Heather Cox Richardson on Her New Book "How the South Won the Civil War"

PatYoung

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Historian Heather Cox Richardson spoke recently at the Brooklyn Historians Society, ok at a Zoom put out by the BHS, about her new book "How the South Won the Civil War." The wide ranging discussion covers everything from Lincoln to today's pandemic.

 

O' Be Joyful

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Historian Heather Cox Richardson spoke recently at the Brooklyn Historians Society, ok at a Zoom put out by the BHS, about her new book "How the South Won the Civil War." The wide ranging discussion covers everything from Lincoln to today's pandemic.

 

diane

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I'm looking forward to reading this. Her book on Wounded Knee, think it was published about ten years ago, is a very good view of the origins of that event.
 

Joshism

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Other than losing a million soldiers, their independence, the way of life that prompted secession, all war and political objectives, and civil war.....
And yet they got nearly a century of nearly one party rule with Jim Crow. They controlled the narrative of the war for more than a century. They were allowed to memorialize their heroes and display the symbols of their cause. Arguably the Confederacy was more popular in 1961 than it had been in 1861. They remain beloved by most of their descendants. 160 years later, despite a second Northern invasion and occupation of much of the South (post-WW2, civilian rather than military), their conservative ideals remain a powerful force in the country today.

In failing to secure independence de jure to protect their way of life, they largely succeeded de facto.
 

jgoodguy

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And yet they got nearly a century of nearly one party rule with Jim Crow. They controlled the narrative of the war for more than a century. They were allowed to memorialize their heroes and display the symbols of their cause. Arguably the Confederacy was more popular in 1961 than it had been in 1861. They remain beloved by most of their descendants. 160 years later, despite a second Northern invasion and occupation of much of the South (post-WW2, civilian rather than military), their conservative ideals remain a powerful force in the country today.

In failing to secure independence de jure to protect their way of life, they largely succeeded de facto.
I understand those points, but would have secessionists agreed that staying in Lincoln's Union was worth it? Was it a good trade for those 1,000,000? What was the war over, nothing but Union? The US paid in blood for Union, nothing else and we got Union. We got the end of unilateral States Rights. We got the end of slavery.

It may not be pretty in the view late 20th early 21th century idealism but that is presenting projected backwards.

Other than the oppression of blacks, which was more or less everywhere, all that is fluff, decoration, and intangible. The US has been 'Conservative' all its existence. It's just that 'Conservative' moves left.

I'd love for an advocate to take the book, present its arguments point by point and let me attempt to rebut them.
 

diane

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And yet they got nearly a century of nearly one party rule with Jim Crow. They controlled the narrative of the war for more than a century. They were allowed to memorialize their heroes and display the symbols of their cause. Arguably the Confederacy was more popular in 1961 than it had been in 1861. They remain beloved by most of their descendants. 160 years later, despite a second Northern invasion and occupation of much of the South (post-WW2, civilian rather than military), their conservative ideals remain a powerful force in the country today.

In failing to secure independence de jure to protect their way of life, they largely succeeded de facto.
The children and grandchildren of the rebels were still alive to see the 100th anniversary of the Civil War. Mary Forrest Bradley, Forrest's granddaughter, died in 1965 and Julia Preston, Stonewall Jackson's granddaughter, died in 1991. These descendants were very powerful and just about as revered as their grandpas! Their South was Faulkner's South. They wanted the antebellum South to come back. The children and grandchildren of the slaves sure saw something different! The past had no charm for them and the present had to change.
 

jgoodguy

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The children and grandchildren of the rebels were still alive to see the 100th anniversary of the Civil War. Mary Forrest Bradley, Forrest's granddaughter, died in 1965 and Julia Preston, Stonewall Jackson's granddaughter, died in 1991. These descendants were very powerful and just about as revered as their grandpas! Their South was Faulkner's South. They wanted the antebellum South to come back. The children and grandchildren of the slaves sure saw something different! The past had no charm for them and the present had to change.
The Confederacy was a reaction to change from the Ivanhoe idealist South to the mudsill North. The lost cause likewise was promoting a South that never existed. IMHO if they had got their wish for the antebellum South to come back, with its women in their place ideal they would have been very unhappy.
 

