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tv   The Civil War Competing Memories of the Civil War  CSPAN  August 3, 2018 9:27am-10:26am EDT

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during the fight and someone else yelled, he scalped him. that was enough levity to stop the fight. >> congressional historians richard baker, donald ritchie and ray smock, sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q & a. >> unionists and confederates in the post civil lar era remembered the bar differently. caroline janney talks about the competitive memories and the influence of veterans reunions and women's groups in creating civil war monuments. this 50-minute talk was part of a conference on confederate icons hosted by the shenandoah valley battlefields foundation. >> i am very excited to introduce our next guest and speaker. she is definitely a bright light in the field of the american civil war, but we love her
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dearly because she is a daughter of the shenandoah valley. our own caroline janney will be our next speaker. she is now the john l now professor of civil war and directors of john l now professor. she is now the previous history at purdue university. we are glad to be her back here in virginia. she is a specialist in civil war era. she is the author of "burying the dead, but not the past: ladies memorial associations and lost cause." she is also the author of "remembering the civil war: reunion and the limits of reconciliation." she has also been selected for the history book club and the military book club and she has won the charles s snyder award.
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janney is the editor of petersburg, the end of the war in virginia and john richard durnist the south as it is 1855 to '56. she has coedited with gary gallagher the book on cold harbor and the crater, the end of the overland campaign. she has been the author of essays about the civil war and has appeared in the journal of american history. caroline is a public speaker and has given many, many presentations and we are very much pleased to have her with us today. please help me welcome professor caroline janney. [ applause ] >> good morning. it is great to be back home. it's great to be back in the
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valley. thank you, kevin, for that wonderful introduction and i also will tell you that i am going to try to stay in front of the microphone. i have a bad habit of wandering a bit, so i will catch myself hopefully and get back here. so i'm going to pick up on a lot of the things that dr. robertson talked about, but we're going to go all the way back to 1865 to try to understand in some ways how we got to where we are today. i want to say that since at least the mid '90s, mid 1990s, that is, there have been calls to remove the confederate flag, monuments or change names of buildings or schools from the southern landscape, but the horrific killings at emanuel ame church in charleston, south carolina, in 2015 brought renewed efforts to purge the south of its confederate symbols. in the wake of that tragedy the south carolina legislature rightfully voted to remove the flag from in front of the state house and in october of 20125
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students at old miss decided to remove the mississippi state flag from their campus because it contained the confederate battle flag. as you all know it was not just the flag, soon confederate monuments, street and school names were also being debated. in august of 2015 students at the university of texas decided to remove statues of jefferson davis from the quad and in august of 2017 both lee and albert sydney johnston would also be removed. richmond, charlottesville and other places convene committees to discuss monument removal. in may 2017 four confederate monuments were removed from the landscape of new orleans. and then there was charlottesville. august 11th through 12th of last year. white supremacists gathered there under the pretext of preventing lee and the jackson monument from being removed.
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of course, as dr. robertson has already laid out, this was voted on by the city council in february. the unthinkable of course happened, the murder of heather higher that followed in the wake and in the days and weeks that followed confederate monuments in baltimore, durham and elsewhere in the country were toppled by crowds or relocated by city governments. all of these debates have served as a reminder to the nation of the deep, intense and sometimes violent nature of the civil war or perhaps more precisely confederate memory that continues to permeate our country. today what i want to do is place these debates within their historical context by examining the way in which the generation that survived the war and their children sought to remember it. how did they explain to their children and grandchildren what it was they had fought for? how did they consciously and just as importantly
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unconsciously exaggerate, minimize, contradict and or emit issues from their telling? what were the implications, the social, political or otherwise of the ways in which they remembered their civil war? i want to begin with some images. you have one before you of confederate veterans and union veterans shaking hands over the proverbial bloody chasm. many of you are familiar with images like this one or perhaps another here of grizzled out veterans coming together as blue gray reunions, clasping hands with their former enemies. many of these pictures used at the end of ken burns' film often from the 1913 and sometimes from the 1938 reunion at gettysburg, but these images have created some misunderstandings. today what i want to do is offer a corrective by focusing on three key aspects of the way in which the civil war generation
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remembered their war. first, despite an emphasis on reconciliation that urged the war generation to move beyond the bitterness of the past, this was not the primary way in which most participants of the war chose to remember the war. unionists remembered and celebrated the union cause, confederates crafted their own memory as you all know, the lost cause. rather than embracing reconciliation most veterans or at least many veterans harbored intense sectionalism throughout the remainder of their lives. i think this picture is a great example. i had a student once point out that neither one of these men looks too thrilled to be shaking hands with the other. my students like to debate which one of them is feeling more forced to do so. so that's the first point we will cover. second, contemporary commentary
