Is Slavery Wrong?

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Fido
 
Reply Sun 4 Oct, 2009 08:47 pm
@xris,
xris;95031 wrote:
I can understand that times dictate more than one man can object to, but you cant make one claim as wonderful when other decisions had such an adverse effect on so many innocent souls. A balanced view, not adoration of a man who signed the death warrant on thirty odd warriors who where defending their land and who did not even get a fair trial from the brutal soldiers who had murdered their families.

When you consider that the man may only have killed only one turkey in his life, and yet ordered so many people to their deaths, you have to admit that his life was incongruous... Again, to his mind, people must have justice as they see it through law or the law makes only a burden to people since they must obey, and yet get no justice... Why we put of with this today is a question of merit... When we consider the criminal west, how many people went west as a last chance, and then to meet ones end at the hands of cruel savaged was an invitation to mob justice which would likely have killed many more, especially of women and children... Both the whites and the Natives were taught a lesson...I am certain that Lincoln accepted that the sooner the Natives learned their lesson, -that this land was the property of the whites, the sooner everyone would seek peace, and live together...A fair trial is a matter of opinion... It is unlikely that any were convicted but out of their own mouths... They we proud of their killing, and too often it was the killing of women and children to which little honor went...It was bound to happen, but consider Chicago and her museums and old architecture... That is all a measure of the wealth that city took out of the planes one grain at a time...We were going to have it, and they were going to suffer the loss of it, with their lives if they so chose...
 
xris
 
Reply Mon 5 Oct, 2009 05:50 am
@Fido,
Fido;95104 wrote:
When you consider that the man may only have killed only one turkey in his life, and yet ordered so many people to their deaths, you have to admit that his life was incongruous... Again, to his mind, people must have justice as they see it through law or the law makes only a burden to people since they must obey, and yet get no justice... Why we put of with this today is a question of merit... When we consider the criminal west, how many people went west as a last chance, and then to meet ones end at the hands of cruel savaged was an invitation to mob justice which would likely have killed many more, especially of women and children... Both the whites and the Natives were taught a lesson...I am certain that Lincoln accepted that the sooner the Natives learned their lesson, -that this land was the property of the whites, the sooner everyone would seek peace, and live together...A fair trial is a matter of opinion... It is unlikely that any were convicted but out of their own mouths... They we proud of their killing, and too often it was the killing of women and children to which little honor went...It was bound to happen, but consider Chicago and her museums and old architecture... That is all a measure of the wealth that city took out of the planes one grain at a time...We were going to have it, and they were going to suffer the loss of it, with their lives if they so chose...
You cant excuse the theft of a country with the needs of the conqueror or claim the defenders a bunch of murdering savages. Those hanged ,were hanged for fighting in battle and they were not required to live in harmony but to be subjugated, enslaved and starved by loss of lands. We cant turn back history or judge those injustices in modern terms but we must accept that the white man stole Indian lands and made them third class citizens. I'm asking for a balanced view of historic figures, not this adoration of mythical men.
 
Fido
 
Reply Mon 5 Oct, 2009 06:37 am
@xris,
xris;95138 wrote:
You cant excuse the theft of a country with the needs of the conqueror or claim the defenders a bunch of murdering savages. Those hanged ,were hanged for fighting in battle and they were not required to live in harmony but to be subjugated, enslaved and starved by loss of lands. We cant turn back history or judge those injustices in modern terms but we must accept that the white man stole Indian lands and made them third class citizens. I'm asking for a balanced view of historic figures, not this adoration of mythical men.

I am trying to excuse nothing... You cannot judge the morals of the past by the morals of the present...And since the morals of the present do not find much outrage, or much willingness to give the land back, or even to support the native as they are entitled to, then how do we judge the morals of the people of the past worse???...I personally send hundreds of pounds of bought clothing every year to NAHA...I own liturature on the natives by the foot, much of which I have read...I grew up side by each with the Ojibwa of Mackinaw County, and I have often worked with the greats of the Six Nation Iroquois...Can I say I know these people, and what motivates them???I know that they bleed as I bleed and hurt as I hurt...Many of them are intelligent human beings, and I know they were not primitive because they were stupid...All I am trying to tell you is that, in a frontier region, it was as essential to lay down the law with everyone...There are examples of mob violence in this country against the Natives, almost from beginning to end...There is still a great deal of prejudice against Natives in the West, I guess because it is hard to deal with the injustice of living on theft while the one deprived stands by...In any event, there was never anything Just about property...If society sees a benefit of public property being in private hands, then it should make the benefit general..It does not...This people, who are for the most part deprived of private property supports property with their tax dollars and defend it with their lives... For most of us, private property is simply a loss...
 
xris
 
Reply Mon 5 Oct, 2009 07:49 am
@Fido,
Many of them are intelligence, does that give me a clue to your mind set? I'm not judging past horrors by modern standards did i say such a thing ?

There is more than just a minority that look on native Americans with the same white mans perspective and see a lower class of human. They managed America and its resources a darned sight better than the whites arrogant views on nature. Lincoln had no trouble with his conscious about whites invading and pushing further into Indian country. He could have compensated them allot more than he did and if you see his hand as, guiding to understanding , i wonder is that the red mans view? He represented the moment in history when the move west was intended to be a white mans opportunity where black yellow or red were not invited.

I admire your concern but in a country that belonged to them, i dont think hand outs are appropriate for such a once proud nation. The white man took more than lands they took thousands of years of independence ,self respect and turned a land of milk and honey into a white man's dream. Can you imagine turning America into a wilderness with an influx of aliens out numbering you twenty to one in two decades and you keeping your identity and pride?
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Mon 5 Oct, 2009 12:54 pm
@xris,
xris;95158 wrote:
I admire your concern but in a country that belonged to them, i dont think hand outs are appropriate for such a once proud nation. The white man took more than lands they took thousands of years of independence ,self respect and turned a land of milk and honey into a white man's dream. Can you imagine turning America into a wilderness with an influx of aliens out numbering you twenty to one in two decades and you keeping your identity and pride?

I see you have strong feelings about this. I respect your feelings. Although, as a descendent of both parties in the conflict, I feel your sentiment overshoots me and my anscestors and lands somewhere else. The white man took their lands, independence, self respect... actually he took their genotype. They now look out through his eyes. Their blood runs through his veins. They have become one.
 
Fido
 
Reply Mon 5 Oct, 2009 07:19 pm
@xris,
xris;95158 wrote:
Many of them are intelligence, does that give me a clue to your mind set? I'm not judging past horrors by modern standards did i say such a thing ?

There is more than just a minority that look on native Americans with the same white mans perspective and see a lower class of human. They managed America and its resources a darned sight better than the whites arrogant views on nature. Lincoln had no trouble with his conscious about whites invading and pushing further into Indian country. He could have compensated them allot more than he did and if you see his hand as, guiding to understanding , i wonder is that the red mans view? He represented the moment in history when the move west was intended to be a white mans opportunity where black yellow or red were not invited.

I admire your concern but in a country that belonged to them, i dont think hand outs are appropriate for such a once proud nation. The white man took more than lands they took thousands of years of independence ,self respect and turned a land of milk and honey into a white man's dream. Can you imagine turning America into a wilderness with an influx of aliens out numbering you twenty to one in two decades and you keeping your identity and pride?


Sure; some of them are intelligent, and some of them are average, and some of them are dead drunk stupid...It was not for lack of intelligence that they lost the country...

I admire my concern too, but don't worry, I am just giving them their due, and except for the headache the government actually helps me to do it... I don't think handouts are appropriate either, that is why I have decided to do nothing while they freeze to death; because it is not appropriate... What is appropriate is a cut of every dollar that crosses public lands, rents, sales, and taxes...All of us deserve that same thing...Public lands put in private hands must still feed and serve the people, or we would not be a commonwealth, and would have absolutely no reason to support private property..The government holds ultimate title to all lands and has no reason to support rights that do not support it...

Try to remember that the thought of the time was free land to free men... Many people all standing together on their land, their country was thought to be the strength of the democracy, as it was, the peasant farmer...The too was the English yew man, when masses, and not machines won wars...It is the industrialization of war, and the technicalization of death that most account for the lowered status of the American citizen compared to his government... They think they do not need grunts, and that, if they do, they can throw a ton of money at some farm boys to kill their mothers if ordered to...The government wants us to fear them, to fear the eyes in the sky, and the internet spy... We might be killing Muslims, but the lesson is that if they cannot hide, neither can we...

