J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Archive for the tag “13th Amendment”

Yankee Myths

MYTH– “Confederate symbols should not be tolerated because they represent a government that fought a war to keep blacks in bondage and to preserve the institution of slavery.”

This is one of the most commonly used arguments against Confederate Symbolism and one of the easiest to prove false.

Everyone knows that the South (and the North) had slavery until 1865. The north had slavery at least until 1866, due to some holdouts like future President Union General Ulysses S. Grant who refused to give-up his slaves until the passage of the 13th Amendment. Prior to 1866, slavery was completely legal. The Supreme Court had ruled favorably on the legality and constitutionality of slavery. Presidents Buchanan and Lincoln both promised many times, that they would not interfere with the practice of slavery. Even new laws were put on the books protecting slave owners from loss of slave property due to theft or runaways. Add to that, the fact that the Confederate States constituted the fifth wealthiest region in the world.

The slave owning states had all of these things and more. So why on earth would Southern States secede from the United States? Surely, no one believes that the South would have left the security of the Union and gone to fight a war for something they already had! Countries do not fight wars for the things they have, they fight wars to obtain the things they do not have.

To emphasize how secure the institution of slavery was in the United States, let’s look at what it would have taken to eliminate it. Since slavery was enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, it would require a Constitutional Amendment and that is very difficult to achieve. Two-thirds of the House and Senate must agree to the Amendment and then three-fourths of all the states must vote to ratify the Amendment before it can become part of the U.S. Constitution. This simply would never have happened as long as the Southern States stayed in the Union! That’s right; with the South in the Union, the northern and Southern slave states would have voted down any attempt to amend the Constitution, thereby guaranteeing that the immoral institution of slavery could continue almost indefinitely. So you see, it is quite easy to prove that the South did not secede and fight a war to maintain slavery; an institution they already possessed.

What the South did not have was financial freedom. Southerners were slaves to the industrial demands of the north, just as blacks were slaves to the agricultural demands within the bonds of an unjust labor system. Growth potential was severely limited in the South so long as the north continued to levy heavy Tariffs on things that Southerners needed to purchase; and heavy taxes on those things that Southerners produced.

(Article courtesy of the General William Barksdale Camp 1220, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Columbus, Mississippi, September 2014)

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Another Civil War Law Overlooked

Last year, Mississippi state officials discovered an oversight that had gone unnoticed for 150 years, so they finally ratified the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, thus granting slaves their freedom. Mississippi was the last state in the Union to do so. Now another oversight has been revealed. The Maryland state legislature is considering the reversal of the Corwin Amendment, which also concerns slavery.

Back in the 1860’s, Senator Thomas Corwin of Ohio attempted to pass a bill to block the United States government from overriding state laws allowing slavery. Ohio, Illinois, and Maryland voted in the amendment, but for various reasons, Illinois and Ohio dropped the issue. For some reason, Maryland did not. And strangely, their vote is still legal.

Enter college intern Shannon Welch of Bethesda, Maryland, who noticed the “glitch.” She brought it to the attention of state officials, who are now scrambling to change the law. So far, there doesn’t seem to be any opposition to changing the law. 

Wonders Never Cease

It took 148 years, but the state of Mississippi finally ratified the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, making it illegal to own slaves. The question is, why did it take so long? There are many examples where old laws have never been purged from the books. Some examples are that it is illegal in Missouri to drive with an uncaged bear, in Philadelphia, you are not allowed to put pretzels in a bag (based on an Act from 1760), in Colorado, a cat cannot be outside at night unless it has a taillight (what?), and in Kentucky, a person must take a bath once a year or face prosecution.

The 13th Amendment was written into law in 1865, immediately following the end of the War Between the States. However, many southern states, Mississippi included, refused to ratify the law. Those states that refused were forced into Reconstruction. It didn’t take long for Alabama, Georgia, and most other states to ratify the amendment, but for some reason, Mississippi held out.

Fast forward to 1995, when it was discovered that the law STILL hadn’t been ratified. Remarkably, Mississippi lawmakers didn’t officially abolish slavery until that year. However, the state failed to notify the U. S. Archivist, so it was never official.

The oversight might have never been discovered if it weren’t for Dr. Ranjan Batra, who is an associate professor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. When Dr. Batra saw the movie “Lincoln,” he grew curious about what happened once the states voted on ratification. It was then that he learned of the clerical error, and the correct paperwork was filed on February 7. Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann admitted that “It was long overdue.” Ya think?

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