Checkmate, Lincolnites! Debunking Lost Cause myths – as well as more benign common misconceptions – about the military leadership of the Civil War. Did the South really have all the best battlefield talent? Was the key to Union victory a simple strategy of overwhelming the Confederate army with numbers and resources? Who was better at their job, Ulysses S. Grant or Robert E. Lee? I’d say watch and find out, but the answer is obviously Grant. Support Atun-SheiFilms on Patreon ► https://www.patreon.com/atunsheifilmsLeave a Tip via Paypal ► https://www.paypal.me/atunsheifilmsOriginal Music by Dillon DeRosa ► http://dillonderosa.com/Facebook ► https://www.facebook.com/atunsheifilmsTwitter ► https://twitter.com/atun_shei ~REFERENCES~ Andy Hall. “With One Hand Tied Behind its Back” (2013). Dead Confederates Blog https://deadconfederates.com/2013/11/… G.S. Boritt. Why the Confederacy Lost (1992). Oxford University Press, Page 39-40 Richard E. Beringer. Why the South Lost the Civil War (1986). University of Georgia Press, Page 8-24 Borritt, Page 24-30 Charles Royster. The Destructive War: William Tecumseh Sherman, Stonewall Jackson, and the Americans (1991). Vintage Civil War Library, Page 76 “Lincoln’s Unsent Letter to General Meade.” American Battlefield Trust https://www.battlefields.org/learn/pr… Eric J. Wittenberg. “A Civil War Witch Hunt: George Gordon Meade, The Retreat from Gettysburg, and the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War” (2015). Emerging Civil War Blog http://emergingcivilwar.com/2015/07/0… Report of the Joint Select Committee Appointed to Inquire into the Condition of Affairs in the Late Insurrectionary States, so Far as Regards the Execution of Laws, and the Safety of the Lives and Property of the Citizens of the United States and Testimony Taken (1872). https://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/moa/ACA4… Andy Hall. “Nathan Bedford Forrest Joins the Kl@n” (2011). Dead Confederates Blog https://deadconfederates.com/2011/12/… Andy Hall. “Confederate Veterans on Forrest: ‘Unworthy of a Southern Gentleman’ (2013). Dead Confederates Blog https://deadconfederates.com/2013/08/… Edward Bonekemper. Ulysses S. Grant: A Victor, Not a Butcher (2004). Regnery History, Page 89-92 Mary Boykin Chestnut. A Diary of Dixie (1905). D. Appleton and Company, Page 350  Ernest B. Ferguson. “Catching Up With ‘Old Slow Trot’” (2007). Smithsonian Magazine https://www.smithsonianmag.com/histor… Bonekemper, Page xii Bonekemper, Page 308-309 Bonekemper, Page 192-193 Bonekemper, Page 201-203 Justin D. Murphy. American Civil War: Interpreting Conflict Through Primary Documents, Vol. II (2019). ABC-CLIO, Page 331 Bonekemper, Page 121 & 243-245 Elizabeth Brown Pryor. Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee Through his Private Letters (2008) Penguin Books, Page 335 Sean Kane. Myths and Misunderstandings: Grant as a Slaveholder (2017). The American Civil War Museum https://acwm.org/blog/myths-misunders… “Letter from Robert E. Lee to Mary Randolph Custis Lee (December 27, 1856).” Encylopedia Virginia https://encyclopediavirginia.org/entr… Pryor, Page 144-150 “Ulysses S. Grant and General Orders No. 11” National Park Service https://www.nps.gov/articles/000/ulys…
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed a proclamation declaring July 13 Nathan Bedford Forrest Day. Forrest was a Confederate general, slave trader and an early leader of the Ku Klux Klan.A Tennessee law dating back to 1971 mandates that the governor must issue proclamations for six state holidays each year, including days for Nathan Bedford Forrest and Robert E. Lee, CBS Nashville affiliate WTVF reported.
According to the Tennessee code, the governor must declare January 19 as “Robert E. Lee Day”; February 12 as “Abraham Lincoln Day”; March 15 as “Andrew Jackson Day”; June 3 as “Memorial or Confederate Decoration Day”; July 13 as “Nathan Bedford Forrest Day”; and November 11, as “Veterans’ Day.”
“I signed the bill because the law requires that I do that and I haven’t looked at changing that law,” Lee said Thursday.
According to The Tennessean, Lee declined to say if he thought the state law should be changed — something Tennessee Democrats have been hoping would happen. Previous efforts by Democrats have failed.
“This a reminder of the painful and hurtful crimes that were committed against black people,” Rep. Vincent Dixie of Nashville told WTVF.
Dixie said he was previously unaware July 13 was Nathan Bedford Forrest Day in Tennessee and criticized Lee’s decision to sign the proclamation.
“Now you’re signing a proclamation honoring the same people that fought to keep people that look like me, African Americans in slavery,” Dixie said.
There is a bust of Forrest in the state capitol and there is a highly-visible statue of him on Interstate 65. There have been calls to remove the bust. The statue, which is on private property, is frequently defaced.
The molten core of right-wing nationalism is the furious denial of America’s unalterably multiracial, multicultural national character.
The Republican Party under Donald Trump has devolved into a populist cult of personality. But Mr. Trump won’t be president forever. Can the cult persist without its personality? Does Trumpist nationalism contain a kernel of coherent ideology that can outlast the Trump presidency?
