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The South Still Lies About The Civil War


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http://www.salon.com/2013/03/16/the_sou ... civil_war/

Good, informative article. The reason that I posted this in Snark is that the south makes up a large portion of right wing voters(there are many liberals in the south also) Right wing voters are often against same sex marriage, women's rights etc. Outside of the southern U.S, people don't realize how many people really believe a distorted view of the Civil War or how that screwed up view still affects us as a nation. People who refuse to believe modern historical research and opinions on the Civil War or probably more likely to distrust scientists and glorify a past that disenfranchised many people.

The comments following the article are better than the article itself.

One hundred and fifty years after the event, Americans—at least the vast majority who toil outside academia—still can’t agree. Evidence of this crops up all the time, often in the form of a legal dispute over a display of the Confederate flag. (As I write, there are two such cases pending—one in Oregon and the other in Florida, making this an average news week.) Another common forum is the classroom. But it’s not always about the Stars and Bars. In 2010, for instance, Texas school officials made the news by insisting that Jefferson Davis’s inaugural address be given equal prominence with Abraham Lincoln’s in that state’s social studies curriculum. The following year, Virginia school officials were chagrined to learn that one of their state-adopted textbooks was teaching fourth graders that thousands of loyal slaves took up arms for the confederacy.

At the bottom of all of these is one basic question: was the Civil War about slavery, or states’ rights?

Popular opinion favors the latter theory. In the spring of 2011, in recognition of the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, pollsters at the Pew Research Center asked: “What is your impression of the main cause of the Civil War?†Thirty-eight percent of the respondents said the main cause was the South’s defense of an economic system based on slavery, while nearly half—48 percent—said the nation sacrificed some 650,000 of its fathers, sons, and brothers over a difference of interpretation in constitutional law. White non-Southerners believed this in roughly the same proportion as white Southerners, which was interesting; even more fascinating was the fact that 39 percent of the black respondents, many of them presumably the descendants of slaves, did, too.

We pause here to note that wars are complex events whose causes can never be adequately summed up in a phrase, that they can start out as one thing and evolve into another, and that what people think they are fighting for isn’t always the cause history will record. Yet, as Lincoln noted in his second inaugural address, there was never any doubt that the billions of dollars in property represented by the South’s roughly four million slaves was somehow at the root of everything, and on this point scholars who don’t agree about much of anything else have long found common ground. “No respected historian has argued for decades that the Civil War was fought over tariffs, that abolitionists were mere hypocrites, or that only constitutional concerns drove secessionists,†writes University of Virginia historian Edward Ayers. Yet there’s a vast chasm between this long-established scholarly consensus and the views of millions of presumably educated Americans, who hold to a theory that relegates slavery to, at best, incidental status. How did this happen?

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It is a good article, but the title of this thread is a bit of pet peeve of mine-- "The South" is not a monolithic entity. Not all Southerners are white. Not all Southern churches are white. There are a lot of non-American readers on FJ, and as a non-white Southerner, I want them to know that "The South" belongs to me, too.

I'm not attacking you, I just get a little cranky about being culturally disenfranchised.

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It is a good article, but the title of this thread is a bit of pet peeve of mine-- "The South" is not a monolithic entity. Not all Southerners are white. Not all Southern churches are white. There are a lot of non-American readers on FJ, and as a non-white Southerner, I want them to know that "The South" belongs to me, too.

I'm not attacking you, I just get a little cranky about being culturally disenfranchised.

I understand. My thread title is the name of the article that I referenced, I promise I wasn't trying to imply that all Southerners are the same. When it comes to thread titles, I am a bit lazy and non imaginative.

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At the bottom of all of these is one basic question: was the Civil War about slavery, or states’ rights?

To be fair, the Civil war was also about economics (of slavery) as well as states' rights (to own slaves).

