The Slavery Bias in Education

Kahn Academy has a 10 minute “Start of the Civil War” video that begins with a notion which ensures slavery be the reason for the American Civil War.

“And the real basis of the Republican Party is an anti-slavery platform.”

The word slavery appears in the 1860 Republican Party platform four times, all in relation to policy in the territories. The platform also states, “we brand the recent reopening of the African slave trade, under the cover of our national flag, aided by perversions of judicial power, as a crime against humanity and a burning shame to our country…”. Most Southern states would have agreed with that. Slavery is alluded to in a couple of other places relating to Kansas, but that is really a call against expansion too.

As well, the platform goes to great pains to be clear on the rights of States.

“That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the states, and especially the right of each state to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of powers on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depends…”

It would have been stronger if it mentioned State sovereignty but based on the platform, it is hard to call the Republican Party anti-slavery.

The Republican platform also called for tariffs on “imports as to encourage the development of the industrial interests of the whole country”. Most of the beneficiaries of this statement were in the North. Southerners typically did not trust “appropriations by Congress for river and harbor improvements of a national character” which was also part of the official platform.

The video ends with Lincoln calling for 75,000 troops and the last four states seceding. There is no consideration given to letting the states go or discussion of the legality of secession. Sadly, the students are not asked to consider whether a Union based on coercion is superior to the Union that existed at the founding.



Career consultant turned substitute teacher and writer. I enjoy the outdoors and poker.

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