What is being taught in schools?

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

  1. jrj1701

    jrj1701 Member

    Exactly. That the southern plantation owners believed that they would be better off without the "Damn Yankees" and justified their poor stewardship of the land and slavery with a generous misuse of the scriptures they were eager to be their own nation where the southern aristocracy would govern the south as they saw fit. Slavery most likely would have ended due to European pressure.
  2. Interrogator#6

    Interrogator#6 Active Member

    Slavery most likely would have ended due to European pressure.

    Exactly how would the Europeans been able to pressure the South to give up her slaves?

    As I wrote before I am transcribing a pro-slavery book at this period (a couple of pages a day) and so I feel somewhat current with the state of mind of at least some in the South at the time. I am currently working on an essay circa 1832 in response to the writings of an English woman who championed the abolitionist movement. And this is just discussing temporal matters, not the divine pronouncement (based upon Scripture) of the sanctity of the institution of slavery.

    As far as I have been able to puzzle out the South's response to the arguments of the abolitionists is that slavery will persist as long as it is will be economically viable, unless artificially interfered with. And the introduction of the COTTON GIN renewed the economic viability of slavery as a means of LABOR. With the cotton gin the production of cotton exploded, making it a export crop, bringing vast wealth to those who owned both land and slaves.

    And unlike today there was an economic benefit to the entire surrounding community by the presence of slaves, for owners had to spend money on the maintenance of his slave, money which was spent in the local economy, which meant jobs for at least merchants.
  3. jrj1701

    jrj1701 Member

    There were European abolitionists that would have placed pressure on the south to give up her peculiar institution. William Wilberforce might not have been around (having died almost 30 years before the problem across the pond) yet there were many that thought like him. There were also members of the southern aristocracy that were working behind the scenes to correct this peculiar institution in the south. I have read some of the same propaganda that the southern slaveholders put out and also the literature produced by the abolitionist, both of them using a hefty amount of the King James translation of the Bible. I tend to agree with the abolitionist about their use of the Bible. I am one of those who believe the war was unnecessary and so my presentation of the facts are shaded by that belief. I argue that there was a social move (despite what the war hawks say) that the southern aristocracy could not hold out against for long. Remember that the British abolished slavery around 1830 and there was a movement behind that, where did it go?
  4. Interrogator#6

    Interrogator#6 Active Member

    Please note: I am not an advocate of slavery, now or then, but I echo the sentiments of others for the sake of playing Devil's Advocate for this discussion.

    The essay through which I currently labour was written circa 1832. The trafficking in African Slaves was banned in the first decade of the century by Parliament, but difficult to enforce as the Royal Navy had pressing duties elsewhere. The author does write about the emancipation of slaves on one of the British islands of the West Indies region. This 'experiment', so writes the essayist, turned out to be a disaster for the economy of the island, for the Planters and the planter economy, as well for the former slaves. No longer required to work the labour force did not work, but having no income they starved. But this I know only on the biased word of the essayist, who elsewhere relates as to the general incapacity of the African Race(s) to creative thought, et cetera.

    I have in my little library another book which I have been trying to read, meaning to read, but I find difficult in syntax to follow. When I can follow what that writer is saying, often it is brilliant. I write of "The World the Slaveholders Made". It is a English translation of some French essays, and I seem to have problems with French syntax. Certainly it uses words rarely found in English, with causes me to expand my already expansive vocabulary. Alas, my inability to spell masks this fact.

    Perhaps a renewed reading of these essays will reveal what actually went on in the British West Indies with the 'Emancipation experiment'.

    Are we to continue with this tangent of military history, fascinating or boring as it may be?
  5. jrj1701

    jrj1701 Member

    Indeed lets continue and I hope I do not bore you, please let me know if I do. I don't have access to a large library so I can't "get the feel" of that time. As you were pointing out there was strong debate going on about slavery and the British Government had decided to get out of the slave business. I believe there was a reason for that, that was the abolitionist movement, and they were moving world wide to end slavery. I digress and should continue this point on another thread.
    The main point of this thread is are the kids being taught the real reasons for the cause of the U.S. civil war, and I maintain that they are being misled on the slavery issue, that it was not the cause of the war but an excuse to have the war.
    The U.S. at times gets caught up in the other struggles that are in the world, yet folks seem to forget that there we have our own struggles and that nothing is as it seems at first glance. If we continue to oversimplify the causes of the civil war we will end up repeating history and that can get boring.
  6. gloine36

    gloine36 Member

    The Beardian economic interpretation played a very minor role in the cause of the Civil War. The main cause was over the expansion of slavery into the western territories. One side decided to quit over their failure to win an election. Pretty dumb and childish decision.
  7. ThomasFoolery

    ThomasFoolery New Member

    Dumb and childish or not, which is entirely your opinion, it was also supposed to be the sovereign right of every state to be able to secede(or 'quit' as you so eloquently put it) from the union. This was a union that all states, the southern ones included, had a hand in creating and upholding and if they felt that it no longer served their interests... why should they be made to stay in that union? Is that not slavery, of a sort, itself?

