Indicates Matter Stricken
Indicates New Matter
The Senate assembled at 11:00 A.M., the hour to which it stood adjourned, and was called to order by the PRESIDENT. (This is a Statewide Session day established under the provisions of Senate Rule 1B. Members not having scheduled committee or subcommittee meetings may be in their home districts without effect on their session attendance record.)
The proceedings were opened with a devotion by the Chaplain as follows:
We read in Joshua:
"Those twelve stones, which they had taken out of the Jordan, Joshua set up in Gilgal, saying to the Israelites, 'When your children ask their parents in time to come, "What do these stones mean?" then you shall let your children know'..."
Let us pray:
O Lord, it's impossible not to think of the richness of South Carolina's history here on this Confederate Memorial Day. Throughout our state's and our nation's history, South Carolinians have valiantly fought for causes they fervently believed in, and our heritage has been greatly shaped through their dedication. These days, God, continue to remind us all of the fact that we, indeed, are now one people, bound together in purpose and hope, as the motto on our State Seal so simply yet eloquently states it: "While I breathe, I hope." Sustain and protect all of our modern-day defenders of freedom, dear Lord. And bless these members of this Senate and all of their staff. Help us all--like those people of old--to remember and cherish those things that matter most. In Your loving name we pray, O Lord.
On motion of Senator VERDIN, with unanimous consent, the following Address by Senator McCONNELL was ordered printed in the Journal of May 10, 2007.
It is a pleasure and an honor to be able to stand before you and talk about the brave men who answered the call of their government and went off to battle in the War Between the States. As the old monument on the State House grounds explains -- these were men who death could not terrify and who sought neither fortune nor fame. Their one expectation was that here at home, in South Carolina, they would not be forgotten. Each of us who is assembled here today is a testimonial to the fact that they have not been forgotten.
However, we live in difficult times when the whims of political correctness attempt to make unfashionable, even unacceptable, the moral responsibility to remember those who were willing to make the supreme sacrifice for their elected government. These politically correct people are taking our society down a road of absolutes -- where there is no room for nuance or dissent from those who position themselves as the arbiters of morality. All of us, whether in this church or on the landscape of South Carolina, have a shared history. It is important that as we remember these people, we all rededicate ourselves to preserving their memory and to standing up against those who would try to push their prejudices on us and require each to give up that which we revere.
It is important when we review history that we deal with it in its historical context with the facts rather than from the distant position of 146 years later. It is not fair to visit the hallowed places of the fallen and judge them with a contemporary view and present day values. Instead, we need to visit the time in which they lived through their eyes and thinking with their thoughts. On December 20, 1860, the elected delegates of the South Carolina secession convention met in Saint Andrews Hall in Charleston. They did so because of the underlying causes of growing dissatisfaction with the Union which had been smoldering for many years. On that evening meeting, these people had a close perspective of these most recent events and were propelled by what they saw through their eyes and understood through their thoughts.
For instance, John Brown, a fanatic abolitionist had engaged in cold-blooded murder in Kansas. In 1856, he was hanged by federal authorities. He was made a hero and a martyr in the North by the press. This demonstrated to many southerners the growing anger that the North had with the southern states, which was seducing the North to hate. But also, the South had already become increasingly unhappy with the North and was suspicious of any of its moves. In the years leading up to this December 1860 moment here, in Charleston, southerners witnessed the hypocrisy of the northern states and how they dealt with the question of slavery and freed blacks. While here in Charleston, there was a large freed black community--that was not the case in some other states. Most northern states did not want blacks within their borders. In Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and Oregon strict laws were used to enforce their biases. Freed blacks were not welcomed. The newly elected President of the USA in 1860, had previously in 1852, praised the words of the late Henry Clay. "Blacks should be colonized back to Africa." Yes, in 1860, there was great prejudice in the North against the black population, especially the freed ones.
