Proclamation Declares April Confederate History Month

710174_23877263In a move that will surely fuel controversy in Richmond and beyond, Virginia’s Governor Bob McDonnell has issued a proclamation declaring April Confederate History Month in Virginia. While this is not something new to the Commonwealth, it had been absent from the state since 2002 when Governor Warner did away with the tradition. The previous governor, Tim Kaine, chose not revive it during his term as well.

A firestorm of criticism has been launched by Democrats who decry the fact that the proclamation glosses over Civil War history by making no mention of slavery or the slave trade in Virginia.

Governor McDonnell focused on the tremendous history in the Commonwealth where more battles were fought than in any other state. He also sees it as a boon for tourism as sites all over the country prepare for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

The full text of the proclamation is below.

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Confederate History Month

WHEREAS,   April is the month in which the people of Virginia joined the Confederate States of America in a four year war between the states for independence that concluded at Appomattox Courthouse; and

WHEREAS, Virginia has long recognized her Confederate history, the numerous civil war battlefields that mark every   region of the state, the leaders and individuals in the Army, Navy and at home who fought for their homes and communities and Commonwealth in a time very different than ours today; and

WHEREAS,   it is important for all Virginians to reflect upon our Commonwealth’s   shared history, to understand the sacrifices of the Confederate leaders, soldiers and citizens during the period of the Civil War, and to recognize how our history has led to our present; and

WHEREAS, Confederate historical sites such as the White House of the Confederacy are open for people to visit in Richmond today, and

WHEREAS, all Virginians can appreciate the fact that when ultimately overwhelmed by the insurmountable numbers and resources of the Union Army, the surviving, imprisoned and injured Confederate soldiers gave their word and allegiance to the United States of America, and returned to their homes and families to rebuild their communities in peace, following the instruction of General Robert E. Lee of Virginia, who wrote that, “…all should unite in honest efforts to obliterate the effects of war and to restore the blessings of peace.”; and

WHEREAS,     this defining chapter in Virginia’s history should not be forgotten, but instead should be studied, understood and remembered by all Virginians, both in the context of the time in which it took place, but also in the context of the time in which we live, and this study and remembrance takes on particular importance as the Commonwealth prepares to welcome the nation and the world to visit Virginia for the Sesquicentennial Anniversary of the Civil War, a four-year period in which the exploration of our history can benefit all;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Robert McDonnell, do hereby recognize April 2010 as CONFEDERATE HISTORY MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.

Comments

  1. Fact Checker says:

    WHEREAS, the govenor of Virginia is now pandering to a specific group of Virginia voters who think that the Cival War has not ended yet,

    NOW THEREFORE, resolve that this Commonwealth will step backward to the time of the reconstruction with absolutely no regard for the progress that we have made to date.

    Thank you Gov. McDonald

    • Right Winger says:

      It’s McDonnell. Check your facts before spouting off about others.

    • Jon Wade says:

      Whereas, you are ignorant of history factchecker, you should realize that while slavery may have been at issue during the Civil War…most of the men who fought for the Confederacy were NOT slave owners! As a matter of FACT less than 2% of Southerners owned slaves! This was a War for Independence from a government which was treading on states rights. As an aside, have you ever actually read the entire Emancipation Proclomation? Probably not, so here is a little more history. It did not free anyone! In particular it allowed slavery to continue in the NORTH!

      • Ray JAy says:

        That is so false…. It was about in that same term white supremacy… Negroes had no value. So tell what was the real value other than labor they offered white america in that time.

      • Fact Checker says:

        First some clarification. Yes it is McDonald (a few fries short of a Happy Meal).
        Second, there is no difference between today’s Joe SixPack getting postal about the “Death Tax” (which his estate will never come close to) and “Johnny Reb SixPack” getting pony expressal about abolishing slavery taking away his state’s rights (and he will probably never be able to own a slave).

        I close with quotes from the states Ordinances of Secession:
        Virginia’s ordinance of secession states quite clearly what the war was about, as it laments the “oppression of the Southern slaveholding states.” Alabama’s ordinance of secession states that “it is the desire and purpose of the people of Alabama to meet the slave holding States of the South” in order to form a new government. Alexander Stephens, Vice President of the Confederacy, said in 1861 that “African slavery…was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution.”

  2. Frank Smith says:

    This is great news for all us history buffs. For the record, the nuetral term is War Between the States, “Civil War” is a Yankee label.

    More accurately it is “The War of Northern Agression” or The Second American Revolution.

