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Mon Feb 17, 2020, 11:39 PM

 

A truth about America from Shelby Foote

"Any understanding of this nation has to be based and I mean really based on the understanding of Civil War. I believe that firmly, it defined us. The revolution did what it did. Our involvement in European wars began with the first World War did what it did, but the Civil War defined us as what we are and it opened us to being what we became — good and bad things.

And it is very necessary if you're going to understand the American character in the 20th Century, to learn about this enormous catastrophe in the mid-19th Century. It was the crossroads of our being and it was a hell of a crossroads."

--Shelby Foote


These words are even more evident today in the 21st century than when Foote spoke them in an interview by Ken Burns for his Civil War documentary.

They fit so well with what is happening and explain it in terms that are stark and revealing.

We are two nations, pre and post antebellum. prior to the Civil War, it was "The United States are..." and after it became "The United States is.

Everything we are can be explained by those few short years and the events during them.

We are now experiencing the ugly about what we became post-antebellum.

And it could hardly get any uglier.

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Arrow 21 replies Author Time Post
Reply A truth about America from Shelby Foote (Original post)
Zolorp Feb 17 OP
applegrove Feb 17 #1
Wounded Bear Feb 17 #2
djg21 Feb 18 #7
scarytomcat Feb 18 #21
Buckeyeblue Feb 18 #8
whathehell Feb 18 #16
malaise Feb 18 #19
tishaLA Feb 17 #3
Zolorp Feb 18 #4
Sewa Feb 18 #15
tishaLA Feb 18 #17
Dan Feb 18 #5
Zolorp Feb 18 #6
Dan Feb 18 #9
Zolorp Feb 18 #10
Dan Feb 18 #11
Zolorp Feb 18 #13
Dan Feb 18 #14
whathehell Feb 18 #18
malaise Feb 18 #20
Ex Lurker Feb 18 #12

Response to Zolorp (Original post)

Mon Feb 17, 2020, 11:44 PM

1. Jon Stewart one time talked about 'a country that had just fought a civil

war' and of course he was talking about the US. But it is not happening organically, always Hatreds have been harnessed and kept alive by the wealthy GOP too.

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Response to Zolorp (Original post)

Mon Feb 17, 2020, 11:47 PM

2. I think the big problem about the Civil War is that the South never accepted the loss...

Democracy depends on people accepting the results of elections and of reality. We're back in a place where a minority is refusing to accept reality, they have the reins of power, and they do not intend to let go.

It can definitely get a lot uglier.

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Response to Wounded Bear (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 12:10 AM

7. I don't think it ever ended.

Armed conflict ceased, but the war went cold, with the Dixiecrats, and then the Republicans taking up the mantle of the confederacy.

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Response to djg21 (Reply #7)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 09:57 AM

21. Yes

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Response to Wounded Bear (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 12:14 AM

8. Yes. And reconstruction was poorly executed.

And for the most part the federal government did nothing to protect the rights of black people until 100 years later when the civil rights act of 1964 was passed.

But we are two different counties. Or maybe even three different countries (western conservativism is different from southern).

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Response to Buckeyeblue (Reply #8)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 02:38 AM

16. It would have gone much better had Lincoln not been assassinated

His plans for reconstruction were expressly conciliatory/non-retaliatiory.

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Response to Wounded Bear (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 06:49 AM

19. THIS

I think the big problem about the Civil War is that the South never accepted the loss...

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Response to Zolorp (Original post)

Mon Feb 17, 2020, 11:58 PM

3. And we know which nation Foote would fight for

INTERVIEWER
Had you been alive during the Civil War, would you have fought for the Confederates?

FOOTE
No doubt about it. What's more, I would fight for the Confederacy today if the circumstances were similar. There's a great deal of misunderstanding about the Confederacy, the Confederate flag, slavery, the whole thing. The political correctness of today is no way to look at the middle of the nineteenth century. The Confederates fought for some substantially good things. States rights is not just a theoretical excuse for oppressing people. You have to understand that the raggedy Confederate soldier who owned no slaves and probably couldn't even read the Constitution, let alone understand it, when he was captured by Union soldiers and asked, What are you fighting for? replied, I'm fighting because you're down here. So I certainly would have fought to keep people from invading my native state. There's another good reason for fighting for the Confederacy. Life would have been intolerable if you hadn't. The women of the South just would not allow somebody to stay home and sulk while the war was going on. It didn't take conscription to grab him. The women made him go.

INTERVIEWER
What about fighting to end the institution of slavery?

