[lit-ideas] Re: media violence

  • From: John Wager <johnwager@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 26 May 2004 13:53:27 -0500

Ursula Stange wrote:

>. . . . Whose history is the most 'true'?  I've never lived 
>in the South, but I suspect that the history of the civil war looks 
>different there than it did in Chicago.  

FINALLY a question I actually know something about! I grew up in north 
Florida, graduating from high school in 1964.

I took American history and "Civics" in high school from an excellent 
teacher, and I actually remember quite a bit of both. I remember that 
there was NO MENTION of "The Civil War" in any of our textbooks whatsoever!

Oh, we did study Grant and Lincoln and Lee and Gettysburg and Atlanta 
and reconstruction. But the term "Civil War" NEVER appeared.  What DID 
appear was the term "The War Between the States." This is still a live 
issue in the South, and was partly what the war  was fought over: Were 
the "United States" individual sovereign states which had voluntarily 
associated with each other like the "United Nations" in a way that 
retained individual states' sovereignty, or was the "United States" a 
single entity with primary sovereignty residing at the Federal level. 
Calling the war a "Civil War" implies acceptance of the "Northern" view 
of sovereignty: There is ONE entity, the "United States," and parts of 
that single entity are at war with other (internal) parts. A "civil" 
war. But in Florida in 1964 the people in charge of textbooks thought 
that the "Southern" view was still correct: The war was fought between 
various sovereign states that had the right to go their own way when the 
voluntary association with the "United States" proved harmful. 

My point here is that THIS is history, both ways. Students need to know 
BOTH viewpoints. History isn't just one "true" picture, it is a mosaic 
of clashing colors.

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