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Brian W. Schoeneman

Ben, it sounds like you're advocating that anything within the Commonwealth that has anything to do with the "Confederacy" should be obliterated from our history. This pledge, alone, wasn't a big deal, but because the UDC used it, it must be evil. It must be obliterated.

I guess you would also support turning the White House of the Confederacy into a White Castle, selling off Manassas battlefield to Wal-Mart, and paving the Wilderness. Let's just erase any memories of the war, that way no one has to be caused the "pain" of being reminded that Virginia was on the losing side of the war.

Not Larry Sabato

I'd love to see how you can clip my comments above to say that Brian?

10th Amendment Wingnut

"I guess you would also support turning the White House of the Confederacy into a White Castle, selling off Manassas battlefield to Wal-Mart, and paving the Wilderness."

Well, those all sound like solid free market Republican proposals.

The government has no business interfering in these matters. The enumerated powers in the Constitution certainly don't include anything about a National Park Service. The Founding Fathers would have wanted Wal Mart to buy the Manassas Battlefield. They surely wouldn't have wanted GovCo to control it. That is the path to tyranny!


From the Southern Poverty Law Center:

United Daughters of the Confederacy
Richmond, Va.

Formed in 1894 from the remnants of local memorial associations affiliated with Confederate veterans camps, the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) is open only to women related to Confederate veterans of what the UDC still calls the "War Between the States."

Although the UDC promotes an image of genteel Southern ladies concerned only with honoring their ancestors — and is, in fact, the least political of the neo-Confederate groups — its publications sometimes belie that benign appearance.

In a 1989 article in UDC Magazine, for instance, Walter W. Lee minimized the horrors of the Middle Passage by pointing out that "the sixteen inches of deck space allotted each slave is not all that smaller than the eighteen inches the Royal Navy allowed for each sailor's hammock and the slaves rapidly had more room due the much higher death rate."

Lee also argued that "the worse suffering group among those engaged in the trade" were "the crews of slave ships." Other victims of slavery Lee cites are "the purchasers of slaves" who "found themselves locked into a form of agriculture that could not compete with the new machines."

Other UDC articles praise an array of neo-Confederate ideologues such as Michael Andrew Grissom, author of Southern by the Grace of God (a book which portrays the original Klan favorably) and a member of two racist groups, the Council of Conservative Citizens and the League of the South.

The UDC has also worked directly with these kinds of groups in erecting monuments and staging Confederate battle flag rallies. Most recently, the UDC's president, Mrs. William Wells, shared the podium with League president Michael Hill and white supremacist lawyer Kirk Lyons.


I am very sensitive to the views of African-Americans re: Virginia's history as a Confederate and slave state. But, that having been said, I am a huge advocate of learning and studying history - because, as the famous quote goes, if we don't learn from it, we are bound to repeat it.

For that reason alone, I don't think a Confederate history proclamation is the end of the world. For better or worse, many Virginians have ancestors who fought for the Confederacy. Many of those men - including Lee and Longstreet - were far from racists; and the majority of Confederate troops were not slave holders.

The Civil War was the culmination of a deadful 15 or 20 years in American Politics. We now find ourselves at an equally contentious moment. It is imperative that we remember and study the Civil War so that we don't let today's political divisions rise to the levels that our nation faced in the 1850s and '60s.

We need to remember to be respectful of our adversaries even as we disagree strongly with thier points of view. I think the Civil War can remind us what has happened in this nation when things have gone too far. Maybe a blatently-political proclamtion is not the best method - but we do need to find some way to get the average Virginian and American to think about our state's and nation's history.


Folks need to understand the context of these things - "the words to the salute had been passed in 1954" - presumbably in the context of Virginia's opposition to the 1954 Brown v. Board desegregation ruling. The confederate flag made a big comeback during that period as well. So this isn't just about "the war between the states for independence" as Gov Bob's proclamation states - it's about much more recent history and perhaps current events.

