Week 5 Notes - HIST 202
Week 5 Notes - HIST 202 HIST 202
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This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by Alex Tucker on Saturday February 13, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HIST 202 at University of Oregon taught by Steve Beda in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 19 views. For similar materials see Nineteenth Century American History in History at University of Oregon.
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Date Created: 02/13/16
Lost Causes (Day 12) 2/1/16 - Remembering the Civil War in the 19 thC - “the servile instincts of slaves rendered them contented with their lot, and their patient toil blessed the land of their abode with unmeasured riches. Their strong local and personal attachment secured faithful service … never was there happier dependence of labor and capital on each other. The temper came, like the serpent of Eden, and decoyed them with the magic word of ‘freedom’…” - in 1860, Confederacy was perfectly clear on its reasons for seceding (Cornerstone Speech) - by end of war, Northerners came to see war as war for emancipation - However, by late 19 C & early 20 C, race, slavery, & emancipation had been written out of Civil War story - By late 19 C, there are 3 competing interpretations (Narratives) of Civil War, what started it, & what all the fighting was about - Emancipationist - Reconciliationist - Lost Cause - Emancipationist Narrative - Using Civil War to Forward Civil Rights - War about liberation of slaves & restoration of African American citizenship - Inherently political - First Memorial Day - “Decoration Day”, Charleston, S Carolina (May 1, 1865) - more than 10,000 freed slaves gathered to lay flowers on Union graves - Post War Slave Narrative - While we all know about antebellum slave narrative, there were just as many post-war slave narratives. - Reconciliationist Narrative - Both Sides Suffered for What They Believed - Unlike emancipationist narratives, reconciliationist narratives stressed sentiment over ideology. Why a soldier fought was less important than how he had suffered. - Mostly delivered by white Northerners, particularly veterans - Lost Cause Narrative - Fighting for Southern Honor & Chivalry - How Southern whites remembered war - Lost Cause stressed: Lost Causes (Day 12) 2/1/16 1. Civil War not about slavery. Slaves were generally happy & content in slavery. Civil War caused by Northern aggression; 2. Confederate soldiers fought not to uphold slavery but to protect homes & families from Northern aggression 3. Confederate soldiers were braver & fought w/ dignity / honor & only lost because they were overwhelmed by the North’s superior numbers; 4. Reconstruction represented a continuation of Northern aggression. Northern “carpet baggers” came to South & exerted their will over Southerners; 5. Reconstruction failed not because of white supremacy. Rather, Reconstruction failed because Yankee carpetbaggers gave African Americans political power & African Americans were not read & able to function in democratic system - main points: - Lost Cause narrative writes race & slavery out of Civil War story; - Writes white supremacy out of Reconstruction story - Reconciliation & Lost Cause - Blue-Grey Reunions - N veterans committed to reconciliation & “reaching across bloody chasm” - Southerners didn’t want to participate in reunions if message is: N was right, S was wrong - Paradox of Reconciliation - N desperately want Reconciliation - Yet reconciliation is impossible as long as N continues to insist S was on wrong side of history - “The Veterans of ’62, United In Their Defense of the Flag” - As N accepts Lost Cause narrative, race is further pushed out of the national Civil War story. Both Northerners & Southerners increasingly argue that Emancipationist narratives are not only wrong, but reopens old wounds that simply divide the country - “This country has had its appetite for facts on the Civil War and the Negro problem spoiled by sweets.” - W.E.B. DuBois, 1912 Lost Cause in the 20 thCentury (Day 13) 2/3/16 - Jim Crow Segregation & Civil War Memory - “Lost Cause” narrative became dominant way of remembering Civil War (reconciliation) th - in early 20 C, Lost Cause narrative became not just a story about the Civil War, but a story about African Americans & their ability to participate in a Democratic system - African Americans were unfit for political participation - Brief History of Jim Crow - From Black Codes to Formalized Segregation - 1896, Homer Plessy brought suit against John Ferguson for operating a segregated train. In Plessy v. Ferguson, the Supreme Court ruled segregation was constitutional so long as segregated facilities were equally maintained - “SEPARATE BUT EQUAL ” - NAACP & Challenge to Jim Crow South - founded 1909 - D.W. (David Wark) Griffith - Famous director (very racist) - Started as actor - Prime years = 1910 – 1920 - Birth of a Nation (1915) - Highest grossing film ever made until 1927 - First screening in White House - Work of technical genius & regularly studied in film schools for its pioneering techniques & innovative style - Many people protested against movie - Follows Northern & Southern family - KKK saves day (is hero) - The Film as Commentary on Jim Crow - If Confederates & KKK are fighting to preserve their families & homes, they’re not racist. - Doing what any Americans would do - If blacks were happy in slavery, then they were happy in a subordinate social position, & they’re happy living under segregation. - If letting African Americans participate in the political system created anarchy in the Reconstruction South, letting African Americans participate in political system in 20 C would also create anarchy. - Only KKK could restore & maintain order in South, therefore white supremacy is a good thing for society - Film as a Commentary on the Progressive Era KKK Lost Cause in the 20 thCentury (Day 13) 2/3/16 - Around same time film was being released, KKK was experiencing a resurgence - In addition to providing justification for Jim Crow segregation, film also justified actions of Progressive Era KKK & suggested vigilantism & opposition to civil rights was heroic - In fact, some historians