The Confederacy lasted from 1861-1865 with Jefferson Davis as its first and only President. Abraham Lincoln – the President of the ‘Union’ – is well documented as holding racist (and racialist) views typical of many (White) Europeans living in America at the time. The history of the American Civil War (1861-1865) is written by the Union ideologues who predictably turn the whole affair into a ‘good’ (Union) Vs ’evil’ (Confederacy) narrative that if literally believed, suggests the CSA was something akin to Nazi Germany! There are academics (Black and White) in the Southern States who have exposed much of this interpretation as incorrect. I find it interesting that the misrepresentation of the CSA by its Northern enemy is no different to the demonization of the Soviet Union (and the Communist cause) as perpetuated by the ‘capitalist’ United States. In reality the average ‘White’ peasant or factory worker who comprised the armies of both sides, was equally liable to hold racist views which were considered normal for the time. Even some of those who opposed slavery as an outdated mode of business (like Lincoln), still held to racist viewpoints which suggested that Africans, Indians and Asians were ‘scientifically’ (if not biblically) proven to be intellectually and spiritually inferior to the Whiteman – even if they possessed (like certain animals) a superior physicality. We know from the lynching of African-Americans well into the 1960s (and some say later), that racism existed very strongly in the North (as well as in the South) well past the time of the Civil War. Whatever the America Civil War was about, logic and reason suggest that it certainly was not the ‘non-racist’ North Vs the ‘racist’ South. Although racism has its roots in the division of labour found within the capitalist system, it is equally true that many White people probably did not (for various dialectical reasons) hold racist viewpoints. My view is that Lincoln acted ‘illegally’ and started a war of aggression against the Southern States which exercised their ‘legal’ and ‘lawful’ right to secede from the Union. When Lincoln freed the slaves, he did this as an act of economic terrorism against the South – with the Emancipation Proclamation applying only to the Southern States (which Lincoln had no power over) and not to those slave-owning States in the North which he did have power over (yes, the fact that some Northern States owned slaves is usually kept quiet in the narratives that demonize the CSA). Furthermore, far from being a White racist nightmare, the Confederate States recruited tens of thousands of Native Americans, Chinese and African-American men into the Confederate Army. The history of the CSA is slowly being re-written and this is exactly the same corrective process that the US must apply to the warped historical narratives applied to the USSR and Communism in general. I can’t help but feel that the USSR would have supported the agricultural CSA in its battle against the industrialized North, and in so doing harness and encourage all its progressive forces into forming a Socialist State with all people being equal before the law, and a widespread education and employment programme initiated to facilitate the transition from slavery to free person. As matters transpired, Jefferson Davis could not be tried for treason simply because every legal team sent to convict him stated that legally he was in the right and that if a trial went ahead, it would be Lincoln who would be revealed as starting an illegal war of aggression that cost the lives of around 800,000 Americans!
I dedicate this short essay to a Black Confederate soldier I discovered during my research surnamed ‘Wyles’.