Most Americans today have a romanticized (and extraordinarily narrow) historical understanding of the conflict that we call the Civil War.
In their imaginations, it goes something like this: With passions inflamed by a moral renaissance in the North regarding the institution of slavery in the South, the two sides decided to go to war over the issue. In the end, the evil South was righteously razed by the armies of the North, and thus, slavery was ended, and the former slaves made American citizens, as Abraham Lincoln intended.
If you think this an unfair caricature of the extent of the average American’s knowledge on the subject, I’d wager you haven’t spoken to many people under 50 about the subject. Our young and middle-aged enjoy a collective memory of this fantastic tale of good and evil, and so many of our countrymen believe that it actually occurred in this way that presenting any alternative or more nuanced version of the story earns a million accusations of supporting “white supremacy.”
But the truth matters. And the telling of it matters, perhaps now more than ever because, at the rate that the leftists who indoctrinated generations to believe that fable are now using academia to rewrite history and are controlling modern avenues for free speech, opportunities to do so may be scarce in the future.
And, also, the true story is important because it’s incredibly relevant today.