The Pilgrims Caused the Civil War

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Regardless of whether the first Thanksgiving began in Massachusetts or Virginia you can at least rest easy in knowing that this first generation of Americans is responsible for the Civil War.  Enter Dick Morris’s whacky world of American history at your own risk and have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

23 comments… add one

  • Scott MacKenzie Nov 23, 2011

    If that’s the case, where the Pilgrims also responsible for America’s future corporate power, its military presence at home and abroad, and its cultural dominance around the world? It seems that he missed a step or twenty.

    • Kevin Levin Nov 23, 2011

      I think it’s safe to say that Dick Morris is missing quite a bit. :-)

      • Scott MacKenzie Nov 23, 2011

        I’m reminded of a quote that Bertram Wyatt-Brown used in his “The Shaping of Southern Culture.” He cited a “contemporary critic [who] rejoined that if only descendants of Cavaliers and heirs of Cromwellian Puritanism had materialized on the battlefields, the Civil War could have been fought under a circus tent.” (page 180). Take that, Dick Morris.

      • Ken Noe Nov 23, 2011

        Dick Morris also confidently predicted that Hillary Clinton would lose the 2008 presidential race to Condi Rice. And sold a lot of books about it.

      • Robert Pomerenk Nov 23, 2011

        He is missing a battery in his smoke alarm……

  • Scott Manning Nov 23, 2011

    Morris butchers history a lot. There is another video where he claims that the only reason Lincoln won the war was by giving more power to Republican generals.

  • Kevin Levin Nov 23, 2011

    Besides placing Pilgrim/Puritan migration much too late in the 17th century I love the reference to slavery as a specifically southern phenomenon. They were all slaveholders!

    • Margaret D. Blough Dec 1, 2011

      At one point in the mid-17th century, New York (aka New Amsterdam) had the largest slave population of any city in what later became the United States. A factor was that the Dutch simply couldn’t persuade enough of their own very prosperous citizens to forgo fortune hunting in order to take up farming to feed its New World colonists. The Dutch were not squeamish about a transatlantic slave trade that they dominated for many years.

  • Ray O'Hara Nov 23, 2011

    Yowsa! Leaving aside in fact I find Morris a truly vile piece of …. his history is amazing.
    Cromwell,The Lord High Protector, ran a democracy? okay.
    and Massachusetts was first settled in the 1640s? so he’s 20 years off ,
    No wonder a recent study found people who watch Fox know less than people who don’t watch the news at all.

    What I find striking was just last night I asked an SCV member what he thought led to the ACW and instead of getting the usual States Rights, Lincoln the tyrant blah blah. He said what Morris said. it was a continuation of the ECW.
    The book Morris mentioned must be making the rounds.

    • Andy Hall Nov 23, 2011

      Leaving aside in fact I find Morris a truly vile piece of ….

      I couldn’t agree more. If Levin starts posting “history” videos from Lanny Davis, I’m done with this place. ;-)

      • Kevin Levin Nov 23, 2011

        Happy Thanksgiving, Andy.

    • Aaron Kidd Nov 24, 2011

      So, what led to the war?

      • Kevin Levin Nov 24, 2011

        Hi Aaron. Hope you had a pleasant Thanksgiving dinner. That’s a pretty complex question, but I would start with James McPherson’s Battle Cry of Freedom for an overview of the long- and short-term causes of the war. Over the past two decades most historians have come to focus on the divisive debates surrounding the expansion of slavery into the western territories.

        • Edwin Thompson Nov 26, 2011

          I’m not sure about the past 2 decades comment. 4 decades ago I was taught that the cause of the civil war was caused by the western expansion of slavery. After all, the northern states were outlawing the practice and didn’t want it to expand. My Dad was taught the same three decades before that. We always knew what caused the civil war.

          The internet has created more nutty positions that are now posted for people to review (thanks for this one – Morris’s history is fiction). But this may be a good thing. We now have such easy access to accurate information from reliable sources. You wrote a great article for the NY Times on this subject in January (in case you forgot – haha)

          http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/21/teaching-civil-war-history-2-0/

          • Kevin Levin Nov 26, 2011

            Good point, Edwin. Than again, students in certain counties in Virginia as late as the early 80s were still using textbooks from the 1960s. I should have said, “in the past few decades.” Thanks for the kind words re: the NYTs piece. I have another essay coming out in the next few weeks at the Disunion blog.

            • Edwin Thompson Nov 26, 2011

              Great – Most of the Disunion articles are very good – I’m sure yours will be. It’s a select group of people who have the talent to summarize a slice of history in 1000 words or less and then take abuse from commentators. Not always an easy task.

  • James Bain Nov 23, 2011

    This “original” theory is not that far removed from the argument presented in Grady McWhiney’s “Attack and Die” back in 1984.

  • Marc Ferguson Nov 23, 2011

    This guy remains an idiot! The Pilgrims may have caused the Civil War, but I believe they worked tirelessly to end it and also to end slavery.

    • Margaret D. Blough Nov 27, 2011

      Actually, the Pilgrims, although related doctrinally, were a distinct group from the Puritans who later founded Massachusetts Bay colony. The Puritans wished to purify the Church of England & were very politically engaged. The Pilgrims were separatists who broke from the Church of England entirely. They were already in America when the English Civil War broke out in 1642. Massachusetts Bay & Plymouth were merged by royal decree in 1691. Slavery ended in Massachusetts in 1783 pursuant to a decision of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. The decision’s reasoning was based on the 1780 state constitution, whose primary author was John Adams.. Among the other egregious errors that Morris makes is crude ignorance of the complex sociological & religious history of Massachusetts.

  • Pet Peeves Nov 23, 2011

    Righty-O. One would think one would have one’s English history a little more settled in one’s mind before speaking out off the cuff. I suppose “whacky” is the bloody operative word here.

  • Margaret D. Blough Nov 27, 2011

    So much for the descendants of the Dutch of New York (at one point in the 17th century, the city in North America with the largest slave population, was NYC); the Quakers, Germans, Scotch-Irish, English and others of Pennsylvania, the Catholics and others of Maryland and, of course, the 19th century wave of immigration, including the Irish, Scandinavians, more Germans, etc.

    This is definitely the Anglicized version of McWhinney’s Celtic nonsense (don’t get me started on the gross distortions of Scottish history that appear in those writings and those of its followers) As someone with second cousins in Scotland, it’s a source of immense irritation to me.

  • London John Nov 29, 2011

    I’m assuming this guy is a rather subtle comedian, right?

  • John Buchanan Dec 1, 2011

    The Pilgrims also stole my lunch money in high school.

    Dick Morris is depriving a village somewhere of its idiot.

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