19th Century Fake News

By James (Jim) Pederson on Jul 14, 2020

While Fake News may be a new term, the concept has a long history.  We have been taught that a free, independent, and ethical press is essential for a free society to function and thrive; however, in practice, the American press has typically been far from these ideals. The press has been most malicious in times of crisis, acting not as recorders of history, but active players in the drama, manipulating both public opinion and political leaders.

Leading up to the War Between the States, reporters for major newspapers and periodicals saw themselves as entitled to embellish stories in a custom or practice referred to as “faking it” in order to attract readers and maximize distribution and sales.[1] The two main newspapers in New York at the time were the Tribune, managed by Horace Greeley [pictured above], which was anti-slavery and progressive, and the Herald, run by Gordon Bennett. The Herald had by far the largest daily circulation, but the weekly Tribune, which was nationwide, had over 200,000 readers making it the most influential paper across the country, especially in the Yankee Midwest.[2] Greeley made a practice of sending reporters to the South to describe the worst aspects of slavery for the Northern reader which incensed Bennett.  One account taken from “Disease in the Public Mind” goes as follows:

“One vivid story portrayed a dialogue between a slave and a would-be buyer at a slave auction. A male slave was trying to persuade the white man to buy him, his wife, and two children. “Look at me, Masr. Am prime rice planter; sho you won’t find a better man den me . . . Do carpenter work too, a little. I be good servent, Masr. Molly, my wife, too . . . Fus rate rice hand. Mos’ as good as me. Stan’ out, Molly, let the gen’lemu see.” Molly stepped out and her husband praised her. “Good arm, dat, mas’r. She do a heap of work mo. Let good Mas’er see your teeth. All reg’lar.” He ordered his seven-year-old son, Israel, to step out and “show the gen’lman how spry you be.” Next he displayed his three-year-old daughter, Vandy. “Make prime girl by and by. Better buy us, Mas’er. We fus’rate bargain.” The story closed with the reporter’s acid words, “The benevolent gentleman . . . bought someone else.””[3][4]

Some of these stories, which may have had a kernel of truth, had the effect of making a bad situation much worse.  In this particular example, the basis of which can’t be sourced or proven, the story has lived on and been repeated in other books and media since in various adapted forms. Note, how a dialect is portrayed in alternative spelling to emphasize illiteracy.

The Tribune consistently pictured southern plantations as “Negro Harems” and further stated that Southerners regularly hired female slaves for the purpose of prostitution. On a typical Southern night, “ebony hued divinities” strolled to “the office of a colonel on one street, a doctor in another, a lawyer in another.” As a result of these practices the southerner developed a scorn for daily labor. The Tribune had claimed that no Southern president “has failed to leave . . . mulatto children” and that the South had fewer religious people and churches than in the North. [5] Religious participation was roughly the same, at about 35% of the population, but this was only true because of a rapidly growing Catholic population in the North. If Catholics were excluded, as they would have been from the very definition of Christianity by progressive Northern Evangelicals, the South had a larger percentage of protestant population.  While there were a fair amount of mixed race births, it wasn’t common either and claims of sexual abuse and exploitation were literary fabrications that, at best, would take a single incident or accusation and project it across an entire population. The South was consistently portrayed as being far behind the North in every conceivable way and was an impediment to the progress of the Puritan nation.

The feedback between the prominent abolitionists and the publishers that catered to them was like an amplifier without no external feedback loop or filter. Following the pattern of the evangelical tent meeting, they believed that smearing the South’s reputation in every way possible was the best way to create the sort of fear or anxiety that would lead to mass conversion to their cause. In one recurring analogy the South was portrayed as a province ruled by Satan that would consume the North’s soul if the citizens did not put an end to the sin of slavery. The South’s lust for power was built into the system where Southerners learned to dominate male slaves and sexually exploit female slaves from boyhood (note that no assessment of the percentage of the population that owned slaves was provided here – everyone is guilty) creating an “erotic society” where whites were guilty of “all the vicious gratifications that unrestrained lust can amalgamate”. “Southern states are one great Sodom.”[6][7]

The sexual imagery and accusations were especially impactful to Yankee women who made up a large portion of the abolitionist movements and rapidly evolving Northern evangelicalism. In reality, strong religious faith and culture amongst the Southern population, even amongst people who were not active religious participants, led most to take their marriage vows seriously.

