Graydon Rust has written a fascinating story in the AUM Historical Review (Winter 2013) about Alabama’s Confederate pension system. It seems one third of the 95,000 men that Alabama sent to the war effort (I mean The War for Southern Independence) came back disabled, many having lost either a limb or their sight.
They could expect no help from the federal government since they were on the losing side, so the Confederate states had to create their own welfare legislation with treasuries depleted and life in shambles. Relief was slow in coming, but ultimately, according to Mr. Rust, “Alabama’s Confederate Pension system played a significant role in the history of the state – encompassing a large part of the state treasury, influencing the cultural cohesion of its citizens, and even setting a precedent for future welfare programs”.
Are you surprised to know that the tax to assist Confederate veterans and their widows continues today? It raises $400,000, which goes to the Confederate Memorial Park near Montgomery in Marbury, Alabama. Its director, Bill Rambo says “if it wasn’t for the way we are funded, the story would not be told. The kids in school are only getting one side of the story – the winner’s side”.
Rust says: “Whether this statement is true or not, the story of the Confederate veterans and that of the welfare programs that supported them after the war live on through the park and the taxes that support them.”