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Eric Foner Course Part II: The Civil War Years 1861-1865

Discussion in 'U of ACW Study Center' started by Pat Young, Dec 1, 2014.

  1. DRW

    DRW Sergeant

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    At least give Prof. Foner credit for presenting the military part of the war seriously. When I took David Donald's CW course back in the late 80s, he barely mentioned the "war" part of the CW. Some of us undergrads at the time met him after class asked him about that. I forget his exact words, but Prof. Donald gave the impression that he did not feel comfortable lecturing about war on the Harvard campus back then. Instead, he suggested that we read the Killer Angels.
     
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  3. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    Foner is now starting his examination of the First Year of the Civil War.

     
  4. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    Foner reviews the reaction of North and South to the firing on Fort Sumter, the call of Lincoln for troops and the announcement of the Blockade. Foner believes the blockade was tacit recognition of the CSA as a belligerent if not a country.

     
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  5. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    Foner next looks at the situation in the Border States.
     
  6. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    Lincoln moves to secure the Border with a successful strategy in keeping Kentucky in the Union. Foner agrees with Lincoln that abolition could wait until after Kentucky was secured:

     
  7. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    Find out what Professor Foner really thinks of Delaware. This section looks at Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and Missouri, the rest of the Border States.

     
  8. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    Now Foner turns back to Washington politics.
     
  9. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    Lincoln took his initial actions without Congress, but after July 4, 1861 he had to work with a fractious Congress. Lincoln framed the war for the nation in accord with fundamental American values:

     
  10. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    Lincoln "trampled" on some peoples' rights, according to Foner and set dangerous precedents for executive power during wartime. In this discussion with his favorite grad student "Tim", Foner answers the question "Was Lincoln a dictator?"
     
  11. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    The politics of Bull Run, plus you learn that you can run thirty miles pretty quickly "if you are scared."

     
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  12. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    I'll put up more later tonight.
     
  13. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    Slavery begins to decay wherever the Union army is.

     
  14. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    McClellan and Grant. "He gets no respect" says Foner of Grant:

     
  15. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    I like to post a few discussions between Foner and his students. Here is a student post on whether the South could have won the war:

    And now for something completely different...
    discussion posted 7 days ago by Dean7


    DISCUSSION QUESTION: And Now For Something Different!

    As Professor Foner lays it out, there can be no real discussion of this issue if you believe victory by the more powerful North was inevitable. Other factors including the quality of political leadership have to be taken into consideration. But is this really the correct take on the issue? Even though the military aspect of the Civil War came to an end in 1865, what I am suggesting is the political war waged by the South against the North has continued in the form of serious political opposition to the Federal Government. This opposition continued during the reconstruction period, through the era of the retrogressive Southern Democrats, and into the present as anarchist Southern Republicans screaming “state’s rights” nearly paralyzed the Federal government in 2014. The result: the ever-dissident South has become a semi-autonomous political powerhouse still operating within the Constitutional framework. Humor me, please. Overlay that neat 1861 map of Confederate states with a contemporary map of the Southern red states, and then tell me the War isn’t still going on 150 years later. I’m arguing President Lincoln may not have been the shrewd, smooth talking operator who saved the Union, but the man who unwittingly took the viper to his bosom. According to this alternate view, what Lincoln did in his effort to preserve the Union was to preside over an unnecessary war that resulted in horrific destruction of people and places. Lincoln would have been smarter to let the South go its way, allowing Southerners to find their own place in the world, and their own balance in equalizing the races - probably much quicker. Wouldn’t this alternate political strategy have permitted the North, unhampered by Southern negativism, to move faster towards its destiny as the Light and Leader in the struggle for peace and justice in the world?
    So my answer to the discussion question of whether the Confederacy could have won the Civil War is, they may have done, only 150 years later.

    (this post is about Section 1 / Could the Confederacy have won the Civil War?)
     
  16. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    Professor Foner's Favorite Grad Student responds

    TimShenk
    Staff
    5 days ago

    The solid South has certainly had a profound influence over American politics. For an examination of some of the consequences of this legacy, I highly recommend Ira Katznelson's brilliant new book "Fear Itself," which, among its many contributions, demonstrates the power Southern congressmen wielded over the making of the New Deal. But we shouldn't be to quick to assume that Southerners would necessarily have used their power to promote the region's white elite. Remember, during the heyday of Jim Crow the electoral influence of the Southern elite rested upon mass disenfranchisement of African Americans. As those of you who stick around for the course on Reconstruction will see, when African-American voting rights were respected, Southern politics looked very different. - Tim
     
  17. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    Professor Foner responds:

    EFoner Staff
    5 days ago

    I second Tim's point that Katznelson's book sheds light on this discussion. However, note that the southern Democrats in Congress during the New Deal were not necessarily opposed to federal power -- they supported most New Deal legislation, but shaped it in such a way that it ensured that federal actions would not challenge the white supremacy system of the South. The South has long been the strongest region in support of a robust military, not a formula for a weak central government. So to say the white South has always been devoted to localism or states rights may be too simple. Tim's point is also correct that had Reconstruction succeeded and blacks retained the right to vote throughout the period from 1890 to 1960 or so, our view of southern politics would be much different.

    Eric Foner
     
  18. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    Week Three videos are up. Here is a brief into to this week's topic, Emancipation:

     
  19. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    The coming of Emancipation

     
  20. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    McClellan's Peninsula Campaign and the Emancipation Proclamation:

     
  21. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    The McClellan lecture tries to integrate military and political/social history. An approach relevant to our freaking out historians.
     
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