Essential memories, essential liberties
Chuck, below is my response to THE DISPATCH’s call for ending essential memories.
Dear Editors:
A holiday we should give up?  Should we also give up the Founding Principles?  Independence Day celebrates our secession from the British empire— should we end that one, too?
Your arguments on the ‘Southern cause’ fail the logic test and distort true history.  You present an excerpt from Mississippi’s secession ordnance as ‘proof’ of the war’s purpose and as representative of the southern cause, when in fact, it is merely the secession convention’s opinion about WHY Mississippi should leave the union.
Why some states chose secession is NOT the same thing as why there was war.  The proper questions are:  “Why was there a war?  What was the war about?”
The most succinct answer is that the Yankees invaded the south to force the southern states back into the union — for the purpose of maintaining the U.S. empire and, most importantly, tariff revenues.  The most succinct reason the Confederate soldier fought was “self defense.”
Had there been no invasion and blockade, there would have been no war.  No old nor any “recently concocted theory” of yours can refute that.
Why did Lincoln’s army invade, blockade and attack the southern states? 
According to Lincoln himself, the war’s paramount purpose was to “preserve the union.” 
Lincoln’s hostile act (attempting to reinforce Fort Sumter “by force if necessary”) provoked the first shots and then one day after the surrender of the fort, on April 15th he called for 75,000 volunteers to, as he put it, “put down a rebellion.” 
Four borders states (Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas) had declared their intent NOT to secede… but when Lincoln made clear his intent to use unlawful and immoral force, those four states seceded and joined their sister southern states in defiance of tyranny.  Why not quote from their secession documents?
Lincoln committed Treason as defined in the Constitution – he made war on the states.
Lincoln started his war without any declaration by Congress.  The war was well underway when the U.S. Congress in July 1861 declared, in the Crittenden-Johnson Resolution, that the U.S. purpose for the war was SOLELY to restore the southern states to the union.  They expressly stated that “interfering with the domestic institutions” (slavery) of the states was NOT the issue or purpose of the war.
Some sixteen months after hostilities began (Aug. 1862) Lincoln repeated, in an open letter to abolitionist Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune, that slavery was irrelevant to the war.  Lincoln declared his paramount purpose was to “preserve the union”… meaning revenues.
As author Thomas DiLorenzo noted, the death toll from the provoked attack on Fort Sumter was one horse.  The death toll from Lincoln’s reaction to Fort Sumter was 750,000 American soldiers, 50,000 southern civilians and tens of thousands of horses.  In today’s population, that would be the equivalent of eight million Americans dying in four years.  The war was tragic and unnecessary and, as author Robert Penn Warren put it, it can be said to define American history.
It seems THE DISPATCH wants everyone to view American history through its distorted P.C. lens.  As one famous Mississippi Senator, and the only Confederate States President wrote,
“Nothing fills me with deeper sadness than to see a Southern man apologizing for the defense we made of our inheritance. Our cause was so just, so sacred, that had I known all that has come to pass, had I known what was to be inflicted upon me, all that my country was to suffer, all that our posterity was to endure, I would do it all over again." —Jefferson Davis
The South was Right in its pursuit of independence.  Chattel slavery was a doomed institution in the Christian west—thank God.  Every other country in the Christian world ended slavery without a war.  The U.S. certainly could have, too.  Brazil did so in 1888, without a war.
Ending slavery was not even a pretended purpose until midway through the war.  The British press instantly saw through the ruse known as the Emancipation Proclamation,  “‘The principle is not that a human being cannot justly own another, but that he cannot own him unless he is loyal to the United States.’”  It wasn’t about abolition, it was about economic dominance.
The war resulted in an end to chattel slavery (13th Amendment), but put political slavery in its place.  If we’re not free to leave, then we’re not free.  Through a series of 20th century wars, the U.S. has become a “super power”…aka, an empire, ruled from a distant central capitol — exactly what the American Founders fought to escape. 
If for no other reason, Confederate memorials remind modern Americans of the need to study their history, including Lincoln’s war, and to understand the Founding Principles on which the Constitution is based.  Without a historical understanding of our American roots and the liberties that made the U.S. great, our republic is doomed to slide into ‘democracy’ and eventually totalitarian tyranny and economic ruin.
Steve Scroggins
Macon, GA