There is a wonderful dialog going on over at a relatively new Civil War blog, which Dimitri Rotov pointed out a few weeks ago, called Southern Girl. The blogger goes by the name Dixie Dawn and she has posted on a number of issues revolving around Southern heritage. The last few posts include your typical anti-Lincoln rhetoric with a touch of the secession was not about slavery argument. Normally I wouldn’t say anything about this site since they are quite common with little to contribute to serious thinking about the Civil War. However, fellow blogger David Woodbury has engaged Dixie Dawn in what is turning into an interesting discussion.
There are a few posts to check out, including Lincoln Tries to Fool the Danes, Telling It Like It Was…, Truth Be Known…Heritage Not Hate…Get it Staight [sic], and Oppression…It Wasn’t Dixie’s Fault. David’s responses are incredibly thoughtful and reflect a great deal of patience. Dixie’s responses are also respectful with both sides exchanging ideas and admitting the relevance of one another’s points. That said, I wonder how much longer this can continue. Dixie seems to be getting much of her history from books such as James Kennedy’s The South Was Right! and David is approaching the topics from a more scholarly perspective. Dixie is intent on using history to indict and/or vindicate while David is more focused on the content of argument and careful reasoning. David is at his best in the following:
Thanks. You’re obviously very intelligent and articulate, and I’m pleased to see you’re reasonable as well (must be all that time you spent in Iowa!). I have strong opinions, you can tell, but I’m not trying to sell anything more than the fact that there are still more books to read, and still more viewpoints to consider.
It’s my opinion that the more you read, the less stock you’ll put in books like the Kennedy one. But that’s not to say you won’t still have harsh commentary to offer on Lincoln, and the way in which the North waged the war. You can make a more compelling argument than the Kennedys do, and still be taken seriously by the people you’re trying to enlighten.
This is actually an important point and one that highlights the gap between the way David and Dixie approach their subjects. David concentrates on the steps taken to prove a conclusion while Dixie seems more interested in the conclusions. It’s the emotional hold that those conclusions have on Dixie which will ultimately determine the future of this exchange as well as David’s patience.