Tag Archives: Battle of Liberty Place

Confederate Monuments to the Memory of Slavery or Defense of Liberty?—the Debate Rages on in New Orleans

Last Thursday, the New Orleans City Council Voted 6-1 to take down four Confederate Monuments. [And may God-Bless Councilwoman Stacy Head, the sole dissenter, an White Uptown New Orleanian I had the privilege of meeting once at a special event at the Prytania Theatre in 2013]. The monuments in question were namely,
(1)    an equestrian statue of Confederate General Pierre-Gustav Toutant Beauregard, a lifetime French Creole who was born and died in New Orleans;
(2)  a standing statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, who died in New Orleans after presiding over the founding of the first museum to the memory of the nation over which he presided for four years, as statesman and orator;
(3)   a truly monumental column crowned by a bronze standing statue of General Robert Edward Lee (forever facing North, never turning his back on the enemy); Robert E. Lee was a close kinsman of George Washington from Virginia who was and still is widely revered as one of the great heroes of all American history; and
(4)    finally, a much smaller obelisk moment to the memory of those who dies in a much-too-little-known post-war Urban Battle seven years into Reconstruction, called “the Battle of Liberty Place”, where White citizens of Louisiana overthrew the hateful occupation government imposed on them after the surrender of the Confederacy.

Polls following this vote show that more than 90% of the actively interested public oppose the removal of these statues.  But the debate rages on.  Those on the side of removal, sponsored by Mayor Mitch Landrieu, call their opponents hateful racist reactionaries who support monuments to traitors.  They accuse us of  irrational adherence to a culture of hate and to the “Memory of the Lost Cause”…

Listening, at several meetings of the New Orleans City Council, and reading online, the only wildly irrational hatred and hateful speech I hear in this debate comes from people on Mitch Landrieu-pro-Removal side of the fence.  Just this morning, a fellow named Michael Dominici posted on “Save our Circle in New Orleans on Facebook: “Slavery was an American Holocaust.” Let’s start there.  I challenged him to explain what on earth he could possibly mean by that choice of words.

You think that slaves were destined to murder or sacrifice? Well, not in the USA or anywhere in the New World, but in Africa only, where slaves were kept like cattle as food reserves for cannibalism. Many slaves who told their stories later in life said that they expected to be eaten when they arrived at the end of their slave-ship journey. That was based on African experience and tradition, nothing else. So please check and restudy your history carefully.
 
The origins of the slave trade were that first Arab and European slave traders saw the slaughter of human beings on the “dark continent” and decided that Africa’s food reserves could be better used as labor reserves than chopped up and eaten.
 
So that’s point number one: slavery may not have been a great life, but it WAS life for slaves instead of death in the cannibal stew pots or having gotten too old to be eaten and just executed.
 
Second point: Africans sold the African slaves to Anglo-American white slavers up until 1808, but never to Confederates. By the time the Confederate States of America came into being, the international slave trade had been abolished everywhere in the world EXCEPT in Africa. And many, many African-Americans in the South actively supported the Confederate States of America both as soldiers and, in the state of Louisiana, as Planters who financially backed the CSA. Like it or not, that’s just reality: there WERE African American (Mulatto, Quadroon, Octaroon) southern planters who owned slaves and supported the Confederacy “as if their life depended on it” because in a sense, it did.
 
Third point: “Confederate” is a constitutional term whose definition reflects a constitutional argument. Many of us today (who do not and would never approve of slavery) still hold to the Confederate States side of the Constitutional argument. Look at the writings of Donnie Kennedy and his brother James, of Thomas DiLorenzo, Mike Maharrey and of a not specifically “Southern” but in fact Los Angeles-based group called “The Tenth Amendment Center”.
 
Fourth point: ironically, the reason many of us do favor Jefferson Davis’ constitutionalism is that we feel that all free people lost a great deal of Freedom in the War of 1861-5 AND IN THE 150 years since, so that we Americans and our society as a whole is more slave-like now than ever before.
 
Fifth point: want statistical proof? More black people, and many more white people, are now in prison or on probation today than were ever slaves in the South, and why? Maybe you think Alex Jones is a nut, maybe you like him, but the fact remains that nobody ever called the USA a “Prison Planet” in the early 19th century. Alexander de Tocqueville called slavery America’s “peculiar institution” precisely because this was the freest land on earth—back then, but now it’s more controlled and under constant state surveillance than any dictatorship in the world, prior to 1950, ever had the technological capacity to achieve. We are living in a slave society today, and we look back with some substantial envy on the States which were free enough, and technologically self-sufficient enough, to secede in 1860-1861.
 
Sixth point: the 13th Amendment at least indirectly inspired an explosion in American prison populations. Again, look carefully at the statistics. Prior to the 13th Amendment, which established that neither slavery nor involuntary servitude could exist EXCEPT as a punishment for crime, there was almost no such thing as a “prison population” in the USA…. now the prison population of the USA is more than twice what the original TOTAL population of the United States was at the time of the first census 1790, 14 years after independence.
 
