Saturday, February 19, 2011

Imperial Confederacy?

Arturo Vasquez posts a "'mokumentary', which is supposed to take place in an alternate universe where the South won the Civil War, created a 'Tropical Empire' that conquered the Americas, and made slavery an institution that continued to the modern day" — The Confederate States of America.

Mr. Vasquez rightly points out, among other things, the "pretty well established fact that slavery had been on the decline as an institution since the banning of the slave trade in the 1830′s" and that "the amount of resources that one would have to employ to breed and maintain one’s slaves made it less and less of a desirable institution." Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America pointed out the economic backwardness of slavery by contrasting agriculture north and south of the Ohio River, in Ohio and Kentucky; slaves, unlike hired help, had to be maintained over the course of an entire year, rather than just during the harvesting season, and resulted in a net loss.

Like Mr. Vasquez, "I don’t think [the mokumentary's] premise is very plausible," not only for the economic reasons outlined above, but for the oxymoronic nature of the idea of an "imperial confederacy."

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Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

A couple of comments. First, read southern historian William C. Davis' book Look Away: A Political History of the Confederate States of America. As Davis points out, the Confederacy was the first modern totalist state -- virtually all of the centralizing tendencies of the 20th century state were first implemented by the CSA. It was no small-government, localist paradise. It was an authoritarian, centralized, fully militarized state that was expansionist at its core. Which is to say, it was thoroughly Jeffersonian -- as Jeffersonianism was actually practiced, rather than in its formal (and deceptive) propaganda.

Second, there is no question that the South had expansionist plans. During the Civil War itself, the South attempted to conquer areas outside of the pretended Confederacy: New Mexico and Arizona, as well as Kansas and Kentucky. In Kentucky's case, the state formally declared neutrality at the start of the Civil War -- then it was invaded by a Confederate army of conquest. The state then had to call on Union forces to protect its citizens from the invading Confederate forces.

2:35 AM  
Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

Third, this is also no question that the South had planned, once the Civil War was over, to continue its expansion into the Carribean and Central America. Cuba, northern Mexico, and Honduras were all on the agenda for conquest once the CSA was secure. Again, this isn't Yankee propaganda -- this is all documented. BTW, Jefferson had the same hopes and dreams -- he wanted American hegemony and chattel slavery to expand throughout the entirety of the western hemisphere. A hemispheric slave-empire. That was always the southern dream.

Fourth, slavery was embedded in the Confederate Constitution, and they had no intention of seeing it dissolve. Read the Cornerstone Speech by Confederate Vice President Alexander Hamilton Stephens to see what the entire motivating factor of the South was: chattel slavery supported by an overwhelming and systemtic ideology of white supremacy.

Again, none of this is Yankee propaganda. This is in the plain historical record.

2:40 AM  
Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

One more point, since you mention the need for slave-breeding in order to preserve the South's "peculiar institution" -- did you know that Jefferson's plantation had the highest rates of slave-breeding in Virginia? His female slaves had children earlier than in other plantations, and had more children over the course of their productive breeding lives than any other plantation in the state. And that's beyond the children that Jefferson sired himself with his slaves, children that he then condemned into brutal and inhuman bondage.

3:38 AM  

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