Here’s what my teachers’ should have told me: “Reconstruction was the second phase of the Civil War. It lasted until 1877, when the Confederates won.” I think that would have gotten my attention.
It wasn’t just that Confederates wanted to continue the war. They did continue it, and they ultimately prevailed. […]
After the U.S. forces won on the battlefield in 1865 and shattered the organized Confederate military, the veterans of that shattered army formed a terrorist insurgency that carried on a campaign of fire and assassination throughout the South until President Hayes agreed to withdraw the occupying U. S. troops in 1877. Before and after 1877, the insurgents used lynchings and occasionalpitchedbattles to terrorize those portions of the electorate still loyal to the United States. In this way they took charge of the machinery of state government, and then rewrote the state constitutions to reverse the postwar changes and restore the supremacy of the class that led the Confederate states into war in the first place.
By the time it was all over, the planter aristocrats were back in control, and the three constitutional amendments that supposedly had codified the U.S.A’s victory over the C.S.A.– the 13th, 14th, and 15th — had been effectively nullified in every Confederate state.
It’s a good read, in and of itself, but when I got to this passage…
But the enduring Confederate influence on American politics goes far beyond a few rhetorical tropes. The essence of the Confederate worldview is that the democratic process cannot legitimately change the established social order, and so all forms of legal and illegal resistance are justified when it tries.
That worldview is alive and well. During last fall’s government shutdown and threatened debt-ceiling crisis, historian Garry Wills wrote about our present-day Tea Partiers: “The presiding spirit of this neo-secessionism is a resistance to majority rule.” […]
When in the majority, Confederates protect the established order through democracy. If they are not in the majority, but have power, they protect it through the authority of law. If the law is against them, but they have social standing, they create shams of law, which are kept in place through the power of social disapproval. If disapproval is not enough, they keep the wrong people from claiming their legal rights by the threat of ostracism and economic retribution. If that is not intimidating enough, there are physical threats, then beatings and fires, and, if that fails, murder.
Waiting periods. Inaccurate counseling scripts. State-mandated ultrasounds. Over the years, these have been among the many favored obstacles antiabortion activists have thrown in the path of women seeking to terminate their pregnancies—all under the guise of protecting women’s health. Hundreds of these requirements are now law across the country at the state level. And at this point, having mostly exhausted legal means of discouraging women from choosing abortion, opponents recently have stepped up their efforts to block clinics from providing them. More than half the states now have laws instituting onerous and irrelevant licensing requirements, known as Targeted Regulation of Abortion Provider (TRAP) laws, which have nothing to do with protecting women and everything to do with shutting down clinics.
The Supreme Court says abortion must be legal? Screw the court! Bomb stuff if you don’t have political power, throw up small unnecessary restrictions if you have some, and when you have lots…
Kansas and Oklahoma, both of which have passed laws banning the dilation and evacuation (D and E) procedure that is used in most abortions after 13 weeks, have graduated to a new level in their efforts to stamp out reproductive rights.As Dahlia Lithwick at Slate explained, these laws “are radically different” from those of the past few years, which have tried to tried to chip away at abortion access by using phony concerns about women’s health as a cover; instead, Kansas and Oklahoma’s new legislation is simply a vehicle “to overturn Roe once and for all.”