My comment to the Editor
To the Editor:
I was of the opinion that rabbis were educated men however, in this case I see that the gentleman’s education did not include much in the way of history – or at least factual history. All he has done is regurgitate the half-truths, lies and myths that are foisted upon us today as history regarding an era of which most people – including himself – know little or nothing.
First, no treason was committed by the states choosing to secede! It was their constitutional right to do so no matter what lies were made up by Lincoln and those who followed him regarding some fictional concept of a “perpetual union”. Indeed, Chief Justice Salmon Chase after the war opined thusly:
“If you bring these (Confederate) leaders to trial, it will condemn the North, for by the Constitution, secession is not rebellion. His (Jefferson Davis’) capture was a mistake. His trial will be a greater one. We cannot convict him of treason.”
Salmon P. Chase, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, 1867
Secondly, the evils of slavery were hardly limited to the South; indeed, they began in Africa where they still remain to this day. Blacks sold their own kind to whites so the blame should begin there, not in Charlestown. Indeed, it was the North that was the great power in the slave (Triangle) trade and there were still slaves in the North after the fall of the Confederacy. I suggest the Rabbi read the book by three Connecticut journalists, Ann Farrow, Joel Lang and Jenifer Frank entitled “Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged and Profited from Slavery”. Perhaps you, too, should read it to prevent further such ignorant comments from appearing on your pages.
Furthermore, there are other things to consider: first, the war was not fought for slavery. The proof of that statement is the fact that Lincoln offered to submit the Corwin Amendment to the Constitution which would have guaranteed slavery in perpetuity if the states of the South would remain in the Union. Secondly, less then 12% of Southerners owned slaves and far fewer than that had large slave holdings. Third, Lincoln didn’t “free the slaves” except in those states which had withdrawn from the Union and he certainly didn’t begin the war by doing so. Abolitionists were starting to oppose Lincoln and fearing that they would not support his re-election in 1864, he assuaged their rage with the E.P. – as useless a piece of political tripe as was ever foisted on the nation; it was all smoke and mirrors and nothing more. Slave states like Kentucky, Missouri and Maryland – not to mention Washington – which had remained in the Union were not affected by the Emancipation Proclamation.
The people of the South fought for their independence from a nation that they rightly saw was rapidly developing into an empire with a tyrannously strong central government and a collectivist mentality, abandoning the republic with its limited federal government and in which power resided in the sovereign states and the people. I think that our present situation proves that the South was, in fact, correct in its judgment.
Valerie Protopapas
Huntington Station, New York