A History Nerd Takes On Steve King

Oh for Christ’s Sake.  Let’s start with the obvious.  In 1859 John Brown, several of his sons, some followers, and a few freed slaves tried to raid the Federal Armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. They had already killed multiple pro-slavery men with swords (See Pattowattomie Massacre), but the goal that night was to steal weapons with which to arm local slaves and foment an uprising. It failed, ended up in a standoff, and eventually Brown and his surviving followers were captured by U.S. Army Col. Robert E. Lee. (Interesting note- Lee’s Lieutenant who personally led the attack that captured John Brown and his band was future Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart, the namesake of a school just renamed for Barack Obama.) Seven people died overall in the incident, so clearly that is analogous to protesters shutting down a government office. The American flag being taken down and bringing up Fort Sumter is clearly supposed to evoke the fact that the bombardment and eventual surrender of Fort Sumter lead to the American flag being lowered and the Confederate flag being raised.  Because a rebel force dedicated to preserving slavery and attacking the U.S. government is clearly the same as “Welcome Refugees.”

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s dive deeper into Harpers Ferry, Fort Sumter and civility. Herman Melville referred to John Brown as the “meteor of the war.” One could write a thesis on how that developed, but if I were to summarize the effect John Brown had in one word, that word would be paranoia. The South got scared shitless after John Brown convinced them abolitionists were plotting to murder them all in their beds.  This transferred to the 1860 election. Why am I bringing this up? Abraham Lincoln, that’s why. Abraham Lincoln was nominated as a moderate on slavery, promising only to restrict its spread in the territories, and repeatedly stated he had no intention of interfering with it where it already existed.  He said this constantly.  It didn’t matter what he said or did, no one in the south believed him. South Carolina seceded five weeks after his election.  There was nothing he could ever do that would convince the South he did not wish to abolish slavery.  After the first states seceded Lincoln endorsed (along with his predecessor) the Corwin Amendment, which would have amended the constitution to prevent any federal interference with slavery in the southern states.  But it still wasn’t enough.  The south was convinced Lincoln was coming for their slaves, and he would turn a blind eye to radical abolitionists coming for their throats.  Put this where you want- illegals have a low crime rate, Black Lives Matter, the NFL protests, Dems want to repeal the 2nd amendment, MS-13, Sarah Huckabee Sanders not being served, an office being shut down by protesters when the department is kidnapping children- the real analogy here puts King squarely on the side of the Confederates.

Let’s talk about the battle of Fort Sumter. On the date of Lincoln’s first inaugural address on March 4, 1861, seven states had already seceded. Lincoln talked of many things, but he promised to defend federal installations, that he would not attack the confederacy unless attacked, and finished with a famous plea: “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.” Lincoln was going high when his enemies were going low, and we all know how that works out. Anyway, Fort Sumter. Fort Sumter was federal property. The governor of South Carolina demanded it because he felt offended by a broken promise from former President Buchanan. Lincoln said no, and sent a relief expedition to ensure the fort was properly supplied. The confederates spent a month investing the fort. Jefferson Davis then ordered that the fort be fired upon if it would not surrender and the fort was to be resupplied.  Again, Lincoln was content to let his men pretty much just sit there.  But he couldn’t convince the confederates of anything. He refused to abandon all federal property in the south, nor did he ever consider recognizing the Confederacy as a legitimate government. So the bombardment started, and then the war. Even throughout the first year, when every abolitionist was screaming at him to fight the confederacy by ending slavery, Lincoln refused. The confederacy was undeterred.

So you see Steve King, Fort Sumter was not about a group of protesters seizing a federal office to welcome refugees. It was about a group of extremely paranoid racist traitors refusing to listen to reason, facts, or the better angels of their nature.  It was about militant, violent, white supremacist, incredibly paranoid people living in their own fantasy world and getting a lot of other people killed in the process. You know, Trump.

After Fort Sumter President Lincoln declared the confederacy in rebellion, and issued an initial proclamation for 75,000 volunteers to put it down. Any time my president Hillary Clinton wants to call for 75,000 volunteers to put Steven King and his fuckers down I will be first in line.

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