Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Slavery denial

One thing that really bugs me is when the importance of slavery to the American Civil War is minimized or denied.

A good example of how that works is on an episode of "The Simpsons" when Apu is getting his citizenship.
Proctor: All right, here's your last question. What was the cause of the Civil War?
Apu: Actually, there were numerous causes. Aside from the obvious schism between the abolitionists and the anti-abolitionists, there were economic factors, both domestic and inter--
Proctor: Wait, wait... just say slavery.
Apu: Slavery it is, sir.

Cute, ain't it? But in fact, slavery it IS.

When Abraham Lincoln was elected president, South Carolina seceded, followed within two months by Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas. They seceded because they feared Lincoln would free their slaves.

The Confederacy was formed Feb 9, 1861.

Then on April 12, 1861 the Confederacy attacked the United States of America at Fort Sumter, South Carolina.

If the Confederacy had won the civil war there is no doubt they would have preserved slavery - possibly even forcing slavery on formerly free states.

How interesting that the clear cause of Civil War - the desire of the South to preserve slavery - is constantly downplayed.

Could it have something to do with the fact that the state of Texas, a member of the Confederacy and to this day a deep Red state and a bastion of racism has so much control over textbooks?

According to the NYTimes, March 17, 1994:
Textbooks sales in Texas represent about 8 percent of the $2.2 billion national market for textbooks. The state is second only to California which represents about 12 percent. Texas is also one of 22 states in which government committees must approve all texts sold in the state. Because Texas controls such a large market share, publishers often develop texts to meet the standards set by its 15-member Board of Education and then market them nationwide.
I think there's very likely a connection there.

Growing up in the mid-Atlantic states, I never thought much about North-South differences. The Civil War was a hundred years before I was born - ancient history. I think many Northerners feel that way. Only recently have I come to realize just how much anti-Northern resentment there is in the South. (BTW, mute your computer's sound before you visit these links or be blasted with a hideous MIDI version of "Dixie.")

They're still bitter they lost the Civil War, and I think some Northerners try to make them feel better by downplaying the obvious - the South was the pro-slavery BAD GUYS in the Civil War and it's a great thing that the North won!

The Southerners can get over the Civil War by stop thinking of themselves as Southerners and start thinking of themselves as Americans.

Interesting article on slavery denial at blackprof.com which I found by way of Ann at Sivacracy.