Colonialism Made the Modern World. Let’s Remake It.

This is what real “decolonization” should look like.

“Decolonize this place!” “Decolonize the university!” “Decolonize the museum!”

In the past few years, decolonization has gained new political currency — inside the borders of the old colonial powers. Indigenous movements have reclaimed the mantle of “decolonization” in protests like those at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access pipeline. Students from South Africa to Britain have marched under its banner to challenge Eurocentric curriculums. Museums such as the Natural History Museum in New York and the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Brussels have been compelled to confront their representation of colonized African and Indigenous peoples.

But what is “decolonization?” What the word means and what it requires have been contested for a century.

After World War I, European colonial administrators viewed decolonization as the process in which they would allow their imperial charges to graduate to independence by modeling themselves on European states. But in the mid-20th century, anticolonial activists and intellectuals demanded immediate independence and refused to model their societies on the terms set by imperialists. Between 1945 and 1975, as struggles for independence were won in Africa and Asia, United Nations membership grew from 51 to 144 countries. In that period, decolonization was primarily political and economic.

As more colonies gained independence, however, cultural decolonization became more significant. European political and economic domination coincided with a Eurocentrism that valorized European civilization as the apex of human achievement. Indigenous cultural traditions and systems of knowledge were denigrated as backward and uncivilized. The colonized were treated as people without history. The struggle against this has been especially central in settler colonies in which the displacement of Indigenous institutions was most violent.

South Africa, where a reckoning with the persistence of the settler regime has gripped national politics, reignited the latest calls for decolonization in 2015 with the #RhodesMustFall movement. Students at the University of Cape Town targeted the statue of the British imperialist Cecil Rhodes, but saw its removal as only the opening act in a wider struggle to bring white supremacy to an end. Under the banners of “more than a statue” and “decolonize the university,” students called for social and economic transformation to undo the racial hierarchies that persist in post-apartheid South Africa, free university tuition and an Africa-centered curriculum.

Now, partly riding the global surge of Black Lives Matter mobilizations, calls for decolonization have swept Europe’s former imperial metropoles. In Bristol, England, last month, protesters tore down the statue of Edward Colston, the director of the Royal African Company, which dominated the African slave trade in the 17th and 18th centuries. Across Belgium, protesters have focused on statues of King Leopold II, who ruled the Congo Free State (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) as his personal property from 1885 to 1908. King Phillipe II of Belgium recently expressed “regret” for his ancestor’s brutal regime, which caused the death of 10 million people.

Colonialism, the protesters insist, did not just shape the global south. It made Europe and the modern world. Profits from the slave trade fueled the rise of port cities like Bristol, Liverpool and London while the Atlantic economy that slavery created helped to fuel the Industrial Revolution. King Leopold amassed a fortune of well over $1.1 billion in today’s dollars from Congo. His vision of the Royal Museum for Central Africa, which opened in 1910 soon after his death, reproduced a narrative of African backwardness while obscuring the violent exploitation of the Congolese.

By tearing down or defacing these statues, protesters burst open the national narrative and force a confrontation with the history of empire. This is a decolonization of the sensory world, the illusion that empire was somewhere else.

Laying a flag of the Democratic Republic of Congo on the statue of King Leopold or hauling the Colston statue into the sea, where thousands of enslaved women and men lost their lives, tears apart the blinders and boundaries between past and present, metropole and colony. Insisting on the presence of the past, the protests reveal Europe’s romance with itself, unmasking its political and economic achievements as the product of enslavement and colonial exploitation.

This historical reckoning is only the first step. Acknowledging that colonial history shapes the current inequalities and hierarchies that structure the world sets the stage for the next one: reparations and restitution.

Reparations is not a single act. The Caribbean Community has already demanded reparations for slavery and Indigenous genocide from Britain, France, Spain and the Netherlands. Although there is little movement at the level of states, the University of Glasgow agreed last year to pay 20 million pounds (about $25 million) for development research with the University of the West Indies in recognition of how the university benefited from the profits of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

The Herero of Namibia, who suffered the 20th century’s first genocide at the hands of Germany, have also called for redress. Their efforts follow the successful bid for reparations by the Mau Mau of Kenya, many of whom were tortured during Britain’s brutal suppression of their independence movement in the mid-20th century. In other contexts, activists have focused on the return of the looted artifacts that fill Europe’s great museums. France, for instance, has committed to returning 26 stolen artworks to Benin.

But reparations should not focus only on the former colonies and their relations with European states. Colonialism lives on inside Europe’s borders, and Europe itself must be decolonized. Black Europeans experience discrimination in employment and education, are racially profiled and are subject to racist violence at the hands of the police and fellow citizens.

The European Union recently avowed that “Black lives matter,” but its policies deprive Black people of equal rights, imprison them in camps and drown them in the Mediterranean. Overseas imperialism was once believed to be a political necessity for European states; today, anti-immigrant politics plays the same role. In either case, European policymakers disavow responsibility for the misery they bring about.

Repair and redress is owed as much to Black Europeans as it is to former colonial states. It would mean treating Black Europeans, and all migrants from the colonized world, as equal participants in European society. And this form of reparation cannot be perceived as one-off transactions. Instead, it must be the basis of building an inclusive and egalitarian Europe.

This is no easy task and will not happen overnight. But we should remember that just 80 years ago, colonial rule appeared to be a stable and almost permanent feature of international politics. In just three decades, anticolonial nationalists had transformed the world’s map.

The struggle for racial equality in Europe is a fight for a truly postcolonial condition, and its creation is implied by each dethroned statue. If colonialism made the modern world, decolonization cannot be complete until the world — including Europe — is remade.

A Critical Look at the 1619 Project | Glenn Loury & John McWhorter [The Glenn Show]

