The Tea Party is full of Secessionist Radicals. How can a Patriot be a Secessionist? Very few Tea-Pats are found in New England. These crazy beer-guzzling gun-nuts see South Carolina as their capitol. Here the Rosamond and Witherspoon family fought alongside Francis Marion. Above is a photo of Dottie Witherspoon and myself. Our kindred were named after Francis Marion.
According to the Washington Times (via Nexis), in March 2000 Perry fired off a letter to Denne Sweeney, Texas commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans: “Although this is an emotional issue,” he wrote, “I want you to know that I oppose efforts to remove Confederate monuments, plaques, and memorials from public property. I also believe that communities should decide whether statues or other memorials are appropriate for their community.”
(Sweeney, for his part, later ascended to the position of commander in chief of the national Sons of Confederate Veterans, where, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported, he presided over “a purge of some 300 members, accused of disloyalty for criticizing racism in the SCV.”)
Francis Marion Witherspoon
Born in Missouri, USA on 1852 to John Witherspoon and Polina Martin. Francis Marion married Samantha C Cline. He passed away on 1930 in Lawrence, Missouri, USA.
Marion Francis Rosamond
Born in Carroll, Mississippi, USA on 13 Sep 1848 to Benjamin Rosamond and Jane Rogers. Marion Francis married Fannie A Rosamond and had 2 children. Marion Francis married Sarah Jane Hodges and had 5 children. He passed away on 1934 in Lovelady, Texas, USA.
During the time General Marion lay at the White marsh,
Capt. Gavin Witherspoon, of Pedee, with three or four men,
were concealing themselves in Pedee swamp: in the night he discovered
a camp of the tories, whom he had reason to think were in pursuit of him,
and watched them till they had all fallen asleep; he proposed to his men
to attack them, but they were fearful of numbers. He then declared he would
take them himself. Creeping up cautiously, he found that they had encamped
at the butt of a pine, blown up by the roots, and that their guns were piled
up against a limb, at the distance of forty or fifty feet from them.
He continued to creep till he got possession of their guns, and then
called to them loudly to surrender. Not knowing his force, they did so,
and Witherspoon’s men came to his assistance and tied them, in number seven.
Gavin, and John Witherspoon, his brother, were two active spirited men
at this period. They succeeded each other as captains
in the neck between Pedee and Lynch’s creek; and at the call of danger
were generally foremost.
The Tea Party movement takes its name from the Boston Tea Party of 1773, when American patriots dumped British tea into Boston Harbor to protest British imperial power. But while New England was the center of resistance to the British empire, there are few New Englanders to be found in today’s Tea Party movement. It should be called the Fort Sumter movement, after the Southern attack on the federal garrison in Fort Sumter in South Carolina on April 12-13, 1861, that began the Civil War. Today’s Tea Party movement is merely the latest of a series of attacks on American democracy by the white Southern minority, which for more than two centuries has not hesitated to paralyze, sabotage or, in the case of the Civil War, destroy American democracy in order to get their way.
Rick Perry made national headlines in 2009 when, during a speech to a Tea Party group, he floated the possibility that Texas could secede from the union. But the governor’s substantive ties to the neo-Confederate movement may be deeper than previously known.
A 1998 voting guide published by a leading neo-Confederate group and obtained by Salon not only endorses Perry for lieutenant governor but also describes him as “a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.” Perry’s office did not respond to a request for comment about the governor’s possible membership in the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
This is the document, published by the League of the South on its website DixieNet.org; it was unearthed by Edward Sebesta, a Texas-based independent researcher and co-editor of “Neo-Confederacy: A Critical Introduction.” (Click the image for larger size.)
The organization that publishes DixieNet describes its mission in openly secessionist terms: “The League of the South is a Southern Nationalist organization whose ultimate goal is a free and independent Southern republic.” Its core beliefs include the abolition of the income tax and central banking, a Southern republic that “revives the use of State Militias in place of maintaining large, standing armies,” and a society that “perpetuates the chivalric ideal of manhood.” The group rejects “the American Empire that now occupies the South.”
Perry, who in 1998 was Texas’ commissioner of agriculture running in a fiercely contested lieutenant governor’s race, was praised by the League of the South as a “solid, conservative candidate” who would provide a “tremendous boost” to efforts in the Legislature to proclaim April as Confederate History and Heritage Month. (A few months after the election, in April 1999, the Texas state Senate did just that, though it’s not clear if Perry played any role.) On Election Day ’98, Perry narrowly beat out Democrat John Sharp to become the state’s first Republican lieutenant governor since Reconstruction — an outcome that positioned Perry to rise to the state’s top job two years later, when George W. Bush left the governorship to become president.
