Over the past sixty years, many groups, exploiting a general lack of public knowledge about particular movements or events, have urged upon the public various revisionist views in order to justify their particular agenda. For example, those who use activist courts to advance policies they are unable to pass through the normal legislative process defend judicial abuse by asserting three historically unfounded doctrines: These claims are directly refuted by original constitutional writings, especially The Federalist Papers.
Likewise, those who pursue a secular public square seek to justify their agenda by asserting that the Founding Fathers: A third example of historical revisionism involves the claim that the secession of the Southern States which caused the Civil War was not a result of the slavery issue but rather of oppressive federal economic policies. For example, a plaque in the Texas State Capitol declares:. We therefore pledge ourselves to preserve pure ideals; to honor our veterans; to study and teach the truths of history one of the most important of which is that the war between the states was not a rebellion nor was its underlying cause to sustain slavery , and to always act in a manner that will reflect honor upon our noble and patriotic ancestors.
From December through August , the southern states met individually in their respective state conventions to decide whether to secede from the Union. On December 20, , South Carolina became the first state to decide in the affirmative, and its secession document repeatedly declared that it was leaving the Union to preserve slavery:.
They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes [through the Underground Railroad]. A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the states north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States [Abraham Lincoln] whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. The slaveholding states will no longer have the power of self-government or self-protection [over the issue of slavery].
Following its secession, South Carolina requested the other southern states to join them in forming a southern Confederacy, explaining:. Experience has proved that slaveholding states cannot be safe in subjection to non-slaveholding states. The people of the North have not left us in doubt as to their designs and policy. United as a section in the late presidential election, they have elected as the exponent of their policy one [Abraham Lincoln] who has openly declared that all the states of the United States must be made Free States or Slave States.
In spite of all disclaimers and professions [i. The people of the non-slaveholding North are not, and cannot be safe associates of the slaveholding South under a common government. Citizens of the slaveholding states of the United States!
South Carolina desires no destiny separate from yours. We ask you to join us in forming a Confederacy of Slaveholding States. Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery — the greatest material interest of the world. 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.
That we do not overstate the dangers to our institution [slavery], a reference to a few facts will sufficiently prove. The hostility to this institution commenced before the adoption of the Constitution and was manifested in the well-known Ordinance of That Ordinance set forth provisions whereby the Northwest Territory could become states in the United States, and eventually the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota were formed from that Territory.
As a requirement for statehood and entry into the United States, Article 6 of that Ordinance stipulated: Signed into law by President George Washington on August 7, , it retained the prohibition against slavery. Mississippi had originally entered the United States under the requirement that it not allow slavery, and it is here objecting not only to that requirement of its own admission to the United States but also to that requirement for the admission of other states.
It has grown until it denies the right of property in slaves and refuses protection to that right on the high seas [Congress banned the importation of slaves into America in ], in the territories [in the Northwest Ordinance of , the Missouri Compromise of , the Compromise of , and the Kansas-Nebraska Act of ], and wherever the government of the United States had jurisdiction.
It advocates Negro equality, socially and politically. We must either submit to degradation and to the loss of property [i. On January 10, , Florida became the third state to secede. In its preliminary resolutions setting forth reasons for secession, it acknowledged:. All hope of preserving the Union upon terms consistent with the safety and honor of the Slaveholding States has been finally dissipated by the recent indications of the strength of the anti-slavery sentiment in the Free States.
On January 11, , Alabama became the fourth state to secede. A brief history of the rise, progress, and policy of anti-slavery and the political organization into whose hands the administration of the federal government has been committed [i.
The party of Lincoln, called the Republican Party under its present name and organization, is of recent origin. It is admitted to be an anti-slavery party. The prohibition of slavery in the territories, hostility to it everywhere, the equality of the black and white races, disregard of all constitutional guarantees in its favor, were boldly proclaimed by its [Republican] leaders and applauded by its followers.
Why was the Republican election victory a cause for secession? Only six years later in the election of , voters gave Republicans control of the federal government, awarding them the presidency, the House, and the Senate. The Republican agenda was clear, for every platform since its inception had boldly denounced slavery.
