Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Were Freed Slaves Repatriated Back To Africa?

"Departure of  colored emigrants for Liberia", The Illustrated American, 1896
A reader wrote to ask if the federal government ever made it possible to return blacks back to their homelands in Africa. She asked, "why weren't slaves returned to Africa after being freed?"

From what I gather, toward the end of the Civil War, one of the biggest questions being asked was what to do with all of the freed slaves? There were those who wanted to know if the United States could really be a home to free blacks and freed slaves? Many wanted to know, would freed slaves want to return to Africa?

Let's keep in mind that we the people of the United States won our freedom from England at the end of the Revolutionary War in 1783. A mere 25 years later in 1808, President Thomas Jefferson stopped the importation of African slaves into the United States. From 1808 to 1861, African slaves brought into the United States were done so illegally. My point is that Americans were working on getting rid of slavery for decades.

The most population idea in the early 1800's was repatriating freed slaves back to Africa, or somewhere other than the United States that appealed to them. In a letter to Edward Coles, on August 25, 1814, Thomas Jefferson suggests the "expatriation" of slaves from the United States. He and others at the time were already looking at plans for "emancipation with colonization." That is, to give freed slaves their own homeland outside the U.S. since most had no idea what part of Africa they come from.

In that 1814 letter, Jefferson wrote, "I have seen no proposition so expedient . . . as that of emancipation of those slaves born after a given day, and of their education and expatriation at a proper age."

Did Thomas Jefferson abhor slavery and want to create a homeland for returning freed slaves? I believe he did, and would eventually decide that Africa was the best destination for them to have their own country. After leaving the presidency, he would give his support to a group to see that happen.

That group was the American Society for Colonizing the Free People of Color in the United State, more commonly known as the American Colonization Society. The group was formed in 1816 to send freed slaves back to Africa. Besides the support of former-president Jefferson and sitting President James Madison, the American Colonization Society had other very prominent members including Francis Scott Key, Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, as well as future presidents James Monroe and Andrew Jackson.

What may be surprising to some is the fact that many of the members were slave-owners at the time. While many slave-owners opposed freedom for slaves until they would be able to find another source of cheap labor, those slave-owners who were members of the American Colonization Society viewed repatriation as a way to avoid rebellions. Their motive for repatriation was just one of several political motives of those belonging to that group.

Fact is, there were several in Washington D.C. who saw the murderous turmoil that took place in Haiti in 1804 during that slave rebellion and subsequent massacre there as a warning to the United States. Others were affiliated with the group were also connected to religious groups and anti-slavery groups that simply wanted to abolish slavery. They saw repatriation to Africa as a solution for America that was long overdue.

While some depict the organization as being run by Quakers, from what I can tell, that's not true as they were multi-denominational. Quakers at the time did expose the belief that free-born blacks and freed slaves in the United States would have a better chance of obtaining a fuller measure of freedom in Africa. Remember, this was 50 years before President Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation.

At this point, I don't want to mislead my readers by making you think that creating a colony in Africa for the purpose of repatriating freed slaves back to Africa was either Thomas Jefferson's or that group's idea. It was a notion that was thrown around by various religious groups and anti-slavery organizations for years in the United States and England.

It was the British who had "colonized" a settlement in Sierra Leone in what was called the "Province of Freedom". The British had been transporting freed slaves to Freetown, Sierra Leone, since its creation by the British in 1787. So no, the idea of resettling freed slaves in Africa through "colonization" of an area was not new. As for those who think "colonization" was always done to conquer, they should look at Freetown, Sierra Leone, and the large number of freed slaves that were settled there. 

As for the American efforts to do something similar, according to the Encyclopedia of Georgia History and Culture, "As early as 1820, black Americans had begun to return to their ancestral homeland through the auspices of the American Colonization Society."

The American Colonization Society worked to secure land in West Africa, actually right next to the British colony of Sierra Leone. The American Colonization Society founded the colony of Liberia in 1821. That colony of Liberia became the nation of Liberia in 1847. Between 1821 and 1861, the American Colonization Society had migrated approximately 20,000 free-born blacks and freed slaves back to Africa.

While we should all recognize that the West African country of Liberia was founded by Americans specifically for free people of color to return to, although not the exact location where they were sold into slavery by African chiefs, we should also note that only a relatively few thousand freed slaves decided to emigrate back to Africa when given the chance to do so.

It should also be understood that not all freed slaves wanted to go back to Africa. In fact, many prominent black Americans at the time regarded the American Colonization Society with a great deal of hatred. One such black activist was James Forten who wrote attacked the group a year after its creation in 1817, writing, "We have no wish to separate from our present homes for any purpose whatever".

The Colored American was an African-American newspaper published in New York City from 1837 to 1842 by black Americans Samuel Cornish, Phillip Alexander Bell, and Charles Bennett Ray. The Colored American focused on "the moral, social, and political elevation of free colored people and the peaceful emancipation of slaves." The Colored American viewed colonization as a means of "defrauding" blacks of the rights of American citizenship.

A backslash against the plans for repatriation was that free-born blacks and even freed slaves began to view their ancestral homeland with contempt. In fact, blacks at the time dropped the use of the word "African" in the names of their organizations. Instead of "African American," organizations like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People which was formed in 1909, simply used the term "Colored People" or "Colored American." 

Frederick Douglass was a black American who escaped from slavery in Maryland to become a social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman. He became a leader of the abolitionist movement and said of the colonization plan, "Shame upon the guilty wretches that dare propose, and all that countenance such a proposition. We live here, have lived here, have a right to live here, and mean to live here."

In contrast to Frederick Douglass' opinion of repatriation was that of black American abolitionist Martin Delany who is credited with slogan of "Africa for Africans." Delany was born as a free person of color in what is today West Virginia. He was an abolitionist, journalist, physician, writer, and was a Union Army officer who fought in the Civil War. He is believed to be the first proponent of "Black Nationalism". He believed black Americans deserved their own country in Central and South America. He believed that their own country in Central and South America was "the ultimate destination and future home of the colored race on this continent." 

Another notable member of the American Colonization Society was Abraham Lincoln. He was an advocate of their efforts to settle freed slaves in Liberia. As a matter of fact, for a long time, President Lincoln was in favor of returning former slaves to Africa. But he didn't stop with the idea of expatriating freed slaves to Africa, he saw them settling in an American colony in Central America. 

This is now where Linconia comes in. Linconia was the name of a proposed Central American colony which former slaves could be resettled. In fact, by 1862, President Lincoln had picked the Chiriquí Province in Panama as the perfect location to start a colony in Central America. 

During the summer of 1862, President Lincoln was in the midst of all sorts of problems pertaining to the Civil War. Though that was the case, he is said to have invited a group of prominent black Americans to the White House to discuss his plan to colonize a part of the Chiriquí Province in Panama. His plan was only in the preliminary stages. Even though that was true, his plan was not met with a favorable reaction from almost all there. Even after assuring them that the area he chose "had evidence of very rich coal mines, and among the finest harbors in the world," no one liked the idea. 