What about the Sons of Confederate Veterans? Founded in 1896, it offers genealogical services, sells Confederate memorabilia and literature, and has lobbied to make Confederate flag license plates available around the country, and to keep the Stars and Bars flying at government buildings.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the group experienced years of internal conflict between moderate and radical factions, essentially between those who wanted to focus on maintaining historical sites and supporting research and those who were committed to glorifying the Confederacy — in some cases, out-and-out white supremacists.
The latter faction seems to be in the ascendancy these days.
Visitors to the Sons of Confederate Veterans website are confronted by a video of a man in a gray uniform who proclaims, “One hundred and fifty years ago the men of the South left our homes and families to protect them from an illegal invasion and to fight for the rights our states held under the Constitution.” He continues: “Too many in your time want to tell lies about us and the reasons we went to war. We fought for you. It is now your turn to stand up to the South.”
Slavery is not mentioned.
The group also says the “citizen-soldiers who fought for the Confederacy personified the best qualities of America.”
Ray Wainner, Texas division adjutant at the Sons of Confederate Veterans, told me that Perry’s name did not appear in the group’s membership records — but that they only go back to 2001. The national office of the Sons of Confederate Veterans did not immediately respond to a request for comment. And Perry’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
Whether or not Perry was ever a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, we know for certain that he has a little-examined history of associating with neo-Confederates and expressing sympathy for their cause.
In 2000, for instance, Bush was locked in a heated South Carolina presidential primary contest with John McCain in which the question of the Confederate flag and its presence atop the state’s capitol played a prominent role. (Bush basically punted, saying it was a state issue.) At the same time, back in Texas, the NAACP demanded that two plaques bearing Confederate symbols be removed from the state Supreme Court building. The plaques were ultimately removed (sparking a decade of litigation pushed by the Sons of Confederate Veterans), but not before Lt. Gov. Perry weighed in on the side of the neo-Confederates.
After Bush was elected president and Perry became governor, he maintained his warm relations with Confederate-affiliated groups. Perry was featured in the United Daughters of the Confederacy magazine for a July 2001 visit to the 25th anniversary celebration of a library that had been given an archival collection of Confederate materials. (Click the image for larger size.)
The mainstream media have completely missed the story, by portraying the Tea Party movement in ideological rather than regional terms. Whether by accident or design, the public faces of the Tea Party in the House are Midwesterners — Minnesota’s Michele Bachmann and Joe Walsh of Illinois. But while there may be Tea Party sympathizers throughout the country, in the House of Representatives the Tea Party faction that has used the debt ceiling issue to plunge the nation into crisis is overwhelmingly Southern in its origins:
The four states with the most Tea Party representatives in Congress are all former members of the Confederate States of America. The states with the greatest number of members of the House Tea Party caucus are Texas (12), Florida (7), Louisiana (5) and Georgia (5). While California is in fifth place with four House Tea Party members, the sixth, seventh and eighth places on the list are taken by two former Southern slave states, South Carolina and Tennessee, and a border state, Missouri, each with three members of the congressional Tea Party caucus.
If states with significant white Southern diasporas were included, the Southern proportion of the House Tea Party caucus would be even bigger. Many of the other states with Tea Party representatives are border states with significant Southern populations and Southern ties. One is Maryland, a state with Confederate sympathies during the Civil War, which, because the Census Bureau defines it as “Northeastern,” is responsible for the only Northeastern member of the Tea Party caucus, Roscoe Bartlett. The four Californian representatives come from the Orange County area or inland California, both regions whose political culture was shaped by Southern political culture, in the form of the “Okie” diaspora that settled there during the Depression.
In the entire House Tea Party Caucus, there is not a single representative from New England.
The fact that Tea Party conservatism speaks with a pronounced Southern drawl may have escaped the attention of the mainstream media, but it is obvious to members of Congress who have to try to work with these disproportionately-Southern fanatics. One is Rep. Loretta Sanchez of California. As a guest on a radio show, she mocked the Southern accent of the typical congressional Tea Party caucus member:
The congresswoman, who represents Anaheim and other parts of Orange County, laughed and said she knows how to get along with people. Then she used a mock Southern accent to describe how conversations with them play out.
“Hey what’s your name? ‘My name is M-o-e,’” Sanchez said, feigning a Southern drawl that drew howls of laughter from Miller and her co-host. “Ok Moe. Moe-ster, how you doing baby? What are we going to do today? What’s your interest? What can we work on together?”
“‘Well, it’s unconstitutional,” she said, using her faux Southern accent.
Contradicting the mainstream media narrative that the Tea Party is a new populist movement that formed spontaneously in reaction to government bailouts or the Obama administration, the facts show that the Tea Party in Congress is merely the familiar old neo-Confederate Southern right under a new label. The threat of Southern Tea Party representatives and their sidekicks from the Midwest and elsewhere to destroy America’s credit rating unless the federal government agrees to enact Dixie’s economic agenda of preserving defense spending while slashing entitlements is simply the latest act of aggression by the Solid South.