Martin Lomasney


Prof. Geiger at UVA has reviewed "Massa Bob"'s diaries and asserts that without question Lee was a racist after the war and privately opposed Reconstruction.

Longstreet did the opposite and was reviled for his change of heart. Most of the criticism of Longstreet's war service was voiced by those who saw his support for Reconstruction as traitorous to the "Lost Cause."

Note that many military bases and public buildings have been named for Confederate figures. Almost none for Longstreet.


The avatar for the UDC is a cotton plant! I kid you not!

The plant they used to whip and beat their slaves into picking in the hot sun all those long hours is their LOGO!


Scroll down to "war between the states" you can find it there.

These people are SICK SICK SICK!

kelley in virginia

my husband is a descendant of Pocahantas. so quit whining about what black Virginians think. worry about how Virginia will reparate the Indians.


John, there is a lot of truth in what you say--unfortunately, if you read the wording of this proclamation, it's obvious that it includes none of your admirable and lofty goals to learn and therefore not repeat this lamentable part of our history.

The Civil War is a fascinating and tragic part of American history and should be studied thoroughly for what lessons it holds for us. And we should remember this terrible time of "brother vs. brother." No one could visit Gettysburg, for example, and not be moved by the sheer horror and waste of this war.

But that's not what McDonnell's proclamation is about. Let me add that you do not have to be an African-American to be offended by his apparent attempt to rewrite history and give a gift to a certain segment of our population.

Let's remember that the noble confederates took up arms against their own country and against our ELECTED government. What terrible harm did our country do them that they would decide on a course of treason? The sad truth is that our soldiers were traitors. Misguided, misled, mis-whatever, but traitors nevertheless.

Mr. Jefferson

I think McDonnell is right in that that pledge is beautiful. The actual text of the pledge is wonderful. It's too bad about the origins.

Kevin in Arlington

I am a huge proponent of the preservation of Civil War sites and battlefields and for thoughtful reflection on this part of American history, but the wording of McDonnell's resolution is dog-whistle, pandering politics.

A few things stand out.

The gaping omission of any language about slavery, even though Virginia was home to more slaves than any other state.

The citing of the White House of the Confederacy (a part of the shrine-like Museum of the Confederacy), while a better historical interpretation is found at the American Civil War Center at the Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond.

And the "ultimately overwhelmed by insurmountable numbers" language sounds like cheer leading as well.


This is disgraceful. It is well documented that Virginia repeatedly rejected calls for secession until Abraham Lincoln demended that they muster troops to repatriate the "secession states." Virginia's involvement in the Confederacy was based on their view that no president, or congress should be allowed to call fro troops from one state to invade another. In fact the Governor's reply to the administration cited the Militia Act of 1795(?) as the reason for non-compliance with the federal government.
As long as we're on the topic, we might as well mention the fact that Lincoln had no problem allowing slavery to persist in Delaware and Maryland until the end of the war, as it greatly aided the union's economic capacity in those states.
All Virginians need to start respecting both sides of the issue and realize that many pro-confederate current day Virginians are merely celebrating the Commonwealth's storied history of combatting federal over-reaches of power -- by the British, the Union, and most recently the VA Healthcare Freedom Act.


"pro-confederate current day Virginians"

You mean pro-slavery, treasonous, secessionist, traitors? Cause that's what "pro-confederate" stands for.

Do you think desegregation, allowing mixed-race marriages, the Patriot Act, No Child Left Behind, the Defense of Marriage Act, or a federal ban on abortion are over reaches of power too?

kelley in virginia

DAR: pro-slavery in 1861 Virginia was not treasonous. and slave owners, operating within the law, were traitors to what exactly?

Brian W. Schoeneman

Ben, it's easy for me to extrapolate that. That pledge, on its face, has nothing racist in it. It was being used going back to 1946 - not exactly a bellwether year in terms of civil rights abuses.

There's no evidence that it has or had anything to do with anything racist - at least, not from anything you posted here. Yet you call the pledge racist, and say that it
somehow demonstrates insensitivity to African-Americans.

