Revisionist history and the Civil War

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by Tanker, Sep 1, 2003.

  1. Tanker

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    I have noticed that in recent years, there is a substantial movement to reject some of the conventional interpretations of the Civil War in favor of an interpretation that is much more sympathetic to the south, and to slavery and much more critical of Lincoln's conduct of the civil war. For maximum effect though, the various proponents of this revisionism often resort to distortion, misrepresentation and outright lies. I will give some examples of that in this post.

    One rather clear example is the claim that large numbers of blacks fought for the south in the civil war. Rather than get into the details of that lie, I will simply give a link to an article by a historian who demolishes that bit of misinformation very completely and neatly. Here is the link:

    http://members.aol.com/neoconfeds/trclark.htm

    Another theme of the revisionists is that the war was not caused by slavery but by a struggle over "States rights". This also is a lie and the best ammunition to set the record straight is the numerous official documents of the southern states that were produced at the time they seceeded. The southern leaders were concious enough of the need for a historical record, to set down in no uncertain terms the reasons why they left the union. I don't see how anyone can read those documents without understanding that slavery was the root cause of the war. It is true that the north did not immediately try to end slavery, but rather the southern rebellion was caused mostly by the Republican attitude towards slavery. In essence the leadership of the south wanted slavery to be not only tolerated but respected. They rebelled more out of the lack of respect towards slavery than any outright attempt to end it. It is true that very few whites owned slaves, but the slave owners controlled the state governments, so it did not really matter what the average southern citizen though about slavery.

    An additional line of attack of these revisionists is an attack on the character of Abraham Lincoln. If their new interpretation is to be accepted, something must be done to counter the almost saint-like status of Lincoln. A recent example of this is a book by Thomas J. DiLorenzo about Lincoln. The title is "The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln". DiLorenzo also has a web article which discusses a book by Dee Brown, that touches on Lincoln and his role in spurring the construction of the transcontinental railroad. It is interesting how in the warped interpretation of Brown and DiLorenzo, they attempt to smear Lincoln with the implication that Lincoln hoped to profit from inside information involving the railroad. Oddly they do not say in explicit terms, possibly because they may realize that their argument does not hold water. This is the text as it appears in the Internet article by DiLorenzo:

    >>>>And "Abraham Lincoln, the future President evidently agreed with his debating partner that the route through Council Bluffs-Omaha and the South Pass was most practical. Lincoln acquired land interests at Council Bluffs" (emphasis added). A short time later, after the Chicago/New England/New York "men of power" propelled him into the White House, Lincoln began signing legislation giving these men millions of acres of public lands and other subsidies for their railroads<<<<<<

    It is worth noting that DiLorenzo/Brown say that Lincoln acquired "land interests" in Council Bluffs, rather than using the simpler term "land". Why do they phrase it that way? The reason is that Lincoln did not acquire land in Council Bluffs. The only way that he acquired "land interests" in Council Bluffs is that someone owed him $3,000 and wanted to use 17 lots in Council Bluffs as security for the loan. That is substantially different from outright ownership of the lots, a difference that DiLorenzo/Brown do not make clear. Anyone wishing to profit from insider information to speculate in land would hardly use that type of "land interest" to do it. Lincoln could become a beneficial owner of the lots only if the debtor defaulted on the loan. A default would of course be much less likely if the value of the lots increased due to railroad construction. So it seems to me that the implication of improper conduct on Lincoln's part rests on a very slim thread indeed. The fact that DiLorenzo and Brown imply something improper without explaining all the details of the case is telling. Clearly the failure to explain all the details and the very indirect interest that Lincoln had in the land does not give confidence in the work of these two authors. This slippery type of distortion seems to be all too typical of Civil War revisionists.

    The entire article by DiLorenzo can be found at:

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/dilorenzo/delorenzo51.html
     
  2. Terry_Herrington

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    I recently took a course at the University of Houston Downtown entitled, "Civil War History." My professor was approximately 60 years old and Civil War history is his speciality. During this course I learned that the main cause for the Civil War was the fight over continued slavery in the future states.

    Since the "Missouri Compromise," the balance of free and slave states had been maintained. Now with the "Compromise of 1850":

    "According to the compromise, Texas would relinquish the land in dispute but, in compensation, be given 10 million dollars -- money it would use to pay off its debt to Mexico. Also, the territories of New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah would be organized without mention of slavery. (The decision would be made by the territories' inhabitants later, when they applied for statehood.) Regarding Washington, the slave trade would be abolished in the District of Columbia, although slavery would still be permitted. Finally, California would be admitted as a free state. To pacify slave-state politicians, who would have objected to the imbalance created by adding another free state, the Fugitive Slave Act was passed...The Compromise of 1850 accomplished what it set out to do -- it kept the nation united -- but the solution was only temporary. Over the following decade the country's citizens became further divided over the issue of slavery. The rift would continue to grow until the nation itself divided."

    Link

    It is easy to see that the primary cause for the war was the issue of slavery, not "states rights." While it is true that the states having the right to suceed from the United States did, technically, lead to the war, it is also true that the entire issue of succession would not have been considered if not for the division over slavery.

