historyforall wrote:A big problem when reading history and knowing the outcome is shown in the Richmond "about to fall" comment. No one knew it would fall, it takes key officers at a shad bake and acoustic shadows to topple Richmond.
You are right -- easy to second guess. And easy for me -- or anyone -- to say what "ought" to have been done. But I think it is reasonable to second-guess historical figures, to want to know why they did what they did, and to make judgements based upon the data (which, in my case, is pretty sketchy, I admit) what their probable motivation was. Otherwise, how can we learn anything from history?
Saying the South should have taken a deal when no one knew what was going to happen is like saying the Americans should have given up and become a part of England again when things got tough.
I don't follow you there. My point was since the deal was rejected without consideration, one wants to ask why? Stating that they didn't know how things would turn out doesn't answer that question.
I have had the honor of reading a lot of soldiers diaries from both sides of the Civil War ...
I would love to hear more of your reading, history. Perhaps you could recommend some for the rest of us. I was simply reporting and commenting on mine. I'm sure there is much more for me to learn.
What matters more the govt and its polocies or the soldiers that fought for what they felt was right?
Let's say that what matters most is the soldiers motivation. Since most Germans fighting in WW II were not Nazis, but were fighting to protect their home and loved ones (either from the Allies or the Nazis themselves, would you then say that WW II was about German self-defense? Of course not, because the German soldeirs were pawns in the Nazi's game of genocide and world domination. And sincel the Al-Qaeda boys who downed the WTC were fighting Allah's battle, were martyrs to divine justice -- to their minds, anyway -- would you say that the most important thing about 9-11, then, was the sacrifice of a handfull of men for the greater glory of their God? Of course not. The motivation of the man in the trench is certainly important and of interest to all of us; but it is a poor gauge of the actual motivation of a war or, less, it's justification.
Be glad we are only still fighting this war on paper (and the internet).If Lee had not been the man he was we would be fighting this war today, such as Ireland and other conquered nations do.
And why should I be glad of that? What makes Lee such a great leader is that he insisted that the war end, that it NOT be continued to be fought.
You can blame the South for a lot of racial problems but you better start talking about your own racial issues too. MLK talked about racism in the North being harder and more mentaly exauhsting, where in the South it was physical. in Chicago he said that he had never felt such racism in all the south then he did in that city.
Who is blaming the South for contemporary racial issues? I blame the South for starting a war -- and they started it, firing the first shot which Lincoln refused to do -- and for maintaining a war that destroyed my home and the home of my ancestors in order to sustain and maintain the aristocratic social heirarchy that made slavery essential to the monied class. Yes, and I blame Lee for being more loyal to his class than to his principles, too. His great ancestor, George Washington, behaved otherwise, recognizing that his class -- the slave-owning aristocracy -- most make the sacrifice for the greater good of the union.
We are Northerners and Southerners and everything else but now I am the enemy, I am bad. How is that going to play on our younger generation? If this was going on when I was a stupid 13 and 14 yo I would have tried to live up to what everyone was telling me I was.
Whoa, now. Who said anything like that? No one in this thread -- at least none that I've read. I AM a Southerner, born and breed. My male ancestors all died fighting for the Southern cause and all the females were forced to flee their homes with their children and make a home in the Florida wilderness. But, unlike you, I don't see myself as a victim. I see myself as part of a legacy that learned something from this great debacle. Big principals trump petty ones -- as Washington knew and as Lee found out, to his (and millions of his fellow Southerner's cost).
Feel frustrated all you want, but don't lecture me about being a Southerner, or expect me to take seriously your self-pity. (An emotion that Lee, for one, had no use for.) Thankfully, the South has allowed its better nature to prevail in the last 150 years; sure, it was two steps forward and one back, but the South thrives. Not because it is still fighting the "Great Lost Cause", but because they recognize that the "Cause" was neither great nor lost: the South won, in the end, in many ways: it's culture is the culture of the country -- it's music, it's literature, it's cuisine, it's generosity and hospitality has become American culture. It -- not the North -- is the melting pot where immigrants come and to which exiles return. Lee's greatness, to me -- as much a "Southerner" as you -- came in how he handled his defeat: he refused to see it as a defeat, but as a reunion. He refused to re-fight the war; he refused to justify his actions after the fact; he refused to feel sorry for himself (who, after all, lost everything except his life), and he got on with the business of building a nation.
Just because someone disagrees with you, or places a different value on some things, does not mean that they think you are "bad." They might think you are wrong and even wrong-headed, but so what? Unless you teach the younger generation to feel victimized, they won't. Celebrate the South. I wouldn't live anywhere else. My kids feel the same way: each has tried living in different areas of the country but each has come back. None feel the need to fly the stars-and-bars, though; and neither feel that they are the heirs to a "Great Lost Cause." They are both too proud and principled for that. And they are too busy keeping the South a wonderful place to live and bring up children to worry over-much about what someone else things about them -- or the South.