There is no denying the existence of slavery and racist notions, which are so interwoven in the fabric of both American and Confederate history. However, such is often misunderstood and proportionately misplaced; wrongly painting the South as a racist, bigoted, morally inferior, and villainous foe to the otherwise glorious emancipating North. Such is not the case!
While we intend to present a more accurate and balanced perspective in regards to slavery and racism in our joint culture and heritage, we cannot deny that racism, and more so slavery, existed in the South. Now, before any of you federalists and unionists get all exited just hold up a cotton pick’n minute now. Nary an honest student of history can deny that slavery, and more so racism, existed in the North! Indeed, though a cause assumed for political advantage and moral support, the Union itself cared not for the plight of the slave except as it might prosper their own agenda in reclaiming the recently seceded States, and the continued profits to be made from them. Indeed greed is the root of all evil (see 1 Timothy 6:10)!
The question of the morality or immorality of slavery, though disconcerting as it is to our modern paradigm, is not easily answered. Indeed, the existence of slavery cannot be held to be intrinsically immoral in and of itself by any God fearing, Bible believing individual. After all, God gives precedent for it’s existence and use when He permitted it among His chosen people, Israel, by dictating legislation concerning the proper use thereof through His servant Moses. (see Exodus 21:1-16) Furthermore, Christ’s own apostle recognizes the existence of slavery among believers, with some being master and others slave (see 1 Timothy 6:1-2). Oddly enough, He doesn’t demoralize the slave owner. Nor does he instigate an uprising. Rather, he instructs them both in a way which affirms to us that slavery and faith can peacefully coexist.
How did our system of slavery function, and how were the slaves themselves treated? What conformity, if any, does slavery have with the relevant principles and dictates of Scripture? What rights and recognition of the humanity of these servants are denied or retained, and why? These, and questions like them, must be wrestled with in order to determine the morality of slavery in ours or any culture.
Nevertheless, it’s legal existence among the states of the undivided nation, then still later in the Northern Union, and also in the Southern Confederacy seems opposed to the stated principles bequeathed to us by our founding fathers. From that perspective the legal existence of slavery and racism became the proverbial “elephant in the room”. Make no mistake, that elephant took up copious amounts of space on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line!
Many questions, facts, and answers await exploration concerning this unseemly stain on our shared heritage. Questions like who sold the Africans into slavery? Who initiated, operated, and chiefly profited from the slave trade in America? Who instituted laws to both expel and bar entrance to there borders of any non-white persons (and this long before any “Jim Crow” laws in the reconstructed South, or even the secession from the Union of the States which became the Confederate States of America)? If all men are created equal (and they are), and if all men are endowed with certain inalienable rights by the Creator (and they are), and if among those rights are the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness ( as affirmed in America, at least) then how could the institution of slavery endure? This was widely asked, and the majority consensus in both the North and South was that it could not.
For now, suffice it to say that slavery and racism were the reality of the time. Certainly, slavery existed in greater strength among the Southern States during the time leading up to and continuing through “the war between the States”. But be warned! Make no rush to judgment here, nor any presumption of innocence for the North. We’ve yet to tell the other side (and the majority portion) of the story of slavery in America, or of the deep seeded racism in the North.
Nevertheless, the legal existence of slavery did not forbid the formation of the Union, nor does it negate the right to withdraw therefrom. More importantly, such does not permit the unlawful invasion, subjugation, and occupation of a sovereign state, or nation. Indeed, the commission thereof was tantamount to the enslavement of an otherwise free and self governed people, the Confederate States of America.
God save the South!