American Civil War

Colorado Republican’s Claim that America Ended Slavery Voluntarily Steals Our History

slavery

Actors from the motion picture AMISTAD – Depicting slavery

 

I have no words for the ignorance always coming out of the GOP…this is yet another instance where that remains my position…

PoliticusUSA

Re-writing history, eliminating what they call “liberal bias” – in other words, “facts” – has become a Republican passion, one David Barton is hardly alone in pursuing. Just yesterday we saw the example of reality TV star Jessa Duggar, who blamed Charles Darwin for the Holocaust.

The Colorado Independent reported the other day that Pam Mazanec, “a Larkspur businesswoman who sits on Colorado’s Board of Education, posted on a Facebook discussion thread her concerns that questions asked on the Advanced Placement U.S. history test ‘portray the negative viewpoint as the correct answer.’”

The correct answer to what question, you ask?

“As an example, I note our slavery history. Yes, we practiced slavery. But we also ended it voluntarily, at great sacrifice, while the practice continues in many countries still today!

“Shouldn’t our students be provided that viewpoint? This is part of the argument that America is exceptional. Does our APUSH (AP U.S. History) framework support or denigrate that position?”

Well, we could teach them that viewpoint – if it was accurate. But it is not.

There is the little issue of the American Civil War, in which some750,000 men on both sides died. Yes, three-quarters of a million men died in the war that settled the issue of slavery. And that total does not include civilian deaths.

Then there is the little issue of the Emancipation Proclamation, which would have hardly been necessary had the South voluntarily given up slavery.

The frightening part of all this is that, as The Colorado Independent points out, “Mazanec took office in January 2013 as one of the state’s seven education board members. She represents the 4th U.S. Congressional District – all of eastern Colorado.”

Conservatives like to claim that the Civil War was about states’ rights. The only problem for their claim is that the “right” in question was slavery. For years the country had been torn apart along free or slave-state lines.

Abraham Lincoln, when he ran for president in 1860, opposed the expansion of slavery, which had already spread to Missouri in 1820 and Texas in 1845, while the slave-owning states worried that as the country’s borders expanded westward that they would come to be under-represented in Congress, which would ultimately decide which new states were slave and which were free.

While Lincoln may have been fighting to restore the Union rather than to free the slaves, we must remember that Lincoln had called for the “extinction” of slavery, and that the reason he had to fight at all was because of slavery. Far from relinquishing slavery, the Southern states wanted to expand the institution to other states, and were willing to fight a war to keep their slaves.

Should there be any remaining doubt why a war was fought, Alexander Stephens, the Confederacy’s Vice President, in theCornerstone Address of March 21, 1861, told his audience that,

[T]he new [Confederate] Constitution has put at rest forever all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institutions—African slavery as it exists among us—the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution.

To applause, he went on to say,

Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition.

Right. That’s really voluntarily ending slavery, Pam Mazanec! Far from ending it, Stephens’ speech was a re-affirmation not only of the institution of slavery but the alleged justifications for it.

If the importance of history lies in the fact that we can better understand where we are and where we’re bound from the facts of where we’ve been, it is clear that Republicans would just as soon not learn from the past, but rather invent one as it is needed to justify whatever agenda they happen to be pushing at the time.

We have already seen how John Aman at World Net Daily, is aghast that anyone would consider teaching something other than David Barton’s whitewashed version of American history. Unsurprisingly, but tellingly, Aman calls College Board’s AP United States History Curriculum Framework 2014-2015 a “dark retelling of U.S. history.”

History, for Republicans, should only be about white Europeans, not the darker-skinned peoples they bullied with guns and religion.

This re-writing of history has already attacked children in Texas and Ohio, thanks to pseudo-historian David Barton. We have seen Barton’s wishful thinking re-invent secularist Thomas Jefferson as a modern-day pro-theocracy Evangelical, and we have seen gun-rights quotes put into Jefferson’s mouth in order to combat gun-control.

You would think Mazanec might want to tout the fact that Lincoln, the guy who freed the slaves, was a Republican, but then she might have to admit that the slavery debate had already destroyed the Whig Party, and therefore that slavery was not voluntarily done away with.

And remember that things are not so cut and dried in the party of crazy, where we find many neo-Confederates, and at least one one neo-Confederate pro-slavery secessionist, saying Lincoln was a “commie.”

After all, slaves were property and Lincoln redistributed the wealth.

When you start re-writing history, one insanity leads to another, as we see in the modern Greek claim Alexander of Macedon as a Greek, when their ancestors denied him that appellation and called him instead a barbarian, which was their word for anything that was not Greek. And they were right: Alexander’s native language was Macedonian.

And of course, we’re all well aware by now that Barack Obama is to blame for Bush’s Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, that 9/11 did not occur on George W. Bush’s watch, and that Obama is to blame for Bush’s reaction to Hurricane Katrina.

The Soviet Union tried to destroy the memory of the nations of Eastern Europe. The Republicans are willing to do that to their own country, without the need for a foreign conqueror. What need of enemies when you have Republicans?

H/t: Ted

Welcome to the new Civil War

Welcome to the new Civil War

In a recent discussion with a friend, I mentioned how news pundits constantly use the phrase: “Our country has not been so ideologically divided since the Civil War.”

My friend’s question was “why the Civil War analogy…?  The following piece tends to address this question.

Salon

Lincoln’s unfinished war rages on, as the neo-Confederacy tries to turn back the clock on women, gays, God and guns

On a repeat viewing of Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” over the New Year’s holiday, a scene I had barely noticed the first time jumped out at me. Confederate vice-president Alexander Stephens (played with reptilian gentility by Jackie Earle Haley), in a secret meeting aboard a steamboat with Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of State William Seward, faces up to the reality that the era of slavery has come to an end. Ratification of the 13th Amendment, Stephens muses, will destroy the basis of the Southern economy and the South’s traditional way of life. “We won’t know ourselves anymore,” he says.

If only it had been so. What an affluent slave owner like Stephens feared most, no doubt, was the utopian vision of “radical Reconstruction” imagined by legendary abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens (Tommy Lee Jones in the movie), in an earlier conversation with Lincoln in the White House kitchen. Stevens envisioned a future in which all the land and property of the Southern aristocracy would be dispossessed and divided among the emancipated slaves, building a new society of free soil and free labor amid the ruins of tyranny. To put it in contemporary social-studies terms, Stevens hoped that by uprooting and destroying the South’s slave economy, one could also replace its culture.

It didn’t quite work out that way. You can’t boil one of the most tumultuous periods of American history down to one paragraph, but here goes: Lincoln was assassinated by a domestic terrorist and replaced by Andrew Johnson, who was an incompetent hothead and an unapologetic racist. Within a few years the ambitious project of Reconstruction  fell victim to a sustained insurgency led by the Ku Klux Klan and similar white militia groups. By the late 1870s white supremacist “Redeemers” controlled most local and state governments in the South, and by the 1890s Southern blacks had been disenfranchised and thrust into subservience positions by Jim Crow laws that were only slightly preferable to slavery.

So even though it’s a truism of American public discourse that the Civil War never ended, it’s also literally true. We’re still reaping the whirlwind from that long-ago conflict, and now we face a new Civil War, one focused on divisive political issues of the 21st century – most notably the rights and liberties of women and LGBT people – but rooted in toxic rhetoric and ideas inherited from the 19th century.

Edit Note:  Emphasis are mine

Continue reading here…