Commemorating Antietam

September 17th, 2011 at 12:21 am | 133 Comments |

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If you ask most Americans what was the bloodiest day in our history, you would probably get either 9/11 or Pearl Harbor, depending on the age of the responder. Neither would be correct.

In Western Maryland is a sluggish creek called the Antietam.

The scene is pastoral with rolling hills and farms dotted by occasional patches of woods. Nestled within these gentle ridges is the tiny hamlet of Sharpsburg. Stone monuments and bronze tablets dot the landscape. They seem strangely out of place here. Only some enormous event can explain their presence.

Almost by chance two great armies collided here. Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia was invading the North for the first time. The Union Army of the Potomac under Maj. General George B. McClellan was out to stop them. On September 17, 1862 the two forces fought the Battle of Antietam to decide the issue.

Their violent conflict shattered the quiet of Maryland’s countryside. When the hot September sun finally set upon the devastated battlefield, 23,000 Americans had fallen making this day the single worst act of mass killing of Americans in history. This single fact, with the heroism and suffering it implies, gives the markers and monuments their meaning. No longer do they presume upon the landscape, rather their mute inadequacy can only hint of the great event that happened here—and of its even greater consequences.

To comprehend just how terrible the killing was this day, we must consider that, though McClellan brought a host of 87,000 men to the battlefield to confront Lee’s mere 38,000 depleted ranks (from desertion or straggling), the Union commander only committed 50,000 of his men to battle. So the 23,000 losses in one day — roughly 12,500 Union and 10,500 CSA — represented over 25% casualties. (This was the same horrific attrition rate the 8th AF suffered in its disastrous raid on Schweinfurt in WW2).

At the end of the day a Confederate diarist recorded that in the confusion and chaos that “half of Lee’s army was off searching for the other half.” But he was lucky to be alive.

The consequences of this battle were as monumental as the scale of the losses suffered. Although tactically the battle was a draw as Lee did hold the field—though barely by a thread—when merciful darkness finally arrived to put an end to the killing, it was clear his grievously wounded army would have to abandon any invasion plans and limp back to Virginia. McClellan could claim a victory in that he ended Lee’s northern ambitions. But an abler general with his vast uncommitted reserves would have broken Lee’s army against the banks of the Potomac River at its back and ended the war.

Still the appearance of victory had far-reaching effects in the North’s favor. Throughout the summer of 1862 Lincoln, seeing the war in a higher moral and broader political vision than merely putting down an insurrection, was anxious to announce his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. His Secretary of State Seward, however, dissuaded him from doing so while the Union armies were being trounced by the Rebels on the battlefields of both the Eastern and Western theatrers, fearing it would appear to the world as “the last shriek on the retreat.”

Antietam changed all that. It gave Lincoln the victorious platform from which to transform the war from a war against rebellion to a war against slavery—in short, declaring in a proclamation what the fighting had always been about. The vocal objections of some libertarians, rogue historians, Lew Rockwell acolytes and Lost Causers notwithstanding, and regardless of Lincoln’s motives which ranged from moral enlightenment on one side to political opportunism on the other, the beginning of the end of the great crime of slavery and that “new birth of freedom” about which he would speak a year later, can be traced back to that brutal September day.

Antietam for all practical purposes ended the once very real prospect of European intervention on the parts of England and possibly France on the side of the Confederacy; these prospects were never so strong as in the summer of 1862. But Lee’s elusive quest for the Southern Saratoga would go unfulfilled that summer — and finally dashed completely upon the fields of Gettysburg nine months later.

The battle also brought to the North the first photographed images of what real war was all about. No colorful and stylized lithographs, but rather Matthew Brady’s New York City exhibit of photos of the battlefield’s aftermath which he simply called “The Dead Of Antietam.” Brady’s images, it was said, was as if he’d laid the corpses at the doorstep of every isolated civilian’s home, striking them with the gruesome harvest of the modern battlefield.

Although further disappointment awaited them at Fredericksburg (and to a lesser extent Chancellorsville) Antietam showed the Army of the Potomac, indeed Lincoln himself, that they could fight with the mettle of their vaunted Southern opponents. The seeds of Gettysburg and beyond were sown on the fields of Sharpsburg. It would only take proper leadership at the very top for the Union army to eventually prevail. When asked by a slave woman in Sharpsburg after the battle if he’d had a hard fight, a Rebel soldier replied: “Yes Aunty. The Yankees gave us the devil today. And they’ll give us hell tomorrow.”

But that tomorrow never came. Despite his army’s battered condition, or perhaps because of it, Lee chose to remain on the smoldering field on the 18th, daring his opponent across the creek to renew the assault. But McClellan was no Grant. Content with not losing, McClellan idled away the hours and eventually the day. He would allow Lee to escape that night back across the Potomac River to live to fight another day.

Lee’s most reliable general, James Longstreet, noted that at one point during the battle the situation for the Rebs was so precarious that in the height of the fighting, with his lines in disarray and fresh battalions of blue troops clearly visible on the bluffs east of the creek, he personally minded his staff’s horses so they could serve an artillery piece. His artillerist, Porter Alexander, would write: “Lee’s army was ruined and the end of the Confederacy was in sight.” But it would not end that day. Lincoln had picked the right man to organize his demoralized army, but the wrong man to take it into battle. Because of the hopelessly timid George McClellan, Antietam was the great missed opportunity to end the war.

In a way the sportsman in me likes that notion that the battle was a tie, so to speak. With such bravery and suffering, it seems a shame that one side should lose such a desperate fight. The South’s survival that day ultimately can be attributed to the exceptional skills of its high command: General Lee, and his two corps commanders, Jackson and Longstreet. Lee in fact, considered it his finest battle, believing his men had shown their best against the worst odds. From a military standpoint, Lee certainly never should have fought there. But for his opponent being George McClellan he probably would not have. Yet once the battle was joined, he moved his units back and forth over the field like a master chessman. But his efforts there and elsewhere would not be enough to stave off the inevitable that finally came to pass in April 1865. The South was never going to win the Civil War. That it did not end in September 1862 is a tragedy equal to the story of the the Battle of Antietam itself considering the casualty lists of the next two and a half years. But I like to think the legacy of generations of free men and women, whose chains began to dissolve that decisive summer day, gives the 23,000 dead and wounded sublime meaning after all.

Recent Posts by Brad Schaeffer



133 Comments so far ↓

  • valkayec

    I’m sorry, being a wife of a vet and the daughter of a WWII Air Force vet as well as a mother and grandmother, I can’t get thrilled over battlefield deaths. the Civil War was a great tragedy as many of my own ancestors, in their blue uniforms, would admit. That many now seek to turn back the clock to the Confederate Constitution brings me nothing but deep sorrow.

    • Smargalicious

      We in the South refer to the event as the War of Northern Aggression.

    • Balsack

      I am glad that you were first to comment here, Madam. With your sane thoughts.

      As far as I know, there have been plenty of writers trying to explain the utter futility of war, for at least a few years. So far, no one has described human aggression adequately enough for us to take measures to limit it.

      But as any fool on this blog knows, that damned pedantic fool Jared Diamond does not know too much more than our lovely dogs, over here, regarding human aggression. Even though we know that he has a new manuscript in the offing.

      Actually, every time I listen to Jared Diamond speak in his supercilious, faux Harvard tones, then I, as a downright basic primate, feel the hair on my back begin to bristle and my testicles begin to tighten and retract, in a very aggressive response.

      Jared Diamond gets far too much press. At a time when far better scientists are doing much more worthwhile work and not seeking out the limelight.

      Basically, I think, we should have put Jared somewhere in the Big Top. Just between the lions and the lion tamers.

      Although, I am sure my opinion must be much in the minority, still, these POP scientists rub me the very wrong way.

      So, if you wish to know what is the true reason for human aggression, the best answer we can so far postulate. Is that the behaviors of us primates are very dissimilar to the behaviors of the Guernsey Cow.

      If you wish a strife-free non-aggressive society, then you just need to be a Guernsey cow living among milking cows. But if you wish to live in America, among real NFL MEN, then you need to prepare yourself for the probability that, unless you castrate them, the balls of real men will ALWAYS cause them to be bent on fcking up their neighbors.

      And extrapolating, then we can expect great things in the future for Men with Big Balls who also have access to nuclear weapons.

      Just call me, the new Curtis LeMay. I love my bombs. I love my balls. And, I love my big bat.

  • SFTor1

    Soldiers who die in a monumental battle deserve their little piece of glory.

    They get nothing else.

    The rebels fought for their traditions—for what they knew—and that is understandable.

    The North fought for the imposition of civilized government in this country. We stand in eternal debt to them.

  • balconesfault

    Worth reflecting just how much devastation the South would have been spared had they lost that day.

  • bluestatepastor

    How pathetic, Smarg, to look at a vibrant city like DC and see only what you see. Sadness and filth spring from a mind that is filled with it.

    That aside, I’d urge anyone who has the opportunity to go visit Antietam. Personally, I found that the history of the place is much more easily understood when one stands there. To see that “The Bloody Lane” is nothing more than a narrow path in a dip in the rolling fields, and to reflect on the bodies once stacked there like so much cordwood, is a solemn thing indeed.

  • Marioth

    Smarg, your ilk are dying off and no one is replacing them. Your ways are not the future. Your time has indeed passed. Your words speak to a powerlessness that has made you exceedingly grumpy and mean.

    Hint: it’s not going to get any better for you. A childish mind says things like “war of northern aggression.” It all happened long before you were born. To claim it as yours is a choice, and a sick one. You don’t have anything else, so you go back in time 140 years to elevate traitors so you can feel better about how wretched you are to other people.

    Advice: move back to Europe. Your time here is over.

  • Steve D

    If the battle had ended there in 1862 we might very well have had renewed conflicts later because the South would have felt it wasn’t truly beaten, just the victim of bad luck. Just like Germany preferred to believe it really hadn’t been defeated in World War I. (Pershing wanted to fight until the German armies threw down their arms in the field, fearing just that outcome.)

    I served in Bosnia in 1996, and exactly a year later I drove the length of Tennessee. I never got a single unkind word or look for my Northern accent and license plate. Despite the Lost Causers, it is well nigh miraculous that the U.S. survived the Civil War. I doubt that Bosnia will heal as well in 150 years. Consider also our enlightened policies toward Germany and Japan after WWII, and our good relations now with Vietnam. It may be that wars end (relatively) cleanly when both sides fight to exhaustion and the losing side realizes their best just wasn’t enough.

