Couldn't believe it when I saw the title of an article on Newser: "Anti-Abe Views Resonate In Dixie", and then to see it was an actual piece coming from "The Boston Globe." Unfortunately from habit, I geared myself to accept some bashing for people in the states south of the Mason-Dixon line. This didn't happen. In fact, I ended up engrossed in my reading of "The Anti-Lincoln Brigade", by Alex Beam.
February 12th will mark the 200th birthday of Abe Lincoln. This anniversary coupled with Obama's historical election will make for a lot of celebrating and some good publications. But to see an anti-Lincoln article will hopefully allow us to see some different views and aspects of history, and how they still relate to the 2008 elections.
Consider this quote from Alex Beam:
Writer Andrew Ferguson spent time with the Lincoln freaks and the Lincoln phobes to write last year's "Land of Lincoln: Adventures in Abe's America." "Both sides cherry-pick the historical record to suit their preconceptions," he says, "and neither side will acknowledge that Lincoln, like most human beings, was an extremely complicated man, a mix of good and bad." end quote
People like Bragdon Bowling,Commander of the Northern Army of Virginia, Sons of Confederate Soldiers, had this to say on Lincoln: "Lincoln is responsible for the devastation of the founding principles of our country, and you can lay 600,000 bodies at his feet, the casualties of a totally unnecessary war," Bowling told Beam. As for the bicentennial, "It's just a continuation of the Lincoln myth-making paid for with public dollars." Now before anyone writes Bowling off as a 'neo-confederate' with the 1950's definition of the word, consider former University of South Carolina History Professor, Clyde Wilson, who is interested in revisionist southern history. Like Bowling, he wants the dark side of Lincoln exposed knowing that the President has the "Messiah Myth" surrounding him in our traditional history.
If you are pro-Lincoln you will prefer to read history as it written by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Obama likes her historical version of Lincoln. Yet, why not consider getting a look at the 16th president from other historical perspectives? One description of Lincoln comes from Clyde Wilson who says: "the tender-hearted leader who authorized ruthless terrorism against women and children, refused generous offers of prisoner exchange while declaring medicine a contraband of war, accepted Grant's costly policy of losing three men for every one Confederate killed, was not above keeping his own son out of harm's way, and invited his own fate by clandestinely organizing the attempted assassination of Jefferson Davis."
Alex Beam makes a point we can say about many of our presidents: 'Lincoln was a mixture of both good and bad'. These views still resonate in the south, but mostly in the regard to state rights and how government should operate. These points of view were similar to the same issues that separated our country years ago. Old wounds were re-opened this election when race cards were played, and while name-calling reached a new nasty pitch.
The point Beam is making is that there is more to know and understand in our political history. It is complicated, just as were Lincoln, the Civil War, and the Election of 2008. My point relates to Clydes view in the myth that wrongfully surrounds Lincoln, and the current myth-making of Barack Obama...TRedwine
Read Alex Beam's Article: