Tag Archives: Civil War

Loophole

13th amendment

Image: loc.gov

Slavery was abolished in America at the end of the Civil War, with the 13th Amendment to the Constitution:

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

The amendment passed Congress in January of 1865 and after much debate it finally passed the Senate in December of that year. As has been pointed out by many, it has a loophole: slavery as a punishment for crime. Continue reading

From Nationalism to Patriotism: A Girl Can Dream

charlottesville nazisI’ve always felt that America was primed for a fascist takeover. In fact, to some outsiders America already lives with “a very quiet kind of fascism“. I’m sure most readers will still think, even after Charlottesville, that I’m overreacting, that it was only Charlottesville, not all of the USA, and yes, if it stops here, if Trump is dethroned, if this is the watershed moment when everything changes, great. But I don’t think so. I hope so, but I’m not optimistic. Continue reading

Collective Stockholm Syndrome: The Reason Facts Don’t Convince?

Trump fansI come across this kind of thing all the time. People practically pull their hair out in frustration because they can’t convince others with facts. I do, too. I just can’t fathom why so many people in this country never fail to vote completely against their own interests. Continue reading

Lies Your Teacher Told You

image: sundown.afro.illinois.edu

image: sundown.afro.illinois.edu

So yesterday’s post set the stage for James W. Loewen’s book Lies My Teacher Told Me. It was first published in 1995 and then updated in 2007. Loewen points out a lot of the same things I mentioned in yesterday’s post. In addition, he found that high school students generally rank history as the least relevant subject, even less relevant and interesting than algebra. (No offence, math teachers.) Continue reading

What Passes for History Here

image: lps.lexingtonma.org

image: lps.lexingtonma.org

The average American’s lack of history knowledge and insight has always boggled my mind. When I went back to college to get a degree in literature in the Rio Grande Valley, I had to take a summer course in World History. Five weeks. Because having spent five years on it in my Dutch high school didn’t count. It was five weeks of facts, and not even that many, because we also had to learn world geography. Continue reading

Confederate-flag-racism

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I took this picture in 2013 in a tourist shop in Missouri, intending to use it in a post about the confederate flag at some point.

The past couple of days I have come across several posts, reactions to posts, Facebook rantings by relatives even, about the fact that Americans are engrossed in two issues at the moment: the confederate flag and gay marriage. But especially our focus on the confederate flag “all of a sudden” irritates some. Continue reading

A Few Books and Movies About American Slavery

django unchainedWant to read or watch some more about American slavery?

Of course the first book on the list should be Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. It’s fiction, but based firmly in the harsh reality of slavery. It’s called the book that started the war. It certainly increased Northerners’ sympathy for slaves. Of course, if Uncle Tom had been a little less turn-the-other-cheek Christian the book wouldn’t have been so influential. But all of Uncle Tom’s misplaced pacifism and loyalty to the guy who sold him down the river aside, it is actually a pretty strong social commentary.

Continue reading