    One place more than any other speaks to me of the Civil War. It’s the first rest stop on I-65 in Alabama just south of the Tennessee line. There’s a little stone bearing the slogan “We dare defend our rights,” a little Lost Cause defiance. But that’s not what you see approaching the rest stop. Huntsville is half an hour to the east, and towering over the rest area, figuratively and literally a hundred times bigger, is a Saturn I rocket. The stone tablet is the past; the Saturn I is the future, and that, I think, is how we came together. There were railroads to build, factories to open, inventions to make, and the future to create.

  • rbottoms

    The traitors got what they deserved.

    • sinz54

      History is always written by the winners.

      Had the South won, Lincoln would have been impeached and removed from office–and gone down in history disgraced as an unrealistic moron who presided over the breakup of his own country.

      “Treason is a charge invented by winners, as an excuse for hanging the losers.”
      — Benjamin Franklin, in the musical “1776″

      • Primrose

        So your point is slavery is good and succeeding from the union is something other states should emulate?

    • Traveler

      And many of your yahoo brethren are illiterate meth freaks. Poverty cuts both ways. But you do have a point. Many underclasses don’t make life easy for themselves, while some do, like the cambodians and vietnamese. But not your yahoos. Twinkies and Ho-Hos instead.

  • Southern Populist

    Smarg is one of the better trolls that I have seen. He usually manages to troll two or three people into answering his comments.

    The fact is, many historians and analysts outside the South reject the puerile interpretation of the Civil War as “treason in defense of slavery.”

    Lew Rockwell is from Boston, Massachusetts. Rockwell is an advocate of secession.

    The War of Northern Aggression is the more precise label because the true rebellion was in the North, and the North was the aggressor.

    Rather than just allow the South to peacefully go its own way and spare half a million lives, Lincoln chose the path of invasion and mass slaughter.

    It is unfortunate the US Civil War cannot be rationally discussed.

    - DSP

    • Watusie

      Rather than just allow the South to peacefully go its own way and spare half a million lives, Lincoln chose the path of mass slaughter.

      Why are you sorry that America was preserved in the hour of its greatest peril? Why do you pretend that there were no persons in the South who did not want to leave the Union? Under what circumstances could a US President be excused for standing by while an armed insurrection seized Federal Government property and declared it to now belong to them? Under what circumstances could a US President be excused for standing by while an armed insurrection FIRED ON OUR TROOPS?

      God what nonsense you just typed. I see you went back and added “It is unfortunate the US Civil War cannot be rationally discussed.” News flash – it has been rationally discussed, for over 100 years. And the conclusion is always this: 1) it was a stupid fucking idea on the part of the South; and 2) Lincoln was one of our greatest presidents, because he preserved the Union. Precisely the thing you lament.

      • Steve D

        1. Taking Federal property after secession was theft. No other way to dignify it. It was still the property of the Union. But leaving forts and arsenals in Federal hands would have left the South in an untenable position? Show me where in the Constitution it says the Federal Government has to make it easier to rebel.
        2. Did any Southern state attempt to pursue secession lawfully, that is by the courts or Congress?
        3. If secession was legal, why wasn’t a right to secede encoded in the Confederate Constitution?
        4. If the war wasn’t about slavery, then why do about half of the secession declarations specifically mention it? And why is it specifically safeguarded as “negro” slavery in the Confederate Constitution?

    • balconesfault

      It would easier to discuss in those terms had success by the south not have inevitably meant generations more of slavery for blacks in America.

      • Southern Populist

        There is no way to know whether the practice of slavery would have continued for generations or completely died out.

        But even if a Southern victory would have definitely meant more slavery, your characterization is still not accurate.

        At the start of the US Civil War / War of Northern Aggression, only 5% of Southerners “owned” slaves. A very small percentage of the slave “owners” in the South were Blacks who “owned” other Blacks.

        95% of Southern Whites did not own slaves. Most Southern Whites in fact greatly suffered because the institution of slavery made the South a complete economic backwater for the benefit of the wealthiest 5%.

        So a more precise statement IMO about a hypothetical Southern victory would look something like this:

        A Southern victory would have meant 5% of the White population could continue “owning” slaves while the other 95% would have continued to suffer under a backwards economic system for the benefit of the wealthiest 5%.

        - DSP

        • TerryF98

          “while the other 95% would have continued to suffer under a backwards economic system for the benefit of the wealthiest 5%.”

          Sounds exactly like the kind of society the GOP is trying to create. You could call them the Confederate party and be much more accurate.

        • Watusie

          95% of Southern Whites did not own slaves.

          A nonsense statistic trotted out by those who want to pretend that the cause was noble.

          I’m pretty sure that even fewer than 5% of modern Texas own an oilwell; however, I’m equally sure that they all feel in the bones that their prosperity is tied to that of the petrochemical industry.

          Do you think that a blacksmith or a farrier or wheelwright who owned no slaves but depended upon the big house as his biggest customer felt he derrived no benefit from slavery?

          Have a look at this. It is the states with the highest slave populations, cross referenced against the order of secession. The data is directly from the 1860 Census – it is not some modern creation:

          SC 57% 1
          MS 55% 2
          LA 47% 6
          AL 45% 4
          FL 44% 3
          GA 44% 5
          NC 33% 11
          VA 31% 8
          TX 30% 7
          AR 25% 9
          TN 25% 10
          KY 20% loyal
          MD 13% loyal
          MO 10% loyal
          DE 2% loyal

          Every state with a slave population of 25% or more seceded; no state with a slave population of less than 25% did.

          So, yeah – secession was about slavery. Both in terms of wanting to continue to exploit slave labor as well as being terrified of the sheer size of the slave population in their midst.

        • Steve D

          Gentle homespun Abe could have fists of steel when the situation called for it. He literally threatened to burn Baltimore to the ground in Maryland tried to secede. Secession attempts in Missouri were pretty forcibly put down also, and Kentucky was occupied quickly. The border states were generally ambivalent, rejecting both secession and military action. Delaware overwhelmingly rejected secession.

        • Watusie

          Maryland never “tried to secede”. A secessionist convention was held but it collapsed without a declaration; when the state legislature took up the question, they voted 53-13 against secession.

          Kentucky declared itself neutral. (And notice its “bubble” position in my list.) The South violated its neutrality and invaded. Union troops under Grant then went in after them. The Kentucky legislature approved a demand that the CSA troops leave – and made no such demand for the Union troops. And then they voted to hoist the Union flag over the state capitol, effectively declaring their allegiance to the Union.

        • Primrose

          But the entire economy of the South revolved around slavery. They had no choice but to buckle down to the local bosses.

          And plenty of people did not vote to succeed or support slavery. My own home state of Tennesseeis called the volunteer state because it sent the most volunteers, to both sides.

          But frankly, it doesn’t matter if as many Southerners supported the South as Germans did Hitler, it was still wrong and still an offense to liberty, justice, and freedom. If the South had gone “peacefully” , there would not have been peace because slavery still existed and it was a violent institution, which inflicted violence on a great many people.

    • Steve D

      I’ve noticed an interesting tendency for many people to use “troll” as a synonym for “someone who challenges my basic assumptions.”

      A real troll would post some incendiary nonsense about how Han shot first in an attempt to get the discussion revolving around him. Questioning the legitimacy of the Civil War on a thread about the Civil War isn’t trolling.

      I thought challenging assumptions was supposed to be a good thing.

      • rbottoms

        True dat.

      • SpartacusIsNotDead

        It’s not assumptions that are being challenged. It’s the facts.

      • Southern Populist

        I take the purpose of the comments section to be reasoned debate and exchange, with the inevitable trash-talk and snark thrown in occasionally.

        Is it not obvious I am willing to to have my assumptions challenged? I read and post here.

        I will tolerate pitched disagreement and a bit of snark in my disagreements with the other posters on FF, but I don’t respond to posts I feel are baiting.

        Smarg is without a doubt a troll.

        He makes hateful, inflammatory statements that derail the discussion by creating a madhouse atmosphere in the comments and dragging the discussion into barking insanity.

        I don’t know why anyone responds to him.

        Ignore the trolls. It’s advice as old as the Internet.

        - DSP

    • Smargalicious

      FrumForum.com encourages robust and lively, but civil participation from our readers. By posting here, you agree to the FrumForum.com terms of service. You agree to keep your comments on topic, respectful and free of gratuitous profanity. While we do not censor comments based on political or ideological point of view, comments that are abusive, engage in personal attacks, contain racist, sexist, homophobic or other slurs, express hatred, are off-topic, use excessive foul language, or include any other type of ad hominem attacks (including comments that celebrate the death or illness of any person, public figure or otherwise) will be subject to removal. FrumForum.com does not moderate contributions before they are posted (other than using a filter that scans for comment spam), nor do we review every comment thread, so we ask that you help us in keeping the discussions civil and appropriate. Please email editor@FrumForum.com to notify us of comments that may violate these guidelines. Thanks for your help and cooperation.

      • Balsack

        If there is just one thing about which we might all agree, then it must be that lousy WHITE Lab at FrumForum is just one Heck of a beautiful doggie.

        I just love looking at that damned dog!
        She is a very fine loving canine if I have ever seen one.
        And I have seen plenty of great dogs (canines).

        What is her name?

        Even Democrats love dogs.
        Recall Robert Byrd?

  • SpartacusIsNotDead

    It’s ironic how all these ignorant, ass backward conservatives believe the U.S. had a right to invade a country thousands of miles away that is entirely inconsequential to U.S. interests in order to liberate Muslims from a dictator’s oppression, but had no right to “invade” the southern United States in order to liberate millions of Americans.

    It’s all just more evidence that in order to be a modern day “conservative” you must be either evil, indifferent or ignorant.

  • Southern Populist

    A quick clarification before I bail out for the day:

    Southern Populist aka DSP said this at Sep 17, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    95% of Southern Whites did not own slaves. Most Southern Whites in fact greatly suffered because the institution of slavery made the South a complete economic backwater for the benefit of the wealthiest 5%.

    To clarify, here are two sources to back up my claim: a Democrat Senator and a Black historian.

    In the pages of the Wall Street Journal, the Democrat Senator Jim Webb made the following observation, quoting the Black historian John Hope Franklin:

    The old South was a three-tiered society, with blacks and hard-put whites both dominated by white elites who manipulated racial tensions in order to retain power. At the height of slavery, in 1860, less than 5% of whites in the South owned slaves. The eminent black historian John Hope Franklin wrote that “fully three-fourths of the white people in the South had neither slaves nor an immediate economic interest in the maintenance of slavery.”

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703724104575379630952309408.html

    - DSP

    • rbottoms

      I don’t care. The traitorous bastards who seceded did so to protect a way of life propped up by owning human beings like animals.

      Fuck them, their way of life, and their lost case romanticism.

