Monday, July 30, 2007

Comments on "Are We Rome? We Are Rome.

Sent: Fri 7/27/2007 3:12 PM
Subject: Re: Are We Rome? We Are Rome


Larry,

welcome back. I'd extend our arrogance in the other direction, to antebellum America. Certain white Southerners, not just the planter class, were unspeakably arrogant. From our perspective, it's hard to say anything positive about a culture based on human slavery.

But the arrogance was not just below the Mason-Dixon. It could be found NYC, Chicago, Cincinnati, and yes, even or perhaps esp on Beacon Hill. I think it goes all the way back to the Puritans and their self-image of themselves as Jehovah's chosen people, latter-day Israelites.

White southerners did not learn as much from defeat and occupation as might have been expected. Lynchings continued well into the 20th century as you know better than most. In the course of my research on Wilson's Creek outside Springfield, Missoui, fall 1861, I found that this lovely little town, which I've visited, had a jolly triple burning alive of three black men in 1906. Rather like Tulsa a bit later but not as well known. Most of the black population fled, and judging by some of what's posted about it, the community has never really recovered, white or black, not the many of the latter live there even now.

My question: given total Union victory, is why did the victors not do more for the very people that they had freed? Instead, white Southerners remain the American whipping boys, and get most of the blame for what happened.

Michael Chesson

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