Commentary Magazine


To Get History Right, Democrats Would Erase It

More than a month after the coldblooded murder of African-American churchgoers in South Carolina by an overt racist prompted an intense and grief-stricken national discussion about racism in the United States, it is now possible to apply some perspective to the events that followed. Across the South, in public and private spaces, the Confederate battle flag was furled for the last time. Few responsible commentators saw this as anything less than a public good. Some even suggested that further steps were necessary; monuments to Confederate leaders should be torn down, roads and bridges named for Confederate generals retitled, and municipalities with Confederate roots renamed. What followed this catharsis was, however, a full-scale national moral panic. Perhaps the most ludicrous example of this overcompensation came when television networks cancelled re-airings of the Dukes of Hazard and the owner of the program’s original prop car, the General Lee, revealed that the vehicle’s famous rebel flag roof art was to be painted over. It was then that some cautiously began to wonder if the well-meaning decision to remove this historical artifact with all its negative baggage had gone too far. There was clearly no limiting principle to this national effort to address historical grievances. Where would it all end? Today, it is clear that, for some, the fight to make history conform to today’s moral standards has only just begun. 

The impulse to sanitize American history to force it to conform to modern moral benchmarks has taken a bizarre twist in Connecticut. There, the state’s Democratic Party has, under pressure from the NAACP, dropped the names of both Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson from its annual fundraising dinner. The two towering figures, both fathers of the modern Democratic Party, have been labeled persona non grata because of their ties to American slavery.

“Democrats cited Jefferson and Jackson’s ownership of slaves as a key factor in the decision, as well as Jackson’s role in the removal of Native Americans from the southeastern U.S. in what was known as the Trail of Tears,” the CT Post reported. This is surely just the first such effort; it is likely to be replicated by Democratic Parties across the country and perhaps nationally.

It is not a commentary on the value of their presidencies (like all commanders-in-chief, both of their presidential legacies are checkered) to note that, as members of the nation’s founding generations, to criticize them for violating of today’s moral standards is deeply unfair and revisionist. Yes, both men owned African slaves. Slavery and anti-black prejudice is fundamentally immoral, as the United States has acknowledged over the course of a bloody civil war, the passage of two constitutional amendments affirming equal rights, Reconstruction, desegregation, and the present debate over the dark symbolism of that period in history presided over by a black president. America struggles to atone for its original sin, and it probably always will. To attack the legacies of Jefferson and Jackson is, however, misguided. Removing their names from the pantheon of American icons is not the pursuit of historical accuracy; it is a declaration of historical ignorance.

For modern Democrats to abandon Jefferson, among the most literate and forward-thinking men to ever occupy the office of president, over slavery of all things is a bizarre exercise in self-flagellation. Jefferson was a populist, a pacifist, and one of the most successful advocates for the natural rights of all men to have ever lived. The figure that first wrote, “all men are created equal,” and then through the sheer force of principle and political acumen managed to convince his colleagues in the Continental Congress to unanimously ratify it, changed the world forever. The first anti-slave law in the United States, the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, which paved the way for the admittance of the Upper Midwest into the Union but outlawed slave labor in those territories, was based on a law drafted by Jefferson in 1784. Jefferson always considered the practice of slavery an “abominable crime,” and, as governor of Virginia, successfully outlawed the importation human chattel from abroad. In an 1806 message to Congress, then President Jefferson called for the importation of slaves to be outlawed permanently in the whole of the United States. He wrote that slavery was an institution that “the morality, the reputation, and the best of our country have long been eager to proscribe.” This is not a man who had much affinity for human bondage, and he spent a substantial amount of energy delegitimizing that custom.

Andrew Jackson was, from a conservative perspective, one of the worst presidents to ever occupy the White House. Jackson’s unique fear of centralized power (both public and private) gave meaning to the very definition of activist government. For 150 years, Democrats admiringly dubbed it Jacksonian democracy. But while the hero of New Orleans is properly reviled by the left today for the brutal treatment of Native Americans in the South and in the Western territories into which Americans were expanding, liberals fail to appreciate his mistrust of corporate interests, his fear of central banks, and his radical expansion of voting rights. What Jackson called the era of the “common man,” his critics derided as “the reign of King Mob.” Jackson, too, owned slaves. And while he was certainly less egalitarian than his Democratic-Republican predecessor, Jackson’s commitment to populist democracy set a tone that generations of his Democratic successors strove to emulate.

Again, where is the limiting principle? Will Washington D.C. or Washington state be forced to consider a change of name because the founder of this country, a man who could have followed in Caesar’s footsteps but chose those of Cincinnatus instead, owned slaves? Are we to qualify the legacy of Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, because he was by any reasonable modern standard a white supremacist? Will the bronze statues of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt be melted down because he approved of the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II?

Democrats are not merely purging their own history from the records. A Democratic administration is busily whitewashing the nation’s currency of at least one founder in order to comport with the evolving standards of conduct demanded by the social justice doyens on the nation’s college campuses. Following a brief, exclusively liberal campaign to banish Jackson’s portrait from the $20 note, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew decided to compromise. Instead, Alexander Hamilton, the father of the modern banking system, will be removed from the $10 bill – his likeness to be consigned only to the museums. And who will replace him? Lew revealed that, to satisfy insatiable demagogues who populate liberal blogs with content, it would be a woman. What woman? Who knows? The Department of the Treasury is taking your suggestions now. The only prerequisite is that they have the necessary chromosomal makeup in order to serve as some modest compensation for the ills endured by earlier generations of women.

Those who engage in this form whitewashing do not revere history; they despise it. Imposing the standards of their generation upon the long dead is the ultimate expression of condescension. It represents the rejection of context and is a contemptuous effort to shun understanding and tolerance – an exercise the left is forever lecturing others to perform. It’s a failure of intellectual curiosity; a denial of intellectualism itself. This is an Orwellian labor to enforce conformity; behaviors demanded of us by the parlor totalitarians who dare not tolerate divergence, much less dissent. Those societies that have tried to cleanse their histories in order to appeal to current tastes are not models worthy of emulation. Nations that re-write their history books soon turn their attentions to eliminating more contemporary sources of frustration. This is radical revisionism, and it must be discredited. If it is not stopped, it may soon become unstoppable.


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23 Responses to “To Get History Right, Democrats Would Erase It”

  1. JEREMY SCHAIN says:

    “This is radical revisionism, and it must be discredited. If it is not stopped, it may soon become unstoppable.” I would dare to venture that we have already reached that point. Virtually every branch (or tentacle) of the federal government is in lock-step with this ideology. Calls to politely work “within the system” is misguided and naive at best. Until/unless something revolutionary occurs, we don’t stand a chance…


      Talk about lock step: Commentary’s writers write it, and inevitably the commenters fall into lockstep behind whatever they say every time without fail.

  2. JOHN BURKE says:

    Well, it makes more sense anyway for today’s Dems to have an annual Marx-Lenin Day Dinner.

    • JOHN ELEY says:

      Efforts to erase our history are in effect efforts to erase our memories. The leaders of this effort fail to realize a fundamental psychological fact. Our past is going to be encoded in our bodies and in our nervous systems for as long as we are a people. All of the history that they do not like will go into the unconscious, or what is called implicit memory in neuroscience. It will grow in power and dominate us in ways that we cannot possibly understand now. This could literally drive us insane and lead to profound psychological disorders. Those of us who are willing to acknowledge our evil past have some hope of developing a less evil future, while those of us who deny our past will suffer unimaginable troubles when it comes out of the unconscious to haunt us. We need to fight the eradication of our history movement and to realize how dangerous it is.

      • RAYMOND MARSHALL says:

        Yes, and that is why we have to eradicate Howard Zinn’s books because they report all kinds of things we would like to forget. Up with the Confederate flag and the 5,000,000 members of the Klan down with all the stuff they believed. Down with nuance. Down with higher education. Down with detail. Down with depth of knowledge. Down with educated historians and all their sources. Bring back the Swastika to Germany. Let the skinheads out in the streets. Let their be pride in their past. Let Gobineau be loudly spoken of and taught. Is that what you want to apply? Muslims be proud of your clitorectomies? You people are so unsubtle, so uneducated, it is simply amazing. And this neuroscience pretense is utterly unconvincing. You know what evil is. Don’t do it. Start by simply not condemning people for doing what you yourselves are doing: Falling in line like good little soldiers without having a clue.


    Mr. Rothman is most fair in praising aspects of Jackson and Jefferson that most conservatives conveniently forget. Good for him.
    Whether or not it is too late to change this juggernaut of liberal revisionism is impossible to know: that’s why we keep fighting for good sense and academic honesty–we don’t know…we may be closer to some sort of meaningful victory than we realize. History is full of remarkable reversals. So we do what is right and hope for the best.


