There have been lots of great posts on The New York Times‘ “Disunion” Civil War blog. Here are a few of them, as I’ve remembered to keep them open in my browser! In “The Foot Comes Down,” Ted Widmer discusses Lincoln’s speeches in New Jersey (a clear reason for me to post it). And Steven Hahn, a brilliant scholar and Rochester alum, discusses “What Lincoln meant to the slaves.” Most recently, Susan Schulten looks at the myths and realities of western expansion and Kansas in “How the West was Won.”
A couple of other related stories include an interesting article by Scott Casper called “Rebranding Mount Vernon,” on the estate’s former slaves and their role in memorializing Washington’s home. Aaaaand, just to bring us up to the current world, a notice about the reenactment of Jefferson Davis’ swearing-in. For reals. I’ll hold my tongue for now. Ok, I won’t…sometimes I think that the problem lies in that while the federal government may not have had the “legal” power to end slavery, the South wasn’t about to get rid of it–which tends to be the argument I’ve heard advanced by Southern apologists as to why slavery wasn’t really important even on moral grounds, as left to itself the Old South was slowly deciding to do away with the institution. Hogwash. In fact, one of the few sweeping federal powers granted in the Southern constitution (if memory serves) was the government’s right and duty to enforce slavery, which no state could legally abolish. Which gets us right back to where we started.
I apologize for all the articles being from the NYT, which someone said recently has had far more to say about the Middle East than Wisconsin, but hey, the articles here are quality. One takes one’s news as one can.
On a brief Afghanistan-related note, Nathaniel Fick and John Nagl (the noted Counter-Insurgency public advocate) argued in a recent column that yes, in fact, see the “surge” in Afghanistan is working just like it did in Iraq (ok, they’re not that blunt, but that’s essentially the message). I have my doubts about the “Iraq Surge” narrative, fostered by military folks on the other side of the debate with whom I’m acquainted, but the article’s worth the read.
Ok, that will have to do for today…I’ve already been working on chapter 4 for a few hours, and have to head out for some errands and then work on campus later. Have a good day!