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Thread: Battle of Athens: The Forgotten History of the Tennessee Rebellion Against Local Government

  1. #1

    Battle of Athens: The Forgotten History of the Tennessee Rebellion Against Local Government


    The fight for civil rights in America is not limited to black Americans. Nor is the American Revolution limited to the 1700s. Case in point: The Battle of Athens. This was a pitched physical confrontation lasting two days in 1946, but with roots stretching back into the 1930s. It is part of an overall pan-racial resistance to anti-democratic government forms throughout the United States – and an oft-forgotten moment in American history.

    A corrupt political machine run by E.H. Crump was centered in Memphis, but had influence throughout the entire state of Tennessee. This extensive influence was used to alter the election laws and charters of cities and counties to make the electoral process more favorable to Crump and his men. Sheriffs and their deputies were paid on a fee system, whereby they received more money the more people they incarcerated -- with predictable results. Travelers and tourists were hit hardest, with buses traveling through Crump-controlled areas pulled over and (the entire bus) ticketed for drunkenness.

    This was felt particularly sharply in McMinn County, which was historically Republican. It has been alleged that the basis of Crump’s political power was delivering this Republican stronghold to Democrat President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1936 election. The Justice Department investigated election fraud there in 1940, 1942 and 1944, but declined to take action. The poll tax and politicized ballot counting were the most common methods of fraud, as well as that old standby of having dead people cast ballots.

    The advent of World War II made matters worse. Most of McMinn County’s young men were off fighting the war. This meant that the county began scraping the bottom of the barrel when it came to appointing lawmen. Ex-cons were not considered unworthy and many were hired to help the county meet its needs. Gambling and bootlegging were permitted for those politically connected individuals within the county. To make matters worse, the machine was firmly in control of the newspapers and schools, and was the most gainful employment in the county.

    The GI Non-Partisan League

    Two servicemen on leave in the county were shot by allies of Crump’s machine. Servicemen from the county received news of this while still abroad and were anxious to get home and do something about it. One of the servicemen who was interviewed at the time of the Battle of Athens said that he was a lot more concerned about what was happening in McMinn County than he was about what was happening overseas. Once the GIs from McMinn County were demobilized, the area was ripe for a confrontation, especially once the fee-grabbing lawmen of the area began rolling the recently discharged GIs for their muster pay.

    Upon their return to the United States, several resolved to retake the county at the ballot box. Fully 10 percent of the county’s electorate was made up of returning GIs. The reform candidates ran on a non-partisan slate whose primary goals were the democratization and reform of McMinn County – and the expulsion of the Crump Machine for good.

    Somewhat amusingly, one of the impetuses for the mini-revolution was the enforcement of laws against public drunkenness. The GIs were often from hardcore infantry units and were used to being able to drink what they wanted when they wanted, without being pestered by the authorities. Once the local authorities started shaking down returning GIs at honky tonks in the area, the die had been cast.

    The opposition was called the GI Non-Partisan League, which drafted its slate of candidates based on the demographics of the area. Democratic areas had Democratic candidates while Republican areas had Republican ones – thus it was truly a patriotic and democratic movement, not a partisan one. Local businessmen made large donations to ensure that the campaign was well funded. The League dispelled fears that votes wouldn’t be counted, with the slogan: “Your Vote Will Be Counted As Cast.”

    Tensions rose as the machine thugs attacked the returning GIs, who organized a self-defense wing of their League. The self-defense elements totalled 30 men, mostly pulled from poor families and from men who had done frontline fighting during the war. Crump’s men responded by hiring 200 deputies, many from outside of the county (or even out of state) at a rate of $50 per day – equivalent to nearly $650 per day in 2018 dollars. There were normally only 15 patrolmen used on election day for the entire district.

    Continue reading Battle of Athens: The Forgotten History of the Tennessee Rebellion Against Local Government at Ammo.com.



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  3. #2
    Battle of Athens: The Forgotten History of the Tennessee Rebellion Against Local Government
    The problem isn't that the "Battle of Athens" has been forgotten.

    The problem is that most people have never known about it to begin with.

    After all, education with respect to "civics" is concerned with producing "good" (i.e., obedient) citizens, not informed ones ...


    Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850)

    • "When law and morality are in contradiction to each other, the citizen finds himself in the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense, or of losing his respect for the law." - The Law (p. 54)
    • "Government is that great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else." - Government (p. 99)
    • "[W]ar is always begun in the interest of the few, and at the expense of the many."
      - Economic Sophisms - Second Series (p. 312)
    • "There are two principles that can never be reconciled - Liberty and Constraint."
      - Harmonies of Political Economy - Book One (p. 447)

    · tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito ·
    MOFA (Make Orwell Fiction Again)

  4. #3
    New book coming out later this year. Bill White was a friend of mine's grandfather.

    The Fighting Bunch

  5. #4
    Absolutely. I was just saying in another forum that I never once heard the words "Korean War" spoken in any of my public school high school history classes. Not to suggest a conspiracy, but I do wonder if they would have mentioned that particular war if we hadn't fought it against communists.

  6. #5
    Presentation by the author of "The Fighting Bunch" a new book on the Battle of Athens tonight at 7PM Eastern.

    https://www.facebook.com/events/668663420726436

  7. #6
    This story needs to be made into a movie on the scale of Braveheart. Such an epic tale of Americana.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by FunkBuddha View Post
    Presentation by the author of "The Fighting Bunch" a new book on the Battle of Athens tonight at 7PM Eastern.

    https://www.facebook.com/events/668663420726436
    +rep. I'll be tuning in to listen in on that.

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Badnon Wissenshaftler View Post
    This story needs to be made into a movie on the scale of Braveheart. Such an epic tale of Americana.



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  11. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.3D View Post
    Interesting. I will give it a watch!

  12. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by FunkBuddha View Post
    Presentation by the author of "The Fighting Bunch" a new book on the Battle of Athens tonight at 7PM Eastern.

    https://www.facebook.com/events/668663420726436
    Bumping for the live author presentation.

  13. #11
    Did you catch it? I was at the hospital and missed it.

  14. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by FunkBuddha View Post
    New book coming out later this year. Bill White was a friend of mine's grandfather.

    The Fighting Bunch
    Quote Originally Posted by FunkBuddha View Post
    Presentation by the author of "The Fighting Bunch" a new book on the Battle of Athens tonight at 7PM Eastern.

    https://www.facebook.com/events/668663420726436
    Chris DeRose - The Fighting Bunch - "YOUR WELCOME" Episode #128
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQmm_rNsFJ4

    New York Times-bestselling American author and former Professor of Constitutional Law Chris DeRose joins Michael this week for a discussion on how the right to bear arms has been more central to American history than the right to vote, the extensive political reach of Boss Crump in Tennessee during the early 20th century, and many more insights on how World War II veterans won the only armed rebellion since the Revolution at the Battle of Athens, all of which can be found in Chris' new book, The Fighting Bunch.

  15. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Occam's Banana View Post
    Chris DeRose - The Fighting Bunch - "YOUR WELCOME" Episode #128
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQmm_rNsFJ4
    Thanks for posting. I just finished listening a few minutes ago.



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