    I think we sometimes get too caught up in debating the causes of the war, and not enough time debating if the war needed to be fought at all. If it was even legal or moral for Lincoln to forcefully keep the southern states in the union. Can anyone really argue that our founding fathers wanted that? Just look at the Articles of Confederation, the system they first went with to govern our country. It was a ludicrous failure, sure, but that was their first vision. I don't believe they wanted a president set on forcing his whims, policies which were entitled to one group of the country and not the other, on states that didn't agree with them. Really the Civil War was the ultimate end of the argument about which was supreme, state's rights or federal rights. Anyone that thinks states have rights, in matters that are truly important, hasn't learned from the Civil War.

    But in answer to the original question of the thread... I can say that in my own experience, in the South Carolina public high school system, we were given a relatively fair choice of opinions. The standard history classes would teach the canned curriculum that was about as complex as "Slavery bad, lincoln good", but we were given a choice of electives that gave a more fair view of both sides. Those kids that really wanted to learn the truth could, but the majority didn't, and it mostly served as a white-washing of all the complexities that made the war interesting... or the complexities that we could learn from for the future. Which is certainly a shame.
    jrj1701 likes this.
  8. gloine36

    gloine36 Member

    The AOC failed because it did not provide for a strong enough central government. The Founders then created the Constitution which did provide for a strong central government and in the process agreed to give up the sovereignty of the individual states. The power of government is devolved from the people themselves, not the states. Secession was acknowledge in the ratification process to be wrong and was not going to be possible. It was an in or out situation. It is still that way and secession is unconstitutional and that is that. Even the Supreme Court has ruled on the issue.

    Read what James Madison had to say on the subject. He stated that secession was unconstitutional and not in keeping with the will of the Founders in the 1830s. Remember that Madison is the man with the title "Father of the Constitution" attached to him. His Notes on the Constitution are also valuable reading sources along with other primary sources from the men who wrote the Constitution. You will find that they put a strong central government over state rights. The ratification process was essentially a battle over that issue as well.

    As for what is taught in schools, I've stated it several times in this thread. The South was wrong, but to be clear it needs to be stressed why it was wrong and specifically who in the South was wrong. The slave owners controlled the South completely and they were the ones who led the region to destruction.
  9. jrj1701

    jrj1701 Member

    The problem that I see is that those who teach are being constrained to teach absolutes as dictated by those who are in power, which of course is constantly changing. The true history of the Civil War is still controversial because there was no complete victory, the losers were not totally defeated philosophically, they just lost the battle and had to bide their time. The problems that caused Civil War keep cropping back up and the reason why is that part of the whole is forgotten, it ain't taught and correctly addressed, it is whitewashed over because those seeking power today wish to fool us again.
  10. gloine36

    gloine36 Member

    I was not aware that slavery kept cropping up as a problem since it was made illegal by the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution. Since slavery is illegal now, the problem that caused the Civil War, specifically the expansion of slavery is no longer an issue. If the expansion of slavery is still a problem I haven't heard of it.
  11. jrj1701

    jrj1701 Member

    You missed my point, and your insistence that the Civil War was just about slavery misses the whole of what was happening. What did Andy Jackson say after he successfully kept the south from leaving the Union??? Why is there folks in the South today who want to leave the Union today??? Learn from the past or keep repeating it, your choice.
  12. gloine36

    gloine36 Member

    Learn the past so you can figure out if you are repeating it. I didn't miss your point at all. The people of the past told us what the Civil War was about in thousands of documents. They said it was about slavery. It is the people of the present who wish to hijack the Civil War for their own political ideology that deny it was about slavery. I tell you like I tell my students, if you want to prove something to me, then prove it and stop running your mouth. Bring facts to the table and not opinions.
    Andrew Jackson never kept the South from leaving the Union. He specifically sought to use force when one state, South Carolina, illegally tried to nullify federal law. He was granted the ability to use force by the US Congress and EVERY STATE in the union except South Carolina after which South Carolina backed down. Again, I direct you to James Madison who also said nullification was unconstitutional. I find it odd that so many today can say what they think the Founders wanted, but when confronted by what the Founders actually said and wrote cannot answer it.
  13. jrj1701

    jrj1701 Member

    You are stuck on a singular cause, and if you can't remember what Andy said and how it is pertinent to this debate , then I suggest you take your own advice. I agree that the Constitution allowed Andy the power to do what he had to do and he did right in this case, yet he said and I quote
    The Southern Aristocracy wants power for the few who think "right", not just slaves, but POWER. To limit the cause of the Civil War to the slavery issue only gives the corrupt a hiding place for the next round. Was the civil rights movement about slavery or the correct way to treat our fellow man?
  14. Andrei

    Andrei New Member

    War is taught completely correctly in my country. There is not thing such as propaganda and misinforming the children is illegal and not recommended at all. I have been taught the truth about history.
  15. gloine36

    gloine36 Member

    Andrew did not mean that disunion was a good thing, but rather that some individuals in South Carolina were going to use any excuse they could find to destroy the union for their own personal and selfish interests. The southern aristocracy thought only of themselves and their power, not their fellow man. They were vain, selfish, corrupt, and in my opinion evil men. However, slavery was the root of their power. Without it they would have had no power over the rest of the whites in the South. See Edmund Morgan's American Slavery, American Freedom for how that developed in the colonies.

    When their power was threatened by the desire to end slavery those men sought to act to protect the root of their power. We cannot escape the realization that slavery was the primary cause of the Civil War. While some did want a Southern Confederacy, it was so tangled up with slavery that it could not be sustained without the issue of slavery. I see where you are basing your conclusion and I agree to a point, but without the issue of slavery, the few who wanted a Southern Confederacy had no standing on its own.

    As for today, there are some who wish to secede, but they have no actual plans. They talk a lot, but when it comes time to actually do something but talk they haven't got a clue. I point to the Tea Party as the perfect example. It is the classic populist movement that comes up over a subject, but has nothing but anger to sustain it. In this case the TP has failed as a movement because it has no plans for anything other than to complain. That gets nothing accomplished.
  16. jrj1701

    jrj1701 Member

    I agree that Andy was not an advocate for the Confederacy, he was trying to warn of the manipulations of the southern aristocracy, and at the time slavery did indeed bring soldiers to both sides of the war, yet the true cause IMO of the Civil War was the greedy's desire to maintain their power. The Tea Party ain't having much success because today most can see who is really talking behind their rhetoric, the ones who wish to take more than they give, to have undue power over others. The point I am trying to make is that if the cause of the Civil War is just stated as the slavery issue, it ain't going deep enough to prevent the true issue from coming up again under a different rhetoric.
  17. gloine36

    gloine36 Member

    I see what you're driving at, but I really do think that the issue of slavery was the primary cause. Without slavery to get the poor whites involved in the fight, there would have been no secession. These two things go hand in hand, but we have to understand that slavery was the basis of the slave owner's power. The loss of slavery's expansion to the West was thought by many at that time to be the first step in ending slavery. That is why those slave owner's started to get agitated. Any threat to slavery would break the bond that held the poor white to the rich white. In a totalitarian state that was not an issue, but in a democracy it would be fatal.

    When I teach the causation of the CW I use a wagon wheel method. I draw a circle and spokes radiating from the hub and have students call out possible causes. They then have to explain that cause. Each one keeps coming back to slavery or is so intertwined it cannot be separated with slavery. We get the possible causes or the ones cited as the causes by various factions right out in the open including state's rights. I make a heading of state's rights, put 1, 2, 3, 4 on the board and ask them to tell me what those state rights were. That's when the crickets start to chirp and the gears begin to grind because they can't list a state's right that doesn't involve slavery. Even better, what ends up on the board looks like a lousy reason to secede over.

    We always end up back at slavery. I then ask them to tell me what the secession documents said. I have put them up on the screen and ran a keyword search on them. That is revealing too. It is a fun class session.
  18. jrj1701

    jrj1701 Member

    Agreed slavery pushed them, and of course it would, because as has already been state
    I guess that I look at it like alcoholism, most believe that alcohol is the cause of alcoholic's disease, yet it is the symptom of the true disease that needs treatment, the true disease in this case is avarice.
  19. TomesofDestiny

    TomesofDestiny New Member

    Schools teach a plenty accurate picture of the Civil War and correctly assess that the issue of slavery and its expansion is the primary cause. They also stress many secondary causes. There is oversimplification because it is a high school class but any suggestion that slavery was not the primary cause is pro-Confederate propaganda.
  20. Yorf

    Yorf New Member

    I guess there will always be controversy on the way schools teach things. No matter how you try, you can never make truly unbiased school books. As far as I know, there are no real laws in who can write a book used in schools. They are monitored to weed out the obviously bad ones of course, but you can never reach a point where you can say that certain thing is taught correctly with no questions asked. That plus teacher bias is always an issue.

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