Were Confederate Generals Traitors?, by Walter E.Williams | Creators Syndicate

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Were Confederate Generals Traitors?, by Walter E.Williams | Creators Syndicate

From the brilliant professor of economics at George Mason U. (who happens to be an African American):

"America's first secessionist movement started in New England after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Many were infuriated by what they saw as an unconstitutional act by President Thomas Jefferson. The movement was led by Timothy Pickering of Massachusetts, George Washington's secretary of war and secretary of state. He later became a congressman and senator. 'The principles of our Revolution point to the remedy -- a separation,' Pickering wrote to George Cabot in 1803, for "the people of the East cannot reconcile their habits, views, and interests with those of the South and West." His Senate colleague James Hillhouse of Connecticut agreed, saying, "The Eastern states must and will dissolve the union and form a separate government." This call for secession was shared by other prominent Americans, such as John Quincy Adams, Elbridge Gerry, Fisher Ames, Josiah Quincy III and Joseph Story. The call failed to garner support at the 1814-15 Hartford Convention.

"The U.S. Constitution would have never been ratified -- and a union never created -- if the people of those 13 'free sovereign and Independent States' did not believe that they had the right to secede. Even on the eve of the War of 1861, unionist politicians saw secession as a right that states had. Rep. Jacob M. Kunkel of Maryland said, 'Any attempt to preserve the union between the states of this Confederacy by force would be impractical and destructive of republican liberty.' The Northern Democratic and Republican parties favored allowing the South to secede in peace....

"Confederate generals were fighting for independence from the Union just as George Washington and other generals fought for independence from Great Britain. Those who'd label Gen. Robert E. Lee as a traitor might also label George Washington as a traitor. I'm sure Great Britain's King George III would have agreed."

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