A Long Twilight Struggle
One hundred and fifty years ago this morning, America’s Civil War began with the forces of the Confederacy firing upon Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. So began the bloodiest and most tragic war in the history of The United States. Place names of Biblical power, unknown to most Americans at the start of 1861, would become permanently carved into their souls: Shiloh, Manassas, Antietam, Corinth, etc. Sherman’s March was seen by many as apocalyptic, an American Gotterdammerung.
The South fought tenaciously and refused to give up until one man, Robert E. Lee, made the decision to end the carnage. At the end of the War, the South lay in ruins and over a half a million Americans lay dead. Such is the outcome of all civil wars.
Shortly after the Stillness at Appomattox, the victorious President, who had perservered and achieved his goal of preserving The Union, was gunned down by a man who was the exact opposite of General Lee. It was as if God in His anger over the actions of His chosen people to whom he had given so much, had decided to demand one last sacrifice.
The death of Abraham Lincoln, who had vowed to ‘let ’em up easy’, brought about many years of Americans wandering in the wilderness, many years of misery. Reconstruction would ensure that the nation’s wounds would not be healed. When it ended, the backlash by the South would ensure that the wounds would fester for many more decades. When some of the wrongs would begin to be righted, these efforts would be hijacked by the Left and the suffering would now continue in the name of some sterile Utopian schemes.
The United States has never gotten over it’s Civil War – it still effects us to this very day. Which is why it is a shame and a sin and a tragedy that the true history of it is not taught in most schools and colleges. As Stacy McCain writes in an eloquent anniversary essay over at The American Spectator:
The triumph of 1960s radicalism in academia accounts largely for the historical amnesia that has enveloped successive generations in a fog of ignorance about the American past. (With a doctorate degree from Columbia University, [Bill] Ayers is typical of those radicals who, applying the theories of Marxist intellectual Antonio Gramsci, achieved cultural hegemony by a "long march through the institutions.") History interests the radical elite only as it can be used to foment anti-capitalist passions, and they cherry-pick history to fit their own leftist interpretations, so that the past means exactly what they say it means and nothing else.
Thus, the sesquicentennial of the Civil War excites little interest among the young. Schools today teach history mainly as a relentless harangue about how oppressively evil America has always been. Such tendentious sermonizing is boring, and young people respond by learning only enough history to ace their dumbed-down coursework….
Until Leftist Thinking is purged from American Life, we are doomed to continue to suffer from the pains of the open and festering wounds that were inflicted starting one hundred and fifty years ago in The Civil War.
SIDENOTE: One important lesson that can be drawn by the events of 12 April, 1861 is, as Stacy writes, that we must not be afraid to fight for the right.