A Legacy of Slavery and the Civil War: America’s Gun Culture

A lone tear streamed down the cheek of Abraham Lincoln on Time magazine’s April 2011 cover commemorating the 150th anniversary of the nation’s greatest tragedy. Editors imagined the martyred president surveying today’s America and lamenting that “we’re still fighting the Civil War.” In the decade since this issue appeared, the battle over Civil War memory has only intensified. White nationalists coopt Confederate iconography. Southern heritage groups defend their Rebel ancestors while civil rights groups and others demand removal of monuments that glorify traitors. Politicians have been quick to fan these flames of division as our country becomes more polarized. Should Time revise their cover for 2023, they might picture Lincoln bent over, head in hands, sobbing.[1]

It is difficult to comprehend the deep-seated, lasting damage done to our collective psyche by 750,000 dead soldiers and 50,000 perished civilians.[2] Peaceful men who left their farms, businesses, and families returned home as trained killers. Are there connections between violent deaths in the Civil War and our status today as most heavily armed citizenry on Earth? Only Brazil had more gun deaths than the U.S. total of 37,038 in 2019.[3] U.S. residents own 120.5 firearms per 100 residents, nearly three times the rate of third place Yemen and more than twenty-six times the rate of gun ownership in England and Wales.[4] How did we get here?

The entire US Army numbered just 16,367 men in December 1860.[5] The war forced gun manufacturers to shift production and innovation away from hunting tools and toward military-style killing machines. After the war ended in 1865, nearly half a million Confederate soldiers returned to their homes following surrender or desertion. Waiting for them was Federal military occupation, a devastated economy shorn of four million slave laborers, and a decimated population of white working-age males. Desperate bands of robbers roamed the countryside, murdering Union men, Blacks, and their families with impunity. Southern leaders,  fearing that formerly enslaved people and their Radical Republican allies were turning their society upside down by electing Black men to serve in political offices while former Confederate officers were stripped of the franchise, used the Ku Klux Klan and other armed vigilantes to frighten their perceived enemies.[6] To many, firearms appeared necessary for self-defense in former slave states where the murder rate during the decade following the war was eighteen times higher than in New England.[7] Similar regional disparities persist today. In 2020, for example, Alabama had more firearm deaths than New York, a state with four times Alabama’s population.[8]

Ku Klux Klan Members 1868, Harpers Weekly

The evolution of America’s exceptional gun culture did not happen overnight, nor can we attribute this unusual phenomenon solely to one historical cause. But new research conducted by a University of Wisconsin historian and a University of Virginia social psychologist analyzed diverse factors such as crime, employment, education, income, spending on law enforcement, gun laws, and political alignment,  and found that higher rates of enslavement in Southern counties in 1860 was the most reliable predictor of higher rates of gun ownership in those same areas today.[9]

In the century and a half since the close of the Civil War, ownership of guns now primarily designed and marketed to kill human beings proliferated rapidly beyond the borders of the former slave states. Historical patterns of mobility, like twentieth century migration patterns from the rural South to urban centers in the North and West, helped export gun culture across the country. Perhaps the most surprising finding in the new research was an analysis of social media engagement that correlated a higher contemporary incidence of gun ownership with connections to friends and family in historically large slave holding counties.

What began as an effort by Southerners to reassert white supremacy and regain political power during Reconstruction, partly through gun violence and intimidation, has transmuted into today’s widely-held belief that households need guns to keep the family safe from dangerous “others.”[10] This seems like a sad legacy of a bloody second American Revolution that was supposed to settle our nation’s greatest social and political issues and herald a new age of equality, justice, and prosperity for all her citizens. Surely Lincoln would have reason to weep.

————

David T. Dixon is the author of Radical Warrior: August Willich’s Journey from German Revolutionary to Union General (Univ. Tennessee Press, 2020).

[1] Time, April 2011.

[2] J. David Hacker, “A Census-Based Count of the Civil War Dead,” Civil War History, Vol. 57, No. 4 (Dec. 2011), 307 —348.

[3] “Global Health Data Exchange — deaths by firearm, 2019,” WorldPopulationReview.com, accessed November 9, 2022.

