James McPherson, Ty Seidule, and the Naming Commission
Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. - James 4:17, The Bible
I lost a great deal of respect for James M. McPherson who once tried to get President Obama not to send the traditional annual wreath to the Confederate Reconciliation Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery. It is hard to believe somebody of his supposed stature would actually be so small.
It is also hard to believe he would mislead with his history by leaving out key facts, at times, but historian Rod O'Barr, below, documents it thoroughly. McPherson's social justice activism apparently defines his historical judgment.
Historians should be better but the politicization of history since the 1960s has turned much of our history into a lie. Many so-called historians, especially in leftist academia where the enraged mob will show up if you don't toe the leftist line (like we saw at Stanford Law School recently) are activists, not historians. They are not objective using truth as the standard. They are just another leftist mob.
That's why esteemed historian Eugene Genovese (Roll, Jordan, Roll, The World the Slaves Made, et al.) called the study of Southern history since the 1960s, a "cultural and political atrocity" perpetuated by "the media and an academic elite."
The inept Woke naming commission misled too by leaving out the reconciliation theme of the Confederate Memorial when the reconciliation of North and South is absolutely, irrefutably, 100% what the Confederate Memorial symbolizes. Arlington National Cemetery, itself, documents the reconciliation theme thoroughly in its 2014 application for its Historic District to be on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Confederate Memorial would not even be in Arlington National Cemetery except for reconciliation.
The reconciliation theme was unquestionably known by naming commission vice chair Ty Seidule but it was left out of their report to Congress. In other words, the naming commission misled Congress and the public by deliberately mischaracterizing the Confederate Reconciliation Memorial.
The reconciliation theme means the Confederate Memorial does not "commemorate" the Confederacy as was required by law for the naming commission to have any say. It commemorates reconciliation and the reunification of our country, therefore it clearly is not in the naming commission's remit. Their recommendation to demolish something that is not in their remit is illegal, and, regardless, is immoral.
There are other subjective statements in the naming commission's write-up on the Confederate Memorial that mirror leftist politics and are false but consider these irrefutable facts on the reconciliation theme: The naming commission did not mention that three presidents had been actively involved with the Confederate Memorial, which was the brainchild of Union soldier and President William McKinley who said:
. . . every soldier's grave made during our unfortunate civil war is a tribute to American valor . . . And the time has now come . . . when in the spirit of fraternity we should share in the care of the graves of the Confederate soldiers . . . The cordial feeling now happily existing between the North and South prompts this gracious act and if it needed further justification it is found in the gallant loyalty to the Union and the flag so conspicuously shown in this year just passed by the sons and grandsons of those heroic dead.
President William Howard Taft gave a well-received speech the evening of the laying of the cornerstone at a UDC ceremony.
President Woodrow Wilson gave the dedication address at the Confederate Memorial June 4, 1914, and both Union and Confederate veterans spoke lovingly of the monument and our reconciled, reunified nation. The year before had been the famous handshakes across the wall by the old Union and Confederate gentlemen for the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.
President Teddy Roosevelt spoke highly of the Confederate monument.
President Warren G. Harding sent a message of respect and admiration that was read at sculptor Moses Ezekiel's funeral.
Each year, every president sent an annual wreath to the Confederate Memorial including Barack Obama, despite James McPherson's request that he not. Do you think those dozens of presidents over the past century were commemorating the Confederacy or the reconciliation of our country?
Perhaps the reason the naming commission's report omitted the reconciliation theme is because commission vice chair Ty Seidule personally hates the Confederate Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery. He makes that clear in his book, Robert E. Lee and Me, on page 162:
Of the thousands of monuments around the country to the Confederacy, the one in Arlington National Cemetery angers me the most. Every year, the commander in chief sends a wreath, ensuring the Confederate monument receives all the prestige of the U.S. government. That's why it riles me so much. . . .
