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View Diary: The Fall of Richmond (29 comments)

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  •  It was probably (31+ / 0-)

    Obama's well-publicized admiration for Lincoln, coupled with the way he disappointed progressives nearly as much as Lincoln disappointed abolitionists, that got me buying into the idea of a modern-day cold Civil War. But the thing that made me pretty much desperate for Obama to win was the aftermath of the Civil War, specifically the black-controlled legislatures during Reconstruction, and they way their reputation was destroyed for a hundred years. It was a given in the history books when I was growing up that those legislatures were hopelessly, almost comically corrupt, a whole crew of Stepnfetchits in charge. Imagine my surprise in college to learn scholars were reevaluating that altogether. But a hundred years is a long time for a lie to go unchallenged.
    I just felt certain that what Republicans did to Carter's presidency in the popular perception was going to be 100 times worse with Obama as a one-termer, that one conscious motive of the Republicans' desperation to defeat Obama was a real need to destroy his presidency in the eyes of history. And I don't think it would have been that hard to do.
    One other Civil-War correlation, I thought, this year. If Ohio truly was the key (and I think it was - Virginia and Florida were wonderful bonuses), then I think the most crucial development in the whole election was the attempt to halt early voting in Ohio. That was Gettysburg, and whoever just stepped up in court for the Democrats and did their job and got that stopped was like that Union officer at Gettysburg that seized the high ground and, in a very real sense as I understand it, saved the Union.
    Sorry for such a long comment. I still remember the P. L. Dunbar poem I read over 40 years ago in high school which concludes that of all the mysterious ways of God, the largest is a divinity that would "make a man black and bid him sing".  

    •  thanks for your thoughts, this has been on my (18+ / 0-)

      mind for a long time, I agree that Reconstruction was completely ill-taught, even in the textbooks used on the West Coast.  Of course there was no mention of the important and maybe critical contributions of African-Americans in the war, and I agree that the same historical treatment awaited President Obama should he have lost the election.

      You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

      by Cartoon Peril on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 08:21:38 AM PST

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    •  Take a reference look to the "Dunning School" (14+ / 0-)

      of history on the Civil War, actually the focus was on Reconstruction -- the legacy of Columbia Professor William Archibald Dunning.

      It wasn't so much the Southern view of Reconstruction as it was a nationally adopted view propounded by a notable Northern historian. It might seem to be of little import now, but the Dunning School dominated in this field past 1950.

      Enough so that when I briefly flirted with the notion of a doctorate in Civil War history, I was pushed actively in that direction. Southern schools tended to herd CW types in that direction and toward specific grad schools.

      Recall that progressive Woodrow Wilson, a Southerner in attitude, praised "Birth of a Nation and that progressive Teddy Roosevelt himself stumbled badly over the issue of race.

      There were periods during reconstruction when there was hope of a better future. Some of the scalawags and Carpetbaggers were far better men than described by the Dunninites and much of the Southern opposition was inclined to anything to stop a union of former slaves and poor whites.

      Thomas Watson was during the 1890s an advocate of merging the interest of White farm interests with those of blacks, but when his progressive movement fell flat he moved to the extreme right and helped relaunch the Ku Klux Klan, agitated mobs who lynched Leo Frank in 1915.

      The Great Migration began about the same time, spurred by white land owners forcing removals, dissatisfaction among African-Americans at their status and fairly recent disenfranchisement/enactment of Jim Crow laws. There was also a simultaneous movement to retain the core of a block agrarian class who could be made to work at cheap wages.

      Jobs became available in Northern factories during WWI as the European immigration stopped abruptly just as the need to ramp up war products for Europe boomed. The migration removed some of the pressure for a rational assessment of Reconstruction.

      That pattern continued through at least 1990. The populations of South Carolina and Mississippi, more than 60 percent for much of their existence, began to drop. Today in SC, it is less than 30 percent and without looking it up, the number in Mississippi is probably about 35 percent. Other states, once pushing near 50 percent, are now well under that.

      The war never really ended. Grant  held the troops in place and generally tried to protect both the freedmen and others opposed to the same old But with the 1876 election, the corrupt bargain was made that effectively launched the endless war by the powers that be to retain that power. They do retain it and they have never ended their war for power, by any means necessary.

    •  That would be (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VTCC73, Cartoon Peril, jakedog42, IreGyre

      Joshua Chamberlain and the 20th Maine that held little round top and when almost out of ammo charged downhill with bayonets. An amazing man to be sure.

      music- the universal language

      by daveygodigaditch on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 11:01:30 PM PST

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