[4] Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, “Small Arms Survey, 2017,” smallarmssurvey.org, accessed November 9, 2022.

[5] “The United States Army,” Encyclopedia Britannica, britannica.com, accessed November 9, 2022.

[6] Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863—1877 (New York: Harper & Row, 1988), 119—23.

[7] Nick Buttrick and Jessica Mazen, “Historical Prevalence of Slavery Predicts Contemporary American Gun Ownership,” PNAS Nexus, Vol. 1, Issue 3, July 2022, pgac 117, academic.oup.com, accessed November 9, 2022.

[8] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, “Firearm Mortality by State,” cdc.gov, accessed November 9, 2022.

[9] Nick Buttrick and Jessica Mazen, “Historical Prevalence of Slavery Predicts Contemporary American Gun Ownership,” PNAS Nexus, Vol. 1, Issue 3, July 2022, pgac 117, academic.oup.com, accessed November 9, 2022.

[10] Nick Buttrick, “How Slavery helped spawn modern U.S. gun culture,” Los Angeles Times, 6 November 2022.

This entry was posted in Antebellum South, Arms & Armaments, Memory, Reconstruction, Slavery and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to A Legacy of Slavery and the Civil War: America’s Gun Culture

  1. John Pryor says:

    Does anyone else think that this is more than a bit of a logical stretch?

    • Mike Maxwell says:

      One of the few “evils” recognized as having been practiced by President Lincoln during the War of the Rebellion was “his disregard of the U.S. Constitution,” in particular, the suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus…
      Unlike the American Civil War, the Revolution of 1775- 1783 began as a “come as you are” event, with revolutionaries reliant upon the long rifles and shotguns they already possessed in order to conduct that fight… until the first arms from France arrived in 1777. Recognizing the importance of that armed citizenry to the successful outcome of the Revolution, the Right to keep and bear arms was enshrined in the Constitution as the Second Amendment (and fortified by subsequent Supreme Court decisions.)
      Therefore, the Civil War did not “initiate the gun culture.” The American Revolution is responsible… and also the beneficiary of that state of affairs.

  2. There is also a higher rate of obesity in those same counties. I’m sure there is a connection.
    Tom

  3. John D. DAvis says:

    Most of the gun violence in the former slave holding counties in the South is black on black. Our gun culture would be the same today if there were no Civil War.

  4. Vic Vignola says:

    I am still seeking to understand the relevance of Mr. Dixon’s opinion piece.
    Grabbing some current threads of information and then broadly connecting them to the Civil War era sounds like the theme of opinion columns practiced by writers appearing in Slate, Salon, Mother Jones. Mr. Buttrick’s work, cited three times by the author, is revisionist based opinion at best.
    Slavery and Reconstruction is far too important a topic and a stretch column like this is nothing but click-bait.
    I expect better from ECW.

  5. greg49203 says:

    The term ‘Democrat’ is never used, interestingly enough. Democrat controlled urban areas have higher levels of ‘gun’ violence than conservative rural areas. How does that fit into the narrative?

  6. Fascinating stuff, David! Thank you for sharing about this interesting study. I’ve often wondered about the connection between gun ownership and why it’s so prevalent here in the South. This makes a heap of sense, as sad as it is.

  7. grego says:

    Based on 2020 census data, the black population of Alabama is almost 31%, while the black population of New York state is about 14%. hmmm…

    I wonder if the authors of that “study” accounted for this fact? Nah, I didn’t think so.

    • Ted Romans says:

      As someone said in a earlier post, I don’t see the relevance of this opinion piece. Other than stirring up some controversy, I am lost as to why it was approved. BTW, who did approve this article?

  8. carsonfoardsbcglobalnet says:

    This is a new low. For blame for today’s social ills, look no further than the actions of the Union before, during, and after the Civil War. This is baiting, alienating, and divisive. Six out of seven of the above comments agree with me.

  9. DC says:

    ……..yawn.
    Would like to get those few minutes of my life back that was spent reading that article. ECW, you can do better.

  10. mattmckeon says:

    Interesting article. The US is certainly an outlier among developed nations for gun deaths, homicides, accidents or suicides. Other nations have solved this problem. Why can’t we?

