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tv   Lectures in History  CSPAN  April 12, 2015 12:00am-1:36am EDT

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>> who sunday, andrew sullivan on his writing career and what voters are looking for in a president. andrew: we want somebody who most like stood up for them. i am amazed the degree to which primary voters on both sides are motivated by resentment. the sense of being put upon. those people really do not understand us. and here is a guy who does understand us and he is going to stick it to them. but happens on both sides hillary clinton did her version. i did think that was actually true 30 years ago. resentment is always been a part of politics but the degree to which it is the exclusively motivating factor in committed republicans and democrats. >> sunday night on c-span's
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"q&a." >> each week, american history tv sits in on a lecture with one of america's college professors. next from a professor -- next professor jennifer marie about how civil war reunions of the reconstruction era to the present she described how after . two years after the war, the focus was reconciliation but has expanded to include slavery as a cause of the war. this class is 1.5 hours. jennifer murray: last time we met with our discussion of the culture of the civil war commemoration we left off with some themes, talking about david blake and civil war reunions, themes of reconciliation and we had a reading from james foster and his conversation of the
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confederacy. what i want to continue the conversation with today, for today's topic, the culture of civil war commemoration, looking at these themes we have talked about an post-civil war america, from 1855 to the present. what i thought would be useful backing up on the conversation this specifically with the concepts we have talked about, to reiterate the point on how important the american civil war is and how monumental the event is in american history. i made the point last time we met that the american civil war from 1861-1865, the casualties were 2% of the population. and if you all thoughtful words
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to -- and if you altered that forward to today -- if you all take that full word to today that would be the equivalent of the 19th century population, 2%, how many fatalities today if the u.s. was in a war? >> 6 million. jennifer murray: 6 million . 6 million americans would be the equivalent fatality rate if we would get into a war today with 2% of the population. my point is that the american civil war left no one untouched. drew uses the phrase that the american civil war created a republic of suffering. no one was left untouched. what we want to look at for our conversation today is the legacy of the american civil war. how northerners remember the
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american civil war, how veterans commemorate the civil war, how southerners deal with defeat. how ex confederate veterans deal with accusations of treason. the american civil war solved questions of union and secession, freedom emancipation, sovereignty. this is the impact we see today. so, the defining moment in american history, certainly for 19th-century america. the course that i want to take today, and our approach, it is twofold. one, i want us to walk through some scenes of creating civil war memories and perpetuating civil war memories. we will start our discussion talking about the north, how union veterans remember and commemorate the civil war, how
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northerners commemorate the civil war and then we will change gears and talk about what foster brought up in his conversation of the lost cause. we will talk about southern memories of the american civil war. and then we will transition and talk about how african-americans remember the civil war and their complex memories of dealing with this duality of freedom and emancipation. and then we will see, we will bring blight into the conversation and how conciliation takes hold and how it was the dominant narrative, the dominant mode of civil war memory. and then what i want to do, once we get these themes our belt once we are comfortable with these narratives of commemoration, we will walk through gettysburg as a case study to see how these memories
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play out. and i hope by the end of today's lecture you will see that these narratives that these veterans created to deal with this event, 623,000 fatalities, we will look at how americans deal with the civil war in our own culture. we will look at how americans commemorate gettysburg and these themes of reconciliation in 1938, 1963 which parallels the rising civil rights movement, how americans look at the civil war in the 1960's and we will end with a discussion of how today, in 2013, 2014, 2015 how we look at the civil war and the culture of commemoration today and its legacy. now the reason that i picked
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gettysburg as a case study is several that my research deals with gettysburg and its history. but more than that, it is the iconic battle of the american civil war. it was fought in july, 1863. the first, second, and florida. 1863 -- and. the union army of until this 1863. time was suffering a string of defeat, mead was the commander of the army, brings about 90,000 forces into pennsylvania and in three days defeats the seemingly invincible robert e. lee and his army of north virginia. after three days, the union army claimed victory. v headlines already defining gettysburg as a monumental event in the civil war. the tide is turned. after 1865, union and confederate veterans alike come
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back to gettysburg and they commemorate a memorial, making it permanently set in american history and our narrative. as where the american civil war was one and where the -- won and where the union was preserved. that is the direction we will take in our presentation today. we will move forward on how veterans remember the civil war. let's start with the north. mystic chords memories. mystic chords of memory is a line from lincoln's first encouraging americans to remember a common past. memories are created, we create memories in our own lives. we choose to remember things in a particular way. numeral met the size of certain things.