Protestant ministers identified “Slave Power” as the anti-Christ that came to power in America after their Protestant ancestors had defeated this evil in a century’s long struggle with the Catholic Church. The South was the apocalyptic dragon of Revelation, coming to strangle freedom in the North as it had in the South. [8] Some wove this into an alternative historical narrative where the Louisiana territory was acquired for the expansion of slavery, Jefferson’s embargo during the War of 1812 was done to cripple New England, Southern military leaders prevented “the brave soldiers of New England and New York from capturing Canada”, and caused the financial panic of 1837, draining wealth from New England and the North.[9] They also consistently claimed that the South was far behind the north in per capita wealth which was far from true, and developed false quotes from their adversaries to argue against.  Garrison, who enthusiastically embraced and participated in all this sort of discourse despite his evolving religious views, added “the spirit of southern slavery is a spirit of EXTERMINATION against all those who represent it as a dishonor to our country, rebellion against God and treason to the liberties of mankind.”[10]

Clyde Wilson summarized the situation of 1860 by saying, “the North had been Yankeeized, for the most part quietly, by control of churches, schools, and other cultural institutions, by whipping up a frenzy of paranoia about the alleged plot of the South to spread slavery to the North”.[11] This, of course, wasn’t planned or even conceived of and couldn’t happen for economic reasons that constrained the spread of slavery.

Dealing with this small but loud contingent of people posed some challenges for the Republican Party that wanted support of abolitionists and their associated media outlets, but realized they were a small group and were alienating others. In Kansas they came up with the slogan “free soil for free men”.  This incorporated an appeal to the Free Soil party and the anti-slavery settlers, which was a state without Blacks either slave or free. By not saying “free white men” they didn’t specifically confront the various types of abolitionists and walked a line between all these stakeholder groups.[12]

So in the end how effective was the abuse of media at swaying public opinion? Even given distribution numbers for papers and periodicals that approached 200,000 this was only about 1.6 percent of the Northern adult population at the time of the war which roughly paralleled abolition societies total membership.  This coupled with the stagnant or decreasing size of the abolitionist movement would lead to the conclusion of “not much” but the narrative did appear to dominate the political discourse and force others to respond to it. The following account from Thomas Fleming of an encounter between Lincoln and two antislavery clergymen drives home the point that the abolitionist case was not making headway with the electorate, “Lincoln urged them to understand that they were part of a movement, which meant they talked mostly to each other. As president, he heard opinions from many sorts of people throughout the nation and “it appears to me the great masses of the country care comparatively little about the Negro.” He urged them to go home and try to bring more people to their views.”[13]

Even as the War progressed towards its later phases, the abolitionists’ political and media power made it very difficult for Lincoln to negotiate any sort of peace. On December 1 of 1862, one month before the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln gave his annual address to congress that proposed three elements for gradual emancipation that could extend as far into the future at 1900 in order to “spare both races from the dangers of sudden derangement” and to spare freed slaves “from the vagrant destitution that must largely attend immediate emancipation”. His plan would also include compensation for slave owners as he recognized all other countries that had ended slavery did this.[14]  This may have spared the reunited country over a hundred years of misery but the radical Republicans and the abolitionist press would have none of it and theirs was the position reflected in the proclamation. When Lincoln asked Congress to consider a constitutional amendment that would guarantee gradual compensated emancipation to any state, the abolitionist response shut this down rapidly. William Lloyd Garrison declared, “The president is demented—or else a veritable Rip Van Winkle… (His proposal) borders upon hopeless lunacy”.  Abolitionist Wendell Phillips said the president “had no mind whatever” and compared him to a tortoise. Phillips had previously referred to Lincoln as a “county court advocate” and Lincoln said of him “I don’t see how God lets him live!”[15]

According to historian of slavery, David Brion Davis, in The Slave Power Conspiracy (from Walter Fleming Lectures on Southern History),  the final “paranoid” phase of the abolitionist movement was launched by as few as twenty five people[16] who had a large media presence and financial resources. The reality of abolitionism is that there were some who held to a modern concept of racial equality but far more were driven by a hatred of the South and belief in their own cultural superiority. Most would have been in agreement with abolitionist and renown author, Ralph Waldo Emerson who predicted that black people being an “inferior race” would eventually “go the way of the Dodo Bird” into extinction.[17]

[1] Fleming, Thomas. A Disease in the Public Mind (p. 216). Hachette Books..

[2] Fleming, Thomas. A Disease in the Public Mind (p. 217). Hachette Books..

[3] Fleming, Thomas. A Disease in the Public Mind (p. 217). Hachette Books.

[4] Craven, The Coming of the Civil War, 341–343,

[5] Fleming, Thomas. A Disease in the Public Mind (p. 217 – 218). Hachette Books.

[6] Fleming, Thomas. A Disease in the Public Mind (p. 178). Hachette Books.

[7] Arkin, “The Federalist Trope,” 94..

[8] Fleming, Thomas. A Disease in the Public Mind (p. 178). Hachette Books.

[9] Fleming, Thomas. A Disease in the Public Mind (p. 178 – 179). Hachette Books.

