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2 minutes ago, philknox said:

There was never any chance of a "Golden Opportunity" for racial equality in the Reconstruction Period when, from what we can tell, most abolitionists did not agree with the concept.  Why else would the Liberal Republicans gain such widespread support.  I have yet to find any widespread spread for support true racial egalitarianism from white abolitionists, and much evidence to the contrary.  Even such abolitionist luminaries such as Harriet Beecher Stowe, Charles Sumner, William Seward, Carl Schurz, Charles Francis Adams, Cassius Clay and many other did not support 20th and 21st Century views on racial equality.

But we cannot discount the five years of Conrgressional Reconstruction under Radical Republicans, nor their existence as a political force until the end of the Grant admin. Nor can we ignore the presence of more radically minded abolitionists such as Frederick Douglass and Wendell Philips. 

That having been said, I suppose we both no that counter-factuals are as fun as they are impossible to resolve. So I think we will have to agree to disagree on this.

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No need to start with an easy question, right?   Ok so I'm going to keep this short because its 3 am where I live lol . The short answer to your question is, they tried exactly what you are saying

Lee marched onto Gettysburg and met the Yankees on their own turf.  We all know how that story ends.  And so, 1stVermont slinks back to the USB as Lee did over the Rappahannock River. Though, des

"Hannibalbarca" was banned as spammer (There were multiple reports leading to case that he is our old spammer "1st Vermont").

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2 minutes ago, philknox said:

I would also be careful and avoid overusing the word traitors when in reference to the South.  I am not Lost Cause apologist, but we have to keep in mind that all Americans that supported the Revolution after 1776 were traitors to Great Britain, and the South was not the first region to seriously contemplate secession.  New England farmers with the knowledge, and complicity of their state governments supplied the British Army with foodstuffs during the War of 1812.  That was known at the time of 1861.  I direct my students to Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address.

Agreed, but in using the word "traitor" in this context, I am intentionally invoking the language of Radical Republicans in their struggle against "Southern Redemption." So in this case my employment of the word is directed to my broader point.. 

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Many of those Radicals switched to the Liberal Republican point of view, including leading Radical Sumner.   We can chalk up Reconstruction to the thirst for vengeance, since many Radicals themselves said so and did not favor racial egalitarianism. 

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1 minute ago, philknox said:

Lost Cause mythology needs to disappear into the ash heap of history, but we should avoid the overreaction.

I agree with that, though as I said, I use the word "traitor" because in the 19th Century, Rebels were viewed contemporaryily and legally as traitors. It  underscores my point that at the close of Reconstruction, America valued men that were openly acknowledged in Congress as traitors over black men who struggled for the Union.

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If the Radicals had so wished they could have kept Reconstruction going indefinitely.  They did not, and many, former Radicals, came to see Reconstruction as destructive to reconciliation.  I can only take them at their word.

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2 minutes ago, philknox said:

Many of those Radicals switched to the Liberal Republican point of view, including leading Radical Sumner.   We can chalk up Reconstruction to the thirst for vengeance, since many Radicals themselves said so and did not favor racial egalitarianism. 

Again, I would agree that many were motivated by vengenance, but not all. That also does not erase the possibility for radical reform, only the motivation to maintain it. 

Anyway, while I could talk about this all day (and for all my life for that matter), I will be late for work. Can we resume this discussion this evening :)

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There is no evidence that American society wanted racial reform, and much more to suggest otherwise.  Racial equality would have been a non-starter in any white nation state during the time period.

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1 hour ago, Mr. Mercanto said:

I suppose I fall into the position that it must be interpreted with both. On the one hand, history needs to be contextualized to be understood. Indeed, much of the confusion about the causes of the war, Emancipation, et cetera, exist because our views are anachrnoistically imposed on historical contexts. 

However, the Civil War is a seminal event in American history, and the questions over which it was fought are not yet entirely resolved, and resonate today. The public memory of the war is as much a crucial area of Civil War historioraphy as any other, perhaps more crucial, if like myself you view historians as having a responsiblility to aid the public in understanding the framework and context of the country, community, et cetera. In this respect, I would argue that the Civil War must also be viewed with modern eyes. 

So in a sense, I think Civil War historians need to walk a fine line of doing both. Either way, Foner and McPherson use undeniably excellent research, as does Blight; and their contributions to the historiography have been tremendous.

