A May 13 letter related the history of the beloved anthem, "Battle Hymn of the Republic." The writer reminded us that Union troops marched to this song. It is noteworthy that federal troops also secured the safety of Washington D.C., 1861-1865, including our Capitol building, where an elected representative government continued to function. Congress remained in session despite a large portion of the republic having chosen to tear the nation apart following the defeat in 1860 of its preferred candidate for president.

Under their "Stars and Bars" banner, these rebel forces would have been happy to charge up the same Capitol steps as rioters, also disappointed with the results of a fair election, did on Jan. 6. A few supporters of the last defeated president carried that same flag into the heart of our republic, one of their "battle cries," as implied by this letter, being: "America First."

To this day, their "leader" persists in his lies while few Republican senators or representatives have enough backbone to stand against him.

I recall another patriotic song, composed in 1797, by Franz Josef Haydn to honor Austria's sovereign. Years later, it became the anthem of a united German nation. Sadly, in the 1930s, this hymn was adopted by the Nazis to help promote their hero, Hitler, and his evil regime. Millions were seduced by Hitler's lies; tens of millions suffered and died.

The song began: “Deutschland, Deutschland uber alles, uber alles in der welt,” or, "Germany, Germany above all, above everything in the world" — a longer way of simply saying "Germany first."

Are we at risk of something similar? One hopes not. However, the "...populist, nationalist movement called 'America First'” and its "... new 'Battle-Hymn of the Republic,'” as described in the letter from May 13, may well be cause for concern.

Joseph Quinn

Camas Valley

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(10) comments


Learn your history before repeating false stories....the War Between the States was fought over States' Rights - not necessarily the slavery issue. Lincoln kept that in reserve until he needed to swing votes.


It was slavery.


No, it was not slavery. The constitution of South prohibited slavery.


Pindragon, you are quite simply wrong. The Constitution of the Confederacy prohibited only the practice of capturing free Blacks from non-Confederate states and territories and other countries and selling them into slavery. That was a common practice at the time and it was contentious enough to trigger a war all by itself. The two clauses prohibiting the practice did not prohibit the enslavement of Blacks (or their offspring) who had already been brought to the confederacy from Africa

Many clauses in the confederate constitution protect the right to hold Black Africans as slaves and property, to retain those rights when crossing state lines and to own slaves in non-state territories if the confederacy spread. The constitution of the south, as you called it, 100 percent protected the right to enslave Black human beings and to hold them as property. No clauses offered rights to the enslaved people any more than rights were offered to cattle. Both were property, to be used, bought or sold at will. It is absolutely untrue that the constitution of the south prohibited slavery. On the contrary, it protected it as an important property right.

The document is below. The clauses about slavery are widely sprinkled throughout, mixed with clauses about coinage, militias, a congress and a navy. It copies much of the U.S. Constitution, with the addition of protection for slave owners. Read it with a yellow marker if you want to keep your eye on the slavery clauses.




Either you are being sarcastic or you are the ultimate liar!

Please show me in the Confederate constitution any wording that prohibits slavery. I looked it up an could not find anything that states what you said.

You can find the confederate constitution in wikipedia.



Wretched your name is perfectly chosen. How about a compromise--it was about people in slave-holding states claiming a right to own other people.


melrosereader, your restrained response demonstrates kindness, which we need in this world. I suppose it's not surprising that a person who seems to think covid is some kind of over-hyped cold and who repeatedly urges people to take off their masks during a pandemic that's killed nearly 600,000 Americans also doesn't believe the Civil War was about slavery. States' Rights was code back then for the right to own slaves. The other guy saying the constitution of the south prohibited slavery -- that's just foolishness. Completely wrong. My question is where do people in our day and age get these ideas? Are they willing to believe any gosh darn thing that makes them feel good?

I'm a natural optimist and I tend to think the best of people, even as I acknowledge that seemingly kind and decent folks have some wild viewpoints. But this one is too much.

Professor Google just told me that 63% of Gen Z (young people) don't know or don't believe that the Holocaust killed six million Jews during WW2. 41 percent of Americans don't know that slavery was the main cause of the Civil War, with older people more likely to be deniers, excusers and justifiers.

If you're 8 years old, that's acceptable. If you're a full-grown adult it's shameful.


I don't think those flying the stars and bars from the back of their old ford pickup understand that it was another country flying that flag that declared war on the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. What would those good ol boys think if I flew the Swastika or the Japanese war banner? They were sleeping through high school history class.

Scott Mendelson

Powerful words, Joseph, well-considered and well-stated


[thumbup] Agree, Scott.

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