Anyways, I know that a lot of southerns like to fly the stars and bars, but I have no idea why someone in Oregon would want to fly it. I guess they came from the south? Makes just as much sense as me wanting to fly the Union Jack. But I suppose that's not a fair comparison, as the UK is still around and the confederacy is not.

To be honest, I've never understood why people want to fly the stars and bars. I understand it's part of American history, but why be proud of the side that lost?

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I still remember learning about this in history class: the Civil war was just as much about slavery as it was states' rights. They were so intertwined that they really weren't two separate issues.

I heard a sermon this week where the pastor said, "I'm into history" in one sentence and then said, "People didn't know Abraham Lincoln was prophesying when he said there'd be a civil war." Erm, yes, actually, they did. Anyone who paid attention to the political climate of the time knew that eventually there would be a civil war, and in fact the last 2 (or three?) presidents before Lincoln were trying to prevent it for as long as they could. You're into history now, are you pastor?

/tangent.

Anyway, more on topic, when I went to Texas, I was half expecting, from what I've been told, to see confederate flags all over the place. I saw absolutely none. Maybe I was told wrong.

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To be fair, the Civil war was also about economics (of slavery) as well as states' rights (to own slaves).

Anyways, I know that a lot of southerns like to fly the stars and bars, but I have no idea why someone in Oregon would want to fly it. I guess they came from the south? Makes just as much sense as me wanting to fly the Union Jack. But I suppose that's not a fair comparison, as the UK is still around and the confederacy is not.

To be honest, I've never understood why people want to fly the stars and bars. I understand it's part of American history, but why be proud of the side that lost?

Not just the side that lost but the side that supported segregation and harming human rights after the war was over.

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To be fair, the Civil war was also about economics (of slavery) as well as states' rights (to own slaves).

Anyways, I know that a lot of southerns like to fly the stars and bars, but I have no idea why someone in Oregon would want to fly it. I guess they came from the south? Makes just as much sense as me wanting to fly the Union Jack. But I suppose that's not a fair comparison, as the UK is still around and the confederacy is not.

To be honest, I've never understood why people want to fly the stars and bars. I understand it's part of American history, but why be proud of the side that lost?

I have to make an objection to the bolded bit. I've grown up in the South and still live in it and as far as I can remember the population of people who fly the stars and bars is small. Granted, I'm from East Tennessee which had more Union sympathizers than Confederate ones but I have also visited other Southern states and haven't seen a lot of that mindset/behavior. Most of the people I know roll their eyes at the individuals who have "the South will rise again"mentality. Once again, I admit it may just be the people I have been exposed to in my life and I am not denying it exists but I think it is dangerous (and insulting) to claim an entire or large percentage of a region hold the same values.

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Anyway, more on topic, when I went to Texas, I was half expecting, from what I've been told, to see confederate flags all over the place. I saw absolutely none. Maybe I was told wrong.

I am from Kansas, which has a lot of history related to the civil war--John Brown is featured prominately on a mural in our capitol building, which shocked a co-worker's kid when his class toured it, as they had recently transferred from Virginia, where he had more or less been taught John Brown was a terrorist.

I work in TX a lot. I see far more Texas state flags ant Texas centric slogans, symbols, etc than anything related to the Confederacy. On the other hand, some areas in Missouri seem to have a confederate flag on half the cars and in half the windows.

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I've lived in the Midwest my entire life, and I still see confederate flags. Why is a T-shirt stand at a corn boil just outside of Chicago selling a confederate flag shirt? Why is a pickup truck in Iowa decorated with two confederate flags? I can only think of one reason, and those areas don't have the "history" excuse.

It makes me think of a comment I read in a book about how the American Civil War is the one exception to the adage that "winners write the history books."

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I have to make an objection to the bolded bit. I've grown up in the South and still live in it and as far as I can remember the population of people who fly the stars and bars is small. Granted, I'm from East Tennessee which had more Union sympathizers than Confederate ones but I have also visited other Southern states and haven't seen a lot of that mindset/behavior. Most of the people I know roll their eyes at the individuals who have "the South will rise again"mentality. Once again, I admit it may just be the people I have been exposed to in my life and I am not denying it exists but I think it is dangerous (and insulting) to claim an entire or large percentage of a region hold the same values.

