Saturday, March 22, 2014

Prattville Dragoons Camp Meeting for March 2014 - Part 2 (The War for Southern Independence - Clash of Civilizations)

The Guest Speaker for the Dragoons March camp meeting was Mr. Mark Thomey who presented a discussion entitled "The War for Southern Independence - Clash of Civilizations" or "They Just Ain't Like Us".  Even to this day, 150 years after the ceasing of hostilities, the differences persist. This is largely due to the origins of the people from whom these peoples descended.  The Yankees story begins with the Puritans and Pilgrims of Plymouth MA, bearing in mind Thanksgiving was celebrated years earlier at the first permanent settlement in the New World, Jamestown, VA).  The puritan community was a theocratic oppressive society and residents committed countless atrocities against the native Americans and against those within their own community - reference "Moby Dick" and "The Scarlet Letter".  They were a rigid condescending people, intolerant of those not like them and they believed they had a divine mission to convert those to their way of thinking and this belief persists today. They explored religious concepts but instead of affirming and reinforcing the unchanging scriptures in the Bible, this gave rise to divergent theologies like Universalism.  They tried to tear down those who did not agree with them.  The Puritan church died out by the end of the 1600s but the Yankees continued the principles of intolerance, adopting a Hamiltonian philosophy of centralized government to micromanage business and people's lives. 

This philosophy contrasted to that of the people  living below the Potomac River.  The Southerners came from Ireland, Scotland, Wales as well as France and Spain.  Because of the diverse European influence, our ancestors possessed a different world view.  The South, although Protestant, adopted almost a medieval catholic hierarchic social structure but because of the strong adoption of the foundation of Christian charity, they minimized class envy and conflict. They developed an independent freeholder society and adopted a Jeffersonian political philosophy of dispersed power structure and an agrarian society. In schools today they teach of a balance of power but only refer to the judicial, legislative and executive branches of the federal government and not the balance between federal central power and the states and individuals.  The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1709 by Jefferson and Madison laid out the concept that the people and the states have the right and power of nullification and was the response to the Alien and Sedition Act of this same era which forbade anyone from saying or writing anything against the President of the United States resulting in the arrest of many people.  This was the beginning of the struggle between Southern and Northern ideals and beliefs, between the Southern agrarian culture and that of Northern industrialism.  An agrarian culture is one of an overall worldview with fixed limitations on government powers and a belief and appreciation in nature as God's creation.

After the War of 1812 and the Era of Good Feelings, the South desired to be left alone and for the government to abide by the Constitution.  They didn't go looking for federal monies for developmental and industrialization projects and simply wanted the federal government to provide for the national defense and foreign diplomacy.  But the North wanted tariffs against imported goods to protect their burgeoning industries.  The Tariff of Abominations of 1828 resulted in SC nullifying the law and President Jackson threatened to invade the state to enforce the tariff collection.  The SC governor refused to back down and after cooler heads prevailed, most of the Tariff was largely eliminated.  The South opposed tariffs because it forced them to purchase more expensive goods from the Northern states and also created a conflict with their European trading partners with whom they desired free trade for their cotton and agricultural products. The tax money from the tariffs also invariably found its way exclusively to fund Northern infrastructure and industrial projects like canals, rail and gas works.  Then came the abolitionist movement who invented their won morality without Biblical foundations who condemned Southern culture as corrupt and debauch but, this was in reality a small movement and didn't find any mainstream support until after the start of the War for Southern Independence.  In fact, their beliefs were so unpopular that thousands of Union troops deserted after Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation as they believed they were fighting for the equally preposterous "preservation of the Union", ignoring that they were attempting to force the states into what was created as a voluntary Union. One wonders why the abolitionists weren't satisfied that they were rid of the evil slave holding states.  In fact, the North wanted to subjugate the South to what the North desired including confiscatory taxes.  The loss by the Confederacy resulted in the South being conquered and ruled by foreigners who did not share our values and beliefs.  While Southerners were and are of a self-sustaining tolerant easy going culture, the Northerners were and are an intolerant peoples unhappy unless they are making the world over into their own image. Reference "The Southern Essays of Richard Weaver" including "The South and the American Union".

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