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-- we've romanticize certain things. nostalgic memories. and these veterans did the same. union and confederate veterans remember the war in different ways. and through different mediums. the former fraternal organizations, the grand army -- a former fraternal organizations, the grand army of the rep -- they former fraternal organizations, the grand army of the republic, this is the fraternal organization for the union, born in 1866. they write many amounts of literature, give speeches, take a look at parades, they mourn the dead. union and confederate veterans, northerners and southerners will put a big investment in memorial day, it starts a few years after the surrender at appomattox. there are different ways that veterans and 19th-century veterans remember the war. -- americans remember the war.
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one of the dominant scenes that will come out in the north in the commemoration of the civil war, for union veterans, it is how they view secession. how do union veterans and northerners view secession and the confederate, their southern brothers? we talk about reconciliation and we talk about reunion, but how would david blight identify reconciliation? how would blight identify reconciliation in his book? >> trying to figure out how to bring the nation back together as far as north and south even though they were split. by the issue of slavery and they have the war, he wants to bring the northerners with the southerners, together. jennifer murray: would you say that reconciliation and reunion are synonymous terms? >> no. jennifer murray: how are they different?
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>> there is still a big issue between them. jennifer murray: union is more of a matter of legality. the seceded states are brought back into the union, but reconciliation implies a degree of proactive participation among the northerners and southerners. does it imply forgiveness? >> they have to forgive as far as the dead but they also have to give the fact that they rebelled and it was essentially treason. jennifer murray: what dominant theme did you see in postwar union commemoration, as acknowledging the south as traitors. or the act of secession as treasonous. you see it in the literature stated explicitly, the union army suppressed the act of
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treason. take a look at a couple of quotes and we will extrapolate from primary accounts. commemorating the suppression of treason. a member of the gar. victory to the rebellion meant death to the republic. reunion is not an abstract concept for 19th century americans. they have tangible definition s of what union means, what citizenship means. you see this theme of glorifying the cause for union soldiers for suppressing the act of treason playing out in commemorative activities. let's take an example. this is the dedication speech i gave you all last time. very explicit in understanding what union and civil war meant.
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this is the dedication speech from the first michigan, and this is june 12, 1889 in gettysburg, the 25th anniversary of the civil war, 26 years since the battle at gettysburg. and these union veterans are coming back to the pennsylvania battlefield and they are erecting monuments. and when they erect these monuments, they give very explicit understandings of what they thought of their sacrifice. based on what you read last time from this dedication speech and i will throw up some of the quotes on the screen, where did these union veterans come down on this issue? >> there was -- they believe it was their solemn duty to proclaim and reiterate that disloyalty was, is, deep dark and -- treason will be deep dark and a mobile.