In fact, when the U. Supreme Court delivered the Dred Scott ruling protecting slavery and declaring that Congress could not prohibit it even in federal territories, 10 the Republican platform strongly condemned that ruling and reaffirmed the right of Congress to ban slavery in the territories.
It was for this reason that so many of the seceded states referenced the Republican victory in their secession documents. It was not just southern Democrats who viewed the election of Lincoln and the Republicans as the death knell for slavery; many northern Democrats held the same view.
With our aggrieved brethren of the Slave States, we have friendly relations and a common sympathy. We have not participated in the warfare upon their constitutional rights [of slaveholding] or their domestic institutions [slavery]. It is certain that a dissolution [secession of the State of New York from the Union] cannot be peacefully accomplished except by the consent of the [Republican New York] Legislature itself.
In this she would have the whole and united support of the southern states. Other northern Democrats also assailed the anti-slavery positions of the Republicans — including Samuel Tilden a New York state assemblyman and later the chair of the state Democrat Party, state governor, and then presidential candidate.
Tilden affirmed that southern secession be could halted only if Republicans publicly abandoned their anti-slavery positions:. Nothing short of the recession [drawing back] of the Republican Party to the point of total and absolute non-action on the subject of slavery in the states and territories could enable it to reconcile to itself the people of the South. We cannot ask the South — we will not ask anybody — to live contentedly under a government.
A proposal for an abolition peace can never gain a hearing in the South. If the Abolition Party [Republicans] continues in power, the separation is final, [both] in feeling and in fact. However, returning to an examination of southern secession documents, on January 19, , Georgia became the fifth state to secede. Georgia then dispatched Henry Benning to Virginia to encourage its secession. At the Virginia convention, Benning explained to the delegates:. What was the reason that induced George to take the step of secession?
That reason may be summed up in one single proposition: This conviction was the main cause. On January 26, , Louisiana became the sixth state to secede. Days later, Texas was scheduled to hold its secession convention, and Louisiana sent Commissioner George Williamson to urge Texas to secede.
Williamson told the Texas delegates:. Louisiana looks to the formation of a Southern Confederacy to preserve the blessings of African slavery. Louisiana and Texas have the same language, laws, and institutions. The Adult Education and Career Center provides career center aids in writing cover letters and resumes, citizenship, GED assistance, financial literacy, etc.
Career Resources includes local open jobs, resume and cover letter templates, interview guidelines and more for job seekers. Many of the subtopics within each category include links to websites. Military Families is a DoD-funded program that allows eligible students in U. In this video, a staff librarian from the Athens-Limestone Public Library explains how one of her patrons used Homework Help Alabama to get through a tough college class. Search this Guide Search.
Homework Alabama Homework Alabama offers free homework help from subject specialists. Would America be better off if we had more MLKs? The answer is clear, of course we would. The sex is the least of it. The path of nonviolent direct action that allowed America to get more right with itself is what matters.
King feared exposure by the FBI and felt guilty that his sexual activities posed a danger to the Civil Rights Movement. Events which should have been high points in his life, such as receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, were spoiled for him because they occurred when his fear of exposure was at its height.
Wallace dominated Alabama politics so thoroughly that when the state constitution prohibited him from running for a second consecutive term in , he had his wife elected. Unfortunately, she died in office. Wallace claimed to be a populist but actually did little for the people of Alabama. Wallace used racial hatred as an easy way to distinguish himself as a politician.
I was outniggered by John Patterson [his opponent]. And then I began talking about niggers, and they stomped the floor. Wallace said, In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!
Wallace resisted integration until when he announced that he was a "moderate" in matters of race. In subsequent elections, he won with the help of black voters. Note also that by , the Voting Rights Act which Wallace had opposed, had dramatically increased the number of black voters. Wallace ran for President in , , and on a states-rights platform, which for him was a thinly veiled racist message. In , as a third party candidate, Wallace received almost ten million popular votes and won in five Southern States, garnering 46 electoral votes.
