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 Posted: Tue Oct 11th, 2005 03:30 pm
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Albert Sailhorst
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Just go down South....some people still smell the powder burning.....

I lived in Tennessee 6 years (my family is originally from down there) and, in subtle ways, there is a "feeling" about Yankees.....it's hard to describe, and by no means, is it universal among the populace.

Albert Sailhorst, Cannoneer, Scott's Tennessee Battery



 Posted: Wed Oct 12th, 2005 01:45 am
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Boots
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agree there is a "feeling" ~ was talking to a yankee friend of mine who described the subtle anti-Southern culture up north as well.

but i think people have largely forgotten what that feeling is about, what the whole war was about and it's been so reduced to a footnote about abe lincoln and harriet tubman in the history books in public schools (and for many this is their only exposure to that legacy).

i am always amazed at the ignorant statements people will spout off about the war ~ and also the disinterest in it (history is boring, etc.)

so i think there are a number of factor that contribute to the glossying of the conflict and the ambiguous feelings people have about it today.




 Posted: Wed Oct 12th, 2005 01:33 pm
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Albert Sailhorst
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I agree with Boots....Even up north, there is a "feeling" against Southerners.....perhaps the feeling is caused by stereotypes, i.e. lazy hillbilly, corn-pone humor, white trash, etc. Could this have been fueled by TV shows like "Hee Haw", "The Beverly Hillbillies", and the humor of Jeff Foxworthy, Larry the Cable Guy, et al??....Did these TV shows provide an easier reason to have "feelings" that overshadow the historical, social and economic reasons for the Civil War?

I also agree that the school system is to blame for not accurately teaching the War, nor does it provide enough detail about the war. Of course, this could be said for any school subject......

 

Albert Sailhorst, Cannoneer, Scott's Tennessee Battery



 Posted: Wed Oct 12th, 2005 11:50 pm
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GenHood
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I agree that there are "feelings" north and south.  Up here in Illinois I hear the white trash, hillbilly, redneck stuff, and a good many remarks about the rebel flag, racism, etc.  I have many friends from Dixie ( LA, TN, GA, MS) and have an affinity for those places and the people who live there who've always been very kind to me.   At the same time I'm proud to be from the Land of Lincoln, but feel that the statements about the war being trivialized are very true.  When my daughter was in high school, the Civil War wasn't even covered,  the class started at the end of reconstruction.  It's good to know there are folks out there both North and South who keep the conflict "alive" in a way by studying it, learning more at battlefields, joining preservation societies, reenacting, and participating in these discussions.  It's a great way to talk to other interested individuals, no matter where we may hail from, and keep this part of our history alive (and taken seriously)!



 Posted: Thu Oct 13th, 2005 01:00 pm
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javal1
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Nevins was right - it's just surprising he saw it so early.

I don't think the problem is as much that we don't teach the war, but rather the way it's taught. Kids are smart. In many ways they're much smarter than we were when we were their age.

Yet we insist on teaching this war as if it were some kind of noble event that all should be proud of. Lincoln is always the Great Emancipator, Lee is always the gallant genius, and so on. Well, Lincoln was the Emancipator only because it was politically expedient for him to be so, and Lee was simply a decent general who had his share of very real faults and very real defeats.

Everyone who fought in the war wasn't a hero - although there were some. But there were also political cronies, bounty jumpers, crooks and general misfits. The fighting of the war was the culmination of diplomatic failure. Once the kids today start seeing that, they see that once again we have taught them fallacy and fantasy, and they see no reason to continue the ruse. If there is fault regarding what is taught, it may be that the period from 1820-1860 is so totally ignored.

The Civil War is the most intriguing event in our short history, and a watershed event which affected the course of our history. That fact simply gets buried once we pile on falsehoods and meaningless fiction. I think that's what Nevin was trying to say. Don't glorify it - it stands on it's own for what it was. Teach it that way.

I should add that I shared these views once before about 10 years ago in the pages of Civil War Times Illustrated and it took 2 years for the hate mail to die down. So I'll just be over here in the foxhole waiting for the incoming....