Let me dispel some myths from your mind...This was never a land of milk and honey...There was never a land of milk and honey... The Jews took over everyone's livelyhood in the milk and honey, and killed all the former owners... That too was our intent, to learn how to live off the land until we could make it our own, and that meant European technology applied to a land totally uncapitalized... It never fed any great number that it did not starve until the white man came...And the flip side of this is that an Indian diet, when corn and potatoes spiked the population of Europe, and fed men who would have been worked to death before... Diet, especially sugar grown by slaves was as essential as coal to the industrial revolution...Coal fired the boilers, and sugar fired men....
 
Aedes
 
Reply Mon 5 Oct, 2009 09:28 pm
@xris,
xris;94917 wrote:
Am i wrong in understanding, Lincoln is not exactly a good example of moral high ground, when you consider his position on the American Indian and his laws forbidding freed slaves to colonise Indian lands in the west. Why is he a mythical figure to be venerated, for so many Americans.
Lincoln was a president at war from the moment he was inaugurated. There was never a single second in his entire presidency when he had the opportunity to make peacetime policy decisions. Seven states had already seceded before he was inaugurated, and the Battle of Fort Sumter happened just 2 months after his inauguration. He was forced to make a lot of strategic decisions under very strained circumstances, and he could not justify prosecuting war on the grounds of ending slavery. It just wasn't popular enough in the North -- in fact he couldn't even emancipate the slaves until after the Battle of Antietam in 1862, which you could argue was the most important Northern victory of the entire war (or at least the early war).

I'm not sure which laws you're referring to -- such laws had been passed in the 1850s, before he ever took office.

What is abundantly clear, clear from the Lincoln-Douglas debates, clear from the platform of the Republican Party of its day, is that Lincoln was THE FIRST president who was openly opposed to slavery both on moral and practical grounds. That's one thing that makes him great. He also managed to win a war against a highly motivated south that had taken most of the competent and battle-experienced generals in the country.

The slavery crisis between North and South existed since the formation of the country, when the division between state versus federal prerogative was first debated. The Civil War was the final chapter in the experiment that began with the Continental Congress in 1775, and Lincoln bridged the gap between these two eras. I'm not sure another leader could have done it. He was a voracious scholar, he learned from his mistakes, he didn't have blind trust in even his most decorated subordinates, and unlike his adversary Jefferson Davis he wasn't rash and selfish.

A remarkable leader, one of the great leaders of modernity. As a head of state he's probably unequalled in our entire history -- no president has ever faced a social/civil crisis like this, AND managed to deliver the country to reconciliation, AND abolish slavery, AND accomplish all this while leading a war that killed 600,000 people (which unto itself could well have caused the country to disintegrate).

I mean if he isn't a great leader to you, then who on earth is?

---------- Post added 10-05-2009 at 11:36 PM ----------

Fido;95143 wrote:
You cannot judge the morals of the past by the morals of the present
There were abolition movements in Europe at the turn of the 19th century, and secular humanism was central to the French and American revolutions. During the mid 19th century there was concern among witnesses that the American Indians were being wiped out. So there's certainly a way to judge them in the comparable morals of their own day.

Fido;95143 wrote:
And since the morals of the present do not find much outrage, or much willingness to give the land back, or even to support the native as they are entitled to, then how do we judge the morals of the people of the past worse?
Good point, but the toothpaste is sort of out of the tube on land claims. This is true everywhere in the world -- it's happening in Tibet as we speak. Reparations are sticky, because it doesn't really atone for past ills and it sure creates new ones. But yes, we could absolutely do better. My grandparents get some token stipend of reparations from the German government -- it's not much, but it's symbolically very important to them.
 
xris
 
Reply Tue 6 Oct, 2009 03:09 am
@Aedes,
I dont think you have been following this thread, or my points. I asked for a balanced view of history, not this blinkered adoration.
 
Fido
 
Reply Tue 6 Oct, 2009 06:56 am
@xris,
xris;95382 wrote:
I dont think you have been following this thread, or my points. I asked for a balanced view of history, not this blinkered adoration.

