View single post by javal1
 Posted: Thu Oct 13th, 2005 02:00 pm
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Grumpy Geezer

Joined: Thu Sep 1st, 2005
Location: Tennessee USA
Posts: 1503

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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....


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