      Not enough of them died in the Civil War, Sherman didn’t burn enough of the South. As a black man I have no more compassion for them than Jews have for poor German soldiers.

      • Southern Populist

        rbottoms,

        I will make quick exception for you, then I really do have to go.

        Not enough of them died in the Civil War, Sherman didn’t burn enough of the South. As a black man I have no more compassion for them than Jews have for poor German soldiers.

        The blood of my destitute ancestors is all over Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. They were illiterates who lived in wretched poverty and certainly had no say over what Southern White elites did or did not do.

        Why is that so hard understand?

        Do you hold yourself responsible when an American predator drone blows a few innocent men, women and children to pieces on the other side of the world?

        Am I correct in assuming the answer is no? Because you have no more say over what the US government does or does not do than I do, right?

        My grandmother’s grandfather was captured at Gettysburg and subjected to inhumane treatment by Grant’s soldiers. He was an illiterate peasant struggling to survive until swept up into the Civil War.

        Now, I understand that Black people have suffered. But White people have suffered as well.

        The error in your reasoning is conflating the heinous actions of White elites with White Southerners generally.

        Now, regarding Jews and Germans, I seriously doubt the average Jew has much as anger toward present-day Germans as you do toward present-day White Southerners.

        When I look back at WW2 era Germany, I make a distinction between Germans and Nazis.

        I have no sympathy for the high ranking Nazis or their apologists but plenty of sympathy for ordinary Germans.

        The people who deserve no sympathy are the ones responsible for the crimes. In general this would be the tiny number of White elites who have a say in what happens not the masses of ordinary White people. This is true both today and in the past.

        - DSP

        • Watusie

          I think the difference is we don’t get license plates and bumper stickers and tattoos and biker jackets celebrating the errant drone strike.

        • rbottoms

          [blockquote]
          Now, regarding Jews and Germans, I seriously doubt the average Jew has much as anger toward present-day Germans as you do toward present-day White Southerners.
          [/blockquote]

          You mean Israel which will haul an 80+ year old crippled blind man before a court if it’s found he’s an escaped Nazi criminal. It’s not anger they have, it’s justice. As for present day southerners, let them have their backwards, ignorant, Walmart wage existence and gag inducing pig farms because I really like bacon.

          [blockquote]
          When I look back at WW2 era Germany, I make a distinction between Germans and Nazis.
          [/blockquote]

          I don’t.

          [blockquote]
          The people who deserve no sympathy are the ones responsible for the crimes.
          [/blockquote]

          And those who put them in power to commit the crimes.

          And frankly, Germany has gone to great lengths to atone and to remove any romanticism from their Nazi past. I can’t say the same for the Confederate flag waving NASCAR crowd.

          As a person I’m sure you’re a great guy, but the geographical location where you live is the asshole of the nation. And by its own doing. Sympathy meter, zero.

        • Primrose

          You would be wrong. My grandmother so blamed the Germans, she wouldn’t buy anything German her very, very long life.

          I think most people would accept your statement of the suffering of whites, if you didn’t use them to defend the succession. Also, the suffering of poor whites was as much caused by the sharecropper system, perpetuated by Southern Elites who ended Reconstruction before it had much of a chance to change the plantation system.

          Had Reconstruction actually happened and the plantation system actually been broken, poor whites would most likely have been better off than before.

          But instead the old planation society transfers blame to the north, instead of their own retention of power, place and wealth.

    • Watusie

      Since you have repeated this statistic, I’m going to repeat my response – so what?

      95% of modern Texas don’t own an oilwell; they still have a keen interest in the petrochemical industry.

      Have a look, if you dare, at the data I posted above in response to your first use of this meaningless data point – there is an undeniable link between secession and the number of slaves in the state.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    The bloodiest battle might have been antietam, but the bloodiest hour was the final assault at Cold harbor. Grant in his memoirs said later that he always regretted “that last assault at Cold Harbor.” which saw 7,000 soldiers fall for absolutely no gain.

    An aide also witnessed Grant weeping as a result of the failed assault became clear. In a month’s time Grant had amassed well over 50,000 casualties, earning the nickname “the Butcher” by his critics in the North.

    Hard as it is to believe the next day after those terrible losses Grant went on the attack again, and the US soldiers loved him for it. They knew he was either going to break Lee or be broken themselves but would see the end of it regardless.

    • rbottoms

      A lot of men died on Omaha Beach that didn’t have to, hell hundreds died without ever getting to the beach, but the liberation of the enslaved population inside Europe had to be accomplished no matter what. Smashing the evil war machine of the South was one of the greatest achievements in our nation’s history.

      • baw1064

        Since you mention the first wave of soldiers to hit Omaha beach, it’s worth pointing out that the units with the highest casualties were from Virginia.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    The bloodiest battle might have been antietam, but the bloodiest hour was the final assault at Cold harbor. Grant in his memoirs said later that he always regretted “that last assault at Cold Harbor.” which saw 7,000 soldiers fall for absolutely no gain.

    An aide also witnessed Grant weeping as a result of the failed assault became clear. In a month’s time Grant had amassed well over 50,000 casualties, earning the nickname “the Butcher” by his critics in the North.

    Hard as it is to believe the next day after those terrible losses Grant went on the attack again, and the US soldiers loved him for it. They knew he was either going to break Lee or be broken themselves but would see the end of it regardless.

    Interesting also how we are commemorating the 149th anniversery. Getting ready for the big 150 early.

    I also find it wonderful that on the 150th anniversery of the Emancipation Proclamation, we will have a Black President in office (either finishing his term or getting ready for a second)

  • rbottoms

    I my version of Gone With the Wind, Rhett and Scarlett are smothered in their sleep, Tara is burned to the ground and the slaves take off for Canada.

    Isn’t that the plot of Tarantino’s next movie? Seeing that Inglorious Bastards did so well with their revenge fantasy.

    And yes, the Confederacy is that evil to us as is that hateful flag.

  • Michigan Outsider

    You make two points that are worth debating. One is:

    “Lincoln had picked the right man to organize his demoralized army, but the wrong man to take it into battle. Because of the hopelessly timid George McClellan, Antietam was the great missed opportunity to end the war.”

    It was also a really good opportunity to lose the war, and Gen. McClellan did not lose the war that day. As far as being timid, he had viciously attacked the rebels that day and lost a lot of men that day. Had he attacked a fourth time and been repulsed badly, which happened quite frequently in the Civil War, there would have been little standing between the rebels and Washington DC. Really easy to criticize decisions based upon the limited information that generals had after the fact when we have much more.

    The other is: “The South was never going to win the Civil War.”

    The rebels did not have to win; they just had to not lose. Lee came really close to routing the Army of the Potomac during the 40 days. Had he done so, then maybe Gen. McClellan wins the 1864 election and the stalemate that followed the 40 days would have become a Southern victory. A few bad mistakes by Gen. Sherman, and his army never takes Atlanta or it never reaches the sea. If so, then maybe McClellan wins the election.

  • Rob_654

    As an American I only celebrate, honor and pay respect to the soldiers who fought for the United States of America in the Civil War – the Confederates were the enemies of the United States and were nothing but a bunch of traitors who deserved the whupping they received and the north should have torched more of their cities on the march.

  • JimBob

    Brad Schaeffer is truly clueless.

    First how can anyone write about the bloodiest day in our history and not bring up Miller’s Cornfield where John Bell Hood’s Texas Brigade turned the tide of battle after it looked like Union Troops would overrun Lee’s army.

    Second. It’s not rouge historians telling the truth about the war. Charles Adams a prominent tax historian wrote one of the best book ever on this subject.

    “When in the Course of Human Events”

    http://mises.org/misesreview_detail.aspx?control=163

    Finally Lincoln was so desperate to keep the southern states from seceding he backed the Corwin Amendment which would have enshrined slavery into the constitution.

    • Watusie

      JimBob, I’ve demolished your Corwin Amendment bullcrap before, and I’m happy to do it again.

      The Corwin Amendment would not have “enshrined slavery into the constitution”. It is wholly ambiguous, has the biggest loophole you can imagine – it is not possible to make a an amendment which future generations cannot change. It probably did nothing at all to change the Consitution as it existed at the time. And did nothing to address the pivotal issues of slavery in the territories (which the slave states thought necessary for the survival of their concept of people as property) or the North’s refusal to return slaves who had escaped to freedom. And if that was not enough, it is simply impossible to conceive of a scenario wherein the 26 states needed would have ratified it.

      The Corwin Amendment was totally meaningless. If you bring it up again, I’ll happily demolish it again.

      As for Charles Adams, don’t make me laugh. His central thesis was that although the secessionists said, in their own words, that this was all about slavery, it was REALLY all about a tariff. Well, no. It was about slavery. Every state which had a slave population of 25% or more (1860 census) seceded. No state that had a slave population of less than 25% did. Story. End. Of.

      And, BTW: Adams is neither a scholar nor a “prominent tax historian”. He is a lawyer. And like any good ambulance chaser, he only acknowledges the existence of things that he thinks strengthens his case. He does not acknowledge – because he does not want the reader to know about – facts that don’t fit neatly with his thesis. Which forces him to ignore the direct statements of the Southern leaders who wrote the secession documents, stating that their reason for secession was slavery. If he submitted this steaming pile as a masters or Ph.D thesis, he be failed at any history department in any university in the world – yes, even in the South.

      • jakester

        Don’t you know, the South was fighting to preserve their regional cuisine from rapacious Yankee restauranteers!

      • JimBob

        And you’re still dumber than a load of bricks.

        The Corwin Amendment

        ‘‘No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.’’

        No amendment shall be made to the Constitution. That enshrines slavery into the constitution. With Lincoln’s support is passed both Houses of Congress and was ready to be sent to the states.

        • Watusie

          1). It is not possible to make a an amendment which future generations cannot change.
          2). It did nothing to address the pivotal issues of slavery in the territories, which the slave states thought necessary for the survival of their concept of people as property.
          3). It did nothing to address the North’s refusal to return slaves who had escaped to freedom.
          4). There was no possible way for it to receive ratification from the 26 states needed.

          The Corwin Amendment was meaningless. It would not have “enshrined slavery into the constitution”.

          You bring it up just because…well, I have no idea, really, how your mind works.

        • JimBob

          “1). It is not possible to make a an amendment which future generations cannot change.”

          Well that’s exactly what it did. “‘No amendment shall be made to the Constitution”

        • Watusie

          I think we’ve uncovered the nub of your problem – you don’t understand that simply saying impossible things does not makes them real.

  • jakester

    Too bad all the northern generals didn’t die in that battle. They were the most incompetent, dilatory lot.

  • Southern Populist

    I have no disposition to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races. There is a physical difference between the two, which in my judgment will probably forever forbid their living together on terms of respect, social and political equality, and inasmuch as it becomes a necessity that there should be a superiority somewhere, I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position – Abraham Lincoln, 1858

    “I will say then, that I am not nor have ever been in favor of bringing about in any way, the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not, nor have I ever been in favor of making voters of the negroes, or jurors, or qualifying them to hold office, or having them to marry with white people…there must be the position of superior and inferior, that I as much as any other man am in favor of the superior position being assigned to the white man. – Abraham Lincoln, 1858

    - DSP

    • Dazedandconfused

      DSP,

      Been getting into this war between the states stuff for a couple of years now. Been living waay out west all my life, and we don’t pay much attention to all that growing up like easterners do, generally speaking. I’ll bounce some thoughts here, correct as needed.

      True. The attitudes towards blacks was not much different in the North than it was in the South. Somebody said that Lincoln “chose” the slaughter of millions. That I suspect is quite incorrect. Both sides thought it would be over quickly, or it never would have happened. If the South knew what they were getting themselves into, the Fire Eaters couldn’t have gotten any more than the cotton states to secede, and Lincoln would have sworn not to end slavery rather than face that slaughter.

      In my mind, there is no doubt that slavery would have ended with the advent of modern farm machinery. The institution didn’t fit real well with the industrial age to come, and tends to only exist where there is a shortage of labor, not when there is a surplus. I noticed that the railroad the South put in, mentioned in the “Cornerstone” speech by Stevens, was done with Irish labor. Slaves were to valuable an equity to risk in the swamps. A wage worker falls, and you hire another. A slave falls and you owe his owner thousands.

      It suspect we might not have the Southern version of racist bitches like Smarg and the KKK in the south, had it ended naturally. I’m think we would have had about the same brand of Northern racism. They hadn’t lived alongside them, and theirs is a different flavor, as Malcolm and others have pointed out.

    • rbottoms

      A white politician saying one thing to one audience and the opposite elsewhere to get elected, what a surprise.

      Next you’ll be telling me Conservatives don’t really see Martin Luther King as a hero.

      Shocked, shocked I tell you.

      BTW, who was it that signed the Emancipation Proclimation?

      • JimBob

        Well we know Jackie Kennedy thought MLK was reprehensible.

        • Watusie

          And therefore the South was justified in seceding.

          Really, you and DSP are pathetic., thinking that if you can just cast some librul icons in the worst possible light, then you will have made the case for treason in support of slavery.

        • JimBob

          Bottom line, the south’s economy depended on trade with England. Englands economy was developed around cotton at the time. The South was like the Middle East today with its oil. King Cotton.

          The southern ports collected tariff duties which accounted for 75 percent of the revenue the Federal Government collected.

          The North was desperate to keep the south in the union. Congress passed the Morrill tariff which would have a very negative effect on the south economy. South Carolina seceded in late 1860. The remaining six deep south cotton states followed in early 1861.

          With Lincoln’s blessing both Houses of Congress passed the Corwin Amendment which would have enshrined slavery into the Constitution. This was a last ditch effort to keep the mid and upper southern states from seceding.

          “No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State

          As mechanization took over agriculture southern states themselves would have done away with slavery.

          All the great powers ended slavery peacefully. We could have too but the money grubbing Yankees made it impossible.

        • Watusie

          More erroneous hand-waving nonsense.

          First: “The southern ports collected tariff duties which accounted for 75 percent of the revenue the Federal Government collected.”

          What is your source for this claim? I see it bandied about all the time by neo-confederates, but I’ve never once seen anyone provide a reference. Is it, by chance, another one of Charles Adams’ fictions??

          Second: “The North was desperate to keep the south in the union.”

          Yes. But not, as you imply, because they thought that Southern tariff income was their lifeblood. The Northern states were on fire to eliminate the abomination of slavery, and the were FAR MORE PROSPEROUS than the slave states. Moreover, the Federal government was a minuscule component of the economy – less than 5%. There was no doubt that more money would have to be spent fighting the war than the slave states contributed to the federal coffers.

          Third: “Congress passed the Morrill tariff which would have a very negative effect on the south economy. South Carolina seceded in late 1860. The remaining six deep south cotton states followed in early 1861.”

          Sorry, but this is just idiotic. The first seven slave states seceded from the Union BEFORE the bill came to a vote in Congress. Had their representatives been there to vote on it, it never would have passed. Claiming its primacy over slavery as a cause of the war is simply nuts. If the Morrill tariff was of such deadly importance to the slave states, why didn’t they stay in the Union and thereby ensure its defeat in Congress?

          Or to put it differently: how can you with a straight face argue that a federal law passed after secession and made possible, vote-wise, only because of secession was in fact the cause of secession?

          Fourth: “With Lincoln’s blessing both Houses of Congress passed the Corwin Amendment which would have enshrined slavery into the Constitution. This was a last ditch effort to keep the mid and upper southern states from seceding.”

          The Corwin Amendment was signed by James Buchanan and had nothing at all to do with Lincoln.

          And, as I’ve already shown you twice on this thread, the Corwin Amendment was utterly meaningless. It is not possible to make a an amendment which future generations cannot change. It did nothing to address the pivotal issues of slavery in the territories, which the slave states thought necessary for the survival of their concept of people as property. It did nothing to address the North’s refusal to return slaves who had escaped to freedom. There was no possible way for it to receive ratification from the 26 states needed.

          Fifth: “As mechanization took over agriculture southern states themselves would have done away with slavery. All the great powers ended slavery peacefully. We could have too but the money grubbing Yankees made it impossible.”

          Please contemplate the following, which spells out the slave population (as a % of the total population) for the states which rebelled:
          South Carolina 57%
          Mississippi 55%
          Louisiana 47%
          Alabama 45%
          Florida 44%
          Georgia 44%
          North Carolina 33%
          Virginia 31%
          Texas 30%
          Arkansas 25%
          Tennessee 25%

          Name me a “great power that ended slavery peacefully” that had a slave population of 25 to 57%.

          Also, are you so unaware as to not know that (a) it was mechanization – specifically, the cotton gin – that made slavery profitable in the first place; and (b) cotton was still being picked by hand in the South up until the 1950′s, because it is fiendishly difficult to do by machine without damaging the fibers.

      • Primrose

        I agree. People are complicated, and times are complicated. Jefferson was a slave owner his entire life, and did not free his slaves upon his death. However, if Jefferson had his way slavery would have ended with the british rule.

    • Watusie

      OMG – you mean Lincoln wasn’t a SAINT? And he held some views that were abhorrent to modern people. Well then, I’m sending away for my stars-n-bars license plate today!

      This has got me thinking. You’ve proven, by finding two quotes from Lincoln demonstrating that he thoughts blacks were inferior, that he was wrong to uphold the Constitution and quash the illegal and treasonous southern rebellion.

      But George Washington…well, he actually OWNED slaves.

      And so therefore it follows that the entire Revolutionary War is discredited, too. Or, I suppose “War of American Colonial Ingratitude” is how you will want to style it from now on.

      Furthermore, Roosevelt and Eisenhower both had a lot of very horrible things to say about the French. Therefore, I’m sure you will agree with me that it is “unfortunate” that they “chose the path of invasion and mass slaughter” at Normandy rather than “just allow Europe to peacefully go its own way” in World War II.

      Or, “The War of British Aggression”, as it shall henceforth be known.

      • rbottoms

        These people are the trash of America, fortunately they already live in the most fucked up, polluted, educationally backward part of it. And oddly they fight hard to keep it that way, but then dumb asses do seem to be happier in places with foul air and low wages.

      • SpartacusIsNotDead

        Watusie, I really admire the patience of people like you, Armstp and Ottovbvs for taking the time to thoroughly decimate the mindless dribble that comes from the mouths of these idiots.

        • Watusie

          Thank you, Sparty. I think it is important to demonstrate how quickly these talk radio logic bubbles burst upon contact with the real world.

    • jakester

      It’s called politics and/or diplomacy. Lincoln was trying to appease the South and avoid war, so he said a bunch of insincere crap to mollify them.

    • Primrose

      Lincoln may or may not have had mixed feelings but the political conflict was between the plantation class which wanted not only to preserve their privilege but their power, and an increasingly abolitionist North.

      Let us also remember that it was not enough for the planter class to maintain their privileges, they had to force other states to engage in slavery in order to maintain their control over American society. Even states that were deemed non-slave were required to approve of slavery enough to send escaped slaves back (Dred Scott). So even if Jefferson Davis hadn’t repeatedly said it was about slavery, it was clearly about the issue of slavery.

      And if Lincoln’s words are enough to prove the reason for war, we can point to his comment to Harriet Beecher Stowe, “So you’re the little lady whose book started this war.”

      It think it is also instructive to look at the increase, by size and frequency of slave rebellions around this time. There has always been slave rebellions about every 10-15 years, plus marronage where the environment permitted it, and of course the underground railroad type flight.

      But in the years prior to the civil war, it increased in size, number and abolitionist support. They could see that the tide was clearly turning against them for support for slavery. Whether every abolitionist believed in the equality of the races or not, they did not believe in slavery, and certainly did not want it expanded.

  • Marioth

    An enlightened view of this argument is the likes of smarg are dwindling in numbers, and there is no one to replace them. Though the media likes to make his ilk the pornographic center of our attention, smarg’s ilk never had the actual numbers to matter nationally, and never will. What we witness is the last gasp of an animal cornered in the horrid logic it created for itself.

    Its anger is not for us. It is for him.

    Bye bye, smarg. Whatever else you say no longer matters, though I would still do everything within the constraints of my own rights to ensure your freedom to say it.

  • Primrose

    As to the issue, Southern Populist raises, yes poor whites suffered under slavery, during the civil war and after it. However, African-Americans suffered that exact way, plus lived in a state of abject terror and tyranny. Terror and tyranny that could be inflicted by poor whites as well as planters.

    So even if permitting slavery to continue might have aided poor whites (which I would argue it would not), the majority of southerners, i.e. African-Americans would still be suffering considerably more. Thus it was justified. Otherwise you are saying that white pain matters more than black pain.

    Furthermore, poor whites had the ability to leave the south and its oppressive economic structure, even during slavery. They had the ability to homestead in the western territories. They had the ability to not be willing pawns in racial terrorism—and they were and often remain so. Our pet trolls illuminate this fact all too often.

    It was not the planter class that inflicted the mob violence, however much they may have orchestrated it. And poor whites did not as a group object to segregation. They took their white privilege and held it tightly, that it was a poison pill does not make them precisely innocent victims. It is more akin to the low-level drug runner shot for no reason in a drug-deal gone wrong. They never reaped the huge profits, but they were intentional participants of the organization.

