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How I Became a Copperhead

Memorial to Dr. Michael T. Rainwater

cop·per·head [kŏp'-er-hĕd], --noun: A Northerner who sympathized with the South during the War Between the States


House with Battle Flag

Our House in North Carolina (2004-2009)


Although born and raised in Chicago, I have lived in the South (Georgia and North Carolina) for about twenty five years. Throughout those years, I have made several good friends who were very knowledgeable about the War for Southern Independence. As a result, I have for many years now considered myself a Copperhead displaced in history.

The causes of that war were complex, but at the risk of oversimplification, the most basic underlying issue at stake was "States' Rights." The "Bill of Rights" are enumerated in the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The Tenth Amendment states the following:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

The period before the war was a time of unconstitutional expansion of a centralized Federal government that more and more encroached on those rights reserved to the states, bringing disproportionate hardships on the Southern states. Probably the most egregious example of this was several unconstitutional protectionist tariffs imposed by the Federal government that had and would have a devastating economic impact in the South. The final straw was the Morrill Tariff of March, 1861. This was the most immediate issue that led to secession.

Moreover, the secession of the eleven Southern states that comprised the Confederate States of America must be viewed in light of the fact that there was no constitutional prohibition of secession. In fact, several states originally joined the Union with an explicit statement that they reserved the right to leave the Union. Lincoln's war of aggression was the invasion of sovereign states that were members of the newly formed Confederacy. Its primary purpose was to force the Southern states back into the Union so as not to lose about 75% of Federal income, the amount coming from Southern ports.

These issues were the reasons the South was willing to fight.

The issues facing us today are frighteningly reminiscent of those facing the Southern states in 1861. In his preface to Thomas DiLorenzo's book, The Real Lincoln, Walter Williams writes,

"Lincoln's intentions, as well as those of many Northern politicians, were summarized by Stephen Douglas during the senatorial debates. Douglas accused Lincoln of wanting to 'impose on the nation a uniformity of local laws and institutions and a moral homogeneity dictated by the central government' that would 'place at defiance the intentions of the republic's founders.' Douglas was right, and Lincoln's vision for our nation has now been accomplished beyond anything he could have possibly dreamed."

Dedication

This page is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Michael T. Rainwater, my friend from Georgia who is now with the Lord. We had many discussions about the War and the Southern cause. He was proud that there had been Rainwaters who fought in the Confederate Army. He also gave me my initial subscription to Southern Partisan magazine, which also had great influence on me.

I miss you, Mike.


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