    Here is another good link: Link
     
  3. KenH

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    The very article you mentioned proves that States' rights was THE issue. It was the rights of the States - especially the new States - to have slavery if they wanted to.

    Anyway, ya'll can keep your idealized image of the Yankees that they invaded the CSA out of altruism and were just a kind, sweet, non-racist, bunch of folks - really just the flower children of their day. [​IMG]

    Don't let reality intrude into your fantasy world. [​IMG]
     
  4. Tanker

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    >>>>The very article you mentioned proves that States' rights was THE issue. It was the rights of the States - especially the new States - to have slavery if they wanted to.<<<<<

    Previously you have claimed that slavery was not the issue. I am glad that you now see that it WAS the issue and that "state's rights" was just a euphemism for an ugly and immoral system.
     
  5. KenH

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    That is not what I said. But if you want to believe so in this fantasy world you have constructed, go ahead.
     
  6. Dr. Bob

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    Tanker, I had students of mine in my college classes that just would not accept the truth. If yankees need to justify their immoral attack on the Southern nation today, they pull out the "race card" just like Lincoln did when losing the War in 1862.

    It is sad that some still believe the liberal yankee lies and are willingly ignorant. But that's your right . . until the Federales take THAT away, too.

    Dr. Bob
    "Save your Dixie cups, the South will rise again" :rolleyes:
     
  7. Tanker

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    Bob,

    You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts. Stick to the historical facts and I will be happy. Unfortunately, many of the revisionists want to manufacture their own facts also. For example, you are not entitled to claim, contrary to history, that thousands of blacks fought for the South. It didn't happen.
     
  8. Karen

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    Or perhaps we see some things you are not willing to look at? You repeatedly make a false assumption that those who disagree with you on this do so primarily because of willful ignorance.

    http://www.publicopiniononline.com/news/stories/20030203/localnews/908923.html

    Karen
     
  9. Major B

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    Dr. Bob, the South HAS risen again. See the demographic shifts in population over the past four decades, and the greatly increased economic development in the South as opposed to the Frozen Quarter and the Rust Belt.

    As the Late, Lamented Lewis Grizzard once said:

    "Ya'll are welcome down here amongst us. Come, live, work, marry, have kids, but don't tell us how ya'll did it in Cleveland, 'cause we don't want to know, and if'n yer hankerin' to go back, Delta is ready when you are..."
     
  10. Tanker

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    &gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;It is sad that some still believe the liberal yankee lies and are willingly ignorant. But that's your right . . until the Federales take THAT away, too.&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;

    The historical facts surrounding the Civil War are neither liberal nor conservative. You should not distort the facts although you can have whatever opinion you want. I think it is clear that the southern apologists, in the present era, not only have their opinions but sometimes present information that is factually inaccurate. In other words, some of them lie.
     
  11. Dr. Bob

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    Tanker - I've failed in all attempts to have dialog with you. Saying again and again that I am a liar (without one ounce of proof as to how exactly I lied or gave wrong information) only proves you have problems with historical facts.

    You jumped all over me because of a term that any student of the Civil War would know (black republican). You said that only a handful of blacks were in the CSA forces (I gave details of the regiments and 3 brigades that indicate thousands, not a handful). The cause of the war was NOT slavery, but state's rights. Even the most liberal can read and see this a historical fact.

    You can't.

    I am just scratching my head and wondering why you opt to be willfully ignorant. It just doesn't make sense.

    Please don't attack me and call me a liar. I won't get angry, but I will get even.
     
  12. Kiffin

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    The late Dr. Leonard Haynes of the historicaly Black Southern University in Baton Rouge was a major proponent that Blacks did fight with the confederacy. In his office Dr. Haynes had pictures of Black Confederates and I believe his grandfather was one of them. Many PC people are irrated I believe that 2 recent movies Ride With the Devil and God's and Generals have Blacks either fighting or serving the Confederacy.

    The Sons of Confederate Veterans give info on Black Confederates that is worthy of reading http://www.scv.org/education/edpapers/blackhst.htm
     
  13. Terry_Herrington

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    Dr. Bob said,
    "I won't get angry, but I will get even."

    This sounds like a threat. Surely someone with your education and with the heart of a pastor would not want to "get even." WWJD?
     
  14. Tanker

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    &gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;I am just scratching my head and wondering why you opt to be willfully ignorant. It just doesn't make sense.

    Please don't attack me and call me a liar. I won't get angry, but I will get even. &lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;

    I think that on some issues at least, it can be objectively shown that I am not the one who is ignorant. You apparently don't understand, for example the use of the term "Black Republican" as it was used in the Civil War era. See my explanation in the General Baptist Discussion forum. You have a right to your opinion as to the cause of the Civil War, even if it does not square with the opinion of leading historians. But let me suggest that you are way out of line by using such insults as "federal scum" and phrases of that type. Also, as someone has noted, it is a little shocking for you to use a clear threat as in the text above. I believe you meant it more as an insult than as a threat, but even then it is not to your credit. It seems to me also that your whole attitude about the Civil war is remarkably insensitive to blacks and to the rights of blacks.
     

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