    • Matt McKeon says:

      As we can see from the comments, people are quite emotional about their guns. This particular pot is now kept at a near boil; its good business. The level of chronic rage is relatively new, however, dating from the purge of the NRA of anyone willing to compromise.

      A good analogy to the Civil War might be the degree of defensiveness slaveowners demonstrated as slave holding become more and more a minority position in the Western World. The defense of slavery as a positive good and as the basis of civilization, etc. racheted up in the years before the war, as the hysteria over gun ownership has recently. Both concern men terrified of losing power.

  11. Rod says:

    Oh my! The spin masters have hit a new level of low with this article! This propaganda spins the facts in a fabricated direction on so many levels. It is writers like this who continue the effort to sanitize Lincoln’s war in order to disguise the fact that it was a crime against humanity!

    First it must be pointed out that Lincoln’s tears should be tears of guilt for provoking a war and then raising troops to invade other States. Something both Madison and Hamilton declared unthinkable when debates over the coercion of States by force came up in debate at the Constitutional Convention. It was an idea soundly rejected by the Founders, and led to the codifying within the Constitution the definition of “treason” as the invasion of other States. Not only was Lincoln’s invasion treasonous, but it was a crime against humanity and our Union’s own organic law. The UN Charter affirms the right of all people to “self-determination.” And a foundational axiom of our Union is the right to a “government by consent of the governed.” It is a shame Gorbachev was not our President in 1861, for he allowed a secession of the old Soviet States without turning the military loose against them. Had he acted as Lincoln did, the world would have condemned him for committing a reprehensible crime against humanity!

    The Reconstruction that followed was just as bad! Southerners were quite justified in fighting against reconstruction tactics that would have made a banana republic blush at the audacity. Not only were the politics and law making beyond the pale of a civil and law abiding government (the way the 14th Amendment was passed for example), but the deliberate attempt to divide the races in the South for the purpose of political advantage to the Republican Party is the very reason racial animosity, that was common in the North at the time, migrated South and became Jim Crow laws that oppressed blacks for another one hundred and fifty years!

    Now a quick word about all the author’s firearms ownership spin. First, the historical record informs us that the Founders made private firearms ownership a high priority. It is not the “2nd” passed amendment for no reason. And it was established for the expressed purpose of individual and collective self-defense against all enemies both foreign and domestic. Does the author not realize that in the early American society where a meat market could be miles from where you lived, hunting as a means of putting meat on the table was more than common? And that the so called “weapons of war” that he disparages were the same type firearms that the citizenry used for hunting as well as for their role in the militia?

    He spins gun death statistics in a very dishonest manner. He compares “gun deaths” in American society to societies that are far more homogeneous and with a different history than ours. Subtract the gun murder rates of inner city black on black crime, and our murder rates are no different than the countries he compares us to. It is more appropriate to blame Lincoln’s war that ended slavery in a manner that produced a far worse outcome for blacks than in countries where slavery was ended not as an unintended consequence of a war for economic conquest, but as a carefully thought out plan for the welfare and assimilation of those freed into society.

    Of course where there are more firearms, deaths by firearm might be higher. But how you were murdered is not nearly as important as the fact you were murdered. If murder rates are comparable in other countries minus the anomaly of black on black crime in America, this clearly demonstrates that guns are not the problem. Why didn’t he compare overall murder rates in New York to Alabama? It is dishonest on his part to spin the stats in such a manner as he does! Of course firearm murder rates are higher in a State where firearms are not draconianly regulated. But what about overall murder rates? New York’s overall murder rate is much higher, and solid research reveals that in States where there is less firearms regulations, the more firearms are used to prevent murders. This tells us that if New York lessened it firearms regulations, the overall violent crime rate would be reduced. More guns do mean less crime! While firearms murder rates might increase where there are more firearms, a logical expectation, what matters more is the overall murder rate. If you take away guns and the overall murder rate increases, is it supposed to be a good thing that more people were murdered, but at least it wasn’t by guns???

    This article is beyond the pale. When I think modern purveyors of a sanitized Civil War have run out of bleach, they come up with something as absurd as this!

