, 35501.
The research for this speech was done by Roger K. Broxton, President, Confederate Heritage Fund. All statements herein were verified by (Dr. Hill has a PH in History) Dr. Michael Hill, President, the Southern League, P.O. Box 40911, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 35404 (205-553-0155)
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