The name "Linconia" was suggested for the colony by Kansas Republican Senator Samuel Pomeroy in 1862. Pomeroy is said to have came up with the idea after President Lincoln asked the Senator and the Secretary of the Interior to work on a plan to resettle freed slaves outside the United States. It's said he saw the name "Linconia" as being similar to the name of Liberia's capital Monrovia which was derived from the name of American President James Monroe.

Though the plan was not met with open arms, Sen. Pomeroy was part of the team that headed the project and sought 100 freed slave families to travel with him to the Chiriquí Province as "Pioneers." Pomeroy would ultimately find over 500 families willing to be "Pioneers." It's said he was both disappointed and angry when their trip scheduled for October of 1862 was canceled, and the plan was scrubbed. 

While Sen. Pomeroy and others, to include Secretary of State William H. Seward, did in fact get permission from the Republic of New Granada and the area's landowner which was the Chiriquí Improvement Company to come and evaluate the prospective territory, the nations of Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras felt threatened by the United States. 

While unfounded as they were at the time, there are some who say those nations saw the American colony of Linconia as unwanted American influence in Central America. Some say those Central American nations didn't want the influence of former black slaves in their region. Keep in mind, they too remembered the massacre in Haiti in 1804. 

The Haiti Massacre of 1804 was carried out against the French population and French Creoles that stayed in Haiti after the Haitian Revolution that same year. Earlier in 1804, General Jean-Jacques Dessalines assumed dictatorial power there. Under orders from Dessalines, squads of soldiers, mostly former black slaves, moved from house to house torturing and killing entire families. The massacre in Haiti took place from early January and through April of 1804. In all, it's believed that the death squads massacred about 5,000 innocent people. It was genocide. And later that same year, General Dessalines proclaimed himself Emperor Jacques I of Haiti. It was most fortunate for Haiti that he was killed two years later.

Because of their concerns of such things taking place in Central America, the nations of Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras informed Washington D.C that they opposed President Lincoln's plan to create a colony in Panama. It's said that Secretary of State Seward informed those nations that no plan of a colony there would take place without the consent of all concerned. Because of their response, Secretary of State Seward advised President Lincoln of the growing disdain for the plan by all of the parties involved. President Lincoln decided to abandon the idea for a colony in Central America.

As for the American Colonization Society, it continued to operate with the help of the federal government which provided minimal support through the Freedmen's Bureau. And yes, there are those on both ends of the spectrum when it comes to seeing what the American Colonization Society actually did. Some say their efforts were in reality pro-slavery while others say the organization worked to free slaves to repatriate back to Africa -- thus making it an anti-slavery group.

While there are scholars who look at their role, there is no mistaking that the Americans Colonization Society was part of the spark which generated the Back-to-Africa Movement of the 1800's. The Back-to-Africa Movement of the 1800's took the 19th century view that Americans of African ancestry should return to the continent of Africa because it was their real home. 

No, not return to their specific homelands where their ancestors were sold into slavery by their tribe's Chiefs, homelands which were by then unknown, but to the continent of Africa. In general the Back-to-Africa Movement of the 1800's was an overwhelming failure. Yes, in the very same way that the American Colonization Society ended as a failure. 

Even though a colony for freed slaves in Central America did not materialize, President Lincoln is said to have believed that the federal government should return former slaves to Africa if they wanted to return to Africa. Union Army General Benjamin F. Butler once claimed that President  Lincoln told him of the black soldiers, "I believe that it would be better to export them all to some fertile country with a good climate, which they could have to themselves." Supposedly, President Lincoln told him that in 1865 months before being assassinated. 

Some say he publicly abandoned the idea of creating a colony after speaking about it with Frederick Douglass who told the president that "America is their homeland, not Africa." Others say President Lincoln thought it immoral to ask black soldiers to fight for the Union, but then ship them to Africa after their military service had ended. We do know that later in the war, President Lincoln abandoned the idea of colonization and came to believe that freed blacks had a legitimate claim to citizenship in America. He believed that so much, that he publicly supported all blacks getting the right to vote.

Since we live in a climate where race is now always a question, and I'm called a racist with almost everything that I write these days, there are those who will say President Lincoln had racial motivations for wanting freed slaves repatriated to their homeland. Those people will ironically assume that because he never gave up the idea of repatriation for free blacks, that that somehow made President Lincoln a racist. They dismiss the many options that he tried using to free slaves.

For example, the same year that President Lincoln is looking into creating a colony for freed slaves, he signed a bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia. On April 16, 1862, the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act became law a little more than 8 month before President Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation.

The District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act ended slavery in our nation's capital. It provided for immediate emancipation by compensating former owners who were loyal to the Union, and included an option to the freed slaves which was the availability of volunteering to join a colony of  former slaves outside the United States. It also paid up to $100 for each person choosing emigration. In the months to follow, the federal government paid of up to $300 each for slaves, which were said to be worth over $1,000 each, to freed the slaves of 930 former slave-owners. In all, former owners were paid to release almost 3,000 slaves.

The District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act of 1862 was one of many efforts attempted by President Lincoln to emancipate slaves. It's said both free-born blacks and freed slaves greeted emancipation with great jubilation in the District of Columbia. For many years afterward, the people of  the District of Columbia celebrated every April 16th as Emancipation Day with parades and festivals.

The naysayers, those who see racial problems where there are none, they cannot see the efforts of men like Abraham Lincoln who actually worked to free those in bondage. They also cannot see others like President Lincoln who belonged to the American Colonization Society believing that returning freed slaves back to Africa was in effect an attempt at righting a wrong perpetrated upon a race of people.  

Those who want to twist and spin history to fit their own hate for President Lincoln and others usually do so while purposely ignoring his and the efforts of others to right a wrong. For me, I believe that President Lincoln looked at all options when it came to ending slavery and stop the injustice of people in chains. I believe that after examining and exhausting all options including that of efforts at colonization which had been tried by others, President Lincoln issued the executive order we know as the Emancipation Proclamation. 

Tom Correa

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

So How Did The Spanish End Up In California?

Every once in a while, I'm asked a short question that takes a long answer. This one comes from a reader who tells me that her family enjoys the California Vaquero ranching traditions of days gone by. She wants to know how the Spanish ended up in California. 

Spanish conquistadors were the first people from another continent to arrive in California. Some confuse their arrival in California as simply a quest for land and expansion. In fact the Spanish monarchy sent those conquistadors to look for gold, silver, spices, and valuables, while looking for a shortcut to the East Indies. Believe it or not, Spain's arrival in the Americas and later in California was all about looking for a shorter route to Asia.  

What was Christopher Columbus looking for when he reached the Caribbean? Asia. Some folks simply don't understand that Columbus was not looking for a new continent. The known world did not know the Western Hemisphere, the geographical term for the half of Earth, actually sat between Europe and Asia. He was simply trying to find a shortcut to Asia for Spain.  

Did he fail in his quest to find that route? Yes, because he never did find what he sought -- and Spain needed. While he, like many explorers of that age were truly fascinated by the works of Marco Polo and believed the earth is round, it is a fact that Columbus stumbled into the Bahamas purely by accident. It's true. Christopher Columbus, the man who was the son of an Italian wool maker, a man who went to sea and later ended up studying navigation and mathematics in Portugal, found the Caribbean island that he named Hispaniola by accident.

