April 9, 1865

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TollandRCR
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April 9, 1865

#1

Post by TollandRCR » Tue Jan 20, 2015 11:17 am

This thread is intended to create a place for discussions of the impacts of the American Civil War on our society, both North and South. April 9, 1865 was when Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant in the Wilmer McLean home near Appomattox Courthouse. The middle years of the two terms of our first African-American President have also been the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War.



As in many other situations, I look for poetry or music to set a stage for a discussion. This is a song composed in the North but sung in both North and South during the war. The performance is by the Haydn Quartet in 1909 and is part of the National Jukebox collection. (Sorry, no video.) This could have been sung in 750,000 American homes.



"Military History" is not the perfect forum topic for this thread, as much more than military action merits discussion. However, other threads on the Civil War are here.




“The truth is, we know so little about life, we don’t really know what the good news is and what the bad news is.” Kurt Vonnegut

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kate520
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April 9, 1865

#2

Post by kate520 » Tue Jan 20, 2015 12:06 pm

I'm not an historian. This is my personal, uninformed opinion. What I know about the Civil War comes from studying about it with my dad when I was very young. We had books; all the conventional wisdom was in those books. It was not a war of Northern Aggression, said my books, it was a brilliant gambit to save our nation, an attempt to change a poisonous, no-longer-tenable way of life. Slavery is an abomination.

I have come to believe that America is too large to govern effectively. We are pitted against one another, region by region, ethnicity by ethnicity, to the point of paralysis. I don't know what we would have looked like without the unifying field of this war, but the days of unity such as we had after World War II are gone, vanished in a sizzle of electrons.

Every day reality has become a North/South dispute...global warming doesn't exist mainly in the south, the poor folks who will suffer the most as their miles of coastline are swallowed by rising seas; Obama is a Muslin usurper, mainly in the south (Orly notwithstanding. She should move to Georgia, although some parts of Orange County might suffice); Obamacare is a communist plot, mainly...guess where! I want Americans to work together again to solve our big problems, and we have some doozies, and I don't see that happening anytime soon. I see another split looming. The fact that all the secession talk and most anti-democrat talk goes away when Republicans are on top is telling. Obstruction and NO! will not help us, and modern Republicans don't deal with the serious issues when they are in charge.

Disclaimer: I know there are plenty of fine Southerners. I lived in various parts of Virginia for a over decade; all of my Fogbow brethren from the South are fine people. I'm talking about the Floriduh types who, sadly, litter the landscape. Please don't hate me any more than you already do.

Tolland, can you recommend any fiction that deals with what ifs?


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Family Liberty Patriot
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April 9, 1865

#3

Post by Family Liberty Patriot » Tue Jan 20, 2015 12:39 pm

Harry Turtledove is the gold standard for alternate history; start with Guns of the South (time-traveling white supremacists provide automatic weapons to the South, securing victory,) then proceed to How Few Remain and its dozen or so sequels.


"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."

John Kenneth Galbraith (1908 - 2006)

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April 9, 1865

#4

Post by kate520 » Tue Jan 20, 2015 2:08 pm

Thanks, Bonsall.


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TollandRCR
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April 9, 1865

#5

Post by TollandRCR » Tue Jan 20, 2015 3:06 pm

Kate's observations are precisely the reason that I posted Born Again American under Income Inequality. I beieve that what she describes can be reversed if the people on the left fight the Republicans' attempts to divide us from our natural allies. Our differences are our strengths. More to say under Income Inequality when I get a chance.


“The truth is, we know so little about life, we don’t really know what the good news is and what the bad news is.” Kurt Vonnegut

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TollandRCR
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April 9, 1865

#6

Post by TollandRCR » Thu Feb 05, 2015 8:20 pm

February 5, 1865: A Portrait


“The truth is, we know so little about life, we don’t really know what the good news is and what the bad news is.” Kurt Vonnegut

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April 9, 1865

#7

Post by ducktape » Thu Feb 05, 2015 9:25 pm

One of the things that has struck me about this and so many other photographs of that era that I have seen is how often people sat for their portraits with unkempt hair and crooked ties (and sometimes coats). I think they didn't look in the mirror first.



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TollandRCR
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April 9, 1865

#8

Post by TollandRCR » Sun May 03, 2015 4:14 pm

The 150th anniversary of an event so momentous as the surrender of the Army of Northern Virgina would seem to warrant attention. However, my contention is that April 9, 1865, was not the turning point that our school books tried to teach us. It was not even the end of the Civil War. There were land battles still to be fought in North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Texas. Battles at sea were fought near the Aleutians until June 28, 1865. The CSS Shenandoah did not surrender until November 6, 1865, and she surrendered to the British. Jefferson Davis was not captured until May 10. Guerrilla warfare continued for some years, eventually producing the James–Younger Gang. President Andrew Johnson signed the Proclamation ending the war on August 20, 1866.



My point is not that April 9, 1865, made no difference; it did. However, it was not a definitive turning point in the nation's treatment of its African-American population. It changed only one thing for these new citizens: the legality of slavery. It did not create equality or abolish discrimination in either the South or the North. Some abolitionists had never imagined that African-Americans would be treated equally with majority whites, much less given the vote.



The nation had far to go after April 9, 1865. We are not done yet. After 150 years, we have not removed the stain of the original sin at the founding of our nation*: the willingness to treat other human beings as inferior because of insignificant phenotype differences. Too many majority whites are still treating African-Americans as intellectually inferior, prone to crime, and shiftless. The election of our first African-American President did not signal the end of our due penance for the crime of slavery; in fact, it only incited the racists to become more vocal and perhaps more violent.



In his Proclamation Andrew Johnson did use the word "equality." In each case, he was referring to the equality of "the several states," not to the equality of human beings. The Supreme Court sustained segregation and discrimination until 1954, when it reversed the Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896. Along the way, it had held the Civil Rights Act of 1875 to be unconstitutional.



We still have far to go. One signal of coming success may be a falling incarceration rate for African-American men and a sharply falling rate of violent deaths due to law enforcement action.





* Our other "original sin" was the deliberate genocide of the Native American population.


“The truth is, we know so little about life, we don’t really know what the good news is and what the bad news is.” Kurt Vonnegut

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