Looking at the cross currents of historical and contemporary events
I'll be leaving town later this week, and will be taking a different book with me (I'm finally getting around to reading Railroaded -- which is great so far). Will catch up with everyone when I get back.
http://magickalgraphics.com/Graphics/Occult/Sabbats/Samhain/samhain82.jpghttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJ3AvHjvFy8HAPPY SAMHAIN ONE & ALL!
Nice to see some life in this forum! A Happy Samhain to you too, Trip. I started reading 1493. Will put up a new post tomorrow. Lots of fodder for discussion.
Be sure to see Margin Call if you have a chance. Amazing film!
Gintaras: As an aside, I read Union War, which argues that the war was fought for union not slavery (although slavery ultimately caused the war). As we've discussed in the past, I think historians get it wrong, mostly because I can't imagine over a million northern Americans enlisting at the beginning of the war to free the slaves -- as much as I would like to think it possible. This is not an easy book to read because ultimately it's a book of historiography, arguing with the literature. And he admits that you can draw on individual letters home to support just about any point of view you want. So he uses regimental histories, written right after the war, to get a better sense of what soldiers believed they had fought for and what mattered most to them. I think it's an important book, even if it's not a great read.I wish Chartres were here -- this is the kind of argument she would enjoy.
And for something totally different, take a look at these posters. This is a powerful movement:http://occuprint.org/
What annoys me is the ongoing attempt to separate unionism and slavery. The South feared the ever increasing abolitionist fervor. The Republican Party formed around the issue. Lincoln campaigned for abolition, greatly inciting Southern fears. His election was largely responsible for the subsequent Southern secession. When war broke out, Lincoln's main goal was to hold the union together, for which he was willing to defer abolition of slavery, much to the chagrin of the core of his party. To me, it is impossible to detach these two issues from each other.
I hope you read the book at some point, because I would really enjoy discussing some of this with you. Gallagher doesn't separate slavery and union in the way, for example, states rights people want to do it. At a late point he states that historians have conflated the cause of the war (for honorable reasons I think) with the goals for which most men fought. Even those who came to accept emancipation appear to have seen it more as a means rather than an end. One thing I learned that I had never read before: Lincoln did not run as a republican for his second term. He ran on the Union Party ticket, apparently for the reasons you noted above.
Another thing he suggests but doesn't fully explore that I also found fascinating -- it seems that the aristocratic South came to represent England in the minds of many and so the Civil War was like a second war of independence, not for slaves but for those laboring in the Northeast. That doesn't strike me as a particularly new argument, but it's one I hadn't really focused on before. Just when you would think the Civil War couldn't possibly be written about with any more insights, Gallagher seems to have opened up a lot of new avenues of exploration with this book. I think you would enjoy reading it, even if you don't agree with him.
One more aside: http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/98233/barack-obama-teddy-roosevelt
"One thing I learned that I had never read before: Lincoln did not run as a republican for his second term. He ran on the Union Party ticket, apparently for the reasons you noted above." That was an interesting twist. Apparently, the Republicans felt they had a better chance of beating the Democrats by co-opting the pro-Union War Democrats and hence the name change, but it was still pretty much the Republican Party with a new wing, which led to the nomination of Andrew Johnson as VP. Very bad choice in retrospect."... it seems that the aristocratic South came to represent England in the minds of many and so the Civil War was like a second war of independence,"Interesting argument. There had been many secession drives in the first 100 years of the union, including one by New York. There were certainly those in the Northeast and Midwest sympathetic to the South, notably the Copperheads, who seemed willing to accept a "two-state solution," is that was the price of peace.I think there is much still to ferret out and discuss in regard to the Civil War, as so many of the issues and emotions remain to this day.