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-- damnable. jennifer murray: what is he also suggesting in the last sentences about relating the battlefield and landscape and those who fought there, to treason? where does he go in the latter part of the statement? >> basically, for the people who died there, they died for nothing, those who were treasonous. jennifer murray: what did lincoln say when he dedicated the cemetery? >> they did not die in vain. jennifer murray: so, this was almost a mockery of where soldiers fell. places like gettysburg. if you do not acknowledge that this was treason and make the south understand this then those
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, union soldiers who died there and other places have died in vain. back to the first part. anything strike you about sentiments of reconciliation or divisive parts, in this passage? you can look at the first couple sentences. using the same. >> again, he is calling the south treasonous. jennifer murray: are we buying into this? are we buying in -- and look toward the last sentence. what is he saying? >> the feeling of bitterness. or revenge towards the phone. -- foe./ jennifer murray: is he contradictory or what? we don't have feelings of a
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revenge but -- >> no offense, but came -- but then saying something very offense -- offensive. -- it is like saying no offense and then saying something very offensive. jennifer murray: right, how can he get away with this? how can he get away with this very verbose, over-the-top rhetoric about calling the south treasonous. who is his audience? >> almost all former union people there that day. or is it a blue and gray reunion? at this point, it is all northerners. jennifer murray: well, other -- at the monument dedication speeches like this, they are northern veterans, from this regiment. this is michigan day. so his audience are soldiers who he fought with during the civil war and these are the same in composition. it is not a mixed blue and gray audience. so, to what extent does that
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dictate what he could say? >> they all agree with them. they are all from the north so naturally they will all agree with them on how the south was. jennifer murray: so if you had a mixed audience, and we see this going forward, what would happen to this type of rhetoric? >> treason comments would be out of the question. probably. jennifer murray: right, you know play to your audience. nick saben doesn't go into auburn and say, roll tide. because you have to play to your audience, right? do you believe that they are buying into this or do you believe that these reconciliation sentiments are overstated? >> overstated. the north and the south still held discontent towards each other for years to come. jennifer murray: but they would
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need to bridge this chasm and we will see if the rhetoric changes. and you will see pretty particular rhetoric from union soldiers, they acknowledge courage of southern soldiers. this very simple quote. "they were brave, but they were still --" what? >> still traitors. jennifer murray: so, now that he's in recognizing valor and courage of the confederate soldiers but that does not mean that they were not committing treason. they are not still committing treason. >> at this point it is still reconciliation on the northern terms. jennifer murray: 25 years after the civil war is over, reconstruction has ended in 1876 so still very much so that the
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south is not tacit participants. >> socially, i mean. not officially, but among people who are there. jennifer murray: we will see if that same sort of lessons -- lessens or deepens further out from 1865. so from the view of the north, the takeaway, reconciliation is the dominant theme of civil war memory. reconciliation and what are the other dominant themes, you have reconciliation and what else? >> wait for premises and and -- white supremacist some and emancipation. jennifer murray: reconciliation is the dominant theme, so blight says. reconciliation is not monolithic. it is not monolithic. but in fact there are contentious issues and divides and discords, that really
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underscore these deep animosities between northerners and southerners. and confederate veterans and union veterans. for the north, the union is not abstract, it is concrete. now if you sit down in alabama virginia, how are you going to take to this rhetoric coming from the yankees up north? what are you going to respond by saying? >> it was not treason. jennifer murray: right. it wasn't treason. so what is the south going to do? switching gears. basalt is going to start to -- the south is going to start to create their own constellation of civil war memories. and the south will create and perpetuate the very same notion of the lost cause. so reconciliation is the dominant theme of post-civil war
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america, but it is not monolithic. it is malleable, it is changing. and when you take union veterans and confederate veterans and you stack their memories together, you get this very complicated , colorful tapestry of civil war memories. everybody remembers the war differently, particularly in the northern and southern divide. it is quite obvious. this is relative to what we talked about last time when you all read out of james foster 's book "ghosts of the confederacy." so the southerners will not sit down and passively accept the allegations of treason that the northerners are placing on them. they are going to be proactive in creating their own versions of civil war memories and promoting their own narrative. edward pollard, the guy in my image, is a virginian and he
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will be the one to coin the term, lost cause. it is 1866, one year after lee surrenders at appomattox. so how does the lost cause work into these memories? how would you all define the lost cause, based on what you have read in james foster "ghosts of the confederacy?" how would you define the lost cause? >> the south trying to cope with the feet. -- with defeat. jennifer murray: yes, over 600,000 americans died, over 300,000 of them are southerners. what did they die for? did they get there independence? t -- their independence? >> no jennifer murray:.