  • NRA Liberal

    Almost 150 years under the bridge and the butthurt, it still burns.

  • rbottoms

    White Americans need to understand how much they owe to African-American willingness to put the past in the past. We’re not Bosnia, Northern Ireland or Chechneya only because we chose to let it go. We forgave but we do not forget.

    • Balsack

      And, Sir. Where the fck did that get you?????????????

      Pls check out the most recent census

      Black Americans were sold down the river. BUT, it does not need to be this way. Black Americans have an uncle Tom in the white house, these days. Now is their best chance to really get out and DANCE.

      Yes. Dance, you muthers, DANCE! This is your best opportunity to get out and fcking DANCE!

      Or are you guys just too high on meth?

      This point is, that this is probably our best chance to demonstrate for real change. But you Black American Africans just are sitting around on your hands. And many are dealing drugs. Which is exactly what “the Man” had always hoped for.

      Now get out of your fcking rocking chairs, and go out and demonstrate!!!!

      There is not one lousy white man worth his salt who would not join you.

      Because beneath all that god damned melanin, we are totally all the same.
      Some people say they can accept a different color.
      But I actually love different colors having lived in places with different colors and different cultures.
      Where I have been just one among millions who are different from me.

      You will never change your world unless you get out of your fcking rocker, baby!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFq5O2kabQo

      But, even better!
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqHQqb5ot74&ob=av2n
      So very fckn FINE!

      • Primrose

        Lordy, Lordy Balsack, you really think you have a right to lecture rbottoms, or any African-American on how to deal with their past hurts? What patronizing bullshit. Also, really if you don’t know that Meth is a white, rural problem then don’t pretend to be more in the know than you are.

        And to suggest that others would follow a large African-America demonstration, no problem, means you really have been imbibing too much.

        And finally, Uncle Tom was not actual a pitiful Sambo of a man, colluding with his masters. He was supposed to be a strong man in his prime who sacrificed so others could be free. It was the racist media of the early to mid 20th century who brought the other image.

    • Marioth

      Yours is probably the best comment in this thread yet.

      It is precisely because of soldiers such as MLK that this has not happened here, the perception that the Dream is still out there waiting for us. Previously unthinkable achievements have been made, and much work remains, as is evidenced by the commentary here.

      My conservative friends err terribly when they see phrases such as The One in reference to the President, assigning — projecting, rather — a Messiah complex upon him one moment so they can rip it down the next.

      “The One” is not Messiah. The question, is he — or anyone in politics — the one to step forward and make the dream’s fulfillment his purpose, a civic dream, one for all of us to share.

      Even smarg, who’s vote counts exactly as much as any other citizen’s, and we can tell from his commentary, and others’, it drives them completely off their beans up the tree coo-coo bananas. Deaf and grumpy is no way to run a country.

      My conservative friends will never be trusted with governance until their policies unite the country.

    • Primrose

      Well I do, rbottoms. We are immensely lucky that a) African culture is so focused on community equilibrium and b) that that part of the African culture was retained. Immensely lucky.

      I think part of the fear and wild accusations on the part of certain whites, comes from the fact, they don’t believe they’ve lucked out. They know what they would do in the same situation and forgiveness is not part of it.

  • Balsack

    TKS! Smart,

    I had been dimly aware of the back doll/white doll experiments. But these can not compare to the complete inversion of the visual field for weeks on end. I suggest, if you have the time, that you might try on a pair of glasses which can invert your field of vision. Just pls do not go out driving in your Bugatti Veyron until you fully adjust. Otherwise, you may find yourself more famous today than Isadora Duncan. I.e., FrumForum Commenter inverts his vision and also inverts his Veyron.

    Those scalawags, though… You can still find just too many of them down there in Florida. And this explains what happened to Florida during the Bush election. The Brits would never have allowed all this to happen if we had not kicked them out. In the future, might we all be more careful in our insurrections?

  • Southern Populist

    @Primrose

    Yes, exactly, that was the point of the Lincoln quotes at 1:21. It was to make the point that people and history are complicated.

    - DSP

  • Southern Populist

    Abraham Lincoln was not the man the witless comic-book history of the US Civil War being bandied about here makes him out to be.

    The two quotes I previously posted at 1:21 am show Abraham Lincoln’s true attitude toward Black people as of 1858.

    Those words at 1:21 am come straight from the horse’s mouth.

    In public statements made in Illinois, a Northern state, Abraham Lincoln made offensive statements about Black people in exactly the same manner as his Southern contemporaries.

    Lest anyone conclude I cherry-picked those quotes, I have decided to give some more information on Lincoln’s racial views.

    This time the evidence comes from a Black scholar rather than Lincoln himself.

    Please see the summary of his work, below.

    - DSP

    • Southern Populist

      Beginning with the argument that the Emancipation Proclamation did not actually free African American slaves, [Lerone Bennett, Jr.]‘s dissenting view of Lincoln’s greatness surveys the president’s policies, speeches, and private utterances and concludes that he had little real interest in abolition. Pointing to Lincoln’s support for the fugitive slave laws, his friendship with slave-owning senator Henry Clay, and conversations in which he entertained the idea of deporting slaves in order to create an all-white nation, the book, concludes that the president was a racist at heart—and that the tragedies of Reconstruction and the Jim Crow era were the legacy of his shallow moral vision.

      More info here:

      http://www.amazon.com/Forced-into-Glory-Abraham-Lincolns/dp/0874850851/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1316367271&sr=8-1

      By Lerone Bennett, Jr. (born 17 October 1928).

      He is an African-American scholar, author and social historian, known for his revisionist analysis of race relations in the United States. His works include “When the Wind Blows” and “History of Us”

      More info here:

      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lerone_Bennett,_Jr.

      - DSP

      • balconesfault

        You do realize that there is a difference between not considering slavery an issue worth severing the nation into two over (Lincoln’s position) … and considering slavery an issue worth severing the nation into two over (the position of the Confederacy).

        Perhaps you may argue that Lincoln took an amoral stance on the position of slavery for political reasons – but the leaders of the Confederacy were clearly immoral.

        • jakester

          Ironically there is common ground between the extreme left wing black and the extreme right wing white Southerners since they both want to denigrate and delegitimize the US Government and nation by attacking one of our great presidential heroes. But they do it for different reasons. At least the US itself cleaned up slavery, albeit the hard way. Since it was a colonial legacy of our European forefathers.

        • Southern Populist

          I agree. I described White Southern elites has heinous in an earlier post.

          - DSP

      • Primrose

        No, Lincoln wasn’t the cartoon hero—nobody was. American history isn’t the cartoon morality presented in high school, so if you want to present it as complex, sure, but present it all that way. Don’t pick and choose. More importantly, you can’t say Lincoln was complicated and then sum up the thoughts of this remarkably complex man in two quotes.

        But either way, it doesn’t change the fact the Southern struggle for supremacy was about slavery and the power of the Southern plantation owners. As I have said before, if you really care about the suffering of poor whites, and want justice, don’t fall for the Plantation class’s attempt to foist responsibility away from themselves.

  • rbottoms

    He is an African-American scholar, author and social historian, known for his revisionist analysis of race relations in the United States.

    Yes we have a word for that: Asshole.

    • Southern Populist

      In all seriousness, why? Because you don’t agree with his conclusions? He studied Lincoln’s actual words. Lincoln’s words, from his own mouth and pen, are the basis of his conclusions.

      The man was an editor at Ebony during the 50s/60s at the height of segregated America. What possible motive would he have for undercutting Lincoln?

      Just as White historians buried the truth about Jefferson and Sally Hemings for a long time, White historians have buried some interesting facts about Lincoln that make many people uncomfortable.

      - DSP

      • rbottoms

        What is it with Conservatives that you can’t accept that we despise the GOP and will continue to do so no matter what “facts” you come up with. The GOP is a Southern cracker racist dominated neo-Confederate organization. That fact won’t change even if you find photos of Lincoln executing slaves with a pistol.

        • jakester

          Duh, Lincoln was the original GOP icon & their founding father. Even most cons admire Lincoln. Likewise, DSP, Lincoln might had shared the racist mentality of the times, or at least pretended he did for political expediency, but he was still committed to ending slavery and was more of a friend to the blacks than any POS Seccesh Rebel “demigod” icon like that insubordinate traitor Lee or scummy J. Davis. The South seceded because the president of the abolitionist party won the election, end debate. The tariffs were always a fig leaf.

        • Primrose

          I think rbottoms point was that disapproving secession is not tied to who Lincoln was . Even approval of Lincoln is tied to the result of his acts, not his inner thoughts. I rather assume that African-Americans would rather Mr. Lincoln punctuate every sentence with the word Nigger and still have freed the slaves, than he had a perfect open mind and let slavery continue.

          Since the current Republican party has decided to cater to the new Plantation class, and freely uses the threat of the black boogeyman to win votes, often called the “Southern Strategy” that African-Americans, in general, won’t embrace such a party. To do so is to return to time when racial terrorism defined African-American lives.

          Revisionist history, even if true, won’t revise their attitude towards these tactics.

  • rubbernecker

    Lincoln:

    “I can not but hate [the declared indifference for slavery's spread]. I hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it because it deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world — enables the enemies of free institutions, with plausibility, to taunt us as hypocrites — causes the real friends of freedom to doubt our sincerity, and especially because it forces so many really good men amongst ourselves into an open war with the very fundamental principles of civil liberty — criticising [sic] the Declaration of Independence, and insisting that there is no right principle of action but self-interest.”

    We could play this game all day.

  • jakester

    The Scalawags and the Carpetbaggers were part of the punishment the South deserved for trying to preserve slavery & rebelling. Look what happened to areas that tried to secede by force from say the Roman Empire, the south got off easy to say the least. If you asked me, the Reconstructionists should have exiled the whole ruling class at very least.

  • Watusie

    DSP, could you please spare us all your po-faced instance that all you are interested in is informing us poor benighted libruls about our misapprehensions about Lincoln?

    In your original comment you endorsed renaming the Civil War as “The War of Northern Aggression” and lamented that “Rather than just allow the South to peacefully go its own way and spare half a million lives, Lincoln chose the path of invasion and mass slaughter.”

    That tells us all we need to know about the quantity of good faith you are bringing to this discussion.

    Your “startling revelations” about Lincoln don’t “make many people uncomfortable”. Because it is already known that everyone in the 19th century had attitudes about race that are antediluvian by our modern standards.

    There is not enough character assassination in the world you can do on Lincoln to change the simple fact that he preserved the Union, and that you bizarrely consider that to be a bad thing.

    • SpartacusIsNotDead

      I’m still awaiting for DSP to stop pretending he hasn’t noticed your last direct post to him.

  • SpartacusIsNotDead

    From Watusie to DSP on 9/18 at 9:14 a.m.:

    OMG – you mean Lincoln wasn’t a SAINT? And he held some views that were abhorrent to modern people. Well then, I’m sending away for my stars-n-bars license plate today!

    This has got me thinking. You’ve proven, by finding two quotes from Lincoln demonstrating that he thoughts blacks were inferior, that he was wrong to uphold the Constitution and quash the illegal and treasonous southern rebellion.

    But George Washington…well, he actually OWNED slaves.

    And so therefore it follows that the entire Revolutionary War is discredited, too. Or, I suppose “War of American Colonial Ingratitude” is how you will want to style it from now on.

    Furthermore, Roosevelt and Eisenhower both had a lot of very horrible things to say about the French. Therefore, I’m sure you will agree with me that it is “unfortunate” that they “chose the path of invasion and mass slaughter” at Normandy rather than “just allow Europe to peacefully go its own way” in World War II.

    Or, “The War of British Aggression”, as it shall henceforth be known.

    We’re still waiting for response from the enlightened DSP.

    • balconesfault

      There is a conversation that DSP is touching on that I think has real value in understanding today’s politics, and how the GOP continues to be able to lead people constantly into supporting things which are against their true self-interest, by constructing a false dichotomy and forcing people to take sides … and convincing people that the side that was the strongest force blocking their collective advancement was the “patriotic” side.

      There is no question that the plantation economy of the south was designed and operated specifically to keep power out of the hands of DSPs non-wealthy ancestors, and in the hands of a small number of landed elites. Or that instead of voting for politicians who were determined to fight the North on every economic issue of the day, DSPs great great grandparents would have been better served to have elected (were that even possible) progressive reformers who would have formed populist alliances with certain Northern and Midwestern congressmen who weren’t that excited about the amount of power Northern financiers held as well.

      But they were instead convinced to fight the “tyranny” and “aggression” of the North, to preserve the privilege of those who kept boots on the back of the working man. They were convinced by being sold a false patriotism, wrapped up with fear of the black man, combined with a heavy dose of religion.

      Can you think of a better analogy for today’s GOP?

      • drdredel

        also they weren’t too big on evolution or global warming! The similarities are endless! :)

      • SpartacusIsNotDead

        DSP’s suggestion that poor southern whites could not have been interested in maintaining slavery because it was harmful to their economic interests is absurd and it’s contradicted by DSP’s very own plea for more Blue Dog Democrats.

        Prior to passage of the Civil Rights Act, poor southern whites were very satisfied that Democrats adequately represented their economic interests. It was only after the national Democratic party decided blacks deserved equality with whites that these poor white southerners quit the Democratic party and became Republicans. It had nothing to do with the promotion of economic interests. It was exclusively about racial prejudice, which now falls under the broad and vague term of “cultural issues.”

  • Southern Populist

    @Primrose

    No, Lincoln wasn’t the cartoon hero—nobody was. American history isn’t the cartoon morality presented in high school, so if you want to present it as complex, sure, but present it all that way. Don’t pick and choose. More importantly, you can’t say Lincoln was complicated and then sum up the thoughts of this remarkably complex man in two quotes.

    Of course. My intent is simply to insert some balance into this discussion.

    I agree with you that portraying Lincoln as a only saint or only a villain is cartoon history.

    Likewise, representing the US Civil War as “treason in defense of slavery” is a witless caricature.

    This caricature tends to be pushed hardest by clowns, fanatics, and well-meaning people who haven’t taken a close look at the history.

    People are quick to excuse Lincoln’s hardcore racist views “because that’s what everyone at the time believed.”

    Suddenly, contemporary moral standards don’t apply, and careful distinctions do.

    Fair enough, but let’s consistently apply the careful distinctions. I know you get that.

    Regarding slavery, the most accurate characterization of the Civil War is that Southern elites went to war for the benefit of the wealthiest 5% who owned slaves while using the other 95% as cannon fodder.

    Most Southerners had no economic interest in preserving slavery. Even Black historians acknowledge this. If you have not had a chance to do so, please take a look at the WSJ article I linked on the first page.

    Shelby Foote, perhaps the best Civil War historian, has pointed out that the typical Southerner would not have viewed himself as fighting to defend slavery.

    Similarly, in the North, the average Northerner would not have viewed himself as fighting to defeat slavery. He would have seen himself as fighting to preserve the Union.

    Abolitionism (ending slavery) was a position held by only a small minority of Whites in the North.

    I could go on and on making points to demolish the cartoon version (North fighting to destroy to slavery, South fighting to preserve it), but that would be pedantic.

    ==================================

    [b]@rbottoms
    [/b]

    What is it with Conservatives that you can’t accept that we despise the GOP and will continue to do so no matter what “facts” you come up with.

    You completely missed the point.

    I feel like I need to put a permanent disclaimer on all posts by DSP: I am not a Republican or a conservative.

    Although I defend the GOP in some very narrow and limited contexts and attack Barack Obama and the Democrats, I am not a Republican.

    I did not vote for GWB either time, or John McCain.

    I generally side with Obama and the Democrats on military and war conduct matters. I have attacked GWB more times than I can remember.

    My strongest attacks on Barack Obama have been for his unwillingness to stand up to Wall Street and business interests. I share this view in common with the esteemed Black Princeton Professor, Cornel West. Cornel West is respected by friend and foe alike.

    I have also attacked Obama for decisions such as not closing Gitmo, renewing the Patriot Act, and not bringing Iraq and Afghanistan to a quicker conclusion.

    Let me go even further.

    I hate the Republican leadership, the conservative establishment represented by the likes of NRO, and despise White elites across the entire country, not just outside the South.

    I am 100% sure I hate them as much as you apparently do or more.

    The GOP is a Southern cracker racist dominated neo-Confederate organization. That fact won’t change even if you find photos of Lincoln executing slaves with a pistol.

    This is where your Manichean perspective distorts your analysis.

    First of all, what you said is not true. People turn to the GOP in the South because they have no choice.

    The national Democrats have run off all the old-time Democrats and Blue Dogs.

    At one time, being a Democrat meant representing working class and middle class economic interests. Beyond this, historically, the Democrat coalition included both culturally and socially liberal Dems (generally Northern and West Coast Dems), and culturally and socially conservative Dems (Blue Dogs), and some of both.

    There are hardly any old-time Democrats left for culturally conservative people in the South and the interior West to support.

    Quit directing racial slurs at me. They make you look like a fool.

    ==================================

    @Spartacus

    If you have your own question for me, I will answer it if you drop the snark (…the enlightened DSP) and this article is still on the front page late tonight.

    - DSP

    • Watusie

      “Regarding slavery, the most accurate characterization of the Civil War is that Southern elites went to war for the benefit of the wealthiest 5% who owned slaves while using the other 95% as cannon fodder.”

      This is the third time you’ve made this statement, and so for the third time I will say: so what? Less than 5% of Texans own an oilwell, so do you think they would all have no motivation to protect the petrochemical industry?

      Also repeating myself: every state that had a slave population of 25% or more seceded. No state that had a slave population of less than 25% seceded.

      What. An. Amazing. Freaking. Coincidence.

      You say “representing the US Civil War as “treason in defense of slavery” is a witless caricature.”

      Don’t you think that is a bit rich coming from someone who likes to use the phrase “The War of Northern Aggression”?

      You have lamented that “Rather than just allow the South to peacefully go its own way and spare half a million lives, Lincoln chose the path of invasion and mass slaughter.” Subsequently, the only support you have offered for this position is that Lincoln said some horrible things about black people.

      Well, Roosevelt and Eisenhower both had a lot of very horrible things to say about the French. Therefore, do you think it is “unfortunate” that they “chose the path of invasion and mass slaughter” at Normandy rather than “just allow Europe to peacefully go its own way” in World War II?

      Or, shall we call it “The War of British Aggression” from now on?

    • Primrose

      DSP, to say that the North fought to preserve the union does not mean the war itself was not caused by the pressures to end slavery in particular and Southern plantation class power on a macro level. Lincoln’s motives are fairly irrelevant. He was not the cause of the war, but pressures that had been building for decades.

      There were tremendos pressres to end slavery from the North; it wasn’t a small minority anymore. It coincided with the religious movements of the time.

      Also, we must realize the combination that industrialization and western expansion accelerated the lessening of power of Plantation elites, which is different from lessening slavery. Keep in mind that serfdom existed for another 100 years, so it is unlikely it would have ended.

      I don’t think what the cannon fodder thought they were fighting for has much to do at all with what the purpose of the war was. I can’t speak to this personally but every book, movie, documentary, and personal account of war I encounter says that soldiers fight for each other.

      But those orchestrating the war fought to keep the privileges slavery and a racial caste system created. I suppose you expand it and say no the civil war wasn’t slavery per se but the racially based, feudalistic caste system; however, if you say that you would have to say they reclaimed their defeat when they bought the presidential election of 1888/86, with Buchanan (I think) and ended reconstruction.

      I do agree, poor whites suffered. I’ve seen it myself, since I spent part of my childhood in middle Tennessee back when it was a mainly rural economy. What I disagree with is the idea this suffering was caused by Northern aggression. It was caused by the re-establishment of plantation power, a power that teaches all southern school children that reconstruction and Yankees are the cause of southern poverty; a power that used racism to divide working class people, permitting working class whites to share in the racial terrorism inflicted on African-Americans.

      That they did enter into that terrorism nobody who lives or has lived in the South can honestly deny. I don’t think at any time of our life are we allowed to demand forgiveness, and this issue in history is no exception. African-Americans have every right to blame the white south as a whole. That they do is easier to bear if we just accept it and move on; this does not mean splashing about in guilt for the past but taking care of the only thing we can control, our own actions.

      I’ve said before. I’ll say again. There can be no reconciliation without truth.

      • Balsack

        And, Primrose, as I have always said, there can be no true perception of truth without shedding ones fear of Jackson Pollock.

        I’ve said before. I’ll say again, too. There can be no reconciliation in our world without truth viewed through the lens of people such as Pollock.

        • Primrose

          Balsack, if you look below you will see that by submitting a comment you agree to submit one that is not off topic, as a discussion of Jackson Pollock must be to one of slavery and secession.

          I don’t know why you’ve decided to gift me with your off-topic, off-humor, but please think better of it in the future.

    • SpartacusIsNotDead

      DSP, my own question to you is, “Will you please respond to Watusie’s direct comments to you?”

    • balconesfault

      The national Democrats have run off all the old-time Democrats and Blue Dogs.

      This is untrue. If anything, GOP legislatures in Red States have disenfranchised the Blue Dogs, tweaking boundaries this way and that until any district which once supported a Blue Dog is broken up so he’s now stuck in a district where a solid majority are hardcore GOP voters who will always vote for the most extreme conservative in any race.

      We’ve seen that over and over here in Texas.

  • Primrose

    I’m sure the arms sales to Taiwan is a very important issue but this thread is about slavery and the civil war. If you want Mr. Frum to look Eastward, I suggest you write up an article yourself, then edit it severely and see if the editors will accept it.

    • Balsack

      Thank you very much for your good advice. This was kind of you!
      But, also, I find it difficult to not speak freely when I think about your editing me “severely”.
      Adianoeta, Primrose.

      And thank you.

    • Balsack

      Actually, Primrose, this thread proves the point that great racial tension exists today just as strongly as it ever did.

      But, truly, I do not like racial tension. This is why I bugged out decades ago. I have not personally witnessed racial tension in many, many years.

      Still, here is an interesting film you might like if you have not already viewed it: “Mugabe and the White African”.

      But from my personal perspective, I have no true visceral feelings about race relations or racial tensions or cares about melanin. I bugged out long ago.

      And I don’t much give a damn Scarlett whether your world winds up black, blue, white, yellow or, god forbid, Commie RED.

  • Balsack

    I think Spartacus may be dead, now.

    Where are you Spartacus?

    Speak to me!

  • indy

    Foote summed up the situation quite well: “People want to know why the South is so interested in the Civil War. I had maybe, it’s a rough guess, about fifty fistfights in my life. Out of those fifty fistfights, the ones that I had the most vivid memory of were the ones I lost. I think that’s one reason why the South remembers the war more than the North does.”

    I wouldn’t mind their constant portrayal of themselves as victims (lol on that btw) so much if they would just shut up about it. Some wonderful things speak to the Southern way of life, but losing with grace is not one of them.

  • Southern Populist

    @Primrose

    As I have said before, if you really care about the suffering of poor whites, and want justice, don’t fall for the Plantation class’s attempt to foist responsibility away from themselves.

    Again, I agree 100%.

    In an early comment addressed to balconesfault (I think), I described the White Southern Plantation class as heinous.

    Somebody ripped apart the comments.

    I’m not even sure it’s still there.

    =======================

    RE: this point by Indy needs to be answered

    I wouldn’t mind their constant portrayal of themselves as victims (lol on that btw) so much if they would just shut up about it.

    Indy sneers (lol) that Southerners should “just shut up.”

    No.

    Southerners will continue to respond to slander, distortions, cartoon history, historical misrepresentations, and demeaning and false caricatures of the South and Southerners in general.

    We will quit talking about when everyone else quits talking about it.

    Unfortunately, it does not appear that the virulent anti-Southerners in this country are in any danger of dropping the subject.

    Just look at the anti-Southern stereotypes being peddled in this thread (and not deleted).

    So far no one who has criticized me has challenged rbottoms’ use of the racial slur “cracker.”

    If a group, for example, wants to organize a private event that includes displaying the Confederate Flag, how about adopting a live and let live attitude?

    It’s a free country; perhaps those who don’t like it should exercise their right to keep quiet about it rather than keeping the issue going.

    They should quit representing themselves as being victims of a symbol on a piece of cloth they say they don’t even care about.

    RE: War of Northern Aggression and the ongoing relevance of the US Civil War.

    We in the South will always call it the War of Northern Aggression for symbolic purposes while recognizing the language “US Civil War” is the agreed upon but also highly misleading label.

    The North invaded the South. That makes the North the aggressor by definition.

    The South peacefully seceded based on their understanding of their legal and Constitutional rights.

    The South did not invade the North and try to conquer Washington DC, and then secede.

    =======================

    @balconesfault and primose

    Re: the ongoing relevance of the US Civil War.

    There is some very interesting data here regarding attitudes on the Civil War outside the South.

    http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1958/civil-war-still-relevant-and-divisive-praise-confederate-leaders-flag

    - DSP

    • Watusie

      We in the South will always call it the War of Northern Aggression for symbolic purposes while recognizing the language “US Civil War” is the agreed upon but also highly misleading label.

      Firstly, your use of this ridiculous phrase while at the same time moaning about people describing the CSA as “treason in defense of slavery” is, well, witless, to use your own word.

      Secondly, what on EARTH is “misleading” about “US Civil War”. It happened in the US. It was a civil, not a foreign, war. Therefore, US Civil War. Calling it anything else is idiotic.

      The North invaded the South. That makes the North the aggressor by definition.

      Hostilities began when the South fired on Federal Troops at Fort Sumter. So that makes the South the aggressor by definition.

      The South then began helping itself to all the Federal property it could get its hands on – including property located outside of the borders of the seceded states. That is theft, and there is no possible charitable spin you can put on the South’s “understanding of their legal and Constitutional rights” that makes it otherwise.

    • SpartacusIsNotDead

      DSP wrote: “So far no one who has criticized me has challenged rbottoms’ use of the racial slur “cracker.” If a group, for example, wants to organize a private event that includes displaying the Confederate Flag, how about adopting a live and let live attitude? It’s a free country; perhaps those who don’t like it should exercise their right to keep quiet about it . . . ”

      Have you considered the strong likelihood that rbottoms reasonably thinks that anyone who waves a confederate flag is, in essence, calling him a “nigger” and that those who promote the use of the confederate flag are joining in even though they, themselves, don’t wave it? In this instance, why seek to condemn only rbottoms and not yourself and those who wave the confederate flag?

      I agree that “cracker” is an offensive, racial slur and that it doesn’t do anything to advance an argument, but your hypocrisy on the confederate flag is equally offensive and your argument that the Civil War was unjustified is subtantially more offensive.

    • indy

      If you want to defend the south by playing the “little ole us didn’t do a thing! we were invaded!” victim game while simultaneously referring to any other narratives as ‘cartoon’ versions, be my guest. I expect little else.

      In an interview, I remember Foote answering a question along the lines of “was is best that Lincoln prevailed?” and Foote answered that Yes, he believed it was by far better that he did. I’m glad Lincoln prevailed as well but only because of slavery. Otherwise, I question the result.

      And, BTW, my wife is from the South, so I’m hardly a hater, and I respect many fine things about the South and the people I’ve met. Other things, not so much. The attitude I’ve encountered about the Civil War and the rampant victimhood, on full display here, is not only dishonest, but pretty pathetic.

  • Southern Populist

    @Spartacus

    Have you considered the strong likelihood that rbottoms reasonably thinks that anyone who waves a confederate flag is, in essence, calling him a “nigger” //

    No, I have not considered that because it’s absurd to anyone who doesn’t agree with him and also irrelevant.

    rbottoms does not get to decide what the CSA flag means to Southerners.

    He does not base his decisions on what I think and the people who agree with me think, so there is no reason for people with a different perspective to reciprocate.

    Sometimes people have to agree to disagree.

    The Washington DC Beltway elite does not get to decide what that CSA flag means either, nor does Hollywood, the NY Times, or the rest the media get to decide what what it means.

    It does not matter how many times Southerners say it in the plainest language possible that they don’t raise the flag because they support slavery, Jim Crow and segregation.

    I would say it again to you now, but it wouldn’t do any good (would it?).

    Honestly, I respect rbottoms despite his intemperate language and my in judgment overly simplistic Manichean worldview because I know he means no harm and is just passionate about his beliefs — and I respect you too.

    I wish White Americans had more voices such as yours who care so much about these matters.

    but your hypocrisy on the confederate flag is equally offensive

    Again, I’m an offensive hypocrite according to who?

    The blood of my peasant ancestors who did not own slaves or benefit from slavery and who were slaughtered to serve the interests of those who did benefit from slavery is in the soil all over the Deep South.

    According to rbottoms, Sherman didn’t kill enough.

    As a White American, I will honor my ancestors the way I see fit and encourage other White Americans to do the same.

    Over and out.

    Again, holding up that flag means honoring the sacrifice of our ancestors, most of whom did not own slaves or have an interest in slavery (see WSJ link above).

    That is the most important part of using the flag as a symbol, and the part that everyone who does it cares about most.

    A secondary, much less important consideration for displaying the flag in 2011 is to show that we will not be cowed by PC intimidation – and trust me, we won’t be.

    and your argument that the Civil War was unjustified is substantially more offensive.

    I have been perfectly clear.

    1) The causes of the war were complex. This makes the “treason in defense of slavery” formulation a caricature peddled by clowns.

    2) Abraham Lincoln was not a complete villain nor was he a complete saint. That is one example of how historical issues can be complex.

    3) The South was within their Constitutional rights as they understood them. Obviously true; it took a war to settle the matter.

    4) Finally, I have condemned White Southern elites as heinous multiple times now and never once spoken up in defense of slavery either explicitly or implicitly.

    - DSP

    • Watusie

      1) The causes of the war were complex. This makes the “treason in defense of slavery” formulation a caricature peddled by clowns.

      There is no element of the Southern motivation for secession that does not lead back to their desire to preserve the institution of race-based chattel slavery. You can see that most clearly in the CSA Constitution which fails to provide a mechanism for secession, but which does demand that every member agree, in perpetuity, to uphold “the institution of negro slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States”. This utterly demolishes the “states rights” argument – no member of the CSA had its own right to resolve for itself the issue of slavery.

      2) Abraham Lincoln was not a complete villain nor was he a complete saint. That is one example of how historical issues can be complex.

      The ONLY person in this thread who has tried to make the character of Abraham Lincoln an issue is you.

      3) The South was within their Constitutional rights as they understood them. Obviously true; it took a war to settle the matter.

      No, not “obviously true”. And the construction “within their Constitutional rights as they understood them” is an interesting one – are you going to give a pass to all our modern militias/Wesley Snipes who have their own, private, completely self-serving and utterly erroneous interpretations?

      Answer me this: the Southern “leaders” announced to the nation their new theory that every state could leave the Union as and when it chose. So why is it that only the states that a slave population of 25% or more decided to exercise this newly discovered right? Every state with a slave population of 25% or more seceded; no state with a slave population of less than 25% did. How do you explain that?

      4) Finally, I have condemned White Southern elites as heinous multiple times now and never once spoken up in defense of slavery either explicitly or implicitly.

      Again – who cares? You think the South was glorious because your ancestors lived there, and therefore you are unwilling to acknowledge the heinous character of this entire passage of the region’s history. So much so that you are actually sorry that the Union was preserved.

      Look up the word “solopsistic” in the dictionary and have good hard think about how twisted your reverence for the confederacy really is.

      What is the “sacrifice” that your “ancestors” made that you are honoring? In short – they tried to destroy the Union in order to preserve slavery.