History is all fiction, and our view of it changes as we change... I have a lot of civil war history and liturature on Lincoln... Even my respect is qualified... He walked occasionally with labor... Most of the time he stood with money, perhaps because he held as people often do, that when the individual is served the public is served... We know that is not always so, and we also know that Lincoln had the great good sense to not get too far ahead of those he was supposedly leading... I can lead...I can be creative or innovative because not one single vote keeps me in this seat...In fact, I am voting myself out of it right now...
 
xris
 
Reply Tue 6 Oct, 2009 07:17 am
@Fido,
Views may change and while the victor rights the script, truth can be gathered by certain means. There was good roman caesars relative to others but lets be sober in our judgement. If you praise you must also condemn.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Tue 6 Oct, 2009 07:36 am
@xris,
xris;95382 wrote:
I dont think you have been following this thread, or my points. I asked for a balanced view of history, not this blinkered adoration.
I'll consider your view balanced as soon as you show some references for your argument and some understanding of the opposite argument.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Tue 6 Oct, 2009 07:36 am
@xris,
Everything Aedes said about Lincoln was absolutely true - nothing "blinkered" about it. If you want a perfect human being, looking at real people is going to disappoint. But when you start talking about great leaders, Lincoln is up there with Gandhi in both ability and moral standing.

Even Howard Zenn idolizes Lincoln, for goodness sake.
 
xris
 
Reply Tue 6 Oct, 2009 08:15 am
@Aedes,
Aedes;95423 wrote:
I'll consider your view balanced as soon as you show some references for your argument and some understanding of the opposite argument.
Im not putting a balanced view forward im asking for it.

---------- Post added 10-06-2009 at 09:23 AM ----------

Didymos Thomas;95424 wrote:
Everything Aedes said about Lincoln was absolutely true - nothing "blinkered" about it. If you want a perfect human being, looking at real people is going to disappoint. But when you start talking about great leaders, Lincoln is up there with Gandhi in both ability and moral standing.

Even Howard Zenn idolizes Lincoln, for goodness sake.
Im not looking for perfection, im asking that his mistakes are reported. I know for Americans his the bees knees but that does not make him above criticism nor does it require a reverence that is normally reserved for saints. Gandhi is no different, he can be criticised, so to can Churchill ,for me the greatest Englishman ever.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Tue 6 Oct, 2009 09:00 am
@xris,
xris;95439 wrote:
Im not putting a balanced view forward im asking for it.

Im not looking for perfection, im asking that his mistakes are reported. I know for Americans his the bees knees but that does not make him above criticism nor does it require a reverence that is normally reserved for saints. Gandhi is no different, he can be criticised, so to can Churchill ,for me the greatest Englishman ever.

I think the most the average American knows about Lincoln is that his face is on the $5 bill. Maybe some people worship him. I still think it's what he represents that a person would be worshiping:

"It is for us, the living, to be dedicated... to that great unfinished work that lies before us. It is for us, the living rather, to be dedicated to that to which those who died here gave the last full measure of devotion... to be highly resolved that government of the people, for the people, of the people shall not perish from the earth."

When it comes to Native Americans, I think you might be thinking more of Andrew Jackson than Lincoln. Some of the most dishonorable actions against them came before and after Lincoln. Benjamin Franklin complained that white people were purposefully drawing natives to become dependent on alcohol... which was one of his motivations for asking Britain to start an intercolonial organization to address such problems. (read: A Leap in the Dark by John Furling)

To blame Lincoln for the collective crime against Native Americans... to suggest that he had the power to correct all wrongs... might be to really deify him.. He wasn't a god. He was just one guy.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Tue 6 Oct, 2009 09:10 am
@xris,
xris;95439 wrote:
Im not looking for perfection, im asking that his mistakes are reported.
He made a number of mistakes, most of which have to do with his management of the Army of the Potomac. He put in one incompetent general after another, starting from the doting decrepit Winfield Scott to his army generals in McClellan, Hooker, Burnside, Meade. They promised outlandish things, they concentrated on capturing Richmond rather than disarming the Confederate Army, and in-so-doing exposed themselves to the vastly superior tacticians in Lee, Longstreet, Jackson, etc. While Jefferson Davis can (and is) criticized for not giving his generals any autonomy, Lincoln can be criticized for giving them too much and for letting them fail all too often. He also played a strange game in his diplomacy with Europe. Europe thought that slavery was a human abomination, and they were morally inclined to side with the North, but they had closer economic ties with the South. The South may have buckled sooner if Lincoln had made better overtures to Europe, including standing more vocally against slavery. As it was, he waited until the naval blockade had crippled the economic relationship between the Confederacy and Europe, and until after Antietam when the South suffered a catastrophic attrition.

