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 Posted: Sun Aug 31st, 2008 12:26 am
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44th VA INF
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For over a 100 years our country has debated on why it went to war with its self many have debated on wat the causes of the war were many in the south said the was an attack on tradion and hertiage while otheres say the war was thought to for state rights other have said that the south was not going to let a tyrant in washington rule since they did not let a king london rule them

I am in 7th grade and we will be studing the war later in the year I have read over that section already and have noticed many mistakes in the book wkhich i find insulting to cause on how it focues on very on the earlie years of the war it basically go staright to uion victories in the kater years of the war they also say tht battle of sharps burg ''Atimean'' was a uion victorie it also exolains little on why we thought i manly starts about the slavery debate in the western terrtiories i bearly talk on how are rights as staes as were called in to question.

 

My Teache knows how i have a passion for studing the war and has asked me if i would like to teach part of the lesson i would like to use my own books and knowlge rater than that book well i would like to here ya thoughts on what i should do



 Posted: Thu Sep 11th, 2008 06:21 pm
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martymtg
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44th,

Its great that you have such passion for the Civil War. Have you traced any family back to the war? I had an ancestor, John Milton Hancock, who was a colonel at age 23, and was wounded in the chest at Gettysburg. He actually was temporarily promoted to general before he was hit, and after the battle was taken prisoner and spent time at Fort Delaware. 

As far as your history book goes, Did you ever hear the quote, "History is written by the winner?" Its hard to say why the book seems so one-sided, but I'll take a shot. My guess is  that they probably have to cover so much ground in a general history book that they just want to impress on most students that the north held most of the cards, more railroads, more industry, more people, more resources, and that the union victory was more or less inevitable.

AS far as Antietum, you're right in saying that it wasn't exactly a ringing victory for the north. In my mind it was a draw that, if I HAD to pick one winner, it was the AoNV. But it was a victory that they could not afford, if that makes sense.



 Posted: Thu Sep 11th, 2008 11:20 pm
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Wrap10
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Marty,

Assuming that it's true that the "winners wrote the history" where the Civil War is concerned, then how do we explain the following paradox -

The historical reputation of the winning side's most famous general is that of an ignorant, falling down drunk who only won because he had more men to throw away. And the losing side's most famous general is widely regarded as one of the greatest military geniuses in American history, and possibly world history.

Put aside for a moment the accuracy or non-accuracy of these claims, and consider this - If you were on the winning side and in charge of writing the history, is this how you would want your most famous general, and your enemy's most famous general, portrayed?

Perry



 Posted: Fri Sep 12th, 2008 12:22 am
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Johan Steele
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44th VA INF wrote: For over a 100 years our country has debated on why it went to war with its self many have debated on wat the causes of the war were many in the south said the was an attack on tradion and hertiage while otheres say the war was thought to for state rights other have said that the south was not going to let a tyrant in washington rule since they did not let a king london rule them

I am in 7th grade and we will be studing the war later in the year I have read over that section already and have noticed many mistakes in the book wkhich i find insulting to cause on how it focues on very on the earlie years of the war it basically go staright to uion victories in the kater years of the war they also say tht battle of sharps burg ''Atimean'' was a uion victorie it also exolains little on why we thought i manly starts about the slavery debate in the western terrtiories i bearly talk on how are rights as staes as were called in to question.

 

My Teache knows how i have a passion for studing the war and has asked me if i would like to teach part of the lesson i would like to use my own books and knowlge rater than that book well i would like to here ya thoughts on what i should do

When I was in the 7th grade I knew everything... now thirty odd years later I know exactly how ignoarant I am.  Between now and 19... oh my god do I feel old, I've literally read thousands of books with several hundred being on the subject of the Civil War.  Why do you know the things you think are wrong are wrong?

My own textbooks in school had almost no reference to the CW, IIRC there was maybe a couple pages w/ the Gettysburg Address being the highlight.  Having seen another more recent 7th Grade textbook recently it doesn't look like it has changed much.

Something that sticks out to me is your claim that Lincoln was a Tyrant?  Why do you believe that?  Who told you and why?  The CS created itself and began beligirent actions well prior to Lincoln taking office.  Almost every charge, and more,  of Lincolns Tyranny can also be leveled against Davis.  Yet Lincoln is the only tyrant in US history?  Doesn't that make you want to why?

There are those who would say the only attack on "Southern Heritage" is an attack on slavery.  And that the only States Rights being threatened were the States Rights of Slavery and in reality that was at best an implied threat.

Antietem/Sharpsburg was a US victory... Lee quite the field and conducted a withdrawel.  It was certainly not a CS victory unless you consider the fact that Lee managed to keep his army from being destroyed.