[10] Charles Sumner, The Works of Charles Sumner (Boston: 1875), p. 64..

[11] https://www.lewrockwell.com/2013/07/thomas-dilorenzo/who-caused-the-1861-65-bloodbath/

[12] Fleming, Thomas. A Disease in the Public Mind (p. 214 – 215). Hachette Books.

[13] Fleming, Thomas. A Disease in the Public Mind (p. 295). Hachette Books.

[14] Sale, Kirkpatrick, Emancipation Hell – The Tragedy Wrought by Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, Shotwell Publishing, p. 10-11

[15] Fleming, Thomas. A Disease in the Public Mind (p. 294 – 297). Hachette Books.

[16] Davis, David Bryan The Slave Power Conspiracy, p. 62

[17] https://www.lewrockwell.com/2013/07/thomas-dilorenzo/who-caused-the-1861-65-bloodbath/

About James (Jim) Pederson

James (Jim) Pederson is a systems engineer specializing in data analytics for a major a aerospace company who is a self taught independent historian and active member of Sons of Confederate Veterans. He currently resides in Texas.

This article is reprinted from https://www.abbevilleinstitute.org/blog/19th-century-fake-news/ The friends of the SNC are encouraged to review the Abbeville Institute’s excellent articles and seminars.

The Dishonest Thanksgiving Proclamation

In 2010, Thomas DiLorenzo wrote the following article as a commentary on the Thanksgiving Proclamation given by President Abraham Lincoln. The man destroyed the Constitution in the name of preserving it and created greater animosity between the States as he proclaimed union.

The Most Cynical and Hypocritical Speech Ever Delivered

by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

Over the Thanksgiving holiday (decreed by Lincoln in 1863) one neocon Tabloid, National Review, reprinted Lincoln’s October 3, 1863 proclamation, highlighting Abe’s cynical reference to “the Most High God . . .” Another neocon Tabloid, The American Spectator, published the typical sappy, a-historical, fact-free, rhetorical mumbo jumbo about “Father Abraham” that Harry Jaffa and his fellow Lincoln cultists are known for.

The references to God in Lincoln’s Thanksgiving proclamation, like all other such references in his political speeches, are breathtakingly cynical because of the fact that Lincoln never became a Christian (according to his wife and his closest friend and law partner, William Herndon); he never joined a church; rarely ever stepped foot into one; as a young man wrote an entire book that disputed Scripture; and was famous for his vulgar stories and language. But he studied the Bible as a political tool, just as today’s politicians study opinion polls.

Prior to 1863 Lincoln’s references to God and the Bible in his political speeches were mostly catch phrases and buzz words (“a house divided cannot stand”). But as more and more fellow American citizens were murdered by the thousands by his army, and as the war crimes mounted, Abe stepped up his Biblical lingo. By the time of his second inaugural he wrote a speech in which he absolved himself of all blame for the war (“the war [just] came,” he said), blaming the whole bloody mess on God. Presuming to know what was in the mind of God, he theorized that the Lord was punishing all Americans, North and South, for the sin of slavery. He did not theorize on why God would not also punish the British, French, Spanish, and others who were responsible for bringing 95% of all the slaves to the Western Hemisphere. In other words, his Biblical language was always a diversion and a cover-up for the war crimes against American civilians (among other atrocities) that he was micromanaging.

The first sentence of Lincoln’s Thanksgiving proclamation is a real howler. The year 1863, he said, “has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies.” What? Healthful skies?! As of the fall of 1863 there had been several hundred thousand battlefield casualties, including thousands of men in both armies who died of yellow fever and other dreaded diseases. There were more than 50,000 casualties in the Battle of Gettysburg alone, just three months earlier.

In the second sentence, Lincoln the non-Christian claimed that “we” are “prone to forget” that all of those “healthful skies” come from “the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.” Speak for yourself, Abe!

This is followed by another howler, claiming that “peace has been preserved with all nations.” He apparently forgot about the Confederate States of America that he was waging total war against.

It gets worse (and funnier). The next thing he says is that “order has been maintained.” Stalin said the same thing about the Soviet Union. By that time Lincoln had imprisoned thousands of Northern political dissenters without due process since he illegally suspended the writ of Habeas Corpus. He had shut down hundreds of “unorderly” opposition newspapers, and deported poor old Congressman Clement Vallandigham of Dayton, Ohio, his most outspoken critic in Congress.

As Dean Sprague wrote in Freedom Under Lincoln (p. 299), under Lincoln’s “policy of oppression,” the “entire judicial system was set aside” as “the laws were silent, indictments were not found, testimony was not taken, judges did not sit, juries were not impaneled, convictions were not obtained and sentences were not pronounced. The Anglo-Saxon concept of due process, perhaps the greatest political triumph of the ages and the best guardian of freedom, was abandoned.”