hey there John McWhorter welcome to the Glenn show I’m Glenn Lowry Brown University affiliated with the Watson Institute for International and public affairs which sponsors the Glitter show professor of economics here and I’m talking to John McWhorter who’s professor at Columbia University we are the black guys of black heads that TV and we are back so welcome back John it’s been thank you how are you doing more than a couple weeks I’m doing well I’m just back from eight days in Korea which is pretty interesting mm-hmm and I celebrated a birthday yesterday which I’m happy to be able to announce we don’t we won’t say which one but then everybody knows just what you did oh yes it’s my birthday thank you very much my wife by the way John my wife Lewan sends her regards I don’t know why she thinks you’re worth having regard said to bend you’re mine as well I’ll do that I’ll do that here we are school is back John with professors and the students are on campus I have my first tomorrow I gather you’ve already started I’ve done a couple already yep we’re back to actually earning our living and so yeah I know it’s kind of unreasonable that they would ask you to actually work you know most people seem to think that professors teach in the summer too like people always say are you gonna be teaching in the summer and the truth is very often we don’t teach in the summer but and it’s because one of the most and the end evil things about what we do is that we don’t have to work in the summer and we still get paid I like that yeah well it out.you your reputation you actually do have to work because you have to produce scholarship otherwise your colleagues sitting with their arms folded like this tapping their toes and wondering what the you’re doing taking therefore yeah what are you breathing my air you haven’t produced anything lately right grants by the way people who think you get tenure and it’s over it never ends the pressure is always there it’s a self enforced machine you want to maintain the esteem your colleagues and so you better get something done in the summertime what you guys want you do puppet is that that might be true in economics in linguistic depending on where you are you can get away with after tenure not producing as much I’ll bet in economics that’s that’s harder but in linguistics you can slide somewhat alright I do think it’s harder all I know it’s what I know and it replaced I’ve ever been it’s been full of neurotics wondering about how they’re going to get their paper published in the journal of political economy next of next quarter right and if you don’t yeah yeah yeah seminars you have to give talks otherwise people forget this week the graduate students won’t find you interesting anymore if you’re not every now and then saying something interesting and right I mean I find all that are fun you know I liked it in the summer you can actually write a paper I wrote a paper less I’m rain you go to conferences and it’s easier because you don’t have to miss classes and stuff like that yeah I mean I think if you’re in the right business all of that is something you look forward to but you don’t have to go to work every day in each school which is a different lifestyle for those three months yeah okay so we are back it is early September school is starting again and I have been having this interesting experience the last few weeks John and maybe you as well of getting queries from people asking me they’ve been saying it in the comment section of my podcast post which have nothing to do with the issue they’ve been sending me emails I’ve been getting messages at my Facebook page from people asking me will you please talk about the 16:19 project this is the undertaking at the New York Times Magazine devoting itself to a reformulation of the historical narrative of the United States of America that centers the year 1619 rather than the year 1776 as the sort of landmark fundamental founding of the country 1619 being a year as everybody knows when African slaves first imported to the colonies the British colonies here in the United States of course African slaves have been coming to the so-called New World Caribbean and South America for years but 1619 before the Mayflower some 20-odd enslaved persons landed in Virginia and we inaugurate the long brutal era of chattel slavery in the United States and the 1619 project as I understand it undertakes to tell the story of American of the creation of the American nation state the American economy the American polity the Constitution the the sort of core narrative for the country in terms of the unfolding dynamic that is initiated in 1619 and people asking me what do you think about this please talk about this at the Glenn show and I could think of no better interlocutor with home to pursue this subject what do we think about the 1619 project than you John so well you they’ve been asking me that too and I almost haven’t wanted to say anything because one I don’t want to get repetitious into I don’t want to be mean about the work that goes into a project like that I mean that’s that’s heavy duty journalism and the people who are putting it together I’m gonna have to say they’re part of something larger than they have any way to have a sense of it so it’s not a problem the individual writers the main theme of it seems to be that um slavery is what America has always been all about that the American historical story has to have slavery not just as one element in it not just as one important element but as the fulcrum that we need to have this whole shift in perspective this whole paradigm shift in perspective on what America is and that vision and the way that it’s wielded in these articles and in like-minded pieces is once again it’s religious I mean what’s going on is an idea that for example it really reminds me of the courses I used to teach here at Columbia and may again on say the Scholastic’s on the kind of philosophy where you’re sitting there waiting for the person to be a philosopher but I can’t quite happen yet because it’s 1200 AD and anybody who calls himself philosopher has to base everything on certain Christian tenets and so what you’re supposed to be all about is proving the existence of God and anything that strays from that and more forbid anything to questions that is simply not allowed and so it’s almost hard to teach this stuff because it can’t get away from that Thomas Aquinas is a very tough thing to teach it’s brilliant as he was this is that the idea that slavery is all that we need to talk about and to be honest Glenn I find it it’s lazy I mean frankly with the medieval ‘s they couldn’t help it intellectual history had only gotten so far but the idea here is ignore what people are calling complexity ignore all these cross currents that people are detracting are distracting you with and instead think of this entire country this entire experiment everything that’s happened over these four hundred years all of it can be summed up in one word slavery that is the man with a hammer to whom everything is a nail and it’s simplistic thinking and none of this work to me provides a coherent justification for why we should go from the way we look at these things say thirty years ago to this new paradigm where we reduce everything to this moralizing and that’s what it is it’s not intellectual it’s moralizing about slavery and slavery alone and so I’m disappointed because I feel like it’s low rent low rent thinking disguised as higher wisdom well there he said it you realize of course John that there are a lot of white guys out there maybe a few girls too who are delighted to hear you say what you just said yeah I mean I interpret the number of queries that I got in my inbox from people and the number of comments that I saw at my podcast posts from people about would you please talk about what you please talk about this as a request for cover that is to say they’re asking that the black guys give them permission mm-hmm to dis the 16:19 project you see if we could more or less articulately more or less intelligently critique it as black guys then that means that the white guys and a few girls would not be racist for seeing the inadequacies of the 16:19 project so that’s that’s the duty that you’re doing are you comfortable are you comfortable playing that role John yes all those people are looking for us to give them cover however those people are correct that this 16:19 business is tragically oversimplified and they’re correct that if they say so in any kind of public forum or even private one often they’re gonna be called racists they are correct that that’s neither fair nor coherent and if what it takes is two black guys to say you know what you’re not crazy then I dare anybody to say that we don’t qualify as black in having the feelings that we do and as such yeah we have a responsibility to say yes there’s something wrong with this vastly oversimplified medieval way of looking at American history and proposing it as a new paradigm and in advance on previous ways of thought so yeah sorry the fact that they may be exploiting us doesn’t mean that they are wrong on the issue well I want the audience to know that you remember that old joke about the Lone Ranger and Tonto when they are surrounded by Indians and they are about to go down to bow and arrow and the Lone Ranger says to Tonto what are we gonna do now and Tonto turns to the Lone Ranger says what you mean we white man the doctor do you maybe we use a different I am yet to utter a word of evaluations but about it yeah I thought H by yourself yeah let’s pretend we disagree okay but I wanna I want to chime in with a couple of things why now seems it is a question that I would like to ask we are in a certain moment you used the religious metaphor to characterize what woke sensibility would have to say about white supremacy which we know is at the root of American Empire which is at the foundation of inequality which is the basis of American capitalism Mathew Desmond the Pulitzer prize-winning sociologist at Princeton whose book evicted is a very fine contribution to contemporary literature it’s a study of housing and security in Milwaukee very fine Pulitzer Prize winning effort but his contribution to this project is to characterize American capitalism as being especially rapacious don’t you know that the American welfare state is puny that the extent to which we you know have minimum wage or we have union participation in the economic realm or we have security for health care or whatever is relatively scant in comparison to other advanced and wealthy democratic countries and the reason for that he says if slavery it’s the evolution of the American economic system out of what was a rampant and unrestrained exploitation of the labor of the of the African enslaved people that’s Matthew Desmond Nicola Hannah Jones pretty much says you know that the founding that is the conventional founding the one that you and I learned about in school the one that you know where 1776 Jefferson the Declaration of Independence you know that one the one that culminates in the constitution of 18 1787 the one that is the founding of the longest-running you know functioning democratic republic the one that is the instantiation of enlightenment ideals about governance and about the dignity of the human that actually got created in institutions on the ground the one that gave rise to the defeat of fascism in Asia and in Europe etc okay the one that was the home to wave after wave after wave of immigrant who have come here and made their lives the one that actually abolished slavery I mean isn’t it curious slavery is a common place in human history what’s unique what’s interesting what’s different is the abolition of slavery that is the fruit of the spirit of 1776 it would it would appear to me there’s it’s cetera we could go on in this vein I did have a point with that grant Wow which is maybe to just reaffirm your observation that it is a simplistic telling of the story but it is a very compelling way to look at the story for many people I have a colleague I’m not going to name him I have great respect for him he’s a distinguished academic and he was literally gushing to me over the telephone about this project about how deeply patriotic it was the Conservatives are attacking Hannah Jones and others for what they regard the Conservatives as a dissing of you know the American narrative and my friend was telling me oh no no no actually actually it’s it’s a deeply patriotic account from the bottom up viewed from the position of the african-american of the enslaved person of the freedmen of the disenfranchised in Jim Crow south of the you know hopeful hopeful ever hopeful civil rights movement that the promissory note of American freedom would finally be honored in the case of African Americans all this kind of stuff but but I didn’t really think it was very patriotic I didn’t think it was very honest in a way the word solipsistic EPP coming to my mind you know the topical position that you can’t be sure there’s any other mind in your own mind right they can’t be sure there’s any other story than this racial story that they want to tell and there are other stories I mean really American democracy in all of its glory and with all of its faults and flaws is best understood with a narrative that puts slavery at the center of it really mean so I was dubious about the intellectual merits of that of that move of the move that they’re making by but why now like this is my question boy a lot of this is I mean yes it’s true the United States it’s important from the historical perspective to realize that this was part of a much larger story that these were colonies it wasn’t just one these were colonies and these transatlantic colonies that a few European countries ceded all over the world were almost all founded in slavery of an utterly unforgivable and brutal nature and I think people will argue over whether there could be a United States if there had been slavery but it would be a different United States and they’re great many of those colonies know if there had been Plantation slavery they wouldn’t have existed there will be no Jamaica if there had not been Plantation slavery and so it’s an important point to make but what worries me is what people are intending from stressing the point because the fact is it’s been a while and yes slavery didn’t mean that racism was over or that it’s over now but it’s been a while this is a very large and very diverse nation in which an awful lot has happened since the beginning of the 1600s the history here is large and the idea of saying well really you can abstractly think that none of it would have been possible without the work that these slaves did this unpaid labor these slaves did and therefore we begin not in 1776 but with 1619 and that that’s how we should understand what this is if it’s logical but it’s a stretch and the question is why that stretched now and I think the answer is Donald Trump the ideas that we have in you and I never argue about whether he’s a racist but he certainly is not polite about however he feels about people who are not white and certainly there is Charlottesville and what he said about that there is a rise in the open expression of statements that one would call at least not exactly graceful about race and so obviously The Times has decided that they want to make a countervailing statement and so that America is all about slavery but the question is why and so all these people stand up and talk about this solipsistic talk about oh how patriotic all this is and how good I’m sure made that person to say that whoever it was audience I do not know even offstage here who Glenn is talking about and the question is okay let’s let’s suppose and I think that it’s rather weak to say that all of black problems trace to slavery but which is what the implication here is but why why do we need to know this and why do we need to think about this all the time and I think that really there can be only one reason no one that says it you know we’re supposed to we have to think of it this way and nobody explains what the payoff is supposed to be is it supposed to be that white people run around feeling guilty that’s so senseless that I’m gonna assume that that’s not the point there must be some larger point and the only logical point could be we are supposed to look at America being founded in slavery and therefore evaluate black people differently than we would evaluate other people we’re supposed to think about 1619 and therefore look at any disparities between the races and realize that the reason is not that there’s something wrong with black people but that 1619 heaven and there’s a map that I’m sure you’ve seen that shows where Plantation slavery was most concentrated and where today black people are the poorest and the idea is supposed to show that slavery is the reason that there’s so many poor black people in places a B and C can see the strike that kook you sneaks throughout the south so it’s that kind of reasoning and the problem is that’s not the most transparent point so Dean Becky or whoever it is is standing behind a podium and talking about how this lesson must be taught to America we must think about this and nobody says why I think the implied why is black people’s failures today and it’s funny Glenn you would say black people’s failures I would say disparities between blacks and whites I don’t think any black people have failed but all of that is due to this and the fact is it’s not it’s not it’s not a logical point I’m almost finished but you think very quickly for a long time man yeah the old black business districts in the early 20th century and what those go away racism increased in 1950 I don’t think so and then also how welfare started to be administered in the late 1960s there’s a story that nobody tells and finally also the change in ideology in the sixties all those things have a lot to do with the disparities that we see today it wasn’t only 1619 ok well you said a lot of things I think in response I might try to distinguish between what the 1619 project that the New York Times were a Dean Beck a is the there’s a senior editor what it says about the country what it says about the United States and distinguish between that and what it says about the conditions of african-americans which are calling the disparities one kind of claim our narrative and this is given voice in Nicole Hannah Jones’s lead essay is that there’s something hypocritical about the centering of freedom and the ideals of you know life liberty and the pursuit of happiness all persons are created equal Jefferson declarations and stuff like that it’s kind of hypocrisy there they said it but they didn’t mean it they were slaveholders when they were saying it it only applied to white male property owners we’ve been fighting for the last 200 years to write that ship there was a century or nearly a century three-quarters of a century after the founding of the country when slavery was being practiced and then another century after the Emancipation when the descendants of slaves were held outside the orbit of full citizenship so stop breaking your arm patting yourself on the back city on a hill let’s change that narrative because white supremacy lies at the core of and then we go on America is not all that it thought that it was of the self-congratulatory tone of American chauvinistic chest-thumping needs to be revised and then there’s also I think as you’ve put your finger