Tell me … do you identify as Yankee, Confederate, or any other contemporary classification common to the Civil War era (Copperhead, southern Unionist, freedperson, etc.)? If so, why, and how does that shape your understanding of the period? If not, why not, and how has that shaped your understanding of the period?
Next Saturday, January 16, at 8 PM and 11:59 PM, C-SPAN 3 will air an episode of “Lectures in History,” featuring my fall 2015 class on the American presidency taught at Barrett, the Honors College at ASU. If you are expecting a lecture when you tune in, however, you’ll be disappointed, because I run my classes in Barrett as discussion classes, with a good deal of student interaction and assessment.
What do you think various Civil War personages past and heritage advocates present told Santa what they wanted … and what do you think they found under the tree or in their stocking?
What impact did the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War have upon our understanding of the war and its significance? In years to come, what will historians of Civil War memory have to say about the sesquicentennial?
You tell me.
Courtesy of Restoring the Honor, we have yet more evidence of the degree to which the Virginia Flaggers embrace haters in their quest to promote Confederate heritage.
First, there’s Hubert Wayne Cash, the man who provided the land for the Virginia Flaggers to erect their flag along I-95 north of Fredericksburg. Mr. Cash apparently doesn’t like black people.
You’ll recall this is not the first time a person who has allowed the Virginia Flaggers to erect a flagpole has expressed his antipathy towards black people.
And then there is the webmaster of the Virginia Flaggers, Connie Chastain, who decided to go on a rant ridiculing people with speech defects. When called on this on Twitter, Chastain continued to make fun of such people.
Just pathetic … and of course she shared her tweets with Virginia Flagger leader Susan Frise Hathaway, who just told us what an innocent victim she is. Guess Chastain’s now going to argue that Hathaway doesn’t read her own Twitter feed.
There’s something twisted and sick about Cash and Chastain … and about the organization that embraces them. Then again, Chastain charges that to highlight the lack of logic in her posts is to accuse her of mental disability. Wow. Nor was she adverse to posting pictures of herself using a walker (as well as the walker standing by itself) as well as sharing her own health problems on her hate blog. I guess she wanted us to feel sorry for her. But these rants suggest that she doesn’t care about mocking people with speech impediments. How sad.
Of course, Chastain hates a lot of things, so this really should surprise us. She also defends haters and claims they aren’t haters … like antisemites. But it amazed me to see the voice of Virginia Flagger intolerance (also known as Hathaway’s heavy hitter) take on new targets.
With supporters like these, Confederate heritage is in trouble. It’s hard to claim that you’re all about “heritage not hate” when your ranks are filled with haters who simply cannot restrain themselves when it comes to expressing their hate. What a bitter bunch of losers.
Haters gotta hate, I guess … and the Virginia Flaggers embrace haters to carry forth their message. No wonder people think it’s a message of hate.
UPDATE: Kevin Levin takes a nine iron to thump Trump.
It is a commonplace observation that a sound knowledge of history can be of use to a person who wants to be president of the United States. Many people also claim that a flawed understanding can do much harm.
And then there’s Donald Trump and Ben Carson, who seem intent on showing that ignorance of history is no barrier to popularity among a certain group of voters.
News comes this week that Mr. Trump is an active Civil War preservationist, although the land he preserved (by turning it into a golf course) happens to have had next to nothing to to with the war other than it oversees the Potomac River. However, Trump has proclaimed that one can see “The River of Blood” from where he has placed a plaque celebrating his devotion to remembering America’s past (between the 14th and 15th hole).
Let’s just say that it’s a good thing he has not explored the possibilities of building a casino in the Gettysburg area (as others have). That would result in a different sort of tasteless tower dominating the skyline.
As for Ben Carson, following a lull in his litany of errors, he decided to come back strong on the Sunday news programs by declaring that Thomas Jefferson crafted the Constitution.
James Madison must be fuming. He always has to play second fiddle to the man from Monticello (although Madison did not write the Constitution, either).
It’s not the first time Carson has been charged with having erred on matters pertaining to American history, although it is reasonable to respond that in this case the word “craft” is not quite the same as “compose,” and that it refers to Jefferson’s interpretation of the document — or, according to this commentary, Jefferson’s correspondence with Madison on the document. That’s a more difficult case to make, as Jefferson’s assessment came largely after the document was composed. You can see some of the correspondence during the deliberations here: note that it includes only one letter from Jefferson to Madison during the convention.
I would tell you which Confederate heritage blogger has already come out in favor of Trump, but I’d rather have you guess. She must have forgotten that he’s a Yankee.
If you have an hour, you might enjoy this discussion of the evolution of the Confederate flag by “The American History Guys” (Edward Ayers, Peter Onuf, and Brian Balogh) as part of Backstory.
Here’s Dick Morris sharing with us his understanding of Ulysses S. Grant.
The following two quotes on the Virginia Flaggers Facebook page marking the group’s raising of several more flags in Danville, Virginia offer insight into the minds of some Confederate heritage advocates: