David Eason wears Confederate flag, says Civil War wasn’t about slavery

David Eason Confederate flag

Jenelle Eason’s husband David Eason continues to stir up controversy on social media, this time posing for an Instagram photo with his shaved head draped in a Confederate battle flag as he calls one commenter “ignorant” for thinking the Civil War was fought over slavery.

“Where I’m from is who I am and my family fought and died for this land,” David boasted in the caption of the photo, which looks to have been taken in Jenelle’s new “She shed.” “Red white and blue comes in more than one pattern. Dont argue just get off my page if you dont agree!”

David concluded his caption by thanking Redneck Nation and adding the #RHEC hash tag referencing the “Raise Hell and Eat Cornbread” mantra.

Never one to avoid public discourse, David took to the comments section to enlighten those with misconceptions about history and the people living in the South.

COMMENT: Your super ignorant I truly cannot understand or would have expected from you

DAVID: Well maybe you should educate yourself

COMMENT: it’s because the civil war was primarily fought to ensure slavery stayed intact. The confederate (flag you see here) fought to keep it (along with other things) and the Union, or north, fought to stop it. If @easondavid88 or @j_evans1219 wanted to keep fans they would have attempted to explain, rather than berate you. Sorry. We aren’t all ignorant in the south.

DAVID: You must be ignorant because the war was over land and freedom, not slaves

COMMENT: also from England and not understanding the problem here?

DAVID: There is no problem, people who think its a racist flag are racist themselves. It’s their way to pass the buck so they dont seem so racist.

COMMENT: The confederacy was formed by seven slave holding states that’s economy was heavily dependent on agriculture which relied upon the labor of African American slaves. That flag represented the confederate states of America and they did not want slavery to end due to greed. The first flag was the “stars & bars” the one he’s holding was their third and final design. It’s not a good look buddy..

DAVID: You couldn’t be more wrong. This is a battle flag it does not in any way represent the Confederacy itself

COMMENT: not even 2 hours from u lives native tribes and for u to post this racist crap is beyond me.

DAVID: someone skipped a history lesson ?‍♂️

COMMENT: Pretty sure your “land” was stolen from the true Native Americans.

DAVID: I bought my land with cash money

Clearly, there has been a lot of debate about the topic of whether or not the Civil War was mostly about slavery, and historians generally concur that slavery was a central issue. You need look no further than the secession declarations from many of the Southern states to confirm it, as they reference the abolition of slavery specifically as a major reason for leaving the Union.

Granted, the major issues leading up to the secession of the Southern states and the resulting war were more complicated than a couple sentences in a junior high school textbook can convey. The economic factors at the time were very complex, with the US government threatening a potential increase in tariffs that were already crippling the South. “Viewing the Civil War as a crusade to end slavery is simply not correct,” Jonathan Clark writes in his piece “Everything You Know About the Civil War is Wrong” for Medium.com. “Abolitionists never accounted for more than a sizeable minority in the North. The cause of war in 1861 wasn’t slavery. It was about the loss of millions in tax revenues.”

I believe that Mr. Clark is making the point that pro-Confederates aren’t the only ones that tend to gloss over history a bit as we often depict Abraham Lincoln and the Union fighting for the morally upright cause of abolishing slavery, when in fact it was just that slavery was the most ideal issue to focus on while waging a war to save a divided Union.

In other words, the North’s main motivation was not to abolish slavery, but to maintain the Union — a notion that Abraham Lincoln himself iterated to New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley just months prior to issuing the Emancipation Proclamation: “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.”

BUT, slavery was the backbone of the entire Southern economy, as opposed to the industrialized North — so the threat of abolition (and the resulting economic devastation) played a huge part in motivating the Southern states to secede and to wage war to protect that institution. So David would be correct in that the Civil War was fought over land and freedom, but it is erroneous to claim that slavery was not a — if not the — major reason.