The Spanish monarchy provided him with crews for three ships -- the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. On August 3, 1492, he set sail from Spain. On October 12th of that same year, his ships found land. But it was not the East Indies, which is the lands of South and Southeast Asia. 

When he made landfall, he really believed that he had reached India. In fact, that's the reason why he called the natives who he encountered "Indians." He believed he had found the land that he was looking for. In reality, it was not the land of spices and riches that he had hoped for. But that didn't stop him from believing that he found Asia.

Columbus sailed from island to island for months in what we now know as the Caribbean, all the while looking for a friendly trading port. What was he in search of? He searched for "pearls, precious stones, gold, silver, spices, and other objects and merchandise whatsoever" found in the East Indies to take back to his Spanish benefactors. 

Disappointed, by January of 1493, he returned to Spain after leaving dozens of men behind in a small settlement on an island which they named Hispaniola. That island is present-day Haiti/Dominican Republic. He returned to Spain after failing to find riches or Asia. He would sail west again later in 1493, 1498 and in 1502. Again and again with a determination to find a direct ocean route west from Europe to Asia. He died never knowing that he had discovered two continents which were to be called the "New World." He died believing he found Asia.

For some reason, people have this idea that Columbus thought he found a New World and that was the prize. That wasn't the case. Asia was the prize because of the riches that Asia held. In the 1400's, reaching Asia from Europe was considered nearly impossible. The land route was not only long, it was seen as filled with all sorts of danger including all sorts of hostile bands and rogue armies.

Portugal was an empire at sea and had solved the land route problem by sailing south along the West African coast and around the Cape of Good Hope. Portuguese conquistadors colonized the African coast and would later meet African Chiefs wanting to sell their own people into slavery. African Chiefs sold their people to Muslims as slaves for centuries before meeting Europeans. Muslim armies having black and white slaves was not unknown to the Portuguese and the Spanish. After centuries of war with the Muslim Moors starting in the 8th century, the Moors were finally expelled from the Iberian peninsula in January of 1492. That was when the Catholic Monarchs defeated the last Moor stronghold of the Kingdom of Granada.

The war with the Moors was costly to all, but especially for Spain in its last ten years in the war for Granada. Because of that, Spain wanted its explorers to find riches to rebuild their coffers. Portugal was seen as a power from the early 1400's, and had already established a sea route around the horn of Africa by the late 1400's. To say the Portuguese explorers didn't get around would be a real understatement since it's believed that a Portuguese explorer arrived in Newfoundland in North America in 1472. Yes, twenty years before Columbus arrived in the Bahamas. 

When Columbus presented his plan of sailing west instead of south and around Africa to reach Asia, both Portugal and England were not interested in bankrolling his expedition. That wasn't the case with Spanish monarchs Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile who were sympathetic to his idea. To them, Columbus' plan made sense considering the world was believed to be smaller at the time. To the known world, if the earth is indeed round, then Asia lay to the west. 

Why not sail west across the Atlantic instead of heading south and around Africa to go east to get to Asia? His logic was sound, even if his math wasn't. Remember, he incorrectly argued that the circumference of the Earth was much smaller than it is in reality. He believed that a journey to Asia would be possible by going west. All he needed to do was prove it. Needless to say, that didn't happen even though Spain backed his efforts for four attempts. And no, Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella did not get any of the riches that were promised them by Columbus.  

After Columbus failed to find his new trade route to Asia in 1492, and instead landed in the Caribbean, there was all of a sudden a whole new set of continents that were completely unknown to every mapmaker in the known world. Whether Columbus knew it or not, he did in fact make every map of the known world complete wrong in 1492. While he didn't know that he didn't get to Asia, his accidental find of the Western Hemisphere changed the way every power in Europe, Asia, and Africa viewed the world. 

Think that's no small feat? Imagine being a mapmaker and needing a name for the places that were recently found and only known as the "New World" -- but no one knew what to call it? And what about the people who assume Columbus did in fact find a place in Asia? Why not call that area "Columbus" after the person who accidentally found it? Remember, no one knew that that part of the world even existed until he happened upon it.  

Well, that's where Amerigo Vespucci comes in. The "Americas" are named after Amerigo Vespucci because he was the first person to recognize North and South America as distinct continents. Remember, these were continents previously unknown to people in Europe, Asia, and Africa. 

Prior to Vespucci's discovery, it's a fact that explorers, including Columbus himself, assumed that the "New World" which he bumped into was actually part of Asia. It was Vespucci that changed that. He made his discovery while sailing near the tip of South America in 1501. As for getting to have his name attached to his discovery, that wasn't Vespucci's doing -- it was done by a mapmaker.

North America and South America are the two continents named after him because a German clergyman and amateur cartographer by the name of Martin Waldseemüller made it happen. In 1507, Waldseemüller proposed that a portion of Brazil which Vespucci was known to have explored with the Portuguese be named "America." The name "America" was considered a "feminized version" of Italian Amerigo Vespucci's first name. Waldseemüller wrote, "I see no reason why anyone should justly object to calling this part ... America, after Amerigo [Vespucci], its discoverer, a man of great ability."

Of course, as with most things, there is a reason why the name "America" stuck. That has to do with  Waldseemüller's maps selling by the thousands. He sold thousands of copies of his map all across Europe. Soon, everyone was calling the newly discovered continents "America". In was in 1538 that a mapmaker by the name of Gerardus Mercator applied the name "America" to both the northern and southern continents of the "New World". Because of that we have "North America" and "South America." And because of those mapmakers, those continents have been known as such ever since. All to name areas on maps previously known as "Mundus Novus" -- which is Latin for "New World".

After the 1492 "discovery," the Spanish began extending their empire into the Caribbean by using using Hispaniola, Cuba, and Puerto Rico as their bases to operate from. During that time, both Portugal and Spain would send their explorers to continue the effort of finding a trade route to Asia. Remember, the "New World" was not seen as the prize. Asia trade and the riches it held was the sought after prize. Those riches were the reason for the Age of Discovery. 

But, while a shorter trade route to Asia was seen as the ultimate prize, those empires would soon start laying claim to the "New World" found by Columbus. For the Portuguese, their influence extended to Brazil by 1500. Not too many years later Portugal established trade with China and Japan. 

Conquistador is the Spanish and Portuguese word for "conqueror." Conquistadors were professional soldiers schooled in European military tactics, firearms, the use of sword and pike, as mounted cavalry and as infantry. They specialized in combat fighting and survival in the worse conditions. While all were soldiers, many were knights, explorers, noblemen, of the Spanish Empire and the Portuguese Empire. 

Conquistadors were not restricted to Spain. In fact, conquistadors in the service of the Portuguese throne expanded the Portuguese Empire to South America, Africa, Asia, India, China, the Persian Gulf, and the East Indies. Spain sent conquistadors to the Americas in search of gold, silver, jewels, and land. The first Europeans to reach California were Spanish conquistadors commanded by Hernán Cortés. 

