Sunday, December 31, 2023


First a few disclaimers. I am not a southerner by birth or culture in any fashion whatsoever. My father was a Canadian legal immigrant to the USA becoming a citizen some 15 years after he arrived. My mother was an Italian who left Italy for good in 1957 at the age 38. As a legal immigrant, she became a citizen in 1958, which I recall very well. I am a naturalized American Citizen from birth.  I was born in Italy, moved to Georgia at the age of 3 1/2 in 1957. I went to both Catholic and public schools with hardcore southern teachers. 

I am now a legal resident of South Carolina since 2016. 

However, southerners who taught me, especially in public schools throughout the 1960’s and early 70’s, using southern biased text books, made clear that the “War Between the States” was not about slavery but about states rights. 

I did not buy that even as a child as I could not see the logic between the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution that said all men were created equal. To me, slavery was a grave evil and those moving to outlaw it were on the right path, which included not just Northerners but Southerners. 

Unfortunately, the southern economy had become totally dependent upon slavery and the culture that revolved around it, corrupt as it was, developed nonetheless. 

Prior to the Civil War, there were southern efforts to free slaves from slavery in a way codified in law. The freed slaves were called “freeman”. One of the oldest communities of freemen is found in downtown Augusta at the African American Springfield Baptist Church, still in operation. This all occurred prior to the Civil War.

While slavery was the flashpoint, southerners insisted that the war was about states’ rights and the ability of a state to secede from the Union. 

A war was fought over states’ rights in this regard, but slavery was the flashpoint. The states that seceded from the union lost the war. 

Slavery ended as a result, as it should have but much earlier and without a war. 

And while the Union said states could not legally secede from the Union, all the states that did, had to fulfill certain requirements before they could be readmitted to the Union. 

So from the Northern point of view, why was it required for states, fulfilling certain obligations, to then be readmitted to the Union? 

So, yes, slavery was the reason for the Civil War but as a flashpoint for states rights. The south lost and that proved that this southern premise was wrong. 

States rights is still a mantra, but the flashpoint has shifted from slavery to abortion, guns, marijuana, and who can be on a presidential ballot. The later could end up in a civil war if the Democrats keep pushing that political ideology to exclude an opponent that might well win the presidential election if not for this election interference.   


James E Dangerfield said...

Shoot, “we” (and I’m an actual southerner, living where my ancestors held and buried slaves over 200 years ago) should have run Jefferson Davis in 1868, right? All he did was lead a revolt. He wasn’t convicted.

So why didn’t it happen? Because Davis was a thoughtful and simi-decent man. Trump is a liar, a philanderer, a traitor, a thief and a rebel. He’s so much like that fellow from Argentina. Is your Trump approval largely because Trump hates those you hate?

Quit with the politics, Father. It’s totally beneath your office. Save souls, and start with your own. You are doing the Devil’s work for Trump. Shame on you.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

My post is on a war caused by slavery under the guise of States’ rights. I will not vote for Trump because of what you say. I am both a priest and an American citizen. I happen to agree that if Trump is removed from the ballot it should because of national laws that were broken or convicted felon can’t run for president. i don’t believe that this can be brought about under the guise of states’ rights where some states take him off the ballot and others don’t. If he is taken off, it has to be done by a federal law, not state laws for a federal election.

TJM said...

What an unhinged rant - people like you prefer corrupt Democrats who worship child sacrifice and shrug at their leadership becoming wealthy (Clinton, Obama, Pelosi and Biden) off of their “public service.” Such a deep thinker

James E Dangerfield said...

That’s the answer that I actually hoped for. I do not disagree as a practical matter, either. On principle, I do; but principles fall to impracticality in politics. God bless you. I know the Holy Ghost flowed through Bishop Lessard’s hands and into you.

James E Dangerfield said...

TJM, you take up for the liar, philanderer, thief and rebel. That makes YOU complicit. Tell God on judgement day how it’s okay. And good luck.

TJM said...

Father McDonald,

So you will vote for a Party that promotes killing of the unborn? The mutilation of their genitalia without parental consent? Placing “how to do” sex guides for children in schools?

By the way, how many wars did President Trump start? Working men and women who made their first real economic gains in decades and minorities enjoyed their lowest unemployment rates ever under Trump don’t really mean much to you. I hope all of those illegal aliens can make up the difference in the Sunday collection plates!

TJM said...

James E Kavanaugh,

Jonathan Turley says there was NO insurrection. Evidence keeps coming out that the January 6 was a Deep State affair. Nasty Pelosi turned down 10,000 troops the President Trump offered, and a video has just emerged of a January 6 Trump supporter who read out loud to the crowd to act peacefully and go home. Trump is an altarboy compared to Horndog Clinton. Trump never got payoffs like China Joe Biden if you care to look at the evidence. Talk about a thief. You are complicit in the deaths of millions of unborn babies and YOU will need to explain to God how that is ok.

James E Dangerfield said...

Please associate me with Father Kavanaugh! He’s a priest of the Living God. And he and I know “by their fruits you shall know them,” in as much as that’s scripture and Church teaching. This issue is singular: Is Trump fit? The answer is absolutely “NO!” Anyone else’s fitness for office is determined based on them themselves, not by comparison to another soul.

Jonathan Turley says a lot of things. You heed at YOUR peril.

If you say you’re serious about Catholic Christianity yet persist in supporting the liar and vilifying Holy Priests, then you will indeed have a hard time with our Father. And that will have nothing to do with me….. just you. Sorry.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Disclaimers: I am a born and bred Southerner. Two of my great-grandfathers, one of them a slave-owner (house servants, not field workers), fought for the Confederacy in units based in Charleston, SC. One of those units, Hampton's Legion, was captured at the end of the war at the Battle of Bentonville, NC, about 20 miles from where my sister lives. I have visited that battlefield with her. The unit was captured and released on the same day at the end of the war.

