Civil War Revisionism

Posted on February 18, 2012

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Many people aren’t that interested in history. I on the other hand, absolutely love and value history. Because of this, I thoroughly despise so called “historians” who are in reality just manipulative revisionists. There’s nothing wrong with researching in attempts to develop better understanding of the past. However, it’s an insult to historians and a threat to society when people intentionally try to rewrite history with unsubstantiated claims and even worse, promote outright lies.

I Swear, people need to just stop accepting revisionist Civil War propaganda as historical fact!

Yesterday, as I’m wasting away another hour of my life watching YouTube videos, I stumbled upon a video entitled:  A Tribute To Our Black Confederate Heroes. Obviously, the agenda of this video is the attempt to show that blacks willingly fought and died for the Confederacy in order to “protect Southern rights” and fight against the “Northern oppression”.  The overwhelming majority of historical research about the American Civil War clearly indicates that the fundamental cause of the rebellion was over the morality issue of slavery. For over 150 years, some revisionists have attempted to rewrite the history books and assert that the Civil War was fought merely over the seemingly innocent issue of states’ rights. Even though all efforts have failed miserably, some continue to try to encourage revisionist propaganda.

As to the video, one of the photos in the slideshow has been used by revisionists as the “holy grail” of evidence for quite a while. Sadly, the proven truth of this photo doesn’t deter people from clinging to it as evidence to support their false claims. The photo in question allegedly depicts the 1st Louisiana Native Guard, a Confederate militia of “free persons of color”.  The reality of the matter is that this photo actually depicts the 25th United States Colored Troops in 1864, two years after the Confederate 1st LNG disbanded and was semi-incorporated into the Union 1st LNG.  To date, no authentic photographs of the Confederate unit have been found.

Did the Confederate unit exist? Sure, there’s enough documented written evidence to confirm this. But the myth of the unit is what drives revisionists to use it at the center of their claim. That myth is the existence of highly trained, organized, well-equipped combat units of blacks fighting for the Confederacy. The reality is that this unit was comprised of free blacks and other men of color (New Orleans had a large Creole population) who were of relative prominence….far from the slaves who supposedly fought to defend the Southern “way of life”.  In fact, the 1st LNG was never even deployed for combat but essentially served Confederate propaganda purposes.

Generally speaking, did blacks fight for the Confederacy? Yes, but again this fact has been propagated into myths. While there were some small amounts of  both free and enslaved blacks who were listed as Confederate soldiers, the truth is that  large majority never held a rifle or saw combat but instead were mostly pressed into service as laborers. But why does it even matter at all? Why are some so bent on rewriting history and promoting this claim that blacks (both freedmen and slaves) fought to defend the Confederacy? Justification.

If the South seceded from the Union  because of states’ rights, what was the “right” that they felt the federal government was trying to oppress? Well, it was of course the notion that the states had the right to tolerate (in reality, promote) the institution of slavery. It took a while, but the civilized world finally realized that it was immoral to oppress other humans (via slavery) because of their skin color. Great Britain banned slavery in 1833. This set the stage for the abolitionist movement in the United States to really explode. The South’s economy was dependent on slavery and without it, they could never compete with the manufacturing industries of the Northern states, which would ironically lead to the “enslaving” of those who so strongly advocated slavery. I’m convinced that southerners greatly feared this reality. They knew very well the negative results of the oppressive nature of slavery seeing as they were engaged in the practice. Of course the only way they could stop this from happening was to fight to protect their only way out of the inevitable. History shows that they merely just delayed that inevitability and the near complete destruction of the Southern infrastructure resulting from the war only added to their struggles.

But again, what’s the REAL underlying message here? Some will not or cannot come to grips with the fact that slavery was wrong and that for decades, Americans (mostly in the South) tolerated and advocated an oppressive, immoral institution all for the means of their own benefit. Guilt. That is the reason for the need to rewrite this terribly dark era of not only United States history, but also human history.

We all have to accept the reality that over the course of history, humans have made mistakes. It is only once we can fully recognize our past failings that we can truly work to right the wrongs of our ancestors and strive to create a better world for our children.

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