Bundy’s book is history

Published 12:15 am Saturday, December 20, 2008

The colors of the U.S. flag might be red, white and blue, but local author and history buff Jim Bundy believes that the color which has most affected America’s history is green — the color of money.

Bundy, who describes himself as someone with “an insatiable curiosity,” has spent the last three years researching the history of the U.S. and has compiled his findings in a book titled Of Rebels ‘n’ Rednecks, The Way We Wuz.

“One of the most important things I say in the book is that the only way to create wealth is by pleasing people,” Bundy said. “The second thing that’s important in the book is to show that the ‘uncivil war’ was fought about money. There’s a great deal of discussion about the fact that it was fought to preserve the Union or fought to free the slaves; and those are certainly part of it, but the main reason was money.

“The third thing I try to do in the book is give some ideas for young people to grasp and possibly become entrepreneurs themselves.”

Bundy explains that he wrote the book from the point of view of a grandfather teaching his children or grandchildren. As a result, the language in the book is often written from a Southern dialect, such as the word “wuz” rather than “was.”

In addition, the cover of Bundy’s book lists the author as “Bubba.” Bundy said he chose the pen name because it is something his late brother called him.

“I use Bubba because of my little brother; he died 20 years ago,” Bundy said. “I was about 10 years older than him, and before he could even talk, he was calling me ‘Bubba.’ I loved him a lot and this is a way for me to honor him.”

Bundy’s book touches on a variety of historical topics, but the bulk of its pages deal with the Civil War and Reconstruction. He points out a variety of little-known facts about the Civil War and the U.S. at the time of that bloody part of our history.

“I began to wonder how we could go from a nation of three million people united to fight for freedom in the Revolutionary War, and then less than 100 years later get to the point where we had to kill each other,” Bundy said. “One of the mistakes people make about the Civil War is that they try to judge 19th century morals with 21st century morals and you can’t do that; it just doesn’t work. Of course it was wrong to have slavery, but at that time it was just part of life.”

In fact, Bundy points out that all 13 colonies originally had legal slavery, and that New Jersey continued to allow slavery until 1865. He also mentions that the city of New Orleans, in 1860, had 160,000 people; 24,000 were black; 10,000 of those were free blacks; and 3,000 of those free blacks owned other black slaves.

“That was not as unusual as people might have you believe,” Bundy said. “The reason for the war was not black and white — it was green.”

Bundy’s hypothesis, which he backs up with facts and references throughout the book, is that the Civil War was fought because the agricultural South was “slowly going broke” due to high tariffs on trade. The northern U.S. states, which were industrialized, needed the South’s cotton in order to manufacture clothing. At the same time, the federal government in Washington, D.C., issued high tariffs on foreign imports.

“The (North) wanted to maintain the high tariffs, for obvious reasons,” Bundy said. “It protected their industry and also put the South in the position that if a plantation owner wanted to buy an English suit — because English clothing was considered the best — they would have to pay 40 percent more because of the tariff.

“In other words, the South came to this position in 1860 — we can go broke slowly, or we can secede.”

Bundy also touches on key events which led up to the Civil War, and the reasons that the North because industrialized and the South more agricultural. He mentions Eli Whitney’s cotton gin and the completion of the Erie Canal as two such events that helped stimulate the nation’s economic growth.

One common thread in Bundy’s book is that capitalism, while it was the driving force behind the Civil War, is also the one thing that helped to make the U.S. a great nation in such a relatively short amount of time.

“In my opinion, it’s a fact that capitalism is what made us great, and it’s our only hope for the future,” Bundy said. “Even though this country has made plenty of mistakes, it’s still the best country in the world, and that’s because of capitalism and free enterprise.”

Bundy’s book is 227 pages long and was printed through BookSurge Publishing. The book is available by visiting www.amazon.com, www.booksurge.com or by ordering a copy from Bundy by calling 428-2497.