Tuesday, January 8, 2013
In 1776, George Washington rebelled against the established government of his day. We remember him as a patriot, but to his king and fellow colonists loyal to the king, Washington was the traitor and Benedict Arnold was the patriot.
In 1861, pro-Union supporters defended the nation that Washington helped create in 1776 (or destroyed, again depending on your perspective).
Confederates were exercising the same right, enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, to “alter or abolish” unrepresentative and oppressive government. Wherever a Southerner placed his or her loyalty to the rebel nation of 1776 or the new rebel nation of 1861 he or she was a patriot in the eyes of some and something else entirely in the minds of others.
In 1860 a man’s country was his home (sovereign and independent) state, not the US and central government in DC. Technically, there was no such thing as a citizen of the United States until passage of the 14th Amendment three years after the war. “Asking a state to give up part of her sovereignty is like asking a woman to give up part of her chastity.” John Randolph
Photo: “Virginia is my country.” Light Horse Harry Lee (Henry) Father of Robert and George Washington’s favorite cavalry commander, also three-term governor of Virginia.