You might be surprised to know after talking with a number of veterans we are for reparations to blacks that are descended from slaves. Yes, you read that correctly. Don’t get me wrong. Nobody is for giving reparations to blacks who came to America after slavery ended. I’ve spoken about my reasoning with many veterans and at the end of my argument, nobody disagreed. Below is our reasoning. Please let us know if you agree when you finish reading this article.
Numbers matter. In the 360 years between 1500 and the end of the slave trade in the 1860s, at least 12 million Africans were forcibly taken to the Americas. Less than half a million were sent to North America, including a huge number to Mexico. Most were sent to South America. See PBS article for verification.
At the end of the Civil War, 400,000 acres of land confiscated from Confederates had been set aside by the Northern-led military under President Lincoln. General Sherman met with black ministers in the south after the war. They discussed reparations and agreed to some basic terms. Below is a quote from a different PBS article related to reparations.
This radical proposal — which must have completely blown the minds of the rebel Confederates — actually came about. The abolitionists Charles Sumner and Thaddeus Stevens and other Radical Republicans had been actively advocating land redistribution “to break the back of Southern slaveholders’ power,” as Myers observed. But Sherman’s plan only took shape after the meeting that he and Stanton held with those black ministers, at 8:00 p.m., Jan. 12, on the second floor of Charles Green’s mansion on Savannah’s Macon Street. In its broadest strokes, “40 acres and a mule” was their idea.
It was all worked out until President Lincoln was assassinated. His Vice President, Johnson, took over and squashed the deal. If you would like to listen to a 3 minute audio about this here is a link. It is from NPR. Below is an excerpt from the written version of the audio file.
Stan Deaton, of the Georgia Historical Society, points out that after Lincoln’s assassination, President Andrew Johnson reversed Sherman’s order, giving the land back to its former Confederate owners.
“Once the passion of war was over, the idea of that kind of social experiment lost favor with a lot of people very quickly,” he says.
Now I’m going to fill in the rest of our argument for reparations. Hold on to your hats!
Over 360,000 Northern troops died in the Civil War. Over 281,000 more veterans were wounded severely and would live the rest of their lives suffering in pain. The number of Northern troops killed was likely equal to the number of all slaves brought to the United States according to the first PBS article cited. Not to mention 260,000 Confederate troops were killed and 194,000 wounded.
You might now think a reasonable person would argue that since more white people died trying to free slaves than there were slaves in America there should be no reparations. I would not blame you if you thought that. I have heard that line of reasoning from those who oppose reparations. It seems like a rational argument. However, I will get to that subject at the end of this post.
You may have also heard the argument that no black person today was a slave and no white person today was a slave owner. Sounds like a good argument at first. However, those pushing for reparations disagree. They cite years of being denied the 40 acres and a mule as well as many years of being oppressed after the Civil War. Any reasonable person would have to see their point of view is understandable.
Think about it for a minute. Blacks were set free but then what? Many of them returned to work for their former owners as low paid employees. Those that were free and tried things on their own were hunted down by the KKK and other groups. They were lynched, beaten, and treated as third-class citizens. In the South, they were segregated under what was known as Jim Crow Laws. The list goes on and on.
The next obvious question that would come up is who should pay for these reparations. Would you ask the blacks in Africa to chip in? Blacks were the ones originally selling other blacks into slavery. By analogy, who is more guilty, the drug dealer, or the drug user? OK, so you could make a valid argument that Africans should chip in to pay for reparations. But, let’s not end there!
Next, we should recognize Lincoln was a Republican and his Vice President Andrew Johnson was a Democrat. Yes, these were strange times. Democrat President Andrew Johnson is also the one who put an end to reparations.
The Confederate States were also Democrat. We should further note that the Republican party was created for the main purpose of abolishing slavery. Remember too, that the Northern troops were fighting under that Republican banner, in large part, to free slaves. Often times family members were divided and killing each other. Sad.
We should bear in mind that the Democrats started the KKK. The Democrats were also the ones that instituted Jim Crow Laws. The Democrats voted in smaller percentages for every Civil Rights law ever passed. Voting records found in Wikipedia and other areas also bears this out.
Fast forward to the 1960s. It is unusual that when Lincoln was assassinated Andrew Johnson became President and after Kennedy was assassinated Lyndon Johnson became President, nearly 100 years apart. Actual history about President Lyndon Johnson is not so kind about his racism. Here is an excerpt from History.com:
That Johnson was the president to pass such a historic bill seemed ironic: As a congressman, he voted against every single civil rights bill that ever made it to the floor between 1937 and 1956.
Even more paradoxically, as a Southern man of his time, Johnson used racist language–even as he smashed Jim Crow laws across the South.
Yet that is how most blacks saw the Democrat Johnson, as their hero. In fact, Civil Rights would have never made it to his desk without the Republicans in the House and Senate overriding the Democrats. You can read more about “Whitewashing the Democratic Party’s History” on this page.
Why would you hold the people who belong to the party of Lincoln, Civil Rights, and Equality responsible? Why would you hold accountable the people who gave more lives to the cause of freeing slaves than there were slaves originally brought here from Africa? The conclusion is obvious to any clear-thinking person. Every registered Democrat and some Africans should pay for reparations. I and every veteran I’ve spoken with so far agrees. Do you?