Hernán Cortés waged a campaign of conquest against the Aztec Empire from 1519 to 1521. From those conquered lands of the Aztec Empire, Spanish conquistadors expanded Spain's holding from Central America to what is today southern and western United States and Mexico. In the Spanish colonial era, Mexico was called "New Spain." Mexico City was founded in 1524 on the site of the ancient Mexica capital of Mexico-Tenochtitlan.

In 1533, Cortés sent conquistadors up the Pacific coast. Believe it or not, he too was looking for a shorter route to Asia. Instead of a shortcut to Asia and the East Indies, his conquistadors found a peninsula which they thought was an island. At first, they thought they found the mythical island of California named in a Spanish book of the time. Because of that, they named it that. Yes, that's how California got its name.

Why did they think it was an island when it wasn't? It's because they assumed the peninsula was actually an island when it was not. What they found was actually Baja California. It was later that Spanish conquistadors exploring the Pacific coast divided California into Baja and Alta California. Baja California later became part of what is now Mexico. 

It wasn't until 1542, that Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo led an expedition from New Spain (Mexico) up the Pacific coast. He and his expedition were the first Europeans to visit Alta California. Alta California became what is today the state of California. And yes, he too was in search of a shortcut to Asia. 

Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo was thought to be Portuguese, but is known to have explored the West Coast of North America on behalf of the Spanish Empire. He was the first European to explore present-day California, navigating along the coast of California from 1542 to 1543. While he went north up the Pacific coast, he is said to have only reached the area known today as San Diego, California.

There was a reason that he only reached as far north as San Diego. The California coast has extremely strong southern ocean currents. It's said that ships used to have to use a zig-zag course when heading north up the coast. Traveling south was done in half the time because it was a straight line south down the coast with the flow of the ocean currents. Spanish explorers, those conquistadors who settled lands for their empire, also struggled against winds that blew from the northeast along the California coast. Because of the combination of strong ocean currents that flowed north to south, and winds blowing sailing ships of the time off course, the steep cliffs and treacherous rocks along the coast threatened ships trying to make that journey.  

As for England's claim to California about that time? It should be noted that Spain had conquered the Philippines, naming them after King Philip II. Spanish ships brought spices and riches from the Philippines to newly created ports in New Spain (Mexico). Those ships carried silver and gold headed for Spain.

England's Queen Elizabeth I sent raider Sir Francis Drake to attack and rob those Spanish ships. Near what is known as Drake's Bay in Northern California, Sir Francis Drake stopped for a short time to repair his ship. He supposedly claimed that land for England. Of course, Spain sent more ships and England never pursued that claim.

Spanish explorer Sebastián Vizcaíno was considered a brave man who made a name for himself in the Spanish military during the Spanish invasion of Portugal in 1580. He was sent to New Spain (Mexico) in 1583. From there he sailed to Spain's holdings in the Philippines. In 1596, Vizcaíno charted Baja California with three ships and a small detachment of troops.

In 1601, the Spanish Viceroy in Mexico City, appointed Vizcaíno as the General-in-charge of a Second Expedition to locate safe harbors in Alta California. In 1602, Vizcaíno led an expedition from Acapulco, Mexico, north up the California coast while looking for a safe harbor. Spanish Manila galleons returning from Manila in the Philippines needed safe harbors on their return voyage to Acapulco.

Besides seeking a safe harbor, Vizcaíno was ordered to map in detail the California coastline which Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo had first explored 60 years earlier. He departed Acapulco with three ships on May 5, 1602. His flagship was the San Diego and the other two ships were the San Tomás and the Tres Reyes.

On November 10, 1602, Sebastián Vizcaíno entered and named San Diego Bay. Then he said north, and named such prominent California coast features as the Santa Barbara Channel Islands, Point Conception, the Santa Lucia Mountains, Point Lobos, Carmel River and Monterey Bay. Yes, the safe harbor he found and named was Monterey Bay.

It's said that he actually renamed many of the place that Cabrillo had already charted and named in 1542. During his 1602 expedition, Sebastián Vizcaíno was separated for one of his three ships, the Tres Reyes. Its commander was Martín de Aguilar. He is believed to have continued north after losing sight of Vizcaíno. It's believed that that Aguilar reached the coast of present-day Oregon as far as Cape Blanco. Some say Aguilar reached Coos Bay.

When I was in college, I remember being told how Spanish explorer Sebastián Vizcaíno reported that he found "a bay so big that all of the ships of all of the great powers of the world could fit within it." My teacher believed that Vizcaíno was actually reporting his discovery of San Francisco Bay. And though Sebastián Vizcaíno's reports of California were confirmed in the diary of Antonio de la Ascensión, a Carmelite friar and chronicler, a mapmaker, who traveled with Vizcaíno's 1602 expedition, the Spanish government assumed that Vizcaíno was talking about Monterey Bay. Believe it or not, the Spanish government is said to have assumed that Vizcaíno had embellished his discovery of such a large bay. The reason? They believed he did it so to justify asking for more funds for another expedition. Imagine that.

Vizcaíno's voyage did create a desire by Spain to establish a settlement at Monterey Bay. But, as surprising as it may sound today, the Spanish didn't make a move to create settlements in California for the next 167 years. While that is true, there may be a reason for that. In Vizcaíno's reports, he also said something about the California landscape that may be the reason why Spain halted all plans to create settlements in Alta California.

Besides reporting about how it was difficult to reach from the sea because of its jagged coast, Vizcaíno is said to have mentioned California's chaparral. Chaparral is a shrub primarily found in California and in the northern part of the Baja California. It's an extremely hardy plant that grows in California's Mediterranean climate after wildfires. Chaparral covers anywhere from 7 to 10% of the entire state of California depending on what you read.

The name "chaparral" comes from the Portuguese and Spanish word "chaparro" for evergreen oak shrub. Vizcaíno wrote that California is covered with it. For those familiar with chaparral, it is tough to navigate through on horseback. And while it makes extremely dense barriers, chaparral is an impediment to raising cattle. Vizcaíno wrote that because of the chaparral, the ground in California is not good for growing crops. Imagine that? California soil not being good to grow crops?

After Vizcaíno's 1602 expedition north, Spanish explorers didn't return to Alta California for more than 150 years. Spain's reasons for avoiding establishing settlements in Alta California are many. Alta California was seen as being difficult to reach by sea, its deserts and high mountains blocked feasible land routes, hostile Native Indians tribes hindered expeditions, and there was little incentive to settle Alta California because it was seen as being not good for growing crops. Those are the reasons that the Spanish stopped exploring California after Vizcaíno’s expedition.

I find it interesting that Spain's colonization plans for Alta California were canceled by 1608. I also find it interesting that Spanish interest in really colonizing Alta California was revived  because of Russian fur trading and colonization of Alaska in the 1760's. To keep the Russians from expanding south along the North American West Coast, the Spanish took another look at Alta California.

