Let's Discuss the American Civil War

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by LordNyax113, Dec 7, 2009.

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  1. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2000
    star 6
    Black History Month is about highlighting previously-overlooked contributions made by blacks throughout history. It's basically Affirmative Action for history books, which until rather recently overlooked or omitted black historical figures.

    I would argue that BHM has peaked and now drives to the point of being counterproductive, since the focus during February leads to a feeling of "we've already covered that" when the course of study reaches the appropriate context for discussing black contributions. That's another debate though.

    What's more to the point is this: People don't ignore the Confederates in covering Civil War history, the way people ignore/have ignored blacks in covering general history (INCLUDING that of the Civil War). Heck, I could probably name more Confederate leaders than I can Union ones. And I was educated in a non-Confederate state, so I'm sure a state like Virginia already teaches plenty about its Confederate history. There's no need for a temporary corrective bias as there is with black or women's history months.

    If anything, I'd say Virginia probably needs a "Union & southern slaves" History Month.[face_whistling]
  2. shanerjedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 17, 2010
    star 4
    Lee and Jackson get more attention in Virginia than those guys because they were better generals. Yes even better then Winfield Scott.
  3. LtNOWIS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
    Well, I can only speak for Fairfax County, but our curriculum had a lot of coverage of the cruelties of slavery and very little about Confederate leadership, or the Confederate experience in general.
  4. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1998
    star 9
    I don't agree that slavery wasn't the cause of the war. The South would have you to believe it wasn't, it was *really* states' rights (they claim). But since the argument was that states could choose to have slavery, that's what it amounted to.

    John Keegan assessed Grant as the best general in the war, with Sherman in second place. He thought Lee was tactically great, and strategically poor; but the problem was that there was no strategy that would have won the war for the South. They held off the inevitable more from the bungling of the North than their own abilities; but once Britain and France stayed out of it, the South was doomed.
  5. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    Until recently I didn't really care about the Civil war too much because on my father's side, all his ancestors were kicked out of the Union and came to Utah. But recently I've found out I had one ancestor who it seems joined the Union, deserted after a year, then rejoined for another 3. I'm still working on getting the proof for him, but more exciting was that his son's daughter's father was in the 27th "foot Calvary" Regiment of Virginia which was part of the Stonewall Brigade. Apparently he got a ball in his leg at Harper's Ferry and was captured in 1864. And that I was able to prove via two official sources. So I just got a book off of Amazon about them and there is even a reenacting group that does that regiment. So I plan on learning a lot more, especially from a Confederate perspective that I've never really looked at.
  6. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1998
    star 9
    Desertion was high on both sides, especially because Northerners could hire a substitute (whom they paid). The substitutes often served for awhile and then deserted; frequently they joined again (after being paid again). Curious system. Without fingerprints and the like it was harder to ID deserters.

    Then there was the problem of rural recruits simply going home to help with the harvest, or just plain losing their nerve, and no wonder; the battles were hellish, and the medical help crude.

    Southern deserters usually headed West, where the War was spottier. Northern ones went home if they were urban; if they weren't, they too went West.
  7. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    Well part of the trouble is that if he did desert, he changed his name and the family history indicates that after the war he never went back to his family, worked on riverboats for several years, and much later he married, converted to Mormonism, and moved west. His own daughter apparently had no idea who her grandparents were, and then one his grandsons apparently connected him to the family that he left and that he deserted, but they mention specific dates and regiments but unlike the Confederate they failed to list sources in the books a distant relative wrote. And seeing how the people who supposedly found this all out are now dead themselves, I'm just hoping their families have more information.

    So in this case it seems it was either him losing his nerve, or suffering bad conditions, but then had a change of heart and decided to reenlist but change his name.