Seventh: the other cause for the explosion of American prison populations is the criminalization of so much of the country’s commercial and general economic and scientific, even food producing and consuming, activity by Federal laws and policies spread to the states. There was hardly such a thing as “Economic Regulation” on the Federal level in 1860, unless you count Andrew Jackson abolishing the Bank of the United States in the early 1830s.
 
The centralized planning of agriculture, industry, and the social-economy generally which began during the “Civil War” in the North under Abraham Lincoln’s administration, and was brutally imposed on the South during Reconstruction and afterwards, was and remains exactly what people of a “Confederate” mindset hated and feared then and still hate and fear today: the loss of economic freedom (and thus all meaningful freedom) to a tyrannical Federal government.

Public Meetings on Confederate Monuments in New Orleans on Thursday 13 August

Removal of Confederate Monument Public Hearing

http://www.nola.gov/hdlc/

The New Orleans HDLC will hold a public hearing on Thursday, August 13, 2015 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 p.m. in the City Council Chamber, 1300 Perdido Street on code section 146-611 – Removal from public property by request from the New Orleans City Council, evaluation and recommendation: Robert E. Lee Statue, PGT Beauregard statue, Battle of Liberty Place monument, Jefferson Davis statue. The deadline for comment submissions has passed.

Removal of Confederate Monument Public Hearing

The New Orleans Human Relations Commission will hold a public hearing on Thursday, August 13, 2015 at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chamber, 1300 Perdido Street on code section 146-611 – Removal from public property by request from the New Orleans City Council, evaluation and recommendation: Robert E. Lee Statue, PGT Beauregard statue, Battle of Liberty Place monument, Jefferson Davis statue. If you would like to submit a comment, please complete the feedback form below. The deadline for comment submissions has passed.

My position is as follows:

New Orleans, as a city, embodies the Old South, and it was the greatest City of the Old South AND the Confederate States of America.  Removing Robert E. Lee’s statue, or any of the other monuments, would be amount to a Stalinist attempt to rewrite history, to alter the nature and character of this city, and to falsify reality. IF this City really wants to disown the legacy of slavery and the cultural economy of the Old South—what really needs to happen is that (1) the French Quarter, (2) the Garden District, especially the houses along Jackson and Washington Avenues and First-Seventh Street, and Prytania and much of Magazine, need to be razed. These houses and Antebellum Greek Revival architecture ALL owe their origins to Slave Labor—they are MONUMENTS to the wealth of the South Created by Slave Labor—and it’s just too hypocritical to remove the Statues but not the Homes, not the neighborhoods or the street names—because these are reflective of the deeply ingrained nature of slave-based, Antebellum culture… which produced, whether we like it or not, most of the gloriously beautiful city which is the New Orleans of today.
The magnificence of Victorian Era, with monuments like the oldest buildings of Tulane University and “Uptown” around Audubon Park and “Up-River” St. Charles and Prytania Avenues…these are the monuments to the survivors and first Children of the Confederate States of America.  Tulane University itself is named for one of the South’s Chief Financiers, who donated more money to the Confederate States Government and Army than any private individual in history had ever done to any war, even compared to George Washington’s personal contributions to and investment in the American Revolution.  While the oldest building at Tulane (the administrative hub of the University, Gibson Hall) is named after another Confederate General, Randall Gibson.
And please don’t forget the hypocrisy implied by taking Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard and Jefferson Davis down, but leaving the Statue of Andrew Jackson standing. 
By any standards of International Human Rights or U.S. Civil Rights law, Andrew Jackson was genuinely guilty of “Genocidal War Crimes” but by those same standards, Robert E. Lee, Pierre Gustave Toutant-Beauregard, and Jefferson Davis were not.  The 200th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans was celebrated here in January without major controversy, but this is simply a perversion of history.  The Battle of New Orleans was in fact without any real military or political significance, certainly no ideology was at stake.  It was all about the glorification of Old Hickory.  And I have no problem with that a priori, except that, by comparison, Jackson was a monster and we are vilifying Confederates who fought for liberty and the Constitution.

Jackson, of course, made war, both on the battlefield and in the Courts of the United States, and generally abused and oppressed the American Indians—the Five Civilized Tribes, but he also owned slaves.  Accordingly HIS statue, at the very center of New Orleans, should come down BEFORE LEE’s or DAVIS’ or BEAUREGARD’s, IF that’s the real issue….  But I question whether it is the heritage of slavery, or the heritage of Constitutional Liberty and Limited Government, which is the real target of those who seek to denigrate the heritage of the Confederate States of America…

It would be a MASSIVE miscalculation and great historical hypocrisy to take down the monuments to the Confederate (and post-Confederate) leaders.  Even the layout of the city along the river, and the street names (e.g. “the Muses”, Prytania), are testaments to the importance of the Greek Revival and Classical heritage of Athenian Democracy in this City—if you want to obliterate the Southern Legacy in the history of New Orleans, you just need to NUKE THIS CITY, maybe twice, and then think about nuking the rest of the State and the whole of the South—everything of any historical importance comes back to one major truth—Cotton was King and the Mississippi was its Royal Road….

https://charleslincoln3.com/2015/07/16/banning-the-confederate-flag-monuments-is-genocide/
https://charleslincoln3.com/just-nuke-new-orleans-now/