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Not surprising . . .

But wow.

Richmond 1865

Civil War still divides Americans
By: CNN Political Unit

Washington (CNN) – It has been 150 years since the Civil War began with the first shots at Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, and in some respects views of the Confederacy and the role that slavery played in the events of 1861 still divide the public, according to a new national poll.

In the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll released Tuesday, roughly one in four Americans said they sympathize more with the Confederacy than the Union, a figure that rises to nearly four in ten among white Southerners.

When asked the reason behind the Civil War, whether it was fought over slavery or states’ rights, 52 percent of all Americas said the leaders of the Confederacy seceded to keep slavery legal in their state, but a sizeable 42 percent minority said slavery was not the main reason why those states seceded.

Full story here.

Money quotes–and some responses:

Grand Review 1865” . . . most Republicans said slavery was not the main reason that Confederate states left the Union.” Yes, yes, monocausal arguments regarding any historical event as complex as the Civil War are inherently inadequate and it is a wee bit of an oversimplification to say it was all and only about slavery, but hello Republicans! (Republicans?? What would Abe and Thad say!?!) Read what Southerners themselves said at the time!

But, hey, if it helps some folks out there sleep at night . . . you win, it WAS all about Jeffersonian limited government and state rights v. Hamiltonian activist national government power. And the side that fought for limited government got its brains beat out. (See the image on top? That ain’t Washington in 1865. You want a scene from Washington in 1865? Check out the bottom picture. That is the nation’s capital enjoying the Grand Review of the VICTORIOUS army in the Civil War.) Seems to me if we want to be a nation of Hamiltonian winners, we should follow the path of Hamiltonian winners and that only people who hate America would want it to be a broken country of bitter, limited government losers like the Confederacy. Which brings us to . . .

” . . . one in four Americans said they sympathize more with the Confederacy than the Union.” On what grounds, pray tell? That they hate the United States and wish it had been destroyed? Why do these people hate America? I certainly hope DHS and the TSA are paying attention here!

” . . . Republicans [So much for "the party of Lincoln"--yeah, yeah, I know this hasn't been the case since about 1965--But why? Did something significant happen in the South around that time?] were also most likely to say they admired the leaders of the southern states during the Civil War.” I will be the first to say that one can admire Robert E. Lee’s and Stonewall Jackson’s generalship and aspects of their personal characters, while condemning their betrayal of the government they took an oath to serve and their service to the cause of destruction of the Union. I do. But it was an odious (and, never forget, LOSING) cause.

Moreover, beyond Lee and Jackson (who were exceptional because they were, well, exceptional), which “southern leaders” are they admiring? James Henry Hammond? Robert Toombs? John Floyd? Leonidas Polk? Alfred Iverson? Yeah, I know the North had its Simon Camerons, James Ledlies, Judson Kilpatricks, and Franz Sigels–but, hey, at least the North WON.

Your thoughts?

Comments (11) to “Not surprising . . .”

  1. :-)

  2. It was certainly about much more than just slavery.

    Slavery was a minor factor in comparison to ruinous tariffs that unfairly penalized a slave economy; northern states’ blatant disregard of states’ rights by exercising their own states’ rights regarding the Fugitive Slave Law; northern extremist agitators who could potentially foment a slave rebellion, and who wished to vaporize a slave investment that exceeded the value of any single class of property in the country including banks, railroads, and factories; and demographically inevitable political power realignments that made future expansion of slavery crucial to the survival of the institution nearly impossible.

    Why would anyone think it was just about slavery?

  3. :) :)

  4. More proof that the Lost Cause Myth, which has influenced Civil War history, those who taught it and the politicians who spew its tenets, for well over a century, lives on. Ol’ Jubal Early must be smiling in his grave.

  5. Um, Phil, every reason you noted related directly to slavery. Why would anyone think it was about anything unrelated to slavery?

  6. Tom, ol’ buddy–

    Hopefully, Phil was attempting to be sarcastic. That’s the problem with blogs, email, etc.: sarcasm just doesn’t always come across. (Oops. Maybe YOU were being sarcastic, too . . . .)

  7. Me? Sarcastic? :-)
    BTW, glad you’re reading blogs now.

  8. Re: sarcasm.

    Tom and Mark, my eminently distinguished friends, who I hold in the highest esteem . . .

  9. The ship’s name always struck me as ironic.

  10. Sympathy for the Confederate cause amongst 1 in 4 Americans may be nothing more than the innate tendency to root for the “underdog.” Why this doesn’t occur in other historical considerations (i.e., rooting for the Japanese in WWII) is unknown, but it seems to be fairly common in any consideration of the “Late Unpleasantness.” Sympathy with a cause is not necessarily a desire that the cause actually suceed (is there anyone
    today who actually PREFERS a slave society?). Sometimes, it’s nothing more than the rather human desire to be deliberately contentious…

    Plus, it gives folks a chance to tweak all those obnxious know-it-all New England Yankees… :)

  11. Deliberately contentious?

    Not historians. :)

    And as far as tweaking obnoxious know-it-all Yankees goes . . . you must now go to http://cwcrossroads.wordpress.com/ to do that. :)