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Thread: Gone with the Wind and The Lost Cause

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    shouldn't that read 'except slaves'. A minor historical point.
    You can also include that the Southern government curtailed more civil liberties than did the Union during the conflict.
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shek View Post
    You can also include that the Southern government curtailed more civil liberties than did the Union during the conflict.
    Yes, but all in the name of individual liberty.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Shek View Post
    You can also include that the Southern government curtailed more civil liberties than did the Union during the conflict.
    Really? Did Davis lock up as many southerners as Lincoln locked up northerners WITHOUT writ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 7thsfsniper View Post
    Really? Did Davis lock up as many southerners as Lincoln locked up northerners WITHOUT writ?
    Davis' suspension of the writ of habeas corpus is just one example of the curtailment of civil liberties - the proportion of civilian arrests are similar, although Southern records are poor and so these arrests are most likely undercounted. Davis and the South also instituted the first ever draft on the continent and drafted a far greater swath of the population than the North ever did. The South turned around and levied tariffs after complaining about them and ex post arguing that it was a major factor. The South required special passes for traveling the railroads.

    So yes, the South, as the "vanguard" of personal liberty curtailed more liberty than did the North.
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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    "15,000 people were incarcerated without a prompt trial by Lincoln. On balance, their detention almost certainly did not enhance American security nor hasten the Union victory."

    08.01.01: The Writ of Habeas Corpus, The Constitution and Abraham Lincoln, War President
    Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute--And you know what Southern Lovers they are!

    Constitution of the Confederate States of America
    Sec. 9 (3) The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.
    Last edited by GAU-8; 07 Jan 10, at 06:57.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GAU-8 View Post
    "15,000 people were incarcerated without a prompt trial by Lincoln. On balance, their detention almost certainly did not enhance American security nor hasten the Union victory."

    08.01.01: The Writ of Habeas Corpus, The Constitution and Abraham Lincoln, War President
    Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute--And you know what Southern Lovers they are!

    Constitution of the Confederate States of America
    Sec. 9 (3) The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.
    GAU-8,

    Davis did suspend the writ of habeas corpus, and if you dig deeper, you'll see where by 1864/5, the VP and governor of NC are in open verbal rebellion with the tyranny of Davis. It's well known what Lincoln did - what isn't well known is how the rhetoric of the South being the vanguard of state's rights, personal liberties, a second American revolution, etc., is a sham when you compare it to actions. This is The Lost Cause narrative that springs to action immediately after the war and develops momentum for nearly a decade - a narrative that focuses on anything but slavery, something that Gone with the Wind celebrates. It obscures/distorts the role that slavery played on Southern motivations for the war and ignores inconveniences such as the curtailment of civil liberties in the South.

    There's historiography at play
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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    In his short messages of 25 February and 15 August he suggested various measures for the improvement of the Confederate forces. The result of the reverses in the early months of the year, to which had now been added the capture of New Orleans, began to show itself in a growing opposition to Mr. Davis's administration, which up to this time had seemed all but universally popular, and this opposition increased in force up to the latest days of the war. One of the first acts of the congress was to pass a sweeping conscription law, to which Mr. Davis reluctantly assented. This was stoutly resisted in some quarters, and led to a spirited correspondence between Mr. Davis and Governor Joseph E. Brown, of Georgia, who disputed the constitutionality of the measure. Congress also authorized the suspension of the habeas corpus act for ten miles around Richmond, and the formation of a military police, for the alleged reason that the government was continually in danger from the presence in Richmond of National spies, and the consequent plots and intrigues.
    Jefferson Davis

    Can we really compare this to Lincolns actions?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 7thsfsniper View Post
    Jefferson Davis

    Can we really compare this to Lincolns actions?
    Sure we can. The incomplete records of those held without the writ number in the thousands (and so this is an underestimate) and expand beyond just this particular instance of the war. In fact, the first political prisoner held without trial was in the Confederacy, arrested on April 14, 1861. Thus, on every single day of the American Civil War, the Confederacy held prisoners that didn't enjoy the right to the writ of habeas corpus.

    In the end, the Confederacy impinged civil liberties just as much (and then some) as the North. They enacted the very same centralized policies that the state's rights crowd had cried wolf about. And yet, the common perception is that they fought for state's rights and Lincoln is denigrated as a tyrant that violated civil liberties in contrast to the civil liberty loving South. Why? Well, it's clear that the losers wrote much of the history, and it comes back to the original post of the thread, where popular culture reflects much of The Lost Cause narrative.
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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    [QUOTE]
    Quote Originally Posted by Shek View Post
    Sure we can. The incomplete records of those held without the writ number in the thousands (and so this is an underestimate) and expand beyond just this particular instance of the war.
    So how many exactly was reported. I've searched and can't find a number. I also see where it was not as widespread and blanketed like Lincolns policy. Was the free press of the South attacked by Davis as Lincoln did in the North?