on implications of this centering of slavery with respect to interpreting what you’re right I’m gonna call them failures interpreting the history of the last half-century the social history of african-americans since the civil rights movement because the fact of the matter is that emancipation was a big deal I’m talking about 1863 and then with the conclusion of the Civil War the enactment of the 13th 14th and 15th amendment that was a huge big deal that was freedom no it was not equal citizenship yes Jim Crow racism and subordination continued yeah I’ve heard about lynching those things happen terrorism it was terrible it was terrible but compared to channel slavery the capacity of people to shape their own lives to develop their skills to raise their families to create things like the black business districts that you were giving a voice to prefer to come to own lanta to give a toll to migrate out of the south into the urban manufacturing enclaves of the industrializing united states of the late 19th early 20th century compared to being hailed as channel that certainly was a landmark move and a move from I don’t know 1954 to 1970 if you will accept my bracketing of the civil rights movement in that time frame was I saw a monumental structural transformation of institutions in the United States now in the wake of that the disparities persist the over-represented tation amongst the impoverished the fractured families the huge test court gets the you know you could go down the list one after another after another social indicator of inequality the so-called wealth gap and so forth and so on what’s up with that you people a person might say an unkind person are enjoying the fruits of freedom and equal citizenship at least not perfectly so but very substantially so and yet and yeah okay Hannah Jones dismisses she says at one point in her article she says and this really blew my top she says yes there are these statistics and they are these disparities and they are as predictable as anything given the horrific characters like really it was predictable that 70% of black babies would be born to a woman was not married it was predictable that the homicide rate amongst african-americans young men would be ten times higher than it is amongst white it was predictable that a majority of african-american students in one school system after another test below basic proficiency in reading and in mathematics all these things were predictable really they were necessary consequences of this history I don’t believe that for a moment and what that says about black people is horrific in my view it says we are simply the products of an oppressive history and any flaws you find in our social functioning are to be attributed to what Tolu white people white supremacy it smacks of somebody who we will leave nameless in this conversation but you know who I’m talking about and this house this whole shtick this whole apologia that’s what it is it’s apologia it is giving an account of failure that’s what it is it’s laying off the responsibility for failure on structured okay and you know I find that deeply philosophically unsatisfying onion go ahead well I just want to bolster something you were saying to make it clear to the that predictable line is particularly weak in that that’s not the way black America was 50 years ago 80% you know latter day stuff yeah a lot of the gap stuff is latter day stuff its post-world War two stuff it’s not baked into the cake from slavery and no account is given you mentioned the structure of the American welfare state and the incentives that that create you might also want to talk about the drifts in in African American culture and how its influenced patterns of behavior that are that are disadvantageous I suppose again there’s enough blame to go around and yes racism and exclusion will have to be a part of the story but that there the whole story that you know that that’s impossible there stay but the only thing I’m going to say is if I were Irish I would resent having the American story centered on slavery I would say no it was more than that I would say something about my ancestors migrating to the country under duress and whatnot and finding an opportunity and helping to build the country sorta if I were Jewish I mean think about this think about other groups adopting the same chauvinistic solipsistic moral high-ground high-handedness the whole country is built on our backs there are a lot of but for that you wouldn’t have had this there are a lot of things like that what about the settlement of the West what about the people who moved out in Concord and settled the lands west of the Appalachian Mountains and then west of the Mississippi River and then etcetera what about the Southern and Eastern European immigrants what about the Jews imagine imagine a narrative in which you say this country is founded on the excellent achievements of and then put your group put your favorite group in there and then they tick off if it hadn’t been for our forefather who did this or I hadn’t done that you wouldn’t have this or you have that mm-hmm what kind of way is that to talk to your fellow countrymen really they owe their freedom and prosperity to your suffering that’s your account and you expect to do politics with it and of course expect to compromise with them in to create institutions that actually solve problems that you all have in common that’s you begin the conversation with this kind of supercilious smugness and you expect everybody to just lay down and not in affirmation and yeah the thing is the answer from any of these people would be yes yeah I think they’re an awful lot of smart accomplished black people for example who really do want it to be that way that they’re supposed to be a sense that everybody out Al’s to them when it comes to moral issues that anything that goes wrong for them has to be understood partly as the result of 1619 etc and what worries me about this sort of thing is that it’s symptomatic of a thread in the American social fabric and it’s the sort of thing where you know just like if you ask a white person if they’re a racist that’s not gonna get at the trees you’re not gonna ask a black guy about this you’re not gonna ask a black guy do you feel like you’re owed a pass because of black people’s history and slavery and Jim Crow most people would say no but I’m sure psychological experiments could be done that will reveal a kind of truth that you see and I’m beginning to use the New York subway for a lot of my examples and some people say they’re just anecdotes but I insist no they are no more just anecdotes than the typical sort of thing that somebody on the Left will say about a white person and nowadays it’s white people who are talking about white people this way if some anecdote about some white guy who’s you know manspreading in some shopping mall or something is about real life well then the sorts of things that I see being on the streets of New York City every day of my life they they do mean something because I’ve been experiencing this for a long time that’s the other day I was in a crowded subway car where you know seats are only opening up so much and there was a guy next to me black guy probably about 27 and you know he clearly thinks that the rules different for him and importantly this is no quote unquote he’s not a criminal he’s not dangerous he’s not a terrible person but you could already see a certain look on his face this sort of don’t tread on me look on his face which most other people don’t have but in his case I think he’s internalized I don’t call it a failure he’s internalized what he what he subconsciously thinks of as a black man’s default demeanor which is frankly this demeanor of you now you might say that he lives in a neighborhood where he has to adopt that demeanor in order not to be picked on okay so I’ll give him some sympathy for that although I say also again he didn’t seem dangerous seems just frankly is ordinariness is what worries me but anyway we’re standing there and a seat opens up now the unspoken etiquette in the subway is that seats go to older people to pregnant people or if you are young or in my case youngish man you internalize a sense that if there’s say even a 35 or 40 year old woman with a couple of shopping bags she gets the seat yeah if you are a healthy male your senses you only take that seat if there’s no one else who’s kind of you know lower on the physical totem pole than you now there all sorts of people like that around a woman Chinese woman clearly doesn’t speak English who’s standing there with all her bags this guy shoves his way over gently and takes the seat now why doesn’t he know that pecking order he’s probably lived in New York his whole life I learned this after about two weeks in New York City and it’s fine with me but more to the point here’s how he sits and folks if you can’t hear it I’m sorry but imagine me hanging on the bars as if I’m doing pull-ups so he takes his hands and he puts them on the bar and slowly hangs himself down into the seat which means that he has to take up space you have to have your arms spread and everybody backs up and he’s got this baleful expression on his face and he plops down into that seat and then he just sits why did he have to sit that way everybody else when they sit down kind of pulls in their shoulders and sits daintily into the seat cause it’s crowded yeah the seats are too small anyway he’s got to get on there and hang from it like he’s in a gym and slowly what he’s saying and I’m sure that none of this was planned was y’all gotta watch out for me and some of it is masculinity he’s making himself bigger like he’s some kind of bird doing some sort of courtship and to be honest I’ve seen a lot of black guys get into the subway seat like that you got a hang from the bars why and the fact of the matter is where he gets this and the man who he’s subconsciously mimicking who conduct themselves that way in the Train all of them feel like they get a pass they feel like they don’t have to behave the way everybody else pays why would they feel that way they crazy no they don’t crazy they think that because the cops don’t like black people I think that’s the first thing we get and then in general you would get well with the way the United States treats black people we can do whatever we goddamn won this 16:19 business helps infect the country with that because those men may get a certain sense of self-protection and certain sense of having their say by behaving this way but it makes everybody else eat them and you can’t help wondering what kind of job anybody like that is likely to hold down beyond the level of stocking shelves you know anybody who conducts himself that way probably wouldn’t last delivering for FreshDirect you know he’s got that chip on his shoulder but he’s not gonna get anywhere in life I think that this 16 19 Series in creating this idea that black people are not subject to standards and that’s what it effectively does that black people get a pass ends up making too many black people worse and of course Daquan or whatever his name is he doesn’t read the New York Times so these are indirect matters but it’s a thread of society that says that black people don’t have to try as hard okay so here’s a rebuttal or I’m gonna try okay I’m gonna try mmm he’s angry mmm got a chip on his shoulder and he’s mad he’s angry because he has had to from day one deal with white supremacy and racism John I’m gonna actually use those words he’s had to deal with it whether it be a cop who is it rude and wraps him up somewhere mm-hmm disrespect a store manager who follows him around thinks he’s a thief somebody on that subway who looked at him askance just because he’s a black man or everything else in between he goes to his kids school the teachers and the principals don’t treat him like the other parents they presume that he’s stupid and doesn’t have anything to offer etc he’s angry he’s angry about the job where he should have gotten a promotion that went to a guy who had the right melanin content in his skin and it didn’t go to him he’s an angry black man and he’s got very good reason to be angry by the way you’re saying that he feels entitled what about all the black men all these generations who have had to suffer at the hands of dangled from trees because of lynch mobs we’ve had their skin stripped from them being dragged behind a pickup truck etc he has a right to be angry to put it on him first of all you abuse him then when he reacts sullenly you blame him classical blaming the victim John I’m really surprised that you okay tone aha see you make you the person who says that it was not you you’re making him sound like he’s Walter younger like he’s I’m imagining this black guy in a black-and-white movie in 1960 white people need to know that Walter Lee younger is the is the protagonist in a Raisin in the Sun the Lorraine Hansberry great play a very frustrated african-american man yeah those reasons and you know nobody would ask why Walter Lee is angry well because it was 1955 Chicago is why I don’t think that this guy now is living that life I think that very few people are looking at in dirty and I should say to everybody that he was out of the corner of my eye I was not looking him up and down all that he came to my consciousness very gradually but I don’t think anybody’s without him excuse me you dared not look him up and down if you’d look him up and down you’re inviting a conflict oh he would seem to start yelling I don’t think frankly that anybody at a PTA meeting presumes that he’s stupid I think that most of the people the white people at PTA meetings today would feel it upon themselves because they do read the New York Times to treat him with a kind of deference they probably would not give to a young white man I think that he has picked up a lot of demeanor the way any human being picks up demeanor from the peers closest to him and I think a lot of his attitude isn’t outdated in the in the bed-stuy context that he probably grew up in and he has no way of helping that in a way but nothing a society that really wanted to help this person would not support him in this sort of thing by promulgating this narrative that black people are never truly responsible for themselves now I don’t know how he’s been treated by the cops but I know that it’s at the point where with the way he conducts himself it would be much easier for things to go wrong between him and the cops and me and again I don’t blame him but I do see that that is the case that with that demeanor notice I don’t say attitude because that makes it sound like he’s trying but with that baked-in demeanor of his of don’t tread on me no matter what’s going on you’ve got to treat me different he’s never gonna get anywhere and he could get killed and so he I look at and I think wow you’re a lost cause you’re part of why people like Glenn and me have trouble with the ideology in society I don’t think it’s his fault but we elite people in promulgating narratives like this one that you and I don’t like we end up putting into the water the sort of thing that teaches people like him that it’s unblocked to really try to that to be black is to not be subject to the rules that everybody else’s and that no matter how much you justify it no matter how innocent this guy is it gets us nowhere fast but but here’s the reply that’s going to come from the people with the with the three names they’re going to say no no no black men and women for from the very beginning have been tried they tried to be landowners and had their land stolen from him they tried to be sure keepers and they were dispossessed they tried to participate in the political process and they would disenfranchise they went and fought wars for the country and came home and Hannah Jones makes a point out of this in her essay and we treated with disdain they could not earn the standing of equal citizenship even by being willing to surrender their lives on the battlefield in every war since the Civil War african-americans have fought on behalf of the Union on behalf of the flag on behalf of the country they’ve served and and yet they have men and women been denied so now with the fruit of that and we have to take this on because the claim is given all of that disenfranchisement marginalization and exclusion repression oppression discrimination now now we see quote-unquote failure that is you know we see the family disorganization and OBC behavioral problems to the young men and we see academic performance lagging or whatever it said we see and and you know you you take this reality of today out of the historical context and you put the responsibility for it on the shoulders of the people who have suffered the most don’t you know that there’s not a room you could go in whether it’s a newsroom a corporate office suite a sports franchise or some place you could go where the privilege attendant to whiteness is evident and where the exclusion is associated with with blackness is is also a part of the mix Hannah Jones calls our attention to the fact that because everything else good in America is the fruit of african-american suffering so too was the liberalization of the immigration laws in the mid-1960s the fruit of the civil rights movement in African America struggling and she says ironically they are asian-americans today who are going to try deny a seed at Harvard University I don’t think she names the University but she alludes to it based upon a civil rights claim that doesn’t have any resonance at all in American history but for the fact that African Americans made it first so African Americans man the barricades demanding non-european racist immigration policy in general public policy which allows Asian immigrants to come to the country in flourish and now those Asian immigrants who say don’t discriminate against me because I’m not black are ungrateful in effect they’re hypocrites and you know I mean it that’s that I’m sorry I’m arguing with myself I meant to be the devil’s advocate that’s the idea the idea is we’ve suffered them the idea is the perfection of this democracy of Obama says a more perfect union a more perfect union the perfection of this democracy step-by fitful step has been eat out as a consequence of african-americans striving to get their birthright here in this country and yeah it’s not such a pretty picture in the socio-economic landscape in many black communities but that’s readily understandable including this woman’s anger an alienation and sullenness readily enough know that that person’s view of American social history is is is unfortunately too edited roughly the idea seems to be that there was Plessy vs. Ferguson I’m trying to think of what it is Booker T Washington’s along and tries to set us back and he’s an Uncle Tom and he eats at the White House and they break the the crockery after he leaves that he ate off of and so I guess that’s part of it and then I guess the idea is that black people fought in World War one and two and pretty soon there’s the Montgomery bus boycott and you know a philip Randolph is in there somewhere but I get the feeling for a lot of people in the first about four decades of the 20th century the only thing to remember is the Tulsa riots and the idea that that happened in a lot of other places too so I guess for a lot of people I don’t think it’s new on them to know that any major city with a black population had a thriving black business district and a small but stable black middle-class and some black people who were almost rich I guess everybody knows that but I think people assume in a shorthand fashion that all of those places were just raised down by the Ku Klux Klan or something like that when really what happened is that those districts faded away after desegregation efforts started having some effect even in the 50s as opposed to the 60s when unfortunately the disaster resources of the white versions of all those stores that you could go to in the black districts ended up attracting black people as well now you can say that that’s unfortunate I wish I could grown up able to go to one of those all-black shopping districts all black banks and theaters etc but to say that it was racism that did those districts in as if something white people did or white hatred is what took care of the Shaw district in Washington DC or old black Los Angeles or old black San Francisco it’s simply it’s simply bad history or one other example is desegregation happens in the late 60s and talked about busing a lot of black kids wind up in white schools where because white people are still kind of backwards a lot of white people didn’t really want them there a lot of white teachers didn’t want them there the attitudes that those black kids encounter turn to generation of black kids against school thinking of it as something white that mean has been passed on even in schools where the whites have become much more enlightened because memes have a way of sticking for various reasons I won’t get into that is where the idea comes from and you know this this guy on the train may have been part of it that school is not quite a black thing unless roughly you’re studying black history or something like that that school is for white people that’s when it starts it starts in the late 60s as the result of racism then that was in the wake of the desegregation that we’re now calling Joe Biden a racist for having bet against because of the busing in other words just complex so the idea that black people being discriminated against is that the root of everything and you won’t might want to ask Anna Jones why are you so unconcerned with the fact that so many black students can’t get into Harvard without a special dispensation you know instead of being angry at the Asians or thinking hey civil rights was supposed to be for us why aren’t you thinking about how to make it so that we don’t need help to get into the top schools just like those Asian immigrants tones or priorities reflect this general meme of hers and I just don’t see it as sophisticated as a lot of these people think they think they know more history than some of the rest of us but their vision of how black history went is as if only for us history is this kind of simplistic fourth grade level diorama when really we’re all grown-ups and we’re supposed to realize that stuff is complicated and it’s complicated in a way that simply doesn’t lend itself to anything as tempting as narcotic as ambrosial as the notion that America is all slavery that’s you know it’s not gonna work it’s too it’s it’s too good that’s just not the way life goes yeah a couple of things you mentioned Donald Trump very briefly and I’m not gonna get into an argument with you about whether or not he’s a racist that I don’t regard that as a productive use of our time but but but I do think that the the fissures and schisms that we have in our political life associated with the rise of Donald Trump is related to the of the question why now about the 16:19 project it’s currently this pat political argument that some people on the right are making they had the Russia hoax it didn’t work out for them now they have to use the racism hoax in order to marginalize Donald Trump it’s partly that but I think even more fundamentally it’s that the supporters of Donald Trump have to be understood as somehow the latter day the modern day instantiation of this age-old defining American flaw which is white supremacy the the you know these battles going over all of these issues like immigration and the border where the leverage it seems to me on the progressive side a lot of it comes from the ability to characterize a oppositional limitation kind of ideas and attitudes about immigration to characterize them is as racist as you want this to be a country that’s safe for white people and whenever I hear that argument I cringe a little bit as a black person because I know that the moral force of that argument is dependent upon the actual experiences of African Americans that is I say America is a white supremacist nation without the narrative of African American enslavement and suppression during second-class citizenship of Jim Crow that argument doesn’t I don’t think carry a whole lot of weight but on behalf of a liberal immigration policy people are appropriating the moral credibility of African American claims on behalf of a larger allegation that larger allegation being that you know people of color are becoming slowly but surely a majority of the country and the soon to be marginalized white population which is used to lording it over everybody else is in a reactive mode that reactive mode is at least partly reflected in the election of Donald Trump and that election is inconsistent with American values for all of the visas that we could imagine what do you think about that well you know I once again the whole issue of the racism of the trumpian electorate I find it vastly oversimplified and uncharitable there’s a whole language that were encouraged to use on race where we talk about whole races of people as if they were one person there’s a kind of a poetry in it but it’s weak science and often it’s just we logic and so the idea that whites are used to being in control which ones I immediately picture a white woman pushing a shopping cart she’s got a kid is she used to being in control which whites so then is it whites in power and so imagining a white person in a suit in Washington DC who’s the administer function system shipment of a set but a bet above about that person you know the sort of person you and I meet sometimes at a conference that person questing for power if they are then most of them are incredibly good actors I think that what we’re talking about is this aggregate notion of whiteness which nobody who uses that kind of language could actually define they just will wink at you but I don’t know what that means and so with this trumpian electorate yeah just even the idea that you know I I disagree with you that Trump I do think that we could put Trump under the umbrella of the word racist he’s not gonna burn a cross on anybody’s long but in terms of why you would vote for somebody like that the idea that this is something that I get from a lot of very smart people Obama was president for two terms and now white America wants to get back at that by having Trump Trump is in because of that and whose agency are we talking about especially given that many of those people voted for Obama anyway and it’s as if somehow all of a sudden life becomes an Arthur Miller play or Tony Kushner blood but we’re not in a play and so I think that that way of looking at things is an attempt I guess it’s an attempt at being a historian with vision you think about the whole nation and you try to draw patterns but when you forget what individual people are like what you’re doing is singing and that’s different from analysis and so yeah it makes me impatient in a lot of this writing because you’re allowed to dehumanize ordinary unexceptionable black people unexceptional white that died said that all wrong ordinary unexceptional whites you just talk about them like objects but then with a black person everything is individual so I talk about the guy on the train and a certain kind of person things don’t generalize as if we don’t all know that that person is a type you know I’m thinking of as a type it’s not that there was this one weird person I saw on the train one day last week but no we’re supposed to be individual you see black kids in Chicago shooting each other over sneakers every summer and it’s in every city including this summer and you’re supposed to think that’s not about being black that’s not a generalization that’s just those particular kids and yet we’re supposed to look at the white woman in the supermarket and think she’s part of this general thing called whiteness and only white people are we allowed to talk about that way and somehow that’s allowed this is back to Thomas Aquinas this is medieval thought especially in that if you question any of it outside of certain circles you are considered not fit for society yeah except and I’ve been pushing this for a while I think they’re bluffing I mean in I think there’s there’s a two level discourse going on there’s what said in polite society and we all know what is provide to say and so we we genuflect and we obey and then there’s what’s said in closer closer spaces when we’re talking to people who we can trust whether it be within the family or within the close friendship networks or whatever like that and I don’t think you take the issue of homicide and race you know black on so-called black on black crime kids getting killed in st. Louis there’s that’s the recent one in the last few weeks you know a lot of kids under 12 years old have gotten shot to death on the streets of st. Louis and we know what the line is the line is that this is a result of it might be to police it might be inequality it might be segregation and it might be a whatever these are structural factors that are at play but it’s also far buried each other it’s contemptible barbarity the slaughter of innocent children in the handful and the dozens on the streets of American cities its barbarity so you can’t call me a racist if I say that that kind of violent behavior contemptible violent behavior is nobody wants to live like that that it is discrediting in the extreme of the community that gives rise to it I don’t think people are confused about that around their kitchen tables I think they actually know that there’s a problem there in that community I don’t think they really believe the structure is responsible for all this aberrant behavior argument neither do I think they believe that the Asians are overrunning all of these hard to get into schools and getting all these high scores on the exam and so forth because of some kind of privilege people know that they’re working hard they know that they have a culture that values this kind of achievement they know usually you have to do is look at the statistic that their families are intact that there’s respect for the approval of the parents that they know that these people have earned this distinction I’ll tell you something else they know they know that this is a great country that allows that to happen that allows millions of people from other parts of the world to come and make their lives among us and then to show their mettle through achievement a great in open society you can’t name another one on the planet about which that is true so people are not confused about this uh and I fear I mean I fear that the lid is gonna blow off of these some of these I mean you see it in the comedians have you seen Dave Chappelle’s most recent being the statistics on it Nessa special bit yeah 99% of ordinary viewers in some poll said that they loved it but then the Rotten Tomatoes poll ie the smart media tied only three-eighths liked it that’s the sort of thing that we’re facing yeah talking about the reason that the public loved it’s because he was telling the truth by their lights and he had the courage to do so he conventions juicy Smollet they have you seen them have you seen Lydia that’s what he does and he says he said we didn’t believe that nigga we knew he was with any sense believe that nigga yeah there’s a lot of things like that job he’s a you know a cop is afraid he goes into a dark corridor around an alley and he’s chasing somebody thinks they might have a gun he’s afraid for his life the cop is not some kind of okay I’m done typing now but I mean he’s not some kind of Nazi who runs around trying to execute most people know that that’s the hardest job you can possibly have so when the Attorney General of the United States comes out and says as he did a few weeks ago in a speech a good speech that law enforcement is our first line of defense against chaos and disorder in society and we owe these people our gratitude a lot of Americans agree with that so the presumption that you can just dismiss that kind of thing as right-wing rhetoric is fit for breitbart.com or Sean Hannity but not relevant to voters in Ohio or Pennsylvania or Wisconsin or Nevada or whatever it might be I think I think what you’re touching on is that I think we’re we you and I are in the middle of a certain shift in the socio-historical current because there is a kind of non black person who I do not think is bluffing about the sort of thing and we’ve been in this territory before but if you talk about the kids who are shooting each other there’s a certain kind of over educated person who genuinely will sit there and tell you think about all the anger that’s in those kids after all they don’t have fathers and then they go to school and nobody teaches them anything and think about how the cops treat them and they really do think that that explains why these kids are shooting each other over sneaker and the sad thing is that to the extent that they’ve learned to think of black people that way when they would never think of their own children that way it’s racism of a different kind and yet they would never know it and I wouldn’t want to call it that way – athletically but they have a lowered expectation of black people that can only be explained as thinking that we are fundamentally inferior in terms of the schools that same person that same very ordinary person will say the reason that black kids can’t get into Harvard is because well think about how their teachers have lower expectations of them as if the black kids who even try to get into Harvard are from the schools that you see in stand by me as if they came on the ghetto streets and as if it was 1967 you know they have trained themselves to not think about the contradictory evidence they know deep down that there’s a certain cognitive dissonance but they would never face that dissonance enough to actually consider changing their conclusions they’ve been taught that thinking of black people as talented monkeys is a form of higher wisdom but I think that view is more on the ropes now than it was even 10 years ago there are more and more people who are brave enough to say that this mental equipoise that they’re supposed to wangle about why some black people do the things they do and how we’re supposed to respond to it doesn’t make any sense and a lot of them are beginning to realize that if they say so the sky isn’t necessarily gonna fall in because there’s no sky in the internet now of course the problem is that there’s a fine line between being sick of that kind of and you call that not only the intellectual dark web but there’s a circle of people kind of surrounding that especially in New York and DC a coalescing group of people of which I would definitely consider myself a far you know the kind of collect crowd although I don’t necessarily write for Colette Coleman as part of this crowd who were just saying come on let’s stop yeah that is definitely a crowd and I think that it’s healthy but there’s a fine line between that crowd and people who believe really that there is something wrong with black people and are looking for a reason to voice actual bonafide racism and we have to acknowledge that and I think that the fact that there is that fine line doesn’t mean that it’s wrong to push against the I don’t want to name the kind of person who crosses that fine line some people could probably fill in some gaps but the difference between those people and people like Coleman you me or you know on another side of things Barry Weiss or you know Megan down these people are not racists they are not what you may lose your feet on a olia is a perfect example yeah this this little world you know let me just say one thing John I think we need to get out I want to reiterate something slavery is a universal of human experience read Orlando Patterson’s books slavery and social death Regals our history our way back to antiquity slavery has been everywhere in human history what is different is mass abolition the decision of the British Navy to extirpate the transatlantic slave trade and the decision ultimately of the American Republic to rid itself of the peculiar institution of slavery that’s different that’s a fruit of the Enlightenment that’s a fruit of the very ideas that are given short shrift when 1776 is told to stand in line behind 1619 when you telling the history of America the Civil War barely gets mentioned in Hannah Jones’s essay hundreds of thousands of bodies brought across these battlefields in order to liberate the slaves that’s what the war was fought about no that doesn’t let America off the hook but the idea that Abraham Lincoln’s doings is not in some sense the historical completion of Thomas Jefferson’s doings seems to need to be just wrong it is the historical it’s the second founding of the American Republic and like it was very consciously aware of that all of this revision is history in which we try to manage Johnson makes a big thing out of a meeting that Lincoln has with some of American leaders of American African Americans where he entertains the idea that they might want to consider immigrating away from the United States at going back call Medina to talk as if to compromise what might they demand mental historical achievements of Lincoln in freeing the slaves and ultimately initiating the political process that culminates in the enactment of the Reconstruction Amendments it’s my my black people didn’t win our freedom by ourselves we want our freedom you want to talk about the civil rights movement yes there were black people on the barricades and there were a lot of white people on the barricades as well we didn’t just simply rest our freedom away from a unwilling and uneven recalcitrant white supremacist you know the country came to understand itself in different eras Martin Luther King’s leadership was premise on that very idea magnificent promissory note and all of that so yeah it’s an inadequate telling of American history you gonna let me have the last where do you want to say something I’m gonna say one little thing yours it yours is the last word anybody who is incapable of understanding how important and what a great man Abraham Lincoln was because by our standards he yeah was a racist he will thought black people to go back to Africa anybody who can’t see history as progressing step-by-step is not doing history these people seem to think that everything is the present and that worries me because we need our genuine historians but everything you’re saying is absolutely correct yes you have a less I’m glad that you’re at Columbia University imparting such wisdom as you are able to impart to the younger generation hopefully some of it is taking some of it is sticking John and I’ll talk about this stuff in class but hopefully some of them watch me here and back at you thank you all right sign it off it’s a good talk to you John next week maybe two weeks yeah a couple of weeks I think there will be a high demand for our services so yes let’s not keep them waiting take three

