"The South still lies about the Civil War", Does the North lie?

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ForeverFree

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https://drive.google.com/file/d/1FtMFxPwxb9i1QHr5R6-GCwtDqzfSc_PI/view?usp=sharing

The war was fought.
By the South for independence to practice slavery as it pleased.

By the North until 1863 to suppress a rebellion.
after 1863 to end slavery as a war measure.

The seems to be few contextual complexities to this. What am I missing?

Edited
For many people in the North, it comes to that: (a) the "North" won; (b) slavery ended.

Getting to the subject of "lies": Those two things above are true, and they are enough for many people. There's been some myth making as a result of the war, and in fact, every war generates its myths. But for many (probably most) Northern people, (a) and (b) above are all they feel they need to know. Many Northerners don't feel the need to go beyond that. Whereas I think for many Southerners, a mere few words (unlike "the "North" won and slavery ended) are not enough to understand what happened and why in the South during the war.

- Alan
 

ForeverFree

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“In the future they will rewrite our history to match their agenda, they will label us racists and traitors fighting to keep people enslaved; they will make heroes out of the people that burned our homes, destroyed our towns, terrorized our women and trampled the Constitution. They will ignore the fact that we were defending our way of life, the rights of our States to govern themselves and our homes against invaders. They'll ban our flag and pull down our monuments. I hope our children will remember us, preserve our history and teach their children the worthiness of our cause.” - Unknown Confederate Veteran from the early 20th Century...

I found the above quote buried deep inside one of the volumes of the Old Confederate Veteran, it was written by an unknown Confederate Veteran speaking on behalf of a fallen Confederate Soldier with whom he had served during the War. I am not sure which volume it was in, it was some time in the teens if I remember correctly. The quote really stood out to me immediately after I read it so I copied and pasted it to one of my word docs. It speaks to the state of affairs today regarding the demand to remove Confederate Monuments from many places in our nation and to destroy all things Confederate from that era.
RE: In the future they will rewrite our history to match their agenda, they will label us racists and traitors fighting to keep people enslaved; they will make heroes out of the people that burned our homes, destroyed our towns, terrorized our women and trampled the Constitution.

I would just note that "they" were saying that in the 1860s. And with a passion and earnestness that people today can't match.

- Alan
 
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jgoodguy

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ForeverFree's remarks about the saving of the Union being the primary reason for Northerners to fight, and for Lincoln and Washington to be elevated to near mythical positions in the national psyche is very pertinent to how the South receives this same national message, or is expected to receive it. In many ways, they, too, were fighting for a union - each side believed their interpretation of the Constitution, which is what binds together an incredible array of diverse thought, race, creeds and origins, was the correct one. That was worth fighting about.

For that, perhaps we should go back further to a recurring theme in that national psyche, the seeds of which were planted before there was a thought of a union to preserve, put forth in Winthrop's City on the Hill sermon. This was repeated in Lincoln's inaugural address as 'the last best hope' of the world, and again in Reagan's city on the hill reference in his 1989 farewell speech. All refer to Matthew 5:14 - Ye are the light of the world, a city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. From the belief the Massachusetts colony was a beacon of hope to the world to present-day 'exceptionalism', that has been a cornerstone belief. This core belief brought about various national destiny ideology and thought - Manifest Destiny all the way to the Truman Doctrine.

This is the basis for how history has been, and still mostly is, taught in this country. Washington's character and personality shaped the course of the presidency and the nation as Lincoln's personality and character shaped the course of the nation during the Civil War, which threatened to undo all the knitting together and bonding of almost a century. The CW was fought by the sons and grandsons of the people who fought the Revolution against monarchy. For the 18th and 19th centuries, every nation had a king or queen or emperor - except the United States. Many more separate kingdoms, principalities and ethnic areas were coming together to try the 'American Experiment', to shed traditional methods of government that no longer worked very well in a rapidly changing world. To Lincoln, this was a phenomenon that was a direct result of America's success and if it failed here, it failed everywhere. There was considerably more attached to the outcome of the Civil War than only the survival of the Union.

