Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Government Founded on An Idea

I cannot resist reprinting this excerpt from a speech made by the Vice President of the Confederacy, in 1861. It is from a great article at Salon, by Michael Lind, which I found via Digby.

" The prevailing ideas entertained by [Thomas Jefferson] and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically ... Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the government built upon it fell when the "storm came and the wind blew."

Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth."

I think I need hardly comment on what I (or any decent person) must think about this. Just remember it the next time you hear some conservative dick tell you the "war of northern aggression" wasn't about slavery and racism.


TRUTH 101 said...

I gaurentee the first thing they will say is "I'm not a racist, but..."

tnlib said...

God forbid that the teabuggers see this.

Paula said...

Wheeewwwww. Actually shocking to see it put into words.

magpie said...

Alexander H. Stephens.

According to info I sourced in Wikipedia he wasn't even extremist by the standards of the South, which is sobering.

He was a lawyer and once represented a black slave woman who was accused of attempted murder, and although there was "circumstantial evidence" he persuaded the jury to acquit her.

Further... "he personally financed the education of over 100 students, black and white, male and female."

"When the Whig Party disintegrated after the election of 1852, some Whigs flocked to the short-lived Know-Nothing Party. But Stephens fiercely opposed the Know-Nothings both for their secrecy and their anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic position."

At one point he voted against secession (with conditions...).

During the war he denounced many of Davis's policies, including conscription and the suspension of habeas corpus.

None of which excuses that speech in the least, but makes for a fuller picture.

In 1873, he was elected U.S. Representative as a Democrat.