How? Because you apparently seem to think that any reference to "Confederacy" is offensive to African-Americans.

So, therefore, we must obliterate all traces of the word Confederate from our vocabulary, lest we inadvertently cause even more pain.

Not a stretch of logic at all.

The vast majority of things relating to the Civil War are not racist.

kelley in virginia

and Brian, if people are convinced that the Civil War was fought over slavery & therefore any mention of "Confederacy" might offend American Blacks, then would not any mention of our Founding Fathers be racist as well?

after all, the Founding Fathers were fighting the British for this land which was taken forcibly from American/Native Indians.

guess we'll stretch that logic all the way to renaming Washington DC to Capitol City.

Kevin in Arlington

I guess I'm confused as to what's "disgraceful?"

To say it was merely Lincoln's call for troops that pushed Virgina to secede is quite remarkable. As a border state, Virginia had more of a desire to preserve the Union than others. But Lincoln got 1% of the vote in VA, and a pro-slavery/anti-secession candidate received VA's electoral votes only because of the split in the Democratic Party.

Antipathy toward Lincoln and sympathy towards secession didn't happen over night, rather were a result of decades of sectional friction about the expansion of slavery.

It seems like you're concerned about understanding the Civil War in its proper context and detail. Let's stick with that.

What is disgraceful, skirting around unflattering, but important facts (as McDonnell has done) and attempting to lump opposition to federal health care legislation as some philosophical extension of the Confederacy.

Brian W. Schoeneman

Kevin, there was no skirting around unflattering but important facts. This was a six paragraph proclamation that didn't talk about the causes of the war at all.

The proclamation wasn't the place to get into historical arguments about the causes of the war.

This is clearly a partisan attempt to make a mountain out of a molehill to damage McDonnell.

Gretchen Laskas

Honestly, I think that McDonnell damaged himself (and Virginia's reputation along with him). We're only pointing it out. But that's my opinion.

Kevin in Arlington

Brian. That's fine. I enjoy history, so I am probably getting a bit too into this. But, if it is just a measly old six paragraph proclamation, then why do it at all? Virgina's place in Civil War history wasn't diminished under the last two governors without such a proclamation. It seems like a pretty darn political move to me, aimed a certain political constituency of his.


TJ wrote "...many pro-confederate current day Virginians are merely celebrating the Commonwealth's storied history of combatting federal over-reaches of power -- by the British, the Union, and most recently the VA Healthcare Freedom Act."

By this last bit,I would say TJ is one of those people McDonnell is trying to please/appease.

But hey, why stop with VA Healthcare "Freedom" Act? What about desegregation? Was that not yet another federal over-reach of power? And our beloved commonwealth nobly fought against it with this thing called Massive Resistance--but that had NOTHING to do with racism, right? No, it was all about freedom from tyranny!

Brian W. Schoeneman

Gretchen, it's the pointing it out that's doing the damage. This issue has gone national, despite the fact that it's not really an issue at all.

Kevin, McDonnell is doing things that Republican Governors do. Allen and Gilmore both did this. This isn't unprecedented.

You know how when the Democrats took over the House, they renamed the Education and the Workforce Committee back to the Education and Labor Committee as it had been pre-1994? And when George Bush was in the White House he reinstated the jacket-on dress code in the Oval Office that Reagan had (which Obama has gotten rid of)?

This is what happens when parties switch. There's nothing nefarious happening here.

where does this end?

You could hold a never ending debate of how to treat our complex American history.

Better get to cancelling those Jefferson-Jackson Day fundraisers. Both slave-holders.

Wasn't the Democratic party officially opposed to abolition in the first place? The DNC should change its name and never acknowledge the history of the party.

Do we now remove the King Street memorial in Old Town, the monument to the Confederate dead in front of the Fairfax County Court House, rename the Washington Monument...


It appears that this issue has served to distinguisl between the modernists and the neo-Confederates.

