I have been a-wandering in a strange, alternative universe called Facebook. It’s a place where anyone’s opinion is as good as anyone else’s.

At some point yesterday evening I stumbled into a heated exchange about the Civil War. That it was about ‘states rights,’ not slavery. I was surprised no one was denying that slavery existed at all since anyone’s opinion is as good as anyone else’s.

Flag on the harbor

confederate flag

At some point, someone said: “In this country majority rules, so if most of the people in a state want to fly the Confederate flag, they can. It’s IN THE CONSTITUTION.”  

No, it isn’t.

Along the way, someone else suggested the losers of a war don’t typically get to fly their flag. Because they lost.

The south lost the war, a point often overlooked in these discussions. I think they should get over it, but I clearly don’t understand the issue.

I asked if the majority in a state favored slavery, would that be okay too? Most of the combatants in this discussion said yes, which proved my fundamental point. That I was trying to have a conversation with a bunch of morons.

No, it isn’t in the Constitution. There’s nothing at all about flags in the Constitution. Not a word. Nothing guaranteeing rights pertaining to flags. As far as the other stuff goes, the Constitution is not designed to protect the rights of the majority. Quite the opposite. Its intent is to protect the rights of minorities because otherwise, you have tyranny.

Sorry. I digressed.

This brought a flurry of rebuttals and name-calling, brought to a head when someone offered a golden nugget.

“The Confederate flag was a battle flag and had nothing to do with slavery. In fact, the Civil War had nothing to do with slavery. It was about taxes.”

Although I know arguing with idiots is a waste of perfectly good time I could productively use playing mindless games, I had to say something. There is so much historical evidence proving that the Civil War was about slavery and nothing but slavery.

United States Slave Trade

The Civil War was predestined and the framers of the Constitution knew it. Our founding fathers made a deal with the devil to allow slavery. If they had not, there would never have been the United States. The Constitution would not have passed. It might well never have been written at all although these days, I’m not entirely sure it matters anymore.

Slavery was the burning issue during the constitutional convention in 1788 and it tore the country apart two-generations later. They knew it would. The guys who wrote the Constitution may have wimped out, but they knew their “solution” was just a band-aid. They knew the issue would come to war and blood and death. It was that kind of issue.

To declare otherwise is sheer ignorance. There are lots of aspects of history that can be argued, but this is not one of them. There is so much evidence in the form of diaries and writings — not to mention correspondence between famous guys like Jefferson, Adams, and Washington.

Sometimes, I think Americans must be the happiest people on earth because we are certainly the most ignorant. Since we all know that ignorance is bliss, we live in universal bliss.


My statement was quickly swallowed by passionate southerners declaring I was an out-of-control left-wing lying Yankee liberal socialist commie. I retreated to a stupid pop-the-bubble game and the battle went on without me.

Why do I bother?

31 thoughts on “IF IT WASN’T ABOUT SLAVERY, WHAT WAS IT ABOUT? – Marilyn Armstrong

    • Generally, all I do is post links from my blog. But every now and then Garry posts something there he wants me to read … and somehow I get snagged by el stupidos. Someone says something extremely stupid and I feel a gut-level need to tell them they are morons. I know it doesn’t do any good for them, but for a second or two, I ruin their lives by breaking through with (gasp) knowledge and information. Then I sneak away off into the dark before I find myself calling them the names they so richly deserve.


  1. Why did you bother? Perhaps you had hope, that this time around, some of them would actually listen and learn a thing or two. I avoid conversations of that nature (the Civil War and so on) because it’s an unsolvable issue (to me). Everyone has a perspective on how that war happened, more importantly WHY it happened, and none of us were actually there. We have to rely on the honesty of the history writers for our opinions, don’t we? I’m not a Rebel flag devotee by any means (I don’t know what ‘side’ Mormons had in that particular fight, but since they welcomed persons of color in Utah, I suspect it was the Northern point of view). Me? I think the rebel flag is an interesting design, otherwise it has no significance to me at all. Banning it’s usage is stupid, but then most of the lawmakers in our time are stupid. In my humblest of humble opinions. I bow to your superior knowledge on the subject of history.


    • I had to look this up. I was pretty sure I knew the answer, but I like to check and make sure I know what I’m talking about or at least someone agrees with me who has credentials. Basically, the Mormon community sat out the war. Brigham Young loathe the U.S. Government and he had good reason to feel that way. I’m posting (reblogging, really, since I didn’t write it) something about that for you, tomorrow morning. It is actually part of a book on the subject which you might find interesting.


    • Banning its usage is stupid only to people who have no sensitivity to the prolonged abuse of dark-skinned people in this country. It’s not just a picture for your wall. It was a symbol of bigotry, hatred, and the worst kind of oppression. How would I feel if the Reich’s flag were flown in MY state?

      You think I’d simply enjoy the elegance of the eagles? I know you come from a very white state, but your people have also been heavily oppressed and you might consider that some things are quite simply wrong. If you are worried about whether beauty has something to do with morality, how about symbols of oppression and their relationship to morality?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t seek out these nutters to argue with, but running a history blog they (and other believers in fake history) sometimes find me. Where I get a chuckle is when, finding out I’m a historian, they try to frame it as a competence issue. “You have a HISTORY degree and you think the Civil War was caused by SLAVERY? How did they ever give a degree to somebody like you?” As if 99.9% of historians are going around out there talking about how the Civil War was about excise tariffs, and I’m the one mentally-challenged rube who managed to slip through the system. But when you call them on this, the retort is usually something like, “Yeah, and this shows how worthless your degree really is.” Um yeah, well, you can’t have it both ways, can you?

    Liked by 1 person

    • If beauty is only skin deep, ignorance goes clear to the bone. Every once in a while, I dip my oar in their waters and it reminds me why I don’t do it more often. They know NOTHING. They have never read a book, studied anything, or ever stepped outside their tiny little worlds to see what’s actually going on “out there.” It’s why I don’t worry about winning them back to any side by their own. They aren’t interested in learning anything with which they don’t already agree, so you can’t change them. They will never see the world in any new ways because they can’t. They won’t. They refuse. A few break away and change, but SO few …

      It’s sad, but at this point, it’s also frightening. These are not merely ignorant people. They are also evil and immoral to the core of their souls.


  3. The vast majority of Americans have a “Comic Book” understanding of history. Slavery was an issue from the Declaration of Independence on with issues arising around some of the delegates dependency upon slaves for their plantations. The civil war was the result of the escalation of the legal wrangling of a new nation state attempting to gain political and economic viability. Special interest groups have had a stranglehold on this government from its very beginnings, and the continuation of slavery was just that. Just as the 11,586 registered lobbyists in 2018 reflects.


  4. the “taxes” commentaries are some I have heard for years…from Southern state history books, teachers, and ministers (good GOD!) in an attempt to change the focus…for southerner’s it actually was about taxes…they were taxed on all owned property BUT received an entitlement if they produced grain and owned slaves. each slave was the equivalent of 4 dollars a year in tax abatement…so you see, it “was’ about taxes. this specious argument has allowed those who are bigoted to keep flying those flags…………


    • It was about the evil of letting half the country life without having to work or pay people to work so they could live in luxury while others toiled until death. If we hadn’t thrown in the towel and let the south win slavery, what would we be now? Always an interesting question.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not even sure THAT will do it. People still hate Jews because we killed Jesus and 2000 plus years hasn’t changed anything. Hell, in England the nobility still manages to hate the regular people because you know, they’ve been there so much longer.

      Actually, we have ALL been here the same amount of time which is however long humans have lived on earth. It’s just that some people remember their long-ago ancestors better … and have more money.


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