FOOTE
The institution of slavery is a stain on this nation's soul that will never be cleansed. It is just as wrong as wrong can be, a huge sin, and it is on our soul. There's a second sin that's almost as great and that's emancipation. They told four million five hundred thousand people, You are free, hit the road. And we're still suffering from that. Three quarters of them couldn't read or write, not one tenth of them had a profession except for farming, and yet they were turned loose and told, Go your way. In 1877 the last Union troops were withdrawn after a dozen years of being in the South to assure compliance with the law. Once they were withdrawn all the Jim Crow laws and everything else came down on the blacks. Their schools were inferior in every sense. They had the Freedmen's Bureau, which did, perhaps, some good work, but it was mostly a joke, corrupt in all kinds of ways. So they had no help. Just turned loose on the world, and they were waifs. It's a very sad thing. There should have been a huge program for schools. There should have been all kinds of employment provided for them. Not modern welfare, you can't expect that in the middle of the nineteenth century, but there should have been some earnest effort to prepare these people for citizenship. They were not prepared, and operated under horrible disadvantages once the army was withdrawn, and some of the consequences are very much with us today.

INTERVIEWER
Bedford Forrest's picture hangs on your wall. He was an ex-slave trader, responsible for the Fort Pillow massacre of captured black soldiers, and after the war deeply involved in the Ku Klux Klan.

FOOTE
You could add that in hand-to-hand combat he killed thirty-one men, mostly in saber duels or pistol shootings, and he had thirty horses shot from under him. Forrest is one of the most attractive men who ever walked through the pages of history; he surmounted all kinds of things and you better read back again on the Fort Pillow massacre instead of some piece of propaganda about it. Fort Pillow was a beautiful operation, tactically speaking

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Response to tishaLA (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 12:04 AM

4. That does not alter the fact, to understand the character of America, you must understand that war.

 

That war, in and of itself, speaks volumes bout Foote's character as well as the nation's.

He is absolutely correct about what happened after emancipation and it is also the primary reason that reparations, in some form, are still due to this day.

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Response to Zolorp (Reply #4)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 02:30 AM

15. That's your opinion, some have a different one

I believe the Revolutionary era shaped the character of our nation. Foote and Ambrose’s over the top glorification of the confederacy is out of touch with reality. Has led to whites of the south to think their racism is a noble cause.

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Response to Zolorp (Reply #4)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 02:43 AM

17. I never thought I'd see the day DU would

Celebrate a would-be confederate soldier who was also an apologist for a Klan leader. He has an utter lack of character and his crocodile tears about post-enancipation black folk rings hollow when you consider he would be willing to keep them enslaved.

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Response to Zolorp (Original post)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 12:07 AM

5. From the beginning to potentially the end

America is about White Privilege.

We can discuss/debate the War of Independence...

We can discuss/debate the Civil War....

Excluding World War I - including World War II and all the proxy wars of the twentieth century,

It seems that we are fighting Privilege.

In my opinion.... flame on.

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Response to Dan (Reply #5)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 12:10 AM

6. More than any other period of American History, the Civil War defines White Privilege in America.

 

What happened after the 13th amendment proves that to this day, reparations are owed.

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Response to Zolorp (Reply #6)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 12:40 AM

9. This would be an interesting discussion....

Reparations...questions that would be asked:

1. How would a determination be made as to who qualifies?

2. Would it only apply to families whose ancestors were slaves?

3. I suspect that a lot of white people had slaves in their background - as they started passing?

Reparations would be an interesting and potentially divisive discussion.

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Response to Dan (Reply #9)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 12:53 AM

10. There are other answers to reparations other than cash payments

 

Educating police and sheriff departments nationwide would be a small start.

There are other programs and policies that could go a long way toward reparations.

Originally it was "40 acres and a mule".

How much is that worth today collectively in terms of policies and legislation? Because not a single former slave got a mule, let alone 40 acres.

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Response to Zolorp (Reply #10)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 12:55 AM

11. Maybe a simple question is

What is the value of White Privilege?

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Response to Dan (Reply #11)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 01:01 AM

13. Honestly, as an old white man, it is priceless

 

I have more advantages in this country because I am an old white guy than I care to enumerate.

And that's just plain wrong.

True reparations are taking away that advantage via fiat before anything else.

And I am more than willing to give up the privilege I recognize that I have for no other reason than I was born a male of European descent in this nation. It might hurt some of my advantages, but right is right.

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Response to Zolorp (Reply #13)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 01:03 AM

14. I wouldn't want you to give up your privileges,

I would just like everyone to have them...

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Response to Zolorp (Reply #13)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 02:45 AM

18. Yeah, so is Male Privilege

I wonder when "everyone' will get to share" those.

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Response to Zolorp (Reply #10)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 06:54 AM

20. Institutional racism remains one of America's biggest problems

Until the society repairs it's brains re non-white people, the country will remain divided.
Until the Western view of the white man as superior is crushed, we're all doomed.

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Response to Dan (Reply #9)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 12:57 AM

12. Since African countries have also suffered from colonialism

It could be argued that reparations are owed to all POC regardless of whether their ancesters were slaves. It could alsio be strongly argued that Native, Asian, and Latinx people are owed reparations under the same criteria. I do not know how Whites could be persuaded to agree to any of this voluntarily. Perhaps it will take another civil war.

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