Seidule also admits on the same page that the Confederate Memorial stands for reconciliation, but if he had put that in the report to Congress it would be obvious that the Confederate Memorial is not in the naming commission's remit, therefore they could not have it destroyed.
So, the naming commission claims a monument named "New South" actually commemorates the "Old South" so they can declare it within their remit and destroy it based on a lie.
In Robert E. Lee and Me, Seidule continues on page 162:
I know both political parties and white citizens in the North and South brought the country back together after the tremendous bloodletting and destruction of the Civil War. The posts named for Confederate officers during World War I also served to knit white America back together as it fought a common foe. And it worked, but we must recognize that reconciliation came at a steep and horrifying cost. African Americans paid the price with lynching, Jim Crow segregation, and the loss of the franchise. The price for white reconciliation remains far too high. (Bold emphasis added.)
That's an unbelievable statement and more false history.
The reconciliation of our country after a war in which 750,000 died and over a million were maimed, was a good thing. Hundreds of thousands of Southerners have willingly died for our great nation and millions have served over the years and are serving now. Military service has always been revered in the South and that is a well-known fact since 44% of the United States military has traditionally been recruited in the South.
Seidule's Woke attitude and Wokeness in general are why there is a recruiting crisis that is getting worse by the year. Military Times reports that substantial numbers of proud veterans no longer recommend military service to their children because of politicization and Wokeness.
Elizabeth Warren's legislation that created this horrible commission and its destruction of the history of millions of patriotic Southerners has torn the very fabric of our country, and the destruction of a 109 year old monument to peace and reunification in Arlington National Cemetery will tear it further.
The destruction of the Confederate Memorial will unquestionably dishonor Arlington National Cemetery for all time. Arlington will be stained by filthy politics and no longer be the eternal sacred burial ground for ALL of our nation. Again, this is more ripping apart of the fabric of our nation.
Seidule admits that the Army posts named for Confederate generals were about reconciliation too, therefore THEY are not in the remit of the naming commission either. More law suits should be filed over this immediately.
The Heritage Foundation just issued a DEVASTATING report on Wokeness in our military and its terrible effect on recruiting, readiness, etc. It is as you would expect: Racist Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Critical Race Theory and a kind of absurd focus on climate issues, permeate and threaten our military. It is as disgusting as Elizabeth Warren and the naming commission itself, and as unwise and unnecessary as the base name changes in the South where 44% of the military is recruited.
When we gave statements last week to the full Advisory Committee on Arlington National Cemetery, some members of the committee, in their discussion afterward, expressed great concern about the terrible effect changing the Confederate base names in the South is having. One member said there were always a large number of Southerners serving, and changing base names in the South could not be good.
Read both of these that came out March 30, 2023:
Here is the full Report of the National Independent Panel on Military Service and Readiness. You can download this as a PDF and distribute it.
Defend Arlington now has fundraising merchandise with images from the Confederate Memorial and they are AWESOME! Really beautifully pieces including framed pictures, clothes, mugs, cell phone cases, etc. There are links to their merchandising website below. You can spend a lot of time browsing and every penny goes toward the legal defense fund.
WE CAN AND WILL WIN THIS FIGHT so please donate every penny you can, and THANK YOU and God Bless You to all those who have already given!
This is the hill to die on.
Here is "Spin and Suppression" by Rod O'Barr published March 28, 2023 on the Abbeville Institute Blog: www.AbbevilleInstitute.org
Spin and Suppression - by Rod O'Barr
Dr. James McPherson is one of the leading historians of the post-60’s era. He received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1963, with the Highest Distinction. He is Professor Emeritus of United States History at Princeton University where he taught for 25 years, and a former president of the prestigious American Historical Association. His book Battle Cry of Freedom earned him a Pulitzer Prize.
Despite all these accomplishments, Dr. McPherson has one major flaw. He allows his social justice activist ideology to interfere with his historical interpretation. It is a common malady of modern historians who must walk in lockstep with a Leftist ideology that controls the post-60’s academic environment if they want their career to survive. Their method is to suppress anything in history that does not support the myth that the Civil War was a poster event for revolution against oppression; it is a historiographical method employing Marxist style analysis.
