A Lesson in History – Before the Civil War: Compromising Human Rights

Go Lean Commentary

Despite the fact that there are historic events, many times “deniers” of the facts emerge. For example, the Nazi Holocaust: deniers exist even today of the actuality of the events or the 6 million Jews slaughtered in German Concentration Camps. Another major event before this was the American Civil War. Deniers abounded to the point that in many schools in the Jim Crow South, that event was taught as the “War of Northern Aggression” and the cause of “slavery” was supplanted for States’ Rights.

The pain of this academic dishonesty is not just the de-valuing of all the human sacrifices, but most importantly, the failure to learn and apply good lessons.

When someone denies an event, they cannot learn from the experiences.

Without a doubt, a Civil War was fought in the United States of America between 1861 and 1865; 625,000[5] Americans died…on both sides (365,000 total dead [4] on the Union side; 260,000 total dead on the Confederacy side). This blood should not be forgotten. There are lessons to learn from this history. This commentary is 1 of 3 considering lessons that are especially apropos for application in the Caribbean region of 2015. The lessons are cataloged as follows:

  1. Before the War: Human Rights Cannot Be Compromised
  2. During the War: Principle over Principal – Boycott Over a Difference in Pay
  3. After the War: Birth Right – Assigning Same Value to All Life

Since the early colonial period in America, slavery had been a part of the socio-economic system of British North America and was recognized in the Thirteen Colonies at the time of the United StatesDeclaration of Independence (1776). Since then, events and statements by politicians and others brought forth differences, tensions and divisions between the people of the slave states of the Southern United States and the people of the free states of the Northern United States (including Western states) over the topics of slavery. The large underlying issue from which other issues developed was whether slavery should be retained and even expanded to other areas or whether it should be contained and eventually abolished. Over many decades, these issues and divisions became increasingly irreconcilable and contentious.[1] But that last decade was pivotal; see encyclopedia reference here and VIDEO below:

CU Blog - A Lesson in History - Before the Civil War - Human Right Not Compromise - Photo 3Events in the 1850s culminated with the election of the anti-slavery-expansion Republican Abraham Lincoln as President on November 6, 1860. This provoked the first round of state secessions as leaders of the Deep South cotton states were unwilling to remain in a second class political status with their way of life threatened by the President himself. Initially, the seven Deep South states seceded, with economies based on cotton (then in heavy European demand with rising prices). They were Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas. After the Confederates attacked and captured Fort Sumter, President Lincoln called for volunteers to march south and suppress the rebellion. This pushed the four other Upper South States (Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas) also to secede. These states completed the formation of the Confederate States of America. Their addition to the Confederacy insured a war would be prolonged and bloody because they contributed territory and soldiers. – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_events_leading_to_the_American_Civil_War retrieved October 14, 2015.

The Civil War is being commemorated now, at the 150th Anniversary of its conclusion. But there is no need for “pomp and circumstance” in acknowledging these events in the “rear view” mirror; as this was an American crisis. There is only the need to look and learn, as there is this one poignant lesson for Caribbean consideration:

    With a roaring institution of slavery, there was no premise for a concept of human rights. Without a commonality on the understanding and acceptance of human rights, differences will always be irreconcilable and contentious.

Before the Civil War, both sides continued to propagate one compromise after another. While neither side wanted the bloodshed of war, the compromises were just exercises in futility because at the root, there was no commonality on human rights. Notice this application in considering this one episode of Pre-War deliberation:

The Kansas–Nebraska Act of 1854 created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska, opening new lands for settlement, and had the effect of repealing the Missouri Compromise of 1820 by allowing white male settlers in those territories to determine through popular sovereignty whether they would allow slavery within each territory. The act was designed by Democratic Senator Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois. The initial purpose of the Kansas–Nebraska Act was to open up many thousands of new farms and make feasible a Midwestern Transcontinental Railroad. The popular sovereignty clause of the law led pro- and anti-slavery elements to flood into Kansas with the goal of voting slavery up or down, leading to Bloody Kansas[1]; (a series of violent political confrontations involving anti-slavery Free-Staters and pro-slavery “Border Ruffians”, taking place in the Kansas Territory and neighboring towns in the state of Missouri between 1854 and 1861). This Kansas–Nebraska Act used popular sovereignty so as to ignore the failures of the previous compromises. The Kansas–Nebraska Act divided the nation and pointed it toward civil war.[41] The turmoil over the act split both the Democratic and Whig parties and gave rise to the Republican Party, which split the United States into two major political camps, North (Republican) and South (Democratic). – Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kansas%E2%80%93Nebraska_Act retrieved October 14, 2015.
CU Blog - A Lesson in History - Before the Civil War - Human Right Not Compromise - Photo 2