Another person here with roots in eastern and middle Tennessee. Whenever I visited my dad's family there, I never once, that I can recall, saw the Confederate flag flying. Ever. And my memory goes back as far as the early sixties. I've also, in my occasional travels elsewhere in the south, seen that flag flying on very few occasions. Oddly, though, whenever I go north to visit my mother's side of the family in south central Pennsylvania, I see the flag all over the place--bumper stickers, licence plate frames, hanging from the back windows of pickup trucks, even occasionally in someone's yard. :?

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Another person here with roots in eastern and middle Tennessee. Whenever I visited my dad's family there, I never once, that I can recall, saw the Confederate flag flying. Ever. And my memory goes back as far as the early sixties. I've also, in my occasional travels elsewhere in the south, seen that flag flying on very few occasions. Oddly, though, whenever I go north to visit my mother's side of the family in south central Pennsylvania, I see the flag all over the place--bumper stickers, licence plate frames, hanging from the back windows of pickup trucks, even occasionally in someone's yard. :?

I apologize for for being unclear. I didn't mean to imply a large percentage of people. I guess I was using the phrase "a lot" to mean more than one instead of "some".

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I went to college in Virginia (albeit in the '80's) Coming from just over the state line in Maryland, I wasn't expecting much to be different and overall it wasn't, but there were some scions of very old Southern families there who had a very different outlook on the Civil War and life in general. One of my roomates dated one such guy. She went to his home and, as a Delaware native, was lambasted about being a damn Yankee and acused of being responsible for the "War of Northern Aggression" and, no, they weren't kidding. They took her out to a restaurant where little African-American children dressed up in rags and came to the tables with chalkboard menus pretending to be slaves. My roomate was so disgusted by this that she left that night. Her now ex-boyfriend had no idea what she was so upset about. His point was that the kids "loved" doing it and were getting paid. Of course, this isn't all of the South but there are definitely pockets...

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I went to college in Virginia (albeit in the '80's) Coming from just over the state line in Maryland, I wasn't expecting much to be different and overall it wasn't, but there were some scions of very old Southern families there who had a very different outlook on the Civil War and life in general. One of my roomates dated one such guy. She went to his home and, as a Delaware native, was lambasted about being a damn Yankee and acused of being responsible for the "War of Northern Aggression" and, no, they weren't kidding. They took her out to a restaurant where little African-American children dressed up in rags and came to the tables with chalkboard menus pretending to be slaves. My roomate was so disgusted by this that she left that night. Her now ex-boyfriend had no idea what she was so upset about. His point was that the kids "loved" doing it and were getting paid. Of course, this isn't all of the South but there are definitely pockets...

I've lived in Virginia since 1967. I have never, ever heard of this. Can you somehow find out exactly where that was? Even in the 80s, and even in Virginia (which does have its pockets of denial about the 'late unpleasantness'), that would have made the news, and not in a good way. The only excuse I can think of for something as abhorrent as that would be that they were part of a legitimate re-enactment--not entertainment, but an historical, learning experience-type thing-- designed to explain to people just how bad slavery really was, and even then...using little children? :shock:

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I apologize for for being unclear. I didn't mean to imply a large percentage of people. I guess I was using the phrase "a lot" to mean more than one instead of "some".

No offense taken! I sometimes get a little sensitive about how U.S. Southerners are lumped together when it comes to the Conderacy junk and wanted to defend the ones who definitely don't support those ideas.

