|(For illustration purposes only. I |
never once voted for Jeff Davis.)
"The fact that it is acceptable to put a Confederate flag on a car *bumper and to portray Confederates as brave and gallant defenders of states’ rights rather than as traitors and defenders of slavery is a testament to 150 years of history written by the losers." - Ohio State Professer Steven Conn in a recent piece at History News Network (No, I'll not difnigy his bitterness by providing a link)
This sounds like sour grapes to me. Were it not for the "losers", commemorations both 50 years ago and today would be virtually nonexistent. Were it not for the "losers" supporting advertisers of books and art which focus on the "lost cause" memory of the WBTS, most Civil War magazines would go out of business overnight. One publisher responded to one of my posts about this issue stating that their magazine welcomed all readers, regardless of perspective. This person sounded a bit worried that I raised the question. They should be worried. What would happen if those to whom Mr. Conn is directing his remarks suddenly lost all interest in the WBTS or decided to boycott all national parks, museums, and Civil War publications? My guess is there would be a bit of a panic. But why the bittern tone in Mr. Conn's remark above? After all, one academic conference recently announced "we" [meaning academic historians] had "won" the narrative war and gleefully announced "victory." Mr. Conn should be celebrating. According to the announcement at the conference, the "losers" have lost again.
But then again, maybe the proclamation of victory was a bit premature. More recent scholarship has suggested that at least part of the "Lost Cause Narrative" is valid. Southern historian David Goldfield's recent book puts "more responsibility for the conflict to an activist North and away from intransigent slaveholders." The book is on my summer reading list. In addition, Marc Egnal, professor of history at York University in Toronto, Canada, has recently published Clash of Extremes: The Economic Origins of the Civil War. Professor Egnal "presents a new interpretation of the sectional conflict. A one word summary of its argument is 'economics.' It stands apart from the prevailing viewpoint, which sets forth "slavery" as the cause of the war." Neither of these academics could hardly be categorized as "neo-Confederate Lost Causers." Reviewers have claimed both books offer an objective view of the WBTS - not "150 years of history written by the losers" as Professor Conn claims.
That rather simplistic, shallow, historical analysis is sssoooo 20th century. Of course, none of the objective bloggers and historians will point out Professor Conn's liberal perspective and that just maybe, it's influencing his analysis (as they never miss doing with so-called "neo-Confederates.")
But Mr. Conn is right about my claim that my ancestors did not fight to defend slavery. And yes, they were brave and gallant soldiers. And, though history twisters will poo-poo the claim (without addressing its validity), none of my ancestors owned slaves. As I've noted before, one of my ancestors, when asked why he fought for the Confederacy replied, simply, "Because of them damn invaders." And we know that "them damn invaders" were not here to free the slaves.