To help them in the settling of that unknown lands, Spain looked to Franciscan missionaries to convert Native Indians to Catholicism as they did for over a hundred years in Baja California. To help the Franciscans do that, the Spanish monarchy funded both the construction and the operation of the missions. Those missions were meant to expand Spanish rule in Alta California. 

The first Alta California mission and military presidio was established in San Diego in 1769 by Franciscan friars Junípero Serra and Gaspar de Portolá. In 1770, the second mission and military presidio was founded in Monterey. The city of Monterey, California, was founded on June 3, 1770. It was the capital of Alta California under both Spain and Mexico. San Jose, California, was the first pueblo founded in Alta California in 1777. Some believe it was Los Angeles, but the pueblo of Los Angeles was founded a few years later in 1781. 

In 1804, Governor Diego de Borica officially divided Alta (upper) from Baja (lower) California's by defining their official borders -- making their border just south of San Diego.  As for the borders with the United States, it was the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819 between the United States and Spain established the northern limit of Alta California at latitude 42°N. 

By the way, the area encompassing all of what was known as Las Californias, "The Californias," was twice or more the size of Texas at one time. While latitude 42°N remains the boundary between the states of California, Nevada, Utah, Oregon and Idaho to this day, most of the lands of those states grew out of Las Californias.  

As for control of the missions? By Spanish decree, the mission property was to pass to the mission's Native Indian population, the people of their area, after a period of ten years. It was determined that it would take that long for Native populations to become subjects of the Spanish crown. During those ten years, the priests were to act as mission administrators with the land in trust. 

Well, that's not exactly how things worked out. Though the priests would assert that they native population owned the property and the livestock, those Franciscan friars didn't want to relinquish their control over the missions even after Alta California passed from Spain to an independent Mexico in 1822. Sadly, the transfer of property from the Catholic church to the residents of the area never did take place under the Franciscans. And to add to the problems, conflicts between the church and the government kept growing over land boundaries, natural resources, and livestock which was said to be mission properties. 

There were 21 Spanish missions established in California between 1769 and 1833. They were founded by Spain using Catholic priests of the Franciscan order to evangelize Native tribes and make them subjects of Spain. Those missions introduced European fruits, vegetables, cattle, horses, ranching, and technology to that frontier. It was the missions that led to the creation of the New Spain (Mexico) province of Alta California which became part of the Spanish Empire. Mexico won its independence in 1821, and Alta California became a territory of Mexico in 1822. Mexico did not send a Governor to California until two years later in 1824. The friars continued to run the missions until 1833.

Besides the mission system, Spain handed out huge land grants to help populate and stabilize Alta California. What took place during the Spanish rule was carried on later by the Mexican governments when it came to their rewarding retired soldiers in an attempt to keep them in California which was really considered a frontier in those days. Those large land grants, known as "ranchos," were for those retired soldiers to raise cattle and sheep, build local economies, and create a society akin to that in Spain. 

The building of the ranchos, and later the ranching itself, and even the domestic work in the homes of those huge estates were primarily done by peon laborers and Native Indians most of who grew up on the missions and learned farming and caring for the livestock from the friars. The Native Indians who were born in Spanish California, they spoke Spanish from birth. As the mission system was ending, the majority of cared for Native population either returned to their tribes or found work with the ranchos. 

As for the word "peon," it is a Mexican word which originally meant "someone who was an agricultural worker in servitude to his landlord." A peon is also defined as "a person with little authority, often assigned unskilled tasks, or an underling or any person subjected to capricious or unreasonable oversight."

The peons and Native Indians working on a rancho may have been laborers, but many were not seen as unskilled at all. Because of the mission system, most were seen a very knowledgeable of agriculture and livestock. Since hides and tallow from the livestock were the primary exports of California until the mid-19th century, ranchos needed knowledgeable skilled workers. As hide, tallow, wool, and textiles expanded, California leather products were being exported to neighboring United States, as well as to South America and Asia. 

To increase the population of Alta California, Spain sought to relocate some of its subjects from Sonora, Mexico, to that area. They were very few and met with a great deal of animosity by those already there. Many actually returned South. The economy looked promising and the ranchos became very successful, even though trade was restricted to foreigners. In fact, it's said that under Spanish rule and later the Mexican government, ranchos prospered and grew. 

The difference between a California Vaquero, also known as a Californio Vaquero, versus that of a Texas Cowboy in say 1840 was a matter of influence. The Texas Cowboy and his cattle handling techniques were more akin to the Mexican Vaquero culture. In contrast, the California Vaquero's habits and techniques were influenced out of closer ties to the Spanish Vaquero culture of Spain than that of New Spain (Mexico). 

The California Vaquero was unlike the Texas Cowboy in another aspect. While the Texas Cowboy may have been a drifter or seen as an easily replaceable laborer by ranchers in Texas, the California Vaquero was seen as highly skilled who was usually born and bred on the rancho that he worked for. 

The Spanish Vaquero culture of Spain, that of the caballero ranchero, the gentleman rancher, a man of good family, breeding, or social position, flourished in Spanish California. This was the case even though there were really only about 460 large ranchos by way of land grants, that's including the mission property that was lost by 1833. 

It should be noted that after generations of Californios, while some were descendants of the original Spanish explorers, settlers, and those retired soldiers, most were of mixed ethnicities of Spanish and Native American. With the exception of the Franciscan friars, and the government officials and military officers from Spain, there were very few Californios who were actually what anyone would consider of "pure" Spanish ancestry by the time California became part of Mexico in 1822.   

California's mixed ancestry did not stop the California ranchero, the rancher, from trying to live in a style more like that of the wealthy hidalgo nobility of Spain. This included a busy social life. In fact, some have described what took place as a sort of "horse bound party circuit" between the ranchos. Using any reason for a celebration, besides weddings and baptisms, fiestas and fandangos were common place. Rodeos sprang from roundups and soon competition between Vaquero of different ranchos was taking place. Yes, no different than the beginnings of rodeo that were taking place in other parts of the west. 

It's said the California Vaquero generally married young, and raised ranch families. Their children were educated on the ranch, worked along side of the peon and the Native American laborers, learned about farming and livestock whether it was sheep or cattle or goats, learned to ride at very early ages, were taught to work horses, and were raised with the intention of inheriting the family rancho. All of that took place in a completely different environment for raising cattle than that of Texas, Arizona, and Mexico. 

California's milder climate allowed for more intensive grazing with less open range. Cattle in California shipped locally without the need to be driven hundreds of miles to railroad lines. There was no such thing as open ranges or long cattle drives of hundreds of miles to get their cattle to market. Let's keep in mind that as early as the 1840's, Texas cattle were taken over the Shawnee Trail to Iowa, Missouri and Ohio, to get them to markets. In many cases, besides losing cattle to Indians, herds driven to market looked fairly worn out by the time they arrived. That sort of toil and hardship simply didn't take place in California where cattle being driven to local markets had a better chance of keeping their weight and selling for more. 

As for horses, they were extremely plentiful in Spanish California. Horses were so plentiful that those in the wild competed for grazing with the cattle. And in some situations, to stop them from taking grazing from cattle, they were shot for food. Later during the California Gold Rush, it was common for horses to be used as a food source for California Indians. 

