10 Apr 2011

Remembering the Civil War


This week, on Tuesday, we will reach the 150th anniversary of the opening shots of the American Civil War. The left these days is continuing to fight that war at every opportunity. On the editorial page of yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, Fergus W. Bordewich offered a rather partisan interpretation of history.

Bordewich complains that Southern states “routinely denied freedom of speech, press and assembly” to abolitionists, but neglects to mention Abraham Lincoln’s forcible closure of dozens of newspapers, his illegal imprisonment (without warrant or trial) of thousands of Americans including elected officials, his unconstitutional suspension of habeus corpus and so on.

Bordewich goes on to extol the ultimate Northern victory, theorizing in the kind of leap that takes far too much for granted, that without the conquest and forcible reincorporation of the seceded states, the United States might not have intervened in WWI and WWII or won the Cold War.

Perhaps, on the other hand, one could equally easily argue, if the South had won and established the example of a successful aristocratic and conservative republic, European culture would have been moved in a better direction. There might have been no rise to power of the popular ideologies of Nationalism and Socialism and no Fascism or Communism at all. No rule by pseudo-intellectuals turning the 20th century into an abattoir. It is easy to spin that kind of theorizing in any direction you prefer.

The video below, featuring footage from 1913 to 1938 when veterans of the great conflict were still alive, represents the very different, once traditional, approach to the memory of the war, which emphasized recognition of the heroism and good faith of the men who fought on both sides of a war which only one side could win.

Hat tip to Canis 61.

One Feedback on "Remembering the Civil War"

Adam Sewer

I’m pretty sure Lincoln jailed a federal judge and contemplated arresting the Chief Justice of the US.


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