Zaid Jilani explains what’s wrong with the NYT’s 1619 Project

Journalist Zaid Jilani weighs in on the controversy over the Pulitzer Prize winning 1619 Project that caused a fundamental disagreement over the trajectory of American history between scholars and the authors of The New York Times Magazine’s issue on slavery.

About Rising:
Rising is a weekday morning show with bipartisan hosts that breaks the mold of morning TV by taking viewers inside the halls of Washington power like never before. The show leans into the day’s political cycle with cutting edge analysis from DC insiders who can predict what is going to happen. It also sets the day’s political agenda by breaking exclusive news with a team of scoop-driven reporters and demanding answers during interviews with the country’s most important political newsmakers.

How Toxic Masculinity, Honor Culture, and Lack of Discipline Undermined the Southern Army during the Civil War

Why the Confederacy Lost: The Experiences of Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia

Joseph Glatthaar, the Stephenson Distinguished Professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, spoke at Vanderbilt University Feb. 8, 2011, as part of a College of Arts and Science-sponsored series of lectures about the Civil War. Glatthaar teaches about the Civil War and is the author of “General Lee’s Army: From Victory to Defeat.”

Transcript

00:07
thank you very much I’m really delighted
00:09
to be here let’s hope you still have
00:13
that same commitment to applause when
00:15
the talks over when Jefferson Davis
00:22
became president of the Confederate
00:23
States of America it was apparent to him
00:25
that a war was going to occur and Davis
00:28
formulated the Confederate strategy the
00:31
strategy was simple to punish the
00:33
invaders the objective was to discourage
00:37
future attacks and also to convince the
00:40
northern public that future attacks
00:43
would be futile and that military
00:46
efforts to reconquer the Confederate
00:48
States would fail one of the most
00:52
celebrated officers in the Confederacy
00:53
Edward Porter Alexander explained the
00:57
Confederacy hoped quote that the
00:59
desperation of her resistance would
01:01
finally exact from her adversary such a
01:04
price in blood and treasure as to
01:07
exhaust the enthusiasm of its population
01:09
for the objects of war Davis wanted his
01:21
subordinate generals to strike the enemy
01:24
as close to the borders as possible as
01:27
Davis explained to one general officer
01:29
resist invasion as far as may be
01:32
practicable and repel the invaders
01:34
whenever and however it may be done
01:36
because citizens and soldiers lived
01:40
along avenues of invasion Davis believed
01:43
the Confederacy could not yield
01:45
territory unless it was absolutely
01:46
necessary quote the evacuation of any
01:50
portion of territory involves not only
01:52
the loss of supplies but in every
01:55
instance has been attended by a greater
01:57
or less loss of troops end quote now
02:01
every strategy has its flaws
02:03
particularly one against an enemy that
02:06
has superiority and manpower and
02:08
resources those nations such as the
02:11
Confederacy with inferior resources in
02:14
manpower can compensate by developing a
02:17
sound strategy and utilizing resources
02:19
more efficiently
02:20
we also by tapping soldiers and
02:23
civilians commitment to the cause and
02:25
requiring them to endure more hardships
02:28
than their enemy but the fact remains
02:30
they have a limited margin for error as
02:34
that margin for error is stripped away
02:36
the demands of war cutting to the sinew
02:39
and bone of the war effort
02:41
breaking down institutions and morale
02:44
and inflicting ever-increasing hardship
02:46
for the Confederate States of America
02:48
there would be enormous hardship
02:51
sacrifices and tragedies the war would
02:53
stretch manpower and resources to the
02:55
breaking point and they would incur
02:58
heavy losses delivering powerful blows
03:01
against the enemy nonetheless Davis
03:04
believed the Confederate people could
03:05
endure any sacrifice for freedom and
03:08
independence we will do all that can be
03:11
done by plucking muscle endurance and
03:13
dogged courage
03:14
– and red-hot patriotism Davis claimed
03:18
no Confederate Army fulfilled that
03:21
strategy like the Army of Northern
03:23
Virginia yet even it wore down in the
03:26
face of two then three and finally four
03:28
years of fighting against those
03:30
overwhelming odds the margin for error
03:34
dwindled and ultimately disintegrated
03:37
fissures appeared in every institution
03:39
in every facet of life including the
03:42
Army of Northern Virginia and despite
03:44
its efforts it too was ultimately
03:47
overcome now the Army of Northern
03:49
Virginia had to utilize manpower and
03:51
resources effectively but the two early
03:54
commanders Pierre Gustav Teuton
03:57
Beauregard and Joseph E Johnston
04:00
established ineffective precedents and
04:03
policies three times those officers
04:07
abandoned position one in Harpers Ferry
04:10
another in Northern Virginia and a third
04:12
at the Manassas Centreville axis the
04:15
result was massive destruction that not
04:18
only affected the Confederacy’s ability
04:20
to prosecute the war after all the
04:22
resources were precious but it also sent
04:25
the wrong message to troops the
04:27
destruction helped establish aspects of
04:30
the military culture that encouraged in
04:32
discipline in the
04:34
and that paid little credence to the
04:36
preservation of valuable resources which
04:39
in turn reduced the Confederate margin
04:41
for error now every organization has a
04:45
culture and the Army of Northern
04:46
Virginia was no different army culture
04:50
derives from two areas elements that
04:53
individuals bring into the military from
04:56
civil life and military experiences in
04:59
training normally boot camp tears down
05:03
and rebuilds so that the military
05:05
culture flows from the top down but with
05:08
no such experience and because officers
05:11
largely came from home we’re learning on
05:14
the job and failed to rigorously
05:16
discipline their men the culture tended
05:19
to flow from the bottom up at the core
05:23
virtually all these citizen soldiers
05:25
share the same fundamental beliefs in
05:28
the rightness of secession and slavery
05:30
from society they inherited Southern
05:33
Honor an overarching concept that
05:36
embraced powerful perceptions of manhood
05:39
integrity independence valor kinship and
05:43
esteem and among the elite both luxury
05:47
and generosity in times of war a
05:50
wholehearted allegiance to the spirit of
05:52
Honor would serve its soldiers well but
05:56
southern society also promoted certain
05:58
qualities that did not benefit the
06:01
Confederate nation in a war against the
06:03
better resourced Union a lack of
06:05
discipline and particularly among the
06:07
well-to-do a spirit of prophecy and
06:10
self-indulgence were acceptable modes of
06:13
conduct before the war closely related
06:17
to one another these three behaviors
06:19
elevated the individual over the group
06:22
and tolerated conduct and uniform that
06:25
was not conducive to effective military
06:27
service more than a simply a spirit of
06:30
individualism which the army could
06:32
harness and convert to military purposes
06:35
these qualities diminished the
06:37
usefulness of the soldier in the pre-war
06:40
South an individual who squandered money
06:42
recklessly was not necessarily scorned
06:45
in some circles he earned prey
06:48
days by distinguish himself from his
06:50
penurious materialistic northern
06:52
countrymen southerners particularly
06:55
males aspired to fulfill their every
06:57
impulse and desire and society tolerated
07:01
often encouraged such indulgence
07:04
attention to administrative detail and
07:07
other mundane matters were beneath many
07:09
of them undisciplined conduct and open
expression of passion or a ready resort
to violence was not necessarily
considered unbecoming in the pre-war
South
after all to adhere to a code of
discipline meant that others impose
their will on the individual such
dominance of the individual smacked of
slavery and southern whites were
extremely sensitive to it
even in the
realm of laws and codes of moral conduct
southern males abided by them
voluntarily not out of compunction if
society compelled them to obey then it
dominated the individual and deprived
him of his manhood and no
self-respecting white southerner could
endure
that these qualities made them
wonderful motivated soldiers but they
also promoted the resistance to
discipline which in turn was the key to
effective utilization of limited
resources
now the Battle of Seven Pines on May
31st 1862 Joseph e Johnston was badly
08:12
wounded and Jefferson Davis assigned
08:16
robert e lee quote/unquote temporarily
08:19
to be commander of that army when lee
08:22
stepped into that position he confronted
08:24
two huge problems one the obvious one
08:27
Union forces were literally at the gates
08:29
of Richmond they were three miles
08:31
outside of Richmond and the second one
08:33
was that there were administrative and
08:35
discipline problems in the army staff
08:39
officers practice sloppy paperwork
08:42
procedures and soldiers failed to
08:44
conserve and as a result troops went
08:46
without and suffered I remember one
08:48
instance where troops literally outside
08:50
of Richmond had to trap rats soak them
08:53
in water overnight and then fry them for
08:55
food that doesn’t appeal to me perhaps
08:58
your dietary practices or otherwise
09:01
and of course these practices also
09:05
encouraged undisciplined behavior
09:07
because soldiers coming from American
09:10
society were problem solvers if they
09:12
didn’t get fed by the army they were
09:14
going to solve the problem themselves
09:15
which means that they were going to take
09:17
from civilians now when Lee stepped in
09:20
he had a great reputation of course you
09:23
probably know this Lee graduated second
09:25
in his class at the United States
09:27
Military Academy he graduated without
09:28
receiving any demerits he was one of
09:30
several of his class who did so and of
09:33
course he emerged from the Mexican War
09:35
as Tim Johnson will say as Winfield
09:38
Scott’s favorite Winfield Scott said in
09:40
testimony that he thought Robert Ely was
09:42
the finest soldier in the US Army yet
09:46
within certain circles there was an
09:47
undercurrent of doubt about Lee by May
09:50
1861 after exposure to Lee over the six
09:53
previous years Edmund Kirby Smith had
09:56
come to the conclusion that Lee lacked
09:58
ability for large-scale command
10:01
describing his selection to head
10:02
Virginia forces as quote unfortunate
10:05
unquote Smith like numerous others was
10:08
put off by Lee slowness to come to a
10:10
decision
10:11
Sam Melton who served on Brigadier
10:14
General millage L bottom staff and had a
10:16
very fair favorable opinion of Lee I
10:18
might add informed his wife in May 1861
10:22
that Lee quote is a splendid officer
10:24
slow too slow but thoroughly
10:26
accomplished
10:27
end quote in a letter that has become
10:30
almost famous for its miss reading of
10:32
the man South Carolina Governor Francis
10:36
W Pickens announced a bonham just before
10:39
the Battle of first Manassas quote the
10:41
truth is Lee is not with us at heart or
10:44
he is a common man with good looks and
10:46
too cautious for practical revolution
10:49
end quote
10:50
be careful what you write because it may
10:52
be saved and you’ll look like an idiot I
10:55
mean this will go this is really the
10:57
most representative document we have of
10:59
Francis W Pickens I’m sure he did other
11:02
things some things right in this
11:04
instance he sort of missed even least
11:07
trusted staff member Walter H Taylor
11:10
complained to his Bradt future bride
11:12
late in the war about Lee’s slowness
11:15
he is too undecided Taylor grumbled
11:17
takes too long to firm his conclusions
11:20
after the first campaign a failure
11:23
amid the rugged terrain of western
11:25
Virginia Lee’s reputation plummeted even
11:28
more fueled by excessively optimistic
11:31
tales in the newspapers as the campaign
11:34
was unfolding soldiers and civilians
11:36
alike reacted to the results of the
11:38
campaign as if Lee had committed some
11:40
monstrous blunder the newspapers and the
11:44
public how old over leaves incompetence
11:47
Edward a power to Richmond newspaperman
11:50
and sharp critic of the Davis
11:51
administration determined quote the most
11:54
remarkable circumstance of this campaign
11:56
was that it was conducted by a general
11:59
who had never fought a battle who had a
12:01
pious horror of guerrillas and whose
12:04
extreme tenderness of blood induced him
12:07
to depend exclusively upon the resources
12:10
of strategy to essay the achievement of
12:13
victories without the cost of life end
12:16
quote
12:17
a student at West Point when Lee was
12:19
superintendent there Ben Alston reported
12:22
to his father that people called Lee a
12:25
dirt dauber a small insect that leaves a
12:29
soil trail in its wake Alexander C
12:33
Haskell a family friend of the Lee’s
12:35
described to his mother a satirical
12:38
sketch he had seen of Lee quote with a
12:40
double-barrel spyglass in one hand and a
12:44
spade in the other reconnoitering in the
12:46
position of the enemy the caption of the
12:48
of the cartoon read quote to retreat a
12:51
little and throw up fortifications the
12:53
instant he sets eyes upon them shooting
12:58
Haskell believed this is unjust to a
13:00
fine officer but it does somewhat
13:03
exhibit his very cautious policy to
13:07
remove Lee from the Richmond spotlight
13:09
Davis sent him to the Department of
13:11
South Carolina Georgia and Florida to
13:13
oversee defenses there a job hardly
13:16
worth the third highest-ranking officer
13:18
in the Confederate Army as the spring of
13:21
1862 approached however Davis brought
13:24
Lee back to Richmond to help him the
13:27
reaction remained hostile
13:28
the appointment of General Lee is chief
13:31
military advisor of the president looks
13:33
like a fatal mistake a member of
13:35
Johnson’s staff wrote his wife B’s quote
13:39
traits of mind unquote would prove more
13:42
problematic than they were the previous
13:44
year he predicted and then he concluded
13:46
with the words may God in mercy protect
13:49
us
13:50
Catherine Edmundston a North Carolinian
13:52
and an unusually perceptive diarist held
13:55
nothing but contempt for Lee he is too
13:59
timid believes too much in master Lee
14:01
inactivity finds his strength too much
14:04
in sitting still even Lee’s counterpart
14:08
on the Union side Major General George B
14:10
McClellan rejoiced when he thought that
14:13
Lee in his new position would replace
14:14
Johnston as the field commander
14:17
I prefer ally to Johnston he elaborated
14:20
to Lincoln
14:21
the former is too cautious and weak
14:23
under grave responsibility personally
14:26
brave and energetic to a fault he yet is
14:29
wanting in moral firmness when pressed
14:32
by heavy responsibilities and is likely
14:34
to be timid and irresolute in action end
14:38
quote we would call that projection
14:44
that’s exactly the way McClellan was to
14:47
a tee getting his job as commander of
14:54
the Virginia forces and then as military
14:56
adviser to the President Lee gained
14:57
great insight into the Confederacy’s
14:59
capacity to make war he fully understood
15:02
that the Confederacy had a limited
15:04
margin for error the Confederate people
15:07
Lee insisted must make up our minds to
15:09
great suffering he then concluded all
15:12
must be sacrificed to the country as
15:15
army commander Lee began immediately to
15:18
institute changes one of the first
15:20
things he did in special orders number
15:22
22 June 1st 1862 he referred to it as
15:25
the Army of Northern Virginia other
15:28
people had called it that at times but
15:30
the name never stuck and once Lee did
15:33
and he announced that his headquarters
15:35
was part of the department of Northern
15:37
Virginia then the name Army of Northern
15:39
Virginia became fixed with
15:42
li and that body of soldiers he
15:44
established and enforced routines for
15:46
the distribution of provisions and
15:48
required division commanders to
15:50
scrutinize requisitions of subordinates
15:53
as I mentioned Johnson’s staff was
15:55
pretty inept at administering and then
15:58
the galacon neglect in paperwork meant
16:01
that soldiers didn’t get provided for
16:03
with supplies li circulated directives
16:07
to all officers to pay attention to the
16:10
quote health and comfort of the men
16:12
under command and spare unnecessary
16:14
exposure and fatigue so that everyone
16:17
was ready for battle in one of Richard’s
16:19
favorite moments Lee even authorized the
16:23
distribution of whiskey rations at the
16:25
discretion of officers quote when deemed
16:28
essential to the health of the men from
16:31
inclemency and weather or exposure in
16:33
the swamps I’m sure many college
16:35
students would mind Sherman Lee’s army
16:37
for a day Lee crackdown on lost or
16:43
damaged supplies which hindered the war
16:44
effort severely quote the increasing
16:47
difficulty in replacing them he directed
16:49
makes greater watchfulness and care
16:51
necessary in their preservation one week
16:54
later he complained quote the means of
16:57
supply are becoming more limited while
16:59
the demand continues great end quote
17:01
on his daily rides Lee quote observed
17:05
with concern in passing through camps
17:07
too much disregard to the proper
