Dissenters In Our Midst


2015-10-13 – In Sunday’s post I made an offhand reference to the “the Confederate States of America (and northern sympathizers).” There were dissenters in the North to Abraham Lincoln’s program to first restore the union and second abolish slavery. That got me wondering about dissenters in the South to secession and the maintenance of slavery. So I did a little checking, and the results were very interesting.

The mere question is racist, in a sense.

It takes only a moment of thought—and no research—to realize that there were plenty of dissenters in the South: the slaves themselves. But go ahead and research it to find out what form the resistance took.

Then research the abolition movement among whites in the South. Abolitionists did exist. They were strongest in the Upper South, but were violently suppressed in the Deep South, particularly after a Haitian slave uprising in 1791 scared the shit out of southern slave owners.

So there were sympathizes of the Confederacy in the North and abolitionists in the South. We normally think of these two blocks as opposites and mutually exclusive. Black and white. No shades of gray.

But there was plenty of gray . . . and blue. HA HA HA.

To me, it is a very interesting question how groups treat dissenters. Our Constitution gives strong protection to dissenters in the first amendment and, despite other differences, both North and South hold the first amendment to be a sacred set of rights. At least in theory.

But in fact, dissent is often violently suppressed.

Often the minority suppressed the majority.

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