At a recent conference in Washington, a group of conservatives did their level best to promote Trumpism without Trump (rebranded as “national conservatism”) as a cure for all that ails our frayed and faltering republic. But the exclusive Foggy Bottom confab served only to clarify that “national conservatism” is an abortive monstrosity, neither conservative nor national. Its animating principle is contempt for the actually existing United States of America, and the nation it proposes is not ours.
Bitter cultural and political division inevitably leads to calls for healing reconciliation under the banner of shared citizenship and national identity. After all, we’re all Americans, and our fortunes are bound together, like it or not.
Yet the question of who “we” are as “a people” is the central question on which we’re polarized. High-minded calls to reunite under the flag therefore tend to take a side and amount to little more than a demand for the other side’s unconditional surrender. “Agree with me, and then we won’t disagree” is more a threat than an argument.
The attackers — the nature-denying feminists, ungrateful blacks, babbling immigrants, ostentatiously wedded gays — bear full responsibility for any damage wrought by populist backlash, because they incited it by demanding and claiming a measure of equal freedom. But they aren’t entitled to it, because the conservative denizens of the fruited plain are entitled first to a country that feels like home to them. That’s what America is. So the blame for polarizing mutual animosity must always fall on those who fought for, or failed to prevent, the developments that made America into something else — a country “real Americans” find hard to recognize or love.
The practical implication of the nationalist’s entitled perspective is that unifying social reconciliation requires submission to a vision of national identity flatly incompatible with the existence and political equality of America’s urban multicultural majority. That’s a recipe for civil war, not social cohesion.
Yoram Hazony, author of “The Virtue of Nationalism” and impresario of the “national conservatism” conference, argued that America’s loss of social cohesion is because of secularization and egalitarian social change that began in the 1960s. “You throw out Christianity, you throw out the Torah, you throw out God,” Mr. Hazony warned, “and within two generations people can’t tell the difference between a man and a woman. They can’t tell the difference between a foreigner and a citizen. They can’t tell the difference between this side of the border and the other side of the border.”
“The only way to save this country, to bring it back to cohesion,” he added, “is going to be to restore those traditions.”
Mr. Hazony gave no hint as to how this might be peacefully done within the scope of normal liberal-democratic politics. “It’s not simple,” he eventually conceded. Mr. Hazony notably omitted to mention, much less to condemn, the atrocious cruelty of America’s existing nationalist regime. Indeed, roaring silence around our Trumpian reality was the conference’s most consistent and telling theme.
The incoherence of an American nationalism meant to “conserve” an imaginary past was not lost on everyone at the conference.Patrick Deneen, a political theorist at Notre Dame, pointed out that American nationalism has historically been a progressive project. The nationalism of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, he noted, arose as the United States began to establish itself as an imperial power of global reach. Building nations has always been about building armies, regimenting the population and centralizing political control.
Yuval Levin, the editor of National Affairs, similarly observed that nationalist projects meant to unite the diverse tribes and cultures of large territories generally involve a program of political mythmaking and the state-backed suppression of ancestral ethnic and community identities.
Mr. Levin suggested that a genuinely conservative nationalism, in the context of a vast national territory with an immense multiethnic population, would refrain from uprooting these traditions and communities and seek instead to preserve them in a vision of the nation as “the sum of various uneven, ancient, lovable elements,” because we are “prepared for love of country by a love of home.”
But what, today, do Americans call “home”? The next logical step would be to observe that the contemporary sum of rooted, lovable American elements includes the
- black culture of Compton, the
- Mexican culture of Albuquerque, the
- Indian culture of suburban Houston, the
- Chinese culture of San Francisco, the
- Orthodox Jewish culture of Brooklyn, the
- Cuban culture of Miami and the
- “woke” progressive culture of the college town archipelago, as well as the
- conservative culture of the white small town.
But Mr. Levin, a gifted rhetorician who knew his audience, did not hazard this step.
Barack Obama claimed resounding victory in two presidential elections on the strength of a genuinely conservative conception of pluralistic American identity that embraced and celebrated America as it exists. Yet this unifying vision, from the mouth of a black president, primed the ethnonationalist backlash that put Mr. Trump in the White House.
The molten core of right-wing nationalism is the furious denial of America’s unalterably multiracial, multicultural national character. This denialism is the crux of the new nationalism’s disloyal contempt for the United States of America. The struggle to make good on the founding promise of equal freedom is the dark but hopeful thread that runs through our national story and defines our national character. It’s a noble, inspiring story, but the conservative nationalist rejects it, because it casts Robert E. Lee, and the modern defenders of his monuments, as the bad guys — the obstacles we must overcome to make our nation more fully, more truly American.
To reject pluralism and liberalizing progress is to reject the United States of America as it is, to heap contempt upon American heroes who shed blood and tears fighting for the liberty and equality of their compatriots. The nationalist’s nostalgic whitewashed fantasy vision of American national identity cannot be restored, because it never existed. What they seek to impose is fundamentally hostile to a nation forged in the defining American struggle for equal freedom, and we become who we are as we struggle against them.
Whether couched in vulgarities or professorial prose, reactionary nationalism is seditious, anti-patriotic loathing of America hiding behind a flag — our flag. We won’t allow it, because we know how to build a nation. We know how the American story goes: We fight; we take it back.