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-- no. jennifer murray: what did they die for? >> nothing. jennifer murray: seems that way. now they have to deal with the idea that god was on their side, but now they lost, so they have the religious experience, coping with physical destruction of the south. sherman who marched through the south. creating widespread destruction. how do you cope with the defeat? what does the lost cause become? >> i mean, it is the rationalization of the war, the only way that they can cope with it is through this explanation. jennifer murray: an explanation of why they lost. it is a coping mechanism to deal with defeat. and explanation of why they lost. a good transition. the explanation of why they lost comes from general robert e. lee himself. surrendering in appomattox, just over 30,000 men in the army, the next day robert e. lee addresses
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his men in the famous general orders number nine. and the first paragraph. the first sentence. how does leave -- lleeee explain confederate defeat? >> resources, population, had nothing to do with their courage or tactics. they were just overwhelmed. jennifer murray: which is certainly true. for every confederate soldier, the union can put out five soldiers. the salt loses because they do not have enough stuff. they did not have enough manpower, materials, not because they were inferior or that slavery was bad. but they lose because they do not have enough stuff. this is one of the most enduring
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myths of the lost cause. and this takes hold right away. and what will continue in this lost cause philosophy or this rationalization, we will not talk about the causes of the civil war. so what are we really not going to talk about? >> slavery. jennifer murray: we are not going to talk about slavery. and one thing that permeates is that slavery had nothing to do with the civil war. you completely disassociate slavery with secession. giving us one of the most perverse and maligned interpretations of the civil war possible. it is how southerners cope with it. so, one of the most enduring sort of proactive southern champions of the lost cause is jubal earle.
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the south will create and perpetuate their own memories through a couple of different or a -- different organizations. the north has gnr, springs up. the south has comparable organizations. the southern historical society is founded in new orleans. the virginians, which will be primarily the writers of the civil war narrative, they will get the influences to the southern historical societies and early will be very influential. after the war, he flees the country, he cannot deal with the calamity of defeat. he will come back and settle in lynchburg and be a supporter of the loss caused narrative.
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four 19th-century america. after the civil war, southerners have deserted the war. so the historical society is important. three other proactive organizations that similarly promote the lost cause ideology. the ucv, formed in 1889. comparable to the gar. the confederate veteran is a journal or a magazine and it is published out of nashville and it has veterans that will write voluminous amounts of postwar memories and they are published in the "confederate veteran,"
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fantastic primary source journal. and then you see a component of southern women redirecting civil war narratives and civil war memories. the udc is the united daughters of the confederacy. it is formed in 1894. they would have many chapters in the south. in six years, up to 70,000. by world war i, they have over 100,000 members in the united daughters of the confederacy. so these organizations are proactive in responding to northern allegations of treason. they are very proactive in casting this discussion of overwhelming numbers and resources, promoting the lost cause philosophy, and actively disassociating slavery as a contributing factor to secession and the american civil war.
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so looking specifically at some of these activities and the language that southerners put forth in creating their own tapestry of civil war memories. civil war narratives. let's take a look at the udc first. united daughters of the confederacy. this is mildred rutherford. she is a georgian, she is from athens. she will occupy the position of the story in general of the udc for five years. and just take a minute and read sort of seep in, the explanation and the rationale that she has for slavery and the civil war. two quotes.
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and give me your reactions to events sentiment -- to that sentiment. what do you think> -- think? >> it is not true. jennifer murray: what part of it is not true? >> the first one. there might have been a few that were really taken care of, but as a majority in the deep south, i mean well fed. if they were acting badly, that was out the window. while clothed. it depends on the scenario but for the majority that is a lie. jennifer murray: we make generalizations about slavery and what slave life was like but where you were a slave mattered. your experience and virginia is different than being on a plantation further south. and when you were a slave, matters.