  12. Chris says:

    The author doesn’t go back far enough in history. The slavery that caused the Civil War was preserved by Democrat slave owners imposing gun control on slaves. As a result, the slaves were never able to rebel against their tyrannical masters. The purpose of gun control throughout history has been to preserve the power of the few elites over the many everyman. The people who have supported gun control throughout history are on the side of slave owners and other tyrannical despots who are known for their perpetual destruction of human rights.

  13. Douglas Pauly says:

    Sorry for the length of this. That said, let me get this straight. If I desire to own a gun, I am thus a white supremacist? Is that it? Can someone help me figure out how many slaves I thus allegedly own?

    I think personal safety and protection are the driving factors for much if not most gun ownership today. Violent crimes are on the upswing. Drugs, gangs, and domestic situations drive a great deal of that violence.

    I believe our ‘gun culture’ has more to do with the long and often bloody endeavors to settle this country than anything else. People arrived here from mostly Europe, and facing the ‘brave new world’, they needed weapons, including guns, for protection and for sustainability, i.e., hunting. There were large expanses of the landmass that had no real governance or legal authority, people had to provide for themselves. The colonial and later militias usually brought their own firearms when they assembled. In time the English colonies gained their independence and became their own collective nation. From that the Constitution was written and accepted. Among the entities that writers of that document wanted to protect against was a tyrannical government.

    Fast forward to today, where some governments at the city, county, and state levels have literally handcuffed the police from doing their jobs when it comes to public safety. Some crimes aren’t even pursued (smash and grab anyone?) and prosecutors are routinely knocking back felonies to less serious misdemeanor status. To me, that is indeed an example of a tyrannical government on display, in their deliberately not defending the public. Things like that contribute to the beliefs of many people that they need to possess firearms.

    One implication I get from this article is if you are white, and you own or have access to guns, then you are “still fighting the Civil War”. Gee, why not openly declare that white gun owners are trying to reintroduce slavery into our society? Go all the way here! But regardless, to it all, I shout “foul”.

  14. Preston says:

    Most of the arguments raised by this article are dubious, and all could be debated. It is not a history, legacy or location that commit today’s gun violence. People commit gun violence.

    In our country, for example, the demographic of black males, aged 15-35, (3% of our population) commit 55% of the homicides, 65% of armed robberies. Hispanics, with little historic connection to the issues of 1861-65, perpetrate gun violence at a rate far surpassing their percentage of the population.

    Subtract these two groups, and criminal gun violence in America would be as low as Switzerland or Lichtenstein.

    • Matt McKeon says:

      Maybe a system of concentration camps could “subtract” these groups. Or a Rwanda type call to genocide. Totally love the term “subtract” which will definitely join “cleanse” or “special treatment.”

  15. Frank Schimberg says:

    Since the first Europeans set foot in North America, there has been a desire to be safe from people and animals. Over the centuries responsible gun owners are/were just trying to protect themselves. Relying on the law or police to protect you, isn’t going to happen a hundred, two hundred years ago, and even now. Where a responsible gun owner has a gun, that’s where the law is.

  16. James Gannon says:

    This article is contemporary political opinion, not history. It’s the type of silly proposition that someone might be forth in a pub, after a round or two, This type of thing is not a credit to what has until now been an outstanding serious historical web site.

  17. John B. Sinclair says:

    I think we need a corral for all the high horses roaming around here.

    • Mike Maxwell says:

      My bad… I thought I was contributing to a “Comment Section,” discussing the validity of a connection from the Civil War to the Modern day. [Perhaps comments need to be disabled for sensitive topics?]

  18. Rob Orrison says:

    Talk about a stretch to try to make a point…not everything today is connected to slavery.

  19. nygiant1952 says:

    The 2nd Amendment was written by slave-owners in order to form a militia so that the militia could recalled out to suppress any slave rebellions.

    Recall that even during Braddock
    expedition to Fort Dusquene, the Governor of Virginia feared a slave rebellion since the Virginia militia was sent away with Braddock.

  20. DC says:

    Great job ECW! I think you might have an article winner for highest net comments (LOL). I’m simply here with my popcorn now. Waiting now on someone to next tie in abortion, January 6th or maybe even transgenderism into the fold. Lets not rule out UFO’s either. Its all about everyone’s own “truth”. We can all reimagine things just how we want to in our safe places. I think even Gary Gallagher would agree. No, not the guy who smashes watermelons.