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suggests that slavery was forgotten by the war generation in the name of reconciliation. this simply is not true. on the contrary, african-americans certainly celebrated the war as a war of emancipation, but both white union and confederate veterans frequently addressed the issue of slavery and emancipation years and even decades after an pa mat particulars. both sides distorting the reality in the way in which slavery played into their respective causes. finally i will talk about someone else who is missing from this picture and that is women. this was not a male-only event. both unionists and confederates, the women of both sides, played important roles in crafting the war's memory. but let's start in the immediate aftermath, the way in which the unionists celebrated and tried to commemorate the union cause. in the immediate aftermath of the war and we are talking the
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summer of 1865 union veterans were clear about why they had fought and what they had achieved. they had saved the union and many would have added ended slavery. they did so in a myriad of ways, through the creation of national cemeteries or loyal union soldiers only, white and black, but only loyal union soldiers. through the creation of the largest veterans organization, in fact, the largest fraternal organization of the 19th century, the grand army of the republic, here is a group from west virginia, but they are in every former -- every state including the former confederate states. here we have kansas and another group from maine. they did so through the observance of memorial days beginning in 1868. and as a side note, if you've ever been to the dayton national cemetery in ohio, the road that leads into it is gettysburg road
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which would suggest something about what was important to these men. monument dped cases and here we are back at gettysburg, the 1880s, the 1890, gettysburg was a union memorial park. hundreds of union monuments going up on this field, this such important field, especially for the army of potomac. other battlefields were preserved, chattanooga, high low and elsewhere. a union veterans wrote regimental histories, they worked tirelessly, in other words, to ensure that their memory of the war, the union memory of the war, would neither be forgotten nor eclipsed by that of confederate veterans. too many lives had been lost for them to do otherwise. former confederates, though, were no less determined to preserve their memory of the war. they needed to explain what they had fought for as well as why they had lost to their children
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and grandchildren. the lost cause was made up of at least four tenets and i should point out that the lost cause is a term coined by them, not by academics. the tenets go something like this, confederate soldiers had fought honorably and bravely, they had not been defeated, but overwhelmed by insurmountable odds, by superior northern material and manpower. most confederates as the century went on increasingly denied that slavery had been a cause of the war, but most asserted catalyst or not it had been sanctioned by the constitution and providence. and above all they insisted that succession had been constitutional. that their cause had been just. that they had not committed treason. they expressed these sentiments in many of the same ways as union veterans, through the creation of confederate national cemeteries, but you will notice here this national cemetery laid
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out by states, not by union, the only national -- union national cemetery that's laid out as such is gettysburg. confederate memorial days began under the auspices of ladies memorial associations as early as may of 1866. monuments, again, begun under the auspices of these ladies and soldiers organizations such as the r.e. lee camp in richmond. eventually united confederate veterans which would organize in 1889, they had reunions, they had periodicals, the confederate veteran which began in the early 1890s, a periodical such as the southern historical society papers, all of these are ways in which they sought to make sure that the next generation -- and it's always about the next generation -- understood what they had fought for. former confederate general
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clement a. evans explained why it all mattered so much. quote, if we cannot justify the south and the act of succession we will go down in history as solely brave, impulsive but rash people who attempted in an illegal manner to overthrow the union of our country. they're always worried about this question of whether or not they had been treasonists. in the years after 1865 these respective memories grow. union and confederate. union veterans, though, seethed at the lost cause with its distorted and reimagined renderings of the confederacy. here i want to point out that most of the time that veterans are getting together, whether we're talking about confederate veterans or union veterans they're doing so with their breath rent, with other union veterans or confederate veterans, they are not often in these mixed group settings. i will come back to this in a few moments. in the 1880s there's hundreds of monuments going up at
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gettysburg, each of the states would often have a day in which they would dedicate numerous regimental monuments. this is a picture from michigan day in 1889. in speaking to a crowd of union veterans on that day former u.s. congressman and union officer edward mcpherson warned that, quote, it must never be forgotten that the force which was the deciding one between combatants so nearly equally matched was the strength of our cause and the moral weakness of their cause. we fought for union and liberty, they fought for disunion and slavery. nothing can gloss over the difference. the rebellion had not a redeeming feature. it was wholly bad. not uncertain what this war was about, not reconciliationist in nature. now, while union veterans certainly celebrated reunion, reunion meaning the
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reunification of the country, that is precisely what they fought for. of course they celebrated reunion. reconciliation was something different. many of them openly rejected sentiments that called for them to forgive their former enemies or forget that there had been a right side and a wrong side. confederates had committed treason, they maintained, and for many union veterans this is much more important than the role of slavery at least in the 1880s, 1890s. we should not forget they committed treason, they said, at occasions like this. now, while they conceded defeat, many confederates could be as fierce at denouncing their former enemies as unionists were. at the dedication of the richmond soldiers and sailors monument in 1894 confederate private turned reverend robert c. cave had this to say: brute force cannot settle questions of right and wrong. the south was in the right.
