General States Rights Gist

One of the things most liked about writing a blog is the people met via the internet. There are many “followers” of the AW, and I check out all of them. An example would be the blog, Amanda Likes To Travel (http://amandalikestotravel.com/). I have lived vicariously through the written words of Amanda, because I, too, liked to travel. Amanda has not written lately and I can only hope it is because Amanda, like most of us, has hunkered down during the COVID-19 crisis. Maybe Amanda will consider temporarily changing the blog to, “Hunkering down with Amanda.”

Sometimes emails are received from readers, which means being in contact with people all over the world because of writing the AW. Recently an email was received from a young lady who lives in one of the northern states. She wrote, “Since you live and write about the south, I want to know about states rights.” She had noticed a map showing the states who had yet to impose restrictions for the people of that particular state, most being in the South.

How to answer such a question in a blog post?

From the book, The Day Dixie Died,

https://images.macmillan.com/folio-assets/macmillan_us_frontbookcovers_350W/9781429945752.jpg

by Gary Ecelbarger:

“The elation of the conquerors disintegrated, for the Ohioans had then exposed themselves to a counterpunch. That left hook came in the form of Georgia and South Carolina infantry. Those were the four regiments commanded by a man with the most unique birth name in the war-Brigadier General States Rights Gist, who was born during South Carolina’s nullification crisis of 1832. Gist’s father named him as a symbol of the state’s resolve, one that was enacted twenty-eight years later when South Carolina became the first of eleven Southern states to seceded from the United States. General Gist was an experienced, brave, and resilient commander. The day before the battle, Gist was struck in the back by an enemy bullet, a glancing shot that hit him close to his spine, but did not lodge within him. The general shrugged it off; a surgeon dressed the wound, and he was back in the saddle almost immediately.”

The United States is a collection of fifty sovereign states. The first state, Delaware, was ratified on December 7, 1787. The Great State of Georgia was the fourth state to ratify, doing so on January 2, 1788. My home state was the first Southern state. The Great State of South Carolina, the eighth state to ratify on May 23, 1788, was the second Southern state. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_date_of_admission_to_the_Union)

In addition, this is also found at Wikipedia:

A state of the United States is one of the 50 constituent entities that shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Americans are citizens of both the federal republic and of the state in which they reside, due to the shared sovereignty between each state and the federal government.[1] Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia use the term commonwealth rather than state in their full official names.

States are the primary subdivisions of the United States. They possess all powers not granted to the federal government, nor prohibited to them by the United States Constitution. In general, state governments have the power to regulate issues of local concern, such as: regulating intrastate commerce, running elections, creating local governments, public school policy, and non-federal road construction and maintenance. Each state has its own constitution grounded in republican principles, and government consisting of executive, legislative, and judicial branches. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_date_of_admission_to_the_Union)

That is pretty cut and dry, is it not? Still…The fact is that the South was much more prosperous than the north prior to the war because cotton was king.

“In 1860, 5 of the 10 wealthiest states in the US are slave states; 6 of the top 10 in per capita wealth; calculated just by white population, 8 of 10. The single wealthiest county per capita was Adams County, Mississippi. As a separate nation in 1860, the South by itself would have been the world’s 4th wealthiest, ahead of everyone in Europe but England. Italy did not enjoy an equivalent level of per capita wealth until after WWII; the South’s per capita growth rate was 1.7%, 1840-60, 1/3 higher than the North’s and among the greatest in history.

from Walter Johnson, “King Cotton’s Long Shadow,” NY Times (4/30/13):

… In his Second Inaugural Address, Lincoln said he feared God would will the war to continue “until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword.” This reckoning of the value of slaves in blood and treasure raises an important, though too frequently overlooked, question. What was the role of slavery in American economic development?

The most familiar answer to that question is: not much. By most accounts, the triumph of freedom and the birth of capitalism are seen as the same thing. The victory of the North over the South in the Civil War represents the victory of capitalism over slavery, of the future over the past, of the factory over the plantation. In actual fact, however, in the years before the Civil War, there was no capitalism without slavery. The two were, in many ways, one and the same.” (http://inside.sfuhs.org/dept/history/US_History_reader/Chapter5/southernecon.html)

The people of the northern states wanted more Southern money and enacted the Morrill Tariff (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morrill_Tariff) in order to obtain more money, which caused the South to rebel.

Charles Dickens,

https://www.dickensfellowship.org/sites/default/files/images/young-charles-dickens.jpg

from his journal, All the Year Round, observed, “The last grievance of the South was the Morrill tariff, passed as an election bribe to the State of Pennsylvania, imposing, among other things, a duty of no less than fifty per cent on the importation of pig iron, in which that State is especially interested.” (https://medium.com/@jonathanusa/everything-you-know-about-the-civil-war-is-wrong-9e94f0118269)

English author Charles Dickens said: “The Northern onslaught against Southern slavery is a specious piece of humbug designed to mask their desire for the economic control of the Southern states.” Southern states contributed approximately 70 percent of the government revenue. (https://www.delmarvanow.com/story/opinion/columnists/2017/06/17/civil-war-confederacy-monuments-history/102845176/)

A terrible war was fought over control of wealth. The northern people won the war and got the wealth. They could have done anything they wanted, like building schools for the freed slaves in order to educate them and “bring them up to speed.” The victors could have rebuilt the South. Instead they left the South alone, possibly fearing the Southern people would again secede. That was not going to happen because the Southern people were completely devastated. It would be many generations before the South could even consider doing anything with the yankee boot on their necks. General Robert E. Lee

https://i0.wp.com/www.let.rug.nl/usa/images/lee.jpg

said to former Governor of Texas, Fletcher Stockdale, in 1870:  “Governor, if I had forseen the use those people designed to make use of their victory, there would have been no surrender at Appomattox; no, sir, not by me. Had I forseen these results of subjugation, I would have preferred to die at Appomattox with my brave men, my sword in my right hand.” That sword had previously belonged to George Washington, the Father of our country. The Federal gov’mint let the Southerners do its thing while turning a blind eye to segregation for a century, until one man, the outspoken Dr. Martin Luther King,

https://media1.s-nbcnews.com/j/newscms/2017_03/1866931/ss-170116-martin-luther-king-jr-22_73b4dc9496463b3c467cd2c4579bae09.fit-880w.JPG

led his people in the streets, demanding equality.

Just so you will know exactly how I feel about the past of my South a story  will related from my youth.  Members of our extended family in the house and the television was on and it showed black people marching right there in downtown Atlanta. The usual Southern things could be heard, such as, “They oughta be put in jail,” and “They oughta be sent back to where they came from.” I cringed upon hearing one family member say, “They oughta be LYNCHED!”

The room became deathly quiet when I said, “I dunno…if I had dark skin I would be right out there marching with them.”

After being told by my Mother to “Go outside,” I did just that. On the way out I heard one say, “Mary, your boy ain’t right.”

Mother responded, “Michael has a mind of his own.”

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