 



 Posted: Thu Oct 13th, 2005 02:11 pm
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Albert Sailhorst
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Hey Javal....no incomming shots from me!!

You're right.....not everyone was a hero, Lincoln was a political person who, in my view, just got lucky in getting elected and re-elected.....Lee was a good general on his own, but he was made a better General by the bumbling Yank generals that failed to pursue, failed to attack, etc.....

Schools just don't teach like they used to....there's too many special interest groups involved in writting textbooks, giving input on standardized testing and lobbying for curriculum, that subjects, in the interest of time, are glossed over in order to cram everything in during the school year.

In reading school books on the subject, it does seem that all the soldiers were willing to fight and happy to do so....they wanted to preserve the Union or they wanted to defend their homes....so they went to war smiling and laughing. Little is mentioned about poor rations (if there were any at times), no shoes, blankets or coats. Schools don't teach that "War is hell" or "It is good that war is so terrible, lest we should grow too fond of it".



 Posted: Sun Oct 16th, 2005 02:19 pm
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kj3553
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Even in those olden days when I was in high school (way back in the 60s), what we learned about the Civil War in history class was minimal at best. Highly glossed over, just a few names and dates, and memorizing the Gettysburg Address. But it wasn't just the Civil War that got that treatment -- from the Revolutionary War to the 2nd World War, everything was little more than a summary of highlights. And if it was that "bad" when I was in school, imagine how it is today!

What kids learn in school today, or should I say what they don't learn, is sometimes appalling. I was once told that "inner city" kids don't need to learn about George Washington because what he did has no bearing on their cultural background. If we can't even teach our kids about the Father of our Country, then what are we teaching them?

As for the promoting of regional stereotypes, when you look at some of what's been passed on as "entertainment" as Albert pointed out, is it any wonder that these divisions still exist? I'm not so sure that these regional differences are actually a by product of the War, though. They were around before there was ever a Civil War, and were part of its causes.

Anyway...that's my two-cents' worth to this topic. ;)

~KJ



 Posted: Sun Oct 16th, 2005 03:22 pm
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8NJVI
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All you have to do is take a look at the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Their national leadership is now made up of a bunch of radical pro-secessionists.  They don't even want the Pledge of Alliegance said at their meetings.  They're still trying to re-fight the war today.

 



 Posted: Mon Oct 17th, 2005 07:32 pm
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HankC
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Given that many survey classes in American History cover 1750-present in one year, it is very difficult to do much *more* than hit the high spots.

If someone told me my life depended on getting the gist of the Civil War era between the ears of a high school class in a 3-week unit, here's what I'd ensure they heard (not necessarily in this order). I have to admit, about the only people I'd mention by name would be Lee, Lincoln, Grant and Sherman...

Causes

Abolition, Free-Soil and Slave politics

Slave labor and Free labor

Westward expansion

Industrial, Mercantile and Agricultural

voting power and political divisions

Distribution of wealth

Southern war strategy

Attrition

Foreign intervention

Northern war strategy

Blockade

On to Richmond

Divide and conquer

Tennessee and Cumberland campaign

Grant's Mississippi river and Vicksburg campaign

Sherman's march to the sea

Foreign Diplomacy

Resources

Conscription/Draft/Substitutes

Taxes

Government borrowing

Impressments and seizure

Production and distribution

Home front

Medicine

Paper money

Results

Antietam - Emancipation Proclamation

Gettysburg - Gettysburg Address

Atlanta - reelection of Lincoln - 2nd Inaugural Address

Appomattox - Lee surrenders

Lincoln assassinated

Aftermath and reconstruction

13th, 14th and 15th amendments

Ascendancy of the Republican party

Southern status

devastated

Redemption

weakened national political power

Jim Crow and segregation

Westward Expansion

 

Cheers,

HankC

Last edited on Mon Oct 17th, 2005 07:32 pm by HankC



 Posted: Mon Oct 17th, 2005 07:42 pm
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kj3553
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Wish you'd been my teacher, HankC! I think you've hit the important points quite well!

