The Civil War and Slavery: Why Confederate Revisionism is Dead Wrong

Richard Shedenhelm wrote a good, brief article using the Confederate Constitution to help refute revisionist claims that Southern secession was about state’s rights, Northern tariffs, or what have you. Although Shedenhelm doesn’t note it, one of the provisions he discusses — Article IV, Section 3 codifies the decision of the United States’ Supreme Court in Dredd Scott v. Sanford by specifying in the Constitution that the inhabitants of the several Confederate States and Territories shall have the right to take to such Territory any slaves lawfully held by them in any of the States or Territories of the Confederate States. Like Dredd Scott, this is in fact a profoundly anti-states’ rights provision, since it fundamentally barred the states of the CSA from self-determination on whether or not to enforce an abolition of slavery within their own borders. Therefore, it seems that the maintenance of white supremacist slavery was more important to the crafters of the Confederacy than states’ rights ever were (which we might also note is backed up by their use of military occupation to keep 1/2 of the state of Tennessee from seceding back into the Union, and Jefferson Davis’s repeated speaches denouncing the ideology of states’ rights as harmful to the Confederate cause).

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  1. The Unrepentant Iconoclast

    “which we might also note is backed up by their use of military occupation to keep 1/2 of the state of Tennessee from seceding back into the Union.”

    So much for States’ Right rhetoric.

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