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the cause was just. the men who took up arms in her defense were patriots. in other words, we may have lost on the battlefield, but that doesn't make our cause any less just. these are the things being said to one another. they insisted that losing did not somehow put them on the wrong side of the moral equation. they, like wise, took aim at the union cause. they accused yankees of fullmenting the war, of causing all of this blood shed and argued most union soldiers had not gone off to war to end slavery. it was absolutely true, we'll come back to this, too. in other words, neither confederate nor union veterans were willing to forget or concede that their side might somehow have been wrong or immoral. and it wasn't just that they refused to forget. remembering had powerful social and political ramifications. let me give you an example. i assume you all know who these
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men are. four union generals and one colonel became republican presidents in the wake of the war. what better way to garner votes than to encourage people to vote as they shot. so encouraging union veterans to support the republican party. the republican party also supported pensions for union veterans, another way of mobilizing, another reason to join the gar, if you will. but confederates like wise used the war's memory for political purposes. in 1876 hoping to reclaim the south carolina governor's mansion from republicans former confederate calorie general wade hampton embarked on a tour of the state accompanied by hundreds and some report thousands of armed and mounted local rifle clubs composed primarily of confederate veterans and their sons. here the lost cause was much more than a nostalgic longing
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for the past, it was a call to arms, a revived confederate nationalism that heralded a united resistance against federal intrusion into state affairs. state's rights at its finest. now, despite all of this, despite this lingering evidence of sectional hostility, by the 1880s, and 1890s americans were celebrating a culture of reconciliation. the creation of the first five national military parks were done so in the name of reconciliation. popular magazines such as battles and leaders celebrated the heroics of both sides. plays such as the aptly named "blue and the gray" and here we have grant and lee and grant's 1868 campaign logan, let us have peace, again, another way in which the memory of the war plays into politics, the 1892 populist campaign had both a
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confederate and union veteran running on its ticket. all of this using reconciliation, encouraging northerners and southerners to embrace their former foes in the spirit of brotherly love and american progress. in many if not all of these accounts the causes of war, especially slavery, were left out. instead there was a focus on the battlefield bravery of all soldiers, authorities and south. in fact, most of these accounts limit themselves to discussing things that happened between april of 1861 and april of 1865. we don't talk about the causes of the war, we don't talk about the consequences of the war, we talk about the bravery of the american. not confederate or union. the american soldier who fought on both sides. this culture of reconciliation, whether it's going to a play or casting your ballot for the populist helped convince americans on both sides of the mason dixon line that the horrors of war, that the up
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measles of reconstruction were behind them. now, keep in mind we are into the 1880s, 1890s, there is a generational shift that's going on. people are trying to sell things to both sides, sally pickett is a great example of this, a war widow, george pickett's widow, who makes money by trying to appeal to northerners and southerners. she wants to strike a balance down the middle. so there are political and commercial reasons for celebrating a reconciled, a reunited and second sield nation. under this banner veterans did occasionally come together at blue/gray reunions. one of the great pieces of doing the research for this book was finding out that one of the very first blue/gray reunions happened in my hometown of lou ray on july 21st, 1881. i will tell you that i was a guide at the caverns when i was in high school so i could give you the whole spiel of the cave
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discovered in 1878. by 1881 brochures like this had made their way across the country and a group of union veterans in carlisle, pennsylvania, decided they wanted to see the grand caverns of lou ray. so they wrote to the veterans in page county and basically invited themselves to come down and see the caverns if only the confederate veterans would extend them an invitation to come down on the anniversary of manassas and visit the caverns. in fact, that's just what happened. they came to lou ray, there was this reunion, this he got to see the cave, it had been recently illuminated and then a little bit later that fall in september they invite the men from page county up to carlisle for a joint reunion. these things do happen, but they happen only occasionally. here is another great big festival, chattanooga in 1889, blue and gray coming together. they happen only infrequently.
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that's why there was so much press about them, because they were so rare in nature. again, most of the time veterans spending time with their own ilk. but even blue/gray reunions were fraught with tensions. the named reunion of pickett's division and webb's philadelphia brigade at gettysburg in 1887 almost didn't happen. some questions the loyalty of their brethren to go to pennsylvania and reports that the confederates wanted to place a memorial behind union lines, the so-called high water mark of the confederacy created an immense outpouring of reaction from northerners. the ohio governor threatened to use the ohio national guard to, quote, prevent such a sacrilege. in the end this reunion did happen, but it wasn't as easy as many of the newspaper reports would have you believe. the following year the 25th anniversary of the battle, so
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1888 many union veterans were increasingly angry that all the focus about gettysburg was on pickett and these virginians and this great virginians. gettysburg was the army of the potomac's first clear victory. this was a union memorial park. and they felt like their park was being distorted. the memory of their great victory was being distorted by all these confederates coming to gettysburg. one counciled, quote, the hallowed field of gettysburg is no place to vaunt treason and glorify rebellion, and stay at home and gnaw the file of discontent and obscurity. and in fact, many of them did. nearly 20,000 union veterans and their families came to gettysburg in 1888, to dedicate monuments, to rejoice in their most famous triumph. most confederates did not attend, although the gentleman
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in the middle is none other than your first corps commander from the army in virginia. by this point, he had become a republican, so he was persona non grata in many confederate circles, although he was openly welcomed by mean union veterans at this point. same goes for the 1913. the 50th anniversary. the very famous blue/gray reunion at gettysburg. likewise, witnessed similar sentiments. months prior to the reunion, several members of the richmond-based lee camp of confederate veterans launched a protest against this reunion. and i'll read you two quotes from members of the camp. st. george, t.c. brian had this to say: i do not see how any man who came back in april of 1865, just smoky ruins and desolated fields, who fought for existence through six bitter years of reconstruction -- hear that part -- who fought for existence
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through six bitter years of reconstruction and remembers the wormwood of those days can celebrate side by side with victors in our defeat in the most important battle of the war. dr. landon r. mason concurred. reunions only effect a superficial healing of the sore, leaving beneath the surface the smarting, irritating pus. i, for one, cannot go to gettysbu gettysburg where the grand army will celebrate with festival the battle which broke the backbone of the confederacy, while we recall it only with tears and deep sorrow. not the love fest that photos like this would suggest. in fact, if you go through the archives at gettysburg and you look at all the pictures that were taken from the 1913 reunion in particular, more of the pictures show men in confederate camps with other confederates or union camps with other union veterans, rather than these staged photographs of the men together. other veterans, likewise, voiced their dismay, if not outright
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disgust at all the hubbub around reconciliation in blue/gray reunions. in 1912, veteran thomas deveraux of north carolina observed that, quote, it is all right to talk about a restored union, and i am a loyal citizen. but my loyalty stops at the war. those days are still unreconstructed and i cannot abide all this gush about the blue and gray shaking hands across the bloody chasm. keep in mind that many more veterans did not go to these affairs than actually went to them. moving on to my second point. and just so you know, the second and third points will go faster than the first one. the role of slavery was not forgotten by the war generation. perhaps the most intense debates about what the war meant for veterans and their children centered on the question of cause. namely the role that slavery played in causing the war.
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african-americans, of course, certainly never forgot about the role of slavery. for them, union victory not only meant freedom, but perhaps the opportunity for civic and political equality. united states color troop veterans marched in parades. they joined the gar. there were emancipation day celebrations, here one in richmond in 1888. you can see the picture of lincoln there. juneteeth celebrations in places like texas. and still more emancipation day parades, all paying homage to the fact that union victory and african-american soldiers helped save the union and end slavery. but white veterans, both union and confederate, also failed to forget that slavery had played a role in the war. the dedication of the very first national military park, chick
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magazina chattanooga, was an occasion that was supposed to be a shining example of the reconciliation of spirit of the late 1800s. for three unseasonably warm days in september of 1895, more than 50,000 people had enjoyed this reconciliation of spirit. they had come to celebrate the memory or the dedication of this park, rather, in the memory of all americans. orders were supposed to talk about american soldiers. were supposed to talk about fraternity and healing. but even at this occasion where they're actually with confederate veterans, union veterans can't help but talk about the role of slavery. so with confederates in the crowd, they say things like this. this is democratic governor, john p. altgelt of illinois. the principle they fought for meant the perpetuation of human slavery. they were fighting for a condition against which the humanity of the age protested.
