This is a rebuttal to Jim Stillman’s articled entitled”Florida Asked to Issue a New License Plate Honoring the Confederate Battle Flag” First I must say I have great respect for Mr. Stillman and his opinions. As a matter of fact I have written an article in the past in support of one of his articles.
First a little personal history
I am 37 years old and have lived my entire life in North Carolina. I am an avid reader and a history buff. I am particularly interested in the War of Northern Aggression (sorry couldn’t help myself) and it’s causes.
I even have a somewhat well know Civil War Ancestor. William Pinkney (WP) Inman of Cold Mountain fame was the brother of my GG Grandfather. As a matter of fact all 5 of the brothers went to the war. 2 lived, my direct ancestor among them. 2 died in a Northern Prison camp and are buried there. WP, if you read the book or saw the movie, you know was killed near his home in Western North Carolina. The part of the state they were from was actually strong Union, though the brothers all initially fought for the South. What the movie didn’t show was that WP actually signed up on the Northern Side before he was killed. My own direct ancestor, James Anderson Inman, came home from the war in a Union Uniform.
Causes of the Civil War
Mr. Stillman takes a light view towards the contention that the South fought to preserve States Rights. To a degree he is right, the Southern Government did mostly leave the Union to preserve slavery.
However the vast majority of the soldiers who actually fought for the South didn’t own slaves. They were poor and fought in their eyes to repel a foreign invader. They were stirred up by newspapers and whipped into a frenzy to fight off the dreaded Yankees.
It’s not widely known but Slavery was already on its way out. It was getting expensive to keep the slaves. Also the invention of the Cotton Gin and other modern machinery was limiting the need for slaves anyway.
The Northern politicians saw Slavery as a potential hazard to their control. Slaves were counted in the census and 5 slaves were allowed to equal 3 free men in representation. Southern Politicians were alarmed at immigration from Europe which exploded the North’s population, thus giving them more representation.
So the rich Southerners whipped the poor ones into a frenzy to fight. As in the vast majority of wars, the rich got richer and the poor got dead, doing the fighting for them. The Union troops were made up mostly of poor men as well. There were even very violent draft riots in New York City. Blacks were treated badly in the North and were blamed for the war. The Northerners were inspired to fight yes in part to end slavery. But also to preserve the Union and to punish the Rebels for firing on Fort Sumter.
The License Plate Issue
I don’t see the big deal with people wanting it. I think they have the right to display the flag on their plate if they wish. I think people get more upset at the site of the Confederate Battle Flag than if someone was displaying Nazi Swastikas.
I happen to like the looks of the Flag which is why I have been known to have one on my wall (back in my living single days) so do other people. When I did have one, it sure as hell was not to remind me that we once owned slaves. And it had nothing to do with the KKK.I think the majority of Southerners treat the KKK with contempt or as a bad joke being played on us. We didn’t choose for a bunch of people who wear sheets on their heads to fly that flag.
I feel that the Confederate Flag is a symbol of our history and should not be banned as some would see happen. Also I think that if we hide all things from history that are disturbing, then we forget the history to start with. And I am not at all sure that the majority of people care what somebody else has on the license plate. But in situations like this, the minority seems to rule in today’s politically correct society. Thanks for reading his and my articles on Associatedcontent.com.