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I've lived in Virginia since 1967. I have never, ever heard of this. Can you somehow find out exactly where that was? Even in the 80s, and even in Virginia (which does have its pockets of denial about the 'late unpleasantness'), that would have made the news, and not in a good way. The only excuse I can think of for something as abhorrent as that would be that they were part of a legitimate re-enactment--not entertainment, but an historical, learning experience-type thing-- designed to explain to people just how bad slavery really was, and even then...using little children? :shock:

He lived near Lexington and as far as she could tell it was a real restaurant. It was supposed to be entertainment definitely not historical reenactment. I don't know the exact location or name but when she came back that night we were all flabbergasted (and half of the group grew up in Virginia- we were at UVA- and couldn't believe it either).

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He lived near Lexington and as far as she could tell it was a real restaurant. It was supposed to be entertainment definitely not historical reenactment. I don't know the exact location or name but when she came back that night we were all flabbergasted (and half of the group grew up in Virginia- we were at UVA- and couldn't believe it either).

Flabbergasted is the word for it; I'm still reeling at this. :? Like I said, some Virginians can be quite "Stock up on Dixie cups because the South WILL rise again," even to this day, but they do tend to be slightly more subtle than that.

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Another person here with roots in eastern and middle Tennessee. Whenever I visited my dad's family there, I never once, that I can recall, saw the Confederate flag flying.

Middle TN here. While I haven't seen it flying, I have seen it on an awful lot of vehicles. I'm surprised my eyes aren't worn down from the grinding, because I roll them so hard whenever I see a Confederate flag anything. I probably see one a few times a week, usually on vehicles of some sort.

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While I don't see confederate flags often, I occasionally see them around here. However, I do not understand why considering my state split from Virginia during the Civil War to be part of the union, but whatever floats their ignorant history boats. :roll:

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I grew up in central PA, and now live in southern MD, and I saw MANY more Confederate flags in PA than I do in MD - although a neighbor across the street flies a confederate flag ALL THE TIME.

I may sound ignorant asking this - but I've been told that the flag does NOT imply one is for slavery, but I can't help but feel that it does. Am I wrong?

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I have lived in the south all my life as have all my ancestors dating back to the 1800's. I love living here and can't imagine living anywhere else! No, the Confederate Flag is rarely seen in this area but I can imagine that it might be seen more frequently in the deep south? I think that those who don't live in the south have an false impression sometimes about this - in fact, my sister works in a courthouse in Tennessee and told me that once a person who had just moved to their area from up north came into the courthouse on business and told her that there was a Confederate flag flying over the courthouse. My sister politely told her that there had never to her knowledge been a Confederate flag on display and she had worked there for many years. The person insisted that yes, there was as she had just observed it on the way in and so, to satisfy things, they both walked outside and the visitor pointed to the flag of the state of Tennessee waving in the breeze and triumphantly proclaimed "See, I told you!" My sister said that she almost hated to disappoint her with the facts of the matter!

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I spent a grand total of about two hours in Alabama (travelling to one small town near the FL border) and in that time saw more Confederate flags than I had in my previous 20 years of existence (including visits to 23 US states - and bizarrely enough, I've seen Confederate flags on vehicles in my Canadian hometown - with BC license plates! Did they just see Dukes of Hazzard too many times, or did they come from the South, or what?).

It makes sense considering that it was solid Confederate area, but was still very uncomfortable to see. It really is a different world.

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No offense taken! I sometimes get a little sensitive about how U.S. Southerners are lumped together when it comes to the Conderacy junk and wanted to defend the ones who definitely don't support those ideas.

Thank you, Miss Bitters. It happens a lot on this board, sad to say, for a place where critical thinking is highly prized. It's why I pretty much don't click on any post that mentions the southern US, or the Civil War, or slavery, or the Confederate flag anymore. People seem all too ready to condemn an entire section of the country for stuff that: a) no one alive today had a thing to do with; b) a sizeable percentage of the residents not only disavow, but do everything they can to lessen the impact of. The South this, The South that. The present-day southern US has as many facets as it has residents. How about come live in my neighborhood awhile before deciding the whole southern US feels a certain way?