But slavery and freed blacks were not the first issues to create the unhappiness. The issues of money and economic fairness had already poisoned the water so as to create the suspicion about what the North might ultimately do in regard to the black population in the South, such as excite them to armed insurrection and violence. Look back at the time of the Secession Convention if you can't understand our ancestors' distrustful feelings. There was no U. S. income tax. Ninety-five percent of the United States government's revenue was raised by tariffs on imported goods. These tariffs were not to just raise money but also to protect northern industry. Therefore, goods that were imported from England and other places in the non-industrial South became more expensive. It was then possible for the northerners, who also produced and manufactured goods, to produce their inferior goods with greater and greater profit margins, because they could boost the prices of the overseas goods in order to force southerners to buy more items from the North. As each of us here know, the higher the prices of goods and services, the lower the standard of living.
The South, up to this time, had been primarily an exporting region--what it was encountering with overseas trading customers was reaction from foreign powers to the northern tariffs by higher tariffs from what they bought from the southern USA. The more protective the tariffs became in America, the more reactionary overseas. The foreign tariffs were applied to southern exports. The South was worried about its position as an exporter deteriorating in the war market if the Europeans started retaliating to the northern controlled Congress with higher and higher tariffs. Prior to 1823 or 24, the average tariff level in the United States had been in the 15-20% range. In the 1820's, the northern states began pushing for higher and higher protective tariffs. As the tariffs went up, so did the northern profits. Since the southern states were exporting most of their agricultural products to Europe, they, of course, were paying more and more of the tariffs, as they exchanged their agricultural products for manufactured goods. With northern dominance of the United States Congress, the North was able, in 1824, to pass an increased tariff averaging 35%. This created economic hardships in the South and brought political unhappiness with the economic policies of the United States. In 1828, the United States Congress raised the tariffs to 50% despite the South's opposition. Though there was some adjustment in 1832 to the tariffs, the reduction was not that great.
From 1832 forward, we had the nullification doctrines beginning to take hold in the U. S. Congress in answer to the tariffs. The threat of nullification resulted in a compromise in 1833 which, over a few years, would reduce the tariffs back to the normal level of about 15%. The Republican Party that Lincoln was elected with in 1860 was a party for higher protective tariffs. In May 1860, the United States Congress passed the little known but very destructive Morrill Tariff bill which raised the average tariff from about 15% to 37% with increases to 47% within a three-year period. The South was paying 87% of the tariffs even before the Morrill Tariff, but with the passage of the Morrill Tariffs the burden would fall even harder on the South than on the North. About 80% or more of the tax revenue collected under the tariff laws was expended in the North on railroads, public works and industrial subsidies thereby enriching the North at the expense of the South.
Lincoln and the Republican Party campaigned on a platform of higher protective tariffs. One of Lincoln's biggest supporters, Thadeus Stevens and one of the co-sponsors of the Morrill Tariff, told audiences in the presidential election that an increase in the tariff was one of the most important issues in that election. He even told an audience in one state that the tariff would enrich the northern states while draining the money from the southern states. He went so far as to state that if the southern leaders objected to it, they should be rounded up and hanged.
Right here in Charleston, after Lincoln's election in 1860, the Charleston Mercury summed up the growing feeling of South Carolina and the coming national crisis with this statement, "The real causes of dissatisfaction in the South with the North are the unjust taxation and expenditure of the taxes by the government of the United States. And in the revolution, the North has affected in this government, from a confederated republic to a national sectional despotism."
So, as the Convention met in December 1860, the southerners through their eyes and thoughts were confronted with the presidential election of a man who embraced taxing them more and a northern section of the country dedicated to taking more and more of their money. Obviously, people were stirred. They feared increasingly a call to action for the removal of the slaves without compensation, civil and public unrest--stripping the people of their liberty and their state of its sovereignty. Also, the vacuuming of their pockets of their hard earned revenue by more and more oppressive taxes would follow. There had to be excitement at that Convention, and these people thought they were doing the right and fair thing to protect their money, property, rights and liberty for a prosperous future for themselves and their children.
The Constitution had no prohibition against secession, and editorials in the North in some newspapers had recognized the right of the South to pull out. But for the northern industrialists, they could not survive without the southern tariffs and certainly they did not want to be in competition in the international market with the South that did not have to pay the heavy tariffs of the North. Because of their greed, it was no longer in their interests to recognize the right to pull out. So, on that evening, here in Charleston, any reason to consider otherwise than secession was almost blinded by time fed emotion and suspicion, as the people of South Carolina began the course to restore to the State what they had won from the British and what they could have won in the United States courts. But, they would later lose on the battlefields of this country, the right to chart a free and independent course of their own and taxation only with representation.
