A Lesson in History – During the Civil War: Principle over Principal

Go Lean Commentary

Where do you consider to be home? How far are you willing to go to protect/defend that home?

Dating back to the Magna Carta, a concept emerged in jurisprudence in which a man’s home was considered his castle, and should thusly be vigorously defended – Stand Your Ground. For this reason foreign occupying armies have always encountered vicious insurgencies from citizens of a homeland.

The movement and underlying book Go Lean … Caribbean posits that it is better to “prosper where planted“, that natives of a land are willing to shed blood, sweat and tears to sustain their homelands. This is one additional reason to discourage emigration, brain drain and societal abandonment.

Even the Bible speaks of this paradigm in the Gospel account by John in Chapter 10, verses 11 – 13 as follows:

11“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 12“He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13“He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.…

There is an important lesson to learn in considering the history of the American Civil War. The war was fought over the issue of slavery. This was an ugly institution for those condemned as slaves. In the United States, that ugly disposition extended beyond the slaves themselves to the entire Black race. Though individuals could be set free, laws in the country could push them back into slavery without any due process. This was the case with the “Fugitive Slave Act of 1850”. Any Black person could be detained as a runaway slave and returned to any alleged Slave Master in the South; no matter any proof or the truth, or lack there of. In many jurisdictions, a Black man could not even testify against white people. (This was the basis for the autobiographical book – by Solomon Northup – and movie “12 Years A Slave” – see trailer in the Appendix-VIDEO A below).

To be Black in the America of those days, one “could not win, could not break-even and could not get out of the game”. There was no neutral destination in America. The optimal option was the only option, to work towards the end of slavery.

For this reason many Blacks joined the war effort, at great sacrifice to themselves and their community. This was a matter of principle! There is an important lesson for the Caribbean from this history:

CU Blog - A Lesson in History - During the Civil War - Principle not Principal - Photo 2The 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry was an infantry regiment that saw extensive service in the Union Army during the American Civil War. The regiment was one of the first official African-American units in the United States during the Civil War.[1] The regiment was authorized in March 1863 by the Governor of Massachusetts, John A. Andrew. Commanded by Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, it was commissioned after the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation.[2] Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton decided white officers would be in charge of all “colored” units.[3] Andrew selected Robert Gould Shaw to be the regiment’s colonel and Norwood Penrose Hallowell to be its lieutenant colonel.[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/54th_Massachusetts_Infantry_Regiment retrieved October 14, 2015.

The Civil War was fought 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 spilled blood was a great sacrifice and should not be forgotten or undervalued. The vast majority of the deaths were White people. As many died, their surviving family members assigned blame to those of the Black community, as depicted here:

In July 13 – 16, 1863, African Americans on the New York City’s waterfront and Lower East Side were beaten, tortured, and lynched by white mobs angered over conscription for the Union war effort. [20] These mobs directed their animosity toward blacks because they felt the Civil War was caused by them. However, the bravery of the 54th would help to assuage anger of this kind…

CU Blog - A Lesson in History - During the Civil War - Principle not Principal - Photo 1The regiment gained recognition on July 18, 1863, when it spearheaded an assault on Fort Wagner near Charleston, South Carolina. 272 of the 600 men who charged Fort Wagner were “killed, wounded or captured.”[18] At this battle Colonel Shaw was killed, along with 29 of his men; 24 more later died of wounds, 15 were captured, 52 were missing in action and never accounted for, and 149 were wounded. The total regimental casualties of 272 would be the highest total for the 54th in a single engagement during the war. Although Union forces were not able to take and hold the fort (despite taking a portion of the walls in the initial assault), the 54th was widely acclaimed for its valor during the battle, and the event helped encourage the further enlistment and mobilization of African-American troops, a key development that President Abraham Lincoln once noted as helping to secure the final victory. This drama was portrayed in the 1989 Motion Picture “Glory“; see 2-minute clip in the VIDEO B below.

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 of history. There is only the need to look and learn, as there are lessons for the Caribbean to consider in its application of daily life. This commentary is 2 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

During the Civil War, as in any war, soldiers get paid. But the societal defects of racism was so acute in the US that even this administrative action was fraught with dysfunction; the encyclopedic reference continues:

The enlisted men of the 54th were recruited on the promise of pay and allowances equal to their white counterparts. This was supposed to amount to subsistence and $14 a month.[22] Instead, they were informed upon arriving in South Carolina, the Department of the South would pay them only $7 per month ($10 with $3 withheld for clothing, while white soldiers did not pay for clothing at all).[23] Colonel Shaw and many others immediately began protesting the measure.[24] Although the state of Massachusetts offered to make up the difference in pay, on principle, a regiment-wide boycott of the pay tables on paydays became the norm.[25]

CU Blog - A Lesson in History - During the Civil War - Principle not Principal - Photo 3After Shaw’s death at Fort Wagner, Colonel Edward Needles Hallowell – his lieutenant and brother of the first Lieutenant Colonel Hallowell – took up the fight to get back full pay for the troops.[26]

Refusing their reduced pay became a point of honor [(principle)] for the men of the 54th. In fact, at the Battle of Olustee, when ordered forward to protect the retreat of the Union forces, the men moved forward shouting, “Massachusetts and Seven Dollars a Month!”[2]

