"Governor, if I had foreseen the use those people designed to make of their victory, there would have been no surrender at Appomattox Courthouse; no, sir, not by me. Had I foreseen the results of subjugation, I would have preferred to die at Appomattox with my brave men, my sword in this right hand." ~~General Lee to Governor Fletcher Stockdale of Texas
No, it's not exactly the War Between the States...it's Reconstruction!
HA! And I thought the Civil War was a complicated piece of business...just wait until you start trying to cram an understanding of the aftermath of that war (commonly called "Reconstruction", though a more truthful title would be "Deconstruction") in just a few days. The brain begins to scream for mercy!
It's so easy to look back in hindsight, 140-150 years later and declare the mayhem and muddle unjust and unrighteous--on both sides. But...take a minute and put yourself into the shoes of those Southerner's. How would you, or I, respond to the devastation they were forced to undergo, with no political or legal recourse? Might we ourselves not have joined the infamous KKK (or at least, as in my case, being a woman, created their outlandish garments)? (The question here arises--was the Ku Klux Klan as horrid as we are led to believe? There's the making of a documentary in that question--one which I would like to tackle some day. I cannot answer the question really...)
Would we have found hate boiling up in our hearts, not just for those sneaky Scalawags and condescending Carpetbaggers, but for the blacks who were, in many cases simply being used as pawns in the hands of diabolical Radical Reconstructionists? (Or so I preceive it, with my hindsight.)
I don't know about you...perhaps, my dear reader, you are of a gentler, more loving disposition than I. As for me, I do believe anger and, yes, even hate, would have been something I, as a Christian, would have had to fight very hard to not be overcome by. Just in reading the deeds of the the Radicals, I find my cockles rising, my eyes flashing, and my desire to cast them out of my Southland burning in my bosom. (Gracious, I sound slightly like I have been influenced by 19th century language!)
Anyway...it's a HUGE subject and one that cannot be fully grasped with all it's ins and outs over the course of just a few days. Injustice was not absent from either side...neither was murder...beatings...terrorism...and other such activities that rend life into a miserable mess.
Oh...and just an interesting little side note.
Have you ever wondered why the Yankee government never a) brought Jefferson Davis to trial and/or b) executed him? (Believe me, those Radical Republicans wanted the President dead!)
Well, it turns out, that at the threat of a trail for President Davis, some of the best trial and Constitutional lawyers in the land couldn't wait to take up his case for him. The reason? They knew they could win.
Davis longed to be brought to trial because he too knew that the case would be won--thus justifying the South, her secession, and, of course, but I do not believe as importantly for him, himself. Conversely, it would show the Federal government up as a tyrant and un-constitutional in their perusal of the war.
So...the US government decided that the best (safest) course of action for them would simply be to free President Jefferson F. Davis.
If you know anything about Davis, you know that the lack of a trial was a sore disappointment to him--he had such a passion for being right! And not to have his cause, which he championed long before 1860, justified before the world was something of a bitter pill to swallow.
Anyway, with those rambling, wandering thoughts, I leave you, shortly to head off to bed...and rise in the morning to tackle my very first Farmer's Market of the season. (I wonder if I've lost the touch...it's been two-three years since I last beamed from behind a market table.)