Why do you think that Davis memoirs can be picked apart by a competant, even amatuer, historian?  To a degree someone can do the same with Grant?  Their autobigraphies are both relatively self serving.  But when I think about the two memoirs I'm reminded that Mark Twain offered to, and did assist a very ill Grant with his.  Grant was well liked by his men... Davis was largely despised by the men in the field and he was not what anyone would call an effective leader.  Yet Davis is idolized by those who worship the CS Cause.  Why?

I teach something like 5000 students a year about one aspect of the CW, the men who actually did the fighting.  Not the journalists and newspapers who wrote about or the wannabes and staybehinders who shaped the Lost Cause after the war but the men who shared the mud and blood of the front lines.  Both US & CS, they were Americans and men not all that different than you or I.  Men with the same fears and wants the same foibles and strengths as those shown by this generation or the "Greatest Generation" of the WWII years.  They were human beings with real stories and real lives, all too many of which were cut short by an ugly little war we call the Civil War.  Partly becaiuse blood and guts sells I talk about the horror and hardships which leads to talking about the strengthes and sacrifices of those men.

If I can impart anything to a young mind it is the need to question... why did things happen that way?  Encourage your classmates to go into the library and look at what's there on the subject, then ask why?  Why did the author come to the conclusions in that book?  Why did he/she write about that particular subject?  Look at the bibliography, you'll find the books that influenced the authors conclusion.  Read and read some more.



 Posted: Fri Sep 12th, 2008 01:32 am
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CleburneFan
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44th VA INF wrote: For over a 100 years our country has debated on why it went to war with its self  

My Teache knows how i have a passion for studing the war and has asked me if i would like to teach part of the lesson i would like to use my own books and knowlge rater than that book well i would like to here ya thoughts on what i should do


My suggestion to you would be to attempt, in so far as possible, to present a balanced picture of why each side fought. Another suggestion would be to avoid inflammatory rhetoric such as calling Lincoln a "tyrant" or similarly emotionally charged phraseology because such vocabulary diminishes one's seeming objectivity.

The reason for the war boiled down to its simplest elements at the start over the South's right to secede.  The South claimed the right to secede to protect States Rights. The North believed just as strongly the South had no right to secede.

But why did the South so fervently want to secede? For the South, what was basically at the heart of the issue was trying to maintain Southern slavery or even expand the institution of slavery to new territories. At that time an outspoken Abolitionist movement was flourishing in the North that threatened to clamp down or eventually end slavery.

But the South, a heavily agrarian society, felt their economy could not survive without slaves. They also felt emancipating slaves threatened the Southern way of life and they imagined that freed slaves would pose a definite danger to their former owners.

But the North started out in the war to stop the secession. Emancipation came later and not even all Northerners were happy about that. Many fought to preserve the Union, but had no ambition to end slavery.

And that, in a nutshell, is your answer to an issue which is far more complex. Just remember, there were great heroes and scoundrels on both sides. Neither side had a monopoly on honor and valor. Neither side had a monoply on atrocities.



 Posted: Fri Sep 12th, 2008 04:17 am
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ole
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Pretty darned good summation, Fan. And Johan Steele.

ole

Last edited on Fri Sep 12th, 2008 04:21 am by ole



 Posted: Sat Sep 13th, 2008 12:32 am
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martymtg
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Perry,
With all due respect, I don't need a history lesson. I don't profess to know everything, I was just trying to explain to a young man who has great interest in the CW, (and who read what he perceived a one-sided viewpoint), why his history book, which I never read, may have been so slanted.
Thanks, tho, for giving me a dressing down which you seemed to think necessary. Wow, Grant was perceived as a falling down drunk? I never KNEW that.
Thanks for enlightening me.

At this point, all you good men, I've enjoyed this, but I'm not in this to be upbraided.
Perry, with all your vast knowledge, why didn't YOU answer the young man's questions? You're obviously the most qualified. I was just some knucklehead trying to help that had no idea that Grant even drank.



 Posted: Sat Sep 13th, 2008 12:33 am
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martymtg
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Perry,
With all due respect, I don't need a history lesson. I don't profess to know everything, I was just trying to explain to a young man who has great interest in the CW, (and who read what he perceived a one-sided viewpoint), why his history book, which I never read, may have been so slanted.
Thanks, tho, for giving me a dressing down which you seemed to think necessary. Wow, Grant was perceived as a falling down drunk? I never KNEW that.
Thanks for enlightening me.

At this point, all you good men, I've enjoyed this, but I'm not in this to be upbraided.
Perry, with all your vast knowledge, why didn't YOU answer the young man's questions? You're obviously the most qualified. I was just some knucklehead trying to help that had no idea that Grant even drank.