It is certainly interesting to watch the Republicans and their not-so independent sympathizers dig themselves ever deeper into the hole of defending modern racism in the name of historical revisism.


Maybe he did this to watch the leftists show their complete ignorance of history. I often wonder why it is always the libs who can find “racism” in everything a conservative does, as they themselves call black conservatives “uncle tom’s, sellouts etc…”.

Is “black history” month a racist effort against all other races? I think not, but that argument would be about as silly as this one is.

Are there not enough “real” issues to discuss?

Kevin in Arlington

Ah yes Brian, while I'm not giving in here, you yet again make another good point. We also switched the Resources Committee to the Natural Resources Committee (which I guess would be a slight nod to environment folks). I'm still puzzled over the switch to and fro between the International Relations Committee to the Foreign Affairs Committee!

Brian W. Schoeneman

Affairs are more fun that Relations.

Gretchen Laskas

Brian -- Is it damaging that I have a very different interpretation of what Confederate History Month does than you? Because that's what I'm pointing out -- that someone like me is NOT likely to draw the conclusion that someone like you draws from it. You're entitled to your interpretation, and for the record, I haven't once accused ANYONE of being a racist. I just think that something that could have been an asset to Virginia history was handled in a way that is, to someone like me, a real problem. And I love history -- I spend my life writing about it, after all.

So yeah, I'm afraid that I have to keep pointing that out, because that's genuinely how I feel....


Way down south
in the land of cotton
Incest makes them stupid
and their teeth rotten
Stay away Stay away Stay away
from Dixieland

Brian W. Schoeneman

Gretchen, the Governor has acknowledged that he should have included a mention of slavery. I don't believe he needed to, but if including slavery is necessary to assuage a portion of the population who will otherwise start shouting racism or "real problems," so be it. I think it's unfortunate, but hey, that's politics.


the fact of the matter is the Confederacy is an incredibly important part of Virginia history and its equally important that its recognized and studied. Liberals boil it down to if racist versus non-racist, but its deeper than that and if we want to avoid repeating it we need to learn about it.


I'm glad to say that the Governor has rethought his proclamation and added this thoughtful, eloquent, and very accurate statement:

WHEREAS, it is important for all Virginians to understand that the institution of slavery led to this war and was an evil and inhumane practice that deprived people of their God-given inalienable rights and all Virginians are thankful for its permanent eradication from our borders, and the study of this time period should reflect upon and learn from this painful part of our history.

I could not agree more. And while I do think it should be "Civil War Month" rather than "Confederate Month" I would like to thank the Governor, most sincerely.


Chris- I think the Civil War historic revisionists are the ones who are leaving out the "SLAVERY" parts...not those who are naturally appalled by it.

Gretchen Laskas

Brian- I stated on Blue Virginia that given the revised version, it's time to move on to other topics. Of course, it remains regrettable that such unfortunate pandering occurred in the first place, but, well, that's politics.


"my husband is a descendant of Pocahantas. so quit whining about what black Virginians think. worry about how Virginia will reparate the Indians."

Kelley: My grandmother was an Indian, but not of royal blood like your family. Where can I sign up for those reparations?

Venita Benitez

William Chappelear, was my fourth great grand father, all his sons with the exception of his son Elias Chappelear, my great great great grandfather were all confederate soldier, Elias Chappelear was unable to marry Mary (lizabeth) Lawson, Native American, because of a racist law in Virginia, however they lived together for 45 years and had 15 children together and yet volumes of books are written by family excluding us. My family writes that Elias died unmarried and without children. The Chappelear family are members of the Huguenots Society. Many family member were and are still members of the United Daughters and Sons of the Confederacy. It is the organization that remembers honoring their ancestor. If this is true then I like to join their organization and see how they really feel about me, of color, joining. Then I would ask them to join me in fighting modern day slavery and ending slavery in our world once and for all. Read another view of the civil war... I published First Seeds Of Civil War Are Sown in Dec. 2009 Amazon.com

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