How Could They Have Known?
After the War Between the States ended, many scholars predicted what was to come, and what the national climate would be like. Even during the war, Confederate General Patrick Cleburne was quoted as saying:
“Every man should endeavor to understand the meaning of subjugation before it is too late… It means the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy; that our youth will be trained by Northern schoolteachers; will learn from Northern school books their version of the war; will be impressed by the influences of history and education to regard our gallant dead as traitors, and our maimed veterans as fit objects for derision… It is said slavery is all we are fighting for, and if we give it up we give up all. Even if this were true, which we deny, slavery is not all our enemies are fighting for. It is merely the pretense to establish sectional superiority and a more centralized form of government, and to deprive us of our rights and liberties.”
How interesting that, 150 years later, all things representing the Confederacy are under attack. The social climate in America has become too engrossed in what some view as political correctness, instead of paying respect to those who died for a cause and country they believed in. Another interesting quote is as follows:
“History, as written, if accepted in future years, will consign the South to infamy,” says Honorable J. L. M. Curry. The truth, the only antidote for the poison of falsehood, should be set to work at once, or the evil effects will become incurable. No time is to be lost. Soon the cemetery will hold us all. What shall be then thought of our cause and conduct will depend upon what we leave in the books of our era. Books live on. They should not misrepresent us or our dead. But think of the stream pouring from the press, a stream so strong and so full of ignorance of us, and of prejudice against us-think of the political interests, and sectional rivalries, and financial superiority, and numerical preponderance, and commercial advantages, and the immense Governmental influence, all combined upon the successful side-will posterity ever know who we were, or why we fought?” – John R Deering, Lee and His Cause,1907
Instead of being concerned about erasing history by deeming certain things as “offensive,” we should embrace them as part of our nation’s heritage. I only hope this turnaround takes place before everything is gone.