~KJ



 Posted: Thu Oct 27th, 2005 01:46 am
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last_cav1971
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The real history of the 'Civil War' will never be known to future generations.  It is so politically "incorrect" to discuss that part of our history in public schools.  The 'South' as a whole has become a pariah to anyone who tries to discuss it in todays school systems.  If you mention slavery, the Confederacy or its symbols, (regardless of their true meanings), you have so many 'watchdog' groups on you that its not funny.  The NAACP and the ACLU will never allow the 'true' War' to be taught.  One must further their own education and try to spark an interest in the younger generations to do the same.........without our history, what grounds do we have to base our future??

Mark

Deo Vindice



 Posted: Sun Oct 30th, 2005 03:35 pm
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yankswon
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I enjoy observing how different folks have a different interpretation of the ACW.  The following story is one example of that.

 

The last time I was at the Sunken Road at Shiloh I encountered a small band of lost causers.  My nephew and I had showed up at a certain time to take in a NPS hike where we were to be lectured about the Hornet’s Nest and also to walk the Sunken Road.

 

The rebs were at the tour departure point in full period dress, and they appeared to have Texas Regimental colors.  The other visitors who gathered at the location presumed these folks in rebel garb were to be the leaders of the hike.  I thought something was odd when one of the Texans pulled a pack of cigarettes from his cartridge box and commenced to light a smoke.

 

Soon some of the visitors began to ask Shiloh questions of the Texans, because it was presumed the Rebs were NPS staff.  “Where was Hell’s Hollow?” a visitor asked.  (Hell’s Hollow is where a lot of the Yanks surrendered when the Sunken Road defense collapsed.)

 

“Which one, the real Hell’s Hallow or the Yankee Hell’s Hollow?” a reb said.  Of course the visitor was puzzled and didn’t know there was more than Hell’s Hollow any more than a Taliban guy knows there is more than one Allah.

 

It was then that I learned that the “real” Hell’s Hollow was near Rea Field, and that the tour had been hijacked by Lost Causer extremists.  It was also at this time when I learned that the leaders of this band of folks in rebel garb were named “Poet” and “Drifter”.

 

A Park Ranger then showed up at the scene to lead the tour.  Poet and Drifter took the opportunity to cross examine the Ranger as to why they could not bring their muskets to the battlefield.  The Ranger politely explained that he was busy right now with the tour and may be they could discuss the intricacies of Federal Law later.

 

“What tour?” Poet and Drifter asked.  Well, the Ranger replied he was referring to the visitors who had gathered around Poet and Drifter.  “Oh” they said.  It was obvious that Poet and Drifter thought the crowd had gathered to quiz them about their Battlefield knowledge (Poet and Drifter being oblivious as to the tour gathering point), and they were disappointed to learn the Feds had duped them again.



 Posted: Thu Nov 3rd, 2005 12:26 am
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TheStratton4
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  I read Bruce Catton's works twenty-five years ago....The Coming Fury, Never Call Retreat, Terrible Swift Sword, This Hallowed Ground...and I was never the same again.  The desire to know more and more and to see, touch, experience, and connect with the past in all ways possible has become a way of life for me that has endured for a quarter of a century.  Probably most of the members of this forum can cite a similar experience. 

It takes a great amount of motivation to delve into the details and understand - truly and deeply -what it was all about.  Sometimes, I wonder if I truly and deeply 'get it', and I have spent the better part of three decades trying.  The more you know the more you know you don't know- that sort of thing.  We can never understand the past the way the people who lived it understood it because we know how it turned out.  We know the end and the beginning at the same time but we cannot know the beginning without the end the way they did. 

Most people are not 'touched by fire' to quote Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr..   They don't feel the pull of the past or see its relevance.  They are happy with the watered down version.  

 I think there is alot of myth out there and myth is a very human and very ancient way for people to deal with the past.  The past has to suit the present.  People will mold it to be what they need it to be.  This happened with the Civil War generation itself - and they were there -and  it happens today and will always.

