The governor of Virginia recently revived a long-standing tradition of celebrating the Confederate heritage of the state by declaring April to be Confederate history month. The purpose is to revive memories of the brave men who fought for the cause of the Confederacy in their state. What angered many people was his failure to mention the role of slavery as a basis for the civil war.
From my perspective, neither the state of Virginia, nor any other state, should be proud of their involvement in that tragic event. It is popular these days to downplay the role of slavery and to identify other issues that might have been the basis of the rebellion. States rights is one that comes to mind. However, there is no question that the right of the white population to maintain the system of slavery was a central focus of the Confederate cause.
Confederate vice president, Alexander Stephens, identified the prime concept behind the Confederacy in his famous Cornerstone Speech. “Jefferson’s ideas were fundamentally wrong,” He stated. “They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error.” Stevens further stated, “our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the Negro is not equal to the white man; slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition.”
From my perspective, Southern politicians of whatever party would be well advised to abandon the cause of the Confederacy and move into the conceptual strength of the 21st-century. The idea of racial superiority has no place in modern America