03 November 2008

Agenda Driven History

"For Nolan, Southerners do not deserve any cultural identity of their own, they are only an inferior and defective version of himself. (Ideologies don't allow much notice for music, literature, attitudes, manners and other aspects of culture that distinguish peoples.) Could there be something to this cultural conflict, after all? Our author, perhaps in this exemplary of a 'Northern' way of thinking, views the war as the triumph of a righteous agenda that is a bit abstract and self-justifying. Southerners tend to take history more personally, to remember what great-granddaddy did and why he did it. . . Nolan is greatly offended that many people think of Lee and Jackson as Christians. (Note that he uses for his title a refrain that smears Confederates with a religious militance which is more in a Northern style. Marching secular saints are definitely not a Southern thing. Has he never heard 'Dixie' and 'The Battle Hymn of the Republic'?) Lee was 'hateful and bitter' toward the North. I wonder why? In Nolan's book Stonewall Jackson was 'like Oliver Cromwell among the Irish, killing people zestfully for the glory of God.' This historian is really reaching anywhere for mud to sling. True, Jackson was a Presbyterian and true he advocated relentless warfare against the invading army. But surely the true analogy to Cromwell in Ireland, in both spirit and fact, is not Stonewall but Sherman in Carolina? Nobody on either side ever doubted that, like it or not, it was Northerners, not Southerners who were the Puritan side of that conflict. . .'Fact' is, that mutual respect flourished quite well for a long time until it was destroyed by history being put to the uses of new political agendas. Any reader of Professor Gallagher's first book, on General Ramseur, CSA, who measured it by Nolan's yardstick, would have to judge it to be an example of Lost Cause Mythology. It is not, it is only a good piece of historical writing within the old consensus. " ~ Clyde Wilson, Ph.D.

Though this piece is 6 years old, I posted the excerpt and the link since references to the "Lost Cause " are a common theme on many Civil War blogs. Wilson writes a rather convincing rebuttal to Nolan's (and others) perspective on the war.

**In celebration of political correctness, no comments disagreeing with Wilson's perspective will be posted.

**Just kidding.

1 comment:

Jubilo said...

Dear Sir ,
I enjoyed Wilson's essay ; he's a perfect counter to Nolan .
cordially ,
David Corbett