Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Why the South lost 2
The reason the Lost Cause actually lost was not because the Confederate leadership wasn't prepared to pay the price; it wasn't because they failed to see themselves, or behave, as men of honor; it wasn't because they were lacking in the kind of talent, the sheer brain power, to pull it off; it wasn't because they used up all the men, money and resources needed to get the job done; it wasn't even because God was punishing a society based on the monstrous evil of slavery. The real reason had to do with the logic behind the idea of secession itself. Only a few short weeks before secession actually took root, they thought they saw a new president [Abraham Lincoln] of a thing larger than their precious individual states show signs that he was going to be a state-eating ogre; that mind-set had quickly become set in concrete. Soon Jefferson Davis was warning that the Confederacy’s only hope of final victory over what eventually proved to be a determined foe was in unity and the (temporary) surrender of states' rights to a different president [namely, himself] of a thing larger than a state. Davis’s warning largely fell on deaf ears. He was told, in effect, ‘we already endured that kind of presidential tyranny; we'll not put up with it again.’ In their heart of hearts they knew Davis was right; in his heart of hearts Davis knew they were right. Bottom line: although each side ended up making significant accommodations to the other side, there was simply no accommodation here. The problem was that Southern leaders continually ended up tripping over a mind-set that leads to secession – a mind-set, they discovered to their cost, that has no internal check.