After the war, the government was somewhat restructured, renovated and altered, including the Constitution. Reconstruction happened rather heavily in the defeated South but it also happened in the North. What was really affected by the Civil War was the West. Mostly unorganized or barely organized territories, strong disputes with Native populations, a veritable flood of settlers and others westward to these territories and to states which had entered the Union just before or during the war - Nevada's motto is "Battle Born". These territories/states had a distant yet very strong influence on the war, and on Reconstruction. Acts were passed while the Southern states were absent in Congress - the Homestead Act, Railroad Act, etc. These were a series of legislation that tied the states together in ways they had never been connected before. Though many areas and regions of the United States have tried or wanted to separate, it is no longer a matter of simply seceding. So, the Union was saved - evidently forever.

How this all gets processed in whether or not the South should be re-educated about its history, or the North re-educated, seems to be a rather moot point for that portion of the nation that is west of the Mississippi. North and South is a little odd to the West. For a very long time in our history it didn't much matter which way regional views went, but now society, technology and politics has brought the nation together in a way it has never been together. This is where the new growing pains start to take place. Now it's not just Southern history, Northern history, black history, Indian history and the question being how each section processes its own story. It's how the entire nation processes these separate yet collective histories. It's in progress, and will be for quite some time.
History challenges national myths of all kinds.

To me, nationalization and unification is an old story, played out in many places and many times. All sorts of national myths are getting challaged in the current times.
 
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wbull1

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What do you think the motivation behind crediting mostly Lincoln is?

Milly's motivation was to make the South look as glorious as possible. Do you think that is some historian's goal? To make Lincoln look as glorious as possible or is it merely trying to make something complex simple?
I don't know the motivation of people who over-emphasize the role Lincoln played in emancipation. I believe the milk-toast depiction short changes the man behind the myth and leaves those so misinformed liable to shock and over-reaction in the other direction when confronted with accurate information that Lincoln could dodge issues, log roll and offer patronage to get what he wanted. Lincoln was a masterful politician back when politician was not a dirty word. Personally I don't see much glorification of the North, but I do see avoidance of Northern racism and avoidance of how much the North benefitted from slavery in popular accounts of the Civil War; less from serious historians. We all have biases and none of us can honestly claim total impartiality.
 

jgoodguy

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For many people in the North, it comes to that: (a) the "North" won; (b) slavery ended.

Getting to the subject of "lies": Those two things above are true, and they are enough for many people. There's been some myth making as a result of the war, and in fact, every war generates its myths. But for many (probably most) Northern people, (a) and (b) above are all they feel they need to know. Many Northerners don't feel the need to go beyond that. Whereas I think for many Southerners, a mere few words (unlike "the "North" won and slavery ended) are not enough to understand what happened and why in the South during the war.

- Alan
It appears to me that the alleged lies are anything that suggests the secessionists went to war over slavery.
 

jgoodguy

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I don't know the motivation of people who over-emphasize the role Lincoln played in emancipation. I believe the milk-toast depiction short changes the man behind the myth and leaves those so misinformed liable to shock and over-reaction in the other direction when confronted with accurate information that Lincoln could dodge issues, log roll and offer patronage to get what he wanted. Lincoln was a masterful politician back when politician was not a dirty word. Personally I don't see much glorification of the North, but I do see avoidance of Northern racism and avoidance of how much the North benefitted from slavery in popular accounts of the Civil War; less from serious historians. We all have biases and none of us can honestly claim total impartiality.
I agree, with a note that 'They did it too' is not much of a defense. A second note is that the North eliminated slavery at great cost in the end to win a war and to ensure new divisions would not later arise.
 
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Cavalry Charger

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Whereas I think for many Southerners, a mere few words (unlike "the "North" won and slavery ended) are not enough to understand what happened and why in the South during the war.
I would call this a 'disorienting' event, with a subsequent need to 'reorient' in the circumstances. We all need to reorient at different times, whether on a personal or more global level. The path that reorientation takes can vary enormously. It can also lead to further conflict as this process creates challenges for some that can't be overcome or for others where there is difficulty in overcoming them.

The South had much more change to digest than the North in the circumstances after the Civil War, at least in a societal or cultural sense, and while a 'pat' answer may work for some, it is not enough to answer the reality of the complete societal shift that needed to occur for others.

One of my least favourite expressions is 'just get over it!'

It's a pat answer from someone who hasn't gone through what you've gone through or had to endure what you've had to endure.

It's a simplistic and facile response to what may well be a deep psychological wound or injury.