Three months earlier there had been draft riots in New York City that one could hardly describe as “orderly.” An eye witness to the riots was Colonel Arthur Fremantle of the British Army, who wrote the following about the New York City draft riots in his book, Three Months in the Southern States (p. 302):

The reports of outrages, hangings, and murder, were now most alarming, the terror and anxiety were universal. All shops were shut; all carriages and omnibuses had ceased running. No colored man or woman was visible or safe in the streets or even in his own dwelling. Telegraphs were cut, and railroad tracks torn up.

Lincolnian “order” was restored when Abe sent 15,000 troops to New York from the just-concluded Battle of Gettysburg. The troops fired indiscriminately into the draft protesters, killing hundreds, more likely thousands, of them according to Iver Bernstein, author of The New York City Draft Riots. (This scene was portrayed in the movie Gangs of New York, where Bernstein worked as an historical consultant to director Martin Scorcese).

But let’s not let historical facts get in our way. Let’s follow the neocon lead and swoon and weep and get chills up our legs over Abe’s Big Lie that “harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict.”

The notion that there was “harmony” and “unity” in the Northern states during the war is one of the most outrageous lies in American history. Historian Ella Lonn described how Lincoln created “harmony” within the U.S. Army in the face of massive desertions by literally hundreds of thousands of Northern men in her book, Desertion During the Civil War. Draftees “were held like veritable prisoners” and Lincoln’s government “had no compunctions about shooting or hanging deserters,” wrote Lonn. The murder of deserters achieved Nazi-like efficiency: “A gallows and shooting ground were provided in each corps and scarcely a Friday passed during the winter of 1863–64 that some wretched deserter did not suffer the death penalty in the Army of the Potomac. . . . The death penalty was so unsparingly used that executions were almost daily occurrences. . .” The “method of execution” was “generally shooting but hanging seems to have been used occasionally.”

The Thanksgiving speech gets even worse. The very next uttering of Abe’s is that “the laws have been respected and obeyed.” Well, not by Abraham Lincoln, certainly. Even his own attorney general, Robert Bates, stated that his suspension of Habeas Corpus was illegal and unconstitutional, as was the suppression of free speech throughout the North. West Virginia was illegally carved out of Virginia to form a new slave state as part of the union. And where in the Constitution is the president permitted to order soldiers to imprison and deport an opposition member of Congress without any due process? Or rig national elections and imprison duly-elected members of the Maryland state assembly without due process? Doesn’t the Constitution require presidents to see to it that the states have republican forms of government?

Indeed, Lincoln’s invasion of the Southern states was the very definition of treason under the U.S. Constitution. Article 3, Section 3 proclaims that: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort” (emphasis added). Treason under the U.S. Constitution consists “only” in waging war against “them,” namely, the free, independent and sovereign states, plural. Lincoln redefined treason to mean any criticism by anyone of him or his administration. In fact, he even said that a man who stands by and says nothing while the war was being discussed was guilty of “treason.”

Lincoln also violated international law and his own military code by intentionally waging war on American civilians for four years, killing more than 50,000 of them according to historian Jeffrey Rogers Hummel. Even pro-Sherman biographer Lee Kennett wrote in his book, Marching Through Georgia (p. 286), that “had the Confederates somehow won, had their victory put them in position to bring their chief opponents before some sort of tribunal, they would have found themselves justified (as victors generally do) in stringing up President Lincoln and the entire Union high command for violation of the laws of war, specifically for waging war against noncombatants.”

All the “great things” that had happened since he became president, said Abe, were “the gracious gifts of the Most High God . . .” Therefore, he said, “we” should celebrate as “the whole American People” to give thanks to God with a national holiday. This was another very large contradiction: Lincoln never admitted that secession was legal, therefore, he always considered Southerners to be a part of “the whole American people” for political purposes. It is doubtful that a single Southerner, in 1863, would have heeded Abe’s advice and given thanks for all that he had done for them.

Lincoln concluded his Thanksgiving propaganda speech with more religious lingo, thanking the Lord for “the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility,” and, get this – Union. The Union – always spelled with a capital “U” – was not just a practical political arrangement created by the founding generation mostly for foreign policy purposes, as Thomas Jefferson said it was. It was supposedly divine, the work of God. Lincoln the non-Christian knew this for sure. It’s what created The Divine Right of Lincoln, similar to The Divine Right of Kings during the Middle Ages.