Laurie

 

 



 Posted: Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 06:27 pm
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wayneempire
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The   historical  period, as  to  to the actual  war(1861-1865, is not  taught in public schools,  unfortunately, even in  undergraduate  schools, by the  time the professors reach  the  1861-1865  historical period, the semester has  reached  its'  end....so,  for   seroiusly  interested  students,  they  have to   take  a  specific  History course  which  deals  with  the American  Civil War.    Many  of these  courses   will deal   with  the  underlining  causes of the  rationals  for the ACW  to occur, but, as  to  actually  covering the  Campaigns of the  period, 1861-1865, the  college  student will  have to   read  the military  Campaigns all, on their own  time.

When I took  my  specific  history course on the American Civil War, I  came  to the unfornate conclusion that my professor  knew  less  about the actual military  campaigns of the  Federal and Confederate military leaders of the actual  historical period than what I already knew from my own serious  studies  as  a  young boy and  teenager, who grew up in Norfolk, Virginia.   My  college  professor  was  more interested in the economic, socio-political, cultural, and  "other" forces leading up the onset of  the  American Civil War.

 

I  was   disapointed for  having  signing up for the undergraduate college  course.

 

 

Regards,

Wayne



 Posted: Tue Jan 3rd, 2006 03:53 am
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Hellcat
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I think in some ways both the North and the South are still fighting the war. I currently live in New England, though I spent a little over half a decade living and going to school in Virginia, the Carolinas, and Alabama as I was growing up. And let me tell you, I never had this feeling of folks really feeling contemptuous for the other side until I moved up here. At that time I had a lot of the kids picking on me for being from the South and telling me that everyone down South are looser for simply loosing the war. Loose a war and you're useless. Never mind that the war had ended more than a hundred years before or that the couldn't give me a single good reason why being up North was so much better.

Now I was never the most popular kid in school, though at the same time I was far from being the least popular by the time I graduated from high school. But I think in some ways as some of the kids got to know me better and as they grew up and learned more about the war, both helped them to realize that there is no need to see everyone from the South as now being loosers because of something that happened over a hundred years ago.

Though we did have one real idiot in my senior year. This kid seriously told everyone that we should nuke right off the map everyone who had ever been our enemy in the various wars we'd fought. And he wasn't joking around either.



 Posted: Tue Jan 3rd, 2006 08:14 pm
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wayneempire
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Not a  question of  being a  loser, or not......My  concern  was  taking  college  undergraduate level course on the topic of  the American Civil War, and  "learning" that I knew more than the  college  professor....what a  waste of   tuition money!

 

 

Sincerely,

Wayne



 Posted: Wed Jan 4th, 2006 02:46 pm
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HankC
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Campaigns study falls more into a military history class than general history. The actual FFFs are of little interest, or indeed importance, to general history. ROTC taught the military areas in depth and the classes were open to general students. Even then the Civil War got about 3 weeks of the period 1760-1890. Of course this was 30 years ago. Modern mileage may vary.

The study of history, and particularly Civil War history with it's voluminous primary sources, is almost laboratory-like. Relatively little *new* data is uncovered in any given new year, but more and more information is derived from the old.

The conclusions generated from this huge body of often-contradictory evidence provide a lab-like environment for current thinking and technique. Most buffs have fairly broad knowledge of the period with various areas and levels of depth.

Given such broad and relatively unchanging evidence, how do we generate such a wide variety of opinions on the same subject? Are our opinions mutable or cast in concrete? Our conclusions tell us less and less about our ancestors and more and more about ourselves and current society…

 

HankC



 Posted: Mon Jan 9th, 2006 02:07 pm
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HankC
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Heard a good one in Civil War Talk Radio http://www.worldtalkradio.com/archives.asp?sid=150

How can you tell a fine high school history department?

None of the teachers are named 'Coach' ;)



 Posted: Mon Jan 9th, 2006 02:46 pm
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Kent Nielsen
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Thanks Hank I just added it to my favourites list.:):):) I live in the Mountain time zone same as Colorado and Montana. Cn you please tell me what time the live broadcast would be in THAT time zone? Thank you



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