Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Talkin' Texas Secession Whites

Ask a Confederate apologist about the Civil War and he or she will invariably invoke the concept of state's rights. There's even a giant monument to the Confederate war dead in front of the Texas State Capitol (above) that suggests as much.

What the apologists and the monuments don't like to admit is that the state right of primary contention was slavery. John Aravosis at AmericaBlog points out a telling excerpt from the Declaration of Causes adopted at the Secession Convention of Texas in 1861:

We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.

It's not uncommon for Texans to joke about secession. Most of the time, it comes from the same tongue-in-cheek pride that prompted Saul Steinberg's New Yorker map of the world. But there's a big difference between slapping a Texas flag-themed "secede" sticker on your bumper and the governor of Texas alluding to the threat of secession in front of an overwhelmingly white crowd three months after the first black president in U.S. history takes office.

By the way, since today is the 173rd anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto, it should be noted that then-Governor Sam Houston opposed secession back in 1861 and was removed from office for it.

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