This deification of the state echoed the words of the fanatical New England Unitarian preacher Henry W. Bellows, who worked in the Lincoln administration as its Sanitary Commissioner and whose son, Russell, was Robert Todd Lincoln’s Harvard classmate and best friend. (Lincoln’s son Robert spent the war years “fighting” for good grades at Harvard). Bellows authored a creepy, totalitarian-sounding book in 1863 entitled Unconditional Loyalty which declared that “the state is indeed divine, as being the great incarnation of a nation’s rights, privileges, honor and life” itself.” Moreover, “the first and most sacred duty of loyal citizens” was “to rally round the president – without question or dispute.”

In his new book, The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and Slavery (p. 265), Lincoln cultist Eric Foner informs us that “it is not surprising that Lincoln seemed to share this outlook.” This “outlook” would have caused George Washington to reach for his sword and lead another Revolution against another despotic and dictatorial regime.

A Clear and Present Danger to Our Liberties

“We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”

Benjamin Franklin is given credit for this statement  supposedly made during the discussions which resulted in the Declaration of Independence. It keeps coming back to the front of my thoughts whenever “Red Flag” laws are discussed.

“Red Flag” is the common moniker given to Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO) which have been adopted by at least eighteen States. The only member States of the Southern National Congress to have adopted ERPOs are Florida and Maryland (not necessarily noted as the most conservative of the Southern States). Nearly every one of our legislatures have had such a law proposed and many are seriously considering such.

Every State’s ERPO law allows for a law enforcement officer to ask for the protection order, only in Vermont is the request restricted to a State’s Attorney or the Attorney General’s office. Most State laws also allow a family member to request the order.

Many conservative legislators and lobbyists have expressed their positive attitude toward the Red Flags. Why should we be concerned about these laws?

First, Red Flag laws infringe upon the liberty of every law-abiding individual to own and operate a firearm. No one can know the intent of any other person in their ownership, regardless of the other’s stated intents. As with the horrible “hate crime” laws, who is to say what one person’s thoughts are regarding another person… for good or ill? In most instances the ERPOs must be executed by a judge, but the person who is the object of the ERPO is not present to counter any accusation and usually does not know of the action against them. And most importantly NO CRIME HAS BEEN COMMITTED. It is just on the opinion of the petitioner.

“The Minority Report is a 1956 science fiction short story which was adapted into a film of the same name in 2002. Directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell and Max von Sydow, it tells of a future society in which mutants foresee violent crimes before they occur. Plugged into a great machine, these “precogs” allow the Precrime Division to arrest suspects prior to any crime happening. But the “system” is manipulated and innocent people are sentenced to life imprisonment. The manipulation is exposed and the system dismantled.

The same manipulation is probable with ERPOs. Already, one man has been killed by police serving an ERPO. Also,  a young man foolishly made some statements on-line which caused him to be restricted from gun ownership for a year… he did not even own a firearm at the time the ERPO was served on him. Innocent people are presumed guilty and will very quickly find their God-given right to self-protection destroyed. (Forget any reference to a 4th Amendment right!) In many instanced, the accused have no right to legal counsel, because they have not been charged with any crime!

Others have written several excellent articles with various reasons to oppose ERPO laws. I encourage everyone to read and think about the possibilities for corruption and the probabilities of destruction of personal lives by the implementation of such “Red Flags”

Most importantly, ERPO laws will be the most effective step in disarming the American public. There is a very strong opposition to any wide-spread gun confiscation. Many public officials and private individuals have already expressed their opposition and eventual resistance to such actions. If firearms were to be seized in a general action, the public would be outraged, but one-by-one? Too many who call themselves conservative or constitutionalists will be actively supportive of the removal of firearms from a single individual… one by one… because there are extenuating circumstances with that person.

Most of us have heard or read the following statement by Martin Niemöller, a Lutheran pastor who spent seven years in a concentration camp for his opposition to Hitler’s tyranny.

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Red Flag actions (ERPOs) are a subtle attempt to obtain approval and endorsement from even the most conservative for the confiscation of private firearms one person at a time.

Where Red Flags are being proposed and discussed, they must be defeated. Where they have been passed, they must be repealed. The public safety demands it!!

Call to Repentance

Proclamation of 19th April, 2019
As a Day of Repentance, Prayer and Fasting
For the Southern Nation

Southerners! We have sinned against Almighty God.

We have allowed ourselves to become lax in our responsibility of faithfulness to Almighty God.

We have yielded ourselves to the false gods of self, entertainment, indulgence, sport and riches.

We have trusted in the false gods of political and business leaders.

The result of our unfaithfulness is that we suffer the trials of a society wrecked by sin, of families tortured and destroyed by demonic role-models, and of governments infested with self-serving politicians and bureaucrats.

We read in the prophecy of Nahum, “God is jealous, and the LORD avenges; The LORD avenges and is furious. The LORD will take vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies; The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, And will not at all acquit the wicked.”