      Read real history books. Stop focusing on the idiots. There is plenty of good history being written. And revisionism is necessary as new documents and new angles of view become available. That there are ignorant liberals that get hold of podiums I have no doubt. But I see a lot more ignorance pouring out from the right myself. There are great conservative historians, and most of them have friends who are great liberal historians. You want to parade John C. Calhoun as your first great American conservative thinker after John Adams, go ahead. Be sure to remind everyone that Adams defended the Redcoats after the Boston Massacre and got them off. And be sure to remember that the Alien and Sedition Acts were passed under Adams and after that there was never another Federalist president. One can go on and on with this kind of stuff. Leave history to the historians, keep it away from the politicians and the administrators of either persuasion: most people can’t take it.

  4. MARGARET ATEN says:

    In Minneapolis Garrison Keillor will have to stop using the Fitzgerald Theater because this week an article in the New Yorker revealed that F. Scott was quite racist toward both Blacks and Jews.


      Don’t worry. Garrison Keillor would never drop Fitzgerald over something like that, just like the liberal New Yorker did not hesitate to publish the article revealing Fitzgerald’s prejudices.

  5. DAVID PETERS says:

    Jefferson knew slavery as wrong and worked to end it.
    Jackson wanted to keep it and expand it. Praising him for expanding the franchise meant including the white trash who also wanted slavery (because they thought they could get them one or two). Jackson was a hypocritical populist, who wanted less government (except where it enforced his property rights, i.e. his slaves), no central bank, because frontier banks could then print depreciating currency. It wasn’t just liberals who wanted him off the $20 bill, but to replace Hamilton on the $10 is itself hypocrisy, but also obfuscating. Of curse it would take a Democrat to do that; shame on Jack Lew, orthodox though he may pretend to be.


      Jefferson didn’t work to end slavery. When he died his slaves had to be sold to pay his debts. Had he worked to end slavery, he would not have died with those debts. The only slaves that were manumitted were Sally Hemmings and her family. Now George Washington, he not only freed his slaves on his death (not his wife’s may we note, but his own) but left enough money that some were still able to get money from the fund he set up for them about 50 years after his death. Still that didn’t stop Washington from punishing slaves who gave him trouble by selling them to worse slave masters he knew of in the West Indies. I very much agree: stories like these need to be kept alive, but they are not usually in the grand narratives because the grand narratives are so massive already that one has to be an historian or a citizen in love with history to know these things. Every single Republican presidential wannabe who talks about American history as long as I have been paying attention has been appallingly and obviously ignorant of American history, Michelle Bachman being only the most ridiculous and obvious of them. Ronald Reagan couldn’t stop mixing up movie history with actual history.

  6. DAVID PETERS says:

    Jefferson knew slavery as wrong and worked to end it.
    Jackson wanted to keep it and expand it. Praising him for expanding the franchise meant including the white trash who also wanted slavery (because they thought they could get them one or two). Jackson was a hypocritical populist, who wanted less government (except where it enforced his property rights, i.e. his slaves), no central bank, because frontier banks could then print depreciating currency. It wasn’t just liberals who wanted him off the $20 bill, but to replace Hamilton on the $10 is itself hypocrisy, but also obfuscating. Of course it took a Democrat to do that.
    Now Commentary wants to censor me.


      Commentary doesn’t want to censor you. Commentary wants you to get as smart, as educated, as well read, as its commenters used to be. I have been laughing about Jackson being on the Twenty for years now. I think more Twenties are being printed now then ones thanks to ATM machines. And you are right, it is ridiculous to take Hamilton of the Ten instead of Jackson off the Twenty. And you really shouldn’t be calling the Republican base white trash should you now, David? Perhaps we could put Leona Helmsly or Ann Coulter on the Twenty. If it were up to me, being a conservative and not one of these new fangled radical right wing fanatics, I would leave it just as it it, I like smiling at old Andrew and his imagined anger at his fate being spit out of a Federal Reserve money machine, though you must remember that the Federal Reserve is a corporation.

  7. K T NOELL says:

    “Those who control the present, control the past and those who control the past control the future.”
    George Orwell
    Need you or we say more, Mr. Rothman?
    Use it next time, and add some illustrations.
    See the historical erasures in the USSR, the “non-persons.” Or Howard Zinn, whose revisionist American History is leading millions of (mostly) public school students into a revisionist swamp from which few will emerge.


