Open Thread - "Bitter Ender"

originally posted 2008-02-25 09:36:51 - bumped

Whilst cruising the news regarding the recent "60 minutes" broadcast on Don Siegelman I stumbled upon this story..the 200 birthday of Jefferson'all remember the Civil War. Take a moment and follow me....see if this travel into history doesn't remind you of our current president's attitude!
Celebration of Jefferson Davis bicentennial muted

Last week, President Bush himself helped kick off a two-year celebration of the Great Emancipator's Feb. 12, 2009, bicentennial that will include dozens of events in Kentucky, Illinois, Washington and beyond.

It's that other tall, log cabin-born Kentuckian, Jefferson Davis, whose 200th has turned out to be something of a lost cause.

Not being a Southerner, and trying hard to understand for many years what the hell the deal is regarding Yankee and Rebels that exist even today I find this article fascinating. Maybe I'm not alone. I know I am not going to say this right but here's part of the deal.

The Davis family thinks it's a shame that all most people know about him was that he fought to preserve slavery.

"It's as if he created the entire institution and was solely responsible for it," says Hayes-Davis, a 59-year-old banker from Colorado Springs, Colo. "And we struggle with that."

Most people don't know that Davis was a West Point graduate who fought in the Mexican War under Zachary Taylor and married the future president's daughter, Hayes-Davis says. As a U.S. senator from Mississippi, he had a hand in building the Smithsonian Institution. He bolstered the nation's defenses as secretary of war under President Franklin Pierce.

Historian James M. McPherson concedes that Davis' antebellum career was "very illustrious." But he says his achievements as a soldier, senator and secretary of war were "largely eclipsed" by his role in setting the stage for and then waging the bloodiest war in this nation's history.

Here's where the "bitter ender" part comes in. Seems it's okay to not be a Southern gentlemen all of the time!

Davis, who disparagingly referred to his fellow Kentuckian as "His Majesty Abraham the First," was what McPherson calls a "bitter-ender." When Lincoln allowed a journalist and a minister through Union lines in July 1864 under a flag of truce to offer peace and amnesty to Davis, the Confederate president was outraged.

"Amnesty, Sir, applies to criminals," he told the envoys. "We have committed no crime. At your door lies all the misery and crime of this war ... We are fighting for Independence -- and that, or extermination, we will have ... You may emancipate every Negro in the Confederacy, but we will be free. We will govern ourselves ... if we have to see every Southern plantation sacked, and every Southern city in flames."

I wonder how one can afford to be so stubborn, so hell bent on staying the course even when the course nearly destroyed a nation. How much venom can one man pass on?

Davis comes across, McPherson says, as an "unreconstructed rebel who never really accepted with anything like good grace the defeat of the Confederacy and continued for the rest of his life to write and speak in a way that basically said, 'We were right. We lost this war, not because we were wrong, but because the enemy was more powerful and more ruthless.'"

- snip -

"In asserting the right of secession," Davis wrote, "it has not been my wish to incite to its exercise: I recognize the fact that the war showed it to be impracticable, but this did not prove it to be wrong; and, now that it may not be again attempted, and that the Union may promote the general welfare, it is needful that the truth, the whole truth, should be known, so that crimination and recrimination may for ever cease, and then, on the basis of fraternity and faithful regard for the rights of the States, there may be written on the arch of the Union, Esto perpetua."

Translation: "May it persevere."

So what do you think?

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Meet Thomas J. Dilorenzo, affiliated with the von Mises Iinstitute, author of several odious anti-Lincoln books and articles. His 2003 book was entitled The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War. His latest is Lincoln Unmasked: What You're Not Supposed to Know about Dishonest Abe. Here's some of the publisher's dust jacket blurbs:

Did you know that Lincoln . . .

• did NOT save the union? In fact, Lincoln did more than any other individual to destroy the voluntary union the Founding Fathers recognized.

• did NOT want to free the slaves? Lincoln, who did not believe in equality of the races, wanted the Constitution to make slavery “irrevocable.”

• was NOT a champion of the Constitution? Contrary to his high-minded rhetoric, Lincoln repeatedly trampled on the Constitution—and even issued an arrest warrant for the chief justice of the United States!

• was NOT a great statesman? Lincoln was actually a warmonger who manipulated his own people into a civil war.

• did NOT utter many ofhis most admired quotations? DiLorenzo exposes a legion of statements that have been falsely attributed to Lincoln for generations—usually to enhance his image.

In March 1998, Thomas J. DiLorenzo wrote an article entitled "Henry Clay: National Socialist":

Lincoln was the first Republican president and considered himself the political heir to Clay, whom Lincoln eulogized in 1852 as "the beau ideal of a statesman" and the "great parent of Whig Principles." "During my whole political life," Lincoln stated, "I have loved and revered [Clay] as a teacher and leader."

Clay was a corrupt statist who spent his political career promoting mercantilism, protectionism, inflationary finance through central banking, and military adventurism in the quest for empire. Upon entering Congress in 1811 he helped persuade the government to attempt to conquer Canada, which it tried to do three times. He waged a thirty-year battle with James Madison, John C. Calhoun, Andrew Jackson, and other defenders of the Constitution over federally funded corporate welfare.

It is on the Van Mises Institute at

That’s right: that’s what hard core conservatives are calling Henry Clay, and by extension, Lincoln – nazis.

The hatred DiLorenzo has for Lincoln is unfathomable – but it is not rare to find Lincoln-haters among conservative blogs. Their standard accusation is that Lincoln started us on the path to Big Government.

I think the real key to understand it all is that Lincoln saved the world’s only example of representative self-government at that time. But what was the South at the time of the Civil War? It was an aristocracy, that consciously emulated and admired the monarchies of Europe, especially England. The South was the English oligarchy’s beachhead in the United States, and Lincoln destroyed it.

Now, what is the goal of the oligarchs who created and funded the rise of the conservative movement (like Richard Mellon Scaife or the Koch family)? I suggest that is actually to destroy the United States as an example of representative self-government. Once you accept so unbelievable a goal on their part -- once you always keep in mind that there really is an upper class, an oligarchy, an aristocracy, or whatever you want to call it -- that actually despises the idea of representative government, and that oligarchy is still a potent force in world affairs today, a lot of things begin to fall into place and make sense. Such as free trade and globalization, and Milton Friedman's Shock Doctrine that Naomi Klein has written of.