  21. Jonathan says:

    The author of this article wishes to pin the alleged ills of contemporary “gun culture” on a white population’s fascination with firearms.

    Somehow, this fascination trickles down, especially to irredeemably infantile “people of color”, who, upon grasping a deadly but inanimate gun, are somehow seized with an impulse to malignly or foolishly blast each other in a never-ending bloodbath.

    Events from 160 years ago have little or nothing to do with the behavior or personal choices of today’s society.

  22. grandadpookers says:

    I thank the author for making us think as we reflect on the 159 th anniversary of the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery.

  23. Dave D says:

    This is a preposterous article; an exercise in confirmation bias.

    “Post hoc ergo propter hoc”

    • Vic Vignola says:

      Dave, your comment says it best of all the comments made to this post.

      For his 10 sources, the author uses 3 studies/articles written by 2 Social Psychology PhD candidates, 2 international think-tanks, the CDC, a Time magazine cover, an encyclopedia, with 2 small slices of information taken from actual Civil War related material.
      Thus 80% of this article contains threads of opinion and flawed logic at best. For a site such as ECW, I expect a higher standard of content to ensure the submissions they post clearly contain relevance to Civil War related issues and outcomes.
      Mr. Dixon’s submission is a disgrace, both in its premise and to the editors of ECW for even posting it.

  24. tomlongmire says:

    In his first inaugural address, Lincoln stated that he had “no purpose to interfere with slavery where it existed”, it wasn’t about slavery. He also stated his support of the Corwin Amendment, which would have fully constitutionalized slavery. Lincoln stated his motive, “to collect the public duties and imposts”, seeking to ensure the continued primary source of federal revenue. Lincoln wanted his taxes. Lincoln restated this as his purpose in his message to Congress on July 4, 1861.

    Lincoln didn’t care about the slaves/blacks. “I will say that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races. There is a physical difference between the white and black races, which I believe, will forever forbid the two races from living together on terms of social and political equality. And I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.” (Abraham Lincoln, Fourth Lincoln/Douglas Debate 1858)

    Four days before his death, speaking to Gen. Benjamin Butler, Lincoln still pressed on with deportation as the only peaceable solution to America’s race problem. “I can hardly believe that the South and North can live in peace, unless we can get rid of the negroes … I believe that it would be better to export them all to some fertile country…”

    Where has all this hate and intolerance for Confederate history come from in recent years? Most all presidents have supported veterans on both sides of the Civil War. Here are some examples: Woodrow Wilson attended the 50th Gettysburg reunion in 1913; FDR attended the 75th Gettysburg reunion in 1938, dedicated a monument to Robert E. Lee in Dallas, and visited Beauvior Home for Confederate Veterans in 1937; Harry Truman was a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and it took him, a Southerner, to finally desegregate the “Union” military in 1948; Dwight Eisenhower kept a picture of Robert E. Lee in the Oval Office; JFK celebrated the 100th anniversary of the war in 1961; Richard Nixon planned to attend the dedication of the Stone Mountain carving in 1970, but due to the Kent State shooting, Spiro Agnew went in his place; Gerald Ford reinstated Robert E. Lee’s citizenship in 1976; Jimmy Carter reinstated Jefferson Davis’s citizenship in 1978; Joe Biden, as a Senator, voted in favor of restoring both Lee’s and Davis’s citizenships; Bill Clinton congratulated the United Daughters of the Confederacy on their 100th anniversary in 1994; and even Barack Obama credited the Confederacy with the origins of Memorial Day in 2010.

    End the hate, support our Confederate history!

    • nygiant1952 says:

      Comments takeout of context will always seem to say that Lincoln supported slavery. But when confronted with the pesky facts, these comments fall by the wayside.

      Lincoln was elected on the Republican platform which was adamant about refusing ti extend slavery to the territories. Lincoln was aware that slavery was Constitutional and he knew a Constitutional amendment was needed to remove slavery. What Lincoln did not believe was the secession was legal, and he believed that the founding documents made the Union perpetual.

