Treating Jefferson Davis as Commander in Chief

Steven Hahn reviewed James McPherson’s new book about Jefferson Davis in yesterday’s New York Times. It includes nothing out of the ordinary from a typical academic review in a popular publication until you reach the very end. [click to continue…]


“America Is Not the Greatest Country in the World”

A couple weeks ago this short clip from the HBO series, “The Newsroom”, was posted by a couple of my Facebook friends. I’ve never seen the show so I don’t know much of anything about the storyline beyond the obvious. The topic of American Exceptionalism has come up on this blog before and it always seems to bring out emotional responses from my readers and from other bloggers, who can’t understand why I find the whole question of this nation’s exceptionalism to be uninteresting and even meaningless. [click to continue…]


“Every 3.6 Minutes”

I’ve always struggled with the way I teach the history of slavery to high school students. Pushing my students toward what I hope is a meaningful overview of slavery’s evolution and eventual demise inevitably overshadows change over time, regional differences, and even runs the risk of minimizing the horror of slavery itself. This last category is especially difficult to convey. [click to continue…]


Looking For Conflict Along Sherman’s March

I’ve said it before. Mainstream media can’t help but report a Civil War related story without resorting to the popular meme of an “unfinished war.” Americans are supposedly still fighting the war. This afternoon I caught this interview with Professor James Cobb of the University of Georgia, who discussed the history and especially the legacy of Sherman’s March. The reporter pressed him on explaining why the new marker placed by the Georgia Historical Society to commemorate the anniversary of the march is still so divisive.

Well, it’s not. Cobb correctly noted that while there may still be small, but vocal groups of Americans who are still upset about what Sherman did to their state most people have not given it any thought. Keep in mind that this breaking news is not coming from some transplanted Yankee carpetbagger. Just listen to that accent. In short, the placement of the marker that supposedly includes a “revisionist” account of the events of November-December 1864 is, in the end, not a big deal. It changes nothing for the vast majority of white and black Georgians.


The Re-Construction of Sherman’s March

This is as solid an essay as you will find on the history and legacy of Sherman’s March. And yet there is something missing in this story. [click to continue…]