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History Teaching in American Schools.

Discussion in 'The Stump' started by Hilts, Mar 11, 2010.

  1. Kruska

    Kruska Member

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    Hello Stefan,

    yes and no - I would tend to say.

    From what I know - not so much to be honest - it looks to me that the North was looking for ways to controll the Southern-States that were part of a union but had their own way of living-culture and were strongly opposed to a "central $$" government controll via Washington.
    A population that depends on employment via industry is far more easy to "control" (or let's say - "directed") then a rural-agricultural society.

    If I look at topics in nowady's USA it hasn't changed has it? look at the reaction "almost revolution or civil unrest" when it comes to accepting central laws - infringing on private lives - such as the gun control law, FBI, taxation, health bill, or any other centralized "forcefull" idea via Washington.

    I could very well imagine that Lincoln could indeed fear a breakoff from the Southern States if centralization ideas in order to develop the United States into a "modern industrial country" were to be "enforced" on them.

    He also knew that the backbone of the Southerners was agriculture and as such depended on slavery and that the "rich Southerners" were opposed to industry since it would take away their power or means of controll towards the southern population.

    So how do you break a countries or a powergroups resistance? - either by war or by destroying their economic basis - thus making them or the population financially dependable on -(more agreeable) one's own ideas.

    Lincoln obviously chose the economic version first - by forbidding slavery - did he acctually expect the Southern's to go as far as to declaring independence and as such making a war unavoidable? - or was his estimation towards the Southerners hardline mentallity simply wrong? this would be the question to me.

    At present I would tend to believe he was certainly willing to try the economic bid first, but anticipated a war as well - feeling sure about the Army standing behind Washington. As such it would just be a short war/enforcment by the Army towards some stubborn Southern Farmers.

    Regards
    Kruska
     
  2. Stefan

    Stefan Cavalry Rupert

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    Ah, but ending slavery wouldn't destroy industry in the south, lets face it, workers in the north were often 'wage slaves' anyhow, the slaves wouldn't have anywhere to go for work and would most likely have stayed where they were even if they were freed.

    Ultimately though I return to one simple point, sure the south may have been opposing central government in much the same way many do today, that is fair enough. Picking the right to own other people as the issue to take a stand on though, well, that's just plain wrong. It's a bit like saying 'I want to defend my right to free speech and I'm going to do it by standing on pavements swearing at disabled war veterans.' Your basic point may be right but you are going about it in the wrong way. Then again, I guess after the event people would inevitably say 'he was defending his right to free speech and anyhow, he would have stopped swearing at disabled war veterans anyhow if the police hadn't stopped him.'

    I guess that raises another issue, in a day and age where we invade nations who were 'disposing' of certain weapons because the 'we were working on it' arguement isn't good enough, how can we defend those in our own past using the same 'they would have sorted it eventually' logic?
     
  3. Kruska

    Kruska Member

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    It wouldn't destroy industry as such, but the powerbasis of those holding the power in the South and - "wage slaves" in the industry producing industrial goods and commodities are faaar more profitable then some corn and cotten products.
    And people employed in agriculture (workers) - surley do not posess the buying power towards commodities as an industrial worker or certainly not those employed in economic trades related to those commodities.

    Why did Germany develop after 1860? because attention was given towards the industrialization and reduction from farming - thus cheap Poles were employed in the acricultural industry - same was ment to happen to the former slaves of America. And a free slaves will still overall have a higher buying power than a non earning slave.

    As for the "freed" slaves - well their economic situation did change, not much in the beginning so, but still on the long run. So was it really about the salves "humanity issue" as such? or about getting the USA towards developing into a modern industrialized country - where slave holding simply doesn't fit into the picture, neither economically nor in regards to a developing of a modern democracy?

    So yes you are right, - it was about slaves - standing (obstructing) in between the present and the future of an industrialization and economic development of the USA.

    Regards
    Kruska
     
  4. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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  5. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    One must remember that Lincoln didn’t issue the Emancipation Proclamation until Jan. of 1863, certainly far from the first thing he did upon his election. And almost as close to the "end" than the "beginning’ of the war. The hostilities began on April 12th, 1861 and ended on April 9th, 1865. When he was elected, with about 40% of the popular vote because the south nominated two Democrats and couldn't agree on which was the "real" candidate the votes were split. And Lincoln's and the Republican party's platform wasn't to "abolish" slavery, but to contain it to the south and not allow its spead into other areas.

