Race Matters – 5 Myths of the Civil War

Marking the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, The Washington Post recently ran an article by James W. Loewen entitled “Five myths about why the South seceded.” As someone who has studied both the Civil War and slavery in America, and has argued with others about both, I encourage everyone to read this article. The lessons many of us received in school about the Civil War and slavery in this country were either woefully incomplete at best, or patently wrong at worst. The truth of the matter is that in the wake of the Civil War, during the time known as Reconstruction, a conscious effort was made the heal the wounds of war and reunite the nation. This resulted in history being heavily edited and modified, while both the myths of white superiority and black inferiority were further perpetuated. It is especially difficult for some people to wrap their minds around how little they actually know about the Civil War, or rather how inaccurate their information is. By dispelling some of the most common misconceptions, “Five myths about why the South seceded” helps to shed light on how dangerously ignorant many people are about the history of this country, and the complex realities surrounding matters of race and race relations.


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