Here is how the League of the South, a neo-Confederate organization that favors Southern secession from what it describes alternately as “the yankee empire” and “the South-busting American regime,” describes the South’s pattern of voting in Congress in recent years (note the author’s British spelling of “favour” — Noah Webster, who tried to Americanize spelling, was a Yankee):
Another stark Southern – US split occurred when the Senate voted on President Clinton’s impeachment verdict. The whole Senate voted to acquit Clinton on both impeachment charges while Southern Senators voted two-thirds in favour [sic] of convicting Clinton of obstruction of justice (18 to 8). If the South had been in charge, President Bill “the Lecher” Clinton would have been the first president in U.S. history to have been removed from office by impeachment.
If the South had had its way, however, Clinton would not even have been elected in the first place. In both 1992 and 1996 the South voted for the Republican nominee for President, i.e., the candidate generally perceived to be more conservative (regardless of the reality).
On tax policy, the South almost always votes for lower taxes, and is sometimes overridden by the US congress. In 1998 the thirteen State South voted by the required two-thirds margin for a constitutional amendment to require a two-thirds vote of both houses of congress to raise taxes. Southerners voted in favour [sic] of this constitutional amendment 90 to 41. In the full House the amendment failed by 238 to 186 opposed, far short of the constitutionally required two-thirds margin.
Also in 1998, Southern Representatives voted by the requisite two-thirds “super majority” to submit to the States the Religious Freedom Constitutional Amendment. It would have guaranteed an individual’s right to pray and recognize his religious beliefs on public property, including schools. The house of representatives [sic] as a whole rejected this amendment by a vote of 224 in favour to 203 opposed, falling miserably short of the necessary two-thirds margin.
In 1997 Senator Hutchinson of Arkansas offered an amendment to abolish the National Endowment for the Arts and transfer its fiscal 1998 funding directly to the States. The South voted for this State Rights proposal by the ample margin of 17 to 9, whereas the full Senate rejected this affirmation of the rights and duties of the States by the almost equally strong margin of 63 against to only 36 for.
In light of this recent history, it is clear that the origins of the debt ceiling crisis are to be sought, not in generic American conservatism, but in idiosyncratic Southern conservatism. The goal, the methods and the passion of the Tea Party in the House are all characteristic of the radical Southern right.
From the earliest years of the American republic, white Southern conservatives when they have lost elections and found themselves in the political minority have sought to extort concession from national majorities by paralyzing or threatening to destroy the United States.
The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798 and 1799 asserted the alleged right of states to “nullify” any federal law that state lawmakers considered unconstitutional. This obstructionist mentality led to the Nullification Crisis of 1832, when South Carolina refused to enforce federal tariffs. Civil War was averted only when President Andrew Jackson, a Southerner himself, forced the nullifiers to back down.
In 1820 and 1850 the South used the threat of secession to force the rest of the United States to appease it on the slavery issue. In 1861, the South tried to destroy the United States, rather than accept a legitimately elected president, Abraham Lincoln, whom it did not control.
Following defeat in the Civil War, the former Confederate states regrouped as “the Solid South,” a one-party region, first Democratic and now Republican, that has tended to vote as a bloc in national affairs. The South sought to block the federal civil rights revolution by a policy of “massive resistance” to court orders ordering racial integration. Some Southern states went so far as to try to abolish their public school systems rather than integrate them. It is hard to avoid seeing a link between this racist rationale for privatization and modern conservative plans to scale back Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, relied on disproportionately by black and brown Americans and low-income whites, while increasing taxpayer subsidies to private retirement and healthcare accounts enjoyed mostly by affluent whites.
As white Southerners, upset with the Democratic Party’s racial and social liberalism, migrated into the post-Goldwater GOP, they brought their Dixiecrat attitudes into the party of Lincoln. The Kemp-Roth tax bill of 1981, which inaugurated the policy of creating permanent deficits by slashing taxes without cutting spending, had its strongest support among Southern and Western members of Congress and the least support in the fiscally conservative Northeast.
The Republican Party’s attempted government shutdown of 1995 marked the new domination of the Republican Party by Southerners like Newt Gingrich, Dick Armey and Tom DeLay. The impeachment of their fellow Southerner Bill Clinton was an attempted coup d’état by the Southern white minority in the United States, which, as in 1860, was frustrated because its candidate lost the presidential election.
The debt ceiling crisis is the latest case in which the radical right in the South has held America hostage until its demands are met. Presidents Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln refused to appease the Southern fanatics. Unfortunately, President Obama and the Democrats in Congress chose not to follow their example and instead gave in. In doing so, they have encouraged the neo-Confederate minority in Congress to find yet another opportunity in the near future to extort concessions from America’s majority by sabotaging America’s government.
Michael Lind is the author of Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States and co-founder of the New America Foundation.