    And since by 1900 every single one of my ancestors was Mormon, the nice thing is they were much more interested than most at the time in keeping family records.
  8. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1998
    star 9
    It's a fascinating story, and I agree that the fact that he never went home suggests desertion. It's what I would have done in his case, anyway.
  9. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1998
    star 9
    On the question (again) on whether slavery would have lasted in the USA without the war: even the serfs in Russia were freed in 1860, and slavery as a wide-spread institution was despised by Europe. So was the war necessary?
  10. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    Considering that the economic situation of the South did continue on for almost another 100 years, who knows when it would have eventually fell apart.
  11. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1998
    star 9
    I think that had Europe pressured the States on it, they might have been successful, especially as the North did not allow it.
  12. LtNOWIS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
    It would have been fairly easy to end slavery officially, but still not grant blacks the full equality defined in the 14th and 15th Amendments, thus keeping them as an impoverished underclass.
  13. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1998
    star 9
    Slavery was retarding the South; they needed to end it.
  14. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    I think that had Europe pressured the States on it, they might have been successful, especially as the North did not allow it.

    Well the North pressured the South on it, and look where that got us :p

    Not to mention that Americans seemed to have a good deal of disdain for Europe, what with the Monroe Doctrine and all.
  15. CloneUncleOwen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2009
    star 4
    Without specific economic compensation for loss of property?

    Please show... with figures...[face_thinking]


    Just askin'.... would have stopped a war, old man.

    Cheers!:)
  16. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2001
    star 6
    I got it that the South was damned stubborn about it, but slavery nearly died out until the invention of the cotton gin. If the South couldn't sell their cotton, slavery was uneconomic.
  17. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    If it wasn't the cotton gin, it would've been something else. Technology and industrialization simply made it so that you only need a few people pressing a few levers here and there to operate some machine that did something. And if you don't have to pay them, then that's all the more money for you.
  18. LtNOWIS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
    Well, it looks like the governor agrees with shanerjedi rather than me. There won't be a Confederate History Month next year, for the big 150th anniversary. Instead they'll be a "Civil War in Virginia" month. I suppose he has a point about not wanting to offend people, but we'll see how he chooses his words next April. He would be wrong to imply that the Civil War was just some calamitous event that befell Virginia, and ignore the fact that the vast bulk of the citizenry and officialdom in Virginia supported the defenders rather than the invaders.
  19. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    The Confederates were "defenders" and the federal government and national military were "invaders"??

    The Confederates were Traitors, Criminals, and Terrorists who were trying to secede, and were not independent to be "invaded," and the federal government was doing what it was formed to do (when the Founding Fathers realized what a near-fatal mistake it was to have a confederation as our first national government). They were fighting to preserve the Union, and defending the nation against aggressive, fanatic, racist, quasi-theocratic rebels who decided to act against the federal government and national military first (all because they didn't have enough people supporting them and voting for them to win the 1860 presidential election).
  20. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Ho hum, more historical revisionism.
  21. LtNOWIS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
    It is an unquestionable historical fact that the Union Armed Forces invaded Virginia during the Civil War, and the Confederate Armed Forces defended Virginia during the Civil War. General Grant himself describes the "invasion" of Confederate states in his memoirs. The terminology does not imply that one side was morally superior to another.
  22. saturn5 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2009
    star 4
    Great article in BBC History Magazine this week. The Confederacy actually started to break away upon Lincoln's election, didn't even wait for him to take power. Ultimately you can't argue that the North invaded the South when the North regarded the US as all one country.

    Essential reading on the subject The Killer Angels. Essential watching, Ken Burns magnificent documentary series plus the epic TV movie Gettysburg (the scene where the Chamberlain brothers embrace at the end tears me up every time, the civil war was brother against brother and here we have 2 brothers reunited).

    When it comes down to it the North wanted to free the slaves and the South didn't, the North clearly has the moral high ground. Great scene in Gettysburg where everyone tries to convince the British military attache to the South to have the UK intervene. But General Longstreet (Tom Berenger) tells him he knows that'll never happen, no European power could ever support slavery by the 1860s
  23. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Hmmm.....
  24. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    No, it isn't. The Confederacy was not a separate nation, nor was it being defensive. They declared secession first. They seized the military forts and resources first. They bombarded Fort Sumter until the United States military surrrendered the base to them. The United States of America reacted appropriately to this rebellion.

    Exactly.
  25. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Since when does the definition of "invasion" require that the target be another country?
    I don't see anything in those definitions that requires the target be another country. That covers the military meaning of the word according to multiple dictionaries.

    Whether the North regarded the South as part of the same country or not, it was still territory that was under he control of enemy forces. That makes it an invasion. If you disagree, then please identify your sources for the definition of an invasion.

    Kimball Kinnison
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