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buying into this conversation. what about the second part of it? has the negro benefited from freedom, what does she say? no. what is the rest of your reaction on this? >> she is implying that they had more freedom while they were slaves as opposed to after the war. that is what it sounds like. jennifer murray: we can go in a number of directions with this. right? let's sort of start with a couple of things. would southerners writ large agree with this, or is she on the fringe? >> most would agree. jennifer murray: why? >> because slavery was a part of the civil war so they want to make up a lie to cover it up. jennifer murray: move forward, into the old south. how did southerners justify the institution of slavery?
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slaves come to the colonies in 1609. by the time of the civil war we have lived with slavery for two centuries of slavery, it is part of the political and social hierarchy. so how do they justify slavery? >> they are very zealous in defining the idea of the paternal relationship, keeping them, they are a lot better as slaves in the united states than they were as pagans in africa. jennifer murray: where else are they comparing opportunities for for blacks? it is better to be a slave in the old south as -- >> a free demand in the north. jennifer murray: industrial factories, work for wages in the factories in the north? surely it is better to be fed and sheltered as a slave in the south. so true that and, -- so to that
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end, is her conversation representing a radical change in southern society or do you see more continuity in these justifications of slavery? >> you will hear from people today who still embrace the lost cause. jennifer murray: slavery had nothing to do with it and the slaves were treated well. so is she representing a majority opinion, are you comfortable with her as a spokesman for the south and the loss cause? not comfortable with her conversation in 2015, but at the time is she radical? >> no. jennifer murray: no, she is a part and parcel and reflection of the time and representing continuity in how southerners dealt with justifying slavery, the paternalistic tendencies,
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the freemen now much worse off post 1855 then they were before. -- 1865, than they were before. what she is doing go is she is creating an old south sort of mythology, fastening this lost racial utopia where southern slaves were happy, well closed -- clothed, taken care of. faithful uncle toms, faithful slaves. we have talked about this in other classes, the notion of a happy slave, mammy in gone with the wind. everything was much simpler for whites and blacks alike. does this fit with the loss -- lost cause? absolutely. absolutely fits with the lost cause. one more conversation of associating or disassociating slavery with the civil war
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moving forward into the 20th century. so the united daughters of the confederacy was very proactive in shaping the lost cause narrative. udc and southern women are responsible for reclaiming confederates from battlefields taking them down south. confederate dead at gettysburg for example are denied burial moving forward into the 20th century. places at the soldier's national cemetery, because the civil war is still going on, so until the 1870's, the southern women go and collect the remains of their confederate dead. and bring them back home. a lot of the southern confederate dead buried in the hollywood cemetery in richmond virginia. >> so they were not buried in any way? jennifer murray: union and confederate soldiers are buried in the same way that the battlefield. they are buried by comrades, -- at the battlefield. they are buried by comrades,
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often haphazardly. they might be put in a trench graves laid there. dirt is thrown over them and the army leaves. now, a place like gettysburg sharpsburg, people live there, these civilians living there, so farmers moving out to put crops in, they would see a constant burial and reburial, discovering the bodies, dealing with the remains on their land. a strange and blighted land, one of the most complicated experiences of the civil war. that is something that the udc does. they will undertake monument dedications. they will raise money. they will be proactive in shaping southern history textbooks. we do not like history and politics to mingle, we don't like our history to be
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politicized, but the udc is active in doing so. so the udc raises money to facilitate the direction of monuments. southern towns put them in a variety of places. cemeteries are a natural place for confederate monuments or union monuments for that matter. this is in wilmington, north carolina. the larger image on the right is in montgomery, alabama, the first capital of the confederacy. fastening the lost cause creating a lost cause, then a flurry of commemorative activity in richmond. why richmond? why? you are a richmond arer. why? >> capital. jennifer murray: what is the famous place in richmond where
