Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What About States' Rights?

The Missouri Compromise and the Compromise of 1850 both dealt with states' rights. The South especially disagreed with the Federal government's right to decide important matters within a state.

The Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution states that "the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."

According to the Southern people this amendment should prevent the federal government from interfering in the individual affairs of a state - such as the slavery issue. It seems the South just wanted to be left alone to make their own decisions and laws. Lincoln and the Central government proponents of the North saw it differently.

It was Lincoln's election in 1860 that caused 11 Southern states to eventually secede. And we know the "rest of tbe story". It is "histoire" as they say.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Bogged Down From Blogging

If you are a regular reader of this blog you may notice that I have take a break from blogging for several weeks while I worked on a special assignment for the First White House of the Confederacy, but I am happy to say that I am back with renewed vigor! Hope you missed me as much as I missed blogging.

Of course the First White House is closed on Sundays but I spent yesterday afternoon there with  two young men who are doing a documentary on the War Between the States for their graduate work. In the quiet of those hours, I was taken aback by the beauty and solemnity of our wonderful one-of-a-kind Museum House.

 It is such a treasure for the people of Montgomery and the State of Alabama, and such a valuable learning tool for young people about a time that was long ago but not forgotten.We never want to forget the past, we just want to learn from it. I suppose if cooler heads had prevailed the war could have been averted, but at least after four bloody years, we were able to come together and once more be "one nation under God".

 And has been said so many times, what doesn't kill us makes us stronger.Perhaps we are a stronger country today because of what we went through.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What the Southerners of 1861 Thought About Themselves

From the Journal of Confederate History Vol. 1. No. 1, Summer 1988,  Dr. John McGlone wrote: "It is safe to say that Southerners of 1861 did not think of themselves as rebels, traitors, or slavery advocates. Rather they thought of themselves as patriots defenders of the Constitution, and protectors of their homes and families."

Dr. McGlone goes on to say that they perceived themselves as engaging in a second American Revolution. Remember who is in the center of the Great Seal of the Confederacy? None other than George Washington on horseback.
He points out that most rebellions are an attempt by a "discontented minority" to destroy or alter the existing order. In contrast he says, our fore bearers were simply attempting to preserve the status quo.

I quote further: "...The South wanted to return to the ....simpler days of 1776 when Southerners controlled the nation's destiny. Whether one accepted or rejected this viewpoint largely decided the color of uniform to be donned in 1861 and still affects American politics and society to this day". 

Comments from Readers

I want to thank our readers for their comments. We always appreciate them. They are thoughtful and thought provoking.

I was asked to post pictures of the Yacht Clock and I will do so as soon as I obtain them from our files. They should be "up" in a day or two.

Please keep reading and I will keep blogging!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

John Brown, The Most Controversial of all 19th Century Americans

John Brown is remembered as a revolutionary abolitionist  who engineered a slave rebellion and tried to capture the armory at Harper's Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia). At the time his efforts electrified the nation.

 Southerners alleged that his rebellion was the tip of the abolitionist iceberg and that it represented the wishes of the Republican party to end slavery. Historians agree that the Harper's Ferry raid in 1859 escalated tensions that a year later, led to secession and the American Civil War.

First he was involved with the "Bleeding Kansas" crisis; later he conceived a plan to lead a slave insurrection in the South and start a republic of free blacks in Virginia's Appalachian Mountains. On October 16, 1859, he and 22 followers rode into Harper's Ferry. They planned to take the federal arsenal and armory there and use the weapons to arm slaves in a rebellion they hoped would spread throughout the South.

The plan did not work and Brown and his men were trapped. The residents began firing on them and two of his sons were killed. A company of marines, led by Colonel Robert E. Lee soon arrived to put down the insurrection. Brown and his followers were charged with murder, treason and inciting insurrection, and were sentenced to hanging. He was executed on December 2, 1859.

According to Wikipedia, he is known as: "at certain times, a great man", but also "the father of American terrorism". The song "John Brown's Body" became a Yankee marching song during the War. I have been to Harper's Ferry. Today it is a peaceful and tranquil place! 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

What Do You Know About The Mason-Dixon Line?

