Thursday, December 28, 2006

I Do Not Care for the North or Yankees

In 1863, General Robert E. Lee was forced to invade the North. The War of Northern Aggression saw the South illegally invaded by Union forces, and General Lee was forced to bring the war to the Yankees on their own turf. Obviously his invasion proved unsuccessful in the long run. As I sit here in Philadelphia, I think I feel something akin to what my ancestors must have felt as they crossed that invisible Mason-Dixon line into the North. I look at the people here in this city and none of them look like me. I'm not talking about skin tone or ethnic extraction. We are all Americans, certainly…but not of the same mold. I'm talking about behavior, attitude, gait even. Everyone in the streets look like some kind of caricature to me. Everyone looks like they just stepped out of an episode of Law and Order, or a rap video. Even the people’s clothing has graffiti on it. They speak with odd accents. They are rude. They say “yo” all the time. I do not like the North. It’s cold; it’s dingy; it’s dirty; it’s too crowded. In short, I thank God, in all sincerity, that I was not born up here, and that I’ll never have to live here.

2 comments:

brent said...

Can you remind me about the part of the war where Lee was "forced" to march on Washington D.C.? My recollection is that he chose to do it because he thought it might give the South a tactical and political advantage. It was never that the North trapped him and he had to go north, as far as I can remember. Or are you using the word "forced" somewhat lightly? (Like, my wife "forced" me to have another bowl of ice cream.)

I'd also mention that "illegal" seems to be a relative term in this context. Lincoln always said that the people, not the states, had ratified the Constitution, and that therefore when troops were sent to the South, it was to free the people who agreed to the compact of the Constitution from the states, which were trying to interfere with that compact. It's a fine line in terms of logic, but no finer than calling the war a war of norther agression.

Mac said...

Lee was never "forced" by their hand, but felt that the only way to give the Virginia theatre a chance to recoup, and the only way to win the war was to attack the Yankees on their own turf. He failed at Antietam, and again at Gettysburg, but he had few other options, as the North was superior in number of troops, equipment, supply lines, and morale (at that point) and had his coast blockaded almost in its entirety.

Illegal is always relative (for example, if I don't agree to the heteronomous laws that I operate in, then I might not consider my actions illegal), and indeed Lincoln did try and parse out his justification for invading. Having read extensively on the subject when I was a young man, I can tell you that the general feeling in the South was not anger against Abolition and fighting to protect the institution of slavery. The feeling I always had was that people volunteered to fight to repel the invaders of their homeland. Either way, it was complicated. Lincoln had a point, but the people that he was supposedly trying to free were not citizens when the Constitution was created, and the non-slaves that wanted his intervention were virtually non-existent.

This is one layman's opinion. I would probably be laughed out of a conference on the history of the war.

Brent,
You have a gift with words. If I ever need a lawyer, you are my first choice (if I can afford you).