That Confederate Narrative

Let’s take some time out of all the doom and gloom around the Covid-19 crisis and do some history……

I grew up in the South and I had heard the narrative around the American Civil War…..most of the well worn narratives are myths that have been told to justify one thing or the other….slavery.

Myths like the war was not about slavery…..

Myth #1

The Civil War had nothing to do with slavery

Many Americans grow up learning that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery. Let us begin with the simple truth: Slavery had everything to do with the Civil War. Don’t take my word for it, take theirs. As the vice president of the Confederacy, Alexander Hamilton Stephens famously told a crowd in Savannah in March 1861, Confederates rejected Thomas Jefferson’s declaration that “All men are created equal” and the founder’s belief that slavery “was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically.” Instead, Stephens told the crowd slavery was a good thing, that “Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition.” While uncomfortable to read now, in 1861 this was widely understood to be the cause of the war by anyone paying attention.

Mississippi’s secession declaration began its list of “the prominent reasons which have induced our course” with the statement, “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery.”

There are those that continue to spread lies…..

It always amazed me that Southerns could not move past the fact that they got their asses handed to them by the North….and in the same breath are proud of the loss.

For those that want to know about the myths that were false……let’s call them lies shall we?

The most widespread myth is also the most basic. Across America, 60 percent to 75 percent of high-school history teachers believe and teach that the South seceded for state’s rights, said Jim Loewen, author of “Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong” (Touchstone, 1996) and co-editor of “The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader: The ‘Great Truth’ about the ‘Lost Cause'” (University Press of Mississippi, 2010).

“It’s complete B.S.,” Loewen told LiveScience. “And by B.S., I mean ‘bad scholarship.'”

Class Dismissed!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

12 thoughts on “That Confederate Narrative

  1. Few, almost none, of the ‘ordinary’ soldiers who fought for the Confederacy had ever owned slaves. Many had never even owned shoes, let alone slaves. It is the case that the economic roots of slavery was why the South seceded in 1861, but I am convinced that the majority of Confederate soldiers enlisted to fight for their own state against what was seen to be an overbearing Federal Government. If their political leaders blurred that agenda by claiming ‘State’s Rights’, then they stand guilty of duping the Confederate soldiers.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. Too many people have a romantic notion of the Old South. They are proud of their confederate linage. There is nothing romantic about it. I am not a southerner by birth or by association with the confederacy. But I am a southerner. I am not ashamed of it. I grew up in Texas. And yes, the Texas was a confederate state with even a fort in my the place of my birth, El Paso. But Texas is not a part of the south. It’s no better or worse. It’s just different.
    I love the people of the south. I love the food of the south. And the music of the south. I love the spirituality of the south. And the friendliness and, yes, the intellect of the south. There are chinks, gaffs, abnormalities and contradictions in everything that I love about the south. I hold no romantic notion of these things. I am realistic about them. And I am realistic about the confederacy. It was an abomination.

    1. I was born and raised in Mississippi so I know what you mean about the South…and a lot of those old hatreds are still there….chuq

  3. I still think it’s a dumb bumper sticker of an answer “the war was fought over states’ rights, not slavery!”
    “uh, okay. What rights did they want so badly to fight over?”
    “uh, to own slaves!”
    True that most couldn’t afford slaves in the South. From a lot of the things I’ve read over the years (and still trying to read–barely put a dent in my civil war area of the bookshelf), it was fear that if they lost, then the feds would make blacks equal to whites through legislation and give them the vote.

    One quote always sticks with me from pop culture about southern racism, from the (often controversial) film “Mississippi Burning,” when Hackman’s character’s talking about his father and a black neighbor that got a mule. It always struck me when he explained his father’s reasoning (if you ain’t better than a ____, then who are you better than?). And then probably the most accurate description of hate and class to sum it up, that the man was “just so full of hate that he didn’t know that bein’ poor was what was killin’ him.”

    Keep the poor distracted by making sure they can’t find common ground to change things and the rich can do whatever they want. And boy did it work–got every poor person on their side in the south in 1861.

      1. Feels like they’re okay feeling helpless as long as there’s somebody else they can try to blame for it. How long til that card stops working, though? Will be a damned rude awakening.

  4. Whites in the South are still fighting that god-awful civil war to this very day. In Louisiana there are young people who fly the Confederate and are quite openly racist.

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