As the season of our Lord’s crucifixion and resurrection approaches, let us receive in humble thankfulness the lessons which He teaches us, devoutly acknowledging that to Him, and not to our own efforts, are due the honor and the glory of victory; that from Him, in His paternal providence, come the anguish and sufferings of defeats and failures, and that, whether in victory or defeat, our humble supplications are due at His footstool.

Nahum also records, “The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him.”

The Southern National Congress calls upon the people of the South—a people who believe that the Lord reigns, and that His overruling Providence orders all things—to unite in prayer and humble submission under His chastening hand, and to beseech His favor on our suffering Southland.

Therefore in humble dependence and trust upon Almighty God, I, David O Jones, as Chairman of the Southern National Congress, do issue this proclamation setting apart Good Friday, the 19th day of April 2019, as a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer; and I do hereby invite the people of the Southern States to repair on that day to their respective places of public worship. And to unite in supplication for the favor and protection of that Triune God who only has the power to conduct us safely through all the dangers that attend us.

We also call upon the Governors, Legislatures, Clergy and Congregations of the Southern States to join in proclaiming and observing the appointed day of repentance and prayer for the Southern Nation.

My Pledge Not to “Pledge”

Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
~ Samuel Johnson

There is no perverse agenda here; my motives are pure and rational and sound. Although I have repeated the “Pledge of Allegiance” thousands of times in school, at vacation Bible school, and at various civic and business meetings, I pledge to never again recite the “Pledge of Allegiance.”

Especially after the 9-11 events, the Pledge has become a national mantra which is practically demanded of every citizen. Any refusal to recite the Pledge has become antithetical to Patriotism. But let us examine the truth.

The “Pledge of Allegiance” was written by a defrocked Baptist minister, Francis Bellamy. He was pressured into leaving his church in Boston because of his extreme socialist views. Francis was first cousin of famous nineteenth century American socialist Edward Bellamy, who died in 1898. Edward Bellamy was best known for lending his name to informal socialistic associations around the U.S. (Bellamy Clubs) and for writing Looking Backward, a novel in which a man falls asleep in Boston and wakes up in the year 2000 to find a socialist utopia. After Edward’s death, Francis took it upon himself to revise, edit, and write an introduction for future editions of his late cousin’s works.

The Pledge was first published in The Youth’s Companion, a leading family magazine of the day. As chairman of the National Education Association’s committee of state superintendents of education, Francis prepared the program for the public schools’ quadricentennial celebration for Columbus Day in 1892. He structured this public school program around a flag raising ceremony and a flag salute – his original “Pledge of Allegiance”: “I pledge allegiance to my flag and the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

School children first recited Bellamy’s Pledge at the dedication of the World’s Fair in Chicago. The “Columbian Exposition” in Chicago celebrated the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the New World. According to Bellamy, the occasion for his drafting the pledge was his desire to establish Columbus Day as a national holiday and to create a ‘universal doxology’ for all Americans.

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands,
one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. (Congress added the words “under God” in 1954.)

My first question: Since a “doxology” is a hymn of praise to some god, what god is being praised?

Bellamy’s socialist ideology negates any possibility of it being the Lord Jesus Christ. The god of socialists is the state, thus the “doxology” is praising the monolithic state. The recitation of the Pledge by a Christian is therefore by logic a specific act of idolatry.

My second question: What exactly am I pledging?

I am pledging my “allegiance.” Although the argument may be made for a watered down definition, “allegiance” has the primary meaning of “devotion or loyalty; duty as a subject to a sovereign king.” The United States government is not a monarchy, but it definitely has asserted its sovereignty against other nations and against God Himself as the courts have excluded Christ from any tax-supported entity or event.

Allegiance in its highest form is a word of solemn contract. It is a word of absolute submission. It is a word which ought not to be taken lightly. As a Christian, the only One I can truly pledge my allegiance to is the One who has bought me with the price of His own blood, Christ Jesus.

My third question: Why pledge?

A pledge is a promise or agreement which normally includes a reciprocal benefit. If I pledge my car to the bank, it is because I expect some cash in return. During a wedding, the groom pledges faithfulness to his wife and in return she pledges the same. But when I pledge my allegiance to the flag, devotion and submission is pronounced while nothing specific is promised in return. Some might say that the return is the benefits of national citizenship. But what does that include? Am I expecting cradle-to-grave security? Am I receiving protection from evil-doers? Will I gain the right-to-life of the unborn? Is the flag reciprocating with the right to bear arms?

My fourth question: What did Bellamy mean by “one nation?”

