Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Emancipation It's New Year's Day, of course, but it's much more than that: it's also the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln issued an executive order proclaiming the freedom of all slaves held in those states in rebellion against the Federal government.

It was belated (abolitionists had been calling for this since before the war) and limited (the border slave states, which hadn't seceded, were exempt) and opportunistic (with a strategic aim of weakening the south). But it was also, as the Vice President might say, a big fucking deal. "A grand step in civilization", as William H. Brewer put it at the time. One of our nation's finest moments--a promise that took far too long to redeem, but a promise that in itself was a huge step toward redemption for this terribly flawed republic.

And whatever the politics of the moment, it's worth stopping briefly to commemorate that grand step forward.

(Carte de visite, ca. 1863; photo courtesy of Southern Methodist University, Central University Libraries, DeGolyer Library.)


Victor said...

I just finished re-reading "Team of Rival's," and Doris Kearn-Goodwin does a really good job of explaining why Lincoln held off writing it, and then taking even longer to make it public.

Of course, the South has never gotten over "The Emancipation Proclamation," and losing the Civil War.

And the result is, today's "Cold Civil War."

Secession sounds better and better to me.
We can work out the exchange of our Northern rural Crackers, for the people in the South who want to get out of there, later.

Tom Hilton said...

I'm currently reading Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horwitz, which is basically about the Cold Civil War (written ~15 years ago, but still highly relevant). One of the weird ironies he points out is that the most virulent white resentment is in the areas where pro-slavery sentiment was weakest at the time (including states like Kentucky that never seceded).

Victor said...

The people living that, are obviously Secesh and Rebel wannabe's.

For almost 100 years after the war ended, the South was allowed to remanticize their history. Novels, plays, music, and then movies, all pointed out how manly and macho the men were, and how pretty and demure the Southern Belle's were - reaching the heights of that nostalgic propaganda with "Gone With the Wind."

Then WWII came along, and Blacks were again critical to a war efffort - then, after it, Truman integrated the military, and their Southern mentality, and culture, began to feel the ripples of upcoming change.

Then, with Martin Luther King and Civil Rights, and black people's desire for equality, and Jazz, Blues, and Rock & Roll, and their music, began to make inroads with the American middle class (mostly through their kids).
The middle class had grown after the war, and they could turn on their TV's, see awful and brutal inequality, and afford to wonder why others, Black people, shouldn't be allowed greater equality?

And so, the "Cold Civil War," started. The first volley's were fired at the middle class under Nixon.
The rich and corporate powers that be, wanted to significantly dismantle the middle class, so that people could go back to worrying about them and theirs, day to day, and not others.

They have been remarkably successful at doing that, using wedge issues like raciscm, misogyny, xenophobia, and/or homophobie, to make the middle class vote against their best interests.

We need an Antietam or Gettysburg, to start turning the tide. Maybe President Obama's election and reelection may be that.
We'll see.
But it may just as easily turn out to be another Fort Sumpter.

Ten Bears said...

Fat lot of good it did my ancestors.

Seceed already! Shut up and get on with it. Ain't nuthin' but a bunch of welfare whores anyways: for every dollar Oregon sees in federal "services rendered" we pay about a dollar-thirty, while the whiny assed (government teat) titty babies of the secessionary states pay about seventy cents. Pretty sweet deal for them, not so much for the rest of us. The sooner they get the frack out the better
off the rest of us'll be.

Here's an idea: how 'bout we just give Texas back to Mexico, the Gulf Coast Swamps to France and Flatula to Cuba! Awash as they are with sewage and bare footed kool-aid guzzling rubes requiring nearly twice the federal sustinence as the up by the boot-straps West it's not like they're worth a frack anyways. Just a bunch of whiny ass welfare whores.

We don't need a wall, from Eureka California to Eureka Montana... we already have one. A rather formidible one. All have to do close the gates.