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all the monuments are? >> monument avenue. jennifer murray: monument avenue. jennifer murray: who do find it there? >> stonewall, robert e lee. jennifer murray: robert e lee, stonewall jackson jefferson davis, arthur ash, who has created all sorts of controversy, putting a tennis player there. this is a dedication for robert e lee memorial in richmond. so the lost cause, then, which you identified earlier as a psychological means to cope with defeat. you see the evolution of the lost cause in the latter part of the 19th century. what was once created as a means to explain to fee, but then -- explain defeat, a psychological explanation of what they lost four, then it
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transitions into something that is celebratory. and we start to celebrate the south. and we celebrate people like robert e lee, confederate soldiers. look at the image -- the monument itself is grandiose and incredibly spectacular, but what strikes you about the picture? >> do we have a number on how many are there? jennifer murray: there is estimated to be over 100,000 people who attended the dedication of the lee monument. >> 100,000 people? jennifer murray: 100,000 spectators. who will be used -- who will please -- who will these kinds of activities might upset? >> the north. jennifer murray: right, this is
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response and reaction. the north is sitting there and thinking, you are putting up a monument to a man who committed treason. and the northern response to this is fantastic. here is an example. this is in 1892, two years after the lee monument goes up. this is from minnesota. and look at what comrade kassel. is suggesting. what is he saying about the south? >> he likes to use the word treason. jennifer murray: putting up these monuments to their own band of traitors, saying they are really delusional. is this the theme of reconciliation? >> no. jennifer murray: no. it is not leave them of reconciliation -- the theme of
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reconciliation. so, i made a point, overstating reconciliation, people believing into this. and yes, it is the dominant civil war narrative but even in the south, this discussion is a lost cause is not a consensus it is not 100% of southerners that buy into the lost cause. it is the majority vote -- viewpoint, the majority to be sure, but there is a sense in the new south about the war and these commemorative activities. let me give you an example. this is john singleton mosey. take a look at his quote. and immediately, this should make you recoil. based on what we just went through. what is he doing, what is he acknowledging? >> slavery. jennifer murray: he could not be any more explicit. the south went to war for slavery.
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but then what does he say toward the end? does he get more bold or does he retract sentiments a little bit? >> he retracts. jennifer murray: in what way? >> he talks about it being for his country, so he fought for his country even though the values weren't there. >> i do not think that is necessarily a retraction. maybe from slavery, but not a retraction from the fact that he fought for the south. that is still there. jennifer murray: and he is also suggesting what in the middle of the quote? >> he is advocating the role of responsibility. jennifer murray: yes. yes. yes. so why nations choose to go to war, why the south decided to go to war, is the responsibility of whom? >> the politicians. jennifer murray: so he is fighting for what? >> his country.
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>> and this was lee's point of view when he said where my country goes i go. jennifer murray: right. that is the view of many southerners. john singleton mosby is a famous confederate, he is a partisan guerrilla reader. -- reader. --raider. he is dissenting from the concept of the lost cause. so if you read it some of his account, they are fantastic. in some of the postwar exchanges he will actually admit that he , committed treason. he does not backtrack or apologize for his service, but he admits that it is an act of treason. >> individuals had to apply for a pardon, right? jennifer murray: yes. >> applying for that pardon is an admission of guilt. but they did not see that that way.
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they just saw it as a piece of paperwork they had to do to end the battle. jennifer murray: right. the peace terms at appomattox, they are what? we looked at this last time. >> no guilt whatsoever. go home and we will leave you alone. jennifer murray: it was a very amicable, very favorable peas terms that does not require the cell to admit -- >> any responsibility. jennifer murray: exactly. they got to keep their stuff their horses, their baggage, their sidearms. what does it say if we put this quote against mildred rutherford? which one wins in the competition for memory? >> rutherford. jennifer murray: rutherford. and voices like mosby will be pushed to the side. so who does that leave us with? we have the north talking very vividly about treason, the south
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creating a lost cause, trying to cope and will disassociate slavery from the american civil war and we have one other commemorative tradition which like talks about, and that is emancipation. so let's fit them into our narrative. now you can imagine memories of the civil war being complex for african-americans. abraham lincoln issues the emancipation proclamation, it comes in effect january 1 1863. emancipation happens at different times, depending on a variety of factors, when they get their freedom.