 

1 hour ago, Mr. Mercanto said:

We will have to agree to disagree on that. I happen to agree with Downes, Blight, and Foner that a "Golden Opportunity" did exist during Reconstruction, and that, no matter how you sice it, traitors were allowed to be citizens, and loyal men cast into apartheid; and it was done to appease the traitors, all due to race. These ideas are not exclusive to these historians, such contemporary views in the 1860s and 1870s are very well documented.

Indeed, the Civil War was not about racial egalitarianism, but I think Reconstruction in many respects was. Obviously Reconstruction had several agendas, and one can argue if Reconciliation failed them by failing to secure racial equality and create a truly pro-Union South, or if it succeeded by creating in the South a power structure which could embrace the Union. All of this depends on which agenda one decides fits Reconstruction. 

My own view is that Reconstruction should have aimed to deconstruct the power structures that created secession and the war, above all the planter class and the hegemony of racism. Such would achieved by the appropriation of planter property for social uplift of white yeomens and Freedmen, and by racial equalty. Failing this, Reconstruction settled for allowing the old antebellum families to return to power, a new system of laws restablish racial hierarchy, and a memory of the war to flourish that celebrated treason, and buried the memory of Southern Unionists, black and white. In doing so, Reconstruction failed to destroy the heart of secession, and thus, in my estimation, was a failure. 

My Civil War Professor I'm a little Community College happens if a personal friends with McPherson yay for living in New Jersey! All I got to say Battle Cry Freedom is one of the most encompassing books on topic of the Civil War. McPherson coulda made it ten thousand Pages longer with 10,000 more footnotes pretty but he had to make it reable. 

I believe myself to reconstruction should have gone on for maybe 30 or 50 years. It was ended far blame Johnson for this putting the planter Elite back in the power. It should have been long enough to allow the old Confederate generals to die and not getting power so there could be in the mind of the Next Generation not this loss cause Mythos the idea of a leased racial equality.

 

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5 hours ago, philknox said:

(The Internet is full of people who ) generally seem to be mad at white 19th Century Northerners for them not being 21st Century American liberals. 

Fixed that for you. 

Welcome to the party, I enjoy your perspective. 

When did you serve, if I may ask? 

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5 hours ago, philknox said:

I noticed someone mentioned Sun Tzu.  Sun Tzu is really not taught that much at the higher level of military schools such as the different War Colleges.  Much of what comprises Sun Tzu is Oriental mystical nonsense and his views of military strategy are formulaic and filled with fantasy.  "He" ignores human nature.  For further reading on why Sun Tzu is not given as much credit as say Clausewitz see Michael I. Handel's Classical Strategic Thought which is a textbook at these schools.  If you want to understand Civil War thinking read Jomini instead.

I would say it is philosophical, not mystical. But, agreed, there is very little nuts and bolts discussion of military events and a lot of touchy-feely metaphors. 

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9 hours ago, philknox said:

There is no evidence that American society wanted racial reform, and much more to suggest otherwise.  Racial equality would have been a non-starter in any white nation state during the time period.

I think that somewhat ignores the 5 years of relative racial equality enforced between 1868 and 1873. 

I also think we are debatin counterfactuals, and at cross purposes.

I would caution against concluding that political defeat means political non-existence. Many Americans did want race reform. The existence of leading intellectuals like Frederick Douglass and Wendell Philips make this rather impossible to ignore, unless we decide that men such as them and their followers ceased to exist in 1865. Obviously, this side lost, and the Liberal Republicans and their Conservative Republican allies were victorious. This goes without saying. However, to conclude that there is no evidence that American society wanted racial reform is, with all due respect, a bit of a problematic conclusion in my opinion; given the power of the Radicals from 1868-1873 and the vocal though diminishing Radical coalition thereafter. These voices are well documented, did exist, and did have a serious impact on the history of Reconstruction. They were also very much a substantial, though not majority, portion of American society. 

It is also problematic, in my opinion, to consign all such reform to vengeance, and non to genuine interest, is an abstraction that contradicts significant documentation of Congressmen and of President Grant urging for the support of black rights on the basis of black support for the war effort, and basic human equality. 
 

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9 hours ago, philknox said:

Gary Gallagher has the best books on this topic of late, with the Union War and the Confederate War.

I have read The Union War as I believe I mentioned. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have not read The Confederate War yet, but its on my list.

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I would add to vengeance the motivation of party politics and the political patronage that went with it.  Men like Stevens, Sumner, Davis and Chandler wanted to bury the Democrat Party forever.  As far as Frederick Douglass, outside of the intelligentsia he was not that popular.  He just wasn't that influential, particularly during Reconstruction, and had no real influence to the average American white.  I am not arguing counter-factual history when Reconstruction ended with the pre-existing social orders in place North and South.  Reconstruction would not have ended without the support of Northern whites.  