17:09
preservation of public property be
17:12
careful to use those kinds of P words
17:15
and public addresses it’s really easy to
17:17
stumble over the words he was firmly
17:20
convinced that our successes mainly
17:23
dependent upon the economical and proper
17:25
appropriation of public property at all
17:27
times end quote compared to the northern
17:31
enemy Confederates had a very little
17:33
margin for error and to win they must
17:35
husband those resources Lee then
17:38
gathered intelligence from the enemy
17:40
from newspapers and he sent Jeb Stewart
17:42
on a cavalry ride around the Union
17:44
position he directed his sharpshooters
17:47
and our terrorists to pester the enemy
17:48
as much as possible so they couldn’t
17:50
build works meanwhile he was employing
17:53
his own troops at building works
17:55
here he was challenging a naive cultural
17:58
perspective on warfare soldiers thought
18:02
they would just slug it out in the open
18:03
field against the Yankees and rely on
18:05
their superior character and martial
18:07
skills to win the day it never crossed
18:10
their minds that they would have to
18:11
wield axes and shovels that was worked
18:14
for slaves our people are opposed to
18:19
work Lee alerted Davis our troops
18:22
officers community and press all
18:24
ridicule and resisted yet he went on to
18:27
explain that it was the very means by
18:29
which McClellan was closing in on
18:31
Richmond why should we leave to him the
18:34
whole advantage of holding advantage of
18:36
laborers combined with valor fortitude
18:39
and boldness of which we have no fair
18:41
proportion it should lead us to success
18:44
after describing how the Romans combined
18:47
fortifications and fighting so
18:48
skillfully we then concluded quote there
18:51
is nothing so military as labor and
18:53
nothing so important to our army as to
18:56
save the lives of its soldiers end quote
18:58
three days into his command he ordered
19:01
each division to assign 300 men to work
19:04
on the supervision of engineer officers
19:07
to dig fortifications soldiers resented
19:11
the labor Lee didn’t care
19:13
trenches and works would save rebel
19:16
lives and multiply combat power he also
19:19
ordered men to quote strengthen their
19:21
positions in the most perfect manner
19:24
with redoubts barricades a batiste
19:27
rifle pits etc so that everyone has a
19:30
hand in the manual labor in quote they
19:37
finally entered combat and fight they
19:39
did winning the seven days battles in
19:41
June and early July and then taking the
19:44
war into Northern Virginia and winning
19:46
the second Manassas campaign literally
19:48
driving the Yankees out of almost every
19:50
ounce of Virginia soil and then taking
19:54
the war into Maryland but after three
19:56
months of fighting Lee knew that he had
19:59
serious discipline problems Lee believed
20:02
quote the material of which it is
20:04
composed is the best in the world and
20:06
nothing can surpass the gallantry and
20:09
intelligent
20:09
of the main body in quote soldiers
20:12
brought with them from civil life
20:14
qualities and motivations that make
20:16
confederate soldiers in lee’s opinion
20:18
the best infantrymen in the world but
20:21
other aspects injured their cause in
20:23
other ways have the Confederacy
20:26
organized units differently Lee believed
20:28
had they not been introduced prematurely
20:30
into combat without adequate training
20:32
and regimentation had they not endured a
20:35
series of harsh conditions hard marches
20:38
and frequent campaigns and battles we
20:40
felt they might have been able to alter
20:42
military culture but the demands of war
20:45
permitted no such opportunity by the
20:48
time Lee was in a position to implement
20:51
any changes he encountered three
20:52
difficulties first military culture had
20:56
already taken hold and it would be
20:58
extremely difficult to break to the
21:02
officers upon whom he would have to rely
21:04
to alter that military culture came from
21:06
the same communities and to a great
21:08
extent the same backgrounds as their
21:10
enlisted men those officers shared the
21:13
same values in civil life and brought
21:15
them into the army and third new
21:18
recruits and furloughed troops revived
21:21
that sentiment by coming from civil life
21:23
back into the Army and so they left
21:26
steady reminders of what that culture
21:27
everyone left behind was all about that
21:31
however didn’t stop Lee from trying
21:33
after Antietam in September 1862 he’d
21:36
elected he directed his subordinates to
21:39
quote infuse a different spirit among
21:41
our officers and to inspire them in
21:43
making every necessary effort to bring
21:46
about a better state of discipline they
21:48
must impress men and officers with the
21:52
importance of a change necessary to the
21:54
preservation of this army and it’s
21:56
successful accomplishment of its mission
21:58
as it’s better discipline greater
22:01
mobility and higher inspirations must
22:03
counterbalance the many advantages over
22:06
us both in numbers and materiel which
22:09
the enemy possess end quote but those
22:12
who were expected to inculcate
22:14
discipline the officer corps had
22:16
suffered very heavy losses over the
22:19
entire war almost a quarter of all
22:22
officers in Lee’s army were killed in
22:25
action and one of every two officers was
22:29
either killed in action or was wounded
22:32
in action and wounded at least once many
22:36
multiple times
22:37
officers were more than twice as likely
22:40
to be killed in battle than were
22:41
enlisted men and more than one and a
22:43
half times as likely to be wounded in
22:46
battle from the seven days through
22:48
Antietam that’s the late June to mid mid
22:52
to late September 600 officers were
22:55
killed and 2,000 officers were wounded
23:00
from Antietam through the summer of 1864
23:04
another 1,000 officers were killed and
23:08
4,000 officers were wounded so from the
23:11
day we took command until mid 1864 1600
23:17
officers were killed in action and over
23:20
6,000 were wounded in action the
23:23
Confederacy of course had a finite
23:26
number of quality officers and the
23:28
staggering number impaired its ability
23:31
to train and discipline the troops what
23:35
our officers most lack is the pains and
23:37
labor of inculcating discipline Lee
23:39
complained to Davis in mid 1864 it’s a
23:42
painful and tedious process and is not
23:45
apt to win favor Lee believed his
23:48
enlisted men lacked discipline and the
23:50
officers cannot instill it in them
23:52
because they lacked discipline as well
23:54
as one inspector explained to
23:58
Confederate headquarters the extensive
23:59
fighting stripped away quote the best
24:02
and most efficient men in each command
24:04
and in too many companies there is not
24:06
material left out of which to make
24:08
company commanders end quote
24:11
yet there was little the Confederacy
24:13
could do if there was any consolation at
24:15
least these replacements were as Major
24:17
General George Pickett argued quote
24:19
Galit gallant and meritorious in action
24:23
end quote and the soldiers trusted them
24:25
to lead them in battle even worse supply
24:29
and transportation problems became so
24:32
severe that soldiers had to take matters
24:33
into their own hands young people
24:36
as we know can each staggering
24:39
quantities of food and quality is not
24:42
always a priority but these soldiers did
24:46
not know how to cook and were
24:47
unaccustomed to such bad food
24:49
a Georgia private grumbled of eating
24:51
biscuits so hard quote I could knock a
24:53
bowl down with one end quote I like this
24:56
guy the soldier has a perfect name his
24:58
name is bacon and he’s trying to bake
25:00
bread the first time I made up dough I
25:03
had a mess of it stuck to my hands I can
25:05
just envision him trying to swing his
25:06
hand to get it all stuck to my hands and
25:08
I could hardly get it off then I tried
25:10
to bake it but I could not get it done
25:12
some was burnt up in some was raw what a
25:15
mess I had my favorite story though a
25:18
soldiers who stole what they thought was
25:21
a tub of lard but in fact it was
25:24
actually tallow for candles and they
25:26
baked the biscuits and somebody came by
25:28
and said that wasn’t lard that’s tallow
25:30
one of the guys in the mess decided to
25:32
try the biscuits out anyway and he said
25:35
pronounce them good and tried to
25:36
convince his fellow soldiers to eat them
25:38
but they wouldn’t have any of it that
25:43
was early in the war then shortages
25:45
kicked in in an average year before the
25:48
war 800,000 to 1 million bushels of
25:51
wheat were shipped into Richmond in 1862
25:54
even though the city’s population had
25:56
doubled and on top of that you had the
25:59
army ranging in between 70 and 80
26:01
thousand men only 250,000 to 300,000
26:05
bushels of wheat arrived by mid January
26:09
1863 the army supply of cattle had
26:11
dwindled down to enough to last through
26:14
the end of the month only and those that
26:16
they had had becomes skinny as a result
26:19
of the winter regarding the other meat
26:22
pork the standard joke in the army was
26:24
that the bacon quote outranks General
26:26
Lee unquote in late April early May 1863
26:30
rations for a single day had to be
26:33
stretched out over three by early
26:36
January 1864 Davis admitted that the
26:39
army issued 1/4 of a pound of meat per
26:42
man per day and Lee only had one more
26:45
day’s issue on hand can you imagine
26:48
trying to run
26:50
armie when you only have food enough for
26:52
the next day it’s incredible when the
26:56
Yankees quipped that the Confederates
26:58
had a new general general starvation
27:00
they wanted very far off the mark that
27:04
was supposed to be funny has got a limit
27:06
lighten up here people I know this is a
27:08
tough subject for many of you
27:09
southerners but this you got a lighten
27:11
up here with shortages soldiers took
27:15
matters into their own hands on the
27:17
marcher encamped troops regularly
27:19
purchased and then later on swiped food
27:21
from locals by late 1863 though there
27:23
was nothing left to swipe instead they
27:26
turned on their government as an Alabama
27:28
private asserted hunger will drive a man
27:31
to anything you may depend the
27:33
Confederate government admitted that in
27:35
1863 alone six hundred and seventeen
27:38
thousand pounds of bacon alone were
27:41
stolen the commissary of subsistence in
27:45
January 1864 confessed quote every
27:48
shipment of meat is robbed of from eight
27:50
to fifteen hundred pounds end quote
27:54
to combat the practice the Confederacy
27:57
had to place guards on all the trains
27:59
with orders to shoot people on the spot
28:03
we tried to solve the food problem as a
28:06
solution and get loaded this is quite a
28:08
revolutionary proposal Lee suggested an
28:11
alteration of priorities and civilian
28:15
consumption habits soldiers in the field
28:18
should become the nation’s top priority
28:21
quote if it requires all the meat in the
28:23
country to support the army it should be
28:25
had and I believe this could be
28:27
accomplished by not only showing its
28:29
necessity but that all equally
28:31
contributed if the government could
28:33
convince the public to consume
28:35
foodstuffs that quote cannot be so well
28:38
used by the troops in the field end
28:40
quote it would save other eatables for
28:42
his men that’s pretty revolutionary
28:44
calling for a change in consumption
28:47
practices clothing clothing of course is
28:50
a big problem in the army many of the
28:51
guys came in with their Sunday best and
28:53
they quickly wore out
28:54
one soldier grumbled about his pants
28:56
that were a quote more holy than
28:58
righteous and quote
29:00
and of course soldiers had shortages of
29:03
coats hats pins etc but shoes with a
29:07
single biggest problem replacement items
29:10
were often poor in quality for example
29:12
in one shipment Lee’s army got 10,000
29:14
pairs of shoes and over 3,000 of them
29:16
were absolutely unusable and had to be
29:19
sent back Lee’s solution to the problem
29:21
he located 271 pre-war shoe makers in
29:25
his ranks and pulled them out of the
29:27
ranks and made them make shoes during
29:29
all the months when the servant when
29:32
they weren’t in active duty that was not
29:34
enough soldiers accustomed to solving
29:37
problems themselves took matters into
29:39
their own hands early on they had
29:41
plundered on the battlefields for money
29:43
and valuables weapons and mementos by
29:46
late 1862 they had no choice but to
29:49
plunder for food and clothing as the
29:51
cold weather approached once again and
29:53
soldiers hoped for a battle so that they
29:56
could clothe themselves properly that
29:59
winter the majority of the troops are
30:02
eager for a fight when officer wrote his
30:04
father the battlefield is the greatest
30:06
storehouse of winter equipments and
30:07
pocket money and our boys have a
30:09
penchant for both end quote
30:11
a Virginia private concurred
30:14
semi-literate I have rather been in
30:16
hopes that if they were going to fight
30:18
it all that it would come off or I want
30:20
some overcoat and blankets if our men
30:23
whipped them I would stand a good chance
30:25
to get some he explained so what they
30:27
needed to do was defeat the Union and
30:30
control the battlefield so they could
30:32
strip the Union soldiers of the clothing
30:33
so they’d have clothing and blankets for
30:35
the winter
30:37
of course if soldiers are being fed
30:39
poorly you can imagine how badly the
30:41
animals were being fed the artillery by
30:43
spring of 1862 was already short 1,200
30:47
horses if they had them they probably
30:49
couldn’t offend them though by early
30:51
1863 Lee directed subordinates to feed
30:54
their animals on twigs and bark from
30:56
poplars maples and sweet gums in the
30:59
latter part of 1863 we had to reduce the
31:02
number of guns in his artillery because
31:05
he could not feed the animals in
31:07
November 1863 he complained to Davis
31:10
quote no corn was received here on the
31:13
21st and
31:14
and on the 22nd and 24th about five
31:17
pounds per horse that average is of
31:20
course two and a half pounds per animal
31:22
per day the Union fed its animals
31:25
between 23 and 26 pounds per day in the
31:31
course of one 40 day period without any
31:34
campaigning a cavalry Brigade increased
31:37
its dismounted men from 292 to 681 due
31:42
to food shortfalls prior to secession
31:47
the southern states had developed a
31:48
transportation network that service
31:50
distant markets predominantly with non
31:52
perishable goods such as cotton tobacco
31:54
and sugar with few exceptions most
31:57
perishable products came locally by the
32:00
winter of 1860 to 63 the Confederacy had
32:03
so overused its rail system in Virginia
32:06
that was becoming increasingly
32:08
unreliable at the time Lee’s army was
32:11
was occupying a position on the southern
32:13
bank of the Rappahannock River near
32:15
Fredericksburg the Richmond
32:17
Fredericksburg and Potomac railroad ran
32:19
there but it was not designed to carry
32:21
Freight just passengers that left the
32:24
Virginia Central probably the most
32:26
important railroad in the state as the
32:28
only viable alternative now the Virginia
32:31
central intersected with Richmond
32:33
Fredericksburg and the Potomac at
32:34
Hanover Junction and from there it went
32:37
all the way up into the Shenandoah
32:39
Valley which of course is the richest
32:41
region for food production in the state
32:43
workers could then unload supplies at
32:46
Hanover Junction put them on wagons and
32:48
cover the 35 miles to the army but of
32:51
course that became more problematic in
32:53
the wintertime when the roads converted
32:56
into mud even worse it resulted in the
33:00
badly over you in a bad overuse of this
33:03
Virginia Central Railroad its tracks had
33:06
declined significantly in just two years
33:08
of war due to the overuse and a lack of
33:11
repairs it’s quote efficiency is most
33:14
seriously impaired end quote so the
33:17
railroad president informed Davis in
33:19
mid-march 1863 the line suffered for
33:22
derailment in a five-day period to
33:26
reduce derailments the Confederacy
33:28
had to cut the weight in each car by 25%
33:31
and then slow down the speed of the
33:34
Train Li solution by early 1864 li
33:38
sought the suspension of all rail travel
33:41
except on government business with the
33:44
space designated for use in supplying
33:47
the army
33:47
in addition quote this is pretty
33:50
revolutionary all the population whose
33:53
presence would impede or endanger our
33:55
efforts should be removed especially
33:58
that part of it
33:59
which increases the consumption of
34:01
public stores without aiding or
34:03
strengthening the army he wants to
34:05
depopulate Richmond fewer mouths food
34:09
goes farther he wanted prisoners
34:11
parolees federal deserters and
34:13
unemployed person to remove from the
34:15
city and quote every encouragement given
34:18
to the rest of the non-combatant
34:20
population to retire except those whose
34:23
services may be useful or who will not
34:26
increase the scarcity of supplies end
34:28
quote
34:29
if the individual didn’t contribute
34:32
directly to the war effort through
34:33
military or government service
34:35
production direct labor or
34:37
transportation the government needed to
34:39
urge them to leave the richmond area to
34:42
conserve supplies for the troops as the
34:46
confederate margin for error winnowed
34:48
and the in the area of supply and
34:49