      Oh, K T Noell, I suspect it is you in the revisionist swamp from which you will never emerge. Howard Zinn is supplemental at best, and few teachers assign Zinn, and if they do, not much. So relax. And look at the employment of Mr. Luntz by the RNC to rewrite political English for them to see who worried they are about Orwell. Luntz for example came up with “job creators” as a replacement for “rich”. It is no accident that no Republican has said “the rich” for 20 years or so. Luntz has changed the whole vocabulary. And of course it is ridiculous as the “job creators” are the people with money in their pocked because they are working. That is why more jobs were created under Obama and Clinton than Reagan or the two Bushes, because they focused on putting people to work, not on cutting taxes to the “job creators” (i.e., the rich the Republican terminology is all Orwellian and you people don’t even know it). I once heard Luntz being interviewed (he is shameless) offering to provide an Orwellian euphemism for any term put to him, when the interviewer asked for a euphemism for “Orwellian” for the first time before or since Luntz was stumped, he couldn’t do it. You folks are all victims of the very techniques you here deride and they are the techniques of the political side you march obediently behind in lockstep mouthing the words you are taught and the arguments and pseudo facts you are presented. Good luck escaping. You might start by actually reading Orwell rather than a collection of quotes.

  8. RICH KIME says:

    This is why we would have been better off mocking and resisting the Left when they first started this madness over the confederate flag. Conservatives have a bad habit of telling themselves that each concession will be the last. But of course by enthusiastically going along with the social justice warriors we only encouraged them, and now yes it’s only a matter of time until they’re attacking things like the Washington Monument, etc. The fact is we’ve made that only more likely with the approval we’ve shown them in this case.

    Per The Prince, when a fight is inevitable don’t let your enemy be the one who decides the time and place. Which means, I think, when applied to our current circumstances, that we might as well stand our ground and fight right now instead of waiting until they’re after The Lincoln Monument and The White House.


      The left didn’t start this “madness over the confederate flag.” It was a spontaneous public event, like Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” She wrote a book in which a slave was believably the most Christ like figure in the book. Given the population of the country at the time (first serialized then sold as a book in 1852 and selling 2.5 million copies), it was the best selling book in American history to this day. When the 21 year old assassin faced the families of those he had murdered on that television monitor in court and they forgave him under such horrific conditions they shamed the racists of the country. The mayor of Charleston and the people of the legislature of South Carolina, majority Republican, loved S.C. Senator Pinkney as a man who happened to be black and a minister, and they saw the pictures of that killer and his use of that flag, and they thought back on the use of that flag when the largest terrorist group in the world, some 5,000,000 people in 1925 flew it and what it meant to that killer, and they decided it was time to take it down from in front of the capitol of the first state to secede to start the Civil War. They did this because of their love for the Senator, not because of some Leftist cause. And you are thick as a brick to think so. Where the hell have you been? Are you even a patriot God damn it?! That flag came down out of decency and to put an end to the absurdity of flying a Confederate battle flag put up in 1962 as a point of resistance to the Civil Rights movement, because white Republicans in the South Carolina legislature loved Reverend Clementa Pinckney and had been moved by the astounding, pardon me but this is how they would have thought of it, “Christian” behavior of the families of the slain toward the murderer. Now if you thank that was a result of a leftist plan you are just too pathetic for words. Yes, you’ve picked the right time Rich Kime go out and start your fight to save the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and the White House from the Left. Go join the Klan. There are 4,500 of them left in a vast number of different groups, go find one, tell them how enlightened you are and what your plan is. It should go over real well. Actually, maybe you should really try to save yourself and go join the church Senator Clementa Pinckney was a pastor of, and pick up some charity, some clarity, and sit in for some bible study, and leave the attitude outside, No, on second thought, they have been through enough already. Just try some quiet meditation, then take some courses and see if some college won’t let you in.

      • JOHN BEATTY says:

        So, Amazon, in a “spontaneous public event” stopped selling Stars and Bars-themed merchandise (except of course the books)? Seriously? And flag-makers, feeling suddenly very PC, stopped manufacturing those items out of “compassion?” Who are you trying to kid? The roof of General Lee was repainted because someone may be inspired to shoot someone else after seeing it? And now, Forrest’s tomb may be relocated, and Leesville, PA (not named after RE Lee but someone else) because of shame over the slavery-supporting past?

        Codswallop. They did it out of fear of the screaming classes of Progressiveness, the boycotting doyens of the Correct Thinking with deep wallets and rolling cameras.

