Chamblee54

The Civil War On PBS

Posted in History, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on December 8, 2018


I have binge listened to a public television series, The Civil War. This youtube edition has subtitles in Portuguese, adding a Brazilian touch. I feel obligated to make a blog post. When writing about a topic of this size, I typically start by finding as many sources as possible. I have written about “the recent unpleasantness” several times, and will link to these when it is appropriate. The only way to start this project is to open a word document, save it with a title, and start typing.

What did I learn? There was widespread opposition to emancipation in the north. I had never thought about this. The popular narrative is that the war was fought to free the slaves. While I knew that there were other reasons for the conflict, I assumed that the north wanted to free the slaves. As it turns out, the decision to free the slaves was controversial in the north. I will leave speculation about the reason for this to other armchair historians.

The show made me cry twice. The first time was after the Gettysburg Address. The address was made at the dedication of a cemetery, on the site of the Battle of Gettysburg. After two and a half years of horrendous carnage, the war was going good for the Union. However, 1864 was to have an election. Mr. Lincoln’s chances did not look good. If he lost, the Democrats would probably negotiate a peace, and the Confederacy would endure.

The Gettysburg Address is one of the most moving two minutes in our history. It was printed in newspapers across the land, which is the reason it is known today. “We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live.”

The second tearjerker moment was also set at Gettysburg. It was the fiftieth anniversary of the battle. War veterans, from both sides, came to celebrate the occasion. There was a reenactment of Pickett’s charge. When the Rebels got to the fortifications, the Union soldiers came out and hugged them. They were greeted as brothers in arms, who had somehow survived a horrible conflict.

After the fighting ended, and life in the unquestionably United States continued, there came to be what Shelby Foote calls “a great compromise … It consists of Southerners admitting freely that it’s probably best that the Union wasn’t divided, and the North admits rather freely that the South fought bravely for a cause in which it believed. That is a great compromise and we live with that …”

In recent years, this arrangement seems to be breaking down. It is now the fashion to view anything short of total vilification of the Confederacy as treasonous. There is sneering talk of the “Cult of the Lost Cause.” This is a lamentable way to look at this transformative part of our history. Maybe this too shall pass, and we will see the Confederacy in a different light in a few years.

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. The men before the text are Confederate soldiers, and after the text we have Union soldiers. These pictures are from Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs.

2 Responses

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  1. The Civil War On PBS | Chamblee54 said, on December 16, 2020 at 7:02 am

    […] when it is appropriate. The only way to start this project is to open a word document. This is a repost. What did I learn? There was widespread opposition to emancipation in the north. I had never […]

  2. Coercive Labor in Xinjiang | Chamblee54 said, on December 21, 2020 at 9:01 am

    […] king ~ georgia on my mind ~ georgia on my mind ~ blogging ~ aita rick beato ~ penny dimino rose ~ repost ~ video lounge ~ donald windam tennessee williams ~ dakin williams ~ Xinjiang ~ Terry Kay ~ wtf In […]


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