April 13, 2011 | Filed Under Editorial Cartoons
7 Responses to “Revisionists”
“If I thought this war was to abolish slavery, I would resign my commission and offer my sword to the other side”
— Ulysses S. Grant
Wow, you gotta be kidding me. How obtuse can an artist be?
Les, it’s not obtuse. It’s the truth. When SC seceded they produced two documents: The Ordinance of Secession and The Immediate Causes of Secession. The latter clearly spells out that the issue of slavery and the state’s right to continue employing slavery was the reason to go to war. So much of this history has been- and still is being- revised and romanticized and since we’re commemorating the beginning of the war this week and there have been some who are still denying (for what ever reason) that slavery was at the center of the debate, I decided to do this cartoon. So as much as some people- I guess you are one of them- want to contend this was about “States’ Rights” I counter with: Yes, states’ rights, but states’ rights to own slaves.
Close but no cigar Robert. Like today, hot political issues then frequently had little to do with the concerns of the public at large. Slavery WAS a hot issue by 1860, kept alive and nurtured by those high profile emancipation “agitators” akin to the later prohibition promoters several generations later. Most people in the North really did not care one way or the other.
States right’s however, had been THE critical enduring national issue since the creation of the US which caused a huge rift between Jefferson and John Adams while providing the basis of a career for John C Calhoun. Slavery had become of major concern to the south by 1860 but it was only one issue among many that the south would not tolerate the federal gov’t ramming down their throats. Indeed, even Lincoln would not make it a great issue and only announced the Emancipation Proclamation as a diversion from the bloody horror of Antietem and the (equally bloody horror of the) general mismanagement by the Union Army’s general staff. It has continued in this manner to this day to make a national tragedy into a “noble scarifice”.
The simplicity of calling slavery the cause of the war is understandable when teaching young children but it is a deceptive disservice to adults who don’t need an image whitewash for history.
BTW– I like your cartoons and I appreciate the fact that you don’t seem to be stuck in any political mindset. I look forward to reading many in the future.
Grant NEVER said what the unenformed and uneducated poster said.
The _Democratic Speakers Handbook_ (or, to give its full title, _The Democratic Speaker’s Hand-Book: Containing Every Thing Necessary for the Defense of the National Democracy in the Coming Presidential Campaign, and for the Assault of the Radical Enemies of the County and its Constitution_) does have something vaguely like the above quote on page 33, but the sourcing is very dubious, and I agree that the quote should not be given credence. From the Handbook, p. 33:
“The editor of the [Huntsville, Alabama] Randolph Citizen [a Democratic party newspaper] recalls some interesting reminiscences of the great Reticent. He had a tongue at one time, it would seem: In the summer of 1861 General Grant, then Colonel of the Twenty-first Illinois Regiment of Infantry, was stationed in Mexico [Missouri], on the North Missouri Railroad, and had command of the post . . . . Ulysses the Silent was then Ulysses the Garrulous, and embraced every fair opportunity which came his way to express his sentiments and opinions in regard to political affairs. One of these declarations we distinctly remember. In a public conversation in Ringo’s banking-house, a sterling Union man put this question to him: ‘What do you honestly think was the real object of this war on the part of the Federal Government?’ “‘Sir,’ said Grant, ‘I have no doubt in the world that the sole object is the restoration of the Union. I will say further, though, that I am a Democrat–every man in my regiment is a Democrat–and whenever I shall be convinced that this war has for its object anything else that what I have mentioned or that the Government designs using its soldiers to execute the purposes of the abolitionists, I pledge you on my honor as a man and a soldier that I will not only resign my commission, but will carry my sword to the other side, and cast my lot with that people.’” —This unsigned comment is by 188.8.131.52 (talk • contribs) . |
Revisionists hate to admit it but Grant did not say “If I thought this war was to abolish slavery, I would resign my commission and offer my sword to the other side” or it did not free his slave because of “good help being hard to find” at the same time you are wrong he was no lover of the black and before you start on me few in that period were. —
Slavery was a partial issue. Numerous categories of official Confederate documents affirm that slavery was indeed the primary issue that drove the secession movement and was central to the rebellion; it is therefore blatant and unmitigated revisionism to assert – as do Confederate apologists – that “one of the most important” of the “truths of history” is “that the War Between the States [Many southerners ardently insist on describing the conflict as “The War Between the States” and strenuously object to use of the descriptor “Civil War” (see, for example, “Let’s Say ‘War Between The States’ “ (at: http://www.civilwarpoetry.org/FAQ/wbts.html) ). However, cursory examinations of dozens of Confederate documents, as well as histories of the war written by Confederates immediately following the conflict, demonstrate that the descriptor they themselves most frequently used was “Civil War.” (Other descriptors used much less often by southern authors include “War Between the States,” “War of Southern Secession,” and “War for Southern Independence.”) Therefore, the assertion that the term “Civil War” is an inaccurate or biased title for the conflict is refuted by an examination of Confederate soldiers and historians who lived at the time of that conflict.] was not a rebellion [While the question of whether the conflict constituted a “rebellion” was not addressed by this work, a simple query raises a significant implication: If the “war between the states” was not a “rebellion” (as modern southern apologists assert), then why did southern leaders during the Civil War describe themselves and other southern participants as “Rebels” – a derivate of the word “rebellion”? The simple descriptor “Rebels” used by the Confederates themselves certainly suggests that they certainly viewed the Civil War as a “Rebellion.”] nor was its underlying cause to sustain slavery.”
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