    In fact, the first political prisoner held without trial was in the Confederacy, arrested on April 14, 1861. Thus, on every single day of the American Civil War, the Confederacy held prisoners that didn't enjoy the right to the writ of habeas corpus.
    OK, I can't find it, may I ask who, why....?

    In the end, the Confederacy impinged civil liberties just as much (and then some) as the North. They enacted the very same centralized policies that the state's rights crowd had cried wolf about.
    I simply have to disagree. After reading so much from both sides of the story, I simply think that the North did and continues to claim some moral highground that did not exist. They did not exhaust diplomacy in an attempt to prevent seccession and instead opted for force which would ensure exactly the version of history that exists today.

    And yet, the common perception is that they fought for state's rights and Lincoln is denigrated as a tyrant that violated civil liberties in contrast to the civil liberty loving South. Why?
    Maybe because there is actually, at least, some truth to that?

    Well, it's clear that the losers wrote much of the history, and it comes back to the original post of the thread, where popular culture reflects much of The Lost Cause narrative.
    If the losers wrote the history, your version wouldn't be the popular, taught in school, tale it is today.

  10. #25
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    eric,

    I simply have to disagree. After reading so much from both sides of the story, I simply think that the North did and continues to claim some moral highground that did not exist. They did not exhaust diplomacy in an attempt to prevent seccession and instead opted for force which would ensure exactly the version of history that exists today.
    without going into the issues you bring up here, i have to note, this is not really a response to shek's assertion that the south centralized power (and trampled liberties) just as much, if not more, than the north.

    that is an incontrovertible fact. you can see this just by the size of their respective armies. the union outnumbered the confederacy by roughly a factor of 4:1, yet the confederacy was able to field armies that were outnumbered by only about 1.5:1. notice, also, that until mid-1864 confederate armies were able to roughly equip themselves to the level of their union counterpart, despite even more pronounced disadvantages in rail and industries.

    even then, the union had to centralize its power significantly (and it was, by definition, more centralized to begin with). the confederacy had to do the same, just to keep up with the war. centralization of power, especially during this time period, absolutely meant restriction of civil liberties.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."Ě- Isaac Asimov

  11. #26
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    Eric,

    The fact that you can't find the information (which is on the internet) indicates how little play it has received, which should be extremely disconcerting. For example, the first political prisoner of the Civil War was a reporter with whom General Beauregard had forcibly removed from his family and placed under house arrest elsewhere in the Confederacy without trial.

    You can find the information about the Confederate trampling of civil liberties in this book: Amazon.com: Southern Rights: Political Prisoners and the Myth of Confederate Constitutionalism (9780813918945): Mark E. Neely Jr.: Books. Google Books previews about the first 1/3 to 1/4 of the book. Lest you want to try and taint this book as some Northern revisionist history, the author's book just prior to this was on Lincoln's restrictions of civil liberties. He wanted to follow up on the topic by looking at the South and was surprised to see the lack of history written on it and ended up having to dig up most of the primary source documents through his own efforts.

    Next, I'm not sure what "my version" of Civil War history is (and I'd be interested to see what you think it is), but it certainly wasn't what most people put down in the survey thread as being taught in school, and there really wasn't a push by the "winners" to push an official historical narrative (in contradiction to what Confederate veterans and then the SCV/DCV did in pushing The Lost Cause narrative). You don't see a "Northern narrative" being pushed until the Civil Rights movement and the emancipation narrative that emerged, at which time it wasn't the "winners" who were pushing it unless you felt that the Civil War was still being fought (and to a certain extend I could buy that argument since the social reforms enacted following the Civil War weren't enforced for a century).

    Lastly, to piggyback on what astralis wrote about the conscription of Confederate soldiers - the Neely book has a great quote by a Confederate bureaucrat or officer (can't remember which) who proclaims that without the train passports that controlled movement by train, that the Confederacy would see a large swath of soldiers desert. While I think it's a bit of hyperbole, it describes a double whammy against civil liberties - conscription and population control measures worthy of any communist or dictatorship security state.

