Letter to the Editor: Upholding Slavery was Mississippi’s Primary Reason for Secession

By Tad Wilkes
Oxford Resident

Starke Miller’s letter to the editor, titled “The Truth About the Confederate Monument” is an exercise in sugarcoated revisionism.

Miller’s long-winded fantasy, originating from the whitewashed version of “history” developed after the war, goes to great pains to align with the victim mentality of the post-war decades. It’s the continuation of a fiction that positions the soldiers as the true victims in all this and doesn’t mention the slaves they fought to own at all, as though the latter never existed.

It’s disappointing that in 29 years of researching and patting himself on the back as an “expert” on the Civil War, after scouring “primary documents” (created by revisionists after the war), Miller has failed to review the most primary of them all, Mississippi’s own words in its secession document, titled “A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union.”

Before the confederacy realized their cause was likely to be lost and needed revision and tweaking, Mississippi, like other Southern states, was unabashed in confidently letting the world know why they were seceding, as follows:

“In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course. Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery— the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.”

Starke Miller would have us view the war just as the weeping bitties of 1906 saw it: poor young boys who died valiantly fighting for a cause that conveniently isn’t mentioned.

Imagine for a moment that your grandfather kidnapped someone and forced him to do all his work for him for decades. When faced with the possibility of not having this slave and doing his own work, granddaddy declared proudly that he was sticking with his situation. Then, when the cops showed up to rescue the kidnappee, granddaddy sent his son (daddy) outside to fight the cops, who then shot him. Over the next four decades, your story becomes that grandaddy and daddy were just “defending their home and, oh, by the way, that guy tied up in the basement enjoyed his stay and daddy gave him a warm can of Coke each time he cut the yard against his will.” Granddaddy, who lived on after the skirmish by sacrificing his son, raises you in this fiction, telling you it was all about “homeowner rights.” Then you want to raise a monument at the center of town on the basis that daddy “died”—in a vacuum.
How Mr. Miller has spun himself into this fantasy of his, I don’t know. I assume like most of us he’d rather not face the fact that his ancestors made a mistake. Mine fought for the confederacy, too. I forgive their mistake, but I don’t want a statue celebrating them as heroes.


  1. Most Confederate soldiers did not own slaves, nor did their families own slaves. In fact 75% of all Confederate soldiers had no connection to the institution of slavery! Mr. Miller’s statements are true and the primary documents support Mr. Miller’s statements. The monument is dedicated to the Confederate Dead of Lafayette County, simply go look at the inscriptions on the monument. These liberal complaints are about Politically Correct politics, they simply want all our history wiped away, even if they have to miss-represent the truth to achieve there political ends. Most alumni, students, and patrons of the University want the monument left where it was located by the ladies of Oxford, in the Circle.

    • This statue is what attempts to “wipe history away.” What insane person concludes confederate soldiers had no connection to the institution of slavery? Do you think McDonald’s workers have no connection to hamburgers?

  2. What is a mistake by today’s standard was how life was lived back then. Not every soldier fighting in the Middle East today thinks their cause (that of the US) is just, but they fight on with a sense of duty and country. I imagine it was much the same then. They fought for their families and their land as much as anything, and have the right to be memorialized, whether Mr. Wilkes agrees or not.

    • What you seem to be saying is “if you think your cause is just” you are serving with a sense of duty and country. Does this just apply to Southerners? Does it apply to Arabs?

  3. Thanks for all the name exposure. I think you really like me.

    While we are imagining things, let’s say I get married. One day my wife comes to me and tells me that this marriage thing is not working out for her, she is leaving. I tell her she cannot leave me! I beat her half to death, I burn her credit cards, personal papers, clothes, and I burn her car.

    The neighbors see and hear all this, and call the Police. I am arrested and taken before a judge. The Judge asks me why I did it. I say, “Judge, I had to beat her half to death, and burn most everything she had. She was going to leave me, and I could not let her tear the UNION of our marriage apart!” The judge would look at me and say, “You are going to jail Mr. Lincoln, for a long time.”

    The only 2 groups I know of that you join of your own free, will with no contract, and you can NEVER leave, at peril of your life, are the Mafia and the United States.

    About one third of Confederate Soldiers were either drafted or joined up because they were going to be drafted. (see Conscription and Conflict in the Confederacy by Moore) They did not want to go fight.

    Less than 10% of all Confederate Soldiers owned slaves. Less than 50% of all Confederate Soldiers family’s, Mother or Father generally, owned slaves.

    James McPherson (Northerner) and Bell I. Wiley (Southerner and Ole Miss Prof.) both wrote groundbreaking Soldier study books. They looked at why Southerners fought, from thousands of their wartime letters, and well over 100 wartime diaries. Slavery was RARELY mentioned. The overwhelming reason they mentioned for joining up and fighting was that the South was invaded. Without Lincolns invasion, there is no War. Slaves are eventually freed through a deal, and/or shaming, and/or mechanization, without the loss of 700,00 plus Americans, and 400,000 of 4 million freed slaves who die from disease and starvation. (go read Sick From Freedom, by Downs) Every other Country in the world solved slavery without a war. Don’t forget 45 burned towns in Mississippi alone.

    I see slavery as wrong as wrong can be. It is right next to murder. Yet, it was legal at the time. I don’t judge a doctor from 1860 by 2019 standards, they did not know any better.

    Slavery was very much like abortion is now, but that too, is legal, and it IS murder. Almost every abortion stills a beating heart. Should we have a shooting war over abortion?

    • Mr. Miller: I have done my best to engage you civilly. It is a useless effort. Your ignorance and your sissified manner make your words not worth considering further.

      • I am so sorry I have disappointed you. This is the first time I have ever been called a sissy. That is a good one. It is probably a micro aggression, or something. I HAVE been called ignorant before, by liberals who did not like the facts I gave them. I am kind of used to that. You liberals are really good at calling people names, as I have found out. And I always thought you were all, inclusive, and compassionate, and stuff? Oh well.

    • You again write at length, in circles, pretending the Declaration doesn’t exist. As usual, playing the victim card and referencing slavery as some ugly side matter that is not relevant. Soldiers who did not own slaves still fought to protect white supremacy and knew what they were fighting for. The proper place to “honor” them is a cemetery. Not the center of campus.

    • So, since you think slavery is wrong but do not judge them at the time, fair enough, why is it important to have the statue prominent on campus in 2019 to send the message that we agree with that cause? Wouldn’t it be better in a museum or cemetery? It is very well documented that the Daughters of the Confederacy believed in white supremacy and supported the KKK, and this statue had its genesis in the very thick of post-Reconstruction efforts to reestablish white supremacy in a visual way. Your letter the other day completely avoids the context and says the people just put it up “for the dead.” Ted Bundy’s mom might have a nice photo of her son on her wall (he died) but I doubt the University of Florida has a statue of him.

  4. Slavery is a horrible thing. It did NOT begin in Mississippi and other Confederate States. Since time began peoples of all races have been enslaved by victors of conflicts where the strong have taken advantage of the weak. The history of slavery spans many cultures, nationalities and religions from ancient times to present day. Slavery pre-dates written history. Slavery operated in the very first recorded civilization as far back as 3500 BCE. Slavery became common in Europe during the Dark Ages and continued until the Middle Ages. During the Ottoman wars large numbers of captured Christians were used as slaves. The Dutch, French, Spanish, Portuguese, British and a number of West African kingdoms played a prominent role in the Atlantic slave trade. There was never a ship flying the Confederate flag transporting slaves from Africa. The fact remains that at the beginning of the 19th century an estimated three-quarters of all people alive existed in some form of slavery or serfdom. Although slavery is no longer legal in the world an estimate as recent as 2013 indicated human trafficking is an international problem with 25-40 million people, primarily in Asia, enslaved. Islamist quasi-states such as Boko Haram and the Islamic State of Iraq still kidnap and enslave women and children. These are facts that are never mentioned by the left, instead the narrative tries to spread the belief that the South invented slavery. As Mr. Miller mentioned, a VERY small number of Confederate soldiers owned slaves or fought to defend slavery. They were fighting for their homeland. Surely everyone reading this remembers World War ll. My Dad and his five brothers fought in Europe and the Pacific during that war. They didn’t believe and most don’t believe today that the common soldiers fighting on the front lines for Germany and Japan and Italy were fighting for anything other than their homeland. Most were not fighting for the ideals of their leaders, Hitler, Hirohito and Mussolini. Those countries still honor their dead but not their countries’ political positions from that time. The liberal pundits seem to accept that as ok. Hell, most of those pundits are driving vehicles built by companies based in those countries where brave Americans fought and died. The bottom line is that the folks that support Mr. Millers’ view are accused of selective memory, of wanting to celebrate slavery and so on. That is not the truth! The truth is that the other side has selective memory and would like the ignorant masses to believe that all southerners are racist bigots and that they invented slavery and are proud of that part of our past. The truth is, as well described by Mr. Miller, the Confederate Memorial Statue was erected to honor the brave men who gave their lives to defend their homeland. The South. The memorial should remain.
    Thank you again Mr. Miller.

  5. None of the slave ships from Africa to the U.S. flew a Confederate flag. They all flew U.S. flags. My great-grandfather fought for the South and owned NO slaves. He, like most Confederate soldiers, would have felt wealthy to own just TWO MULES. BTW: How on earth did American slave traders storm the shores of Africa rounding up African blacks for slaves? Why didn’t the African people fight them off? It is not easy to storm ashore from ships and then round up the natives to be taken to the U.S. as slaves. It is much easier for those on shore to fight off an invading group from ships.