While the general public thinks in terms of the common definition of nation as “a body of people recognized as a unit by virtue of their historical, linguistic or ethnic links,” Edward and Francis had another concept in mind. The Oxford English Dictionary (19th century edition) has a separate entry for “two nations” defined as “…two groups within a given nation divided from each other by marked social inequality; hence one nation, a nation which is not divided by social inequalities” (emphasis in original). Francis Bellamy in his sermons and lectures and Edward Bellamy in his novel and articles described in detail how the middle class could create a planned economy with political, social and economic equality for all. That is the “one nation” that is proclaimed in Francis’ Pledge.

My fifth question: Why use the word “indivisible?”

Francis Bellamy also gave an account of what went through his mind as he picked the words of his Pledge: “The true reason for allegiance to the Flag is the ‘republic for which it stands.’ …And what does that vast thing, the Republic mean? It is the concise political word for the Nation – the One Nation which the Civil War was fought to prove. To make that One Nation idea clear, we must specify that it is indivisible, as Webster and Lincoln used to repeat in their great speeches.”

The concept of a government which cannot be divided is antithetical to Scripture and to political theory. During the first explicit, recorded civil organization in history, Moses appointed rulers over thousands, hundreds and tens. He divided the civil authority.

Our patriot fathers in 1776 properly exercised the principle of division of government. Thomas Jefferson began the Declaration of Independence with the words, “When in the Course of Human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…” Had there been no secession, we would still be part of the British Empire. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, James Madison and Patrick Henry would have never espoused a “one nation, indivisible.”

The Southern Nation attempted to exercise the principle in 1861, but were prevented by invasion and military subjugation. In recent years, the states of the Soviet Empire have used the principle of division to declare their independence.

Bellamy does deserve credit for ably employing the catechetical principle of repeating a simple statement in order to embed it in a person’s memory. Inculcating foundational principles in the minds of children is a sound and effective tool of learning, usually for good. Unfortunately, millions of Americans have been converted to concepts alien to our Declaration of Independence and Constitution simply by the repeated recitation of a statement to which no thought has been given.

The “Pledge of Allegiance” has produced a citizenry which embraces a blind commitment to a national government that conducts itself more as an empire than a republic as it continues to chip away at the liberty Americans once enjoyed. Americans have embraced nationalism, a loyalty to the government rather than to the principles of liberty.

Patriotism is loyalty to true principles – to honour, to duty, to liberty, and to love of our homeland and people. Governments come and go. Empires rise and fall. Principles remain true forever.

True patriotism is not in the words you say, but in the principles you will live and die for. I will therefore pledge to never “Pledge.”


This article is a revision of one originally published more than twenty years ago.

Polarizing Politics

The polarizing of politics in American has reached a critical level and we must be prepared for the conflict which is surely to arise from the rhetoric.

     In my fifty plus years of political activity, I have never seen the animosity which has gripped both sides of issues. It is unprecedented that not only individuals, but entire corporate leaderships have weighed in on the anger. Social media platforms and website hosts have censured and/or completely blocked proponents of ideas with which they disagree. Dialogue is not only stifled, but completely shut down.

     We have already experienced police chiefs and higher government officials issue “stand-down” orders to police officers. This has made criminals of the officers and their superiors by their willful negligence in not protecting either property or the people of their community.

     Why is the dangerous rhetoric growing so rapidly? One lady who stands with us has written, “Sadly, most people today are ignorant or apathetic or both: They don’t know and they don’t care and they’re so lazy they are content to jump on the loudest bandwagon.  Actually, people today don’t have the depth of intellect or the desire to actually pursue the truth.”

     Not long after the American secession from the British Empire and the ensuing battle for independence, the public interest in good government began to wane. Without one common enemy, the new States were fighting with each other. The turmoil was now internal. George Washington was depressed over the prevailing apathy he saw around him and he wrote to George Mason, “Where, where are our men of abilities? Why do they not come forth and save the country?”

     As we begin the second decade of the Southern National Congress, I must ask the same question. Where are our men of ability? Where are our men who will sacrifice to prepare our States for independence from the Columbian (i.e. D.C.) Empire?

The eleventh session of the SNC is fast approaching. Are you one of those who will step forward to serve?



Culture is Neither White Nor Black

I regularly read and hear discussions on various ethnic cultures. Usually the stress of the discussion is on the superiority of the Anglo/Celtic/European over the others. But “white supremacy” is a red herring. It is intended by the enemies of liberty to defeat and discredit those who are working to see independent southern States.

Culture has nothing to do with ethnicity nor race nor ancestral homelands. Culture is not white or black, or red or yellow, or polka-dotted! Culture is simply this – “culture is religion externalized.” The culture of a people is not defined by their principle occupation nor by their ancestry. Rather, the culture of a people is defined by their corporate faith.

