“It causes two different and conflicting emotions to rise up within me – the one, to abandon a life of politics where such things alone find place, and another, to buckle on my armor anew that I may the better fight the battle of the poor and oppressed colored man, who is regarded by the old slave holder only as an inferior, and not fight for the duties of citizenship.”
– Sen. Adelbert Ames of Mississippi, 1872
Here’s another flashback to Reconstruction in Louisiana where the alien Yankee concept that America is a “multiracial democracy” and a “proposition nation” was famously imposed on the region for the first time by the Union Army.
Surely, if the Confederacy had been fighting for “freedom” or “states rights” or to “preserve slavery,” and if the conflict had nothing to do with race, ethnicity, or culture, then the events that transpired during Reconstruction would have never happened.
The war and everything that followed in its wake was always really about preserving Dixie as a “White Man’s Country.” It is the Southern counterpart to New England’s cultural ideal of being a “City on a Hill.”
The Franklin Enterprise
“We ask for no assistance; we protest against any intervention. We own this soil of Louisiana, by virtue of our endeavor, as a heritage from our ancestors, and it is ours, and ours alone. Science, literature, history, art, civilization, and law belong alone to us, and not to the negroes. They have no record but barbarism and idolatry, nothing since the war but that of error, incapacity, beastliness, voudouism, and crime. Their right to vote is but the result of the war, their exercise of it a monstrous imposition, and a vindictive punishment upon us for that ill-advised rebellion.
Therefore we are banding together in a White League army, drawn up only on the defensive, exasperated by continual wrong, it is true, but acting under Christian and high-principled leaders, and determined to defeat these negroes in their infamous design of depriving us of all we hold sacred and precious on the soil of our nativity or adoption, or perish in the attempt.
Come what may, upon the radical party must rest the whole responsibility of this conflict, as sure as there is a just God in heaven, their unnatural, cold-blooded and revengeful measures of reconstruction in Louisiana will meet with a terrible retribution.”
“White Men Unite” was a common rallying cry in Dixie in Reconstruction. This ideal is part of Southern culture. It was not part of Yankee culture. Their ideal was to unite with blacks and lead negro armies into Richmond and Charleston.
As Eric Foner explains, there were only 5 states that gave citizenship and voting rights to “African-Americans” before the War Between the States: Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, and Connecticut.