  6. My Letter to the Editor here on HottyToddy.com was clicked on by over 2,300 people, as of September 19. Yours was clicked on by 228 people. On Facebook, 208 people shared my article, 9 people shared yours. Mine WAS put up a day ahead of yours. So, maybe in the next 24 hours, your numbers will catch up to mine, or maybe not?

    • You’re up after midnight comparing how much attention you got to me. Good job. guess what I wrote got under your skin. I didn’t do it for personal attention, just letting people know the truth. You however savor the attention you get telling people what they want to hear. It seems to be your branding. So sad. Clearly you know I’m right, and it’s keeping you up. Yours is shared by ignorants and white supremacist groups who use it to prop up their desired fantasies and then educated people who can’t believe how ignorant it is. Not surprised at all. Anyway, I guess keep ignoring that declaration, guy, and savor those … Facebook likes?

      • All I did was point out some facts, that neither you, nor anyone else knew about the monument, and you don’t seem to like it. Since you are so educated, who wrote the Declaration of Causes, and on what day of the Secession Convention was it written, and how was it adopted? This is an open book, or internet, test. That all has a bearing on it’s importance. Or maybe you are just parroting something a liberal Professor taught you and you NEVER looked at any primary sources? Trust me, you only have half the story.

        • Hey everyone a liberal professor built a time machine, went back, and falsified that declaration. After all, in 1906 some ladies didn’t mention slavery. This guy keeps showing his true colors and motives the more he yells “liberal” this and that. It’s code for he’s mad at facts.

    • Only a terribly small person would post this response, Mr. Horn Tooter. One of the worst things about living in Oxford these days is all the trashy students from the 60s who have retired here. Are you still mad about black students too? At the end of the day, we are going to move that statute, no matter the bs you choose to spew.

      • Gee, I am sorry your girl lost the election and I am sorry I pointed out that that very few people cared to read the liberal talking points about the causes of the War. Now I am “small” AND “trashy”. Those are at least two NEW names I have been called by compassionate liberals on this site.

        • Wow this historian has the facts. The words of MS’s own slave-owning declaration are fake “liberal talking points.” Holy hell this guy is dumb. His Facebook avatar is the confederate flag. Ask this expert what was going on and said by Mississippi leaders in the 1890s when they created the new state constitution at that time and put the stars and bars on our state flag. Primary documents and all. You know, same time period they were planning this monument.

  7. Starke Miller is a hero for speking the truth so much so that i decided to get back on facebook (terrible mostly) just to follow him! finally some truth and good news in this wordl

  8. If it makes African-American students feel more welcome on campus for the statue to be located elsewhere, then what is the harm in moving it? Will it lessen your enjoyment of the campus if those students feel more at home? Will it be a big burden on you to have to trek over to the cemetery to enjoy the statue? How much time do you spend gazing at it anyway?

    Fact is, the people advocating against it being moved insist that it there ONLY BECAUSE it intimidates it is unwelcoming to some groups.

    If the plan was to hoist the statues into the air with a helicopter and drop it on Barack Obama, instantly killing him, Starke Miller would be in favor of removing it for that purpose.

  9. Following long standing orders from the Kool-aid makers, Mr. Wilkes and his Moon Pie followers that commented on his attack of Mr. Miller are who Irish-born Confederate Major General Patrick Cleburne was referencing in his letter of January,1864 where he proposed the mass emancipation and enlistment of Black Southerners into the Confederate Army. His letter stated: “Every man should endeavor to understand the meaning of subjugation before it is too late—-It means the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy: that our youth will be trained by Northern schoolteachers: will learn from Northern school books their version of the war: will be impressed by the influence of history and education to regard our gallant dead as traitors, and our maimed veterans as fit objects for derision—- The conqueror’s policy is to divide the conquered into factions and stir up animosity among them—- It is said slavery is all we are fighting for, and if we give it up we give up all. Even if this were true, which we deny, slavery is not all our enemies are fighting for. It is merely the pretense to establish sectional superiority and a more centralized form of government, and to deprive us of our rights and liberties.” Now, Mr. Wilkes, we know who issued your tainted marching orders and what your intent is, only wish you knew also. Modern day useful idiot.

    • Neat rant. I can almost smell the halitosis. Did “Northerners” write Mississippi’s declaration of secession. Keep quoting whiny liars.

    • You have subjugated yourself to lies. Hilarious that you think others are who have “marching orders”. You literally ignore documents of the time, written by entities in the south.

  10. Holy shit! This poor fool worships some shitty general who thinks white southerners in the south were victims and losing their “rights” TO OWN HUMAN BEINGS. Narcissism extreme.

  11. Mr. Miller, your marriage analogy is about as silly as it gets. You posit that the poor white confederates just wanted to leave the union and got beat up for it. No mention of SLAVES enslaved in the south who might have maybe, you know, wanted to leave slavery. But, you say, most soldiers didn’t own slaves. I am certain most Nazi soldiers did not own the concentration camps, but we still don’t put statues of them up.

    Your comments about “liberals” tell us all we need to know about your motives in whitewashing history.


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