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The Confederate Flag

  1. Sep 24, 2005 #1
    I am currently in a heated (and very drawn out :smile: ) debate as to the merit of displaying confederate flags.

    While I argue that it is an overtly racist symbol and should be treated as such, they argue that it is a symbol of "Heritage not Hate."

    I'm curious as to where PF goers fall on this. Feel free to post your reasoning (and thanks in advance if I rip you off =D just joking).
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 24, 2005 #2
    i dont really care if they display it. to me it just makes me stereotype them as ignorant southern christians lol
     
  4. Sep 24, 2005 #3

    Mk

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    Exactly my reasoning, but I would not recommend putting one up in some places, like having a North Korea flag on your house if you live on a military base. :surprised
     
  5. Sep 24, 2005 #4

    BobG

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    What heritage are they talking about?

    A heritage of revolting against the government and getting their butts kicked? A heritage of not being part of the US? Or is it just the hope that the next time they go to war against the US they just might win?

    There might be some local meaning that outsiders miss, but I sure don't know what it would be.
     
  6. Sep 24, 2005 #5
    I've heard a little on both sides. (con)that the stars represent the original 13 slave states, (pro)that the war was really about "states rights to govern themselves" and slavery was just an aside. I personally think its a relic that needs to be forgotten and removed from society. It serves no purpose.

    HAIL TEXAS!! Now there's a flag! The stars at niiiight are big and briiiight,(CLAPCLAPCLAPCLAP) deepinnahearrrrrt of TEXAAAAAS!! :!!)

    "You can go to Hell, I'm going to Texas!" Davy Crockett

    "Someone go see what all those guys want." Davy Crockett @ the Alamo (not really,slaps own hand with a ruler)
     
  7. Sep 24, 2005 #6

    selfAdjoint

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    First of all, neither the Confederates nor the Union fought the Civil War over slavery - at least on paper. The South fought for State's Rights, for the Constititution as they read it, against the tyranny of a federal government that would seek to impose on them an unconstitutional mandate (the feared mandate of course being emancipation). The North in turn fought to "preserve the Union", to prevent the unconstitutional (as they read it) secession by the southern states. Neither side would admit that the war was about slavery. The South, losing the war, froze these attitudes and stewed in the juices of constitutional purity and loser's rancor for a hundred years. This is the mind-set from which the glorification of rebel yells and Confederate battle flags arises.

    Blacks of course, with full justice, see the flags and so on as celebrations of racism. And they have had some success in selling their view in the South of today; it is now customary for white politicians to dissimulate their views on battle flags. Real change will take generations, if it ever comes.

    And don't think the North is any better. Do you imagine that if the Northern recruiters had offered combat and risk of death in order to free black slaves instead of preserving the Union, that many boys from Wisconsin and Ohio would have come? And as far as racism today is concerned, ask any African-American of today about racism in Milwaukee and Cleveland.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2005
  8. Sep 24, 2005 #7

    russ_watters

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    Actually, I tend to see it the opposite way. While it is true that neither side would admit verbally, (during the war), that it was about slavery, the entire precipitating "states rights" issue was, on paper, about slavery.

    All of the larger political problems of the US were the result of slavery, starting with the difficulty getting the Constitution written. The civil war's precipitating event was Lincoln's election: South Carolina seceded (as promised) after Lincoln was elected, precisely because of his stance on slavery (slavery was the primary topic of the debates). The Comproimise of 1850 (and the Missiouri Compromise of 1820) divided up new states according to the criteria of slavery. The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 did the same. Fighting erupted in Kansas between slave owners and opponents, in response.

    It is only natural (and right) that Lincoln should say that his primary (only?) concern once the war started was keeping the union together, but that should not be construed to mean that the war wasn't started because of slavery. Slavery is what caused the divisions that caused the war.

    A good link
    Timeline

    Regarding the Confederate Flag itself, it can't be banned outright because of the 1st amendment, but it should be treated under the law in the same way a burning cross or white hood is treated, and it needs to be removed from all government buildings (meaning state flags that still show it need to be changed).
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2005
  9. Sep 24, 2005 #8
    ...motion first and second, all in favor say aye...
     
  10. Sep 24, 2005 #9
    I agree. Although I would say it shouldn't be banned outright, as opposed to merely can't be.
     
  11. Sep 24, 2005 #10
    It shouldn't be banned even if it was perfectly legal to do so....I don't condone racism and I wouldn't want to be friends with a racist. However, I believe people should be allowed to be racist and display racist symbols.

