Many of you will remember the short video that West Point Professor of History Ty Seidule did on the cause of the Civil War. It went viral and catapulted the professor to Internet sensation. The video’s popularity did not stem simply from Professor Seidule’s identification of slavery at the central cause of the war. It had more to do with his association with West Point and the military that caught some people off guard. Professor Seidule’s interpretation could not be dismissed as just another liberal/revisionist academic rant.
This year Washington & Lee University invited Seidule (a graduate of the school) to deliver their annual Constitution Day lecture.
In it he challenges the school to continue to deal with the school’s Lost Cause legacy and to find ways to address this history in order to help the entire community move forward. Along the way, Seidule shares his own personal story and identification with Lee and the history of the Confederacy. It has much in common with the personal story that Charles Dew tells in the preface of his book Apostles of Disunion and that he expanded on more recently in The Making of a Racist: A Southerner Reflects on Family, History, and the Slave Trade.
The lecture is only about 30 minutes and is well worth your time.