A Confederate CurriculumRoundup
tags: Civil War, Confederacy, Confederate Monuments, Mildred Lewis Rutherford, John Kelly Robert E Lee
The Civil War was a tragedy. There were good people on both sides of the fight. And all that death and destruction surely could have been avoided if they had been more willing to compromise.
That’s the lie that white people told themselves after the Civil War to mask America’s original sin: the enslavement of African Americans. After a century of that story calcifying into historical memory, it clearly still has legs, as we discovered when Laura Ingraham interviewed White House chief of staff John Kelly on Fox News on October 30.
Confederate general Robert E. Lee was “an honorable man,” Kelly said. He added that “men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand” during the Civil War, and he warned against imposing our own views of “right on wrong” upon the past. And, in the sentence that stuck out most, he attributed the Civil War to “the lack of an ability to compromise.”
But antebellum history is littered with attempts to make a deal over slavery. Witness the Compromise of 1850, the Missouri Compromise in 1820, and—most notoriously—the three-fifths compromise in the U.S. Constitution, declaring that enslaved blacks would be counted as less than full human beings.
John Kelly’s remarks echoed a later compromise about the Civil War itself. Starting in the late nineteenth century, white Southerners and Northerners reached a negotiated historical settlement of the bloody conflict that had divided them. Those in the South conceded that secession had been illegal and that slavery was wrong, even if its evils had been exaggerated by abolitionists. Meanwhile, Northerners embraced the narrative—dramatized later in films like Birth of a Nation—that emancipation had freed blacks to rape and pillage until white rule was reinscribed in (yes) the Compromise of 1877. ...
comments powered by Disqus
- Poland puts Berlin's WWII bill at 440 billion euros
- The five Sullivan brothers, serving together, were killed in World War II. Their ship was just found.
- Historian H.R. McMaster out, John Bolton is in
- Polish attorney general’s office calls Holocaust law unconstitutional
- Will Trump break American democracy?
- Last Fall This Scholar Defended Colonialism. Now He’s Defending Himself.
- Jim Loewen is helping teachers teach difficult historical topics tied to race relations
- Historian (and US Senator) Ben Sasse writing book on polarization
- Historian: The Heavy Burden of Teaching My Son About American Racism
- Teachers are using ‘Black Panther’ to discuss African colonialism and American racism