Confederate Emancipation : Southern Plans to Free and Arm Slaves during the Civil War: Southern Plans to Free and Arm Slaves during the Civil War (Google eBook)

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Oxford University Press, Nov 1, 2005 - Social Science - 272 pages
2 Reviews
In early 1864, as the Confederate Army of Tennessee licked its wounds after being routed at the Battle of Chattanooga, Major-General Patrick Cleburne (the "Stonewall of the West") proposed that "the most courageous of our slaves" be trained as soldiers and that "every slave in the South who shall remain true to the Confederacy in this war" be freed. In Confederate Emancipation, Bruce Levine looks closely at such Confederate plans to arm and free slaves. He shows that within a year of Cleburne's proposal, which was initially rejected out of hand, Jefferson Davis, Judah P. Benjamin, and Robert E. Lee had all reached the same conclusions. At that point, the idea was debated widely in newspapers and drawing rooms across the South, as more and more slaves fled to Union lines and fought in the ranks of the Union army. Eventually, the soldiers of Lee's army voted on the proposal, and the Confederate government actually enacted a version of it in March. The Army issued the necessary orders just two weeks before Appomattox, too late to affect the course of the war. Throughout the book, Levine captures the voices of blacks and whites, wealthy planters and poor farmers, soldiers and officers, and newspaper editors and politicians from all across the South. In the process, he sheds light on such hot-button topics as what the Confederacy was fighting for, whether black southerners were willing to fight in large numbers in defense of the South, and what this episode foretold about life and politics in the post-war South. Confederate Emancipation offers an engaging and illuminating account of a fascinating and politically charged idea, setting it firmly and vividly in the context of the Civil War and the part played in it by the issue of slavery and the actions of the slaves themselves.
  

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The book is riddled with a curious omission -- the desperate plans to enlist blacks was for one reason -- massive desertions by white soldiers. Jeff Davis himself spoke of it bluntly in Sept of 1864, admitting 2/3 of his soldiers had deserted or gone awol. In fact, he was effectively on a speaking tour to shame their families to send them back. If just half of the deserters returned, Davis promised, we can not lose. But they did not return, in fact, desertions grew more extreme, until literally there were often just imaginary forces, on paper only.
It was THEN that Southern leaders grew so desperate as to enlist blacks -- AS SLAVES. Not as free men. In fact, the act as passed says that -- the slaves "enlisted" were still slaves. It's true, Lee wanted an inducement of their freedom, but not because he was a nice guy, but because he wanted eager troops.
By the way, the black himself did not enlist -- his OWNER sent him, his OWNER was paid. IF you think they paid the slave anything, you don't know how it worked. Owners were to be notified of how many slaves they had to send. It wasn't like they had white men going around asking slaves ANYTHING.
 

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Those who choose to endeavor in the pathetic need to seek blame and shame upon those of the past in regards to slavery, merely indite themselves to be precisely the same as they claim to hold in disdain.
For it is those among others who knowingly or unknowingly endeavor to muddy the historical waters of slavery with their own brand of self serving Racist Bigotry, thus rendering it sanctuary.
It is their blind ignorance that has allowed the institution of Slavery to not only continue to exist, but provide it the sustenance to once again flourish throughout World, and upon American soil.
Those ignorant enough to embrace such a contemptuous ideology as Racialism, are by their own ignorance supporting, and facilitating the current institution of slavery.
If those who seek to dwell upon the wrongs of the past truly cared more about the issue of slavery than they do at promoting their own brand of racialism, which they arguably don't, they would be standing with those of the meager forces among us that battle its overwhelming odds to this very day.
These enterprises are run by massive networks of interacting cartels, with most receiving protections from those of position and power in every level and phase of governments throughout the World. They have no regard for the lives of their victims, and hold an absolute mortal disdain towards those who would dare stand to oppose and expose them.
Those who dare to threaten their power and profits become nothing less than living targets.
However fear not, for but a limited few in volume of our brothers and sisters who decry the wrongs of slavery past instead of the wrongs of slavery present, are in large part safe from such retribution. For in this fight we are truly of the most minute of minorities, those who bemoan the slavery of the past, and remain blinded by their own ignorant racialist culture are the true shameful supporters of slavery today.
There are in excess of 27 million slaves in the world and America today. For perspectives sake, the total of Africans enslaved during the entire 350 year history of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, would not even equal half of that number today.
Any claim to our ancestors own victories won in the past become nothing but hollow banter, for it is those among us today that benefit and render sustenance to the very thing we have for so long held in disdain of others. We are as guilty as any of those in the past, if not more so, because we of all people should know that ignorance of it, is no excuse for it.
The only ones who decry the claims of slavery past, while turning a blind eye and deaf ear to slavery present, are not those concerned with the truth, but those merely confessing to being consumed by the vile evil of Racist Bigotry.
How many more shall perish as a result of this over educated brand of idiocy, that which serves as the principle facilitator of Slavery today. No greater dishonor could we perpetrate upon the memories of our cherished ascended, than to be fools enough to stand as a party in any form to this vile institution today, knowingly or unknowingly.
It is irresponsible depictions of historic fact that muddies the waters of understanding, which threaten to deny all of our childrens rightful destinies.
The only shame to be justly rendered to the past, is to allow the wrongs of the today, the sanctuary of another tomorrow. It is time we all take our dutiful place in the battle to defeat, not an evil past, but this evil present.
Slavery has never figuratively nor literally been abolished in our nation, for it may only be abolished when the people in their entirety no longer choose to ignore its continued existence. Nor can we continue to ignore its symbiotic socio-cultural ties to new age racialism.
For racism is not racist, it does not discriminate, it is both deaf and dumb, but above all else; it is color blind.
Only when we as a nation choose to accept this, then and only then; can we hope to be free from our willful enslavement to the ignorance of the past.
 

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Contents

The Puzzle of Confederate Emancipation
1
The Heresy and Its Origins 18611864
16
The Critics Indictment
40
Slaves and the Confederate War Effort
60
The LongTerm Plan
89
Enacting and Implementing New Policy 18641865
110
Could It Have Worked?
129
Confederate Emancipation in War and Peace
148
Acknowledgments
165
Notes
169
Sources Cited
223
Index
243
Copyright

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