      • RAYMOND MARSHALL says:

        So you think the South Carolina Legislature and Governor were acting out of a leftist plan or fear of some progressive action. And while Amazon publishes books on Nathan Bedford Forrest and on the Civil War from the perspective of the Confederacy, it stopped selling the Confederate Battle flag out because of a progressive program of intimidation and a desire to rewrite history. And that such business decisions are a result of a leftist conspiracy. And that political correctness is a solely a problem to be found on the left, and not at all to be found on the right. And that fools cannot be found on all sides. And that the “screaming classes” are inevitably on the so-called Progressive or liberal side and not to be found on the radical right wing side, that “boycotting doyens of Correct Thinking with deep wallets and rolling cameras” feast on promoting folly and rewriting history? You are so sweet. Amazon acts out of a love of profit I guess, Leesville out of idiocy, and the people who still resent Forrest’s brilliant leadership against the forces of the United States no longer deserve continued honor. The push to build statues of Albert Speer, Erwin Rommel, or Werner Freiherr von Fritsch, or any of the other great Nazis in Germany, and the flag waving of the swastika by the skinheads is an honorable conservative cause of history minded Germans I imagine now for you John.
        There are fools in every camp John, as can be witnessed every day on these pages.
        And I am not trying to kid anyone. Read my comments again John. The Republican governor and legislature of South Carolina made their own decisions on this for very particular reasons. When ever something becomes highly publicized, of course absurd events will occur, but as you stress, Amazon continues to publish the books. No one erases the pictures. But on the right, the successes of both Clinton and Obama and the failures of Reagan and both Bushes are erased quite completely from the pages of all your journals and they never even make it into your minds. All you know is the negative, and you won’t admit a single iota of the positive. And if you did, that is about all you would admit, an iota. Who are you trying to kid John? The radical right is so loaded with PC you cannot even tell the ideological difference between the 16 Republican wannabes running to be one of the final 10 on the Fox game show for the Plutocrats’ beauty contest. And when they all “debate”, it will be a contest of who can do the PC with the greatest pretense of deep conviction, and somewhere inside, you know that is true. It must be pretty depressing for you. Talk about “doyens of the Correct Thinking with deep wallets and rolling cameras.” I hate the PC of both groups, but led by Luntz and the RNC both sides are sick with the disease, but the radical right is far sicker than what is left of the left. The radical right is down with the PC plague, and you are showing all the signs of having it yourself, sorry to say.

        Now, be sure to stay in step with your leaders, John.

  9. KENT LYON says:

    Of course Democrats want to erase the history of race in America–Democrats were the perpetrators of slavery, the Missouri compromise, the Kansas-Nebraska act, segregation, Jim Crow, Dred Scot, Plessy v. Ferguson, resegregation of the military under Woodrow Wilson, the atrocities of Bull Connors, the intrasigence of George Wallace, and all of the racial atrocities committed by government and public and political figures in America. Why would they not want to erase their own history? They do it every day in every way possible. Just like Hillary erased her emails.