There's some criticism for you. What else would you like?
 
Mr Fight the Power
 
Reply Tue 6 Oct, 2009 10:00 am
@Aedes,
Aedes;95360 wrote:
Lincoln was a president at war from the moment he was inaugurated. There was never a single second in his entire presidency when he had the opportunity to make peacetime policy decisions. Seven states had already seceded before he was inaugurated, and the Battle of Fort Sumter happened just 2 months after his inauguration. He was forced to make a lot of strategic decisions under very strained circumstances, and he could not justify prosecuting war on the grounds of ending slavery. It just wasn't popular enough in the North -- in fact he couldn't even emancipate the slaves until after the Battle of Antietam in 1862, which you could argue was the most important Northern victory of the entire war (or at least the early war).

I'm not sure which laws you're referring to -- such laws had been passed in the 1850s, before he ever took office.

What is abundantly clear, clear from the Lincoln-Douglas debates, clear from the platform of the Republican Party of its day, is that Lincoln was THE FIRST president who was openly opposed to slavery both on moral and practical grounds. That's one thing that makes him great. He also managed to win a war against a highly motivated south that had taken most of the competent and battle-experienced generals in the country.

The slavery crisis between North and South existed since the formation of the country, when the division between state versus federal prerogative was first debated. The Civil War was the final chapter in the experiment that began with the Continental Congress in 1775, and Lincoln bridged the gap between these two eras. I'm not sure another leader could have done it. He was a voracious scholar, he learned from his mistakes, he didn't have blind trust in even his most decorated subordinates, and unlike his adversary Jefferson Davis he wasn't rash and selfish.

A remarkable leader, one of the great leaders of modernity. As a head of state he's probably unequalled in our entire history -- no president has ever faced a social/civil crisis like this, AND managed to deliver the country to reconciliation, AND abolish slavery, AND accomplish all this while leading a war that killed 600,000 people (which unto itself could well have caused the country to disintegrate).

I mean if he isn't a great leader to you, then who on earth is?


I tend to take this as proof of American bias towards the man. Lincoln's presidency was a string of moral and practical mistakes.

Your view of his strategic moves seems to be simply a matter of no comparison. The absolute strategic advantage of the north in terms of every single measurement should not have resulted in such a war.

Whats more, Lincoln's one moral victory was merely a political tool he used to destroy the moral foundation of the greatest governmental system created to that point. He even made it known during the war to southern leaders that they could continue to own their slaves if only they would comply in the US government's usurpation of the fundamental right of self-government.

Lincoln effectively rendered the constition meaningless, adding the provision that secession is not tolerated, and stopping at no constitutional limits to add this crushing provision.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Tue 6 Oct, 2009 10:09 am
@Mr Fight the Power,
Regarding strategy: you forget that the Confederate army had, hands down, the best commanders of the war. You also forget that for the first two years, the Confederacy had a supremely dominant cavalry. Lee's first significant mistake occurs at Gettysburg, in 1863, two years into the war. At the time, Lee wrote to Davis that the greatest threat to his army was not the enemy, but desertion. The disadvantages of the South do no lead to the conclusion that Lincoln was in any way incapable. They lead to the conclusion that the South was a capable enemy.

As for destroying American moral foundation, I have no idea what you're talking about. He was the first President to oppose slavery. He abolished slavery. Considering the fact that he manumitted African American slaves in the United States, reversing a couple hundred years of brutal status quo, Lincoln counts as one of the great reformers for the sake of human rights.

As for the Constitution, yeah, he violated it. But so did Jefferson. So have every single President in history, except, perhaps, Washington. To say it took Lincoln to ruin the Constitution's establishment is a bit late. Besides, he did not end the right of states to secede, he just told a group of states that he would not let them secede over such pathetic and self destructive reasons.

Slavery was so self destructive that two Civil Wars raged at once - north against south, and south against south.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Tue 6 Oct, 2009 10:17 am
@prothero,
Washington was not exactly a fan of 'state's rights' either, of the founding fathers he was one of the most in favor of a strong central government.

