Putting a Minor in History to Work

The creator of this video claims to be putting his minor in history to good use by sharing what the Civil War was really about. I think you know what this is code for. I will try to find out where his minor in history was completed, though I am fairly confident that no one I know will be embarrassed. The one point that does resonate with me having read Edward Baptist’s new book comes at the 3:25 mark when it is claimed that the elimination of slavery was a “deep blow to private property and free enterprise.” Southern slaveholders would have certainly agreed with that claim.

By the way, you don’t really need to watch this video.

[Uploaded to YouTube on September 29, 2014]

45 thoughts on “Putting a Minor in History to Work

  1. GDBrasher

    Of course there are the typical laughable comments here, but the one that I laughed at the most was one from left field: “The abolitionists lived in places like Massachusetts where it was too cold to farm.”

    Reply
    1. Bill

      It’s interesting that he mention Massachusetts, I might be mistaken, but my understanding is the first slaves introduced in America came into that state by Portuguese slave traders. For many years slaves were bought and sold throughout the contiguous thirteen colonies, owned by both Christians and members of the First People, or as they prefer to be called, Native Americans

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        1. Jimmy Dick

          They weren’t actually slaves. They were not treated like slaves. They were considered to be more like indentured servants. It is hard to define their status, but it does seem that they were not actually slaves.

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          1. Bill

            Anytime people are bought and sold to do another man’s bidding without choice, to me that is slavery, make no mistake about it!

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            1. Kevin Levin Post author

              But there is an important distinction between indentured servitude and slavery. The former was usually contractual and included a time limit the latter did not unless the owner chose otherwise.

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              1. Bill

                Do you think for even a second that these poor emaciated souls coming off these slave boats received a contract of indenture, really??

            2. Andy Hall

              Indentured servitude usually came about as a result of a debt, and was sometimes entered voluntarily. As Kevin notes, it was usually for a specific time period. African slavery in this country, as it developed in the British colonies, was not only for life, but extended in perpetuity down through the generations. These are important distinctions.

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              1. Bill

                I think your right on target Andy, their were way’s that people were manipulatedinto continued service, sometimes long after their indenture expired, but did eventually break free, not so much with slaves.

  2. Nathan Towne

    Why the party flag of the NSDAP (and of course the National flag of the Third Reich)?

    Aside from the foolishness, that type of thing is in extremely poor taste in my opinion.

    Reply
      1. Nathan Towne

        Well, I try to avoid that stuff if possible, but no matter how many times the connection is made, it is rendered no less idiotic.

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  3. Lee

    Watch out liberal academics. He is here to “unprove” our history.

    Reactionaries love to say the CW was not about slavery. But then they always follow up with how slavery wasn’t that bad. Funny how that is. Same with holocaust deniers. They deny it took place, right as they say how the Jews had it coming.

    Same disease. The root of totalitarian ideologies the world over.

    Sorry for going on a tangent…

    Reply
  4. Jerry McKenzie

    Maybe he should have majored in History, but I don’t think that would have expanded his smug, racist, greedy world-view. It might have been better to let him languish in obscurity in a YouTube dystopia. Truth-flavored bias indeed. And speaking of truth-flavored bias: the Cato guy’s editorial in the Detroit News!

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      It might have been better to let him languish in obscurity in a YouTube dystopia.

      Perhaps, but I’ve made it a point to highlight on this blog how Americans have gone about interpreting the Civil War era.

      Reply
  5. EK

    Wow, he really understands the concept of abstract, class-based slavery. In my professional opinion, I think he is George Fitzhugh’s ghost. Kevin, if you can find a picture of him, look for a lesion in the side of the head.

    Reply
  6. Bill

    Most of what the man spoke of is utter nonsense, that being said, I agree with one point; Eliminating slavery was not a priority of Abraham Lincoln upon being elected President, his primary intent was to figure out a way to conciliate the rich industrialist and plantation owners of the north and south and bring them to terms. The powers of above in the south refused to allow him time to negotiate. Lincoln did lean toward the eventual abolishment of slavery, but realistically knew it could not be accomplished during his term when entering office.

    Regarding the Generalship of the Union Army, at the battle of the first Bull Run, Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell was commander of the Union forces, leading recent untrained volunteers from the ranks of civilians into battle; his nemesis, Brig. Gen. J.T. Beauregard, commanded a much better trained force, many of his officers and men were from will trained and equipped militia formed in reaction to the Nat Turner Rebellion of 1831.

    Lincoln’s choice of McClellan to assume the command of the Army of the Potomac was the right choice; McClellan understood the superiority of the Southern Armies ability; wanting to equip and train-up his army of volunteers and go about integrating them into battle. The politicians and their backers of the north wanted the unrealistic, instant defeat of the south, quickly becoming dissatisfied with Lincoln and his General’s leadership.

    The war started in the spring of 1861; Robert E. Lee did not become commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia until 1862. In the meantime U.S. Grant was a Captain, recruiting volunteers. Timing is everything!

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Eliminating slavery was not a priority of Abraham Lincoln upon being elected President, his primary intent was to figure out a way to conciliate the rich industrialist and plantation owners of the north and south and bring them to terms.

      No, his primary goal was to preserve the Union. How does one “conciliate” plantation owners by ordering the army to force their states back into the Union?

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      1. Bill

        Yes several states had seceded, but Abraham Lincoln’s intent was to get the two sides to come to terms without force from either side; it was only after the confederate armies blockade of Fort Sumter that Lincoln sent a naval vessel with supplies and troops to the beleaguered garrison that Ft. Sumter was bombarded.

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          1. Bill

            Upon taking office President Lincoln embraced the Corwin Amendment, hoping it would be strong enough to bring the seceding states back. Your Welcome!

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          2. Bill

            Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States that by the accession of a Republican Administration their property and their peace and personal security are to be endangered. There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed and been open to their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of him who now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare that “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.”

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            1. Kevin Levin Post author

              Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States that by the accession of a Republican Administration their property and their peace and personal security are to be endangered.

              This is a reference to slavery.

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      2. chancery

        Two books by Professor James Oakes, “The Scorpion’s Sting,” which I’ve recently read, and “Freedom National,” which I’m half-way through, strongly argue that encompassing the end of slavery were important political goals for Lincoln and the Republican Party before the war, as well as crucial war aims from the beginning of the war.

        I’m a huge fan of the Cooper Union Speech (and recommend Harold Holzer’s book on the subject). However, I’m becoming persuaded that there was something slightly disingenuous about the insistence of Lincoln and the Republicans that they intended no threat to the existence of slavery in slave states. It might be better to recharacterize their position as intending no _improper_ threat to the existence of slavery. (And I also believe that the slave interests did not intend to tolerate freedom, even in the free states. Lemmon v. People, 20 N.Y. 562 (1860), was heading for the Supreme Court, and there doesn’t seem to be any doubt how Taney would decide it.)

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        1. Bill

          Thank you for sharing your take, I did mention previously that Lincoln envisioned a day when slavery would be eliminated.

          Reply
  7. John Betts

    Well I made it 1.45 minutes into it and then had to shut it off. The stupid just burns too much. The juxtaposition of an image of Lincoln with the Nazi flag doesn’t help his argument, for which I should probably be glad.

    Reply

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