 Posted: Sat Sep 13th, 2008 12:47 am
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Crazy Delawares
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44th, whatever way you go with your presentation, bring in some sheet iron crackers and let your classmates knaw on some while you're presenting. Sometimes a nice encampment set up goes a long way toward helping your presentation, especially if its about the soldier.
On yea, one of the ways a battlefield guide holds his/her audience is he/she asks questions that require some thinking on the part of the audience.
Just know your "stuff!"
Good luck and keep yer powder dry, Reb!



 Posted: Sat Sep 13th, 2008 01:21 am
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Wrap10
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Marty, if my post came across as an attempt to "dress you down," rest assured that was not the intent. Nor was I trying to give anyone a "history lesson." It is often claimed that the history of the war was written by "the winners," and I was trying to point out that this isn't actually so. In truth, I was hoping my post might generate a debate on the subject. That's why I worded the post the way I did, and I thought it would be taken that way, given the knowledge of the war I've seen you display on other posts. There was no intent of a personal attack, dressing down, upbraiding, or history lesson. It was meant as a debating point, and one that I still think is valid. But if it came across as something more, then I do apologize.

One final point though. To be honest, I don't really think the sarcasm in your post was called for. If you took offense to the tone of my note, pointing that out would have sufficed by itself, and likely nipped this in the bud. The verbal daggers weren't required for that. It was never my intention to make you look foolish, Marty, and I think a review of any post I've ever written on this discussion board will bear out the fact that I don't try to get personal with anyone. Maybe I'm wrong about that, I don't know. I try to make my points, and if I see an opinion expressed that I take issue with, I'll take issue with it. But I try to do so without getting personal. Maybe I missed the mark with this one, and if so I'm sorry for that. But you deliberately took aim at me personally, rather than the points I made, with your reply. There was no need for that. There never is.

That said, I'm for writing this whole thing off to a misunderstanding, and moving on down the road.

Perry



 Posted: Sat Sep 13th, 2008 01:58 am
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javal1
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Assuming that it's true that the "winners wrote the history" where the Civil War is concerned, then how do we explain the following paradox -

The historical reputation of the winning side's most famous general is that of an ignorant, falling down drunk who only won because he had more men to throw away. And the losing side's most famous general is widely regarded as one of the greatest military geniuses in American history, and possibly world history.

Put aside for a moment the accuracy or non-accuracy of these claims, and consider this - If you were on the winning side and in charge of writing the history, is this how you would want your most famous general, and your enemy's most famous general, portrayed?


Marty, I don't know either you or Perry and I have no opinion I wish to share on the topic at hand. So as a totally neutral observer, I have to say that I saw no "upbraiding" or attempt to give anyone a history lesson in the above. As a matter of fact, I thought it was a good question with no personal implications. Just saying....



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 Posted: Sat Sep 13th, 2008 11:25 pm
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JDC,

Appropriate quote, both about the Civil War and, ahem, any other battles. . .

That's the problem with email, you know? You can't see or hear the people you're talking to, and vice versa, so it's easy to read into what's said, something I know we all know.

Remember, folks, this is a discussion board. . . Discourse, discourse!

Pam



 Posted: Sun Sep 14th, 2008 01:56 pm
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Wrap10
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Good quote. It reminds me of a saying that I like along the same line, that I think goes like this - Twenty men crossing a bridge into a village, is actually twenty men, crossing twenty bridges, into twenty villages, or one man, crossing one bridge, into one village.

Pam - point well taken. I thought discourse was what I was doing, but sometimes things get misinterpreted over the computer. I've done it myself. Life happens. :)

Perry



 Posted: Sun Sep 14th, 2008 06:41 pm
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calcav1
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Did you ever hear the quote, "History is written by the winner?"
I hear this quote quite often in my day to day work. There are many examples in history where this is true but the American Civil War is not one of them. Never was a defeated force given such access to print and public opinion as were the Confederates after the Civil War. Every man with a story, from private to general, who wished to write a book did so. Libraries are filled with books of memoirs, remembrances, diaries, journals and letters. Post war speeches, addresses and articles made their way into Confederate Veteran Magazine, the Southern Historical Society Papers and the Southern Bivouac, just to name a few. Far from being stifled or censored, these men flooded bookstores and library shelves with thier works which is why we are able to see both sides of this struggle and debate it today with authority.

As to the question of unfair or biased text books, keep in mind that most text books are selected at a state or regional level. This explains why I was taught in California that the cause of the war was slavery and my wife, in Tennessee, was taught that the south fought for many reasons, non of which were remotely involving slavery.

Tom



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