    And let’s not forget that it wasn’t until the passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution on January 31, 1865 (after the end of hostilities) that the institution of slavery was forbidden, or "illegal" in almost all areas of the US, with the odd exception of the Indian Territories, which would become the State of Oklahoma later. That area held slavery as legal until the Treaty of 1866 (article 9) which was ratified in July of that year. That said, I was struck by this passage when I read it:

    The Civil War was a war of contradictions. The South seceded to perpetuate slavery and instead ended up destroying it. North vowed not to interfere with slavery and won sufficient support to kill it. Unlike many abolitionists, President Lincoln understood he couldn't eliminate slavery without first saving the union. And unlike many conservative Republicans and Democrats, he realized he couldn't save the union without eliminating slavery. The Emancipation Proclamation was designed to help the Union win the Civil War and thus preserve the Union.

    and this one:

    Black abolitionist Frederick Douglass did not begin the war as an admirer of Mr. Lincoln, but Douglass became one. He gave a speech 11 years after Mr. Lincoln's death in which he said that "President Lincoln was a white man, and shared the prejudices common to his countrymen towards the colored race. Looking back to his times and to the condition of his country, we are compelled to admit that this unfriendly feeling on his part may be safely set down as one element of his wonderful success in organizing the loyal American people for the tremendous conflict before them, and bringing them safely through that conflict.

    His great mission was to accomplish two things: first, to save his country from dismemberment and ruin; and second, to free his country from the great crime of slavery. To do one or the other, or both, he must have the earnest sympathy and the powerful cooperation of his loyal fellow countrymen. Without this primary and essential condition to success his efforts must have been vain and utterly fruitless. Had he put the abolition of slavery before the salvation of the Union, he would have inevitably driven from him a powerful class of the American people and rendered resistance to rebellion impossible. Viewed from the genuine abolition ground, Mr. Lincoln seemed tardy, cold, dull and indifferent; but measuring him by the sentiment of his country, a sentiment he was bound as a statesman to consult, he was swift, zealous, radical and determined."

    See:

    Emancipation Proclamation - Abraham Lincoln
     
  6. Kruska

    Kruska Member

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    Hello Biak,

    thanks - good site, more or less confirms my thoughts towards the reasoning of the civil war.

    Federal rights issues, unbalanced economic development of the the two camps, and antiquated slavery opposing the industrialization of the USA.

    Regards
    Kruska
     
  7. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    Kruska,
    As with everything there are usually more than two sides to the story. If I were into the civil war and ON a Civil War web site I'd postulate a "What If". "With the industrial revolution would that eliminate the need for slaves?" But we're not and I refuse to go there. Also notice that whoever the sitting President is, he's the one who gets the blame or praise.
     
  8. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    One must also not neglect the importance of the original slave compromise which allowed the southern states to count their slaves as 3/5 of a person (without voting rights) for the purpose of determining their own number of representatives in the US Congress!

    Years before the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, Thomas Jefferson, a slave owner himself, admitted the horrible nature of slavery: In his 1782 "Notes on Virginia" he made a prophetic statement in regard to U.S. slavery: "Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just." (emphasis mine)

    Recall that in the "Great Compromise," it was determined that representation in the House of Representatives would be based on the population of each state. After the convention approved the Great Compromise, Madison wrote: "It seems now to be pretty well understood that the real difference of interests lies not between the large and small but between the northern and southern states. The institution of slavery and its consequences form the line of discrimination." This division over slavery led to the "3/5 Compromise."

    Of the 55 Convention delegates, about 25 (almost half!) owned slaves. The delegates from Southern (slave) states wanted to counts slaves as part of their population. This would give the Southern states additional representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives. Delegates from the Northern (Free) states strongly opposed this, arguing that if slaves had no rights to vote (or any other rights of citizenship) then the South should not be given additional representatives in the House. Also, the North feared that counting slaves as part of the South's population would allow the South to have enough representatives in the House to out-vote the North on issues regarding slavery. The South likewise feared that not counting slaves as part of their population would give the South too few representatives in the House, thus allowing the North to out-vote the South on issues regarding slavery. The compromise they reached would arbitrarily count each slave as 3/5 of a person. Thus, neither North nor South fully got their way, as slaves were counted in part toward population when determining how many representatives the free whites should have in the House of Representatives. Hence the name "3/5 compromise."

    Not wanting to put the word "slave" in the Constitution, the delegates agreed the Constitution would state that population would be determined by counting the number of "free Persons . . . plus three-fifths of all other Persons . . ." Of course, if one is an "other person" rather than a free person, obviously the "other person" must be "not free"; in other words, a slave. (emphasis mine)

    The North and South also divided over whether the new national legislature (Congress) would be able to regulate (and thus perhaps outlaw) slavery. The North wanted the legislature to be able to regulate slavery, and of course the South did not want the legislature to have this power.

