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John Chuckman


Kentucky to speed up relocation of Confederate monuments after Charlottesville violence
in neighboring Charlottesville, Virginia

The great irony of these matters is that the Civil War was not about slavery. Lincoln himself said that if that if he could, he would end the war and keep slavery in place.

The war was about states’ rights, a matter which had troubled American politics and affairs since the country’s founding.

Few people realize how consequential the Civil War was. An estimated 600,000 people died in the 1860s. Nearly a century later, in WWII, a war that in total killed over 50 million, American total losses were about 300,000.

The Civil War monuments are history as surely as any anywhere, but public sensibilities and politics change, and it is stupid to fight over the fact.

Response to a comment about slavery dying out:

Sorry, but you are wrong about slavery.

Slavery actually evolved into something new and more hideous near the time of the Civil War. Individual slave workers disappeared on the great estates to be replaced by gang-slavery, a system of chaining together large blocks of men who then moved through the fields much like a machine.

It was a big improvement in pure efficiency terms. Slave agriculture became more competitive.

If you read the scholarly book, Years on the Cross, you will see how slavery evolved and would have evolved more. It would have been a very long time before it died a natural death, if indeed it ever did.

Response to another comment about few Southerners having slaves:

This is not accurate.

Many comparatively modest farmers owned a slave or two.

In some cases, they were women and were used for sex. Indeed, at the slave auctions, some women were featured openly for their attractions.

The result is that there is not a single black American today without genes from European types.
Response to another reader comment:

“defeated Christian Civilization”?

Bizarre, and with the tone of some of the extreme Internet sites.

Lincoln did consciously want the central government to gain authority over the states.

In that sense, he finished the unfinished work of creating a nation.

It had nothing to do with Christianity. Many of the most prominent founders were not Christians but Deists or even atheists, very stylish beliefs of the period in Europe. This included Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, and others.
Response to another reader’s comment:

Of course, it’s obvious you cannot change history.

But our memorials and books change all the time, taking on new emphasis or indeed changing an interpretation.

By the way, it was real history, but there are not many monuments to Benedict Arnold in America. And none that I know of to the Loyalists, decent people who were terribly abused by the “Patriots.” And, there is no major monument to slavery itself. Certainly not in Washington.
Response to another reader comment about “Lee was right”:

Sorry, Lee was never a politician. He did what he saw as his duty when asked.

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