Saturday, June 27, 2015

Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, Honored with Hundreds of Miles of Roads in Former Secessionist States

At the New York Times, "Honors for Confederates, for Thousands of Miles":

A plaque on the exterior of the Hotel Monaco in Alexandria, Va., honors “the first martyr to the cause of Southern independence.”

It commemorates James W. Jackson, ardent secessionist and proprietor of the hotel that was at that site during the Civil War. But he was not the first man killed in the Civil War. Among those who died earlier was a Union officer, Col. Elmer E. Ellsworth, who removed the Confederate flag flying from the hotel. He was confronted and shot to death by Mr. Jackson, who was quickly killed by Colonel Ellsworth’s men.

There is no memorial for Colonel Ellsworth in Alexandria. But there are many memorials for Confederates. Elsewhere in Alexandria, a city right across the Potomac River from the nation’s capital, are streets named Lee, Beauregard, Pickett, Bragg and Longstreet, all Confederate generals. A highway is named for Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy.

In the wake of the mass murder at a black church in Charleston, S.C., Jon Stewart noted in his “Daily Show” monologue, “In South Carolina, the roads that black people drive on are named for Confederate generals who fought to keep black people from being able to drive freely on that road.”

It isn’t just in South Carolina or Virginia. Cities throughout the South have streets, schools and parks named for other Confederate generals like J. E. B. Stuart, Jubal Early and Stonewall Jackson.

At least 10 United States military bases are named for Confederate leaders. A suburb of Houston, Missouri City, has a subdivision with the street names of Pickett, Bedford Forrest (Court and Drive), Beauregard, Breckinridge and Confederate. And on the other side of its Vicksburg Boulevard is, strangely, Yankee Court.

We set out to see just how often Confederate leaders are honored in the 11 former Confederate states by sifting data on street names collected by the Census Bureau.

Davis had the longest length of roadways bearing his full name, 468 miles, followed by Stuart with 106 miles. Robert E. Lee, considered the greatest Confederate general, was third with nearly 60 miles.

It is quite possible that more streets were named for Lee, as we searched for the full name only. Similarly with Stonewall Jackson, who has 40 miles named after him. Using only a last name would also have pulled in any streets, roads and highways named for Andrew Jackson, the seventh president, Maynard Jackson, the former Atlanta mayor — or Bob Jackson, a real estate developer.

Across the entire United States, the most common names honored are Presidents Washington, Lincoln and Jackson. In the 11 former Confederate states, Jackson, with 3,430 miles, and Washington, with 1,701 miles, have the most roadway. Third is the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., with 1,183 miles, then Lincoln, with 683 miles.

These calculations are based on a Census Bureau data set of all roads in the country...
Keep reading.

Meanwhile, Stogie keeps the discussion going at Saberpoint, "More Butt-Hurt for Donald Douglas: The Top Six Racist Quotes of Abraham Lincoln." A key point Stogie notes there, "By today's standards, Abraham Lincoln was a virulent white supremacist and racist."

Ah, by "today's standards."

The problem for Stogie, and those like Professor Livingston who make arguments about how "racist" the Northerners were, is that in the 1850s most everyone except the most radical abolitionists adopted "racist" views on the relations between whites and blacks. And I've asked Stogie repeatedly, "Who claims Northerners weren't racist? Who denies the North was racist?" None of the scholars I've blogged or cited denies that racism was rife in the North. Stogie's argument is a classic straw man, arguing against a point that no one makes.

Further, the key to this debate, on why the South seceded, is the relative positions on slavery of the antagonists, of North and South. Lincoln opposed slavery. He opposed it consistently. And he particularly opposed the extension of slavery to the territories, and by implication --- considering the South's ideological aggression in its belief in property rights in slaves --- to the North as well. Furthermore, after the North's defeat of the South in the Civil War, the old ideology of the Southern nation, and especially Southern beliefs in the subordination of the "darkies," continued for at least a century, into the decade of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. The Republican Party was the party of emancipation and civil rights. The Democrats, who carried forth the legacy of the "lost cause" and Jim Crow in the mid-20th century, were the party of segregation and white supremacy.

These are just facts. Stogie never addresses these facts other than to further prevaricate with more accusations of Northern racism, or to react with shocked blabbering, "Are you calling me a racist?!!"