Because they grew up with horses, it's said that the California Vaquero were excellent riders, understood horses, and were more patient when it came to the training of horses when compared to the vaquero found in Texas and Mexico. Because of the milder climate, California Vaquero spent more time in the saddle working their horses than others in harsher climates. 

Because of both the California climate and the unique culture, the California Vaquero developed a different style of riding. For example, the Texas style of riding was more like the Anglo riders in America than that of the California Vaquero style. That again has to do with the influence of Mexico on Texas versus the influence of Spain on California.

The California Vaquero is said to have had a much more horse and livestock handling culture with a stronger direct Spanish influence more so than that of Texas which had more of a Mexican influence. It is said that from those California ranchos, the cattle ranchers, and their lifestyle, came a unique Californio culture. And imagine, this all came about because Spain was looking for a shortcut to Asia.

Of course, it really should be noted that the California Vaquero were being called "buckaroos" by English-speaking newcomers to California as early as the mid-1820's when our American traders showed up on the scene. Since "Va" is pronounced as "Bah" in Spanish, the word "buckaroo" is the anglicized version of the word "Vaquero." It's actually the same as how "McCarty" reins are the English language miss pronunciation of "Mecate" reins. No, that type of reins were not named after anyone by the name of McCarty.  

For Americans arriving in California, besides seeing a Mexican government in constant change and turmoil to the point of being completely ineffective and corrupt, they learned that the Californio Vaquero were not above teaching their ways of horsemanship. But, Americans wanting to learn their ways had to understand that they needed to speak Spanish. Even though trade with the United States was becoming more and more common by the 1830's and 1840's, few in California knew how to speak English. 

As time progressed, some California Vaquero traditions held while other sadly died away. Today, the "buckaroo" style of riding shares many similarities with the California Vaquero of days gone by. And yes indeed, today the words "buckaroo" and even "vaquero" are still used in some places out West -- especially by those American Cowboys living the California Vaquero ranching traditions.

Tom Correa

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Howard Zinn Was An Anti-American Fraud

A few of my readers have asked if I've ever heard of Howard Zinn. A few of you have asked for my opinion of him. I gather I'm being asked this question because his work is being taught in colleges and universities around the United States these days. He is part of the reason that so many college students seem to hate America these days.

For the record, I have read some of his works while doing research. Frankly, I see Zinn as just a fraud. I have never found anything that he wrote to be honest. I find that his work as a supposed historian is for those who hate America. He fills a need for those looking for reasons to hate our country. He published all sorts of slanderous fantasies, purely fabrications, to justify his hatred of America. And the fact is, those who hate America love his anti-Americanism. His hatred for America feeds those who feel the same.

I'm asked if I think Howard Zinn lies in his books. From what I can see, he fabricates reasons that events took place and then attempts to pass his assertions off as fact. He tries to get his readers to believe that what he says actually took when what he says is not why the actual events took place. Yes, that's called "re-writing history."

And really, his preposterous ramblings of why things took place the way he says they did are criminally dishonest. I've read some of them and saw for myself that his findings are totally unfounded, not credible at all. Most are his baseless opinions. Of course, I think he was being intentionally dishonest to meet his Leftist political agenda of victim-hood and anti-Americanism.

Let's be real here, I'm just a writer who reports what I find interesting in history. My belief about reporting history is pretty simple: Just tell the truth about what I've found.

I believe true historians should call balls and strikes as they really happened. They should be honest, accurate, and fair. Americans love fairness. We love people who are fair. That's why most of America is not watching CNN and MSNBC. Americans don't see them as being fair or impartial. Most see their stories as falsehoods to attack people who don't share their political leanings.

Reporting history should be like reporting the news when it's reported honestly and objectively. Don't insert your own believe system, political leaning, or biases. State facts, not hearsay, half-truth, lies, and don't spread unfounded myths.

If historians give us the facts, then we'll be in a position to draw our own correct conclusions of what took place. To do this, historians should not try to interpret what they think took place. If parts of a story are unknown, they are not known. Don't try to guess what took place. And certainly, don't fabricate facts.

As for sources, use original sources whenever possible. Don't rely on what others have written or said. Their source could be wrong or suspect at best. Verify information. Gather, update and correct information. Avoid supposition, speculation, and conjecture. Above all, never deliberately distort facts to fit one's agenda. Americans don't like it when it appears an umpire is rooting for one team over another.

Being impartial is something Americans should expect from umpires, referees, reporters, and historians. Without impartiality, without objectivity, whatever a historian says simply does not matter.

Howard Zinn's hatred for the United States stopped him from being an impartial and objective historian. He was once heard saying, "Objectivity is impossible, and it is also undesirable. That is, if it were possible it would be undesirable, because if you have any kind of a social aim, if you think history should serve society in some way; should serve the progress of the human race; should serve justice in some way, then it requires that you make your selection on the basis of what you think will advance causes of humanity."

Did you get that? For him, teaching, or reporting history has to have "a social aim." That history "should serve justice." That you as a historian should report your findings "on the basis of what you think will advance causes of humanity."

Since Howard Zinn admired Communist leaders Joe Stalin and Mao, what do you think his idea of advancing causes means? Fact is, when anyone reads his read his drivel and his bio, you see that Zinn was a Socialist and an avowed Communist. It wouldn't surprise you to find out that he really did belong to the Communist Party in the late 1940's.

Howard Zinn hated the United States for all sorts of reasons. As for the idea that he lied in his books because he wanted his slanderous version of history to make America the great nation that he envisioned, he wanted a Communist America. He hated many things about the United States including our Capitalist system and our military -- which some say was because of what he himself experienced in the Army Air Corps during World War II. 

Zinn was a self-proclaimed Democrat Socialist Anarchist, an anti-War Democrat who visited Hanoi during the Vietnam War and sided with the people who were killing American troops. He called for America's withdrawal from Vietnam, while knowing full-well that the South Vietnamese would not survive against the North Vietnamese backed by the military might of the Soviet Union and Communist China. He is said to have blamed the United States for the Communist invasion of the South. Some say he celebrated when South Vietnam fell to the Communist in 1975.

In 1985, it was revealed that the Communist victors killed over 2.5 Million South Vietnamese people in their Re-Education Camps created to indoctrinate all in the Communist order. Zinn refused to admit that he was wrong about the Communist threat after the world found out about the mass extermination, the genocide. Instead, being the good follower of Communism, Zinn acting as a Communist propagandist practiced the art of making the false moral equivalence of excusing the killing fields and Communist genocide by saying the policies of Communist regimes were no worse than that of the United States.

Howard Zinn excused murderous Communism as a means to an end. All in all, he was a die-hard Communist who supported the goal of spreading Communism no matter what it costs in blood -- or how many people were enslaved by totalitarian masters. Of course, his hypocrisy like those on the Left today was obvious to all. We know this since he saw nothing wrong with making money from selling his anti-American rubbish. And he did, since several like-minded Communist university professors used his books in their classes, his anti-Americanism made him wealthy.

