Source: Were Confederate Generals Traitors?
A superb, detailed, and well-reasoned article that should – in my opinion – be read by every citizen of these United States. And especially every politician, media pundit, and “talking head”!
The U.S. Constitution would have never been ratified — and a union never created — if the people of those 13 “free sovereign and Independent States” did not believe that they had the right to secede…
Confederate generals were fighting for independence from the Union just as George Washington and other generals fought for independence from Great Britain. Those who’d label Gen. Robert E. Lee as a traitor might also label George Washington as a traitor. I’m sure Great Britain’s King George III would have agreed.
Well said, Mr. Williams! Well said, sir.
As an “Anglophilic Anglican,” I may mourn the necessity of separation from Great Britain in the late 18th century, but I do not doubt that necessity. Not once our Founders’ attempts to reassert their rights as Englishmen had been repeatedly and disdainfully rebuffed! Nor do I doubt the accuracy with which the War Between the States (a.k.a. the erroneously-named American “Civil War”) has been called “the Second American War of Independence.”
Sadly, on that occasion, the forces of independence, freedom, and self-determination were beaten down by superior numerical and materiel resources, especially after Mr. Lincoln created his “poison pill” (the so-called “Emancipation Proclamation,” which freed not a single slave in areas under Union control, purporting only to “free” those in areas in which his writ did not in fact run) which effectively prevented the intervention of any European powers on behalf of the Confederacy, as France had assisted the infant United States.
However, as Mr. Williams so skillfully points out, the right of secession was and remains a Constitutional right, inherent in the very nature and essence of the compact that Constitution enshrines. Although he does not use the term, it is in fact one of those “inalienable rights” with which the Declaration of Independence – on which the Constitution depends, and without which it is meaningless – accurately asserts that we have been “endowed by our Creator.”
Deo vindice – God will vindicate!
Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.