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Biased Historians Rewriting History?

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by Joshism, Feb 28, 2017.

  1. MattL

    MattL Sergeant

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    Well if we start removing things found in letters from our perceived view of someone I imagine many peoples impressions of Lincoln will have to be heavily modified.
     
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  3. Bee

    Bee 2nd Lieutenant

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    McClellan has already been discussed on this thread....at length

     
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  4. O' Be Joyful

    O' Be Joyful Corporal

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    I have found a very interesting book review/essay that takes aim at the type of historian that I believe the vast majority of members here would object to. I am copying one paragraph to give everyone a taste. As most here know politicizing history is not a recent phenomenon, Charles Beard is given as one past example. Give it a full read and decide for yourself.

    The tenet of radical history that has aged least well is its subordination of analytical problems to political sympathies. The New Left historians were hardly the first cohort of scholars to enlist history in the service of a political crusade or a social agenda. The idea was put forward, in different form, by the Progressive historians of Charles Beard’s time, notably James Harvey Robinson, and many subsequent schools and individuals later embraced it, including some of the Cold War anti-Communists against whom the New Left historians were rebelling. Conversely, many scholarly-minded radical historians grasped the foolishness, even the danger, of allowing present-day politics to shape one’s readings of past events. It was Christopher Lasch who decried “the worst features of progressive historiography reappear[ing] under the auspices of the new left: drastic simplification of issues; … reading present concerns back into the past; strident partisanship.”
    https://newrepublic.com/article/112574/howard-zinns-influential-mutilations-american-history


     
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  5. jgoodguy

    jgoodguy Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    Good point. OTOH I come up empty when someone suggests that the idea that slavery was the cause of the Civil War is somehow a leftist revision or that only historians with a father with Marxist symphonies can think that the counter Reconstruction was bad for blacks.
     
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  6. O' Be Joyful

    O' Be Joyful Corporal

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    I was not aware that Zinn's father was a Marxist jgood.:smile: And to be clear I do not rate Foner to be in the class of historians that are being criticized in the piece. Not sure about the writer's politics, one can still be on the Left an decry the methods of Zinn and his progeny.
     
  7. jgoodguy

    jgoodguy Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    I was grumbling in generalities not addressing anyone. May create a new thread using one of the vague historian x is anti Southern post with a challenge for evidence both what 'Southern' is and how that historian is anti whatever that is. I expect silence.
     
  8. O' Be Joyful

    O' Be Joyful Corporal

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    McPherson seems to be a frequent target, but when poster(s) are pressed for evidence it is as you say...Crickets.
     
  9. TaraPJamie

    TaraPJamie Cadet

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    Wow! Good answer. There are several books, one re: Betty Owensby. To me it was never dull. I believed what she said was the full truth. Now I understand what you and everyone else is saying. Thank you to eveyone who replied. Great information for me.
     
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  10. Harvey Johnson

    Harvey Johnson Sergeant

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    Merton Coulter The South During Reconstruction, 132

    That gets to be a matter of opinion. Voting Republican didn't do blacks much good in the long run and made matters worse for them. Republicans were not truly interested in racial equality. They were chiefly interested in the political power that the Southern black voting block could temporarily provide. Once the Republicans learned they could control the federal government w/o Southern black votes they dropped the blacks like a bad habit.
     
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  11. Hunter

    Hunter Sergeant

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    You may want to take another look at Coulter's book. The page you cite does not relate to the voter registration in Alabama for the 1868 presidential election. It deals with registration for the 1867 election of delegates to a state constitutional convention.

    I asked you why blacks would vote for the Democrat nominee in the 1868 election, given that the Democrats intended to take away their voting rights. You said it was a matter of opinion. What is your opinion?
     
  12. Harvey Johnson

    Harvey Johnson Sergeant

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    Among other restrictions Alabama's 1868 Constitution specified that anyone prevented from registering to vote for the 1867 convention was also prevented from registering to vote after the 1868 Constitution was adopted (Article 7, Section 3). This source states that 62% Alabama's voters authorized to vote for the 1867 constitutional convention were black whereas only 38% were white.

    To serve their selfish purposes white Republicans callously misled Southern blacks as a voting block. They abandoned the group when they realized that the Party did not need the block vote in order to retain control of the federal government. In that context Southern blacks wasted their loyalty and votes because white Republicans had little loyalty to, or genuine interest in, them.

    Do you believe that the Republican Party was chiefly interested in promoting racial equality or in controlling the Southern black vote in order to control the federal government?
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2017 at 11:48 PM
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  13. Hunter

    Hunter Sergeant

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    I mean no disrespect, but the page you cite does not relate in any way to the 1868 presidential election. Neither does your reference to the suffrage provisions of the state constitution.

    I take it that you will not be offering an opinion of why blacks would vote for a Democrat for president in 1868.

    In response to your question about Republican motivations, I believe they changed over the years. My research indicates that Northern and Southern Republicans were initially very concerned that the secessionists would regain control, possibly leading to a second civil war and almost certainly leading to the resurrection of slavery by another name. Black suffrage, they believed, would help avoid this. Most Republicans supported equal legal rights, and some social equality. However, support for social equality was not broad among Republicans, and virtually nonexistent among Democrats.
     