The Congressional bill, enacted on June 16, 1864, authorized equal and full pay to those enlisted troops who had been free men as of April 19, 1861. Of course not all the troops qualified. Colonel Hallowell, a Quaker, rationalized that because he did not believe in slavery he could therefore have all the troops swear that they were free men on April 19, 1861. Before being given their back pay the entire regiment was administered what became known as “the Quaker oath.”[26] Colonel Hallowell skillfully crafted the oath to say: “You do solemnly swear that you owed no man unrequited labor on or before the 19th day of April 1861. So help you God.”[26][28]

The book Go Lean…Caribbean and accompanying blogs provide lessons from history in considering the American Civil War. The Caribbean region has a debilitating societal abandonment rate; (70 percent of college educated had fled for foreign shores). The region needs a National Sacrifice ethos, where their own citizens sacrifice blood, sweat and tears on behalf of their homelands. Only then will people be less prone to abandon their homes; they will stake claim to principle over principal (money).

Early in the Go Lean book, this need for careful review of the history of slavery 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, is to identify and correct any bad community ethos (fundamental spirit of our culture) and to foster positive community ethos (such as National Sacrifice and “Principle over Principal”). This point was also pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Page 12 – 13) with these statements:

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes, including piracy and other forms of terrorism, can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

xix. Whereas our legacy in recent times is one of societal abandonment, it is imperative that incentives and encouragement be put in place to first dissuade the human flight, and then entice and welcome the return of our Diaspora back to our shores. This repatriation should be effected with the appropriate guards so as not to imperil the lives and securities of the repatriated citizens or the communities they inhabit. The right of repatriation is to be extended to any natural born citizens despite any previous naturalization to foreign sovereignties.

This Declaration of Interdependence opens 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 seeks to reboot the region’s economic, security and governing engines to ensure that all Caribbean stakeholders have the opportunity for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness with no abusive exploitation of any ethnic group. There is room for all people in the region to elevate and be elevated.

In this vein, the Go Lean roadmap seeks to employ “best-practices” with entitlements, labor, human rights and social safety nets 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.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines.

The Caribbean is in crisis!

Alas, the Go Lean book asserts that a “crisis is a terrible thing to waste” and thereafter stresses the community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to reboot, transform and turn-around the eco-systems of Caribbean society. These points are detailed in the book as follows:

Community Ethos – Deferred Gratification Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Principles – People Choose Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Principles – People Respond to Incentives in Predictable Ways Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Principles – The Consequences of Choices Lie in the Future Page 21
Community Ethos – Governing Principles – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Governing Principles – Cooperatives Page 25
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future Page 26
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact a Turn-Around Page 33
Community Ethos – Ways to Improve Sharing Page 35
Community Ethos – Ways to Promote Happiness Page 36
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Vision – Confederate 30 Member-States Page 45
Strategy – Mission – Enact a Defense Pact to Defend the Homeland Page 45
Strategy – Mission – Keep the next generation at home Page 46
Tactical – Confederating a Permanent Union Page 63
Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy Page 64
Implementation – Assemble – Incorporating all the existing regional organizations Page 96
Implementation – Ways to Pay for Change Page 101
Implementation – Security Initiatives at Start-up Page 103
Implementation – Ways to Deliver Page 109
Implementation – Reasons to Repatriate to the Caribbean Page 118
Planning – 10 Big   Ideas for the Caribbean – Confederation Without Sovereignty Page 127
Planning – Ways to Make the Caribbean Better Page 131
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage the Social Contract Page 170
Advocacy – Ways to Manage Federal Civil Service – Guaranteed Fair Treatment Page 173
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Homeland Security Page 181
Advocacy – Ways to Impact the Diaspora Page 217
Advocacy – Ways to Preserve Caribbean Heritage Page 218
Advocacy – Ways to Protect Human Rights Page 220
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Youth – Incentivize Prosperity at Home Page 227

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 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, identifying the required community ethos. The ethos associated with populations that have endured change – National Sacrifice – is an expression of deferred gratification, choosing to focus more on the future than on the present, or the past. We should show proper application for the sacrifices these ones have endured. Such gratitude makes our community better, more resilient and more long-suffering.

We need more of this Principle over Principal!

No appreciation, no sacrifice; no sacrifice, no victory. It is that simple!

Now is the time to lean-in to this roadmap for Caribbean change, as depicted in the book Go Lean…Caribbean. All the mitigations and empowerments in this roadmap require people to fight for their homeland. This ethos will help forge change for the Greater Good. We need sacrifice; we need victories!

(This commentary is not advocating sacrificing the  Caribbean’s young men – and women – on the altar of some God of War. Nor is this a call for a revolt against the governments, agencies or institutions of the Caribbean region, but rather a petition to fight for change through the peaceful optimization of the economic, security and governing engines in the region).

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 A – Movie Trailer: 12 Years A Slavehttp://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi302032921/

Retrieved October 14, 2015 – In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.


Appendix VIDEO B – Movie Clip Gloryhttps://youtu.be/q7qwqVbZSqE

Retrieved October 14, 2015 – Robert Gould Shaw leads the US Civil War’s first all-black volunteer company, fighting prejudices of both his own Union army and the Confederates.

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