In he ran in the Democratic primaries and his campaign was doing well but an assassin shot him five times, paralyzing Wallace from the waist down. Wallace spent the rest of his life in a wheel-chair, completing his term as governor and winning and serving two more terms.
In the Democratic presidential primaries, Wallace won only three Southern states, losing the rest to Jimmy Carter, who went on to win the nomination and the presidency. Wallace was a demagogue, good at winning elections and willing to use hatred, fear, and division to do so. He was a poor administrator. Alabama state government before Wallace had not been good at delivering services to its citizens. The federal courts were required to repeatedly intervene to correct these violations.
Fortunately for Alabama, the U. District Judge sitting in Montgomery was a remarkable man, named Frank M. District Court Judge The judge shown in the film approving the march from Selma to Montgomery and ordering the government to protect the marchers was U. Judge Johnson was a U. District Court Judge in Alabama from to He was then appointed to the Court of Appeal and served there from - The history of Alabama in the s and s is, to a great extent, the story of a struggle between Judge Johnson and the State of Alabama in which the Judge sought to require the state to comply with constitutional requirements in its schools, prisons, voter registration offices, and mental hospitals.
For much of that time, the struggle was between Judge Johnson and his former friend, George C. Frank Johnson was born and raised in Winston County, Alabama, an area of rugged hills in the Northern part of the state.
Winston County was known for its independence. It was a center of guerrilla warfare against the Confederacy and a refuge for tens of thousands of deserters from the Confederate Army. After the Civil War, Winston county was reliably Republican when the rest of the state voted solidly Democratic.
George Wallace and Frank Johnson went to law school together and were friends. One story has it that Johnson made meticulous notes on the cases that students were required to read. Wallace never cracked a book outside of class. Johnson would pass his notes to Wallace and another friend to read during the class, so that if called upon, they could answer questions intelligently.
When he returned from service in the armed forces during the Second World War, Frank Johnson was politically active in the very small Republican party in Alabama. In when Johnson was 35 years old, he was appointed to the bench by President Dwight Eisenhower.
At that time, he was the youngest federal judge ever appointed. Before , Judge Johnson had several voting rights cases in his court. He often found patterns and practices of discrimination and rigorously enforced the law. He was described as "the foremost champion of voting rights on the Southern bench. As shown in the film, Judge Johnson presided over the case brought by the protesters to sanction the march from Selma to Montgomery. He did order Dr. King and the protesters not to march until he could have a hearing.
After the hearing he permitted the march. Unfortunately, First Amendment protections have been eroded by judicial decisions since Today, the march probably would not have been allowed to proceed.
Judge Johnson made important decisions correcting unconstitutional conditions in the State of Alabama that included the following: Satyagraha is the theory of promoting change through nonviolent direct action developed by Mahatma Gandhi.
Satyagraha is not just a movement to force social and political change by defeating an opponent. Instead, it seeks to convert the opponent so that in the end, there is no defeat and no victory but rather a new harmony. Filmmakers love to talk about their artistic license to distort the truth, even as they bank on the authenticity of their films to boost them at awards season. An important point about the passage of the Voting Rights Act which this movie fails to mention is the remarkable cooperation between the powerful leader of a country and a civil rights activist in which they worked together to secure fundamental social and political change.
Such a partnership is very unusual and it has a significance of its own. First, set the scene. When a group embarks on a program of nonviolent direct action against a committed and powerful adversary, there is always the danger of failure. Before the voting rights protests in Selma, Dr. King and the SCLC had been involved in a number of major efforts that, while some success had been achieved, were largely disappointing. Augustine, Florida summer of in which the city ignored its agreements to make mild reforms and Albany, Georgia ended August, in which effective countermeasures to demonstrations and picketing were developed by Laurie Pritchet, chief of the city police.
While some Southern law enforcement officials seemed to delight in dramatic suppression of civil rights protests using night sticks, truncheons, water hoses, and attack dogs, these tactics only garnered headlines throughout the nation and sympathy for the civil rights cause.