    All the [redacted] liberals will howl, but hats off to your Gov.

    The South will rise again, next time the West will go with it.

    All of our troubles with the Feds come from the fact the Yankees beat us. Our Liberty was lost on the fields of Gettysburg.

    Thanks for the great story.

  3. Walter RIng says:

    Some posters here need to check their spelling, especially when they claim to be fact checkers. The last two Democratic governors of Virginia pandered to [redacted] their entire terms, so why not pander to [redacted] for a change?

  4. The civil war wasn’t about slavery. Fact. Lincoln didn’t care either way. Fact. The war was about states rights. Fact. Most southerns didn’t have slaves. Fact. Lincoln was a republican. Fact. Everyone gives him the praise for ending slavery-he was a republican. At that time the slave owners were of the democratic party. The northerns were of the republican party. The civil war was part of our history. All history needs to be remembered. Kudos to the governor. We need to stop playing the political correctness game, it’s running our country. No one likes all history but we must study and learn from it.

  5. Clarke County Caucasian says:

    The civil war wasn’t about slavery. Fact.

    Really? The families of the 68,178 African American casualties that occurred during the Civil War might not entirely agree with this statement.)

    Lincoln didn’t care either way. Fact.

    Nope. Lincoln wrote to Joshua Speed in 1855:
    How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that “all men are created equal.” We now practically read it “all men are created equal, except negroes.” When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read “all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics.” When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty — to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be take pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy [sic]

    The war was about states rights. Fact.

    In a way, yes if you mean the right of states to allow the enslavement of other people. However, there’s still that niggling detail where the Declaration of Independence declares that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” This is, perhaps, the fundamental statement that defines America’s greatness. Human beings can error (afterall, Jefferson enslaved African Americans) but human actions should not be cited as justification that these divine rights can ever be removed by men.

    Most southerns didn’t have slaves. Fact.

    True, again. However, if you agree that most people work in order to achieve social and financial goals; and if human beings are thought of as property; then wouldn’t most “southerns” aspire to acquiring more property (read “slaves”) thus perpetuating the southern economic enslavement system indefinitely?

    Lincoln was a republican. Fact.

    We finally agree!

    Everyone gives him the praise for ending slavery-he was a republican.

    We agree again! Lincoln had flaws (sadly, flaws are a part of our human condition) but Lincoln’s leadership defined American history like no other US leader ever had. Had Lincoln failed the United States might have become a collection of independent countries (kind of like Europe. But wait, isn’t Europe trying to form the European Union so they can better compete with places like the US? Gosh, Lincoln wasn’t just a liberator, maybe he was an economic visionary as well!)

    At that time the slave owners were of the democratic party. The northerns were of the republican party.

    Well, not really. There were pro-slavery and pro-freedom groups in both the North and the South. You may remember that Lincoln fought hard to keep Maryland from succeeding just as one example. In New York City slaves made up one-fifth the population in and white New Yorkers lived in terror of slave revolt.

    The civil war was part of our history. All history needs to be remembered.
    Kudos to the governor. We need to stop playing the political correctness game, it’s running our country.

    If “political correctness” means stating your point of view in a way that is insensitive or hurts others I can’t really go along with you on this point. Especially when your point of view seems mis-informed, at least on your knowledge of the Civil War.

    No one likes all history but we must study and learn from it.

    Yep, you’re right again. Think how much farther the world would be ahead if we could only do this? By the way, here’s where we can start. Just like the “all men are created equal” thing is fundamental to our country, there’s an equally fundamental saying that underlies our Christian heritage; “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thy self.”

  6. New state slogan:

    “Virginia is for Loosers”
    … who celebrate the
    Confederacy,
    the pinnacle of
    anti-American
    fear, hate, greed, and torture.

    Thanks, Governor McDonnell!

  7. Paul Randall says:

    The New South, same as the Old South.

  8. proud yankee says:

    Maybe I will celebrate confederate history month [redacted] who fought and wasted their only life to keep slavery and sing we shall overcome [redacted].

  9. They came and conquered. They outlawed flags, re-wrote history books, outlawed words and types of speech, removed monuments, changed the names of streets-roads and schools. They removed statues. If you are thinking of todays American South…NOT!! Its what the communist did when they took control of Russia from the Czar’s. What will be your legacy? Diversity is a two way street. Honor all Americans equaly. Never give in…never give up…never surrender.

  10. solgreatman says:

    The south offered to end slavery the second year into the war,Lincoln said no.The war was about states rights and taxation,northern agression,finally slavery.As”Clark county caucasion” said there were still plenty of slaves in the north,many of which were owned by freed black slaves.Why is it that every other group of people can celebrate thier heritage,regardless if they have anything to do with American history,yet southerners who want to remember confederate history should’nt?I agree with”Frank Smith”the south will rise again and the west will go withit.

    • Right Winger says:

      Also, those that were slaves were sold as such by their tribal leaders in Africa.

      • Lonnie Bishop says:

        Or, more accurately, by other tribes who conquered them and then tried to curry favor with the White slavetraders (Dutch, English, et al.).

      • Clarke County Caucasian says:

        Not sure what you’re trying to say with this point but here’s a modern-day analogy to chew on…

        When any tribe of people unfairly enslaves its citizens it is enacting a type of imprisonment.

        In 1988, Congress passed and President Ronald Reagan signed legislation which apologized for the internment of Japanese American citizens on behalf of the U.S. government. The legislation stated that government actions were based on “race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership”. Over $1.6 billion in reparations were later disbursed by the U.S. government to Japanese Americans who had either suffered internment or were heirs of those who had suffered internment.

        Apparently Ronald Regan believed that wrongful imprisonment was immoral to the tune of $1.6B. I could only guess about how he would react if someone argued that any government (now or 250 years ago) had the right to “sell” its citizens.

        Another example comes from Nazi Germany. Germans earned rewards from turning over innocent people to the Nazi’s. Again, government endorsed, but most people today see it as horrendous chapter in human history.

    • Lonnie Bishop says:

      The problem with Confederate history is that states’ rights and other aspects of teh secession movement became so entangled with teh idea of slavery (see the various “compromises” in the mid-1840s & 1850s to keep peace in the Union as new states were added) that to try to focus on one without referencing the other is nearly impossible.

      Gov. McDonnell was right to amend his proclamation to include a reference to, and condemnation of, slavery.

  11. Clarke County Caucasian says:

    “The south offered to end slavery the second year into the war, Lincoln said no”

    Can you provide a historical reference for the rest of us that shows this?

  12. The South will rise again, because [redacted]!

    McDonald, McDonnell, MacDougal, it doesn’t really matter. In 10 years we’ll all be wondering who the gov was in 2010

  13. Halvorson says:

    Lincoln was a silver-tongued orator who said one thing and did another–just like Obama–and was the most anti-Constitutional, tyrannical president in the history of the Republic.

  14. Lincoln seemed genuinely outraged at the notion of someone working and not keeping the fruits of his labor. The slaveholders had a lot of money tied up in slaves since they were property. The South had an edge on labor costs compared to the North. The issue of whether new states would be free or slave, property rights, the right to keep the proceeds of your own labor, and competitive advantage were all tearing the nation apart and Lincoln believed the Union should be preserved and these factors all led to the civil war. Isn’t this true?

  15. UDC Daughter says:

    Wow…..amazing the emotions this historical event stirs up. I just know that the two camps will never agree: states rights vs. slavery. All I know is my great grandfather was a dirt poor farmer and he didnt have squat, much less a slave. He enlisted to defend his homeland and now is in an unmarked grave in Petersburg.
    Everyone else under the sun has a day for this and a month for that. It’s about time.

  16. Amazed Reader! says:

    Great, just what we needed! More rebel flags flying [symbol of the KKK] and idiots screaming yee-hah glorifying the “South is gonna rise again slogan.” As a kicker, we should not get offended if Germany decides to make April “Nazi Rememberance Month” because it is history right? Maybe Slobadon Milosavic can be brought back and we can celebrate “Mass Grave Month” in Kosovo too.

    This is little more than a [slightly hidden] white supremecy celebration that we are not supposed to be aware of because we are supposed to be too dumb to recognize it when it is right under our noses. I would rather smash my toe with a hammer and celebrate that, at least if would not be offensive to anyone else…

  17. Doug Gibson says:

    If, through this proclamation, more and better awareness of ALL of the reasons for the War of Northern Aggression/Civil War/War Between the States, then it’s not such a bad thing. Governor McDonnell was right in amending his initial proclamation to include the condemnation of slavery, an institution that did indeed factor into the reasons behind the war.

    Knee-jerk posts, though, do nothing but reflect poorly on the one who posted them, especially if the spelling and/or grammar are sloppy, or they’re based on nothing more than hateful buzz words. A civil conversation is a good thing; some of the above posts do not reach that basic threshold, though.