Reprinted from hartmannreport.com
Christopher Sheats wanted no part of the insanity the rich people in the rest of his state were ginning up.
The wealthiest plantation owners of Alabama had hatched a scheme to join up with the fabulously rich planters of several nearby states and try to take down the government of the United States.
They had the money to make it happen, controlled most of the political power in the state, and had already required thousands of Alabama's young men to prepare their slave patrol militias for a much larger war against their own nation.
But Sheats was from the one county in Alabama that had no big plantations, and thus very few enslaved people. The "right" to free labor from enslaved humans was driving the politics of Alabama then, but Winston County wanted no part of the coming rich man's war.
Which is why the good people of Winston County elected the 22-year-old schoolteacher to attend the Alabama secession convention and make clear to the rest of the state that they had no intention of joining in the civil war the rich planters were openly preparing.
William Looney lent Sheats his tavern for a countywide meeting on July 4th of that year, and the people assembled there first agreed Sheats had done the right thing when he refused to sign the Alabama statement of secession.
They further agreed that if Alabama could secede from the union, then Winston County could secede from the state (leading to a cheer: "Hoorah for the Free State of Winston!"), although they never formalized that step.
Finally, the men at Looney's Tavern declared for posterity that they had no interest in fighting in any civil war that may be brewing, on either side. Their resolution asked that the state leave them alone to "work out our own political and financial destiny."
Thus, Winston County Alabama became the sole holdout in the War Between the States, even sending its young men north to aid the Union Army in a formation known as the "First Alabama Cavalry, USA."
As Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr noted around that same time, "the more things change, the more they stay the same."
Marcella Mulholland, writing in theKansas Reflector about the power and influence of the billionaire Koch network, noted just two weeks after the Trump attempt to overthrow our government and assassinate the Vice President and Speaker of the House:
"Earlier this month, when domestic terrorists overran the U.S. Capitol, they did not act alone. Not only did they have the full and expressed support of the president and other Republican electeds, they also had the backing of oil companies that have spent billions of dollars undermining our electoral process and normalizing the rejection of science and facts."
Replace "oil" with "cotton" and history is tragically repeating itself. The Center for Media and Democracy has the receipts, in their article How The Koch Network Hijacked The War On Covid.
As I laid out in detail in The Hidden History of American Oligarchy, by the late 1830s the South had ceased to resemble a real democracy in any meaningful way, largely because of the newly-invented and very expensive cotton gin that could, with water power or a single horse, do the hard cotton-cleaning work of 50 enslaved people.
(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).