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The South will rise again.

The American Civil War (1861-65) was a dreadful affair. It pitted the Northern states (the Union) against the 11 Southern states of the Confederacy.

The chief and immediate cause of the war was slavery; it was illegal in the North while Southerners believed their economy depended on slave labour to produce crops, especially cotton. Other issues--political, social, and economic--played a role but slavery was the big one.

On 12 April 1861, the Confederate army shelled Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. Six hundred thousand dead soldiers and four years later it was over. The South lost and slavery was abolished.

The Confederacy may have lost on the battlefield, but many Southerners still feel they should not have surrendered. In September 2000, Duncan Campbell wrote in The Guardian (U.K.) that: "Tens of thousands of white southerners are reported to be joining organizations that seek independence from the rest of the U.S., claiming that the federal government no longer represents 'southern values.'"

One of the groups promoting the notion of the South separating from the U.S. is called the League of the South. It says the laws made in Washington do not reflect the values that are important to Southerners. These tend to be much more conservative than those found elsewhere in the U.S. Senators and Representatives from the South have voted in favour of lower immigration, Christian prayers in schools, banning abortion, smaller government, lower taxes, and balanced budgets. But, Southern views on these issues tend to be a minority opinion in the country as a whole. So, the League says let's split and create "a significantly different country, more in keeping with the desires and the cultural lifestyles of a majority of Southerners."

The League argues that, "The American South, culturally the most distinct region of the United States and once an independent nation, has the population and the economy to form one of the most powerful nations on Earth." The League likes to define the South as the 11 states of the Confederacy plus Kentucky and Oklahoma.

It would be the thirteenth largest country in the world by population (74 million), and the fourth largest in terms of Gross Domestic Product.

The League of the South has plenty of critics. Go back to that quote from Duncan Campbell of The Guardian. Notice he describes the people joining neo-confederacy groups as "white Southerners."

Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Centre, which completed a report on the growth of the southern movement in 2000, said it was "providing a veneer of moral legitimacy for people who would be embarrassed to join the [white supremacist Ku Klux] Klan."

There are plenty of other neo-confederate groups. The Council of Conservative Citizens is a bit more open about its pro-white beliefs. The Heritage Preservation Association has declared "total war" on those who attack southern values and culture. The Confederate States of America wants to repeal laws that gave citizenship to blacks and votes to women.

FACT FILE

After a bitter controversy, the battle flag of the Confederacy that fluttered on top of South Carolina statehouse was finally taken down in 2000.

FACT FILE

In September 2000, the Southern Party, which advocates secession from the United States, won its first mayoral victory, in the village of West Point, Alabama.

Websites

Federation of States--http://www. southernindependenceparty.cc/

The League of the South--http://www. dixienet.org/
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Title Annotation:Stateless Peoples--Neoconfederates
Publication:Canada and the World Backgrounder
Geographic Code:1U600
Date:Oct 1, 2003
Words:564
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