Slavery is the Easy Part. Nikki Haley faced criticism this week for what she didn’t say. Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley refrained from discussing slavery in her response to a town hall question in New Hampshire. Instead, Haley discussed the role of government in causing the war, stating it involved determining people’s freedoms.
Don’t Say “Slavery”
Despite Rina Shah calling the political gaffe a “serious mistake,” and Ron Bonjean acknowledging that the question “definitely caught Haley off guard,” neither Republican strategist believes that the “unnecessary fumble” would tip the scales in the primary. Nevertheless, Republican candidate Nikki Haley is backpedaling on her controversial and raceless portrayal of a racially-motivated conflict resulting in over 600,000 American deaths.
The questioner appeared to chastise Haley after she went into greater detail regarding the functions of capitalism, individual freedom, and government, remarking, “In the year 2023, it’s astonishing to me that you answer that question without mentioning the word ‘slavery.’”
Subsequently, she redirected the question back to the original asker. In response, he said he wasn’t running for president and asked to know her response.
After a few hours, she took back her political framing of this situation.
Haley Backpedals on Civil War Comments
Haley drew further criticism Thursday on her efforts to clean up the comments. She told Good Morning in New Hampshire radio host Jack Heath Thursday morning, “Of course, the Civil War was about slavery. We know that. That’s the easy part of it.”
“But what’s the lesson in all of that?” she continued. “That we need to make sure that every person has freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to do and be anything they want to be without anyone or government getting in the way. That was the goal of what that was at. Yes, I know it was about slavery. I’m from the South, of course I know it’s about slavery.”
Haley also accused the person asking the question of being a “Democrat plant.” The local Democratic Party may have sent someone to her event to ask her an irrelevant gotcha question, but this doesn’t matter.
Phillip Klein, Editor of National Review, said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, that Haley’s “new position is that a Dem plant made her look like a blithering idiot, which is not exactly an encouraging sign for a Republican presidential candidate.”
The news media predominantly consists of Democratic entities asking irrelevant, bad-faith questions, which is the essence of being a Republican presidential candidate. How will Nikki Haley hold up in a presidential debate if she can’t handle Democratic gotchas?
History of Race
The facts of our history are currently being debated, particularly that history. The political right and left have been equally engrossed in the history of race.
Haley claims to know what the war was principally about. Still, many Americans lack knowledge about the war’s primary purpose due to whitewashing, inexperience, and discomfort in naming racial truths and context-fluctuating political responses. Moreover, Haley’s hazy views of the past highlights the fact that some Americans do not believe that slavery was the cause of the Civil War.
To preserve our history a century and a half later, we must respond calmly and with facts, demonstrating the war’s purpose.
The evidence is straightforward. While there may be different interpretations of how the United States came to fight a war over slavery, this issue and this issue only was the cause of the Civil War.
Southern leaders began to defend slavery as morally righteous and good, abandoning their earlier view of it as a tragic legacy of colonialism. This resulted in Southern states rejecting Lincoln’s 1860 election, leading to 11 states leaving the Union.
In his March 21, 1861, Cornerstone Speech, Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stephens criticized the assumption of race equality as “an error” and “a sandstone foundation.”
Then-President Abraham Lincoln aimed to preserve the Union. That said, according to Lincoln in his March 4, 1865 inaugural address, slavery was “the cause of the war,” and preserving the Union ultimately required slavery’s destruction.
In an 1864 letter to Albert G. Hodges, Lincoln described slavery as a “great wrong” and added that people of the North and South alike shared “complicity in that wrong.” Lincoln acknowledged that his nation was to blame for not upholding the promise of equality.
Following the South’s defeat in 1865, these clear facts were obscured. Confederates historically viewed their war heroes as defenders of their states instead of slave champions, including the United Daughters of the Confederacy who campaigned for generations to downplay slavery’s role in the war.
Speak the Truth
Our country’s legacy includes the “great wrong” of slavery, as well as the abolition of slavery. Still, Haley’s example shows it can be hard for Republican candidates to talk about it. The word “slavery” should play a major role in any explanation of the reasons behind the Civil War, regardless of your preferred theory.
Republican primary voters may be discouraged by her inability to answer a straightforward question. Avoiding or dodging questions implies ignorance about U.S. history and cowardice. In this instance, fearing offending Southerners who may be defensive about the Confederacy.
Presidential debates often involve Democratic nominees conspiring with moderators to manipulate facts and ask slanted questions, making it crucial for national-level GOP politicians to handle such questions effectively.
Related URBT News Article: Presidential Candidate Joseph Collins, Jr. Slams Haley Over Civil War Response