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but when the war is over, 4 million african-americans are free. and how is their life and the different than it was before? -- any different than it was before? southern historians talk about the old south and the new south, you see more continuity in the new south then you see change. i love this quote by frederick douglass. "if war among white rot peace -- brought peace and liberty to blacks, what will peace among the whites bring?” and he is asking this in 1865. reconstruction is fading out. how would you answer this in 1865? what would you tell frederick douglass that the piece brought? >> very little. jennifer murray: very little for the african-americans. he talks a lot about -- how does this fit into the narrative?
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douglass, booker t. washington is another example, how does -- what are their complicated memories? where do they come down? >> the primary issue is how to deal with the memory of slavery among individual former slaves. and while booker t. washington kind of advocates for moving on and forgiveness and ignoring it so we can reconcile and move on, frederick douglass says you need to remember, be aware of what we went through and where we need to go. jennifer murray: right. so even among the african-american community, it -- is there a consensus about what they should push for. booker t. washington very
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reconciliatory in his own right. the going slow approach. how did african-americans commemorate the civil war? blue and gray paternalism seems to overshadow any true economic equality for african-americans. one thing they can and will commemorate is, emancipation day. so wrote -- throughout northern and southern communities emancipation day is celebrated. this is in richmond, virginia. >> the celebrations, the number of them peter out further south. jennifer murray: as we move forward in time as well. so, if you have to put into a hierarchy, reconciliation, which the premises, emancipation is,
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where will you put that? >> at the bottom. jennifer murray: at the bottom. and at the top, re-conciliation. so, between the north, south and african-americans, do you have questions on these competing modes of memory? pretty a good sense of where each three stand? north, south, african-americans. >> the lost cause errors -- causers seem to be on the fringes. we are talking about booker t. washington almost is an advocate of the fraternal relationship. he talks about being better off as slaves and this is an african-american saying it. jennifer murray: booker t. washington was born a slave, so his experience is very pragmatic, where you have somebody else like w.e.b. dubois
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who does not have the same experiences, a free man, a northerner come a educated who goes to harvard. who you are and how close you are in time to this event, changes how you view it. so not all african-americans are going to look at slavery and the new south in the same way. it is very confiscated. a very complicated civil war narrative. a tremendous amount of discord. so let's move forward and look at reconciliation taking hold. to bind the nation's wounds is a quote from another lincoln inaugural address. and it sits very aptly with reconciliation. one of the reasons that the american civil war remains so popular in modern america is
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because, well, one, many can trace ancestors back to the civil war. it is very close to us, it is on our own soil. we have a great record of primary sources. civil war soldiers, union and confederate alike, wrote a lot about the war. they wrote letters home, kept diaries and journals during the war. very good accounts. >> and there is an industry that pops up after the war as far as publishing, they couldn't get enough of people writing these. jennifer murray: regimental histories become very popular contributing this material about , the war and recollections of it. civil war historians make the joke that the civil war is the most written about topic in american history and they will say, civil war historians say there is a book written on the american civil war every day since the war ended.
