The South: Convenient Scapegoat For A Nation's Sins
Editor Richmond Times-Dispatch 300 East Franklin Street Richmond, Virginia 23219
Voltaire said "History is the propaganda of the victorious," and the Bible says that to bear false witness against one's neighbor is a Cardinal Sin. Whether by calculated design or by ignorance of the Truth - willful or otherwise - the South and the Confederacy have been made into the convenient scapegoats for all the slavery and all of the racial ills of the United States.
Slavery is as old as history - Egypt and the Book of Genesis, at least. The Code of Hammurabi had a slave code, as did the ancient Hebrews (see Leviticus, Chapter 25) . It was an unfortunate legacy of the European colonial system in the "New World" - which was land rich and labor poor. But during the "Age of Discovery" the Europeans pushing their way down the coast of Africa found that there were slave markets already in operation, which would come to answer the labor needs of the European colonial mercantile systems in their colonies.
In 1776, when the thirteen slaveholding colonies seceded from the British Empire, the time was ripe to get rid of slavery, but the subsequent horrific slave insurrection in the French colony of St. Domingo lent fears to the consequences of sudden abolition. Thomas Jefferson said that "Justice is in one scale, and self-preservation is in the other."
Slavery was uneconomical in the North, so the Northerners sold their slaves South into the cotton and tobacco fields, then abolished slavery in their respective States, and in some cases, like Illinois, prohibited Blacks - bond or free - from setting foot within their borders.
However, the North had no moral qualms with continuing their engagement in the African Slave-trade to Cuba and Brazil, or in reaping enormous profits from the manufacture of slave-picked cotton right up until the North's War to Prevent Southern Independence.
But slavery was practiced in some form worldwide until the coming of the Industrial Revolution, when steam power replaced muscle power as the prime mover of industrialized societies, and it is still practiced today in Africa, the Middle East, and some parts of Asia.
However, if, as the Bible tells us, the borrower is the servant to the lender (Proverbs 22:7) we still practice it today in the United States. Slavery was not abolished in 1865, but merely transformed into something a lot more discreet and a lot more profitable, and we have sold our own children into involuntary servitude to China with our twenty trillion dollar national debt.
As for racism, I don't think the South holds a monopoly on that, either. The United States Army did not integrate until the Truman Administration, after World War Two. And during the Civil Rights Movement of the '60s, it is curious that while Northern Freedom Riders were down South giving tutorials on proper race relations to the benighted Southerners, Blacks up North were burning their cities down. And even today, the papers are full of "Black Lives Matter" protests and riots in Northern cities with nary a Confederate Flag in sight.
Perhaps we as a nation can find a better way to heal our differences than by self-righteous political scapegoating.
H. V. Traywick, Jr. PO Box 9086 Richmond, Virginia 23225
A native of Lynchburg, Virginia, the author graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1967 with a degree in Civil Engineering and a Regular Commission in the US Army. His service included qualification as an Airborne Ranger, and command of an Engineer company in Vietnam, where he received the Bronze Star. After his return, he resigned his Commission and ended by making a career as a tugboat captain. During this time he was able to earn a Master of Liberal Arts from the University of Richmond, with an international focus on war and cultural revolution. He is a member of the Jamestowne Society, the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Virginia, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and the Society of Independent Southern Historians. He currently lives in Richmond, where he writes, studies history, literature and cultural revolution, and occasionally commutes to Norfolk to serve as a tugboat pilot.