As for the cause of the Civil War, take the words of Confederate Vice President Alexander Stevens of Georgia, delivered in Savannah in his "Cornerstone" speech, March 21, 1861:

"Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science."

Dressing, in the moth-eaten, threadbare, and shabby hoop skirt of "States Rights," the reason for the insurrection is a vain attempt to justify rebellion and the desire to subjugate a race.

Dave Thoman said...

From, Causes of the Civil War – History Detectives:

“What led to the outbreak of the bloodiest conflict in the history of North America?
A common explanation is that the Civil War was fought over the moral issue of slavery.

In fact, it was the economics of slavery and political control of that system that was central to the conflict.

A key issue was states' rights.

The Southern states wanted to assert their authority over the federal government so they could abolish federal laws they didn't support, especially laws interfering with the South's right to keep slaves and take them wherever they wished.”

Jerome Merwick said...

Good heavens, do I actually find myself agreeing with Father Kavanaugh?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Dave - Stevens said otherwise: ""Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition."

The foundation is slavery subordination. Indeed, there were economic impacts, but by the very words of the CSA VEEP, more basic was, "... this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth" which was, in fact, a lie.

Jerome Merwick said...

I am no fan of slavery and I agree with Father Kavanaugh that invoking states rights and the right of secession were just smokescreens to stop people from thinking about WHY the south seceded.

That said, I AM a big fan of the original 13 states' Articles of Confederation.

TJM said...

I see the braindead have weighed in. Fr K is evil and if you do not understand that you are a lost soul. Cardinal Mueller aligns with me. I join with John Nolan, Bea, and Gene. Enjoy Hell

Dave Thoman said...

Father Kavanaugh – Mr. Stevens’ words are repulsive, but how representative are they? I simply did a Google search “What was the cause of the US Civil War?” to learn more about the role that states’ rights might have played. Before yesterday, I had not given much thought to the topic. The PBS link surfaced on top. I consider to be a reputable source of information so I shared its perspective. I also consider the National Park Service to be a reputable source of information. Here is its take.

“The Civil War grew out of longstanding tensions and disagreements about American life and politics. For more than 80 years, people in the Northern and Southern states had been debating the issues that ultimately led to war: economic policies and practices, cultural values, the extent and reach of the Federal government, and, most importantly, the role of slavery within American society.

Against the backdrop of these larger issues, individual soldiers had their own reasons for fighting. Their motivations often included a complex mix of personal, social, economic and political values that didn't necessarily match the aims expressed by their respective governments.”

the Egyptian said...

Every one of you need to sit down with someone well versed in actual history instead of the latest ideas, it was quite complicated.I spoke to a local re reenactor who also has a degree in history an teaches collage level.
Some southerners wanted out of slavery but unfortunately the bulk of their net worth was slaves. Quite a few of them were in deep debt, many to northern banks, to just set their slaves free and they were bankrupt and the northern banksters weren't going to help them. They were kind of stuck.
This and the tariff system that the feds put them under was hurting them financially besides.
According to our local reenactor a group of southern "elites" petitioned the federal government to help them financially in exchange for freeing their slaves, an offer that didn't cost on one hundredth what the civil war cost and saved countless lives. Northern banksters and their friends in the government shut it down and so we had a war. The military industrial complex existed back them too. Now add in all that has been discussed so far and you had an impossible situation. To say it was slavery is a handy way to simplify it but it also papers over the actions of the north and northern businesses culpability. There is enough blame to go around
BTW Vermont has almost seceded twice, both times it got put on the back burner because of wars.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Egyptian, Inasmuch as the Vice President of the Confederacy stated in 1861, "Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition," I don't think you can legitimately consider the notion that slavery was the foundational cause of the Civil war is among the "latest ideas."

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

And Egyptian, your post reinforces the fact that slavery was the cause.

The bulk of the net worth of the Southerners who wanted abolition was in their SLAVES.

They would go bankrupt if they set their SLAVES free.

The states' rights argument is nonsense. Evidence: The slave-holding states were demanding that Federal fugitive slave laws be enforced in non-slaveholding states, against the rights of the non-slave states to nullify the laws in their states.

The Virginia Secession Convention presented its demands to the President if they were to remain in the Union. ALL of them were related to slavery and race.

Article 13 Section 1: "In all the present territory South of that line, involuntary servitude, as it now exists, shall remain and shall not be changed;..."

Section 2: "No territory shall be acquired by the United States, except by discovery and for naval and commercial stations, depots and transit routes, without the concurrence of a majority of all the Senators from States which allow involuntary servitude,..."

Section 3: "Neither the Constitution, nor any amendment thereof, shall be construed to give Congress power to legislate concerning involuntary servitude in any State or Territory wherein the same is acknowledged or may exist by the laws thereof,..."

Section 4: "The third paragraph of the second section of the fourth article of the Constitution shall not be construed to prevent any of the States, by appropriate legislation, and through the action of their judicial and ministerial officers, from enforcing the delivery of fugitives from labor to the person to whom such service or labor is due."

Section 6: "Congress shall provide by law that the United States shall pay to the owner the full value of his fugitive from labor, in all cases where the marshal, or other officer, whose duty it was to arrest such fugitive, was prevented from so doing..."

Section 7: "The elective franchise and the right to hold office, whether Federal or Territorial, shall not be exercised by persons who are of the African race."

That's what Virginia wanted - to keep it's slaves - in order to remain in the Union.

the Egyptian said...

As I said condensing it to just "slaves" is easy and convenient, but the whole subject is quite deep, deeper that many care to go. so enjoy your shallow pond i prefer to look deep and understand the whole situation