  14. Harvey Johnson

    Harvey Johnson Sergeant

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    Alabama's 1868 Constitution specified who would be able to vote in subsequent elections, including the 1868 presidential election. Among other restrictions, (Article 7, Section 3) specifically excluded those who were not permitted to vote for the 1867 Constitutional convention. Since whites were in a distinct minority (32%) in that election it follows that they were also in a minority in the 1868 presidential election, unless white enfranchisement was significantly liberalized between ratification of the 1868 constitution and the ensuing 1868 presidential election.

    If you have evidence of such an abrupt liberalization of white enfranchisement, please provide it.

    If that was truly an important Republican objective, President Johnson had already addressed it successfully. By December 1865 most Southern states had officially abolished slavery, mostly by adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment.

    The Thirteenth Amendment already guaranteed it. Do you think that Republicans would have supported black suffrage if they thought blacks would vote Democratic?

    Except for ethnic groups, such as Native Americans and Chinese immigrants, that were unlikely to contribute to Republican political power.

    It was almost non-existent for ethnic groups such as Chinese immigrants and Native Americans. Republican "support" for racial equality was selective, for the most self-serving of reasons. It was specifically limited to the one race (African-American) that Republicans were convinced would provide political support to their Party.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2017 at 9:45 PM
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  15. Hunter

    Hunter Sergeant

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    1. Yes, the eligibility to vote was expanded after the adoption of the 1868 constitution by virtue of the Alabama legislature's enactment of a law removing all disabilities to vote. This was authorized by that constitution. Wiggins, Scalawag in Alabama Politics, p. 42

    2. The abolition of slavery by constitutional provisions did not expressly preclude the enactment of black codes, which would have created a form of forced labor enforced by law. In addition, if you read the 13th Amendment, you will see that slavery was not abolished in connection with those convicted of a crime. Blacks convicted of petty crimes were forced to labor.

    3. Republicans were concerned that blacks might be forced to vote for Democrats by threats of violence and economic retaliation by Democrats, but Republicans nevertheless supported black suffrage. The Democrats eventually had to resort to election fraud to win elections.

    4. I have not studied the level of Republican support for the rights of other ethnic groups during this period, but suspect it was no better or worse than that of Democrats. Neither political party had anything to brag about on this score.
     
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  16. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Captain

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    Is your argument that the Democratic Party in the South from 1868 to 1965 aggressively supported the civil rights of African American's? Are you arguing that blacks in the South were treated more equally under the law then Northern blacks?
    Would it not be more accurate to say Garfield made a deal with Southern democrats; allow Florida's electoral college electors to elect me president and I will withdraw federal troops from the South?
    Leftyhunter
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2017 at 12:19 PM
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  17. Hunter

    Hunter Sergeant

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    Didn't you mean to say Rutherford B. Hayes instead of Garfield?
     
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  18. cash

    cash Brev. Brig. Gen'l

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    Hayes. And Federal troops were already mostly withdrawn.

    That should sound familiar.

    https://civilwartalk.com/threads/the-free-state-of-jones.123979/page-13#post-1350728
     
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  19. Bee

    Bee 2nd Lieutenant

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    The sun is starting to break through on this topic, again. As was quoted on the above thread address:

    Hayes didn't throw anyone under any moving vehicles of any type. The end of Reconstruction governments in the South, by that point, was a foregone conclusion.

    The assertion of "the Republicans abandoned the Black vote" was more of product of the changing of governments back to Democratic Party, rather than Republicans choosing to abandon people and programs.
     
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  20. Harvey Johnson

    Harvey Johnson Sergeant

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    Okay. Curious that you did not volunteer that information earlier.

    The Thirteenth Amendment also gave Congress the power to enforce it, which they did with the Freedman's Bureau and other acts thereby preventing the black codes from ever taking effect as well as blocking any signifiant enslavement of blacks convicted of petty crimes. Among the former Confederate states all but Texas and Mississippi ratified the 13th Amendment by the end of 1865, before the radicals presented their Reconstruction plan, knowing full well the enforcement powers of the Amendment.

    Republicans controlled the canvassing boards in the Carpetbag states. They were the ones thus empowered to commit election fraud, not the Democrats.

    Why? If you believe that Republicans were genuinely interested in racial equality it makes sense to examine whether their egalitarian attitude extended to other ethnic groups that were not likely to contribute as significantly to their political power.


    Perhaps, but at least the Democrats were consistent. The Republicans favored equality only for the single ethnic group that could give them a major block of political power.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2017 at 11:35 PM
  21. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Captain

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    Republican's did indeed throw blacks and Unionists under the proverbial bus. It was well known that the Democratic party paramilitaries where using terror against both blacks and Unionists. Only a strong local militia composed of blacks and Unionists plus a back up force of federal troops could prevail against the Democratic paramilitaries. Unfortunately their was not the public support for such an effort nor did Republican politicians convince the voters such an effort was needed. Thus blacks and many Unionists ( not all since many Unionists fought back and not by Queensbury rules) where left to the wolves.
    Leftyhunter
     

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