Benjamin Butler

Benjamin Butler on the Big Stage

The decision on the part of Benjamin Butler to declare slaves as contraband of war at Fort Monroe, Virginia in the spring of 1861 received a good deal of attention during the sesquicentennial and is now interpreted by the National Park Service. Historians now refer to the actions of three Virginia slaves, which prompted Butler’s Read more

People Want To Be Free

[Hat-tip to Donald Schaffer] I don’t have much patience for the long-standing debate of who freed the slaves.  The question itself is much too simplistic and sterile.  Why historians have felt a need to single out one factor or engage in wholesale reductionism, in the end, tells us much more about the assumptions we employ Read more