    See:

    http://www.ucs.louisiana.edu/~ras2777/amgov/slavery2.html
     
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  9. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    Sort of a prelude to "Congressional District" gerrymandering? As usual it all comes back to politics :(
     
  10. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    It is always politics and who has the "power" to pass laws and enrich themselves or their districts, is it not? The story of the term to "Gerrymander" is an interesting one, as it is/was a slur on Elbridge Gerry a signer Declaration of Independence, and was a power in the forming of the Constitution, in an odd way since he didn’t sign it and argued against ratifying it.

    See:

    Delegates to the Constitutional Convention: Elbridge Gerry

    While this is The Stump, and I love this sort of thing (trivia in history), I think we have about "gone far enough". I do wonder if the industialization of the south would have made any difference at all. They weren't an agrarian society for the sole reason that it was easier to be "slave-centric". Before the advent of steam power of any note, they simply didn't have the "falling water" needed to drive mills of any great size, nor the deposits of minerals for iron production.

    They did have fertile soil for growing cotton and tobacco eventhough tabacco was a "killer crop" in that it sucked out the nutrients so fast that more and more area had to be tilled to grow the stuff. Cotton wasn't quite as bad a soil depleter as tobacco. Those were the two most "cash heavy" crops of the time. They couldn't grow hard grains at the level to compete with those crops in the north, but on the other side of the coin the north couldn't grow the cotton or tobacco! Small subsitance farmers didn't need slaves, but they hired out their sons for income too. Abe Lincoln suffered that as a boy, toiling for someone else and his father getting the money.

    The issue of slavery was a contentious one from the forming of the Union on, and for those very reasons. The economic realities of the two sections. That business about the term "free persons" instead of slaves being put into the language raised another problem for the south, that was until Andy Jackson and the Trail of Tears the south could count their "Civilized Tribes" in the same ratio as the slaves. What made that "sweet" was that those tribes could also hold slaves, and many did. That way a slave holding member of the Creek tribe (for example) counted as 1 & 1/5 a person for purposes of number of representatives (3/5 x 2), but not with voting rights!
     
  11. Kruska

    Kruska Member

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    Hello birndirt1,

    This is the part I don't get - I read this elsewhere too. IIRC after California voted to become "southerner" they held 32 votes out of 60.

    However to my knowledge the South had about 9 million incl. about 4 million slaves - the North had about 25? million.

    So were did the delegates come from? or what made the North afraid about the Southerners achieving a majority?

    Regards
    Kruska
     
  12. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    California didn't join the Confederacy, they voted to join the Union and be "slave free", and were rather a slight population at the time of the Civil War at anyrate. Here is a great site showing that while the north had about three times the population of the south, a great number of those persons, while "free" also didn't have the vote. And I'm not talking about the female gender either.

    Goto:

    Compare Two Worlds: North vs South | Underground Railroad Student Activity | Scholastic.com

    Today California is a HUGE population demographic, it wasn't one in 1860. In fact during the Olympics I heard a statistic that I haven't verified yet. That is that the state of California has a larger population number than all of Canada! I haven't looked that up yet.
     
  13. Kruska

    Kruska Member

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    I am sure about that without even looking up on this :D

    Did I say Calfornia joined the Confederates? oopps I did - off course not - my blunder - I ment that after California joined the Union the southerners had "only" 30 seats out of 62.

    Thanks for the link - I will have some reading on it.

    Regards
    Kruska
     
  14. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    It wasn’t split on the lines of "slavery/south, abolitionist/north" in the House. The Democrats (favorite party of the south), held seats from both the north and south, and when the new state came in, both seats from California were Democrats. The Democrats held a wide majority in 1850 (54.4% i.e.127 seats) when California came into the Union with an anti-slavery article in their state’s constitution.

    This prompted the famous (or infamous) Compromise of 1850 which allowed the new state in with a prohibition on slavery in its constitution, but any other areas which applied for statehood were supposed to vote for or against slavery while they were still territories. This Compromise also required issuing the "fugitive slave law" into Federal law. That brought about the period of "Bloody Kansas" with the pro-slavery Missouri "border ruffians" raiding into Kansas trying to intimidate the vote to be pro-slave, as well as ‘slave hunters" roaming into free territories and kidnapping blacks whether they were fugitive slaves or free men, and having the power to deputize anyone to help them "capture" the slaves. Truly a bad situation which made more and more people in the north "abolitionist" than had been before.