diane

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Ivanhoe was behind the glorification of the klan, too - the ladies of the South didn't want their rebel men to look like oppressors but noble heroes. Forrest's granddaughter was raised by her grandmother - Mary Ann Forrest - who truly believed the klansmen were knights out of her novels and history books. She taught all her grandchildren that, and her son too...even though her husband said it was the worst mistake of his life and, after a good look, stepped back from them. Grandma is why grandson became the Grand Dragon in Georgia for decades and granddaughter gave speech after speech invoking her grandfather against desegregation. Forrest was against segregation. But granddaughter's speeches sure didn't help his cause. Nor the poem inscribed on the monument written by the poetess laureate of the Confederacy nearly three decades after his death:

His hoofbeats die not on fame's crimson sod
But shall ring through his song and story
He fought like a Titan and struck like a god
And his dust is our Ashes of Glory

The irony here is Forrest himself had a totally different view. The Confederacy was no more as soon as Lee signed the surrender papers. When he received a letter to General Forrest, he signed the reply Just Forrest. (Now, Democrat politics and securing black labor was another matter!)
 

jgoodguy

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Ivanhoe was behind the glorification of the klan, too - the ladies of the South didn't want their rebel men to look like oppressors but noble heroes. Forrest's granddaughter was raised by her grandmother - Mary Ann Forrest - who truly believed the klansmen were knights out of her novels and history books. She taught all her grandchildren that, and her son too...even though her husband said it was the worst mistake of his life and, after a good look, stepped back from them. Grandma is why grandson became the Grand Dragon in Georgia for decades and granddaughter gave speech after speech invoking her grandfather against desegregation. Forrest was against segregation. But granddaughter's speeches sure didn't help his cause. Nor the poem inscribed on the monument written by the poetess laureate of the Confederacy nearly three decades after his death:

His hoofbeats die not on fame's crimson sod
But shall ring through his song and story
He fought like a Titan and struck like a god
And his dust is our Ashes of Glory

The irony here is Forrest himself had a totally different view. The Confederacy was no more as soon as Lee signed the surrender papers. When he received a letter to General Forrest, he signed the reply Just Forrest. (Now, Democrat politics and securing black labor was another matter!)
FWIW I don't get real excited about Forrest and his times. I personally believe there should be a Confederate Park where monuments go to be admired by those who want to pay to see them in every former CSA State.
 

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FWIW I don't get real excited about Forrest and his times. I personally believe there should be a Confederate Park where monuments go to be admired by those who want to pay to see them in every former CSA State.
I think that's what many of the former Soviet bloc countries did - put the communist statues and memorabilia in designated areas where an uneasy phase of their history was not in the general public's eye but could be seen by those who wished to see it in the light of history. That kept it from being kindling to start whatever fires might be started in the public arena.
 

O' Be Joyful

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The lost cause likewise was promoting a South that never existed. IMHO if they had got their wish for the antebellum South to come back, with its women in their place ideal they would have been very unhappy.
"Frankly, I don't give a damn. Scarlett." :cool:
 

Joshism

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I think that's what many of the former Soviet bloc countries did - put the communist statues and memorabilia in designated areas where an uneasy phase of their history was not in the general public's eye but could be seen by those who wished to see it in the light of history. That kept it from being kindling to start whatever fires might be started in the public arena.
Also by having them in one place it's easier to use them for historical interpretation, and to guard them in times of unrest.
 

diane

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Also by having them in one place it's easier to use them for historical interpretation, and to guard them in times of unrest.
Quite a few of the more important and thereby controversial monuments could be taken up by the Federal government and put under the protection of the various antiquities and historical significance laws the federal government has in place. That was what happened when the Hermitage and all things Andrew Jackson were under fire. Of course, he was a president and Lee wasn't!
 

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Just a little...


“The West and the South become a political block and begin to push back against the East, not only in issues of finance, which other historians had identified before but also with issues of race and economic development. It was my contention in that book that one of the ways we got the Progressive Era was because once again, the people in the West and the South had managed to reinstate the concept of subordination for non-white peoples and for women in order to then be able to say that they could use the government to promote equality of opportunity for white men.”
 
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