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union general john enpalmer, another governor of illinois, likewise informed those who donned both the blue and the gray that african slavery had been, quote, the route of sectional bitterness. not only did u.s. veterans refuse to forget that slavery had caused the war, but many of them also highlighted their role in emancipation. in a bit of revisionist history or selective memory at the very least, altgeld went to far as to suggest most union soldiers had been motivated by abolitionists. here's what he said. more than a million of men in all came down from the north, shouting as they marched, the union forever and equal rights for all. simply not true. so, again, both sides are involved in this revisionism. exaggeration, to say the least. but most union veterans agreed that slave-holders had undermined the national union
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and only slavery's demise could ensure the union's survival. here is my word of caution, my soap box, though. although race and slavery were absolutely intertwined in the 19th century, 19th century americans understood that slavery and race were two different things. slavery was an institution. the attitudes of white union veterans towards slavery, african-americans and race were exceedingly complex and varied. white veterans admitted black veterans into the post of the gar, and integrated the largest fraternal organization, again, of the late 19th century, was integrated. in some cases, white women worked alongside the wives, widows and daughters of the united states color troops. and union statues from boston's famed shaw memorial, the 54th massachusetts, to what i believe is the largest civil war
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monument in the country, if we leave aside the lincoln memorial, the grand monument that sits in the center of indianapolis. this too pays homage to the role of slavery in the war. albeit, in paternalistic ways. but the point is, union veterans knew that the war had been about slavery. this was not lost on them. they had not forgotten that african-americans or slavery had been part of the war. but this does not mean that most white union veterans or white northerners in general sought civil and political rights for newly freed men and women. we seem to have forgotten that racism and emancipation could and did go hand-in-hand. slavery and race could be separated out in the minds of white northerners by union veterans. and we need to be careful to remember that in our discussions today. soap box done.
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confederate veterans weren't silent on the question of slavery, either. the more union veterans talked about it, the more confederates responded. and here we'll go back to chattanooga. at the dedication in 1895, the one-armed colonel, now alabama governor, william c. oates, had been sitting in the audience, listening to paul murderan, altgeld and others say these things, shouting civil rights for all and he had had enough. he had prepared comments that were supposed to be rec silltory in nature about the american soldier. and he kind of tosses them aside when he gets up on stage. instead, he blamed yankees for starting the war. he said, quote, their aggressive fanaticism caused an ocean of tears to be shed, drench the land in blood, sacrificed the lives of a million men and untold millions of treasure. he goes further than this. he goes on to defend slavery.
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he said, it had been a lawful state institution, and that responsibility for it lay with the states alone. he therefore challenged the notion that abolition had been one of the grand objects of northern soldiers. and in race-baiting language, he asserted that such was the revisionist interpretation of the radicals. quote, you could not more deeply offend a union soldier than tell him he was fighting for the freedom of negros, he shouted. at that point, i should say, lines of union veterans start gathering on the side of the stage, because they want to come up and take on what oates has just said. the point of this is, even at chicamaga, even here they're talking about slavery. there are countless other examples i could give you of this, as well. now, especially in the first decade after the war, countless confederates defended the constitutional right of southerners to own slaves, and
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conceded that this was their right to protect their state rights. jubal early does this. others defend it. john f. mosby minces no words. in the retrospect, slavery seems such a monstrous thing that some of us are now trying to prove that slavery was not the cause of the war. but confederate soldiers were slave-holders, he writes to another former confederate. by the end of the century, slavery was increasingly being condemned around the world and more and more confederates did try to distance themselves from slavery as something they had fought to preserve. but they still talked about slavery. they spent an exhaustive amount of time talking about faithful slaves, as they called them. a louisville resident writes into the magazine, "confederate veteran," in 1893 and says this, our opponents have published tons of literature giving the dark side of slavery. though we have little telling of its bright side and asks for
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people to share stories of faithful slaves during the war. stories, in fact, pour into the pages of the "confederate veteran." and there are efforts to erect monuments. the ft. mill, south carolina, monument in 1895 being one of the most famous. the story went that slaves were happy and well-cared for. all of those stories paid homage to the black men and women, who, quote, seemed to know their place, who accepted segregation, who didn't challenge the racial hierarchy by trying to vote or sit in a first-class passenger car on a railroad train. all of this to say, neither side remained silent on the question of slavery. if anything, slavery proved an especially powerful and divisive strand of memory. which brings me to my third point. women and gender. the ways in which these play into the memory of the war.
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confederate women is already mentioned, played an especially important role in grounding the lost cause. they had created the first confederate national cemeteries. they had created memorial day as early as 1866, this picture of petersburg, virginia. they had kept registers of the confederate dead, something the united states government did for union soldiers. and they had been the first -- go back one -- they had been the first to raise monuments such as the one to hollywood cemetery. confederate veterans paid homage to confederate women for not only what they had done during the war to serve the cause, but equally as important, what they did after the war to preserve the memory. women were central to the lost cause. union veterans, on the other hand, largely neglected to see their women as either essential to the war, or its memory. now, there were a few efforts in the immediate aftermath of the war to pay homage to women on the home front or to union nurses. but these end very quickly.