    Like astralis, I frankly don't get too excited over many of these transgressions against civil liberties because they're consistent with what our forefathers envisioned (a sliding scale of liberty based on the security needs of state survival) and a reality of what happens in any democratic state in trying times, but the underlying point here is that to criticize Lincoln and the North on civil liberties must be followed in the same breath (if not before) by just as vigorous a criticism of Davis and the South.
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    eric,
    without going into the issues you bring up here, i have to note, this is not really a response to shek's assertion that the south centralized power (and trampled liberties) just as much, if not more, than the north.

    that is an incontrovertible fact. you can see this just by the size of their respective armies. the union outnumbered the confederacy by roughly a factor of 4:1, yet the confederacy was able to field armies that were outnumbered by only about 1.5:1. notice, also, that until mid-1864 confederate armies were able to roughly equip themselves to the level of their union counterpart, despite even more pronounced disadvantages in rail and industries.

    even then, the union had to centralize its power significantly (and it was, by definition, more centralized to begin with). the confederacy had to do the same, just to keep up with the war. centralization of power, especially during this time period, absolutely meant restriction of civil liberties.
    The union was already well established and "centralized" as you put it. The confederacy was disorganized and in its infancy when it was suddenly thrust into a war for its independence. So there is NO WAY it could have come close to matching the centralization or organization of the union.

    The thing here is, I am simply tired of arguing or even discussing the point. There are two very real versions of that conflict that will never see eye to eye. I actually answer Chogys now locked thread, question very well. The end of that thread was a good example. No matter what arguments I make for the south, they will get trampled upon by the rumph, rumph, rumph of the yankee version of history.

    Yankees do not understand a thing about the south and if you could get most to be honest about it, they don't want to. Most still think we are just a bunch of deep-fried eatin, fat-ass, uneducated racists and the only difference between us now and us then is good ole honest(my ass) Abe said we kaint have no more of them thar slaves, so we sewed up our bed sheets and all joined the klan!

    Right or wrong, its the perception I have had time and again. Yankees make fun of the way we talk, the things we drive, the things we eat. Thats the modern problem.

    The truth of the war is simple for me. When the wheels of war start to turn, all sides must do certain things that may violate our core beliefs just to win. Back then, it was a numbers, not technology game. The south actually had what technology there was, but not the numbers. The main and only point for me is, the south did not start it, the south simply defended for the first half-dozen or so skirmishes of the war. It wasn't about slavery, as some here still claim and it all about that central, northern power, that still exists today btw, that was the true defining reason for the war. That is my POV, that will not change and therefore when you say, incontrovertible fact, I don't see it because I don't see the war and the "facts" the way some history books put it.

    I'm am now going to go the way of the other southerners here who have tried in vain to present thier argument in so many WFSI (war for southern independence, in case your wondering) threads here.

    It just feels too much like banging my head against a wall.

    Hell. I'm glad the union won, aren't we in fabulous shape now?

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shek View Post
    Eric,
    The fact that you can't find the information (which is on the internet) indicates how little play it has received, which should be extremely disconcerting. For example, the first political prisoner of the Civil War was a reporter with whom General Beauregard had forcibly removed from his family and placed under house arrest elsewhere in the Confederacy without trial.
    Maj,

    The fact that that there is so little info is disconcerting. Honestly, the lack thereof calls into question the validity of the claim. Blame yourself for educating me in the quest for validation of facts.

    But seriously, I would be up checking out Neelys book.

    Lest you want to try and taint this book as some Northern revisionist history, the author's book just prior to this was on Lincoln's restrictions of civil liberties.
    Fair is fair, I'm open.
    He wanted to follow up on the topic by looking at the South and was surprised to see the lack of history written on it and ended up having to dig up most of the primary source documents through his own efforts.
    This is what is fishy about the whole thing. What did the south have to hide? The worst thing you could think of was already enough justification for Lincoln to fire it up. Slavery, right?

    Everyone knows the Confederacy was no angels after the war started, they were desparate. Whos fault is that?

    Next, I'm not sure what "my version" of Civil War history is (and I'd be interested to see what you think it is),
    I'll PM you. We''ll see.

    but it certainly wasn't what most people put down in the survey thread as being taught in school, and there really wasn't a push by the "winners" to push an official historical narrative (in contradiction to what Confederate veterans and then the SCV/DCV did in pushing The Lost Cause narrative).
    Your smarter than the average Bear and way more educated than most. Your a hard read at times.

    You don't see a "Northern narrative" being pushed until the Civil Rights movement and the emancipation narrative that emerged, at which time it wasn't the "winners" who were pushing it unless you felt that the Civil War was still being fought (and to a certain extend I could buy that argument since the social reforms enacted following the Civil War weren't enforced for a century).
    Emancipation was the northern narrative, was it not? Furthermore, no, its not over. Damdest thing, but I don't think it is. Distrust of our current US government was bred in 1860 in the south and has been spreading ever since. It is not a north vs south thing anymore though. It is a freedom loving citizen vs BIG central govt thing now. I made this part bigger so anyone reading this at least should read this.

    Lastly, to piggyback on what astralis wrote about the conscription of Confederate soldiers - the Neely book has a great quote by a Confederate bureaucrat or officer (can't remember which) who proclaims that without the train passports that controlled movement by train, that the Confederacy would see a large swath of soldiers desert. While I think it's a bit of hyperbole, it describes a double whammy against civil liberties - conscription and population control measures worthy of any communist or dictatorship security state.
    Desertion was a problem. When you are faced down 5 to 1, hell, I'd even have to think about that for a second.

    Like astralis, I frankly don't get too excited over many of these transgressions against civil liberties because they're consistent with what our forefathers envisioned (a sliding scale of liberty based on the security needs of state survival) and a reality of what happens in any democratic state in trying times, but the underlying point here is that to criticize Lincoln and the North on civil liberties must be followed in the same breath (if not before) by just as vigorous a criticism of Davis and the South.
    Lincoln and Davis cannot be compared on the same piece of paper though. One is the aggressor, the other the defender. Aggression, in the matter of the WFSI, has no defense AFAIC. Defense of your homeland, in the case of the south, does. What would the US do today in the same situation?

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    Bill,

    You had a message posted earlier that I didn't have a chance to respond to earlier - I see that you must have deleted it, but I still wanted to get at two points.

    First, you still apparently don't understand the basic thrust of the thread. Whether Gone with the Wind or Deliverance (or any popular entertainment media) is fiction doesn't matter. It's how it's perceived and filtered by people that matters, and to deny that some people will filter fiction as fact is to ignore reality. For good or for bad, fiction contributes to memory, especially when popular entertainment fiction is intertwined heavily with true historical details. When it comes to the Civil War, while the example here is Gone with the Wind, you can point to a large body of popular entertainment works that advances The Lost Cause agenda. As before, it doesn't matter the degree of fiction in this works, it's what people take away from them and how public memory is shaped.

    Second, you spoke to the destruction on crops and property that could support the Southern war effort by Union soldiers and how it affect some of your relatives. This no doubt happened. However, your applied actions in 1864 and extended them back in time to April 1861, which is false. Pre-war expectations didn't even come close to matching the eventual outcome of the war. Both sides saw a short conflict and could have never imagined the destruction that both sides would bring to bear on one another. Visions of a Napoleonic battle that would decide it all motivated First Bull Run spectators to come and see the battle as if it were a national football championship to decide the victor once and for all.

    The first time you see the hard hand of war being promulgated as policy is in 1862 when Pope comes east and threatens destruction to the South. He was put in his place by Lincoln, who only slowly comes around to attacking all facets of Southern war production as he sees the war drag on over the years. Thus, here's a clear example of where memory has clouded history, even the events were factual.
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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    More on the power of narratives to influence how we look at historical events:

    A Confederate Invasion?

    A Confederate Invasion?
    JANUARY 6, 2010 ∑ COMMENTS
    in GETTYSBURG, ROBERT E. LEE, TEACHING

    IĎm behind in my APUS History classes which has forced me to move quickly through the Civil War. You can imagine how frustrating that is given my interests. Regardless, I am very particular about the language I use to describe the past and I expect my students to be attentive to such matters as well. It matters how we refer or describe individuals and events, especially when discussing our Civil War. Iíve already mentioned my preference for consistently referring to the United States rather than the Union or the North.

    In my discussions today I noticed a couple of students looking at me funny whenever I referred to a Confederate invasion of the United States. Of course, I was referring specifically to the Maryland Campaign of 1862 and Gettysburg Campaign the following summer. [We could also throw in Jubal Early's little foray in 1864 in as well.] I inquired into their strange stares and one of the students admitted that he was not used to thinking of the Confederate army as an invading army. Not surprisingly, this same student had no difficulty coming to terms with an invasion of the South or Confederacy. A few students embraced Lincolnís fairly consistent belief that the southern states were in rebellion and therefore still a part of the nation, but they had no qualms with the idea of an invasion.

    I guess this has everything to do with the assumption that the Confederacy was simply fighting a defensive war. But it also goes to some of our more cherished beliefs that draw a sharp distinction between Confederate and United States armies. For the latter, we immediately think of Grant and Sherman, who did, in fact, engage in aggressive offensives throughout the war. On the other hand, we do have difficulty acknowledging the same aggressive tendencies in Confederate commanders. We would rather remember them as leading a gallant defensive effort against overwhelming resources rather than as engaged in a war that would hopefully lead to independence for all slave holding states. Invasions are carried out by generals like Grant and Sherman, not by Lee and Jackson. I suspect that my students are dealing with this baggage. If I had more time or if that comment had come in my elective course on the Civil War I could have utilized any number of primary and secondary sources that shed light on this subject.
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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