An example of this suppression of evidence in McPherson’s work is his discussion of Lincoln’s 1862 offer of compensated emancipation to the slave States. He mentions the July 12 meeting Lincoln held with the border slave State representatives where Lincoln attempted to convince them to accept his offer. It serves his “crusade against oppression” narrative. But McPherson conveniently omits in the discussion where Lincoln says it is a strategy to win the war and not a crusade to free slaves. And McPherson omits where those representatives tell Lincoln that the seceded States did NOT secede over slavery, and as a “fact, now become history,” were offering to end slavery if European powers would aid in the war to gain Southern independence. This is an obvious intentional sin of omission on the part of McPherson to spin a false narrative.
In another example of the suppression of evidence, McPherson spins the narrative, common to most all modern historians, that the Civil War was caused by Southern objections to the 1860 Republican Party’s resolve to prohibit slavery’s extension into any of the western territories. This is presented as a “bondage happy” South wanting to extend slavery, and a righteous North drawing a moral line in the sand against it. The fact that leading Southern statesmen such as John C. Calhoun and Jefferson Davis denied any desire to expand slavery for its perpetuation is merely ignored. Even prominent Northern Senator Daniel Webster admitted that slavery could not go west because of climate – again ignored. The fact that Northern opposition to slavery in the territories was, as leading Northern statesmen such as William Seward stated, not out of a moral concern for slaves, but for the benefit of white people by keeping black flesh out of the west, is suppressed to spin it all as a moral crusade against an evil South.
McPherson has to spin the narrative in this fashion to somehow make palatable a war that was in reality a crime against humanity. For if ending slavery was not the ultimate justification for the war, then all that is left is a war to “preserve the Union,” which certainly has no redeeming moral value. How could it, in a Union whose founding organic law was based on a Declaration of Independence that asserted the fundamental human right to a “government by consent of the governed?” Preserving the Union did not necessitate forcing the Southern States to remain in it. The Union could have continued minus those States. But the Northern section would have been economically famished without those Southern States. Preserving the Union” was nothing more than a euphemism for forcing the Southern people to remain under a government to which they no longer consented, and for what? So that the North could economically exploit the revenue generated by “King Cotton.”
There are, however, some things even McPherson cannot spin, and he has to admit that it was the North, and not the South, who led a revolution against the Founders:
The South’s concept of republicanism had not changed in three-quarters of a century; the North’s had. With complete sincerity the South fought to preserve its version of the republic of the Founding Fathers–a government of limited powers. --- Professor James M. McPherson, Antebellum Southern Exceptionalism.
Union victory in the war destroyed the southern vision of America and ensured that the northern vision would become the American vision. Until 1861, however, it was the north that was out of the mainstream, not the south. --- Dr. James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom
McPherson admits Jefferson Davis’ commitment to the Founders' principle of “States sovereignty” as being the South’s casus belli:
Forced to take up arms to vindicate the political rights, the freedom, equality, and state sovereignty which were the heritage purchased by the blood of our revolutionary sires. --- quoted in Battle Cry of Freedom, Oxford U Press
McPherson, while admitting the North was the section that abandoned the Founders, is a nationalist who approves of the Lincoln led revolution against the Founders. Of the war he applauds that Lincoln forced,
the several states bound loosely in a federal union under a weak central government into a new nation forged by the fires of war…
...the old decentralized federal republic became a new national polity that taxed the people directly, created an internal revenue bureau to collect these taxes, expanded the jurisdiction of federal courts, established a national currency and a national banking structure. The United States went to war in 1861 to preserve the Union; it emerged from war in 1865 having created a nation. Before 1861 the two words “United States” were generally used as a plural noun: “The United States are a republic.” After 1865 the United States became a singular noun. The loose union of states became a nation.” --- James McPherson, Battle cry of Freedom, Oxford U Press