[Marxism] Largest Mass Execution in US History: 150 Years Ago Today

Mark Lause markalause at gmail.com
Wed Dec 26 20:09:34 MST 2012


My recollection of this event was that the only real association the
Lincoln White House had was the mass pardoning of those the local
military court wanted hanged.  As I've repeatedly pointed out, the
power Lincoln and the national civilian government wielded in such
things was not the same as that of a modern presidency.  Almost
everything done on the ground, as it were, remained in the hands of
the local military administrations.

You may argue that this shouldn't have been the case--as I have--but
there were political reasons for the administration's deference to its
military.  And, on some issues, such as emancipation, the deference to
local commanders created a range of possibilities that allowed for the
move towards an emancipationist strategy.

Not that long ago, I finished reading a similar account by a Southern
Civil War buff of how the Lincoln administration was repressing all
those mill hands north of Atlanta who got deported from Georgia during
the advance on that city.  There, too, the disproportionate suffering
of the poor and powerless was undeniable, a clearly military policy,
and perhaps a standard reflection of what war's do and how they're
fought . . . regardless of the purpose.

If you go to Oklahoma, New Mexico and other areas that were populated
by Indians in this period, you'll see the same kind of local
celebratory approach to the Confederacy you'll find across much of the
South.  The reality was that the Southern strategy of the Democratic
Party had inaugurated the national policy of removal and Confederate
leaders talked about simply exterminating the Indians in these
territory.  Yet, what you see today are souvenirs of Stand Watie
emblazoned against the background of Confederate battle flags, and
Lost Cause tales about how the Indians allied with the Confederacy to
keep from being wiped out by Lincoln and the forces of the United
States.  The reality matters little against 150 years of efforts by
the Lost Causers to redefine this aspect of the Civil War along with
muich else . . . . .

In the end, though, the systematic misrepresentation of the only head
of the American state who ever really did anything fundamentally
radical probably shouldn't surprise anybody.

In fact, wouldn't it be far stranger if were otherwise?

Solidarity!
Mark L.




More information about the Marxism mailing list