Governor McDonnell recently declared April “Confederate History Month“. To some people, this sounds a lot like “Let’s all wear white hoods and burn some crosses”. These people are, shall we say, misinformed.
News flash: the Confederates were not the “bad guys”. They weren’t out to conquer anyone, or exterminate anyone. The Confederacy did not fight the Union to preserve the practice of slavery, nor did the Union attack the Confederacy to prohibit it. The vast majority of Confederate soldiers did not own slaves, nor did they fight in the war to defend the practice of slavery. They were fighting for the same things the Colonials had fought for a century earlier.
Was slavery evil? Of course it was. It was also on the way out well before the Union and the Confederacy went to war (and it continued in the “North” until well after the Civil War had ended). The Civil War was not fought over slavery: that was an excuse fed to people who did not know any better (and apparently still don’t). “Slavery” was the “weapons of mass destruction” of its era (the deception, in that case, not being that slavery did not exist — it did, in both the North and the South — but that it was the reason for the war).
People who equate the Confederacy with slavery are ignorant of an important part of the history of Virginia and the USA. Let’s hope that the observance of “Confederate History Month” can help to educate those people.
On the other hand, history is written by the winners. If the North spent 150 years telling people that Confederates had cloven feet and gave birth by laying eggs, the people attacking McDonnell would be repeating that story, too, saying he was defending the unholy cloven-hoofed egg-laying slave-mongers.
“The Civil War was fought over slavery” belongs in the Great Lies Of History right next to “George Washington chopped down a cherry tree” and “Christopher Columbus proved the world was round”.