More Politics Presented as History
A report was recently completed “to evaluate the Confederate Memorial for its eligibility to be included in the National Register of Historic Places”. The Virginia Department of Historic Resources requested that the Army National Military Cemeteries conduct the survey. As you would imagine, the history of the memorial was an important element in the evaluation.
In the first paragraph of the Introduction to the section labeled “Historic Context”, you find this statement related to the Confederate Memorial at Arlington:
“Such memorials underpinned the ideology of the “Lost Cause”: the notion that the Confederacy had fought the Civil War for a noble lost cause devoted to securing the tenets of American liberty and freedom through states’ rights, rather than to perpetuate the institution of slavery.”
This is the foundation for the discussion of the history. It is presented as a fact or at least something everyone accepts as the proper interpretation. It is not surprising, nor would it be all that damaging if not for how the real indictments are impossible without establishing this point.
The report says the Lost Cause is an “ideology” which is useful for the upcoming analysis of the history. Calling it an ideology is ironic though. They are trying to present a political view as history themselves.
Why a political view? Because the history is not that clear.
“Affrighted at the ruin they have wrought, the authors of our calamities at the North and South insist that this war was caused by an unavoidable contest about Slavery. This has been the subject, not the cause of controversy. We are to look for the causes of this war in a pervading disregard of the obligations of laws and Constitutions; in disrespect for constituted authorities; and, above all, in the local prejudices which have grown up in two portions of be Atlantic States…”
New York Governor Horatio Seymour, New York Times, January 7, 1863