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i mean, go into any bookstore and look at the civil war book section. a huge amount of material. gettysburg, a three-day battle just the one battle has over 6000 books written on it. plus mine. pretty incredible. [laughter] jennifer murray: 6001. so the written literature aside, the photographic literature is a valuable primary source. and when you go through and look at civil war photos, the first gw i showed you -- first two i showed you the impact of seeing the impact of seeing these , bodies, americans see this in the newspaper too. this is the first war that is photographed. these photographs we will see , the ones that are from
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gettysburg, they are from the national park archives, which is a great collection, and some of them are from my coworker who does a great facebook page on battlefield perspective. how the scenes have changed over time. so fantastic photographic accounts. this one is from 1913, an image of reconciliation at its finest. this is union and confederate veterans sitting side-by-side, on the stone wall. this is day three action of pickett's charge, they come back to the place where 50 years earlier they had been shooting at each other and now they are sitting side-by-side. in the same place. so, let's see how these men define reconciliation. one of the things that really struck me when i was doing
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research on the gettysburg battlefield for my dissertation and book was the way in which contemporary events fine -- define how americans understood the civil war. so we can get deep in the weeds and we can talk about civil war memories and union and confederate veterans, but step back with me for a second and think about what is going on in society writ large. reconciliation takes place, it is the 25th anniversary of the american civil war, what is going on in the u.s.? >> segregation. jennifer murray: segregation has set in. and the famous supreme court case that defines segregation, as legal, issued in 1896, plessy versus ferguson. separate but equal. so the united states has legally become a segregated society. so the rise of jim crow in -- and segregation parallels
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this reunion of northerners and southerners. so answering frederick douglas's question, what does peace among whites bring? it brings segregation and jim crowe and reconciliation. segregated memories for a segregated society. and let's see how they play out in the late 1890's. so late 19th century. one of the very tangible ways that union and confederate veterans reconcile and deal with post-civil war issues is to commemorate and preserve civil war battlefields. so, all this writing that they are doing and these postwar accounts, the confederate veterans and the monuments that go up, richmond, battlefield preservation is an important aspect of reconciliation.
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and in the late 19th century the golden age of battlefield preservation, to use ken smith's phrase, will come to ford. there are five battle sites that are preserved at that date. chattanooga will be the first federally preserved battlefield, shiloh, gettysburg then vicksburg. these sites are managed by the war department and funded by the federal government. so if you like going to civil war battlefields, the early preservation occurs as part of the fame of -- the theme of reconciliation. the monuments that go up, they part of the theme of reconciliation. congress is eager to find money to buy land for preservation activities, because who is in
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congress? veterans. they are eager to allocate this. the veterans preserve these battlefields as tangible physical landscapes to commemorate the men who fought and died there. they are living memorials. there is absolutely no intent to have conversations about why the war was fought on these battlefields. you want to talk about slavery it will not happen at the battlefield. they are disassociating it. battlefields are preserved to talk about heroism, valor, a story we can create and agree on. where all our brave. that is the consensus. >> they say these -- in these dedications, they will ignore it. jennifer murray: yes, it is very deliberate. it is very deliberate. michael kamen is a really good
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book if you have free time. if you have free time to read "mystic chords of memory," it talks about this phenomenon about the natural phenomenon where people will remember things that are happy and positive. right? you always go back and you talk to your grandparents and you listen to the stories about when they were kids, they were always locking up hills both ways, and they do not have shoes. i never understand. you are remembering it fondly, creating this nostalgic view where you look back at something and remember it fondly. that is what the civil war veterans are doing.
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so instead of talking about the reality of combat, the visceral experience of being at close range, hand to hand combat at 300 yards or less, we will talk about these generic ideas of heroism and valor. we will erect a monument, shake hands, and we will all have a good feeling about the civil war. this theme, and you are exactly right the veterans create this. , we deal with us today. we deal with this legacy today. are they narrowminded? and shortsighted? absolutely not but they are building a reconciliation consensus. and it is deliberate, very deliberate. let's look at gettysburg and we will move forward with some examples of this. gettysburg, the high tide of the confederacy, the battle in july of 1863, becomes after
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appomattox, the epicenter of civil war commemoration. how many of you have been to gettysburg? ok. a couple. one of the things that we talked about over the summer was the process of commemoration. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
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