      In view of the Emancipation Proclamation, any comments that Lincoln made prior to it being issued, carry no meaning and no weight. It is will known that Lincoln’s views on slavery changed.

      Recall that Lincoln signed a bill withdrawing the $600,000 appropriated for colonization, of which the administration had spent only about $38,000. Lincoln’s signing of the bill signaled that he was finally abandoning colonization as a viable option for those freed from slavery.

      You forgot to mention that all Republican Presidential candidates from Nixxon to Trump have played the race card.

      • Douglas Pauly says:

        “If you don’t vote for me, you ain’t black” (or words to that effect). Help me here Giant, who said that? LOL..

  25. Mitch says:

    Is the mojo of John C. Calhoun and Jefferson Davis still strong enough to influence guns and crime today?

  26. nygiant1952 says:

    Doug…let’s get the quote correct…..“If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”

    And then Joe Biden went on to explain that he has always had the support of Afro-Americans, the support of the NAACP, and that he had voted to extend the Voting Rights Act for 25 years.

    Joe Biden was showing that there was a contrast between him and Trump. Recall that Trump did not rent to Blacks in NYC.

    LOL

    • Douglas Pauly says:

      “They’re going to put you back in chains!”

      Joe Biden..

      • nygiant1952 says:

        Doug, You know as well as I do , that that comment was directed towards Americans and that comment was made in a room full of Americans. And the comment had to do with Paul Ryan’s budget proposal.

        Now if you want to take this to a political level, we can discuss the Republicans proposing to do away with your Social Security and your Medicare, since they have stated that all entitlements should be re-newed every 5 years.

        Nice try though.

      • Douglas Pauly says:

        Giant, you can spew on all you want in your attempts to justify your party’s always undeniable racism, and them always playing the race card as they see fit, but that pig won’t fly. Your efforts to cover for Biden just hammer in that point. Only white, ancient Democrats like Biden can determine how blacks should think and act. Just asknhim! Some things never change. And if blacks are OK with that, let them have at it.

        Oh….LOL..

  27. Richard says:

    Allow me to highlight a story that directly relates to guns, politics and race.

    Democrats running the state of Oregon will soon enact some of the strictest gun control measures in the U.S. In addition to onerous fees, requirements for expensive firearms training, interviews, questionnaires, social media reviews, etc. any eligible person buying a gun must also produce multiple forms of identification.

    Focus on the word “identification”. When it comes to voting, is it not Democrats who oppose any attempts to require voter Identification?

    According to a majority of Democrats, mandated identification disenfranchises American blacks especially, who, unlike any other people on earth, apparently cannot be expected to make the effort nor have the intelligence to fill out ID forms, find a place to take a ID photo, or remember to carry ID on election day.

    Oregon Democrats, requiring identification to purchase a firearm, are reaching back to their racist past, striving to keep blacks disarmed, and covertly disenfranchising blacks of their 2nd amendment rights.

    • nygiant1952 says:

      Democrats insists that one must show Identification when they register to vote. Several forms of ID are…
      Photo ID:

      driver’s license (must be unexpired)
      DOT ID card (must be unexpired)
      ID issued by State
      ID issued by United States government
      US Passport
      Military ID
      Student ID
      Employee ID
      OR

      You can use a non-photo form of identification that shows your name and address:

      Voter Registration Card
      ID issued by State
      ID issued by United States government
      Firearm permit
      Current utility bill, bank statement or paycheck

      Voter ID laws in order to vote, deprive many voters of their right to vote, reduce participation, and stand in direct opposition to our country’s trend of including more Americans in the democratic process. Many Americans do not have one of the forms of identification states acceptable for voting. These voters are disproportionately low-income, racial and ethnic minorities, the elderly, and people with disabilities. Such voters more frequently have difficulty obtaining ID, because they cannot afford or cannot obtain the underlying documents that are a prerequisite to obtaining government-issued photo ID card.

      This has nothing to do with disenfranchising Afro-Amercians from their 2nd Amendment Rights.

      And let me inform you that the democratic Party was not a racist party. Recall from your courses you took in high school about the 1860 Presidential election. I was taught that slavery caused a severe division in all aspects of American life. You know as well as I do that the Baptist religion split, and that split continues to this day with the Southern Baptist Church. Slavery also divided political parties.

