James Carville: It’s time for General Sherman to come back to LSU

tags: General Sherman, LSU

Political consultant James Carville lives in New Orleans. 

It appears I’ve caused a bit of a ruckus at LSU.

This isn’t the first time, of course. I’ve made some commotion at my alma mater before, but it was usually as a student — and it likely involved several bottles of bottom-shelf whiskey.

This time, it involves Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman. 

A few weeks ago, I sponsored a lecture at LSU featuring the historian James Lee McDonough, who's just written a fascinating new biography of Sherman, the Union general who famously burned Atlanta to the ground — and who, less famously, served as LSU’s first president during the antebellum years when it was called Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy. (Sherman hated the name.)

During the lecture, I mentioned that LSU has never recognized Sherman, its first leader, and that the school should name something after him. I proposed the Parade Grounds and hoped that the university and its alumni might take my idea under consideration.

Whether it’s convenient for some or not, it remains historical fact that Sherman shaped our country and our university in important ways. The great historians Basil Lidell Hart and Shelby Foote dubbed Sherman “the first truly modern general,” and as head of LSU during its first years, he, more than anyone, helped get the school off the ground. ...

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