I hasten to add that I would ask southern supremacists to do the same thing, esp. when they start the "The South will rise again" baloney. Not the south I know; it's just fine where it is, thanks. I also hasten to add that this post isn't directed to anyone who has made any comment in this post, or to the OP herself. It's just been my observation of how things often develop on FJ when "The South" comes up; and having observed it, I guess I can save myself the heartburn by not clicking on anymore posts that mention this region.

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Living in Alabama and having family all over the South, I would say it's not common to see the Confederate Battle Flag, but it's not uncommon either. You see it every once in a while. I think of it more as a "redneck pride" kind of thing than a racist thing. I may just be viewing it through rose-colored glasses, though.

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Thank you, Miss Bitters. It happens a lot on this board, sad to say, for a place where critical thinking is highly prized. It's why I pretty much don't click on any post that mentions the southern US, or the Civil War, or slavery, or the Confederate flag anymore. People seem all too ready to condemn an entire section of the country for stuff that: a) no one alive today had a thing to do with; b) a sizeable percentage of the residents not only disavow, but do everything they can to lessen the impact of. The South this, The South that. The present-day southern US has as many facets as it has residents. How about come live in my neighborhood awhile before deciding the whole southern US feels a certain way?

I hasten to add that I would ask southern supremacists to do the same thing, esp. when they start the "The South will rise again" baloney. Not the south I know; it's just fine where it is, thanks. I also hasten to add that this post isn't directed to anyone who has made any comment in this post, or to the OP herself. It's just been my observation of how things often develop on FJ when "The South" comes up; and having observed it, I guess I can save myself the heartburn by not clicking on anymore posts that mention this region.

I agree with you - I am ignorant on the whole Confederate Flag thing, but I think it's unfair to lump the entire south together like that. There are racist, bigoted assholes everywhere - not just the south, but it seems that a lot of people (not saying anyone here - in fact I'm sure I'm guilty of this too!) assume that anyone flying the confederate flag must sympathize with the south, or be from the south. I've been told that to some people it's just a flag like any other, but I wonder if a great deal of confederate flag fliers either don't know the history, don't care to know the history, or know it perfectly well, but don't care. That's why I asked whatf flying the flag "means". I'm not very familiar with the ins and outs of the Civil War (the nickname War of Northern Aggression always makes me chuckle); the only thing I really know about it was that it had something to do with slavery (I'm not a history buff - obviously). I just can't think of any reason besides "It's pretty", "I have no idea what it stands for", "I know what it stands for, but don't care", and "I want slaves!" there could be. I'd like to know though - if anyone has any theories.

It makes me sad that The South gets a bad name. There are great parts, good parts, and horrible parts to every part of the country - so why do people generalize The South so much? I guess it's easy to pretend that everyone below the line is sitting in rocking chairs on their front porch drinking ice tea and saying "I do declare..." but that's not accurate anymore (was it ever?). (Am I the only one that gets that picture with "Southern" this or that? I always picture the girls from Designing Women!)

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To be fair, the Civil war was also about economics (of slavery) as well as states' rights (to own slaves).

Anyways, I know that a lot of southerns like to fly the stars and bars, but I have no idea why someone in Oregon would want to fly it. I guess they came from the south? Makes just as much sense as me wanting to fly the Union Jack. But I suppose that's not a fair comparison, as the UK is still around and the confederacy is not.

To be honest, I've never understood why people want to fly the stars and bars. I understand it's part of American history, but why be proud of the side that lost?

I am an Oregonian and I know people who think the Confederate flag is all that. One was born in Oregon and is not "racist". (I don't know how to put it :/ )He is a gun hoarder and loves Ted Nugent, but other than that he does not judge people by their skin pigment. The. Other was born in California and is your garden variety redneck and racist. Both are my best friend's ex husbands and I know them both well.

ETA: By the way, I don't understand it either! Unless it is an "overthrow the gubermit" kinda thing.,,

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