During my series commenting on Thomas DiLorenzo’s 2008 interview with Brian Lamb, it was evident that aside from claims about “court historians,” a “church of Lincoln,” and a “Lincoln cult,” Dr. DiLorenzo was interested in the political leanings of certain Lincoln scholars. But what about his own? After all, if DiLorenzo interprets people’s historical perspectives based upon his assessment of their political perspectives, it stands to reason that he should be subjected to like treatment.
Today I came across a short article on the sesquicentennial that follows what is by now a familiar format. The writer cites the activities of the SCV, notes some of the SCV claims about the war, and offers a counterpoint. Or the article becomes a commentary on the South and remembering the war. A few offer a more direct message. That includes Leonard Pitts, who makes the common mistake of confusing the South and the Confederacy. Enslaved southerners didn’t lose the war, Mr. Pitts. You need to work on your own sense of historical memory: segregating “the South” to mean only white people, and overlooking the divisions among white people, simply sets us back in understanding what happened.
Yesterday readers of this blog as well as myself were entertained by a series of comments from a reader who went by the name of “Frank” and who seemed rather all too well schooled in some of the arguments offered by Thomas DiLorenzo, especially in his characterizations of the Southern Poverty Law Center. As soon as another poster commented upon the background of several of DiLorenzo’s favorite antiLincoln scholars (my, but such terminology sounds like a cheerleading exercise, not scholarship), “Frank” started complaining about the SPLC and offered me suggestions on how to manage my comments section. I should note that the people “Frank” attacked did not ask me to manage my comments section in response to “Frank.”
In 2007 Craig Warren asked me to contribute some thoughts on the Civil War writings of Ambrose Bierce to The Ambrose Bierce Project Journal, an online enterprise. What follows is my effort to come to terms with Bierce’s observations about the construction of battle narratives. As you can see, while I strongly agree with some of what Bierce says, I also happened to catch him committing the same sins which he complained of in others. Nevertheless, as you read what Bierce says, you might want to reflect on how historians compose battle narratives and ask how you might tinker with the formula.