What is being taught in schools?

Discussion in 'Civil War' started by Eliza, Dec 8, 2012.

  1. Eliza

    Eliza New Member

    I do wish some of the material being taught in the school more accurately stressed the difference between propaganda and what the states were really fighting for. How do others feel about the way the War is taught in their states?
  2. RcNu

    RcNu Member

    I don't think anyone finds out the truth until their older.
    The truth is nationalism runs through our schools too with all this cruddy propaganda.
  3. mlacombe

    mlacombe New Member

    All but one teacher in school taught the Civil War was because of slaves. Surprisingly, it was my fifth grade teacher who got into more depth.
  4. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    Actually it wasn't the case for me. I thought it was about slaves, and I said so in front of one of my teachers back in high school, and he rejected it immediately. Then I learned it involved tons of other politics etc. Well to think about it now, that slave theory was totally laughable because next to no whiteman would want to die for black back in the old days. Let alone an all out civil war.

    Propaganda, it always exists. I was too amazed by the level of propaganda in every history text book I have read. Free speech really meant free to make up anything you want...
    RcNu likes this.
  5. gloine36

    gloine36 Member

    The issue of slavery's expansion is what caused the major rift that led to the war. It is extremely difficult for people to grasp just how pervasive slavery was in the South in every aspect of life prior to the war. No other issue caused the war or had the potential to cause the war because slavery was so intertwined with every other possible cause of the war. If you were to remove slavery from the other causes none of them would be capable of causing that war.
    While no one wanted to fight and die for slavery, that is what they ended up fighting over as the moral ramification of the war. There are some serious differences in how to view the cause of the war, but make no mistake, had slavery not existed that war would not have occurred. Two other ideas, state's rights and the tariff are jokes because they weren't the issues being discussed during the secession winter and that's a documented fact.
    TomesofDestiny and skyblue like this.
  6. JimRainer

    JimRainer New Member

    In my AP US History class, we covered a bunch of different reasons as to why the war started. Each and every reason eventually came down to state rights. Federal government opposed slavery for a number of reasons (Uncle Tom's Cabin, ethical issues, economic issues, division, etc.) and this conflicted with the Southern State's beliefs that they themselves have the right to choose whether or not they can have slaves and it isn't a matter of the Federal government. It finally all culminated with the caning in the senate and then all out war. It was a war that eventually had to happen to finally unite the country and define Federalism to the rest of the world.
  7. gloine36

    gloine36 Member

    I don't see how the state's rights concept can be taught with a straight face. The South controlled the federal government up to 1861. No one but a tiny minority was advocating ending slavery so the state's rights concept has no basis in fact. The argument was over the expansion of slavery into the West which was not about state's rights. Also note that the argument goes to slavery real fast which is why slavery is what started the war, not state's rights. A teacher may try to skew the discussion to state's rights, but it doesn't take much to dismiss that ridiculous idea.
    skyblue likes this.
  8. JimRainer

    JimRainer New Member

    I agree, the war was started because of slavery. But, the overall outcome of the war also showed to the world just how powerful the Federal Government was in maintaining such a diverse group of people and regulations, and how it solidified Federalism.
  9. skyblue

    skyblue Active Member

    The war was most definitely about slavery. It was bound to happen, since the issue was not dealt with during the formation of our nation and it is at odds with all the other founding principles. Related, and still pending for us, is the need to codify property rights firmly in the law, in my opinion. The state rights issue is pushed in part to deflect any commentary about the omission of property rights in the Constitution.
  10. CarpeNemo

    CarpeNemo New Member

    I partially agree with some of that sentiment regarding slavery being the cause, but it still stands out in my mind that at the time, people stood very much alone in those days, except when Uncle Sam came calling for his taxes.

    Slavery was such a massive part of the Southern economy, that to have just let go of their primary economical power (which was letting them compete somewhat internationally with Egypt, which was supplying cotton to Europe) would have been economical suicide. I'm relying on my sometimes faulty memory here, but if I recall correctly, there was discussion between the Confederacy and England regarding assistance in breaking away, and slavery to be done with.

    At a certain point, it really did culminate with rights. You simply will not barge into my home uninvited, and tell me I can't urinate standing up when (in my mind) it's my God-given right to do so. Likewise, the Government was waltzing in, and telling people, who had for generations done so, 'You can't enslave no more. Piss on your prosperity.' Change can be for the good, but change is hard to accept, especially when it means giving up everything that defines you and your culture in the act of changing.

    The slavery issue in the Western states boiled down to per-state choice, but (also as I recall) the number of states actually embracing slavery scared the government a bit and may have led to furthering the pressure for war.
  11. pietastesgood

    pietastesgood Member

    What my teacher taught me in AP US History was that slavery was the main cause of the war, but there had long been tensions between the north and south in terms of states rights and the growing sectionalism (technology in the north, agriculture in the south).
  12. CarpeNemo

    CarpeNemo New Member

    Being taught the basics in school is one thing, but I think the school systems lie to us specifically because if the truth was taught, it would undermine the bullshit message they're forcing down our thoughts these days.

    The Union was antislavery, yes, but the reality was they were scared they could not control a pro-slavery South and Mid-west. That is my personal belief, but hell if it doesn't make sense.
  13. I will admit that slavery was AN issue, even a major issue, but to claim that it was the only issue is completely laughable and ignoring many facts. The overarching problem was the South felt that the Federal government under Lincoln was going to overstep the boundaries laid out for it in the Constitution. Earlier in the 1800s, the New England states threatened to secede and the Southern states talked them out of it, but they never tried to say that they couldn't. Prior to the War Between the States, the general consensus was that if a state wanted out of the Union, that was their prerogative. The states also had the right to decide many issues for themselves, as the Constitution states that any rights not expressly given to the Federal government by the Constitution rested with the states.
    The Southern states did what they felt they had to do (and had every right to do) in declaring their independence, and Lincoln did what he felt he had to do in declaring war on the South to try to hold the Union together. The question though, is that if Lincoln felt the war was about slavery, why did he wait until 1863 to make the Emancipation Proclamation? And why did the Emancipation Proclamation only "free" the slaves in the states that had seceded (which Lincoln had no control over at that time) and not the slaves in the states that didn't (or were stopped from seceding) such as Kentucky, Maryland, and West Virginia? The Emancipation Proclamation was made because England was thinking about coming into the war on the side of the South. Lincoln's making it appear that the war was about slavery, would make England's government (which had abolished slavery in its own country) appear hypocritical and villainous to its own people.
  14. pietastesgood

    pietastesgood Member

    The funny thing is that we were actually taught many of these facts - for example, we talked extensively about secession and nullification, with Jefferson and Calhoun. But we never really considered that overstepping the bounds of the Constitution was the cause.

    I also noticed how slavery didn't seem too important to Lincoln, considering he only made the Emancipation Proclamation later, and the fact that it only freed the slaves in rebelling territories. Perhaps the issue of slavery was more important to the people than it was to the presidency itself.
  15. georgew

    georgew Member

    Well I'm from the UK and what little we were taught about the civil war was that it was slavery. As someone mentioned earlier, it's only as you get older that you realise that slavery was the excuse for a war that would have happened anyway. Big business and federalism v the rights of states and the individual. Wonder if we really learn the lessons of history or whether we in europe with the EU and maybe even again in the US with Bigger and bigger govt are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past...
  16. untitled

    untitled New Member

    Here in Canada I don't have any much complaints about the way it is taught.
  17. Peter T Davis

    Peter T Davis Administrator Moderator

    Without slavery, I don't think there ever would have been a Civil War. You see, the other issues that people talk about were contentious, but many of them had their roots in slavery as well (ie, state's rights were about slavery). But, the only one issue that was able to have the effect of crystalizing a specific region in the country in such a way that it would be cohesive enough to make people believe it could exist as a nation on its own was slavery. Every other political issue, then and now, wasn't divided by region in that way.
    skyblue likes this.
  18. Interrogator#6

    Interrogator#6 Active Member

    Such an interesting discussion. The best "short" explanation of the causes of the ACW was given by Carl Sandburg in a rather disappointing book called "Storm over the Land." In one paragraph of one long multi-clause sentence over the first two or three pages he outlines the "tensions" before the war which lead to secession before Mr. Lincoln went to Washington.

    As to the issue of Slavery, I am currently reading and transcribing a curious book from 1856 entitled "The Pro-Slavery Arguments". It contains four essays supporting the rights of slaveholders to their slaves (or "bondsmen"). One argument being advanced was that the Christian Bible sanctioned this institution.
  19. jrj1701

    jrj1701 Member

    As I have read the comments about the cause of what some here in the south use to call "the war of northern aggression", I realize that the war's cause is more complex than what our education system wants to deal with and that the answer is not so clear cut as the "it was about slavery" camp wants to make it out. Most of the soldiers for the southern cause were not fighting so their rich buddies could keep their slaves, and there were riots in New York over being drafted to fight against slavery, Robert E. Lee and Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson were not for slavery. Prior to the war Lincoln stated that he did not want to free the slaves. It has been an ongoing debate since the war and will not be so easily settled. Andrew Jackson correctly predicted that slavery would be used as a pretext for southern secession, but it was that, a pretext, the real object being disunion and confederacy.
  20. Interrogator#6

    Interrogator#6 Active Member

    In the decades prior to the disunion caused by the hotheads of the South, it was boasted that most of the wealth generated in the United States came from primary cash crops grown in the South, e.g. cotton and tobacco. They argued that this wealth allowed the cream of the Southern Aristocracy to become better educated, better trained, better cultivated the North. It was this hubris which was the basis of the notion that a Southerner could whip ten of the "damned yanks".

    These philosophers of the South seemed to have lost awareness that the cash crops were valueless if not sold, often by exportation. It took the transportation of their goods in the ships from the North to create the cash to fuel the Southern Dream. And the cash always seemed to have to be filtered through the big banks in the North.

    A part of the motivation for the war was a rebellion against the shipping and banking concerns of the North.
    jrj1701 likes this.

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