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and, in fact, more than anything, there had been some women's groups in the north who had -- not just the north, but who had been offering to form auxiliary units to the grand army of the republic, and for 20 years -- for nearly 20 years, the gar rebuffered their efforts and said they didn't need women. women hadn't been important during the war, they weren't important to the war's memory. it's not until 1883 that the women's relief corps was accepted as an auxiliary to the gar. the numbers of these groups are absolutely astounding. 118,000 women are members of the wrc by the turn of the century, which dwarfs the number. but they never have the voice. they never have the outlet as their southern counterparts. and to this note, women played especially important roles in resisting reconciliation. the united daughters of the confederacy, which formed in 1894, was formed in part to provide a so-called antidote to the blue/gray gush. this is one of the founders,
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anna reins, writing to her counterpart in april 1994. i'm pained to see and realize that so many of our people have accepted and are preaching the creed there is no north, no south, but one nation. no true southerner can ever embrace this new religion, she insisted. and those who do should be ostracized by the united daughters of the confederacy. former confederates for their part, you know, gravitated to this. they found that women were especially useful in resisting reconciliation. and keeping the flames of sectionalism alive. southern men and northern men could discount the things that the udc said. they could hear them prattle on about the horrors of yankee troops, the righteousness of secession, the unconstructed sentiments of women, all of these things that were benign because they came from the mouths of women. union women could be equally disdainful of reconciliationist
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efforts. here we have an 1887, the national wrc president, union women should decorate the graves of confederate soldiers on memorial day. treason is treason, living or dead, she declared. our boys in blue were loyal and true. we cannot say that of the other side. and while we are willing to forgive and forget the past, never while life shall last will we of the wrc love and honor the gray. no reconciliation there. so to return to where we began, how did these competing memories of the war fare in the 20th century? although most northerners did not succumb to the lost cause, by the 1920s and 1930s, it seemed as if the confederate memory of the war had eclipsed that of the union. groups like the udc worked vigilantly to keep the lost cause alive. the monuments that were created
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during these years, and i'll address a question that was asked during the last round about the timing of these monuments. most of these monuments go up between the late 1880s, really starting in the 1890s, through about 1915 or so, and then there's another wave in the early 1920s. this corresponds to several things. it corresponds to the height of veterans associations, both union and confederate. there is a correspondence to the dying off of veterans on both sides. and the response that's going on is not one of defiance, so much, as union veterans are putting their monuments up in places like gettysburg and in town communities, courthouse squares across the north, across the midwest. confederate veterans when they have the money to do so, when their organizations are up and going, and especially once the udc becomes involved in the 1890s, they put up their monuments. so the correspondence is to the veterans groups, the
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corresponding women's groups, the dying off of veterans, and, of course, the 50th anniversary of the war, 1911 to 1915. there were textbook campaigns. the udc trying to make sure that textbooks told the right version of the war. groups like the children of the confederacy that sought to teach children about the war. fellowships for descendents as universities across the south and north. vanderbilt has been undergoing -- they have actually removed confederate from confederate memorial hall, which was a dormitory established with a fellowship for decendents -- female descendents of confederate veterans there at vanderbilt -- it was peabody college at the time. winthrop in georgia had a similar program. but columbia, university of pennsylvania, also had fellowships for decendents of confederate veterans. ironically, the very success that the union cause it had in talking about preserving the
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union led to its steady demise in the popular imagination. having fought to preserve the nation, unionists had encouraged former rebels to embrace the stars and stripes, to identify themselves as americans. the union had continued to expand in both space and time. and as symbols go, it was increasingly difficult to separate the united states from 1861 from the united states of the 1880s or 1920s. so if you're talking about the symbols themselves, the flags, it's difficult to look and see, oh, that's a 36-star flag. that must be a union flag, as opposed to more stars being added. even as the union cause became obscure, the confederate cause remained distinct, its symbols alone showcasing that. its memory, its symbols continue to stand apart, suspended in
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time, and inacceptabseparable f war, and in a movie, "gone with the wind" in 1936 and 1939. increasingly, it appeared as if the confederacy was the civil war. in 1961 through 1965, the lost cause stood alongside reconciliation as the predominant memory of the war. and here we have the flag being raised above the south carolina capitol in 1961. but all of this was a product of 20th century americans. not the veterans or women of the civil war generation. thank you. [ applause ] >> that was a wonderful tal
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that was a wonderful, wonderful talk. and we do have time for some questions. if you have some questions, if you would like to move the microphones, we do believe they're working, so lean into them, and they should be working just fine. and we'll take as many questions as we can before we're out of time. >> yes. professor roberts had had mentioned the 1906 federal legislation that indicated that confederate soldiers should be treated as all-american veterans. and in light of that, can you comment on the university of virginia's removal of the plaques with the names of the students and faculty and staff who died while serving in the confederate army? also comment on the now center's letter to the administration last year. i believe it objected to that. when the new president comes in, will you object and ask him to put those back up, and if so, why? if not, why not. and would it be appropriate to put those plaques back up and also put up plaques to the
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students and faculty who died while serving in the union army. >> so i guess no slow ball right up the center for the first question. [ laughter ] thank you for your question. so a couple of things. so mckinley's proposition that talks about soldiers being treated equally is about graves. it's not about pensions. so confederate veterans still aren't going to receive pensions, so they're not going to be recognized as veterans in that capacity by the united states government. but that's why you now have the confederate grave markers that you see, the pointed grave markers. and this comes on the heels -- he actually -- this is suggested during the spanish-american war. confederate veterans at first react very viscerally to this. they don't want to be included, at least a strong contingent of them reacts very viscerally and doesn't want to be treated the way their former foes have. others certainly feel differently. so there is a bit of background to that, as well. in terms of the plaques at the
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university of virginia, i have not been part of that conversation yet. but i will be part of it, hopefully as i -- don't officially even begin my position until next month. so i hope to be part of that conversation. to your point about adding other plaques, other monuments, one of the things that the now center is doing is looking for alumni and faculty from the university of virginia who served in the union army. and right now we have around 36 men that we found, and so we're working on their backgrounds and trying to figure out a way to make that part of the story. the other thing that we're doing is looking at members of the united states color troops from albemarle county. so men who served in the 54th massachusetts, the 55th, and various other usct units, were born in albemarle county. that doesn't mean they enlisted from. some are coming from as far away as missouri. so we're making an effort to look broadly at all of these
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things. what's going to happen to the plaques? i don't know. but i will be part of those conversations going forward. thank you. >> i'm going to ask you if the comments about the memorials and the statues was in direct reference to the overarching narrative that the statues are jim crow era, period, exclamation point, end of conversation? >> so this is a really important thing, and this is where, you know, as historians, we often get muddled down in talking about context. we want people to understand context. but here context is important. and i'll point out that just because things happen at the same time does not mean that there is a causal relationship between them. do many of the monuments go up during the height of jim crow, during the height of lynching? absolutely. they are absolutely happening at the same time. is that the primary reason that
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most of these organizations are raising funds to put up monuments to lee on monument avenue in 1890? that had been going on for 20 years by the time it actually gets to it. i think the primary impetus, if we had asked the men and women who were involved in putting up these monuments, their primary impetus is to honor the -- whatever, if we're talking about a common soldier or a figure like lee or jackson to honor that person and what the confederate cause stood for. does the confederate cause include being a slave-holding nation? absolutely. are they talking about it in those terms? not so directly. but that is part of that context. so putting up -- i am certainly not denying that they go up during the height of jim crow era. but there are other ways -- does it add to? does a monument to lee reinforce the racial hierarchy? of course it does. is that the primary purpose of putting it up? no. there are plenty of other ways, legal and extra legal that white
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southerners are trying to enforce the racial hierarchy in the south. >> hi. i really, really enjoyed the presentation. quick question about the reception of these monuments. i'm wondering if we hear a lot about what you just said in terms of why they were made. and how they were received by the people who created them. one of the great debates today, especially with something like the lee and charlottesville, is not about the people who made them. but about the people who live there and experience them and how they felt about them. and i know nothing about that. i don't know anything about how, you know, an african-american who walked under a robert e. lee felt. or thought. and i'm wondering if there's any kind of reception on the other side, which, of course, is very rare, about people talking at the time, not now, when we extrapolate back, but at the time about how they felt about these monuments.
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whether in the north or the south, black or white. that is not the udc who created them, but an alternate view. >> yeah. so fantastic question. i would say, again, i'll point to the lee monument in richmond, is the -- probably the example we have. the best evidence. and that is that the richmond planet -- the african-american newspaper in richmond absolutely publishes countless editorials condemning this monument going up. so that is a clear case in which african-americans are -- and i'm forgetting -- what's the editor's name? john mitchell, the editor. thank you, john. was a member of the city council at the time, i believe. and he is -- you know, beside himself that the richmond city council is going to support a monument to a confederate general. so we have that. unfortunately, we just don't
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have -- it would be wonderfully rich if we did have accounts of people confronting monuments. this isn't answering your question, but a way to flip things on its head is to think about the way in which the lincoln memorial, which many of us don't often think about as a civil war memorial. i happen to think it is the biggest and the most important of the civil war memorials in this country. but the way in which its been used, whether it's marian anderson, martin luther king, turning that around and using this monument as a place to change a different tone. and that's the thing about monuments. and that's something that i think needs to be part of our conversation. is that when people put them up, whether it's the udc or whatever group, or individual in many cases, as was the case with the charlottesville lee monument. when those monuments are put up, they're intended to speak for themselves. they're supposed to be, quote, written in stone and their meaning isn't supposed to change. it's supposed to endure forever. but that simply doesn't happen.
