since they're linking...
in my opinion, in our present public school civil war curriculum, the "north" is incorrectly identified as the "good" side without any nuance or explanation beyond north=good, south=slavery=bad. the north, in point of fact, was an almost hopeless mess of indefensible politics, including the president's own party's political platform which specifically stated that slavery was AOK. (especially in the south--just as long as it wasn't allowed to expand into new territories, ostensibly so that the congressional balance of voting power wouldn't be altered).
yes, double yew tee eff.
it's easy to forget, but the emancipation proclamation wasn't given until the waning months of 1862, a good 18 months after fighting had begun at fort sumter, and long after hundreds of thousands of soldiers of BOTH sides had been killed, and it was starting to look as if the north might very well lack the ability to put down the southern secessionists. (and it's easily forgotten, but the emancipation proclamation didn't actually outlaw slavery--it only outlawed it in seceding states--and tough luck to you if you were a slave in kentucky, missouri, maryland or delaware, because you were shit out of luck). it was either a sainted moment in american history, as we all have been taught, or perhaps one of the more cynical moments of political gamesmanship ever seen here or anywhere else for that matter, but, either way, the war was finally put into terms that morally responsible people could understand and get behind, (or out of the way of, as was the necessary result overseas where foreign powers tempted by machiavellian urges to associate with the cotton-producing south had to put them aside lest they be seen by their peoples as morally reprehensible for turning a blind eye to slavery, like, say, the two american governments at war with each other across the atlantic) and the rest, as they say, became history.
so why is there such fear up north of anyone re-opening this can of worms? i think the points above somewhat stand for themselves.
of course, as is usually the case when arguing shades of gray, (pun intended), there's usually a pot or kettle a little bit blacker than the other, (pun also intended), and all this can in no way explain or excuse why the governor of the miscreant state of mississippi would refer to the issue of slavery as an inconsequential "nit". as quoted below, and will be here again from alexander hamilton stevens, vice president of the confederacy, from his "cornerstone speech" in savannah, georgia on the eve of the american civil war, the "cornerstone" of the confederacy WAS (and will always be) the institution of slavery:
"[thomas jefferson's] ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. they rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. this was an error. ... our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner–stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery — subordination to the superior race — is his natural and normal condition."
it's no nit that confederate history IS slavery.
it's just that, to me, and also no nit, though rarely covered in our public schools, that the business of slavery is the history of this whole united states, south AND north, and abraham lincoln was originally little more than a political opportunist who was left with little choice but to (FINALLY) turn the american civil war into a referendum on slavery, when it was begun and fought for 18 months on a simple argument of states rights and self-determination.
why is it so hard for us all to admit this?
personally, whenever we get on our moral high-horse with foreign governments over their treatment of their citizens, i get a nauseous knot in the pit of my stomach to think about what they really must think about us, knowing as they likely do that we're barely 150 years from government-endorsed slavery. (and less than 70 from sending entire segments of our population to internment camps without due process or recourse, as we did with japanese americans in '42 and beyond).
not for nothing, but only one nation in this world has ever dropped a nuclear weapon in anger, and that nation is, yes, virginia, US. (another pun).
we need to remember the truth of where we've come from. the north more than tolerated slavery as surely as we have a son of an african in our oval office. our founding fathers owned slaves. our civil war wasn't fought, sorry to tell you, to end slavery. (until its end). it was fought to preserve the union. we did the right thing as much by accident and political necessity as anything else.
we need to LEARN from this, not let it stand without examination. and, it's absolutely true that if the south had not seceded, it's entirely likely to the point of indisputable fact that the north never would have outlawed slavery when and in the way that it did. (makes you wonder how long the practice would have survived).
so, count me among those who WANT confederate history to be more fully told. (just not just lied about as is being done by both north and south in this very important kerfuffle).