From the eyes of those who stood here in those moments in 1860 and looked at the recent history and their treatment by the North, it seemed the only just and equitable thing to do. And certainly the act of secession was based on sound historical and constitutional thought, and thus they had no doubt they had every right to do it. Any thought of treason for secession was considered ludicrous and a betrayal of their rights won by their ancestors from the British. What they didn't count on was that President Lincoln would use whatever force necessary to crush this right and to preserve the Union.
Thus, the war would bring years of hardship and destruction to the people. Many would be confronted with their towns and cities being under siege and shelled into ruins. The City of Charleston here suffered a siege longer than the siege on Stalingrad and Leningrad. The federal forces shelled the city almost daily until there was reputed not to be a window pane left in a home. It was this great situation that would cause people from other lands and other places to come to Charleston and bravely take the H. L. Hunley out and try to break the federal blockade on the city that was strangling it so that the siege could be lifted and life made better.
At the start of the war, many went off to defend the independence of the State or to protect that which they felt endangered. But as the war wore on, others would be called upon to take up arms -- not out of political or economic concerns but out of mere survival. As the federal armies slowly began to penetrate the South, they began to wage total war on the people of this region. They did not just rob homes; they burned them. They did not just slaughter livestock; they also killed pets. They did not just rob churches of valuables; they burned them.
It became necessary for the people of the South to stand up with their remaining resolve and meager reserves and fight off a Union army which would do to its own people what this country has never done to a foreign power -- wage war against the civilian population. These people were trying to protect their homes and their families from the dangers and the hardships which were coming with the Union forces. These armies came from states that just decades before had professed the right to pull out of the Union. For instance in 1803, with the Louisiana Purchase, the State of Massachusetts threatened to pull out of the Union. In the war of 1812, with the Embargo Act, a group of New England states professed the right to pull out of the Union and the language they used in their enunciation would be almost identical to the southern states' in the tariff fights of the later decades. Even as late as 1843, the northern states would continue to claim the right to secede until they became the safe numerical majority where they could extend their will over the South and begin draining from it the monies that the people had earned.
For us, if we view the war through the eyes of those who were at that Convention, we begin to understand their suspicions, their goals, their hopes, their fears, their resolve and their diversity. The reasons for each become almost as varied as the faces that make up the Convention; but, today, we are confronted with a different situation in which people looking at this country's history use contemporary values and experiences to weigh against the people of a different time. Little is said of the excesses of the northern states or the racist views of Abraham Lincoln or the racist practices of northern states. Instead, the revisionists' view is cast in the image that the northern armies came South to liberate the black man from slavery, to stamp out racism and restore a Union the states had no right to dissolve. It is as though they try to sanitize American history by branding someone else's experiences with all of their shortcomings. Then, they take the emblems of these people and grind these down with a revisionist view of history with the victor, the Union, at the top of a moral mountain. In putting down an immoral, illegitimate and traitorous opponent, we are made to believe that the South was all alone in sin, racism and imperfection. We are told that it is hurtful and painful to remember the valor and the determination of the Confederate soldiers who fought so hard because in doing so one is endorsing or reminding others today of what is considered a repugnant view of the causes of the war. They insist on opening a quarrel with the past, but see nothing painful with remembering on a selective basis that which they wish.
In 1861, the famous English author, Charles Dickens, who, by the way, was a strong opponent of slavery, observed the war going on in America. He wrote, and I quote, "The northern onslaught upon slavery is no more than a piece of species humbug disguised to conceal its desire for economic control of the United States." He is, of course, talking about the North's war on the South. The notorious Karl Marx, in an 1861 article published in England, described the war as "the War Between the North and the South is a tariff war. The war further, not for any principle, does not touch the question of slavery, and, in fact, turns on the northern lust for power." As the northern army suffered losses in the start of the war and as the South appeared closer and closer to be gaining the upper hand on the battlefield, the North needed to shift the focus to keep the British and French out. Thus, Lincoln embraced the issue of slavery and issued the famous emancipation proclamation which freed slaves in the rebelling areas of the Union but preserved slavery in all areas under federal control.
