The Confederate battle flag is arguably one of the most misunderstood, hated flags I can think of on this planet, this purely being because a lot of people misunderstand the history of what led to the Civil War. For this reason it has caused much tension and division even to this day. You will always hear two sides of the argument; one being that the fight to protect the union was important due to the Confederacy being backed by the British and the other believing in states rights and independence. We hear the argument constantly about the American South and the slavery issue is always brought into it, understandably so as there is no denial to a degree the South was protecting slavery, although it’s not quite as black and white as that and the debate over slavery had been around for decades, it wasn’t something that just propped up in 1860.
The purpose and reason I passionately stand in defence of the Confederate battle flag and want to to give the Confederate flag meaning because I feel it is grossly misunderstood. Irrespective of who created the flag itself, most Southerners defend the Confederate battle flag because they are defending their heritage. We understand you get your certain contingent of racist bigots like the KKK and they for me are not true representatives. A true representation of the Confederate flag is looking deeper to what American Southerners truly fought for and that is largely for their families, their heritage and individual rights.
One must never forget that the American South was where the Scots had largely fought and colonised in the early 18th Century before the formation of the Union of the United States, so the South has a very strong Scottish heritage and that for me is what the flag is representative of, not about whether they owned slaves or not, even at that there was debates over letting the slaves free, but things weren’t as black and white as that as both the South and the North feared another uprising from black slaves. It’s also important to note that Native American Indians themselves owned black slaves, and even then the black slaves had fought for the South in the Civil War. So one must look deeper to how the slaves were treated as well. Too many people stare at that from a black and white picture, the South largely fought over an economic issue and a large part leading to that were the Tariff of Abomination which South Carolina nullified in 1832 as well as several other Southern states, plus the Morrill Tariff which the Republican Party fought for in the House of Representatives between 1859 to 1860.
So what exactly does the flag mean to me? What does that have to do with the fact the Scots fought and colonised the entire South? Well it actually means a lot to me, it is part of history and I do NOT view it as a flag of slave ownership, to me, the slavery was “sadly” part of history, but that slavery didn’t just start in America, in fact the slave trade had been around for centuries long before the British Empire, even Scots to a certain degree were enslaved off their own land. So the flag is not simply about “slavery” and I’m damn sure any rational minded Southerner in the United States would stand their ground to tell you that the flag was about Southern pride and heritage, NOT about slavery. They make the point clear because they want people to know the truth. If there’s one thing I admire about the American South, many of those Americans stood true to Scotland, even after 200 years they defend the Capitalism of Adam Smith of Scotland, where they originated. My own country Scotland has unfortunately lost its way in many regards with a lot of people.
The flag itself bearing the red background was a symbol of Christianity as this derived from the Presbyterian Scottish Church, that’s why when you hear the name ‘Redneck’, this derived from Scottish covenants of the Presbyterian Church. Many people misunderstand the names like ‘Redneck’, ‘Hillbillie’ or ‘Cracker’, and it ties into the misunderstanding of even the symbolism of the Confederate battle flag. Take the word ‘Cracker’ for example; due to its misinterpretation, people have warped its definition to meaning the crack of a whip, like as if this had something to do with slavery or the colour of one’s skin. This is completely inaccurate, the word ‘Cracker’ derived from an ancient Gaelic word ‘Craic’ meaning talk, yet people are running about using the word thinking it has something to do with the colour of one’s skin or slavery. Then there is ‘Hillbillie’, why would it not surprise me if German, or other ethnicities in the United States who are farmers would get called ‘Hillbillies’? The fact is, it would be wrong to do so, because the word Hillbillie were Scots Ulster loyalists who were loyalists to King Billy, Prince William of Orange III, the Dutch King; they were Presbyterian Scots.
So when you look at the Confederate flag with the coloured red background, it’s a symbol from the Presbyterian Scottish church and most importantly the Saltire cross of St. Andrew deriving from Scotland’s National flag. So when Southerner’s look at that flag, they don’t think about slavery, they think about Scotland, a nation that was once the world leaders of medicine and education; a country that was proudly so influential it transformed a backwards thinking world to a forwards thinking world that changed mankind dramatically. Of course, the other settlers as well who aren’t of Scottish heritage, they share the pride in the South because it is the origin. You ask them where they are from, they don’t tell you they are from the United States, they will tell you defiantly and proudly “I’m from the South”, they’ll even go as far as to tell you the ‘state’ they are from such as “Am from Jackson, Alabama” and too often people ask Southerners “why does it matter?” I can tell you first hand as a Scotsman born and bred in SCOTLAND, not only do these people have our dialect today, they look identical to many people in my own country, they deep fry their food like us, they have the same music and most importantly they have that same pride.
To me I feel connected to them and I love them as my own people, not only because of their love for Scotland and their heritage but for me standing and staying true to Scotland and THAT is what the Confederate battle flag means to me and to all of those Southerners who proudly fly that flag.