Chief Pritchet made mass arrests of demonstrators without injuring the protesters. This made the protests very expensive for the Movement since money had to be used to bail protestors out of jail. Selma appeared ideal for a voting rights protest because resistance to black voter registration by white officials including the Governor, George C. Wallace , was intense and the county sheriff, Jim Clark, had a reputation for violence and losing his temper.
The local black citizens were ready to protest. LBJ did more for racial equality than any other 20th century white politician.
In fact, the process started before , long before the Selma protests, and for most of the period shown by this movie, LBJ and Dr. King were working together to get a voting rights bill passed by the Congress in So, most of the scenes showing LBJ are made up except the first conversation with Dr.
The other scenes involving President Johnson were made up by the filmmakers to create tension in the story. The relationship between MLK and LBJ was extraordinary because it involved the most powerful official of a country and a social activist cooperating to promote major social and political change.
The remainder of the film is a reasonably accurate fictional rendition of what occurred. The following are free on Youtube. After the film has been watched, engage the class in a discussion about the movie. Suggested discussion questions are set out below. King and the Civil Rights Movement confronted the nation with the inconsistency between the way it acted segregation and racism and its ideals.
King said in one of his speeches, he wanted America to become, "a society at peace with itself; a society that can live with its conscience.
While there are still racist elements in American society, the situation is much better than it was in before the Civil Rights Movement really got going. In addition, had Dr. King not been so insistent on nonviolence, the efforts of blacks for a better life could easily have been turned into a race war that would have been bad for all Americans.
How did the Selma march use this principle? The right to vote is basic to democracy. The fact that people were attacked by police and beaten when they sought such a basic right was a dramatic representation of the need to pass a law protecting the right to vote.
The fact that the power structure in Alabama, acting through the police, were willing to brutally beat peaceful protestors, demonstrated the need for change. Why was the brutal Sheriff Jim Clark valuable to Dr.
King and the Civil Rights Movement while the more restrained Police Chief of Albany, Georgia, Laurie Pritchet, who ordered his officers to arrest demonstrators gently and without hurting them, a danger to the Civil Rights Movement.
Nonviolent direct action requires publicity to accomplish its goals. Police brutality creates headlines and draws attention to the grievances of the demonstrators. Arrests, even mass arrests, of demonstrators by police who are not brutal but simply do their job, draws fewer headlines and less controversy.
Does the fact that Dr. King cheated on his wife diminish his legacy as a leader of the Civil Rights Movement? If so, how much? Good discussions will include the following concepts. It is a private matter that has relevance to Dr. For MLK the minister, his actions were hypocritical and therefore unethical.
King did many times, that in his form of the Christian religion all people are considered sinners and the grace of Jesus is necessary to take those sins away. King in gaining civil rights for black Americans, steering their discontent into nonviolent expression, and avoiding a race war were so important that sexual impropriety pales in comparison.
King who led the Civil Rights Movement on a nonviolent path than a straight-laced Dr. King who did not cheat on his wife but who was also not an effective leader promoting nonviolence. King as a civil rights leader. Click here for a question relating to the movie as a work of historical fiction.
Any of the discussion questions can serve as a writing prompt. Additional assignments include research projects and essays on the follow topics.
The depth of the research and length of the study should be adapted to the needs and abilities of the class.
Research and write an essay evaluating the leadership of Dr. Research and write an essay evaluating the role of the FBI in its investigations of Dr. King and the SCLC.
Research and write an essay on nonviolent direct action as it applied to the process by which LBJ became an advocate for black civil rights. Research and write an essay on the career and accomplishments of one of the following people shown in the film: Trace the paths by which the techniques of Gandhian non-violent direct action came to be practiced by the Civil Rights Movement in the U.
Be sure to research and discuss the role of the Reverend James Lawson in that process. Write an essay answering the following question: Assume that a person from another country looked at the United States before the Civil Rights Act of was passed and compared how the country acted to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Name an Article of the Declaration that was regularly violated in the U. Select questions that are appropriate for your students. It is a single page.
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