Category Archives: Slavery

If You Want to be a Historian, You Can be a Historian: A Bit More About Jim Webb’s Confederacy

Jim Webb appeared on CNN this morning and quickly responded to a question re: the Politico piece.   He seemed a bit frustrated, but I don't blame him given that it's virtually impossible to hold a mature discussion within the format of our mainstream media.  You can check out the interview at Huffington; unfortunately, I couldn't find a way to embed it here.  Still, Webb managed to rattle off a few kooky comments.  This one is my favorite:

People in the North were never asked to give up slaves even with the Emancipation Proclamation. 

I assume Webb is referring to southern states that remained in the United States since…you know…slavery had already been outlawed throughout the North.  More to the point, Webb reminded me why I don't consider him to be a historian, although he identified himself as one during the interview.  He went through the standard motions of distancing the reasons why most white southerners fought from slavery by reminding us that only 5% were actual slaveowners.  They were motivated more by "loyalty to community" as if slavery and community can somehow be understood separately.  I listened to Webb make this comment as I put together the last section of my essay on demobilization and the humiliating experiences that returning Confederates faced when they were met by USCTs and newly-freed slaves.

Sorry, but this kind of simplicity no longer cuts it in more serious circles.  You can't call yourself a historian when all you can do is fall back on the same tired one-liners that are in every neo-Confederate's playbook.  You need to read books by Jim McPherson, Joe Glatthaar, Jason Phillips, and Chandra Manning to even begin to approach these complex questions.  Webb identifying himself as a historian is like me identifying myself as a chef when all I can do is prepare TV Dinners or [now your turn] identifying yourself as _____________ when all you can do is __________.

If You Want to be a Historian, You Can be a Historian: A Bit More About Jim Webb’s Confederacy

Jim Webb appeared on CNN this morning and quickly responded to a question re: the Politico piece.   He seemed a bit frustrated, but I don't blame him given that it's virtually impossible to hold a mature discussion within the format of our mainstream media.  You can check out the interview at Huffington; unfortunately, I couldn't find a way to embed it here.  Still, Webb managed to rattle off a few kooky comments.  This one is my favorite:

People in the North were never asked to give up slaves even with the Emancipation Proclamation. 

I assume Webb is referring to southern states that remained in the United States since…you know…slavery had already been outlawed throughout the North.  More to the point, Webb reminded me why I don't consider him to be a historian, although he identified himself as one during the interview.  He went through the standard motions of distancing the reasons why most white southerners fought from slavery by reminding us that only 5% were actual slaveowners.  They were motivated more by "loyalty to community" as if slavery and community can somehow be understood separately.  I listened to Webb make this comment as I put together the last section of my essay on demobilization and the humiliating experiences that returning Confederates faced when they were met by USCTs and newly-freed slaves.

Sorry, but this kind of simplicity no longer cuts it in more serious circles.  You can't call yourself a historian when all you can do is fall back on the same tired one-liners that are in every neo-Confederate's playbook.  You need to read books by Jim McPherson, Joe Glatthaar, Jason Phillips, and Chandra Manning to even begin to approach these complex questions.  Webb identifying himself as a historian is like me identifying myself as a chef when all I can do is prepare TV Dinners or [now your turn] identifying yourself as _____________ when all you can do is __________.

Update on SCV’s Plans to Erect Monument to Jefferson Davis and Jim Limber

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I had a feeling the Sons of Confederate Veterans would try something like this when I blogged about Jefferson Davis and Jim Limber a few weeks ago.  We all remember back in 2003 when the SCV put up a big stink about the unveiling of a statue commemorating Abraham Lincoln and his son Tad's visit to Richmond in April 1865.  Turns out that the monument is being planned for the grounds of the American Civil War Center (ACWC) and Richmond National Battlefield Park at Tredegar.  No surprise that Brad Bowling is behind this project.

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“God Blessed America” and the Confederacy Too

Hey, you forgot the most important one of all: Constitution of the Confederate States of America

Preamble: We, the people of the Confederate States, each State acting in its sovereign and independent character, in order to form a permanent federal government, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Confederate States of America.

Sec. 9. (I) The importation of negroes of the African race from any foreign country other than the slaveholding States or Territories of the United States of America, is hereby forbidden; and Congress is required to pass such laws as shall effectually prevent the same.

(2) Congress shall also have power to prohibit the introduction of slaves from any State not a member of, or Territory not belonging to, this Confederacy.

(3) The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.

(4) No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.

John Hope Franklin “promotes propaganda and poppycock”

I am reading Rick Perlstein's new book on Richard Nixon and the rise of modern conservatism, titled Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America.  It's quite good and I highly recommend it.  I am reading through the chapter on Ronald Reagan's run for governor of California; at one point Perlstein sketches the culture wars of the mid-1960s and the moral panic that led many California conservatives to view Reagan as their guy.  One example he uses is an excerpt from a review of historian John Hope Franklin's Land of the Free (1966).  The publication in question concluded that it:

destroys pride in America's past, develops a guilt complex, mocks American justice, indoctrinates toward Communism, is hostile to religious concepts, overemphasizes Negro participation in American history, projects negative thought models, criticizes business and free enterprise, plays politics, foments class hatred, slants and distorts facts and promotes propaganda and poppycock.

Hey Horowitz…you got nothin' on this guy.