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Just now, philknox said:

I would add to vengeance the motivation of party politics and the political patronage that went with it.  Men like Stevens, Sumner, Davis and Chandler wanted to bury the Democrat Party forever.  As far as Frederick Douglass, outside of the intelligentsia he was not that popular.  He just wasn't that influential, particularly during Reconstruction, and had no real influence to the average American white.  I am not arguing counter-factual history when Reconstruction ended with the pre-existing social orders in place North and South.  Reconstruction would not have ended without the support of Northern whites.  

I meant counterfactuals with respect to the possibilit of Reconstruction being a "Golden Opportunity." I should have been clearer on that. 

There is nothing here I disagree with, which is why I think we are at cross purposes. We are both saying essentially saying the same the points, but drawing slightly different conclusions. My point is that such voices for equality did exist, but were clearly in the minority by the end of the Grant administration. I think we can agree on that, yes? 

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As far as Grant supporting black equality, we must also consider that many of his closest military colleagues did not view blacks as being equal and Grant did nothing about it.  Sherman, Sheridan, John Gibbon, Torbert, Wilson, Miles, Upton, etc did not agree with blacks being equal.  For every Howard or Pope, Army abolitionists among the Union officer corps I can find many more that held different points of view.

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2 minutes ago, philknox said:

As far as Grant supporting black equality, we must also consider that many of his closest military colleagues did not view blacks as being equal and Grant did nothing about it.  Sherman, Sheridan, John Gibbon, Torbert, Wilson, Miles, Upton, etc did not agree with blacks being equal.  For every Howard or Pope, Army abolitionists among the Union officer corps I can find many more that held different points of view.

Again, I agree with that assessment. However, we must also remember that Grant began to have a falling out with many of these generals (most notably Sherman) over such political issues during his Presidency. Furthermore, we must separate General Grant from president Grant. Elizabeth R. Varron has gone to pains to explore Grant's political transformation into a Radical in her new book Appomattox: Victory, Defeat, and Freedom at the End of the Civil War.

Edited by Mr. Mercanto
Edited to correct my poor grammar
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12 hours ago, Andre Bolkonsky said:

 

I would say it is philosophical, not mystical. But, agreed, there is very little nuts and bolts discussion of military events and a lot of touchy-feely metaphors. 

You got to understand when this is written this is one of the key guide to strategy for 2000 years. Literally they are running up on formal Army when the majority of the world with still doing Clan raids. Just look at the sophistication of the Egyptians or the other great Empires it still doesn't meet the Chinese sophistication of warfare Special comparing to this era during that periods. We always forget that that collection of works is ancient. So for many of us today it comes off like common sense. 

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8 hours ago, philknox said:

You are correct.   My problem with Blight, Goodwin etc is that they are expecting too much of the people of the 19th Century. 

Perhaps they are, though I personally do not feel they have committed this error. At least not Blight, I am not as familiar with Goodwin since I generally don't read biographical history. Some might say that the great movers and shakers of history always expect to much of their fellows. Not to be too philosophical, but I think human kind only strives forward when it expects to much, or at least a good deal, of itself. So you might say I'm a believer in high expectations.

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12 minutes ago, Mr. Mercanto said:

Perhaps they are, though I personally do not feel they have committed this error. At least not Blight, I am not as familiar with Goodwin since I generally don't read biographical history. Some might say that the great movers and shakers of history always expect to much of their fellows. Not to be too philosophical, but I think human kind only strives forward when it expects to much, or at least a good deal, of itself.

I'm still very new to the subject even though I took an entire class on it I have only the most basic understanding. Academically in my mind I set the baseline or the gold standard when it comes to scholarly works with McPherson. I know some of you may disagree but I feel he's the most encompassing. My other readings have been letters of the New Jersey 14th regiment I read about 80 letters for the course of the class or six different individuals serving in the same regiment.  my teacher pick that one because they're literally from the college is county I was attending. And then I read about Frank Murphy and his experience in the 13th New Jersey regiment. And it's kind of wild How many different perspectives are going on just in a local Northern State. Some were fighting for the Union and thought the Emancipation Proclamation was suicide, and others if they were products of the Great Awakening how to deep abolitionist streak and then every flavor of individuals and their convictions.

 

So my question is where are some other great Scholars I can do for personal research of the war.

I'm personally a huge fan of social history so I love to know about the individual experiences.

Edited by Corporal Bridge
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