Did you know the Mason-Dixon Line was named for two British surveyors, who surveyed it between 1764 and 1767? Guess what their names were? Mason and Dixon.

What is it regarded as today? Of course - the demarcation point between the Northern States and the Southern states during the "Civil War" (well, that was a "duh" question, wasn't it?).

OK, next question: Did the Mason-Dixon line inspire the South's nickname of "Dixie",  as in "Look away, Dixie Land"? The answer is some historians say so. What do others think? They believe the nickname came from the ten-dollar note issued by Louisiana. The notes were called "dixies" because the word ten was written as the French dix. Louisiana was, as you know, steeped in the French culture and influence.

You can find out lots more about the Mason-Dixon line if you want to google it.The funny thing is that they continued to squabble over the boundaries long after the line was established!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

"Billy" Davis Hayes' Yacht Clock Given to the First White House

William Davis Hayes (later the family adopted the surname Hayes-Davis) was the son of Margaret Davis Hayes, daughter of President Jefferson Davis of the Confederate States of America. Many of the Davis family heirlooms inherited and preserved by William Davis Hayes, are now in the collection of the First White House of the Confederacy, having been acquired after his death at Colorado Springs, Colorado.

This wonderful clock which had been owned by  Billy, was given to the First White House by Dr. Craig Werner, whose parents Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Werner willed it to us. The clock is circular and has an ogee case surrounding a white face with Roman Numeral lettering, the hinged glass cover surrounded by a brass bezel.

 The face is inscribed: Made by the New Haven Clock Co., New Haven, Conn. U.S.A.

On the back is the lettering:
 Eight Day
 6 Inch
  Yacht Lever Time Piece 
  New Haven Clock Co. New Haven, Conn. (etc).
 Also on that label are handwritten inscriptions: "(Symbols apparently ranch brands, which may be in part ciphers of his initials)"
plus: "1913   1908   1915   about 1920"
"Owned by Wm Davis Hayes. Ranch Swallows Colorado"

"Two Mainsprings S. No Striker. it fooled me too. I expected Ship Bells"

Mr. Werner says the clock traveled with Mr. Hayes to several ranches in Pueblo, Co. as he put the ranch brands on the back. It also shows a bit of his humor since he wrote on the back the part about "no strike, it fooled me too, I expected Ship Bells" !!!

This little clock is just one of our many, many treasured acquisitions because we have so many interested and generous donors.


Blogging for One Year for the First White House of the Confederacy

Hello Readers,
On August 9th we will have been blogging for one year. We have had a total of 5,246 page views since we started  and  we have had hits from ten countries.

We have twelve "friends" and would like many more, so please join us if you wish. The most read post of all  has been "Descendants of Jefferson Davis" (Jan. 9, 2011) and the next most hits was "The Man and The Hour Have Met" (Feb. 10, 2011).

 In third place was "Doctors, Disease and Amputations in the Civil War" (Mar. 28,2011); then "Little Known Facts About The War" (Sept 20, 2010);  and fifth most popular was "Reenactment of Inauguration Day, Feb 18, 1861" (Oct 18, 2010).

What is your favorite, or what would you like me to write about? Please let me know. You may be interested to know that next to the United States, the most hits have come from United Kingdom, then Russia, Germany, Netherlands, Canada, Ukraine, France, China and Slovenia, in that order.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Civil War and Civil Rights All In Montgomery Alabama

Montgomery is so blessed to have had both great "game changing" events in our country's history having begun in Montgomery, the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement.

It is so nice that the custodians of these  wonderful attractions work so well together here in Montgomery to challenge and to attract visitors from all over the world. The First White House is only one block from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and in the other direction a block from the King Memorial Church.

The Rosa Parks Library and Museum is a few short blocks from the First White House as well.The "trolley" goes by or close to, all of the above, as well as to the Alabama State Capitol where the Confederate Congress convened to work out the Confederate Government.

We are indeed a  remarkable city to have all this right here at our fingertips!.