Culture has as its root the Latin cultus, which also surfaces in the English language in the word “cultivation” and the simple word “cult.” When the Vanderbilt Agrarians wrote of the simplicity and order of returning to the soil, they were really speaking of the unassuming and underlying Christian faith culture of the inhabitants of the South. When people speak of Anglo-Celtic heritage, they are not referencing painting faces for battle nor dressing in kilts but of the quiet and resolute faith of John Knox’s Kirk.

The dominant religion in the South is orthodox, trinitarian Christianity. We received that religion from our Anglo/Celtic/European ancestors, but Christianity is not intrinsically European. If the apostle Paul, in leaving Antioch, had made a right turn toward Asia instead of a left turn toward Greece, the celebration would be of the superior eastern or African peoples. The great painters, composers, authors, and inventers would have been yellow or dark-skinned, not white. This continent would have been settled by Chinese or Indians (the ones actually from India).  The tribes of Europe were pagan, war mongering, and not interesting in the discovery of new lands nor the advancement of the arts until they were introduced to Christianity.

Recently, I saw a television advertisement for a program called “Counter Culture.” It gave semi-second glimpses of a variety of activities and events, but I was both amused and disheartened as I realized that the only thing which is counter to our current culture is biblical Christianity.

The decline of excellence in the cultural expressions in the South (as well as elsewhere) can be directly related to the decline in adherence to orthodox Christianity. In Essays on Christian Education, Cornelius Van Til rhetorically asked, “When can a culture be said to be Christian?” He responds that a culture will have the same identifiers as a “good work.”  “A work that is pleasing to God, is one (1) that is done to his glory, (2) that is done according to the standard of the work of God, and (3) whose motivation springs from faith.”

The dominant faith is the central hub of a community and rotating as spokes of a wheel from that hub are: family; business/finance; civil government/politics; media—TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, newsletters; justice—courts & police; mores/morality; education, etc.

The Southern National Congress is not a Christian evangelistic organization. But while allowing all to believe as they will, we must be aware of the undeniable and unavoidable thread of Christianity which flows throughout the culture which we desire to see established again on this continent.

The element of Christianity which can be promoted by all, regardless of creed, is that principle of self-government. Each man (and woman) has the responsibility before God to govern their own actions. The Bible asks the rhetorical question, “How can a man govern the church if he cannot govern his own family?” We should be even more basic by asking, “How can a man govern anyone else, in business, church or politics, if he cannot govern himself?”

If men will not govern themselves, they are doomed to the dictates of tyrants. Since any influence of authority flows from the center out, and each man’s authority must begin with governing himself, the next step is a focus on local government. It is not the presidency which is important, nor is it the governor’s mansion, but the men who fill the offices of mayor and alderman, county executive and commissioner, and sheriff. These should be our focus.

David O Jones, Chairman

The True Southern Legacy

The South has a legacy of welcoming and integrating other races and nationalities into its midst and assimilating them into its culture.  Charleston, SC had a huge number of French immigrants.  As well, Charleston was the home of the first Jewish synagogue organized on this continent.  It was the South that sent the first Jewish men to the U.S. Congress and it was the Confederacy that had the first Jewish cabinet member.

While initial conflicts occurred, the Irish and Scots eventually intermarried with native Americans. Tennesseans fought with Mexicans and others at the Alamo against Santa Anna. The French and Spanish influences in Louisiana cannot be ignored. There were never “ghettos” in Southern cities which were and are abundant in the cities of the North.

The Africans which first arrived on our shores as objects of the Yankee slave trade also benefited from their treatment in the South. (I am not saying that slavery was a good thing.) The great majority of Southern slaveholders wished to see the Africans Christianized and educated.  It is an oft ignored fact that many of them were able to rise above slavery and become productive members of society in the South while they were being expelled from other regions of the Union.

We should not be proud of the segregation, Jim Crow laws and resistance to integration that occurred in the last century, but I believe with legitimate investigation, you will find that inter-racial relations have consistently been better in the South than in Yankeedom.

The fifth paragraph of the Southern National Covenant reads:

Before all the nations of the earth we affirm that we are a separate and distinct People, with an honourable heritage worthy of the respect of all mankind.  Bound together by a shared history, faith, and blood, we have endured hardship and tragedy but have also enjoyed the fruits of Christian civilisation built by God’s grace and the works of our hands.  Under heaven, we possess the right to govern ourselves in our own land under our own laws, customs, and religion.

Our “Christian civilisation built by God’s grace and the works of our hands” includes all the peoples referenced above. Because we are at our roots “Christian,” we embrace the Scriptural record.  In Revelation (5:9), we find John’s description of worship in Heaven. John records: For You [Jesus] were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.”

We will worship for eternity with “every tribe and tongue and people and nation” in Heaven, so it would be best for us to recognize our responsibility to work together and develop a “Christian civilization” here and now.

A true Southern Nationalist will include not divide.