What's my opinion of Howard Zinn? Based on what I've found, Howard Zinn was a Communist and fraud who passed himself off as an authority of American History.

In reality, his fictional accounts of what took place in history were all of his own creation. Reading his accounts of historical events doesn't depict what really took place. It's all fabrications on his part with nothing supporting his assertions. When talking about someone deliberately distorting facts to fit one's agenda, that's Howard Zinn and the work of a warped Leftist mind.

I believe his works were all meant to push a narrative of people being victimized by America policies, all while supporting his love of Communism. He did so to influence the weak minded who are easily swayed to hate America. Sadly, he was influential in shaping the way many students in America see our nation today.

As for the Communist United States that Zinn envisioned? We can all thank God that we have never surrendered our nation to such a horror. While today there are many Leftists students in America who will dote on every word of anti-Americanism from that fake historian, they should realize that they are being played for fools.

Howard Zinn was fired from Spelman College, but his Leftist leanings were a perfect fit at Boston University. From what I can see, he must have had very little respect for young people, especially college students. After all, Zinn as the Communist propagandist that he was, he must have assumed that those who read and believed his work were very stupid, gullible, weak minded, and hated America as much as he did.

Since those who espouse Communism see people who believe their brand of false information as useful idiots, he must have thought he was influencing impressionable fools and dummies too stupid to know they were being sold lies. He must have seen them as easy to deceive, easy to manipulate and take advantage of, easy to use to further his agenda of anti-Americanism.

Tom Correa

Saturday, July 4, 2020

"My Name Is Old Glory" -- A Wonderful Video

Happy 4th Of July! I know you will love this video. I did!

My Name Is Old Glory
Poem by Don S. Miller

I am the flag of the United States of America
My name is Old Glory.

I fly atop the world's tallest buildings.
I stand watch in America's halls of justice.
I fly majestically over great institutes of learning.
I stand guard with the greatest military power in the world.
Look up! And see me!

I stand for peace, honor, truth, and justice.
I stand for freedom.
I am confident . . . I am arrogant.
I am proud.

When I am flown with my fellow banners,
my head is a little higher,
my colors a little truer.

I bow to no one.
I am recognized all over the world.
I am worshipped.
I am saluted.
I am respected.
I am revered. I am loved.
And I am feared.

I have fought every battle of every war for more than 200 years...
Gettysburg, Shilo, Appomatox, San Juan Hill, the trenches of France,
the Argonne Forest, Anzio, Rome, the beaches of Normandy,
the deserts of Africa, the cane fields of the Philippines,
the rice paddies and jungles of Guam, Okinawa, Japan, Korea, Vietnam,
and a score of places long forgotten by all but those who were with me.

I was there!

I led my soldiers.
I followed them.
I watched over them...
They loved me.

I was on a small hill in Iwo Jima.
I was dirty, battle-worn and tired,
but my soldiers cheered me,
and I was proud.

I have been soiled, burned, torn and trampled on the streets of countries
I have helped set free.
It does not hurt . . . for I am invincible.
I have been soiled, burned, torn and trampled on the streets of my country,
and when it is by those with whom I have served in battle . . . it hurts.
But I shall overcome . . . for I am strong.

I have slipped the bonds of Earth
and stand watch over the uncharted new frontiers of space
from my vantage point on the moon.

I have been a silent witness to all of America's finest hours.
But my finest hour comes
when I am torn into strips to be used for bandages
for my wounded comrades on the field of battle.
when I fly at half mast to honor my soldiers...
and when I lie in the trembling arms
of a grieving mother at the graveside of her fallen son.

I am proud.
My name is Old Glory.
Dear God . . . Long may I wave!

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Defunding The Police Will Increase Armed Citizens

Many of you have written to ask what I think of the recent plans put forward by Democrats wanting to defund and even dismantle police departments. Since my blog has really shifted more to American History with a focus on the Old West versus straight politics, let's look at this issue in a historical context.

We know that the framers of our Constitution saw our personal right to bear arms as a potential check against government tyranny. They also saw our being armed and ready as a matter of practicality and essential to keeping the peace. Practicality in the sense that citizens are the militia in times of civil strife when the government cannot or will not respond, even today. And essential to the peace, because the citizenry pre-dates the establishment of law enforcement by more than a century.

Briefly, prior to government agencies such as city police departments being established, the citizens were responsible for law and order. Utilizing the hue and cry, as well as depending on a system of volunteers, citizens maintained order. They did this by forming Citizens Watch groups, also known as Citizen Committees.

Soon merchants started paying those groups to provide extra security for their businesses. Later, towns and cities charged merchants a tax to provide their security. That's when cities took over the responsibility of paying for security services from city coffers. City police departments formed as a direct result of those early "door shakers." They became the officers which citizens depended on to enforce the law. That all took place over a two hundred year period.

Americans moving West established towns and settlements, and citizens provided security for those living there. Besides being the militia guarding against attacks, the fire brigade, and probably members of the church choir, everyone, from merchants to blacksmiths to laborers were all part of the citizenry that maintained the law. In most places in the West, the citizenry created Citizens Watch Groups, Citizens Committees, also known by the Spanish word for "watchmen" -- Vigilantes.

When outlaws attempted to rob a bank, the Citizens Committees formed posses, they tracked down the culprits, and in most cases brought them back for trial. Vigilantes were unlike the impromptu mob violence that accompanied some events. Vigilantes were the law before there were lawmen. Once organized law came about, Vigilante Groups made themselves available to the law as a source of supplemental manpower when needed. Yes, they were who joined in on the posses to chase outlaws.

There are four basic reasons that Citizens Committee stepped forward to assert themselves back in the day. First, in the cases where the law was inept, corrupt, or so crooked that they were actually part of the outlaws, then Citizens Committees often asserted themselves to right such problems.

Second, if a criminal element were so out of control that they overwhelmed the municipal authorities. In those cases, Vigilante Groups were known to work parallel with the law to bring order to a town --or to a large city as is the case of San Francisco in 1851 and again in 1856. In fact, the San Francisco Committee of Vigilance of 1851 had over 700 men mostly drawn from the many militia groups in that city. After righting things, they disappeared. The San Francisco Committee of Vigilance of 1851 resurfaced in 1856. At that time, they had over 6000 members. Again, drawn from the militia groups there.

Third, vigilantes responded when known killers like Killer Jim Miller used technicalities or intimidation of witnesses to evade being held accountable. In the case of Miller, the local Citizens Committee had enough of him and lynched that murderer.

Fourth, Citizens Groups were known to step forward when the courts were either intimidated or rendered too lenient a sentence. Over the years, a number of Citizens Committees stepped forward to hang a killer when the courts only gave him a few years in prison. In fact, most Vigilante Groups were known to go after convicted killers of lawmen -- after their trial when it became apparent that the courts were going to let a cop killer go free or get away with a short sentence.

Time and time again throughout the West, citizens stepped forward to right things. People during that time understood the stigma associated with shirking one's duty. This included being part of the citizenry that provided law and order when there wasn't any such thing as establish law enforcement agencies. We must remember that City Marshals and Police Departments came about later.

