We pause here to note that wars are complex events whose causes can never be adequately summed up in a phrase, that they can start out as one thing and evolve into another, and that what people think they are fighting for isn’t always the cause history will record. Yet, as Lincoln noted in his second inaugural address, there was never any doubt that the billions of dollars in property represented by the South’s roughly four million slaves was somehow at the root of everything, and on this point scholars who don’t agree about much of anything else have long found common ground. “No respected historian has argued for decades that the Civil War was fought over tariffs, that abolitionists were mere hypocrites, or that only constitutional concerns drove secessionists,” writes University of Virginia historian Edward Ayers. Yet there’s a vast chasm between this long-established scholarly consensus and the views of millions of presumably educated Americans, who hold to a theory that relegates slavery to, at best, incidental status. How did this happen?Tags: confederate heritage month 2013, lost cause, slavery
One reason boils down to simple convenience—for white people, that is. In his 2002 book "Race and Reunion," Yale historian David Blight describes a national fervor for "reconciliation" that began in the 1880s and lasted through the end of World War I, fueled in large part by the South’s desire to attract industry, Northern investors’ desire to make money, and the desire of white people everywhere to push "the Negro question" aside. In the process, the real causes of the war were swept under the rug, the better to facilitate economic partnerships and sentimental reunions of Civil War veterans.
But an equally important reason was a vigorous, sustained effort by Southerners to literally rewrite history — and among the most ardent revisionists were a group of respectable white Southern matrons known as the United Daughters of the Confederacy. [my emphasis]
Monday, April 22, 2013
Confederate "Heritage" Month 2013, April 22: Civil War and slavery
Tracy Thompson in The South still lies about the Civil War Salon 03/16/2013 marvels at the fact that the neo-Confederate pseudohistory of the Civil War which argues that slavery not only did not cause the war but was basically irrelevant to it still has such wide credence: