Yesterday I commented on my Facebook page about a pretty intense discussion in my Civil War class on what motivated northern men to volunteer for the army in the spring of 1861. We talked about about a collection of letters as well as a short selection from James McPherson’s book, What They Fought For 1861-1865. I’ve commented on the challenges of teaching the importance that northerners attached to union, liberty and their close identification with the founding generation in contrast with Confederates. The latter’s claims to defending hearth, home, and a “way of life” tend to resonate more with my students. Continue reading
Today my Civil War class will continue to discuss the background leading up to Lincoln’s election and the first wave of secession that took place between December 1860 and February 1861. My students are pouring through a collection of documents related to the secession conventions as well as speeches by Alexander Stephens and Jefferson Davis. For Monday they will read a selection from Charles Dew’s Apostles of Disunion: Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil War. Continue reading
I don’t know anything about this individual, but I think you will agree that he is unusual given the common ethnic/racial profile of the Lost Cause advocate. It really is amazing what you can find on YouTube.
[Uploaded to YouTube on January 13, 2014]
Update: Interesting story on the pressure that is being exerted by McConnell’s allies on College of Charleston.
The College of Charleston is looking for a new president and a number of state legislators are pushing the school to consider Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell. The question raised in this article is whether his involvement with Confederate heritage groups and support of the Confederate flag reflects the school’s values and commitment to diversity. McConnell has to apply for the position by Jan. 14, but if he does the outcome of his candidacy will tell us a great deal about the state of Confederate heritage in South Carolina politics and culture. Continue reading
The Civil War Trust has posted a nice little graphic that highlights the importance of slavery in the “Declaration of Causes” issued by four states in the Deep South that seceded in the wake of Abraham Lincoln’s election. The graphs break down the frequency of references to slavery, states’ rights, Lincoln, etc. in these documents. It will work well in the classroom, but it is somewhat deceiving.
Any proper analysis of the secession of the Deep Southern states must explore the extent to which references to Lincoln, states’ rights and other economic concerns connected to slavery. These are not alternative explanations for secession; rather, they flesh out the importance and place of slavery in these states.