Posts Tagged ‘civil war’

Like always.

Title of the Project is wrong, not to mention the Premise 

by baldilocks

From Lyman Stone at the Federalist on New York Times 1619 Project.

1619 is commonly cited as the date slavery first arrived in “America.” No matter that historians mostly consider the 1619 date a red herring. Enslaved people were working in English Bermuda in 1616. Spanish colonies and forts in today’s Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina had enslaved Africans throughout the mid-to-late 1500s: in fact, a slave rebellion in 1526 helped end the Spanish attempt at settling South Carolina.

The presence of Spanish power continued to inhibit English settlement of the deep south basically until the Revolutionary War. In some sense, the 1526 San Miguel de Guadeloupe rebellion cleared the way for English settlement of South Carolina.

(…)

But before 1526, slavery was already ongoing in the eventual United States. The earliest slave society in our present country, and our most recent slavery society, was in Puerto Rico. The island’s Spanish overlords were enslaving the Taino natives by 1500. By 1513, the Taino population had shrunk dramatically due to brutal violence and disease. Thus, Spain brought the first African slaves to Puerto Rico.

Chattel slavery in Puerto Rico continued, despite many “Royal Graces” easing life for free blacks and sometimes promising eventual emancipation, until 1873. Even then, slaves had to buy their own liberty. It’s not clear when the last slave was free in Puerto Rico, but it would still have been a fresh memory in 1898 when the United States gained control from Spain.

Slavery in America did not begin in 1619. It began in 1513. Any argument for a 1619 date implicitly suggests that the American project is an inherently Anglo project: that other regions, like Texas, California, Louisiana, and Puerto Rico, have subordinate histories that aren’t really, truly, equal as American origin stories.

But even if the title were correct, what’s the true propose of this project? Stone gives the answer earlier in the piece.

It isn’t mostly about helping Americans understand the role played by plantation agriculture in American history. It’s mostly about convincing Americans that “America” and “slavery” are essentially synonyms.

Previously, I’ve discussed the Civil War and whether (or not) present-day black Americans should be grateful to our country and to those who fought on the Union side. A lot of people didn’t like my conclusion.

True freedom fighters have the clean conscious of God. May that be enough for them.

And at the same time, however, this country has no need to pay for its past sins. This very same Civil War was America’s trial by fire, its conviction, and its sentence — something that American leaders chose.

But, it seems as if all too many are intent on keeping everyone angry about hardships none of them had to bear. All the New York Times want to do is make itself the drum major of the anger and vengeance parade.

And what if America and slavery are synonymous? What then? Oh, yes, reparations.

Reparations, just like every other government program, will become just another cistern for politicians to wet their beaks. How do you think they all get rich?

Because that’s the true purpose of all this — to create another means for our money to become theirs.

By the way, what about those Spaniards?

UPDATE: For some strange reason, people seem to think I’m unaware of the world history of slavery. I am not.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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It’s a great taste of the last days of the Civil war and its aftermath.

In 1864 the incorruptible but unqualified general Nathanael P. Banks led his army up the Red river to what would become an inglorious (or glorious depending on what side you were on) flogging by forces under Richard Taylor.

One of the things that complicated his retreat was that the annual rise of the Red River didn’t materialize. Banks was unlucky in that he hadn’t realized that in 1855 and 1846 (every 9 years) the river failed to rise. Now Banks had no idea about said cycle so perhaps he can be excused for this mistake, but whatever his deficiencies as a general his experience as both Governor of Massachusetts and Speaker of the House of Representatives provided him with the sense to listen to Major Joseph Bailey a person with practical experience in dams, but no formal education. Bailey was not only able to save the fleet by his exertions but provide a dry-shod crossing at a second point in the retreat saving the army.

What does this have to do with the economy? Just this: An economy like the Red River had a regular cycle and during those cycles you can usually tinker a bit without a lot of issue, but the best solution is to wait things out and let the business cycle take it course.

Once in a while however the cycle is extreme, just like the 9 year cycle of the Red. During those times it is very hard to convince people to wait it out. Particularly if previous tinkering have made things worse. When this happens you need people with actual practical, rather than theoretical experience to make a difference.

Right now we are in an extreme business cycle. Like any cycle the best move is to hunker down, not panic, and wait for the cycle to finish.

The problem if you are a political animal is that there is no credit to be had for the business cycle, and when times are bad the people demand action. The trick it to attempt to tweak the cycle so that you are able to take credit when the cycle is in your favor and divert blame to your foes when the cycle is against them.

Now president Obama is not a man with practical business experience. He is surrounded by and has emerged himself with people who’s experience is not in the business cycle, the creation of jobs or the stimulation of an economy and frankly his goals and priorities are in the direction of government control not the free market.

If president Obama had a Joseph Bailey to advise him, he could make tweaks to actually stimulate businesses to hire. He would decrease regulation, drop taxes and make transactions for small business and manufacturers more fluid.

But president Obama decided instead that his statist agenda was the way to go and convinced democrats that his tinkering with the business cycle and allocation of stimulus money would mean a better economy come election day, just in time to keep them in office, and they believed it, the more fool them.

Will the president change course after the election? I don’t think think so, he doesn’t have a Joe Bailey and he wouldn’t listen to one if he had. The republican party will have to do it for him, if they are willing that is.

Over at Ace’s place the Purple Avenger is comparing the situation in November to Trafalgar:

The Democrats are much like the French and Spanish, their tactics are predictable as the tides, and old as Methuselah. Their responses to attacks are scripted and rote, its the same responses you would have heard 30 years ago.

This is actually a pet peeve of mine, Whenever I hear about the brilliance of Nelson at Trafalgar I’m reminded of what American hero Steven Decatur said about the British at Trafalgar:

The French should have never lost at Trafalgar if their gunnery was what it should have been.

The British tried such tactics against Thomas MacDonough at Plattsburg on Sept 11th 1814 and it remains one of the most significant American victories that for some reason is never remembered.

More correct an analogy is Sayler’s Creek. The Democrats have been under siege (ala Petersburg) defending unpopular policies that republicans have been nailing them on, first slowly then finally breaking through their flanks on both left and right. They are fleeing this president in the same way as the Confederates were fleeing Grant. This Mosque is one issue that the President has decided to stop and fight on as did the Confederates at Sayler’s Creek. Sheridan had the right answer saying: “Go Right through them, they are demoralized as hell.”

The majority of the people who have been arguing restraint the loudest are those who wish republican gains to be the smallest.

This is what is needed to win the battle, later today I’ll talk about winning the war.