We can't just 'get over' things because someone tells us to. We need time to process things, see how they might be realigned, factor in change and determine how it is possible to work within that change. It's the type of situation that might be equated to a natural disaster. Somehow there is a need to meet the challenge, and there is no going back to the way things were. So, deciding how the new situation will look and how people can heal is a necessary task. I think there is still much healing to be done on all fronts, but there can never be a time of giving up. Not after everything it cost to get folks where they are today.
 
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matthew mckeon

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I do teach the Civil War to impressionable young minds.
They have little interest in the Civil War. The war that occupies their mental space is World War II. The atrocity that serves as their mental marker for evil is the Holocaust.

Not one of them thinks slavery was benign, or accepts the racist belief structure that supported it, but its not like WWII.
 

matthew mckeon

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In my own teaching I have to follow the curriculum frameworks for the state of Massachusetts. These frameworks basically state that the slave states seceded to protect slavery. Which is what modern scholarship into the Civil War indicates. Its not controversial. Certainly because of my unusual interest in the war, and my own understanding of its central place in American identity, I spend more time on it than another teacher might.

But we all have to teach the industrial revolution, the western movement, the progressives, the Constitution, imperialism, the Depression, the World Wars, the Cold War, the Civil Rights movement, the postwar boom, Reagan, the woman's movement, Jackson's war against the US Bank, colonial society, the list goes on.
 
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Viper21

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For many people in the North, it comes to that: (a) the "North" won; (b) slavery ended.

Getting to the subject of "lies": Those two things above are true, and they are enough for many people. There's been some myth making as a result of the war, and in fact, every war generates its myths. But for many (probably most) Northern people, (a) and (b) above are all they feel they need to know. Many Northerners don't feel the need to go beyond that. Whereas I think for many Southerners, a mere few words (unlike "the "North" won and slavery ended) are not enough to understand what happened and why in the South during the war.

- Alan
Pretty good simple assessment. My experience with friends/people from up north, falls right in line with this view. It really is that simple. It's not even a real point of interest for many. I believe a majority of people are satisfied with this simple conclusion (a & b).

What I find even more surprising is the number of folks who grow up in my geographic area who have the same satisfaction of narrative. Honestly, that's how it's taught in schools (even here) today. I have multiple sons who graduated from high school a mile from the grave sites of Stonewall Jackson, & Robert E. Lee. They were taught next to nothing of the war in school. No field trips to battle fields, no field trips to cemeteries, nada. The instruction they received in school was very limited to (a), & (b) with a slight mention of the cadets of VMI. Not even a mention of Hunters Raid which marched right through the very soil they were sitting on.

I continue to believe, it all falls back on political ideology. The subject has become a political hot button today, & actual history is used (abused) to demean a group of people with differing views/ideology. In the heated political climate we all live in today, to approach the subject is career suicide. Many teachers, regardless of their personal views, don't want to approach the subject for fear of the obvious. I personally know multiple faculty members (local HS, & University), who refuse to let their views, or disgust with the narrative, to be known, for fear of backlash. Free thought is only acceptable today, from one side.

I always preferred a teacher who's ideology I could not ascertain. Social issues, & their use as political weapons, seem to take up more oxygen in academia today, than actual history, & all that encompasses. I'm sure George Orwell is smiling....

What we are left with is, only those with a personal desire to further educate themselves, will discover the answers they seek. This is true regardless of geography, viewpoint, or desired narrative. Even for those of us who live amongst the battlefields, the dead, & the monuments. As a general rule, painting with a broad brush, more interest comes from the South, because we live where most of it happened, & the reminders are visual, & seen daily. Hence, the push to remove said reminders....
 

matthew mckeon

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Its not ideology(which in this context, means its a myth prompted by preconceived notions) that the slave states seceded to protect slavery. Its ideology( a myth prompted by preconceived notions) to think its anything else.

Alan mentioned that history teachers aren't history majors in college. In Massachusetts, that has not been my experience. Most history teachers(history teaching positions are considered plums) are history majors, and often hold advanced degrees as well.
 

jgoodguy

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In my own teaching I have to follow the curriculum frameworks for the state of Massachusetts. These frameworks basically state that the slave states seceded to protect slavery. Which is what modern scholarship into the Civil War indicates. Its not controversial. Certainly because of my unusual interest in the war, and my own understanding of its central place in American identity, I spend more time on it than another teacher might.

