Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Keeping Politics Out of History - Yeah, It's a Little Too Late For That
The history of the American Civil War hasn't changed very much at all in Europe. It continues to be one of ambiguity, balance, and, if anything, a slight tilting to the South. Compare this to America in which the analysis of the conflict (not to mention, Reconstruction) has changed from one of complexity and nuance to an almost 1970s wrestling style paradigm in which slavery isn't just one of the factors but the overriding factor and the South is consistently portrayed as the bad guy. My theory is that as the academies became more and more infested with Marxist and progressive professors, so, too, the story-line (more and more one of the government as savior with the enlightened North dragging the recalcitrant and Neanderthalish South into modernity). Thankfully, we still have a lot of the more vintage analysis available (Dunning, Coulter, Corwin, Bowers, etc.) and a spate of revisionists who haven't completely guzzled the Kool-Aide yet.