transportation it declined in manpower
34:51
as well effective implementation of
34:54
Davis’s strategy was extremely costly
34:57
for of every 10 soldiers in lee’s army
35:00
was either killed or wounded and five of
35:03
every nine soldiers who ever served in
35:05
lee’s army was either killed wounded or
35:07
captured once prior to the surrender at
35:11
Appomattox one in 16 suffered multiple
35:16
wounds and another one in ten were
35:18
wounded and also captured by factoring
35:24
in those who died of disease and
35:26
accidents or who were discharged for
35:28
disabilities almost three of every salt
35:31
for soldiers who ever served in the Army
35:34
of Northern Virginia were either killed
35:36
died of disease were wounded at least
35:39
once were captured at least one
35:41
or were discharged for a disability
35:44
that’s unbelievable when you factor out
35:49
those who deserted the army permanently
35:52
the percentage of casualties rises to
35:55
80% not only did these terrible losses
36:00
damage the army but they also hurt
36:02
morale even in the face of resounding
36:04
triumphs casualties cut to the core of
36:07
wartime support let me give you a great
36:09
example the state of North Carolina
36:11
which narrowly embrace secession what
36:15
fueled the fires of disaffection more
36:17
than anything in North Carolina with the
36:19
tremendous casualties among North
36:21
Carolinians in Lee’s army now listen to
36:24
these statistics because they’re
36:25
unbelievable behind the provost state of
36:28
Virginia North Carolina sent the most
36:30
troops to Lee’s Army in the spring of
36:32
1863 at Chancellorsville three of every
36:37
ten North Carolinians in Lee’s army was
36:40
killed wounded or captured that was but
36:43
by far the greatest total and the
36:45
greatest percentage of any state in
36:48
Lee’s army the seven highest totals of
36:51
killed and wounded fell to North
36:53
Carolina regiments two months later at
36:57
Gettysburg after the army had received
37:00
two huge brigades of North Carolinians
37:05
46.4% of all North Carolinians were
37:08
killed wounded or captured that’s almost
37:10
half the top four regimental casualty
37:14
figures and six of the seven highest
37:17
occurred in North Carolina regiments at
37:19
Gettysburg North Carolina lost 1782 more
37:25
men than the next highest state Virginia
37:27
that 1782 amounted to more casualties
37:32
than eight Confederate states suffered
37:35
in the Battle of Gettysburg then to
37:39
worsen the discrepancy at the Battle of
37:41
Bristow station in October 1863 almost
37:44
every single casualty in the battle was
37:47
a North Carolinian and again another 10%
37:50
of all North Carolinians and Lee’s army
37:52
so while it’s difficult to ascertain
37:55
precision a reasonable calculation over
37:58
a five and a half month period indicates
38:02
that seven of every North 10 North
38:04
Carolinians in Lee’s Army was either
38:06
killed wounded or captured in that
38:08
period the impact of those losses in the
38:13
most successful and visible Confederate
38:15
field command the Army of Northern
38:16
Virginia on the North Carolina home
38:19
front was devastating and coincided
38:21
precisely with the rising disaffection
38:24
in that state to compensate for
38:27
productivity decline associated with
38:30
manpower loss to the army Confederates
38:32
relied on blacks who proved increasingly
38:34
undependable as the war went on more and
38:38
more they slowed down work ran off to
38:40
the Yankees and caused general uneasy
38:42
uneasiness among the population that
38:44
remained at home the situation was so
38:47
severe that by 1864 the former governor
38:51
of Virginia General Henry wise told a
38:54
family friend that quote slavery is a
38:58
dead issue here in Virginia end quote
39:01
regardless of who won the civil war in
39:05
other words even if the Confederacy want
39:07
one you could never maintain slavery in
39:10
Virginia again attrition wore down
39:15
Confederates as we tried desperately to
39:18
increase manpower he notified the
39:20
Secretary of War in January 1863 that
39:23
they needed every man and he asked the
39:25
secretary to call on governor’s to
39:29
appeal to their constituents to fill the
39:31
ranks using quote shame against those
39:35
who will not heed the dictates of honor
39:37
and of patriotism
39:38
end quote in one instance Lee found
39:41
himself under arrest I’ll bet most of
39:43
you need to know that Robert Ely was a
39:44
had an order issued for his arrest what
39:48
happened was the Secretary of War
39:49
ordered two privates to come to Richmond
39:51
to act as clerks and Lee did know who
39:54
issued the order but immediately
39:55
overturned the order and directed the
39:57
guys to go back and be rifle toters
39:59
again when the Secretary of War found
40:01
out he ordered Lee to be arrested that’s
40:05
kind of a funny concept imagine Leonor
40:08
under arrest of course we explained
40:09
situation in guess what the Secretary of
40:12
War rescinded his order the men’s state
40:14
as his rifle toters so we even won the
40:17
battle the grind of the 1864 campaign
40:21
took its toll on Lee’s army after two
40:24
weeks of fighting in May 1864 Lee had
40:28
six generals killed sick nine generals
40:31
wounded and three generals captured by
40:33
the end of May one corps commander
40:36
Longstreet was wounded James Longstreet
40:39
that is another Corps commander Richard
40:41
Ewell had collapsed from exhaustion a
40:43
third Corps commander ap Hill had a
40:45
flare flare up of his old illness
40:48
prostatitis as a result of a youthful
40:51
indiscretion and then Stewart of course
40:55
his cavalry commander was killed Lee
40:57
suffered from dysentery and which he get
40:59
this I got when I found this out found
41:01
this in in the medical army medical
41:04
directors report Lee did not get more
41:07
than two consecutive hours of sleep for
41:11
a three week period now Lee is 59 years
41:16
of age was he born in 1850
41:20
it’s about 56 years of age that’s all
41:23
that’s not very much sleep and of course
41:25
he’s sleeping on a rack and a torte have
41:28
you ever seen it Museum of the
41:29
Confederacy has has leaves caught it’s
41:32
more like a torture rack by early June
41:37
1864 the campaign locked into trench
41:40
warfare with all the harsh conditions
41:42
that entailed from September 1862
41:45
through July 1864 the hospitals in
41:49
Virginia had admitted almost four
41:51
hundred and thirteen thousand soldiers
41:53
as patients due to illness or injury
41:55
during the three months of May June and
41:58
July 1864 those hospitals admitted one
42:02
hundred and two thousand soldiers alone
42:06
now even if every soldier was
42:09
transferred from one hospital to a
42:11
second one
42:12
that means 51,000 soldiers in a
42:15
three-month period were sent to the
42:18
hospital
42:19
that’s incredible in it
42:22
nor could lee effectively replace those
42:24
who went down he had squeezed everyone
42:26
he could in uniform back into the ranks
42:29
and conscription had augmented his
42:31
numbers too as the army passed by
42:33
communities his corps commanders had
42:35
orders to conscript any male who
42:38
appeared physically able incidentally
42:42
and and by the late stage of the war I
42:45
would say one in every eight soldiers
42:46
and Lee’s army was a conscript but I
42:49
want to mention this because this plays
42:51
into the 15 slave law in Virginia only
42:55
2% of all exemptions from conscription
42:58
were given to people under the 15 slave
43:00
law to put it in context four times as
43:04
many farmers railroad workers and
43:08
Millers received exemptions five times
43:11
as many shoemakers and government
43:14
officials received exemptions even
43:17
doctors and clergymen received twice as
43:20
many exemptions as slave holders on the
43:23
15 slave law by the end of 1864 the
43:28
bureau of conscription decreed that
43:30
there were no more conscripts to tap
43:32
except 16 year-olds who were coming of
43:36
age in the next year in Virginia that
43:39
amounted to the precise number of 2719
43:45
in fact the Confederacy just doesn’t
43:47
have the manpower anymore the strain of
43:49
war proved almost unbearable one brigade
43:52
of 1187 privates for example had to
43:56
defend 2,401 yards of works and two
44:01
thousand three hundred yards of picket
44:03
area every day the Union was able to
44:07
rotate troops from the trenches back the
44:10
Confederacy didn’t have that luxury by
44:12
1864 food for man and beast became more
44:15
and more scarce combat had discouraged
44:18
farmers from planting in the Shenandoah
44:19
Valley as far south as Bunker Hill and a
44:22
drought had devastated the corn crop
44:24
between Stanton and Newmarket reducing
44:27
corn production to one-third its usual
44:30
harvest animals got between two and a
44:32
half and five pounds of feed per day and
44:35
it was no
44:36
better for humans in one instance
44:38
cavalry commander Wade Hampton see seas
44:41
2500 head of cattle from the Federals
44:43
that gave the Confederate Army enough
44:46
meat for a month but other than that as
44:48
the winter came on the situation proved
44:51
bleak soldiers seldom received more than
44:54
a pound of cornmeal and a quarter pound
44:56
of beef per day by 1865 the commissary
45:00
could not sustain even that meager
45:02
bounty often 1/4 pound of beef and
45:06
either a pound of bread or 3/4 pound of
45:09
corn meal per day was issued that
45:11
equaled 900 to 1,200 calories per day
45:15
the US Army feeds its soldiers in the
45:19
combat environment 4000 calories a day
45:22
because that’s what the army feels is
45:24
essential to maintain muscle mass and
45:27
body weight not put on weight just to
45:29
maintain existing weight these guys are
45:31
living on 900 to 1,200 calories a day
45:35
that’s like two hours at the at the
45:38
local pub for most undergraduate
45:40
students many days the government could
45:45
supply troops with either meat or the
45:47
starch but not both the government
45:50
diverted corn intended to go to horses
45:52
for their soldiers the corn had
45:54
contained dried leaves and stalks from
45:57
the corn plant roughage that the that
46:00
the animals would find nutritious but of
46:02
course the soldiers found it unpalatable
46:04
supplies from everywhere came at a
46:07
glacial pace we had to draw a supplies
46:10
from as far away as Georgia taxing the
46:12
rail lines even more one line was so bad
46:15
the trains averaged one mile per hour
46:20
once Sherman began his advance through
46:23
Georgia and then South Carolina he cut
46:25
off those areas from food access and so
46:28
Lee’s area from which he could drawn was
46:31
shrinking more and more but it was not
46:33
until the combination of Lincoln’s
46:35
reelection Sherman’s march that
46:37
desertion began to truly soar in 1865 it
46:41
got worse and worse little clothing
46:44
little food too little rest and too much
46:47
work sapped soldiers
46:49
their motivation to fight good soldiers
46:52
tried soldiers began to lose faith and
46:54
desert men who had fought well in
46:56
literally dozens of battles those final
46:59
weeks were awful for men in Lee’s army
47:01
over the course of February and March
47:03
Lee’s army lost on average about 120 men
47:06
to desertion every day that’s comparable
47:10
to an infantry brigade present for duty
47:13
every 10 days just a desertion others
47:17
held on on the retreat from Richmond the
47:20
Richmond Petersburg line westward their
47:22
physical deterioration from poor
47:24
condition prevented thousands from
47:26
keeping up on my previous campaigns
47:29
where soldiers purposely straggled many
47:32
just could not stay up on the March 4
47:35
months Lee’s army lived on a diet that
47:37
lacked half the necessary protein to
47:40
maintain muscle mass and provided less
47:43
than two-thirds the necessary calories
47:45
to sustain body mass the diet by that by
47:49
this point largely down to a quarter
47:51
pound of beef and two pints of cornmeal
47:53
and occasional small amounts of molasses
47:56
was woefully deficient in most vitamins
47:59
resulting in weakness and absorption
48:01
problems of protein minerals and
48:03
vitamins with soldiers suffering skin
48:06
ailments night blindness anemia scurvy
48:08
and diarrhea in other words they weren’t
48:11
taking in enough good nutrition to break
48:14
down the food that they were actually
48:15
eating in a telling assessment doctor JW
48:20
Powell medical director for the Third
48:21
Corps commented on the Corps inspection
48:24
report in February quote while there was
48:27
not much well I’m sorry
48:29
while there was not found’ much absolute
48:32
sickness existing there were many weak
48:35
and feeble men who cannot be relied upon
48:38
to undergo any great physical exertions
48:41
end quote although Lee wants more a call
48:44
for discipline and reminded them a
48:46
patriotism he could get nothing more
48:48
from many of his troops pressed by
48:51
Federals Lee had to push his men hard on
48:54
the retreat thousands dropped out of the
48:56
March some falling into Yankee hands
48:58
others slowly working their way home
49:00
because they liked the stamina
49:02
to keep up for four long years this army
49:05
had battled overwhelming federal
49:07
manpower and resources brilliantly close
49:10
to 30,000 of them fell in combat and
49:13
more than 125,000 suffered wounds but
49:17
punished the Yankees they did Lee’s army
49:20
inflicted 45% of all the Union soldiers
49:24
killed and 45% of all the Union soldiers
49:27
wounded in the entire war in the last
49:32
year of the war despite the decline in
49:35
Lee’s Army grants forces sustained some
49:39
127 thousand casualties that’s almost as
49:45
many casualties as the Army of Northern
49:47
Virginia suffered for four years of war
49:49
in general order number nine a farewell
49:54
to his troops Lee stated that they had
49:56
been quote compelled to yield to
49:58
overwhelming numbers and resources end
50:00
quote to President Davis 10 years later
50:02
he told something different he blamed
50:04
the quote moral condition of the army
50:06
for defeat quote the operations which
50:10
occurred while the troops were in the
50:12
entrenchments in front of Richmond and
50:13
Petersburg would not marked by the
50:15
boldness and decision which formally
50:17
characterized them except in particular
50:19
instances they were feeble and a want of
50:22
confidence seemed to possess officers
50:24
and men this condition I think was
50:27
produced by the state of feeling in the
50:29
country and the GB and the
50:31
communications received by the men from
50:34
their homes urging their return and the
50:37
abandonment of the field end quote
50:39
both were correct the rebels confronted
50:42
vast Union superiority and over the
50:44
course of four years of war it wore down
50:47
the Confederacy ultimately the Army of
50:51
Northern Virginia did not collapse
50:52
because of southern culture industry
50:56
agriculture slavery motivations manpower
50:59
shortages discontent at home or any
51:02
other solitary factor intense and
51:05
sustained Union pressure caused serious
51:08
fissures in all these areas winnowing
51:11
away that margin for error and cutting
51:13
into muscle and bone collectively
51:14
bringing down the
51:16
and the entire Confederacy four long
51:20
years of war damaged or disrupted
51:22
virtually every aspect of Confederate
51:25
life
51:25
the demoralisation to which Lee referred
51:29
was a consequence of all these problems
51:31
not a cause let me conclude by telling
51:35
you a little story about private Thomas
51:37
Petty a native of Virginia and a pre-war
51:39
clerk in Washington DC he lost some
51:42
friends over the Secession issue he
51:44
joined the Confederate Army and in a
51:46
warm July night 1861 he was gazing up to
51:49
the sky and saw a comet rocketing
51:51
through the sky the next day he read in
51:53
the new Richmond newspapers that no one
51:55
had anticipated the comet he wondered
51:59
what it meant
52:00
perhaps it portends refer shadows the
52:03
speedy acknowledgment of our Confederate
52:05
States independence he pondered and by a
52:08
sudden apparition typifies the
52:10
Confederate States which is coming to
52:11
the host of nations like the comet
52:13
blazing gloriously in quote petit was
52:18
wrong about independence but correct
52:19
about the comet as a metaphor in the
52:22
grandeur of time the Army of Northern
52:23
Virginia might the Confederate States of
52:25
America was a short-lived shooting star
52:28
it appeared as a powerful illumination
52:31
and quickly passed into darkness perhaps
52:34
200,000 or more men stepped into its
52:36
ranks throughout the course of the war
52:38
undermanned underfed poorly clothed and
52:41
inadequately equipped the Army of
52:43
Northern Virginia kept a significantly
52:45
larger and better resource Union Army at
52:47
bay for almost four years its success
52:51
was so great that in the minds of
52:53
northerners and southerners alike it
52:55
came to symbolize the viability of the
52:58
Confederate states its commander was
53:01
perceived by many as a general superior
53:04
to all including Napoleon himself the
53:08
combination of Lee and his army have
53:11
left an indelible mark on the landscape
53:13
and the psyche of the American nation
53:15
far beyond its four years even today
53:19
many decades after its last veteran has
53:21
passed away Lee’s army continues to live
53:24
in the imagination of the American
53:26
public not so much for what it
53:29
represents
53:29
but for what it accomplished on the
53:31
field of battle under the most difficult
53:34
conditions and circumstances thank you
53:37
very much
53:47
question

