Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Rush to Judgment for the Confederate Flag - Feeding a Media and Political Frenzy


So here we are, turning a tragedy into a media circus by convincing the public that the only way to address the tragic mass murder in South Carolina is to banish that evil Confederate flag forever.  However, do our so-called media experts, social advocates, and political opportunists really have their historical facts in order?

The flag they are removing from South Carolina, Alabama, and Virginia was not the Confederate Flag.  No, this is a case of mistaken identity common within the liberal media when fact checking seems to be a lost art.  By the way, if that flag really was such a heinous and demonic symbol, why did the most popular Democrat of modern times, Bill Clinton, use it prominently in his presidential campaign?  Where was the liberal media in 1992?

No, they have it all wrong.  Yes, the flag flying over South Carolina has no business being there.  Not because it was the symbol of slavery in the South during the Civil War, which it was not, and not because it was a flag used in various forms by Confederate military regiments from the various southern states during the Civil War, which is true.

No, we should take it down because a few politicians hijacked the battle flag of courageous Southern and ultimately American soldiers.  The politicians hated the federal government, hated integration, and hated equality, and were the same politicians who tried to change history by making that flag a symbol of hatred.  By the way, those politicians were acting 100 years after the Civil War.

Ironically, the same politicians were all Democrats.

In 1948, Strom Thurmond's States' Rights Party adopted the Battle Flag of Northern Virginia as a symbol of defiance against the federal government. What precisely required such defiance?

At the time, the Democratic Party platform contained a progressive component on civil rights.  The opponents to the platform feared it gave the president far too much power over the states to enforce civil rights laws in the South.

In 1956, Georgia adopted its version of the same battle flag, not the flag of the Confederacy, to protest the Supreme Court's ruling against segregated schools, in Brown v. Board of Education.

The flag first flew over a state capitol in 1961 when Governor George Wallace raised it over the grounds of the legislature in Alabama to defy President Kennedy and his efforts to integrate Alabama schools.

In fact his intent was quite specifically to link more aggressive efforts to integrate the South with the trigger of secession 100 years before — namely, the storming of occupied Fort Sumter by federal troops. Fort Sumter, you might recall, is located at the mouth of Charleston Harbor.

Opposition to civil rights legislation, to integration, to miscegenation, to social equality for black people — these are the major plot points that make up the flag's recent history. Not Vietnam. Not opposition to Northern culture or values. Not tourism. Not ObamaCare. Not anything else.

What was the real Confederate Flag?

Designing a Confederate flag was one of the first orders of business for the new Confederate government. To take care of this, the Committee on the Flag and Seal was formed. South Carolinian William Porcher Miles was elected to chair the new committee. Miles put forward his own design for the flag, but he soon ran into opposition when the committee asked for public input on the new flag. The prevalent opinion was that the new flag should resemble the "old" United States flag. One of the designs submitted by the public began to gain some traction...

The new design had been submitted by a German-American artist named Nicola Marschall. Marschall was born in St. Wendel, Germany, and moved to Alabama in 1849. When the committee solicited suggestions for the new flag, Mary Clay Lockett, the wife of a friend, pushed Marschall to submit a design. After some consideration, Marschall submitted a design said to be largely based on the Austrian flag.

His design was adopted as the new Confederate flag over Miles's design, largely because Marschall's was recognizably similar to the U. S. flag. The new flag was soon popularly known as the "Stars and Bars" in an obvious nod to U. S. "Stars and Stripes."

The "Stars and Bars" originally had seven stars representing the seven original seceded states. More stars were added as more states were claimed by the Confederacy until the thirteenth and final star was added in late 1861. 

Similarity to the U. S. flag was what made the first Confederate flag popular, but it is also what eventually brought about its demise...

Second and Third National Flags

Eventually, the Confederacy grew tired of having a flag that could easily be confused with their enemy's flag. So, the Committee on the Flag and Seal started work on a new design. Everyone agreed that the new design should incorporate the, now popular, battle flag...

In May of 1863, the second national Confederate flag was unveiled. The new design placed the battle flag in the upper left corner of the flag, and called for the body of the flag to be white. This new flag was commonly referred to as the "Stainless Banner." Unfortunately, this flag met with problems as well.

It was soon realized that, unless there was a strong wind to keep the "Stainless Banner" outstretched, the new flag tended to look like a white flag of truce. When the flag hung limply, it was easy to miss the battle flag in the corner. In time, it was decided that this problem should be remedied...

The third national Confederate flag was unveiled in March of 1865, only weeks before Lee's surrender. This design simply called for a vertical red bar to be added to the outer end of the "Stainless Banner." The new flag was dubbed the "Bloodstained Banner," and served as the national Confederate flag until the Confederacy was dissolved.

Origin of Confederate Battle Flag

When most people think of a Confederate flag, the design that pops into their mind is more like this flag.

This flag is in fact the Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, and it came about as a direct result of the similarity of the "Stars and Bars" to the "Stars and Stripes."

The battle flag design is, in fact, the original design suggested by William Miles for the national flag. Even though his committee had rejected his design, Miles did not give up hope of finding a use for his flag. That hope would be rewarded at the First Battle of Manassas (Bull Run)...

This was the fist major battle of the civil war, and most of the Confederate units involved simply carried the new national flag. Here is where the problem with having a flag similar to that of your enemy was fully realized. After dealing with the confusion on the battlefield caused by his flags, the Confederate commander, General P. G. T. Beauregard, was anxious to find a solution...

William Miles just happened to be one of Beauregard's aides, and he told the General about his design that had been rejected. Beauregard liked the idea, and the Committee  on the Flag and Seal was asked to change the national flag. They rejected the idea...

Knowing the importance of this problem, General Beauregard suggested to his superiors that a uniform battle flag, that could not be confused with the U. S. flag, should be adopted. In the end, Miles's design was adopted as the official Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, and it went on to become the most popular and enduring symbol of the Confederacy.

Regarding the use of the Confederate battle flag, eleven states officially seceded and joined the Confederacy, but the battle flag also included stars for the slave states of Kentucky and Missouri because they formed Confederate governments in exile.  Each state and often each general selected their own version of a battle flag and use was restricted to the actual fighting regiments.

Today what we call the Confederate Flag was never the Confederate Flag of the Southern Confederacy, but 100 years later a version of this battle flag was hijacked and used for a far more sinister use.


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