      Diagramming your thought process goes something like this:
      Me=Awesome, therefore My Ancestors=Awesome
      My Ancestors=Southerners, therefore South=Awesome
      South=Secession, therefore Secession=Awesome
      Slavery=Not Awesome, therefore Secession /= Slavery

      And then you cherry pick your factual and logical arguments to fit the preconceived narrative.

    • think4yourself

      @ Southern Populist:

      I was born in Texas (didn’t stay there, military brat) and thought the romance of the South was cool and in many ways I still do. As a teenager, the Confederate Flag hung in my window for all to see. My best friends and I called ourselves The White Boys and considered “redneck” a term of respect. Today, Lynrd Skynyrd is still my favorite band and I find myself with a Southern drawl on more than one occasion.

      That doesn’t make racism right.

      I no longer wave that flag in my window (even I still have a high school graduation picture with it and my best friend in my hallway). I go to a mixed-race church and understand better why a third of my congregation feel that the CSA flag is offensive and represents a time of illegal oppression.

      While I understand why for many white Southerners the CSA Flag, Dixie and redneck attitude are a point of pride, I also understand that holders of this attitude generally refuse to recognize the racism that goes along with that attitude. This is not just about being politically correct. As someone who still has 3-4 versions of the CSA in a couple of dresser drawers, I get it. I also get that this attitude is part of what is holding the South back from economic success. When you recognize that part of what you hold dear, is part of what hurts 25% – 30% of your population (Black-Americans) and also hurts the remaining 75% – because we really are all in this together.

      But when you attend your CSA rallies, have that Confederate Flag license plate and bumper sticker that says “Southern by the grace of God” all the while protesting “I ain’t racist” – I understand.

      • Southern Populist

        I think your own comment shows one can display the CSA flag without harboring ill will toward anyone.

        In terms of my own personal tastes, I’m not very Southern. Never have cared for NASCAR, Skynard, “redneck” culture or the rest it, though none of those things bother me. I’m just more of a high culture guy.

        My involvement in this topic has to do with important matters of principle.

        - DSP

        • Watusie

          Important matters of principle such as regret that Lincoln preserved the Union.

          Actually, that is a bit of cheap shot. Although you did definitely express that regret further up thread.

          So lets put aside that easy target and move on to the real point: you claiming to stand on principle is ludicrous. You are so determined to whitewash the CSA that you’ll even stoop to easily-debunked lies, like the idea that it was the North that initiated hostilities.

          And, as everyone has noticed, when confronted with facts that you find inconvenient, you simply pretend they aren’t there.

    • SpartacusIsNotDead

      DSP, of course, rbottoms doesn’t get to decide what the flag means to any other individual, but when the overwhelming majority of the public rightly believes that the confederate flag is a symbol of racial hatred that had no relevance other than it was the banner of those who insisted on the perpetuation of slavery, then those who fly it are fools if they don’t equate it to calling a black person “nigger.” Contempt for that flag should be no more surprising than a Jew’s (and every moral person’s) contempt for a swatstika.

      As for the rest of your post, I will again refer you to the reply given by Watusie. There’s no point in my repeating his comments since they accurately and concisely decimate your argument. If you wish to advance the argument it will be necessary for you to deal with both of the posts that Watusie directed specifically at you.

    • rbottoms

      Here’s what it means to me, a big old Swastika waved around by Southern romantic racists.

      Period.

  • Southern Populist

    @Spartacus

    when the overwhelming majority of the public rightly believes that the confederate flag is a symbol of racial hatred that had no relevance other than it was the banner of those who insisted on the perpetuation of slavery

    Except the overwhelming majority believes no such thing.

    You just made a major factual error in front of our readers out there in the bleachers.

    This data — taken from a Pew research study — disproves what you just said.

    My arguments are founded on a detailed analysis of the evidence.

    In actuality, a majority of the public says they have no reaction to the CSA flag.

    From Pew Research:

    ===

    Nearly half of the public (46%) says it is inappropriate for today’s public officials to praise the leaders of the Confederate states during the war; 36% say such statements are appropriate.

    Nonetheless, a majority (58%) say they have no particular reaction to the Confederate flag, the symbol of the South. Among those who have a reaction to the flag, more than three times as many say they have a negative reaction as a positive reaction (30% to 9%).

    ===

    It seems you are operating off of arbitrary subjective opinion rather than data.

    Perhaps you haven’t looked into the facts of the US Civil War as closely as I thought.

    It would certainly explain why you take Watusie’s mish-mash of insults, bromides and straw men seriously.

    You can and anyone else who disagrees with me can have the last word. I’m done.

    - DSP

    http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1958/civil-war-still-relevant-and-divisive-praise-confederate-leaders-flag

    • SpartacusIsNotDead

      Admittedly, when I said the “overwhelming majority of the public rightly believes that the confederate flag is a symbol of racial hatred” I hadn’t conducted any kind of search to determine if there were any statistical data to support that claim. Instead, I made that claim based on anecdotal observations. But, after reading your reply, I did conduct a search and I discovered four very interesting facts, all of which you, no doubt, discovered for yourself but chose to ignore them in your reply to me.

      The first thing I discovered from the Pew link you posted was that the more educated a person is, the more likely it is that that person will have a negative view of the Confederate flag. Those with fairly little education were much more likely to have a positive opinion or no opinion at all. I think the clear implication here is that (1) before one can have an opinion about the flag, one needs to have a fairly decent amount of information about the flag, and (2) the more information a person has, the more likely that person will view that flag negatively. Does this mean I’m right that way more than 50% of the public view the flag as a symbol of racism. No, but it means that for those members of the public who happen to know something about the flag, they are much more likely to recognize it for its racist symbolism. Not exactly what I originally alleged, but nevertheless corroborative of my larger point that the flag is a racist symbol – at least to many educated people.

      The second thing I discovered is that, notwithstanding all your noble talk about the flag and what it supposedly really represents, hardly anyone sees the flag positively – only 10% among the general public. Even among white southerners, only 22% have a positive reaction to the flag. So, despite all your rhetoric, the flag is certainly not a symbol of anything positive.

      The third thing I discovered is the study that shows that the flag animates racist people.

      http://www.miller-mccune.com/culture-society/confederate-flag-activates-racist-mindset-25644/

      The fourth thing I discovered is that you have absolutely no response whatsoever to the arguments put forth repeatedly in Watusie’s posts and that you will ignore those posts no matter what in order to avoid the embarrassment that comes from having your argument decimated. I mean no disrespect to you. And, to be perfectly clear, I’m not accusing you of being a racist. I am, however, accusing you of clinging to impotent arguments.

    • Watusie

      Let the record show that DSP, who claims that his interest in the Confederacy stems from “important matters of principle”, could not, over the course of three days, deal with a single one of my fact-filled critiques of his tissue-thin apologetics.

      The South seceded because it wanted to preserve slavery. Modern-day fetishsizers of the CSA are glorifying treason in the name of slavery. And DSP throws his toys out of the pram when this is pointed out to him.

    • Primrose

      Southern Populist, I don’t question that you think the planter class were heinous but so long as you still buy their premise, you are helping them not your people. To say that the North could have let the South go (while still perpetuating the plantation system), well the Confederacy could have not succeeded and saved all of those people too. (Keep in mind not all Southern states joined the confederacy)

      Also, you can not invade your own country. Had the confederacy won and set a peace which required the Union to recognize it as a sovereign nation, and then,sent troops in years later, then yes that is an invasion. This was a civil war. Just as the revolutionary war was not a matter of invasion but revolution (as opposed to the war of 1812), so the civil war is a civil war. The Basque think they are a sovereign nation but they have not won that point, so their behavior is still domestic terrorism, not a war of defense.

      As someone who has lived in the South as a child, and knows it well, I dispute your claim that the Confederate flag is about southern identity, and no longer has racial connotations. Even if I felt that we could divorce the idea of the confederacy from the flag, or the idea of slavery, it still has a racial component. The people who carry it about have a very clear idea of Southern identity and African-Americans and immigrants are not part of it.

      That’s fine if you are talking about immigrants, people new to the culture, but African-American culture is the south, and has been since Jamestown. Those habits, foods and manners that we consider Southern are just as firmly rooted in African-American culture as white Southerners—if not more so. Yet African-Americans are treated as if they just suddenly appeared in the land, like Indian hotel keepers in the 80’s or the Mexicans of the 90’s. They are treated as if they are not themselves, Southerners for generations upon generations.

      And that doesn’t even get into the way the flag has been transferred and adopted by a certain racist element up in my current neck of the woods. Go an hour and half out of New York city to Sullivan or Ulster county and you will see a surprising amount of confederate flags, hats etc, all sported by people whose families have never seen hide nor hair of the Mason-Dixon line.

      Yes, I realize that the Dukes of Hazzard has something to do with this, but even there, think about it, did you see one person who wasn’t white there? This wasn’t a pure rendition of Appalachia, not with Boss Tweed in his planter class white suit, it was Hollywood’s mash-up of Southern culture made pretty, and African-Americans were not part of it. Having seen a lot of it, it being my brother’s favorite show and the only other choice being Luis Rukeyser, which my parents watched, I don’t recall ever seeing an African-American in it. Perhaps, I missed one, in a vain attempt to find entertainment in Rukeyser’s smirky questions to his “elves”, but it was rare.

      So saying it simply represents southern culture still doesn’t free it from terrible racist connotations, or threats of violence when African-Americans show up to throw dissonance in this segregated fantasy world.

      And until poor whites in the South are willing to give more sympathy to their fellow victims of the planter class than defending the myths of the antebellum world, they take on all the implications of the symbols they embrace.

  • Primrose

    Oh, also Southern Populist, I don’t think the civil war doesn’t hold relevance to people. I’m from (partly) middle Tennessee and you couldn’t go five miles without running over a battlefield, and most elderly Southerners I know loved pointing to the place their granddaddy died. (Well, supposedly at least, I’ve never known a Southern yet who let the truth get in the way of a good story, so I have my doubts about some claims.)

  • Stewardship

    I’ve climbed Little Roundtop at Gettysburg, walked the path of Pickett’s Charge, stood in the swampy field where my great-great-great grandfather was mortally shot at the Battle of Bentonville, but nowhere did I feel the horror of the civil war more than walking the Bloody Lane and the Cornfield at Antietam. The cries of agony, the lung-choking smoke, the clashing of guns, bayonets, and cannon seem to have only quieted minutes ago. At Gettysburg, the tour buses gear up and rumble across the landscape; at Bentonville, grasshoppers and other summer insects interject among distant coughing of farm equipment; and at Antietam, silence prevails.