The myth of the kindly General Lee

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The Romulan Republic
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Re: The myth of the kindly General Lee

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-11-17 10:24pm

In fact, there was a sustained campaign of guerilla violence in the South post-Civil War, from the Ku-Klux-Klan and similar groups. It's not usually thought of as such, perhaps because the shear scope of it has been largely erased from history books by Confederate apologist history which painted Reconstruction as a brutal Northern subjugation of an innocent South, and it never succeeded in leading to another Southern secession. But it did have considerable success in intimidating (or murdering) black voters and their allies, keeping states in the pro-Southern column in elections by forcibly suppressing the vote, and eventually the North basically just said "fuck it", decided keeping a massive garrison perpetually in the South wasn't worth it just to protect black rights, and let Jim Crow come in. It took America a 100 years, give or take, to recover the ground we lost to the KKK insurgency of the 1860s and 70s. In a very real sense, the North won the Civil War, and lost the occupation.
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Re: The myth of the kindly General Lee

Post by Zwinmar » 2018-11-18 11:18am

Keep in mind, people have forgotten that East Tennessee was occupied by the Confederacy so it couldnt go the way of West Virginia.

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Re: The myth of the kindly General Lee

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-11-18 01:42pm

That was where Champ Ferguson(one of only Confederates hanged at war's end) operated, wasn't it?
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Re: The myth of the kindly General Lee

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-11-19 01:30am

Even as an anti-death penalty person, I think a strong pragmatic argument can be made that one of the worst mistakes America ever made was not hanging more Confederates.
"Well, Grant, we've had the devil's own day, haven't we?"

"Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow though."

-Generals William T. Sherman and Ulysses S Grant, the Battle of Shiloh.


"You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?"-Terry Pratchett's DEATH.


I am a dual citizen of the United States and Canada.


Fuck Civility.

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Re: The myth of the kindly General Lee

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-11-19 06:21am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-11-19 01:30am
Even as an anti-death penalty person, I think a strong pragmatic argument can be made that one of the worst mistakes America ever made was not hanging more Confederates.
Ferguson was hanged, because he was poor, white trash, while Wirz(the commandant at Andersonville) got his neck stretched, because he was (gasp!) a foreigner.

Whereas Bedford Forrest should've faced the dock and the rope for the massacre at Fort Pillow.
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
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Re: The myth of the kindly General Lee

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-11-19 02:27pm

U.P. Cinnabar wrote:
2018-11-19 06:21am
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-11-19 01:30am
Even as an anti-death penalty person, I think a strong pragmatic argument can be made that one of the worst mistakes America ever made was not hanging more Confederates.
Ferguson was hanged, because he was poor, white trash, while Wirz(the commandant at Andersonville) got his neck stretched, because he was (gasp!) a foreigner.

Whereas Bedford Forrest should've faced the dock and the rope for the massacre at Fort Pillow.
I understand a lot of the blame for that can be laid upon Andrew Johnson's feet-- he was a Southerner (albeit at arm's length), the only Senator from the Southern states to remain in Washington after secession, and Lincoln thought picking him as VP would help reconcile the South a little more quickly. Unfortunately the man was a unregenerate racist, a drunk boor and extremely sympathetic to the leadership of the South; as a result, bushel-loads of pardons were issued postwar from his office.
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Re: The myth of the kindly General Lee

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-11-19 03:41pm

Yes.

Despite everything I've said about Donald Trump, I would still regard Andrew Johnson as the worst President in American history (well, him or Buchannan, with Trump in a close third place). Johnson's enabling of Klan violence in the South should have seen him prosecuted for Treason, in a just world.

Edit: I should also note that Lincoln did not, in fact, pick Johnson. At the time, VP and Presidential candidates were nominated separately by the party conventions. Lincoln had basically no say in the matter, beyond being able to offer his personal opinion.
"Well, Grant, we've had the devil's own day, haven't we?"

"Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow though."

-Generals William T. Sherman and Ulysses S Grant, the Battle of Shiloh.


"You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?"-Terry Pratchett's DEATH.


I am a dual citizen of the United States and Canada.


Fuck Civility.

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Re: The myth of the kindly General Lee

Post by Civil War Man » 2018-11-20 10:53am

Gunhead wrote:
2018-11-17 12:48pm
As a more minor note but I think it is relevant is the idea of this mysterious unified south, which people use to bolster their claim that a guerilla war would have been feasible. As far as I can tell SCA wasn't nearly as unified as say the North was, but SCA basically had to fabricate this idea of a tyrannical Federal Government to get the common farmers to join up in arms. What I'm getting at is this, if you want to get people to take up arms in what is plainly a lost cause, you need something far more sturdy ideologically than what the SCA had. Now some might argue the need to maintain slavery is strong enough, but I disagree. Keeping slavery legal was no small part the reason what got people to join up in the first place, but after four years of brutal war I don't think people would be ready to risk what little they had just to keep their slaves.
The general idea that the south was not as unified as is often depicted is by and large true, and if anything it's actually even more pronounced than you think. West Virginia is the classic example, since that's entirely why they are a separate state from the rest of Virginia, and Zwinmar mentioned the Confederate occupation of eastern Tennessee during the war. There is also Jones County, Mississippi, where a guerrilla campaign by deserters basically drove the Confederate government out of the region.

By many accounts, poor southern whites were quite unenthusiastic about the Confederate cause. A lot of Unionist strongholds in the south were located in high poverty areas. Desertion from the Confederate armies was higher than in the Union armies throughout the war, and only got worse as the blockade took its toll, supplies ran low, and losses on the battlefield made the southern prospects more and more bleak. The CSA also implemented a draft almost a full year before the Union did due to lack of volunteers, which further exacerbated the resentment of the poor southerners because the draft included exemptions for wealthy slave owners (initially anyone who owned more than 20 slaves was exempt) and their overseers. All of that further reinforced the idea that the rebellion was a rich man's war, and a lot of poor people were not keen on the idea of fighting and dying so rich people could own slaves.

As much as the slave-owning class tried to make them think otherwise, many poor southerners rightly saw their situation as a class struggle as opposed to a racial one. They may or may not have been particularly enlightened in terms of race, but they recognized that it was slavery that was keeping them down. Slaves reduced the number of jobs available to free whites and artificially depressed the wages of what jobs did exist. To them, resenting the slaves for that made about as much sense as resenting the horse pulling the plow or the gin pulling the seeds from the cotton. Slaves may have been an immediate cause of the lack of economic prospects, but it was the wealthy who built the system so it would behave that way. The slave owners even recognized the threat of the disaffected poor, since they went to great lengths in the antebellum time period to make it nearly impossible for poor whites to receive an education, because the lower class had the numbers to potentially be an incredibly powerful political force in the region, and an educated lower class would have more access to abolitionist ideas.

It wasn't until after the war that the wealthy were able to more effectively foment racial animosity, since then poor whites were having to compete with newly freed blacks for the work that existed.

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