The Myth of the Lost Cause: Revealing the Truth About the Civil War

The Lost Cause of the Confederacy, or simply the Lost Cause, is an ideological movement that describes the Confederate cause as a heroic one against great odds despite its defeat. Read a book excerpt: https://amzn.to/2RzkM8M

The ideology endorses the supposed virtues of the antebellum South, viewing the American Civil War as an honorable struggle for the Southern way of life[1] while minimizing or denying the central role of slavery.

The Lost Cause ideology synthesized numerous ideas. Lost Cause supporters argued that slavery was not the main cause of the Civil War, and claimed that few scholars saw it as such before the 1950s.[2] In order to reach this conclusion, they ignored the declarations of secession by the seceding states, the declarations of congressmen who left Congress to join the Confederacy, and the treatment of slavery in the Confederate constitution.[3] They also denied or minimized the wartime writings and speeches of Confederate leaders in favor of postwar views.[4] (See Cornerstone Speech.) Supporters often stressed the idea of secession as a defense against a Northern threat to their way of life and said that the threat violated the states’ rights guaranteed by the Constitution. They believed any state had the right to secede, a point strongly denied by the North. The Lost Cause portrayed the South as more adherent to Christian values than the allegedly greedy North. It portrayed slavery as more benevolent than cruel, alleging that it taught Christianity and “civilization”. Stories of “happy slaves” were often used as propaganda in an effort to defend slavery. These stories would be used to explain slavery to Northerners. Many times they also portrayed slave owners being kind to their slaves. In explaining Confederate defeat, the Lost Cause said that the main factor was not qualitative inferiority in leadership or fighting ability but the massive quantitative superiority of the Yankee industrial machine.[5] At the peak of troop strength in 1863, Union soldiers outnumbered Confederate soldiers by over two to one, and financially the Union had three times the bank deposits of the Confederacy.[6]

Critics of the ideology have stated that white supremacy is a key characteristic of the Lost Cause narrative.[7] Supporters typically portray the Confederacy’s cause as noble and its leadership as exemplars of old-fashioned chivalry and honor, defeated by the Union armies through numerical and industrial force that overwhelmed the South’s superior military skill and courage. Proponents of the Lost Cause movement also condemned the Reconstruction that followed the Civil War, claiming that it had been a deliberate attempt by Northern politicians and speculators to destroy the traditional Southern way of life. In recent decades Lost Cause themes have been widely promoted by the Neo-Confederate movement in books and op-eds, and especially in one of the movement’s magazines, the Southern Partisan. The Lost Cause theme has been a major element in defining gender roles in the white South, in terms of honor, tradition, and family roles.[8] The Lost Cause has inspired many prominent Southern memorials and even religious attitudes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_Cause_of_the_Confederacy