The Constitution was undermined in many ways during the Civil War, some of which were by Lincoln. But it can be argued that slavery was an inherently criminal institution that was antagonistic to the constitution unto itself. If you think otherwise, then you're taking the Confederate view that slaves were property and not humans.
 
Mr Fight the Power
 
Reply Tue 6 Oct, 2009 10:51 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;95490 wrote:
Regarding strategy: you forget that the Confederate army had, hands down, the best commanders of the war. You also forget that for the first two years, the Confederacy had a supremely dominant cavalry. Lee's first significant mistake occurs at Gettysburg, in 1863, two years into the war. At the time, Lee wrote to Davis that the greatest threat to his army was not the enemy, but desertion. The disadvantages of the South do no lead to the conclusion that Lincoln was in any way incapable. They lead to the conclusion that the South was a capable enemy.


I simply wish to point out that Lincoln's success or failure is not measurable. He succeeded in his goal, but he obliterated the vast portions of his own country and initiated the death of 650,000 Americans to do so. It will be very difficult to say that these are acceptable losses to preserve the union.

Quote:
As for destroying American moral foundation, I have no idea what you're talking about. He was the first President to oppose slavery. He abolished slavery. Considering the fact that he manumitted African American slaves in the United States, reversing a couple hundred years of brutal status quo, Lincoln counts as one of the great reformers for the sake of human rights.


"My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union (Letter to Horace Greeley, August 22, 1862)."

"I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races. I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people. There is a physical difference between the white and black races, which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality."

The basic principle behind the constitution was that of self-government and free association. Lincoln stated on repeated occasions that, not only was his struggle one to destroy this principle and remove it from American culture (the view of the entire nation changed with the Civil War), but that he would also tolerate and maintain the slavery and complete removal of self-government of an entire group of people to do succeed with his struggle.

Performing a moral good as a consequence of pursuing a moral atrocity is not a admirable action.

Quote:
As for the Constitution, yeah, he violated it. But so did Jefferson. So have every single President in history, except, perhaps, Washington. To say it took Lincoln to ruin the Constitution's establishment is a bit late. Besides, he did not end the right of states to secede, he just told a group of states that he would not let them secede over such pathetic and self destructive reasons.


I have never heard that particular argument before, but nevertheless, when it becomes the governments decision as to what is a viable reason to secede, the point is pretty much lost, is it not?

I have no doubt that King George had a unfavorable view on the reasons for the colonies revolutionary fervor.

No individual is more responsible for the reversal of roles between governor and governed within the United States than Abraham Lincoln.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Tue 6 Oct, 2009 10:58 am
@Aedes,
I had assumed the British supported the Confederacy because they wanted to cement the division in North America. It hadn't occurred to me that Lincoln's apparent ambiguity about slavery might have been a factor.

As for bad generals, they say that Lincoln had private conniptions about the fact they wouldn't fight. The country just wasn't teeming with people like Grant and Sherman who were ready to bring destruction. It took a while to find them.

One of my favorite pieces of Civil War folklore is this story:

There was a battle. As evening drew near, the soldiers went to their respective sides to camp for the night. On the union side, the soldiers could hear somebody moaning out on the field. They looked out and in the twilight, and saw that he was a Confederate. They could tell from his clothes. So they sat down to dinner... all through the meal, he's still out there moaning. They joked about it. Then they retired to their tents for the night. One Union officer found that he couldn't sleep: they guy was still moaning. Frustrated, the officer put on his boots and stomped out onto the field. He found the guy in the moonlight and dragged him back to the Union camp and threw him down on the ground. And there, in the firelight, he saw: it was his son.

His son had gone down to a southern college to study music, and without telling anybody, had joined the Confederate army. That night, the Confederate soldier died in the arms of the Union officer. The officer asked that his son be given an honorable burial in spite of the fact that he was a rebel. He asked that at the funeral, they play a series of notes that had been jotted down on a piece of paper in his son's pocket. This series of notes is still part of the tradition of the US military: it's called Taps.

Actually nobody knows where Taps comes from except that it came from the Union army during the Civil War. It was played at night before sleep. The story sounds too good to be true, but it still tells something truthful about the American Civil War. Does somebody really believe that this happened because of a free laborer's concern over competing with a slave? The northen laborers didn't produce rice, cotton, or tobacco in any large amounts. This "competition" would have had to have been thought of only abstractly.
 
 

 
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