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Sat Aug 19, 2017, 05:26 PM

O'Heir: "Poisonous addiction to the suicidal myth" of the Confederacy

Great takedown using Grant's words of today's whites mythologizing the Civil War by the always insightful Andrew O'Heir.
http://www.salon.com/2017/08/19/the-confederate-mystique-why-is-white-america-hooked-on-the-poisonous-mythology-of-a-criminal-regime/

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Reply O'Heir: "Poisonous addiction to the suicidal myth" of the Confederacy (Original post)
Bradshaw3 Aug 2017 OP
sandensea Aug 2017 #1
Bradshaw3 Aug 2017 #2
sandensea Aug 2017 #3
Warpy Aug 2017 #4
Bradshaw3 Aug 2017 #5

Response to Bradshaw3 (Original post)

Sat Aug 19, 2017, 05:34 PM

1. The best part is,

most white Southerners were dirt-poor during the Antebellum and Confederate eras - in fact often worse off than the slaves themselves (slaves were, after all, property and had to be at least minimally looked after).

The Southern middle class didn't really emerge until the (much-hated) Reconstruction era. Even today, if you visit the Deep South, the "Antebellum" mansions your Southern hosts will point out to you (and they love to do that) are almost all Reconstruction-era and early 20th century architecture.

Best to not burst their balloon though. Bliss and all that.

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Response to sandensea (Reply #1)

Sat Aug 19, 2017, 05:38 PM

2. Never spent much time in the deep south

and don't really have a desire too but I've seen enough to know they have a different world view than the rest of the country and don't really want to have their balloons burst as you point out. I remember a guide at one of those tourist "plantations" saying one white visitor asked if the slaves got paid. Clearly there is a lot of work to do.

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Response to Bradshaw3 (Reply #2)

Sat Aug 19, 2017, 05:42 PM

3. Mm-hm. It's a touchy subject all right.

The historical whitewashing - particularly all the nonsense about slaves being treated "like family" and such - is a big part of that.

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Response to Bradshaw3 (Original post)

Sat Aug 19, 2017, 07:13 PM

4. The rich men who had swooped in once the native Americans were killed off

and grabbed all the best agricultural land (often by claiming territory in the name of indentured and other servants) set about recreating an imitation of English country gentry. I often found it hilarious down there when people whose ancestry had been dirt poor and on marginal land fancied themselves a part of that. Poor whites were utterly despised by the rich, who called them trash to their faces.

And he's right about Reconstruction. It was hardest on the former gentry, at least until they discovered they could get comfortable again via sectioning off their land for sharecropping, wielding almost as much power over black tenants as they had over them when they were slaves. The former "trash" finally got a chance to come up a class or two once the rich were temporarily incapable of controlling everything, especially the banks.

I imagine a lot of people just couldn't bear to admit so much of their family had been slaughtered to preserve the lifestyles of so few rich men.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #4)

Sat Aug 19, 2017, 08:15 PM

5. Good points, especially the last one

People seem to have to immortalize their warfighter ancestors and justify whatever conflict they are in, no matter as the Grant phrase in the article says, was one of the worst causes anyone ever fought for. Also, that impulse you point out regarding poor white people's aspiration to that gentry lifestyle was just used by their betters to cement power.

That, of course, continues today and is used by right wing media to push aims and by corporate America to make money by pushing the "American Dream" - which looks coincidentally enough like the lifestyle of those country gentry you talked about with manicured lawns surrounding McMansions.

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