Unemployment is still terrible, but there’s still plenty of work in historical revisionism. Here’s the latest on the ongoing reinterpretation of the
War Between the States, or the Civil War, I mean, The War to Free the Slaves. Courtesy of the Huffington Post:
Issued 150 years ago this week, President Abraham Lincoln’s initial proclamation that he would free the South’s slaves is enjoying a public showcase to match its increased profile among scholars.
Lincoln released his lesser-known preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on Sept. 22, 1862 – 100 days before the final version. The first of the two documents has gained importance among historians as a turning point in the Civil War because of a change in thinking over the past 50 years.
Not that long ago, historians would explain the conflict in terms of clashing economic interests, States’ Rights, and different views of the Constitution. They acknowledged that slavery was an issue, but was not Lincoln’s or the North’s primary motivation. Historians would point to Lincoln’s own statement that if he could keep the South in the Union with slavery, he would do so. Historians would also refer to Congress’ July 22, 1861 “Joint Resolution on the War,” that proclaimed:
Resolved: . . . That this war is not being prosecuted upon our part in any spirit of oppression, nor for any purpose of conquest or subjugation, nor purpose of overthrowing or interfering with the rights or established institutions of those states, but to defend and maintain the supremacy of the Constitution and all laws made in pursuance thereof and to preserve the Union, with all the dignity, equality and rights of the several states unimpaired; and that as soon as these objects are accomplished the war ought to cease.
Then there was the Corwin Amendment, which Lincoln supported, that would deprive Congress of the power to “abolish or interfere” with slavery. That effort to keep the South in the Union failed, however.
Apparently, the people who lived and fought and wrote history during and the decades after the WBTS didn’t know what they were doing.
So why do
court historians scholars now say that slavery was central to the war? Here’s what the Huffington Post article says about that:
Slavery and its abolition were once treated by historians as minor parts of the story behind the Civil War, but that began to change after the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, said historian Edward Ayers, president of the University of Richmond. Since then, the steps that led to emancipation have been recognized for their importance – with the Sept. 22 proclamation being a prime example.
“All our thinking about this has undergone remarkable recasting over the last 50 years,” Ayers said. “People begin now with slavery as the fundamental fact and emancipation and less with union as being the sole focus of attention.”
So, it was the Civil Rights Revolution that caused this “remarkable recasting” of the cause of the WBTS. And as regular readers of this blog are aware, DC promoted that cultural and political revolution to advance its aggressive foreign policy: By repackaging DC as the great liberator of blacks in the 19th century and the present day, DC was able to counter the USSR’s “African Socialism” initiative during the Cold War.
Bottom line: The Civil War was the first war in history NOT about power or money, but doing good deeds for others. Guess that’s what makes America “exceptional.”