    By 1860, the Republican Party had come fully into being since being formed in 1854, and now held the majority of the seats in the House at 59%, up from 18% in 1854. When the Republicans came into being they were the smallest of the four parties (Democrat, American, Whig, Republican). The Republicans attained the majority by 1858, but they weren’t all abolitionists either. But by 1860 the Democrats were splitting their loyalties between the south and the border states and loosing some in the north with a new party of pro-war Democrats forming called the Unionists.

    Then people tend to forget that the way and time elections for the house were not "set in stone" as they are now. The states could hold elections for the House of Representatives any time they saw fit, so three of the southern states actually elected their representatives months before Lincoln was even elected, and they elected seven Democrats and a couple of Independents to represent them in Congress.

    Then the issue of the population of the states being considered as to the division of Federal funding also comes into play, as well as the fact that the Senators weren't elected by direct vote until the 20th Century. Before then each states representatives got together and elected the Senators for their state. The number of and loyalty of representatives was entirely different in import then than it is today.
     
  15. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    Yes, the Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1, 1863 supposedly to free the slaves, and West Virginia was admitted as a slave state later in 1863. Go figure.

    Stefan, once the slaves were all freed at the end of the war, the Southern economy collapsed. Nothing was getting done since everyone who worked the fields were either dead, still in the army, or recently freed. The Southern economy did not begin to recover until WW1, then nose dived during the Great Depression, then powered up again during WW2.

    This thread is not an argument on whether slavery was a good thing or not, but the way history is being taught in American schools. Too much is being left out of the lessons, but since the North won the war, they dictate how history was recorded and taught. About all they teach is the bad South had slaves, the good North freed them, and everyone lived happily ever after. The US Civil War was our most deadly conflict, with over 620,000 dead on both sides. Strong feeling about it still run deep. There were problems with the issue of slavery during the Revolutionary War up until the Civil War started. Social upheaval in the Civil War's aftermath continued until modern times, through the Civil Rights era of the 1960s and 70s to today. It's a very complicated matter that cannot be simplified with a few posts on one thread.

    And don't get into Reconstruction. You might as well talk about FEMA, government run health care, the Great Society and other miserably failed government programs.
     
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  16. Totenkopf

    Totenkopf אוּרִיאֵל

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    That is a true fact, assuming the accepted estimate of 33-36 million is correct, in comparison to our 33 million.
     
  17. Stefan

    Stefan Cavalry Rupert

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    A-58, good point well made. Obviously it is simply incorrect to approach it from a 'good north bad south' point of view, lets face it, the North weren't particularly ethical in their conduct of the war and the vast majority of Northerners weren't really anti-slavery. However, whilst teaching shouldn't focus on single causes for great historical events, taking a balanced view doesn't necessitate becoming an apologist. There seems to be a great tendency to say 'it wasn't just about slavery, it was about states rights! The south weren't so bad, we were sorting it anyway and at least the slaves had homes before the war' etc.
     
  18. Herr Oberst

    Herr Oberst Member

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    The Civil War's basic cause was states rights. The rights of the Southern States agrarian economy to have slaves to provide cheap labor. Some in the North didn't want the South to have slaves and lobbied the Federal government. However the real issue was that the South would secede and instead of selling their cotton and tobacco to the North they would sell it to England. The North would have none of that and went to war to prevent secession as well as loss of revenue. So as much as it was about States rights versus federal power, it was also about economy and money. Most men in the North wouldn't fight for, "Hey, The factory owners are going to loose money and we in the North will loose overall revenue" so they came up with, "Free your fellow man, fight to abolish slavery!"

    Let's hope the Texas book committee gets it right and discusses who Crispus Attucks was and his sacrifice for freedom rather than the importance or lack there of, of Hip Hop music and Famous Amos cookies.
     
  19. luketdrifter

    luketdrifter Ace

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    As for how it's taught in schools? Well, I can tell you with some certainty that not much is taught in schools...at least not through high school. When I was a senior, I had to write a paper...I don't know, 10 pages or so, on an event I considered a turning point in American History...so I chose the Civil War. I went to the school library and found three books..>THREE! on the Civil War. We spent about 3 days total on the war the whole year. And it's getting less and less every year. My son is in the fifth grade and they have skimmed in, as in knowing who the President was and what side Michigan fought on...that's about it. It's really sad how little time is devoted to history now, what with the US getting it's ass kicked globally in education, it's mostly math and science...at least in my kids experience.
     
  20. Hilts

    Hilts Member

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    Interesting stuff guys, thank you but do you think that history teaching in the South is perhaps more 'Forgiving' than up North?
     

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