      Recall that in the Presidential election of 1860, there were 4 candidates..right? …John Bell of the Constitutional Union Party, Stephen Douglas of the Democratic Party, Abraham Lincoln of the Republican Party, and John Breckenridge of the Southern Democratic Party…right? Right!

      Twice, the Southern democrats walked out of the Democratic Party Convention, in Charleston SC and in Baltimore Maryland. They formed their own political party and ran their own candidate.

      It was the Southern Democrats along with the defeated Confederates that exposed their racism by forming the KKK.

      Also recall taht in 1883, the Republican Party abandoned the newly liberated Afro-American in the 5 Civil Rights cases that led to Jim Crow.

  28. nygiant1952 says:

    Doug, You can spew all you want to about justifying your Party’s undeniable racism. let me remind you that…
    1. The Republican Party abandoned the newly liberated Afro-American in the 5 Civil Rights cases of 1883 which led to Jim Crow.
    2. All Republican Presidential candidates from Nixxon to Trump played the race card in the South.
    3. Lee Atwater has apologized to Michael S. Dukakis for the “naked cruelty” of a remark he made about the Democratic Presidential nominee in the 1988 campaign. Recall the Willie Horton ad.
    4. Reagan went to the site of the murder of 3 White Freedom riders to extol states rights.
    5. Trump refused to rent to Afro-Americans.
    6. I bet you will try and tell us how the Democratic Party formed the KKK. Yo know as well as I do that is not true.

    Nice try!

    LOL

    • Douglas Pauly says:

      Giant, YOU can deflect all you want from your party’s sordid history and legacy of racism, that won’t change the facts or truth of the matter. Biden is just one of the latest who continues that tradition among you all. You can continue to try to defend the indefensible all you want, I’ll just point out again how that pig won’t fly. Your Democrats DID create the Klan and Jim Crow, after they started the Civil War to hold onto their slaves. They did so to stop Republican gains in the South. But you already know that. LOL.

      Enjoy your Thanksgiving.

      • nygiant1952 says:

        1. The GOP did abandon the newly liberated Afro-American.

        2. The Civil War was started by Southern Democrats who left the National Democratic Party . They ran their own candidate, John Breckenridge. Recall that there were 4 candidates for President. The Northern Democrats who remained loyal to the Union, ran Stephen Douglas.

        3. Everyone knows the South left the Union because of the issue of slavery. IIRC, Lincoln was not on the ballot in the Southern Staes, so your comment about stopping Republican gains is a-historical.

        4. Do you know what the Republican “Southern strategy was?” Nixon through Trump used it in every Presidential election.

        5. Northern Democrats fought for the Union to preserve the Union. Dan Sickles was one. So was George McClellan.

        6. Are you aware that the Southern Democrats left the Democratic Party?

        Nice try, but that pig that the Democrats created the KKK, no longer flies with Civil War scholarship.

        BTW, those Southern Democrats are now Republicans ever since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

        Happy Thanksgiving! And lets thank the colonists at Berkeley Plantation for our 1st Thanksgiving.

  29. Douglas Miller says:

    Well, I was raised in gun country and learned early on that these gun nuts are crazy crybabies. And it has only gotten worse over the decades.
    My father and his brother taught me about guns in society. They were both WW2 veterans and my father was a Republican politician and businessman. He’s also the one who turned me on to the Civil War and big picture history.
    What i learned from them is this:
    Bringing a gun into one’s home is dangerous and reckless, but almost everyone in our town was armed. Dad told me to watch, over time, how many examples came up of people actually using those guns to defend themselves. He’d never seen one, ever.
    Yet, in this same town (which is mostly white), people are always shooting each other left and right! Domestic disputes, suicides, gun accidents happen all the time. He would always point that out in the daily paper, and I started noticing it myself.
    My dad always laughed when there was talk of a house break in because, in almost every case, what was listed as being stolen? Guns!!

