Tag Archives: the Civil War

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How Plessy v. Ferguson Came About

1,629 words

Steve Luxenberg
Separate: The Story of Plessy v. Ferguson, And America’s Journey From Slavery to Segregation
New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2019

Steve Luxenberg is a Washington Post associate editor and protégé of the Watergate reporter Bob Woodward. In 2019, he published a book called Separate, which describes the Read more …

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The Real Meaning of Juneteenth

1,481 words

Unless you’re a Texan, you probably never heard of Juneteenth until last week.

This holiday celebrates the end of slavery and has long been a minor holiday in the Lone Star State. It commemorates the day — June 19, 1865 — where the Union declared all slaves in the state of Texas free, Read more …

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S. C. Gwynne’s Empire of the Summer Moon

3,288 words

S.C. Gwynne’s magnificent Empire of the Summer Moon hits as hard as literature can hit and offers history as a form of sublime entertainment. I believe the author wouldn’t take all the credit for his book’s success, since the subject matter — which is, as the subtitle tells us, the rise and fall of the nineteenth-century Comanche nation — is so fascinating, so packed with action, so rife with contradictions, so laden with heart-wrenching drama, and so existential in its meaning, the story pretty much writes itself. Read more …

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Tribal Denialism

1,615 words

Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the past five years, you’ve probably heard about the “dangerous” return of tribalism.

Before 2015 (or before Obama, depending on the source), Americans didn’t put themselves in tribes. They only saw red, white and blue. Everyone was judged as an individual. Civility and decency reigned supreme. Race relations and gender relations were all just fine. Americans were one nation, under God and indivisible. Read more …

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Remembering Thomas Nelson Page
(April 23, 1853 — November 1, 1922)

2,365 words

After the Civil War, the American South was in ruins. Beyond the poverty, oppression, and the rapid demise of the old regime, however, the inheritors of the former Confederacy found themselves without defense in the national court of moral opinion. They were a defeated people who had drawn arms against a tolerant and progressive government in order to cling to outmoded ways of life, including (most offensively to some) the ancient practice of slavery.

Those who pined for the South’s days of greatness needed a champion. During the postbellum period, Thomas Nelson Page was one such champion. Read more …

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3,145 words

Lincoln is essentially Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter with bigger words. The latter said the Confederacy was the product of blood sucking monsters to be destroyed with stakes to the heart and decapitation. The former tells us Southerners simply exist to be killed with bayonet and cannonade. Far from being the “moral relativists” of conservative imagination, Hollywood has given us a version of American history characterized by absolute portrayals of good and evil, with shades of gray permitted to righteous egalitarians only divided by what tactics can best be used to exterminate their foes.  Read more …

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