The book Go Lean…Caribbean and accompanying blogs provide lessons from history in considering the American Civil War. The Caribbean has had Civil Wars and Revolutions; (think Haitian Revolution of 1791 and the Cuban Revolution of 1959). The book assessed the economic disposition of the region and then strategized how to elevate the societal engines. Among its many missions, the book advocates one simple way to grow the economy: concentrate on the basic needs of food, clothing and shelter. When analyzing clothing options, the book leans on the lessons from the pre-Civil War American South, where Cotton was King. This point was detailed in the book on Page 163:

The Bottom Line on King Cotton
The Southern United States had ideal conditions to grow cotton; the prospects where so successful, 60% of US exports, that they sought to have a world monopoly. They devoted the most valuable land and slave labor to this cause, even in place of necessities like food. They had the supply system optimized and they were willing to go to war to preserve the status quo. On the demand side, the Industrial Revolution brought innovations like mechanized spinning/weaving to Europe. This forged a vibrant apparel industry and revolutionized the world economy. Cotton was King. The term King Cotton was a slogan around 1860–61 to support secession from the United States, arguing that cotton exports would make an independent Confederate States of America economically prosperous, and – more importantly – force Great Britain and France to support the Confederacy in a Civil War. But the Union blockaded the South’s ports and harbors and shut down over 95% of cotton exports. Since the Europeans had hoarded large stockpiles of cotton, they were not injured by the boycott — the value of their stockpiles went up. So cotton production shifted to other locations in the world, like India (up 700%), Egypt and Argentina. King Cotton failed to save the South, their economy nor Confederacy.
CU Blog - A Lesson in History - Before the Civil War - Human Right Not Compromise - Photo 1

Early in the Go Lean book, this need for careful review of history was acknowledged and then placed into perspective with this pronouncement (Declaration of Interdependence – Page 10):

As the history of our region and the oppression, suppression and repression of its indigenous people is duly documented, there is no one alive who can be held accountable for the prior actions, and so we must put aside the shackles of systems of repression to instead formulate efficient and effective systems to steer our own destiny.

As the colonial history of our region was initiated to create economic expansion opportunities for our previous imperial masters, the structures of government instituted in their wake have not fostered the best systems for prosperity of the indigenous people.

So the consideration of the Go Lean book, as related to this subject is one of community ethos, defined in the book (Page 20) as the fundamental character or spirit of our culture; our underlying sentiment that informs our beliefs, customs, or practices; dominant assumptions of us, the Caribbean as a people.

    Do we now have a common premise, a concept of human rights?

This commentary, and the underlying Go Lean book asserts the answer is “No“! As a region, the Caribbean is doing particularly bad.

This point was pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Page 12) with these acknowledgements and statements:

xii. Whereas the legacy in recent times in individual states may be that of ineffectual governance with no redress to higher authority, the accedence of this Federation will ensure accountability and escalation of the human and civil rights of the people for good governance, justice assurances, due process and the rule of law. As such, any threats of a “failed state” status for any member state must enact emergency measures on behalf of the Federation to protect the human, civil and property rights of the citizens, residents, allies, trading partners, and visitors of the affected member state and the Federation as a whole.

xiii. Whereas the legacy of dissensions in many member-states (for example: Haiti and Cuba) will require a concerted effort to integrate the exile community’s repatriation, the Federation must arrange for Reconciliation Commissions to satiate a demand for justice.

Continuing with the lessons from the American Civil War, we see that the US never accepted a common definition of human rights until … the United Nations was established (1945) and eventually codified a Human Rights Declaration for them … and the rest of the world in 1948. In the meanwhile, Blacks in the US continued to suffer – despite the abolition of slavery – with pains associated with a Peonage system, Jim Crow and blatant discriminatory practices. The oppression, suppression and oppression of Blacks (and other minorities) in the US meant that America was not a welcoming land for people of color.

Considering the Caribbean homeland, to apply lessons learned from the build-up of the American Civil War we must first accept as common: the basics of human rights.

The Go Lean book asserts the UN Declaration of Human Rights (Page 220) which provides this definition:

… standards of human behavior that are protected as legal rights in municipal and international law.[2] They are commonly understood as inalienable[3] fundamental rights “to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being.”[4]

This declaration aligns with the quest of the Go Lean…Caribbean book. The book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU) to spearhead the elevation of Caribbean society. The book advocates learning lessons from many events and concepts in history, from as far back as the patriarchal Bible times, to as recent as the Great Recession of 2008. The roadmap simply seeks to reboot the region’s economic, security and governing engines to ensure that Caribbean stakeholders (citizens, guest-workers and visitors) have the opportunity for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. As gleaned from this lesson in history, without that common acceptance of human rights, this quest is easier said than done.

The planners of the new Caribbean, the promoters of the Go Lean book, hereby urge all in the Caribbean to make this declaration.

Just say it!

In general, the Go Lean roadmap posits that the hope for any permanent change in the Caribbean must start with this declaration and the underlying community ethos that promotes it: the Greater Good. With that in place, other progress – the needed societal elevation – can begin. The Go Lean roadmap seeks to employ “best-practices” with better strategies, tactics and implementations to impact the CU prime directives; identified with the following 3 statements:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines and ensure the respect of human rights and public safety in all member-states.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines.

The Go Lean book stresses key community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies necessary to transform and turn-around the eco-systems of Caribbean society. These points are detailed in the book as follows:

Community Ethos – Economic Principles – Economic Systems Influence   Individual Choices Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Principles – Consequences of Choices Lie in   the Future Page 21
Community Ethos – Governing Principles – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future Page 26
Community Ethos – Ways to Manage   Reconciliations Page 34
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Vision – Confederate all 30   member-states/ 4 languages into a Single   Market Page 45
Strategy – Mission – Build and foster local economic engines Page 45
Tactical – Ways to Foster a Technocracy Page 64
Tactical – Growing the Economy – Post   WW II European Marshall Plan Model Page 68
Tactical – Separation-of-Powers – CU Federal Government versus Member-State Governance Page 71
Implementation – Assemble All Regionally-focus Organizations of All Caribbean Communities Page 96
Implementation – Ways to Better Manage Debt Page 114
Planning – 10 Big Ideas – Single Market / Currency Union Page 127
Planning – Ways to Model the new European Union Page 130
Planning – Ways to Make the Caribbean Better Page 131
Planning – Ways to Improve Failed-State Indices – Minority and Human Rights Page 134
Planning – Lessons Learned from the previousWest Indies Federation Page 135
Planning – Lessons Learned from 2008 – Optimizing Economic-Financial-Monetary Engines Page 136
Planning – Lessons Learned New York City – Managing   as a “Frienemy” Page 137
Planning – Lessons Learned from Omaha – Human Flight Mitigations Page 138
Planning – Lessons Learned from East Germany – Bad Examples for Trade & Security Page 139
Planning – Lessons Learned from Detroit – Turn-around from Failure Page 140
Planning – Lessons Learned from Indian Reservations – See Photo Page 141
Planning – Lessons Learned from the American West – How to Win the Peace Page 142
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Governance Page 168
Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage the Social Contract Page 170
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Homeland Security Page 180
Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage Natural Resources Page 183
Advocacy – Ways to Preserve Caribbean   Heritage Page 218
Appendix – Failed-State Index for Uneven Economic Development Page 272
Appendix – European Shuffling in the Guianas – Historic Timeline Page 307

There are other lessons for the Caribbean to learn from considering history; the following previous blog/commentaries have been detailed and considered:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6531 A Lesson in History – Book Review of the ‘Exigency of 2008’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6189 A Lesson in History – ‘Katrina’ is helping today’s crises
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5183 A Lesson in History – Cinco De Mayo
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5123 A Lesson in History – Royal Charter: Zimbabwe -vs- South Africa
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5055 A Lesson in History – Empowering Families
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4971 A Lesson in History – Royal Charter: Truth & Consequence
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4935 A Lesson in History – The ‘Grand Old Party’ of American Politics
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4720 A Lesson in History – SARS in Hong Kong
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4166 A Lesson in History – Panamanian Balboa
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2809 A Lesson in History – Economics of East Berlin
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2670 A Lesson in History – Rockefeller’s Pipeline
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2585 A Lesson in History – Concorde SST
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2480 A Lesson in History – Community Ethos of WW II in Detroit
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2297 A Lesson in History – Booker T versus Du Bois
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1531 A Lesson in History – 100 Years Ago Today – World War I
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=789 A Lesson in History – America’s War on the Caribbean

The Go Lean roadmap seeks to empower and elevate Caribbean societal engines. It is out-of-scope to impact America (beyond the Diaspora living there); our focus is only here at home.

A lot of the pain related in this history stem from the flawed structure of colonialism. Though there is a movement to extract reparations from former colonizers, that effort is not supported by the Go Lean movement for the Caribbean.

It is NOT for the Greater Good.

It is what it is! The current assessment of the Caribbean region is dire, but yet remediation, reboot and turn-around is possible.

Our quest is simple, learn from history and work to make the Caribbean region a better place to live, work and play.  🙂

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


Appendix VIDEO – The Path to Civil War – http://www.history.com/topics/american-civil-war/american-civil-war-history/videos/us-inches-closer-to-war

The election of Abraham Lincoln was a tipping point on the path to Civil War. In the wake of Southern secession, would the new president defend the U.S. forts in rebel territory?

Share this post:
, , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *