How Should One View One’s Confederate Ancestors?

In the aftermath of a discussion about the commemoration of the inauguration of Jefferson Davis as provisional president of the Confederacy some 150 years ago, Kevin Levin at Civil War Memory wondered out loud about the purpose of the SCV.  As he put it, “The SCV doesn’t simply bring together descendants of Confederate soldiers, it brings them together around a set of shared beliefs that have little do with remembering individual soldiers.”  Continue reading

Lincoln’s Bookends

Nearly all presidential performance polls rank Abraham Lincoln as one of the top two presidents in American history (his current competition happens to be George Washington, with FDR usually claiming the bronze).  While Lincoln is impressive on his own merits, it does not hurt that both his predecessor and successor currently dwell at the bottom of the same polls.  Yet something can be learned from comparing the presidential performances of James Buchanan and Andrew Johnson.  Such was in the back of historian Glenn LaFantasie’s mind yesterday, in which he explained why at this moment he thinks that Buchanan should bring up the rear (let’s set aside his estimate of George W. Bush for the moment).

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