Commander's Column: Jefferson Davis's Principle Is Reasserted
Kerri and I just returned from a trip to New Orleans to celebrate her birthday. New Orleans is her favorite city because of its cuisine, music and the unique culture and people. The architecture, music, language and cuisine are the result of a melting pot of French and Spanish and of course Southern--both black and white--influences. I was surprised to learn that New Orleans is home to the second largest collection of Confederate memorabilia--the Confederate Memorial Hall Museum--which is also the oldest museum in the state of Louisiana (see ) dating from 1891. At the entrance to the museum, a plaque is mounted indicating that it was here that Jefferson Davis’s body lay in state on May 28, 1893. This was actually four years following his death. He was temporarily buried in Metairie at a cemetery with veterans from the Army of Northern Virginia and his body was disinterred, placed in a new casket and transported to Richmond, Virginia, on a funeral train with full military honors, greeted by throngs all along the route, venerated by as many citizens as any leader in the history of the country.
Current events caused me to recall Davis’s quote, “The principle for which we contend is bound to reassert itself, though it may be at another time and in another form.” Comm Officer Tyrone Crowley recently emailed a link to an article discussing the Scottish vote for secession, the reasons, the precedent and the future of similar movements. The Scots sought independence for political self-determination as a minority to the ruling English Tories and for economic reasons to control and develop resources within their borders and stabilize wages shrinking from the inflation driving those in England. The Scots also claim a distinct heritage with political and social views largely contrasting with the rest of the United Kingdom. Russia is claiming that within Ukraine there are Russian minorities in the Crimea and western regions who seek independence and reunification or realignment with Moscow, whereas Russia’s economic interests in these regions is unquestionable and certainly worrisome to the European Union. The past few decades have seen a steady movement including multiple referendums in Canada for the secession of the province of Quebec. Quebec has a strong economic incentive including geographic control of trade routes as well as a very distinct French heritage and culture including the language contrasting this province with the rest of Canada.
Interestingly, in Canada and Scotland, the citizens of those regions were permitted by the mother country to hold referendums, popular votes for secession. There were no invasions and no bloodshed, although there certainly was some coercion, including dangling economic carrots and propaganda warnings of dire consequences, employed to sway public opinion and voting results. It is difficult to imagine that should a serious secession movement gain traction in the United States today or in the future that carnage would ensue as resulted from Lincoln's War of Northern Aggression 150 years ago to reunify the country and secure the South’s economic resources and political subservience for the Northern industrialists. The article mentioned above indicated that up to today, the War for Southern Independence and its ultimate demise seemingly settled the question of legitimacy of secession for Americans for all time. And yet the reasons for these recent worldwide secession movements is much the same as the reasons our Confederate ancestors sought independence, a distinct social order and culture, a growing imminence as a political minority, and economic subservience while contributing an inordinate portion of the national wealth from inherent natural and institutional resources. It is the growing realization today that these same issues were the actual drivers 150 years ago which led to the secession of the Southern states and which makes it imperative for the politically-correct to reinforce their single-issue revision of the historical account of the period to that of a magnanimous liberation of the tortured plantation slaves. But, as Jefferson Davis foretold, the day may come when the principles which led our Confederate ancestors to form their own union will be recognized and indeed may come to fruition. Just ask certain residents of Colorado and California whether secession is a settled issue.