Today, though, we are served up heaping helpings of revisionist history in which it is made to appear that the southern states pulled out to preserve slavery and that the northern states marched south to eradicate it. But when one looks closer at the historical times, one easily finds there were no saints in either section of the country and that racism was rampant both in the North and the South. And that as it always has been in history, economic competition and greed fueled the flames of dissension, and ultimately war.
We cannot, in short order, convince the majority of this country of our view of the war. Many will not listen and others have made up their minds. It is not fashionable to take a southern viewpoint let alone a fair one. Rather, some try to build themselves up by tearing others down. So, we must look to the age-old ideal of charity and ask that those who disagree with us allow us to cherish that which we like just as they cherish that which they like. It is not necessary to adopt one another's view nor to like one another's but rather to tolerate the diversities and to see that in tolerance, there is room for the incorporation of the diversity of our views. Thus, the cement of a free united society becomes a charity of understanding and our historical perspectives enriched.
The Great Book says the truth will set us free. The historical facts teach us the truth. Each of us should take the time to wade through the history books and the writings and learn the real diversity of the causes for the War Between the States and the different reasons people fought. Then we can begin to think through our ancestors' minds of the world they were in and see through their eyes the situation they were confronted with. We then can begin to understand the pressures of the times and the attitudes of those years. Remember, these people lived in a time when they called the United States, "these united states," and were citizens first of their state, not of the United States.
Our mission must be one not of a time but of preservation for all times -- the perpetual memory of these great people. That is the right and moral thing to do. We must stand up with resolve and belief and state that it is proper that we pay respect to those who were willing to answer the call and leave their homes and their families and go forth to fight for a principle. Principles should always be worth fighting for, and the truth should always be worthy of standing for. In the challenge of their time, they were willing, with honor and valor, to stand for what they believed in. Surely, we have the wherewithal to stand for their rememberance.
So, on Confederate Memorial Day, as we invoke the blessings of the Almighty from above, we also should be motivated by the experience of these people. They were willing to give their lives and ask only that they be remembered. Surely, it is not too much to ask of us that we give a few moments of our lives each year to remember them and to preserve the memory of their honor. I ask each of you to think seriously about the responsibility that we have. We must do as our ancestors have done, and that is preserve their memory. Otherwise, there will be no one left to do so. Certainly, such a consequence cannot go unnoticed by those who, in later times, will be called upon by their elected government to make the supreme sacrifice. Our Lord has made it clear that those who remain true in heart to his teaching and to his ways shall live forever. Equally, if we remain true in our dedication to remember them here at home, then their memory will remain alive and green among us for as long as the human race shall walk on the face of this earth.
In closing, let their memory be a reminder to each one of us -- that honor, courage and valor can, in fact, endure forever; but for it to do so, it requires brave people who are willing to stand up and remember those who demonstrated these qualities. It requires people who are also willing to stand up against those whose hearts have been hardened by their own bias and prejudice and against those who wish to sanitize history to match their desires for a monopoly of their view of history. Let us rejoice in the spirit of charity. Let us resolve to go forth in the name of history not to furl their memory but to advance the colors.
Confederate Memorial Day -- a day to remember, a day to pray for their souls and a day to learn in the spirit of charity.
We must resist the anger of our opponents by resolve. But, we must not become seduced into hard feelings of resentment, which also bring anger and dislike. We ask that a charity of understanding prevail in this country where each is free to remember our history, honor our ancestors, and worship our Lord without consternation and where without discord each of us can learn and share in one another's history. In this way, we can follow the path of fairness, reject the politics of division, and live in a society where regardless of differences, we can, without fail, do good for one another without regard to region, race or religion. So on our last day, our Heavenly Father will say "well done," and our lives will leave a legacy for others to follow of being faithful to the memory of our ancestors for the years to come.
On earth be faithful to our fathers and in heaven enjoyers of the heavenly kingdom.
While we breathe, we hope.
On motion of Senator FAIR, with unanimous consent, the Senate stood adjourned out of respect to the memory of Mr. Richard Sloan Orr of Greenville, S.C.
At 11:05 A.M., on motion of Senator McCONNELL, the Senate adjourned to meet tomorrow at 11:00 A.M. under the provisions of Rule 1 for the purpose of taking up local matters and uncontested matters which have previously received unanimous consent to be taken up.
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