    I have a young friend who asked his father, a retired veteran police officer, what type of gun he should buy for his home. “Pick the weapon you would like to be shot BY”, was his response, since he knew statistically that was so much more likely to happen.
    I’ve known many gun extremists personally. Some that still contend the 2nd Amendment allows any citizen, without any background check, to own a fully automatic machine gun. “Those damn liberals are taking away our rights!” they scream with intense anger..
    On the average year, 35,000 Americans die from guns. In Japan it is usually one or two. But remember, “it’s not about the guns”!

    And always remember it was the Nazis who invented the perfect human killing machine, the assault rifle. They created it to kill Americans. Who would’ve thought, 50 years later, that their weapon would still be slaughtering so many of us today?!
    The gun extremists I know absolutely love these guns, of course. After the Sandy Hook massacre, authorities could only identify many of the children by their shoes. Their bodies had been blown to pieces. To NRA types, they consider that a “good thing” about assault rifles.
    Four hundred million guns in a nation of three hundred million! And some people think that is not enough?

  30. Abdullah says:

    Mr. Miller, your strident anti-gun screed has a flaw. In your opinion, having a gun in your home is reckless. This may be so, but consider that millions of your fellow citizens have indeed owned firearms for their entire life without incident.

    In the white community you mention, you cite the suicides and gun accidents. However, what about those communities in numerous American cities in which blacks are 40x more likely to be both perpetrator and victim of illegal gun use vs. white residents.

    Would you bar legal firearm ownership for blacks wishing to defend their life from criminal violence? Should they trust your wisdom that guns are always bad? Faced by a deadly criminal threat, should a victim only prey for mercy?

  31. Barbara says:

    Frederick Douglas advocated for the right of black men to own firearms.

    Many decades later, why do 20+ Democrat-controlled states today work to prevent this, treating the 2nd Amendment as a second-tier right.

    These states harass and penalize their citizens, especially poor, minority and marginalized citizens, by putting up barriers to firearm ownership via high fees, training courses, wait lists, personal interviews from potentially prejudiced officials, annual renewals and recertification.

    In many “red” states, needing no government permission or license, a pistol in the pocket is okay, a legal constitutional right for any adult so inclined with no criminal record.

    Ten miles away, upon crossing the border of a blue state, that same law-abiding person found with a pocket pistol is deemed a criminal, probably shackled, and can lose their freedom.

  32. nygiant1952 says:

    The 2nd Amendment was written by a Southern slave holder in order to be able to call out the militia if there was ever a slave rebellion. And documentation of the fear of a slave rebellion , precedes in American History any discussion of a British Army occupying Boston. Recall that in the US Constitution, the Congress has the right to call out the militia to suppress and invasions or rebellions.

    The 2nd Amendment does not exist so that citizens can over throw the duly elected government. The US is not Fascist Spain.

    The Constitution does give the right to petition the Government in the 1st Amendment the right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    But no where in the US Constitution is there right to over-throw the duly elected Government. If that grievance still exists, that does not mean that anyone can over-throw the Government. That same Congress can call out the militia to suppress any rebellion against the said duly elected Government.

    The right to change the Government is given to American citizens because of the right to vote.
    ================================================================

    The 2nd Amendment is nothing more than an anachronism to a time when the United States was still a frontier. World events have forced the United States to maintain a standing army for our defense. And recall that our service men and women take an oath to protect and defend the US Constitution, and not to some popular leader. This is not Nazi Germany.

    Americans are tired of the weekly mass shootings and murders which occur every week. It’s become so commonplace…Sandy Hook, Columbine, Parkland, Charleston, the Pittsburg synagogue, El Paso, Las Vegas, Uvalde, Chesapeake Virginia, Colorado Springs, the attempted murder of Gabby Giffords, the assassination attempt on President Reagan, the shooting of Steve. Scalise. All because of the easy access to a firearm. I don’t even have to look them up, they are so routine now.

    The NRA will tell you that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun. Well, we Americans have learned through our experience that , that comment is a canard. Uvalde and Parkland proved that beyond a reasonable doubt.

  33. Brian says:

    More gun ownership in former areas of concentrated slave-holding is simple to understand. These areas are still heavily populated by blacks. The crime in these areas is far above the national average.

    Certainly, a significant number of the lawful people living in these areas would acquire guns in response to the crime threat. If forced to live with this reality, you might do the same.

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