Slaves, Braceros, Indentured Servants, Land Grabbers and the Confederate Flag




grant leeFirst off, the Confederate flag was originally designed for Robert E. Lee’s Army of Virginia in 1862.  In case no one knew:  The South lost the great Civil War in 1865.  They say that anywhere from 620,000 to 750,000 died during the Civil War.  The war itself was based on an economic standard that had existed since the founding of Jamestown and the first arrivals at Plymouth Rock.  The 15th Century slave ships of the Dutch, French. Spanish, Portuguese and English brought African slaves to the new world to be sold on the auction block to work for “food and found” for the rest of their lives.  The best and strongest slaves were breed to increase their investment value and increase the population of the work group.  Hey, you take some 1%ers to build a nice plantation house like “Tara” in “Gone with the Wind”, you get some slaves to work the fields, cut the firewood and pick the cotton.  You sell your cotton in Savannah and pretty soon, you have more slaves, a bigger plantation and lots of horses and pretty dresses.   You could kill, rape, torture or abuse your slaves in anyway you considered proper…because they were considered to be not human beings – just property.  Many women in those days of various colors were also considered property.

The South had its slave work force and the North had its Indentured Work Group.  Indentured Servants they called them.  If you had a large amount of debt or had broken some minor laws you were put into Debtor’s Prison.  If you wanted to get out, you could either get a family member or close friend to pay your debts or you could become an Indentured Servant for five years and sent to the colonies.  This system was expanded in Australia to include murderers, thugs and other bad folks.  Undoubtedly, a few slipped through the cracks and made it to the America’s.  Indentured Servants, a lot like Nanny’s today may have been abused in a variety of ways or in some cases sold as White Slaves if they misbehaved in any way.

After the Civil War, came a very serious period called Reconstruction, which Northern Land Developers came down to the south to implement a variety of terrible abuses to both Whites and the newly freed slave populations.  Urban Renewal, Eminent Domain, and Redevelopment –  was first of the list, which meant that Southerners with businesses in towns that were making a lot of money….became taxed out of existence.  Much akin to what modern day companies like the Irvine Company can do, like raise rents over night or simply kick out under performing businesses, the Oil Can Harry’s of those days were soon known to be “Carpet Baggers”.  They brought their “Carpet Bags” with a bunch of papers which were aimed at people that could not read or write.   They kicked people off their land if they had productive crops, businesses or valuable property.  The many single women who had lost their husbands, brothers and other family members to “the Great War” became helpless to defend themselves.  The newly freed blacks who were given land by benevolent masters became easy prey too for the “Carpet Baggers”!

With the demise of Southern Chivalry and a vibrant business class, Cheap Labor and the Slave class – the South soon fell into a 20 year downward spiral as the Northern Land Grabbers took aim on a defeated nation.  A great migration began to occur and both races soon were moving to the north and the west, areas with greater economic opportunity.     The search for cheap labor continued unabated and the manufacturing facilities of the north employed children as young as 11 years old to create garments and other items.  The doors of the nation were soon opened to every German, Swedish, Italian and Dutch person that wanted to come to America.  They had no land, they had no jobs, they would work for little money – and they loved to start family businesses.  The new immigrants spread across our country to Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Louisiana, California, Illinois, Ohio, Iowa and the great Northwest.  Ex-slaves now worked for the Northern “Carpet Baggers” Land Grabbers and their lives changed little from their former slavery days.  They still picked cotton and worked endless hours for little or no money… the Company Store concept allowed them to get goods on credit for future wages.

American Indians continued to be a problem.  They occupied wonderful land that the new immigrants wanted to occupy.  Andrew Jackson in 1820 had set the standard, by sending the Cherokee Nation to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears, where so many died.  Then came the “Oklahoma Land Rush”….”Boomer Sooners” and when Black Gold was found on Indian Land in Oklahoma by the turn of the century – it seemed momentary poetic justice.  However, Land Speculators immediately came in to disenfranchise our Cherokee brothers and sisters.  Indians were not willing to work the fields and tend to crops.  They were quintessential “Hunter-Gatherers” who wanted no part of the “White man world”!  With the exception of the “Fire Water and Firearms”.

The great southwest mixed American Indians with Spanish Settlers and cross-bred Mexicans.  The Mexicans were hardworking and quite willing to work for 14 hours a day in the fields – tending crops and the field work.  In California, Mexicans were encouraged to come from everywhere to help with the amazing crops – every season.  Well into the 1930’s, when the folks from the Dust Bowl came to California to work the fields, they soon moved on to tent cities and farmers found them too difficult to work with.  They wanted short term folks to gather the crops and then go home.  Not stay and become a cultural problem.  So began “the Bracero Program”.  Have the Mexicans come up for Planting season and go home after the Oranges and Strawberries were picked.

Cheap Labor has always been the connecting thread of US Foreign Policy.  Today, we offer High Tech jobs via H1-B Visas to folks recently graduated from Mumbai University.  We have and continue to invite illegal immigrants into our country because they will work for less than the minimum wage and don’t require health insurance nor complain about OSHA violations.

After the surrender of Robert E. Lee at Appomattox, Lee called for Reunification and a Conciliatory Peace.  The flags of the Confederacy were put to rest and only reappeared after the many abuses of Reconstruction and the Carpet Baggers from the North.  “Birth of a Nation” was a direct reaction to 50 years of Northern attitudes about the south and their people.  It may be argued that the North never fully accepted the surrender of the South – due to the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln.  The modern reality however must be noted that the Confederate Battle Flag should not ever be flown on any State, County or Municipal location anywhere.  That Flag can fly at any home, any business and in any museum or during any Civil War Reenactment or historical event.  Whether the Ku Klux Klan, any White Power Organization or anyone else for that matter wants to display the Confederate Battle Flag is irrelevant.  Just as the Nazi flag can be displayed as part of Freedom of Speech.  The Peace Sign, The Finger or any other offensive icons have been around for many years and are most certainly part of our history and society, but should not be displayed in any official government capacity.

One thing is quite certain, the connection between: Slaves, Braceros, Indentured Servants, Land Grabbers and the Confederate Flag will be remembered!

About Ron & Anna Winship

Independent News Producers/Writers and Directors for Parker-Longbow Productions. Independent Programming which includes a broad variety of Political, Entertainment and Professional Personalities. Cutting Edge - a talk the flagship of over 30 URL websites developed or under development. The Winships have been blogging for the Orange Juice since back when nickels had buffalos on them, and men wore onions attached to their belts, because it was the fashion back then.