Even back East, police departments were simply unheard of. For example, the New York City Police Department as the primary law enforcement agency within the City of New York was not established until May 23, 1845. Prior to that, Citizens Committee Watch Groups maintained order. Those groups took a backseat to things once police departments were created.

Of course, that's not to say that City Marshals or Police Departments stopped citizen involvement in maintaining order or responding to criminal activities or outlaw situations where the police were outnumbered. For example, in Northfield, Minnesota, on September 7, 1876, the law was outnumbered when the James-Younger Gang arrived in town to rob that bank. They were shot to pieces by the citizenry there. It's said Jessie James was such a cold-blooded killer that he murdered an unarmed man out of pure frustration that day.

Citizens also stepped forward in Coffeyville, Kansas, on October 5, 1892. That was the day the Dalton Gang was wiped out during an attempted bank robbery there. It was armed citizens that took them to task.

As for today, though we are supposed to be living in a much more civilized society than back in the day when the law wasn't present, we can form Citizens Committees to supplement our own security needs if we had to do so. Returning to the days of armed Citizens Watch Groups would be akin to having Neighborhood Watch groups on steroids. This would mean a return of the responsibility of one's neighborhood security to a community, and away from the larger scope of an entire city. This would also mean such groups would be independent and responsible to the citizens who actually live there.

As for defunding the police? While this would not result in the total collapse of our society, make no mistake about it, cutting funding means cutting back on police services. It means folks in the city will not have the response time they have now, or at all in many cases depending on the offense. It's just that simple.

There are towns where police departments are non-existent. For example, Castro Valley, California, with a population of over 60,000 residents does not have its own police department. The town has fire protection provided to them by the Alameda County Fire Department, and its policing is provided to their residents by the Alameda County Sheriff's Office and the California Highway Patrol.

That's what will happen if Democratic Party politicians go through with their defunding agenda to please their constituents in the Black Lives Matter organization. It's also what will happen if police departments are dismantled as some cities are talking about doing.

County Sheriff's Offices will have no other option but to increase their manpower and/or shift their coverage to fill the loss of a police department. That means resources will be stretched and security coverage will suffer, or be completely non-existent.

Let's understand something that very basic to us all, whether defunding takes place or not, we should all understand that we are responsible for our own safety. The police can't be everywhere. And more importantly, the Supreme Court has ruled in a number of cases that the police do not have a responsibility or duty to protect anyone. Frankly, many Americans have had a false sense of security thinking the police can respond to everything in seconds when they can't. 

Americans living in cities who reach for their phone and dial 911 for everything, expect the police to be there for them. They will find out that defunding departments means the police won't be there. People there may feel unprotected. In that case, it's still not the end of the world. All it means is that people in the cities will have to figure out a way to provide for their own security. It means city people will have to be more self-reliant. Yes, including arming themselves.

Rural Americans are less effect by defunding police departments. Fact is it doesn't effect those of us who live in rural America. Most of us living in out of the way areas are already used to having to provide for our own security. Most know that extended response times mean we have had to be more self-reliant. This is the case where I live. And as with many of us here, I provide my own security. 

That's not to say that we don't call 911 to report a crime. It's just that we have a good understanding about where we live, the remote areas where deputies travel, the time it takes to get from one place to another. Subsequently, we are a lot more realistic in our expectations of an officer arriving in time to handle a given situation. 

Of course while some say there is no need to carry a gun to protect ourselves and our families because we have police departments, residents in most rural counties carry guns. While many of us have legal Concealed Carry permits, some simply carry a rifle or shotgun or a pistol in their trucks and cars. In most cases, County Sheriffs support Americans exercising our being armed. Some County Sheriffs actually see an armed citizenry as supplemental manpower to backup their deputies.  

If defunding the police takes place, I believe more people in the cities will arm themselves. That means people who are unarmed right now, people who may not know much about guns, may find they need to get training before carrying a gun. That's a must.

So there you have it, I believe defunding and/or dismantling police departments will increase the number of citizens who are armed in our society. As far as doing so legally, I don't see that happening in places like Alameda County, California, which is controlled by anti-gun Democrats.

When Tombstone, Arizona, banned the carrying of guns in their town in 1881, residents there still carried guns for their protection. They simply opted to break the law by carrying concealed weapons of all types. I don't see people today as being that much different when confronted with the real aspect of not having police available to protect them.

So now, let's talk about the flip side of defunding the police. Democrats, especially the militant arm of their party, ANTIFA and BLM, may inadvertently get something that they weren't expecting by defunding the police. It is believed they assume the police aren't needed and that some sort of an unarmed Community Services agency can do a better job. Some say those groups believe they will be able to run rampant without the police to stop them. In reality, I really think they haven't thought this out.

To me, the flip side of what Democrats want is something that they haven't considered. They are so emotional and really haven't figured out what also happens if the police are defunded and/or dismantled.

Fact is, they do not realize that they want to defund and dismantle the very police departments which are right now stopping others from shooting rioters. Right now, ANTIFA and BLM have police protection. Without that protection, they become fair game for people who have been gearing up for such a Civil War.

Please don't fool yourselves, there are people who see ANTIFA and BLM as an armed enemy and want to eliminate that threat to America. Police departments are the only thing stopping some people from setting limits on how many Communists can be shot in one afternoon. There are some folks out there who are so fed up with the burning and beatings, the killings of innocent people, that they don't care if ANTIFA and BLM ends up with graveyards full of martyrs.

But let's be honest here, the riots and defunding the police has everything to do with the Democrats wanting to defeat President Trump in November. ANTIFA and BLM are simply surrogates. Democrat politicians see ANTIFA and BLM as pawns, stooges, just expendable idiots. They believe these riots and chaos in the Democrat controlled cities will guarantee President Trump's defeat.

Frankly, Democrats today are really no different than the Copperhead Democrats in the North during the Civil War who incited draft riots in 1864 in an effort to oust President Lincoln. Democrats at the time felt those riots would turn the tide against President Lincoln and put a Democrat in the White House.

Like the Democrats today, the Democrat Party at the time didn't care who was hurt or killed. They wanted to oust President Lincoln by whatever means it took to keep blacks on their knees and in chains. It was all about power, wealth, and control. Well it didn't work back then. President Lincoln was re-elected. Of course, after his defeat didn't happen, an actor, a pro-slavery Democrat anarchist, assassinated President Lincoln.

This is the sort of lesson from history that we need to learn from, and stop before it happens. And frankly, looking at the crazies in places like Seattle, looking at the insanity coming from Democrats and their minion who want to destroy our history, tear down statues, and attack others with vile intent, I wouldn't put anything pass one of them. They are that crazed.

These times remind me of what President Theodore Roosevelt said in a speech in San Francisco on May 13, 1903, "Let us speak courteously, deal fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready."

For my readers who are writing asking for advice, my advice is do as President Theodore Roosevelt recommended, let's speak courteously, respect others, deal fairly with one another, live by the Golden Rule of treating others as we ourselves want to be treated, and keep ourselves armed and ready -- especially if there are no police in your cities.

Tom Correa