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Remember the Civil War?  It officially started in South Carolina at Fort Sumter.  While it was being fought, and hundreds of thousands of Union soldiers were dying due to Confederate bullets and ammo, President Lincoln had a standing offer of amnesty to Confederates.  All the person had to do was cease hostility and swear an oath of loyalty to the United States of America.  Shortly after Lincoln was assassinated by a Confederate sympathizer, on May 29, 1865, President Johnson offered a similar amnesty to all Confederates, except ex-officers in the rebel army, and a small number of large property owners.  They had a slight longer route back to citizenship.  That was an amnesty for open rebellion.

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), in a House Judiciary Committee hearing on immigration reform, said, “This is not our country’s first foray into amnesty,” according to the New York Times.  He worried, however, about “respect for the rule of law” if undocumented immigrants became citizens.

Gowdy was probably not talking then about the post-Civil War amnesty.  He should remember the former Confederates lack of respect for the rule of law and their violent abrogation of the Constitutional rights to equality before the law and the right to vote.  They simply massacred black men who were trying to vote.  They rose up in the Ku Klux Klan to restore white supremacy.  I guess it is in bad taste for some South Carolinians to remember all that when talking about amnesty. 

Other South Carolinians, of course, remember it all too well.  Others remember Gowdy’s support for the Tea Party movement and defense of same, all while trying to deny that he is a congressman from the Tea Parties.

The Spartanburg Tea Party remembers Rep. Gowdy, however.  They think he is “awesome.”

Leonard Zeskind

Author Leonard Zeskind

is founder of IREHR. For almost four decades, he has been a leading authority on white nationalist political and social movements. He is the author of Blood and Politics: The History of White Nationalism from the Margins to the Mainstream, published by Farrar Straus & Giroux in May 2009. [more..]

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