Recently there has been an upsurge in controversy over the Confederate flag and it’s removal from not only state houses but even private citizens access to one. Now there is a long history surrounding the flag. Everyone seems to be in an uproar, even the generally calm, friendly and welcoming world of quilters has been affected. In one of the quilting Facebook groups I belong to a lovely quilt made by Donna Lee Conrad Massey for her husband depicting the Confederate flag theme was both praised and criticised. See the photo above of her quilt for which she graciously gave me permission to use. Her quilt is a beautiful piece of artwork.
Many people do not believe that this reminder of the American Civil War and the battle over slavery should be so prominently displayed. But how many are aware that this flag is not the flag that was the flag of the Confederate States of America? The flag over which there is so much controversy was actually a battle flag for the Confederate army not the Flag of the Confederacy. Historians have somewhat differing opinions on the cause of the Civil War, certainly the issue of slavery became known as the cause. There are some who claim it was a ‘states rights’ issue when the federal government banned importing slavery into new territories. Others say that the issue that began the cessation of several states was tariffs. Whatever the actual cause the Confederate soldiers believed they were fighting for states rights. They believed the individual states had the right to choose whether slavery was legal, not the federal government. When the Civil War began emancipation was not the original intent, though Lincoln was anti-slavery. Freeing the African slaves was an easy addition to the ultimate intent of the war, to reunite the states.
Today many view the flag as a symbol of the south. I suppose it could be interpreted as as symbol of slavery, but, we in the United States of America are no longer a people who condone slavery. That issue was settled generations ago. As for issues of the Civil War, I really wouldn’t have to look very hard to find ancestors of mine that were on both sides of the Civil War. I would think that many of us who have progenitors from that period who had already settled here would find the same thing.
I’m certainly glad that we outlawed slavery but I do not believe that the controversy over the Confederate battle flag should be an issue at all. At this point it is mostly viewed as a cultural symbol of the southern states that had seceded from the union because of objections to the interference of the federal government. Those same issues are present today in other forms. States rights have been over ruled by our federal government in many areas. What I see happening is more and more power taken at the federal level and less and less power retained by the states.
I would recommend we stop fighting over silly issues such as a Confederate flag, which happens to be a very pretty flag, and start considering the issues that really matter, those that take away our freedoms and push us further and further into another kind of slavery. The kind where the government legislates control over what it’s citizens can and cannot do until we, the citizens, can no longer pursue happiness. At that point, and it is headed our way, we will be living in a fascist state and no one will have any rights. The Constitution and Bill of Rights that were the guiding documents for this republic will be completely undermined. We need to be united in the fight for keeping our God given rights as outlined in the Declaration of Independence and codified in our Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Again, I would like to thank Donna Lee Conrad Massey for allowing me to use her photograph of her lovely quilt for my blog post.