This is exactly why I hate teaching the Civil War.

11 04 2010

“Objectivity” is hard when you’re dealing with people who have selective amnesia. Here’s Jon Meacham from this morning’s NYT:

As the sesquicentennial of Fort Sumter approaches in 2011, the enduring problem for neo-Confederates endures: anyone who seeks an Edenic Southern past in which the war was principally about states’ rights and not slavery is searching in vain, for the Confederacy and slavery are inextricably and forever linked.

That has not, however, stopped Lost Causers who supported Mr. McDonnell’s proclamation from trying to recast the war in more respectable terms. They would like what Lincoln called our “fiery trial” to be seen in a political, not a moral, light. If the slaves are erased from the picture, then what took place between Sumter and Appomattox is not about the fate of human chattel, or a battle between good and evil. It is, instead, more of an ancestral skirmish in the Reagan revolution, a contest between big and small government.

There is nothing noble about racism and treason. And if the Confederacy was a test of the virtues of small government, that was only because the Confederate government was completely dysfunctional


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