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and none of us will look at the lee monument in charlottesville ever again without thinking about august of last year. the memory changes. the meaning changes. nothing is set in stone. it really -- and so the lincoln memorial being the perfect example of how that's been changed. so these monuments, whatever their intention was in 1890, 1913, that is incredibly important. i think that's the heart of the matter. but we also have to take into account the way in which their meaning will continue to change. certainly as the flag has done, as well, as i'm sure john will talk about later. >> we have time for one more question. >> al. >> hi, kari. how important is location of the monument? for instance, confederate monument outside a courthouse. and an african-american going to court seeking justice. how important is that placement
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in location? >> well, i think that is everything, right? that monuments matter at the local level, because of the people that have to -- who choose to or not, to encounter those monuments every day. so -- and the reasons they go up in those particular places, right? why choose the court square? why choose the quad at the university of north carolina to put your monument up, as opposed to a battlefield? there was a message that was being sent by the people at the time about the importance that they saw this is central to their county. if you're putting up a monument to all the soldiers from albemarle county, it makes sense you might put it in front of a courthouse as a central place within the community. so i -- that too needs to be part of the discussion going forward, is where these monuments are. thank you all so much. [ applause ]
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when the conference on civil war confederate monuments continues, a look at some of the controversies behind taking down confederate monuments. followed by the debates behind the confederate battle flag, and what's behind confederate heritage preservation. and later, a look at the debates over confederate monuments. we're using the current congressional break this month to show you what weekends are like on american history tv, beginning every saturday morning here on c-span3 at 8:00 eastern, and continuing through sunday. this weekend, the c-span city's tour takes you to los cruises, mexico. we'll explore the literary life and history of los cruises at the foot of the oregon mountains and along the banks of the rio grande on book tv. author john hunter explores the impact of the manhattan project
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on new mexico in his book, "j robert oppenheimer." >> when oppenheimer brought nuclear physics west first to berkeley and cal tech, and then to new mexico, he changed particularly new mexico. it brought this state that was poor, had very little infrastructure, and put in the middle of it this federally funded facility that just transformed the state. >> then, author martha andrews discusses the roles of western frontier women in her book, "ought of the shadows: the women of southern new mexico." on sunday at 2:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv. we visit the white sands missile range museum. >> the testing that's been done out here, people think it's been mostly military testing. but it really -- it's involved a lot of civilian uses, as well. a lot of the rockets that are
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fired out here, even today, are sounding rockets. used to do upper atmospheric research. that's still a big program out here. >> then, a tour of ft. seldon, a u.s. military outpost located near the rio grande river, established to keep peace in the region. watch c-span's tour of new mexico, saturday at noon eastern on c-span 2's book tv and sunday at 2:00 p.m. on american history tv on c-span3. working with our cable affiliates, as we explore america. we have found out over the last two years that many of the meta narratives introduced into the 2016 election were not of american origin. that they were crafted by foreign intelligence agencies outside the united states. >> sunday night, on "afterwards." former cia intelligence officer, malcolm nance, and his book" the
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plat to destroy democracy". >> these were techniques used by russia, but which could never keep pace with the news media world of the 1960s, '70s, '80s, even '90s. it's only when social media came to the height of its power with the ability of you to pick up a fake story and infect three or four or ten other people inside your facebook channel or your twitter feed, and then they would do the same thing in a daisy chain to create essentially, you know, a -- an unbreakable link of false narrative. at that point, nothing you believe before can ever be real. because you'll abandon it on the basis that it's been super reinforced by everyone you know. including the president. >> watch "after words," sunday
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night at 9:00 p.m. eastern on c-span 2's book tv. up next, american civil war museum ceo, christie coleman, looks at the controversy surrounding confederate monuments. she talks about her work as co-chair of richmond's monument avenue commission, and their process in determining the future of confederate statues located on that city's prominent thoroughfare. this hour-long talk was part of a conference on confederate icons, hosted by the shenandoah valley battlefields foundation. >> we're going to start the afternoon with answering a few questions that we've been hearing repetitively during the lunch time. we have gotten a lot of comments, and a lot of praise. so thank you very much. about the closing of this land deal. we've had people ask how they can get involved with the battle fields foundation. the best thing that you can do to help us save land here in the valley and help us preserve the memory of theri


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