Civil War Chat

(December 25, 2018) In Michael Crichton’s science fiction novel Timeline a trio of anthropologists travel back to medieval France. After arriving they discover that some of their period research was erroneous. When an interviewer asked Crichton about this he replied:

 . . . all history is contemporary history. That is, every generation remakes the past into some form that suits the present time. But this means that all our understanding of history, like all our understanding of science, is provisional. It’s likely to change. It does change.

Consequently, after the civil rights movement of the 1960s the history of the Civil War and Reconstruction shifted toward a demonization of white Southerners. By extrapolating the interpretations of historians such as James McPherson and Eric Foner, today’s culture portrays Southern whites as obsessed with physically abusing slaves in the antebellum era and terrorizing the freedman for decades after Appomattox. While we cannot…

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