BY PAUL FINKELMAN
...for South Carolina, slavery and states’ rights were not mutually exclusive; in fact, they were the same thing. Today too few people understand the intricate legal history that connects slavery to states’ rights—and as a result a needless debate continues, 150 years after secession began.
BY EDWARD BALL
The next five years will include an all-you-can-eat special of national remembrance. Yet even after 150 years full of grief and pride and anger, we greet the sesquicentennial wondering, why did the South secede? I can testify about the South under oath. I was born and raised there, and 12 men in my family fought for the Confederacy; two of them were killed.
BY GLENN W. LAFANTASIE
In April 2009, Rick Perry, the Republican governor of Texas, suggested that his state might ponder secession if "Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people." In response, the audience began to chant, "Secede, secede," hoping, one assumes, that everyone there would soon begin to party like it was 1860.
BY BROOKS SIMPSON
It’s clearly a tough time for those people who are enamored of the Confederacy and who work hard to downplay slavery, one way or another. One of those groups embraces the slogan, “Heritage not Hate,” but frankly I don’t see it that way.
BY ADAM GOODHEART
A new phrase was coined to describe Rhett and his political cohorts: “the fire-eaters.” Their constant theme was that white Southerners, rather than black slaves, were America’s true oppressed class. “I am a Traitor,” he said in 1850, “in the great cause of liberty, fighting against tyranny and oppression.”
BY JIM LEPORE
On Dec. 2, 1859, the day John Brown was hanged, Longfellow wrote in his diary, “This will be a great day in our history, the date of a new Revolution quite as much needed as the old one.”
BY CAROLYN CLICK
On a foggy day near Christmas 1860, a delegation of South’s Carolina wealthiest, most powerful citizens—
planters, judges, legislators and clergy, all white men—
assembled at Columbia’s stately red brick-columned First Baptist Church to contemplate smashing the Palmetto State’s bond with the United States of America.