The Cornerstone of The Confederacy Was Permanent Black Enslavement and Destruction of the United States; Confederate Flag Wavers, Is That What You Honor?

5 min readJul 6, 2020

By Joe Rothstein

On the Fourth of July, two friends of mine, Stephanie and Joe Kelly, posted on my Facebook page a speech by Alexander H. Stephens, vice president of the Confederacy. Stephens delivered this speech to a cheering crowd in Georgia a few weeks before the south fired on Fort Sumter, South Carolina to launch the Civil War.

The speech summarizes the rationale for secession, why southern states were leaving the United States to establish their own country. In posting the speech on Facebook, Joe Kelly, said, “The speech is a powerful history lesson for better perspective on our current times.”

And that it is, for it neatly packages the “heritage” that those who fly the Confederate flag and defend Confederate monuments, identify with and honor.

Here, edited from the full version (available on line at is what the Civil War was all about:

“The new (Confederate) constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution, African slavery, as it exists amongst us as the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution.

“Thomas Jefferson had anticipated this, as the “rock upon which the old Union would split.” He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted.

“The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with, but the general opinion of the men of that day was that, somehow or other in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away.

“This idea, though not incorporated in the constitution, was the prevailing idea at that time. The constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly urged against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of…