Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Who Won the Civil War?

The New York Times has gathered an impressive group of historians to address this question.  Panelists include Eric Foner, Stephanie McCurry, Patricia Limerick, and Nell Irvin Painter.

Here is a taste of McCurry's piece: "The United States Won, Period":

The question implies the possibility of a counterfactual answer: The South really won the war. I have heard this argument made, and I am not persuaded. I know the logic: The racism that emerged in the postwar U.S., especially but not only in the South, looked like slavery under a different name; the South won the war of history and memory, securing the honor of the cause and forcing reunion on Southern white supremacist terms. And indeed at a certain, meta-historical level, that is hard to dispute, especially the latter point. We still do battle to displace and discountenance ancestral Confederate histories.