No, I am not nor have I ever called Stogie a racist. I just disagree with him on the origins of the Civil War, and he's having a devil of a time winning this debate, especially with his reliance on fringe personalities like Professor Livingston and this economic illiterate Gene Kizer.

In any case, since this post is on how the South names roads to honor the memory of Jefferson Davis, lots of miles of roads, here's Professor Ilya Somin, at the Volokh Conspiracy, with a long entry on why Southern secession was indeed about the preservation of slavery. See, "Slavery as the Motive for Southern Secession in 1861":
Some commenters on my posts on secession (here and here) doubt my claim that the southern states seceded in 1861 for the purpose of preserving slavery. After all, they point out, Abraham Lincoln and the Republicans had promised not to abolish slavery in the states where it existed. This is a common point advanced by those want to claim that slavery was not the main cause of the Civil War. Indeed, it was first advanced by apologists for the Confederate cause in the immediate aftermath of the War in order to paint the Confederacy in a more positive light by demonstrating that it was fighting for "states' rights" rather than slavery. But the claim doesn't withstand scrutiny.

Confederate leaders repeatedly stated in 1861 that the threat Lincoln's election posed to slavery was the main reason for secession. In January 1861, soon-to-be Confederate President Jefferson Davis said that his state had seceded because "She has heard proclaimed the theory that all men are created free and equal, and this made the basis of an attack upon her social institutions; and the sacred Declaration of Independence has been invoked to maintain the position of the equality of the races." Davis was referring to well-known speeches by Lincoln and other Republicans citing the Declaration in criticism of slavery. Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens similarly said that "slavery . . . was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution" and that protecting it was the "cornerstone" of the new Confederate government. Many other Confederate leaders made similar statements.

Why did Lincoln's election cause them to fear for the future of slavery? It is true that the Republicans did not plan to abolish slavery in the near future. But white southerners still saw Lincoln's election on an antislavery platform as a serious threat to the "peculiar institution." Whatever their position on slavery where it already existed, the Republicans were firm in their commitment to preventing its spread to the vast new territories acquired by the US in the Mexican War. That, in fact, was the main point of the Republican platform. Slaveowners believed that an end to the expansion of slavery threatened their economic interests. In addition, the creation of numerous new free states without the admission of any new countervailing slave states would erode slaveowners' influence in congressional and presidential elections and potentially pave the way for abolition in the future.

Perhaps even more important, most white southerners didn't trust Lincoln's assurances that he wouldn't move against slavery in the South. After all, this was the same man who had famously said that "this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free," and that "the opponents of slavery" should "arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction." He meant that blocking the expansion of slavery would eventually put pressure on southern states to abolish it "voluntarily." But slaveowners suspected that he and other Republicans would attack the Peculiar Institution directly if they got the chance. Within the Republican Party, Lincoln was a relative moderate. More radical Republicans wanted stronger, more immediate action against slavery. And their influence within the party might grow over time.

Finally, slaveowners feared that Lincoln's election would undermine slavery in border states such as Maryland, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and even Virginia, which already had many fewer slaves than the Deep South. By using patronage to promote the growth of Republican parties in these states and relaxing enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act, a Republican-controlled federal government could eventually force these states to abolish slavery. Without strong federal enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act, slaves from border states adjacent to slave states could more easily escape to the North and border state slaveowners would have incentives to sell their slaves to the deep south, where slaves couldn't run away as easily; this, of course, would undermine the institution of slavery in the border states. If the Republicans could turn the border states into free states and do the same with all the new states to be established in the West, they could create a large enough majority of free states to enact a constitutional amendment banning slavery throughout the country.

It was to head off these various threats to slavery that the southern states chose to secede in 1861. For documentation of all these points, including quotes from Confederate leaders, see historian William Freehling's excellent book, The South vs. the South.

Ultimately, slavery would probably have lasted longer if the South hadn't seceded in 1861. The Confederates clearly underestimated the North's will to fight (just as northerners underestimated that of the Confederates). Nonetheless, they did have reason to see Lincoln's election as a serious longterm threat to slavery. And that fear underlay the decision to secede.
Okay, thank's for reading.

And check back for the next iteration of the Donald-Stogie debates!