    I do agree with russ that it should be removed from all federal government building except I believe that the individual state should have to right to decide if they want to have the symbol allowed on or in their buildings or on their flag.

    If we want the federal government to take all matters into their own hands then we might as well stop pretending like this is the United States of America and just call it like it is....The Federal Government of America...... :rolleyes:
     
  12. Sep 24, 2005 #11
    Exactly...it shouldn't be banned regardless if it could be...
     
  13. Sep 24, 2005 #12
    We are the federal government of America and have been for a long time. Also, it's fine and dandy to be altruistic and say "Trust the states to do the right thing..."; however, there have been many instances where the states themselves have fought the right thing and it took federal government intervention to get things moving in a more positive direction. Should the fed get involved with the flag issue? Probably not but that's not to say the states should get a free pass either. The fed can manipulate states fairly easily with $$$ w/o directly say a state must change its ways---legal drinking age of 21 is a great example.
     
  14. Sep 24, 2005 #13

    Pengwuino

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    I don't believe the fan should be taken down or banned in any sense. The problem is perception vs. meaning. When we see a flag burned or an effigy or a cross burned, we all know what it means and the people who do it know what it means and they are pretty much the same thing. When you put up a Confederate flag, there is a conflict. A portion of the population sees it as a racist symbol however another portion sees it as a memorial to the hundreds of thousands of people who died for their states.

    I mean once you start expanding the argument, the idea that it should be removed from society in any form is utterly ridiculous. Let's bring the British flag into question. The colonies were oppressed under the British flag but no one even questions the British flag being banned from society. If more and more people start claiming its a flag of oppression, should we feel it a necessity to remove it from society? Of course not. What of the memory of those who fell under the British flag? Trivialize it by removing its symbol? I don't think so...

    I mean lets face it, you can't sum up the civil war as "slavery" in a serious discussion.
     
  15. Sep 24, 2005 #14

    loseyourname

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    I have to say that I agree states at least should be disallowed to fly the flag. It's not so much that it's racist, but that it's treasonous. They're flying the flag of a rebellion that fought against the United States. I don't see how we can justify allowing a state to fly a flag that is symbolic of opposition to the union it is a part of.
     
  16. Sep 24, 2005 #15

    Pengwuino

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    That is a good point LYN. The one thing that is actually true for everyone who puts up that flag is that they realize it is a flag of rebellion since by definition, that was what the civil war was about.
     
  17. Sep 24, 2005 #16

    Art

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    If slavery was the key issue than why did several slave states fight on the union side? Also I believe (per the History channel) there were actually more slaves in the northern states than in the southern states at the beginning of the war.

    It seemed the abolition of slavery was more to do with punishing the secession states than any higher moral conviction as evidenced by the gov't backed discrimination against blacks practiced right up until the 1960s.
     
  18. Sep 24, 2005 #17

    russ_watters

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    That argument could be used as a basis for banning the flag altogether, which is not something I'm uncomfortable with.
     
  19. Sep 24, 2005 #18
    I disagree, banning it outright is a violation of free speech, no matter what the circumstances. If people arn't free to dissent they're not free at all.
     
  20. Sep 24, 2005 #19

    selfAdjoint

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    If you reread my post, Russ, you'll see that I didn't naively accept the claims of North and South. But it wasn't just a transparent lie either. The sides really were passionate about the constitutional issues States' rights versus Preservation of the Union, your idea that it was a secondary idea after the war started is wrong, I believe. There was nothing constitutional that Lincoln as President could do about slavery, whatever his opinions might be. A constitutional amendment would be required, with its supermajority requirements at the state level, which Dixie still had enough states to block.

    I think your statement about slavery making it hard to establish the constitution is overstated too. Both Massachusetts leaders like Hamilton and Adams and slave owning Virginia ones like Madison and Jefferson were proponents, and the difficulty was not between slave and free states but between small and large, and agricultural and mercantile.

    Perhaps we should continue this discussion, if you care to, over on the history subforum.
     
  21. Sep 24, 2005 #20
    Just because some slave states didn't secede, it didn't mean that the issue wasn't slavery. The best example of this is in Missouri, which was heavily divided on the issue. You see, most of the people in the St. Louis area were against secession and slavery, and most of the people in southern, rural Missouri were for both. It just so happened that there were more St. Louisans, and so they ended up winning out. In fact, Missouri was the first state to ratify the 13th amendment, partially because those Missourians who were for secession had left to fight for the South (and not that many battles were fought in that state).
     
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