John J. Dwyer’s “War Between the States” in Video

Not too long ago I commented on a popular homeschooling textbook on the Civil War by John J. Dwyer, titled, The War Between the States: America’s Uncivil War.  This is the video promo for that textbook.  It is a truly remarkable modern day Lost Cause inspired account of the war.  It essentially pits a God-fearing South against a Godless and barbaric North that accomplished nothing during the war except for the terrorizing and destroying of southern homes and farms.  A wonderful example of mental child abuse pure and simple.

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19 comments… add one

  • Jarret Ruminski Oct 31, 2009

    Given the progress of recent scholarship, I find the phrase “It would be difficult to find two cultures on the face of the earth more different than the North and South” utterly irresponsible and this point highly questionable at best. I suspect many of the speakers at the SHA meeting next week like John Majewski and Chad Morgan would also strongly disagree with that ridiculous statement. Maybe I'm a bit naive, but the fact there are people in the 21st century who still cling to this imaginary narrative is baffling.

    • Kevin Levin Oct 31, 2009

      It's indeed incredibly disturbing that people still believe this nonsense. I assume that given your reference to the SHA that you are planning to attend. If so, I look forward to meeting you.

  • Jarret Ruminski Oct 31, 2009

    In addition, I've spent the last two weeks here in Mississippi looking at among other things, pre-war state newspapers, and I can positively say that when Mississippi was discussing secession in December and January of 1860-61, not once did they ever mention “Tarriffs” as a problem. There is, however, plenty of talk about “fanatical abolitionists” and “northern Black Republican negro-lovers.” Also, were they trying to suggest that Lee was a minister? This is like entering another dimension.

    • Paul Taylor Nov 1, 2009

      Very interesting re the newspapers, but not surprising. I'm sure someone somewhere has done an analysis of the various secession conventions to document any given state's justification for seceding. It would indeed be interesting to see what was said.

      • Marc Ferguson Nov 1, 2009

        Paul,
        You can read the the Declarations of Causes for Secession by South Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia, and Texas, as well as the Ordinances of Secession here: <http://civilwarcauses.org/>. If you are not familiar with it, you should also read Charles Dew's _Apostles of Disunion_. These sources leave little doubt that protection of slavery was the motivation behind secession for the original seven states that seceded, and when they went to argue their case to the upper and border south states, they appealed to the need to protect the institution of slavery.

        • Paul Taylor Nov 1, 2009

          Mark & Marc -

          Thanks for pointing me in the right direction and I'll add Dew's book to my list. I'm not surprised in the least by your analysis. Matt McKeon's earlier remark that “They are not trying to teach the past, or even a version of the past. They are trying to create a certain kind of present” hits the nail on the head, as Kevin pointed out.

          PT

      • markrcheathem Nov 1, 2009

        Paul,

        It's pretty easy to find the proclamations of the various state secession conventions online. Four are here: http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/reasons.html

        Also, reading the correspondence of the agents sent to encourage secession is revealing. Charles Dew's book Apostles of Disunion is a good introduction to that perspective.

  • Corey Meyer Oct 31, 2009

    In the sage wisdon of comedian Ron White…”You can't fix stupid!”

  • Matt McKeon Nov 1, 2009

    They are not trying to teach the past, or even a version of the past. They are trying to create a certain kind of present.

  • margaretdblough Nov 1, 2009

    Did Leni Riefenstahl do that under an assumed name before she died or did they go straight to channeling the evil spirit of Joseph Goebbels and the Big Lie? It's actually useful, though as a compendium of the worst Lost Cause lies and distortions. Aside from the fact that the North wasn't nearly as industrial as portrayed, the biggest lie in the film is the atheist North v. godly South canard (and if the actual people involved in this do believe in God, they are going to have some serious explaining to do on Judgment Day about taking the Lord's Name in vain). It was precisely the overtly religious, evangelical nature of the 19th century immediatist abolitionist movement that got under slaveowners' skin in a way that the 18th century anti-slavery forces who were also influenced by Enlightenment philosophy never could.

    I found it sick and disturbing that the white southerners' suffering was shown and mourned in the video but the slaves were presented like cattle. One also has to be very careful on photos of ruined Southern cities and plantations. Richmond burned when fires intentionally set to destroy military resources, done under Confederate army orders, blazed out of control. It was all over before the first union soldier set foot in the smoldering ruins. I wonder if the book has the most blatant distorted image, the Windsor Ruins, the columns that are the sole survivors of the magnificent Windson Plantation house in Mississippi after fire destroyed it. The only problem with that is that Windsor survived the war intact, perhaps because it served as a Union Army hospital. It burned in 1890 and its destruction stands for nothing more than the errors of careless smoking (the reputed cause was a lit cigarette dropped by a houseguest.)

    • Kevin Levin Nov 1, 2009

      I'm not sure I can add anything more. It also doesn't say much for the authority of Dwyer's buddies like Livingston and DiLorenzo who endorsed the book. Than again, they are not trained as historians.

      • margaretdblough Nov 1, 2009

        I've read enough of what DiLorenzo considers to be historical analysis for his endorsement of a book, video, etc. to be a warning label that the contents are ideology, not scholarship.

  • Kevin Levin Nov 1, 2009

    I'm not sure I can add anything more. It also doesn't say much for the authority of Dwyer's buddies like Livingston and DiLorenzo who endorsed the book. Than again, they are not trained as historians.

  • margaretdblough Nov 1, 2009

    I've read enough of what DiLorenzo considers to be historical analysis for his endorsement of a book, video, etc. to be a warning label that the contents are ideology, not scholarship.

  • Paul Taylor Nov 1, 2009

    Very interesting re the newspapers, but not surprising. I'm sure someone somewhere has done an analysis of the various secession conventions to document any given state's justification for seceding. It would indeed be interesting to see what was said.

  • Marc Ferguson Nov 1, 2009

    Paul,
    You can read the the Declarations of Causes for Secession by South Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia, and Texas, as well as the Ordinances of Secession here: <http://civilwarcauses.org/>. If you are not familiar with it, you should also read Charles Dew's _Apostles of Disunion_. These sources leave little doubt that protection of slavery was the motivation behind secession for the original seven states that seceded, and when they went to argue their case to the upper and border south states, they appealed to the need to protect the institution of slavery.

  • markrcheathem Nov 1, 2009

    Paul,

    It's pretty easy to find the proclamations of the various state secession conventions online. Four are here: http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/reasons.html

    Also, reading the correspondence of the agents sent to encourage secession is revealing. Charles Dew's book Apostles of Disunion is a good introduction to that perspective.

  • Paul Taylor Nov 1, 2009

    Mark & Marc -

    Thanks for pointing me in the right direction and I'll add Dew's book to my list. I'm not surprised in the least by your analysis. Matt McKeon's earlier remark that “They are not trying to teach the past, or even a version of the past. They are trying to create a certain kind of present” hits the nail on the head, as Kevin pointed out.

    PT

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