The third season of the Fox News series Legends & Lies tackled The Civil War, and here is how narrator Brian Kilmeade addresses how revisionists attempted to disassociate slavery from The Confederacy’s cause in the war:

When Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant sit down at Appomattox courthouse to hammer out the Confederate surrender, it should be the end of the Civil War, but before the ink dries, former Confederates begin crafting their own version of the Civil War and why they fought it — an alternative history known as “The Lost Cause.” This myth centers on the idea of noble rebels fighting against an oppressive government, and it becomes the dominant view of the war for over a century. But, by ignoring slavery, and the root of its origin, white supremacy, The Lost Cause has helped insure that we are still fighting an ideological brother vs. brother war today.

For those like David who are still reading this post, I just want to clarify that I was born and raised in the South with my economic class being “upper lower class” at best. I fully respect the “good ol’ boy” rebel spirit, when it is not tied to white (or masculine) supremacism. It’s just unfortunate that a large number of these people have adopted the battle flag of the Confederacy as their own — a flag flown in a war that was undeniably fought in large part to protect slavery in the South.

Mississippi-born author Shelby Foote took twenty years writing his three-volume series on The Civil War, and although he has been criticized for sympathizing with the Southern cause in regards to slavery, I think his answer to the question of whether or not he would have fought for the Confederacy is an important one to understand that there is more to it than just slavery:

No doubt about it. What’s more, I would fight for the Confederacy today if the circumstances were similar. There’s a great deal of misunderstanding about the Confederacy, the Confederate flag, slavery, the whole thing. The political correctness of today is no way to look at the middle of the nineteenth century. The Confederates fought for some substantially good things. States rights is not just a theoretical excuse for oppressing people. You have to understand that the raggedy Confederate soldier who owned no slaves and probably couldn’t even read the Constitution, let alone understand it, when he was captured by Union soldiers and asked, What are you fighting for? replied, I’m fighting because you’re down here. So I certainly would have fought to keep people from invading my native state.

[Just so I don’t get accused of purveying “fake news,” here is the rest of Shelby’s quote: “There’s another good reason for fighting for the Confederacy. Life would have been intolerable if you hadn’t. The women of the South just would not allow somebody to stay home and sulk while the war was going on. It didn’t take conscription to grab him. The women made him go.”]

Unfortunately, American culture seems to have evolved (devolved?) to the point where trolling the opposition is more important than being right, and there’s just no way in the world people like David are going to abandon the Confederate battle flag because they know how much it irritates those on the left. If they also lose some progressive (or otherwise impartial) conservatives along the way, so be it. (Those on the left are the same way, don’t get me wrong.)

I don’t want to paint too pretty a picture here, either. CLEARLY there are a lot of folks championing the Confederate flag that are outright racist, and you would have to be quite the rationalization gymnast to fully convince yourself that the Confederate flag has NOTHING to do with defending slavery. I think even folks like David know deep down that the Confederacy’s cause in the Civil War was inexorably tied to slavery, but it’s just sooooo easy to pretend that it wasn’t when you are able to REALLY rile people up that you don’t agree with on so many other issues.

Wow, I surely didn’t anticipate this post going off the rails when I first saw David’s photo! Who knew David Eason could inspire my intellectual curiosity and motivate me to do historical research! He’s making us all smarter one hater at a time. 🙂

If you’re curious to find out more about the question of whether or not the Civil War was fought over slavery, or if someone like David has accused you of being ignorant because you thought it was and now you’re not sure, here are some links for you:

What This Cruel War Was Over: The meaning of the Confederate flag is best discerned in the words of those who bore it – Ta-Nehisi Coates / The Atlantic

Everything You Know About the Civil War is Wrong – Jonathan Clark / Medium

In defense of Confederate flag, frequent Fox News guest claims Civil War wasn’t about slavery – Gavin McInnes / Politifact

6 Civil War Myths, Busted – Stephanie Pappas / Live Science

Asa Hawks is a writer and editor for Starcasm. You can contact Asa via Twitter, Facebook, or email at starcasmtips(at)yahoo.com

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