      Oh Please! Slavery pre-existed any political parties. No parties drove the existence of slavery. It was largely a sectional issue, and so was the Missouri Compromise for the Federalist Party no longer existed by that point and the neither the Whig Party or the Republican Party had come into existence yet. The only party was often denoted as the Democratic-Republican Party. Now you are going way out of chronological order, for Dred Scott was a Supreme Court Decision that outraged the North, and helped lead to the Civil War. Slave owners had dominated the Presidency and the Supreme Court for the first 70 some years of the country. Then Kansas-Nebraska Act was a huge mistake that destroyed the Whig Party, which was divided between Southern and Northern factions, and when it split, the Republican Party took shape adding the Free Soil Party to the northern members of the Whig Party. Jim Crow appeared because the defeated Confederate States, the one flying those Confederate battle flags your colleagues are arguing on behalf of, hating the Republicans so much for fighting the Civil War and not allowing them to set up a Slave nation and taking over Cuba, Mexico, Central America, and northern South America to make a huge slave nation. When the North found it impossible, especially given the racism endemic in the North to bring peace to the South as so many do gooder Republicans wanted, they let the Jim Crow laws arise. This was allowed because the courts, especially the Plessy v. Ferguson Act of 1896 Decision which allowed Separate but Equal to be the law. A brilliant dissent went into the record, but it wasn’t until 1954 when the Brown vs. the Board of Education decision was passed that Plessy was reversed. You can see from the difficulty of getting reversing Supreme Court decisions reversed, that the Plessy decision was not a Democratic decision at all. It was a Southern decision. And you can be sure than neither Eisenhower or the South wanted to enforce the Brown v. Board of Ed. Decision wanted it enforced in 1954, but unlike so many now, Eisenhower was a patriot, and he enforced it using troops when necessary. When the Democrats under JFK and LBJ decided to do the right thing and pass a series of Civil Rights laws under the pressure of the courageous Martin Luther King, they knew they were giving up their lock on the Southern vote. Kevin Phillips explained the new Republican Southern strategy, and Nixon and the RNC picked up on it. Then the racist southern whites took their votes to the Republicans who switched their sides immediately. In no time, the Republicans picked up on the the traditional schizoid Democratic position that had so split the Democratic Party. It was Truman who had ordered by executive order the integration of the U.S. military. And the Republicans had long been retreating from their Civil War positions. It had happened quickly as soon as 1876 when the 14th Amendment began to be misused to protect corporations instead of blacks. The South is yours now, Kent, and has been for a long time. No one is trying to erase that history, Kent, save the Republicans, with its defense of the Confederacy as wholesome as the Nazis, though events in South Carolina give us some hope. As I said, you really have to get some history under your belt. You are right, Woodrow Wilson was a Southerner with an obnoxious racist attitude. FDR was not, but in order to get his programs passed, he had to compromise. It is kind of like the way Netanyahu has to act as if the born agains who support him so much has to forget that they are looking forward to Armageddon and the end of the world and the eternal damnation of all Jews who don’t convert come the end times which they think will come as soon as Israel builds that third temple, and the sooner the better. And those born agains make up 20% of the Republican electorate. The Republicans cannot win without them, so Netanyahu humors them, and takes the vast amounts of money they provide him with. Compromise. FDR compromised. Politicians do that Kent. They just do. So did Lincoln. Good luck to you, Kent. Just remember this, George Wallace changed his whole tune before he died. His whole tune!


      Oh, and Kent, if you want me to recommend some truly scholarly history books that explain much of this stuff in detail (without the typos and mistakes I made–my wife and I are making dinner) I can give you first rate recommendations. Oh and by the way, Kevin Phillips, the writer that came up with the Republicans Southern Strategy for gaining the Southern bigot vote they picked up on in 1969, has turned against the Republicans entirely and has quite a list of scholarly books on the subject you want to look into for a more balanced view so you can come at the Democrats with less misinformed, more knowledgable argument. It helps to be well informed when arguing. Best to know your opponent’s argument better than he does, don’t you think, than to make obvious errors.

      • RAYMOND MARSHALL says:

        Okay Kent, let me correct some things as I was writing so fast moving from my study to the kitchen and back, and I will just skip the typos, one, the defeated South immediately started fighting the Northerners that came South to try to help the freed slaves. In Reconstruction the intentions were good, but the North was just to eager to settle the West, the Industrialize, and basically to take care of business rather than fight a recalcitrant South. The history is complex, but protecting the blacks in the South was just too complicated. Grant managed to shut down the Ku Klux Klan and its original leader the famous Confederate calvary leader who some of your online acquaintance are getting so upset about his getting his comeuppance all these years later. Northerners were themselves very bigoted against black themselves, with significant numbers of exceptions, but there were not enough to protect the freedmen in the South. The Jim Crow Laws appeared. Above, in my hurry, I referred to the Plessy v. Ferguson Act (there was no such “Act” of course) as I immediately said as it was a catastrophic court decision that I then briefly explained. A brilliant black Civil Rights lawyer, Thurgood Marshall, managed 58 years later, in 1954 to get the Supreme Court to get that law decision thrown out thereby ending the legal segregation of public schools in the South. Marshall won all or nearly all of the cases he brought before the Supreme Court, and later became the first black member of the Supreme Court. Later in a clear mockery of Affirmative Action, the brilliant judge Thurgood Marshall had to retire and was replaced by George H.W. Bush with a cipher, judge Clarence Thomas, a man with no significant legal credentials whatsoever. The country itself came to develop a very strange misunderstanding about the Civil War because of two films, a silent film by D.W. Griffith that came out around 1915 that was unquestionably a cinema masterpiece that made the Ku Klux Klan out to be a great historic American movement, and of course Gone With the Wind which lent a sympathy to the South. Recently two important studies regarding Appomattox have come out showing how the South misread Grant’s generosity at Appomattox and took it to mean the South had not really lost the Civil War. I have not finished the books yet, so I can not say more about them just now. At any rate every American walks around thinking they know American history, and believe me they do not. I don’t know, I probably made some more inconsequential errors above. You can ask me if you have any questions. But for the most part it is all correct and to the point. Keep reading.

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