“A Ludicrous Tragedy or a Solemn Farce”

Today in my survey class we examined newspaper editorials from across the country in the wake of John Brown’s raid at Harpers Ferry in October 1859. The goal of the lesson was to learn how to interpret newspapers and to get a sense of the extent of the sectional divide over Brown’s actions. Students tracked assessments of Brown that bridged North and South and ways in which they diverged. Even more interesting was watching them come to terms with the fact that not everyone in each region agreed on what Brown’s actions meant. Students struggled quite a bit with an editorial from Nashville, Tennessee. Continue reading

The Confederacy Freed the Slaves

Earlier today I posted Jon Stewart’s take down of FOX’s Andrew “The Hair” Napolitano who offered his own not-so-unique interpretation of Lincoln’s role in emancipation. Continuing with this line of absurd reasoning I give you The SHPG’s Valerie Protopapas, who I believe is a Northern gal. This is her take on the question of “Who freed the slaves?” Continue reading

Jon Stewart Nails Andrew Napolitano

Bonus: And don’t forget this Jon Stewart classic from a few years ago.

Anyone who believes that American slavery was on the decline on the eve of the Civil War deserves to be publicly mocked. Jon Stewart and company highlight some of the more outrageous things that FOX News’s Andrew Napolitiano has said about Lincoln in recent years. Not sure I like his new hair color. Can’t wait to use this in my Civil War class tomorrow as we further explore Lincoln’s evolving views on race and emancipation.

A Time to Remember the Suffering of all Americans During the Civil War

Andersonville National Historic Site
Andersonville National Historic Site

We should not be surprised by the irrational response by a select few to the selection of William T. Sherman as 1864s’ Man of the Year by an audience at the Museum of the Confederacy this past weekend. I applaud the MOC for maintaining an open Facebook page to facilitate responses and the very limited positive give and take that can be found. The most extreme comments come from people who see themselves as victims of Sherman’s actions in Georgia in 1864. They are most definitely not victims.

It might be helpful to place the destruction wrought by Sherman alongside the suffering of United States soldiers at Andersonville Prison, which commenced with its sesquicentennial commemoration today. One of my readers reminded me that there was likely much more suffering within the walls of the prison than that caused by Sherman throughout Georgia in 1864. On the one hand it’s a perspective that I never considered while at the same time it means very little to me. Continue reading

William T. Sherman: Man of the Year

general-william-tecumseh-sherman
Congratulations General

No doubt, many will shudder in revulsion after hearing of such an honor. For a select group their anger will overflow with rage when they learn that the title was bestowed on Sherman earlier today at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond. This has been an annual occurrence throughout the sesquicentennial. This year the speakers were Gary Gallagher, Harold Holzer, John Marszalek, Joe Mobley, and Craig Symonds. The results are as follows:

  • Sherman- 38
  • Cleburne- 29
  • Lincoln- 15
  • Lee & Grant- 11
  • Vance- 8
  • David Farragut (write in)- 1
  • Citizens (write in)- 1

Sherman is the obvious choice.

I assume Gallagher nominated, Lee; Holzer nominated Lincoln; Marszalek nominated Sherman; Symonds nominated Farragut; and Mobley nominated Cleburne. Except for Cleburne they are all obvious choices. Someone is going to have to tell me what Cleburne did to deserve such a nod and please don’t tell me it was owing to his proposal to arm slaves.

I assume that the video will be available at some point soon