have argued that film encouraged many whites to join KKK in 1920s & w/o film, the Progressive Era KKK would be much smaller - Myth of Carpetbag Rule - Republicans in the Reconstruction Era - Myth of carpetbag rule was intended to show that Northern aggression against S did not conclude at end of Civil War but rather continued long after - The Thin Grey Line: Lost Cause & the Military Conflict - Lost Cause held that S had superior tactics / skill & were only overwhelmed by N’s superior numbers - Carpetbaggers & the “Thin Grey Line” in Memory - Civil War & Civil Rights Legislation in 1950s & 1960s - Both my of “carpetbag rule” & thin grey line” becomes particularly salient in 1950s & 1960s when, among other things, the following things happen: - Brown v. Board of Education (1954) - Civil Rights Act (1964) - Voting Rights Act (1965) - Southerners interpret these things as the N once again meddling in their affairs - And just as their ancestors had held the “thin grey line” against Northern aggression in 1860s, it was the job of white Southerners to again resist Northern Civil Rights Legislation - Confederate Battle Flag: A Symbol of White Supremacy or Southern Pride? - Well, until the 1950s, it really wasn’t. The flag only becomes a prominent symbol of “Southern pride” during anti-civil rights demonstrations in the 1950s & 1960s. Promissory Note (Day 14) 2/5/16 - Emancipationist Narrative & Civil Rights Movement - Brief Review - Immediately after Civil War ended, freed slaves & civil rights activists attempted to keep alive the belief that Civil War was a war of emancipation, & only way to honor sacrifices of dead would be to carry forward the cause of civil rights. - In desire for reconciliation, most Northerners accepted S’s “Lost Cause” narrative. By the late 19 C, white Northerners & Southerners alike felt that discussing slavery did nothing more than reopen old wounds & create further sectional divisions. - However, in 1950s & 1960s, civil rights activists resurrected Emancipationist narrative. - The Ubiquity of the Lost Cause - Dunning School - “historians have a lot to answer for in helping to propagate a racist system in this country” - The Big Point: - Lost Cause was not simply some insignificant historical interpretation that only a few fringe racists & white supremacists agreed w/ though most racists & white supremacists certainly accepted & actively worked to expand Lost Cause. Rather, Lost Cause was taught in classrooms, from grade school to college, in both the N & S. It appeared in movies & works of fiction. It’s probably safe to say that, until the 1960s, nearly every white person accepted some form of the Lost Cause. - A Brief History of the Civil Rights Movement: The “Civil Rights Era” - While the Civil Rights struggle was fought in courts & on streets, it was also fought in popular culture & in history books - Harlem Renaissance - Langston Huges, “The Negro Mother”, 1927 - Alex Haley & Roots - Malcom X - Reasserting the Lost Cause: White South’s Response - Indeed in 1960s, Lost Cause was not just a way remembering Civil War, but became primary lens through which many white Southerners interpreted Civil Rights movement - For most white American, “to claim the centrality of slavery and emancipation in Civil War memory was still an awkward kind of impoliteness at best and heresy at worst. In 1963, the national temper and mythology still preferred a story of the mutual valor of Promissory Note (Day 14) 2/5/16 the Blue and Grey to the troublesome, disruptive problem black and white” - David Blight - Part of edifice of Jim Crow System - Justification for white S resisting outside efforts in changing race relations because of worry of having another Reconstruction. - Confederate Battle Flag - Many anti-civil rights activists interpret Civil Rights movement through lens of Lost Cause & believe Yankees were trying to assert their will on S - Confederate’s history not of slavery & hatred but “David & Goliath” - Flag only becomes symbol of S after anti-civil rights protest - Remembering Civil War Today: Lost Cause & Emancipationist Narratives in Popular Culture - Recently, the screening board of the Sundance Film Festival announced that African American Filmmaker Nate Parker’s new movie, The Birth of a Nation will be an official selection for the 2016 festival. The movie tells the story of Nat Turner’s rebellion. Discussion #4 2/4/16 - Midterm Short Answer (choose 5) Essay 12 point Times, double spaced, 200 12 pt Times, double spaced, 500 words, 2 ½ page -750 words, 2 – 2 ½ pages - Monument Avenue - Is there such a thing as politically correct remembrance of the Confederacy? - Or is any attempt to honor the cause inevitably tainted by what Southerners once delicately referred to as their “peculiar institution”? - 3 Historical Phases of the Confederate Flag 1. Battle Flag (1865 - 1948) During Civil War, Confederate regiments carried flag on battlefield. Soldiers identified it w/ broader causes for which they fought 2. Politicization / Civil Rights (1940s – 1960s) started by Dixiecrat Party & its defiant stand for racial segregation (political symbol of “Massive Resistance”) 3. Rebel, Southern Heritage, Anti-Government (1970s - present) broader cultural symbol that retained elements of controversial past as well as new meanings - Confederate Flag Contemporary Debates Debate Supporting Reasons Opposing Question Reasons S Carolina -Symbol of respect -racial hatred Should gov. buildings Statehouse for ancestors -gov building; display the needs to be Confederate flag? inclusive NASCAR -tradition to bring -symbol of You are the CEO of flags racism / hatred Charlotte Motor -can’t control “tent Speedway. Do you village” ban the sale of -“Southern heritage” confederate flag merchandise? Do you actively encourage fans not to wear clothes displaying the Confederate flag? Virginia Public -federally You are High School funded; would superintendent of a offend a lot of public school system people in the South. Do you X -public place allow students to -protection of wear clothing or Discussion #4 2/4/16 students carry memorabilia -what it means to that display the you Confederate flag? -people might not have same connotation
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