But we all have to teach the industrial revolution, the western movement, the progressives, the Constitution, imperialism, the Depression, the World Wars, the Cold War, the Civil Rights movement, the postwar boom, Reagan, the woman's movement, Jackson's war against the US Bank, colonial society, the list goes on.
Those 5 years get smaller and smaller as the Country gets older. I wonder how much time other Countries put into their similar events. French Revolution, the German and Italian unification, the Russian Revolution or the Spanish Civil War.

John Coski suggests that interest in the CBF was declining until the Civil Rights era, and I infer from that interest in Southern Confederate Heritage when it exploded as a political expression of opposition to African American civil rights. It appears to me that interest in Southern Confederate Heritage has been declining since that stopped being a question.
 
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matthew mckeon

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While it sounds like "I'm deciding for myself" after assiduous research into the wealth of material now online sounds like being independent minded it puts up a red flag for me:

a. Most people are not seeking the truth. They're seeking confirmation of their existing beliefs.

b. The internet is full of forgeries, edited material, and plain falsehoods.

c. The internet is full of echo chambers, where anything you think, no matter what, is reinforced by an online "community."

d. What draws clicks and eyeballs(and dollars) is rage. Addictive rushes of adrenaline at the latest "outrage."
 

jgoodguy

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I continue to believe, it all falls back on political ideology. The subject has become a political hot button today, & actual history is used (abused) to demean a group of people with differing views/ideology. In the heated political climate we all live in today, to approach the subject is career suicide. Many teachers, regardless of their personal views, don't want to approach the subject for fear of the obvious. I personally know multiple faculty members (local HS, & University), who refuse to let their views, or disgust with the narrative, to be known, for fear of backlash. Free thought is only acceptable today, from one side.
I'd suggest that it has always been about political ideology, how in the world one can extract it from that is beyond me. What has happened is a competing vision of politically correct is ascendant. One it was politically correct to erect Confederate monuments and now it is politically correct to take them down.

In the South of my youth free speech in favor of African American civil right could get a visit from the KKK. In the CSA and Antebellum South procession of a book critical of slavery could get one hung. We are freer now that in those days. Anyone can stand and complain about political correctness.
 

jgoodguy

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Its not ideology(which in this context, means its a myth prompted by preconceived notions) that the slave states seceded to protect slavery. Its ideology( a myth prompted by preconceived notions) to think its anything else.

Alan mentioned that history teachers aren't history majors in college. In Massachusetts, that has not been my experience. Most history teachers(history teaching positions are considered plums) are history majors, and often hold advanced degrees as well.
FWIW I started college to become a history teacher but lost my way in the blinking lights of now ancient computers.
 
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jgoodguy

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While it sounds like "I'm deciding for myself" after assiduous research into the wealth of material now online sounds like being independent minded it puts up a red flag for me:

a. Most people are not seeking the truth. They're seeking confirmation of their existing beliefs.

b. The internet is full of forgeries, edited material, and plain falsehoods.

c. The internet is full of echo chambers, where anything you think, no matter what, is reinforced by an online "community."

d. What draws clicks and eyeballs(and dollars) is rage. Addictive rushes of adrenaline at the latest "outrage."
Yes, it is why Secession and Politics' longest threads have little to do with real history and contain a lot of fussing.
 

Tin cup

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This may be true... Slavery did play a part in why our nation went to war, this is clear in the founding documents of the Confederate States of America. They also spoke of States rights issues in those same documents. However, you can not paint every Confederate Soldier with such a broad brush that you can generalize to the point that you can state that every Confederate Soldier fought to keep slavery legal. None of my ancestors who fought for the Confederacy during the ACW owned slaves, so why would they fight for another mans right to own them? My ancestors fought because they felt that the government was over reaching in restricting and limiting States right issues, they were fighting for their families, their land and way of life against what they saw as a corrupt government which was becoming more and more what our founding fathers warned us of when they drafted the Declaration if Independence in 1776, and then the Articles of Confederation after that, and the Constitution after that and the Bill of Rights after that.

Please do not forget that numerous Southerners were conscripted into the Confederate Army and were sent to the front to fight this war as conscripts. This became more and more the case from 1863 towards the end of the War.
But once signed up, EVERY Confederate soldier fought for the Confederate Government's goal of gaining independence to perpetuate slavery for all time. Nothing "broad brush" about it, it happened! You can try to compartmentalize it, explain it away, complicate it with trivial details, and legalities, but it's still the truth.

Kevin Dally
 
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