The Burning Platform
“They here gave the last full measure of devotion.”
The doctrine is simply this: that the Union soldiers who died at Gettysburg sacrificed their lives to the cause of self-determination — “that government of the people, by the people, for the people,” should not perish from the earth. It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in that battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of their people to govern themselves. What was the practical effect of the battle of Gettysburg? What else than the destruction of the old sovereignty of the States, i. e., of the people of the States? The Confederates went into battle an absolutely free people; they came out with their freedom subject to the supervision and vote of the rest of the country—and for nearly twenty years that vote was so effective that they enjoyed scarcely any freedom at all. Am I the first American to note the fundamental nonsensicality of the Gettysburg address? If so, I plead my aesthetic joy in it in amelioration of the sacrilege.
By M.L. Mencken, regarded as one of the most influential American writers of the first half of the 20th century
In the past it was Lincoln jamming forcing the penis oath up the ass of a nation of now subjugated former rebels..what next? an RFID chip ensuring only those that remain loyal subject of the oligarchy eat?
“Swallowing the dog” is the same feeling of alienation and disgust that Southerners experience today at the sight of President Barack Hussein Obama and Eric “My People” Holder:
“It was the most despised word in the South. A few took it “as if it was nothing more than a Glass of Lemonade.” Others refused as if it were arsenic. It forced people to reexamine their priorities: principles or bread? They reconsidered what it meant to give their word of honor. For loyal Confederates, it was likened to “swallowing the dog.”
The Oath of Allegiance to the United States became a staple of the Confederate diet. In exchange for the privilege to vote, to transact business, to acquire rations, to perform marriage ceremonies, or even get married. Rebels were forced to gulp down their pride and utter these words: “I do solemnly swear that I hereby renounce all countenance, support and allegiance to the so-called Confederate States of America.
For a people left crushed a crippled, the requirement of the oath was like pouring salt into an open wound. “I think the exaction of this oath cannot be justified on any grounds whatever whether as of admonition and warning for the future or as punishment for the past,” wrote Henry William Ravenel from South Carolina. “It is simply an arbitrary and tyrannical exercise of power.”
The Western Democrat in Charlotte summed up the situation for most ex-Confederates. “Those who expect to follow any occupation in the country have no alternative but to take the oath.” …
No matter how many times they swallowed the dog, the taste was always foul, and compelling Southerners to swear allegiance over and over required great ingenuity. There was seemingly no end to the inducements Federals contrived to coerce the oath taking. In Columbus, Georgia, ladies were initially required to take the oath in order to receive their mail. Elsewhere in Georgia, letters were opened, in order to test the sincerity of Rebels who had taken the oath. …
In the minds of Southerners, it was doubly insulting to exchange the oath for food. “It was most heart-rending,” observed Cornelia Spencer, “to see daily crowds of country people, from three score and ten down to the unconscious infant carried in its mother’s arms, coming into town to beg for food and shelter, to ask alms from those who had despoiled them.” One poorly educated woman in this circumstance went to the local provost and inquired if she could draw rations. The officer asked if she would take the oath. “Thank you, sir,” said the lady, “there is my cart – please put it in that.” …
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