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The Author of the Civil War
New York Times ^ | JULY 6, 2012 | CYNTHIA WACHTELL

Posted on 07/07/2012 11:51:43 AM PDT by nickcarraway

At the height of the holiday shopping season of 1860, a bookseller in Richmond, Va., placed a telling advertisement in The Daily Dispatch promoting a selection of "Elegant Books for Christmas and New Year's Presents." Notably, the list of two dozen "choice books, suitable for Holiday Gifts" included five works by the late Scottish novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott in "various beautiful bindings."

Sir Walter Scott not only dominated gift book lists on the eve of the Civil War but also dominated Southern literary taste throughout the conflict. His highly idealized depiction of the age of chivalry allowed Southern readers and writers to find positive meaning in war's horrors, hardships and innumerable deaths. And his works inspired countless wartime imitators, who drew upon his romantic conception of combat.

In 1814 Scott had begun his ascension to the heights of literary stardom with the publication of the historical romance "Waverley," which was soon followed by other novels in the so-called Waverley series. The works were an immediate and immense success in Great Britain and America. Over the course of many volumes, Scott glamorized the Middle Ages, at once shaping and popularizing what we now consider the classic tale of chivalry. As one enamored 19th-century reader explained, each of Scott's romances focused upon the "manners and habits of the most interesting and chivalrous periods of Scottish [and] British history."

Among Scott's most famous works was "Ivanhoe," published in 1820. The romance, set in the 12th century, presents a tale of intrigue, love and valor. The plot traces the fortunes of young Wilfred of Ivanhoe as he strives, despite his father's opposition, to gain the hand of the beautiful Lady Rowena. In the course of Ivanhoe's adventures, Richard the Lionheart and Robin Hood appear, and Ivanhoe performs many a remarkable feat.

(Excerpt) Read more at opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Books/Literature; History; Hobbies
KEYWORDS: dixie
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1 posted on 07/07/2012 11:51:48 AM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

I always liked Sir Walter Scott’s books. I think my favorite one is “Quentin Durward” tho it is not one of the most popular ones.


2 posted on 07/07/2012 12:17:07 PM PDT by yarddog
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To: nickcarraway

There was nothing chivalrous about the Land of the Whip and Lash nor the RAT Rebellion. Fantasies aside, slavery was based on an inhumane, anti-American kind of thought and the insurrection was justified with outrageous lies.


3 posted on 07/07/2012 12:22:54 PM PDT by arrogantsob (Obama must Go.)
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To: nickcarraway

I would wager money that I can say two things about this author with confidence. Assuming that Cynthia is of the non-male gender, she does not believe in historical context and she believes in a ‘living US Constitution’ rather than as the Founders wrote it.

I say this because the mind that ‘blames’ a civil war, who’s roots were clear at the time of the US Revolution, upon a popular author writing in the 1820-40s in another country, is the same anchor-less mind that believes that the US Constitution requires national health care.

In opposition to her thesis, I could use the same conceptualization she uses to blame Christianity for the US Civil War. There is no doubt that the vast to overwhelming percentage of the war’s activists and participants not only read the Bible but also frequently went to Church in years, months and weeks preceding and during the war.

Sometimes an author is just expressing the feelings of his time and place and becomes popular because he does it better than anyone else AND as Robert Heinlein put it, it can be very profitable. As the truism goes, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar!


4 posted on 07/07/2012 12:31:14 PM PDT by SES1066 (Government is NOT the reason for my existence!)
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To: nickcarraway
A great historian stated that the antebellum Southerner was “..the closest thing to a nobility that ever existed in the United States...” Oswald Spengler The Decline of the West As I recall he then stated that because they were nobility that fact was one of the reasons that the commercial peoples of the North hated them.
5 posted on 07/07/2012 12:36:49 PM PDT by AEMILIUS PAULUS (It is a shame that when these people give a riot)
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To: arrogantsob

Now tell us if you read the entire OPINION piece.


6 posted on 07/07/2012 12:39:42 PM PDT by BatGuano (You don't think I'd go into combat with loose change in my pocket, do ya?)
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To: nickcarraway

“Breathes there the man with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
“This is my own, my native land”?
Whose heart hath n’er within him burned
As home his footsteps he hath turned... ?
If such there be, go mark him well...
The wretch, concentrated all in self,
...Doubly dying shall go down
To the vile dust from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonor’d, and unsung. —”The Lay of the Last Minstrel” (1805)”


7 posted on 07/07/2012 12:46:43 PM PDT by JimSEA
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To: nickcarraway

The author of the opinion piece uses Mark Twain to make her point? Twain sounds as if he was jealous of competition from Scott’s books sales.

Most of the people, North and South, read the Bible too.


8 posted on 07/07/2012 12:47:10 PM PDT by BatGuano (You don't think I'd go into combat with loose change in my pocket, do ya?)
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To: nickcarraway

Nothing says “I love you” better than a Sir Walter Scott book. Elegant English, elegant stories, he does it all.

Wonderful stuff. Beautiful to the ear.


9 posted on 07/07/2012 12:48:20 PM PDT by buffaloguy
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To: arrogantsob

It seems you are not aware of the fact that slavery was brought to the colonies by the British Crown, with Americans from every colony opposing the practice. Is the insurrection your refer to the War of Independence?


10 posted on 07/07/2012 12:50:13 PM PDT by PeaRidge
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To: SES1066

Judging the past’s literature by today’s standards and mores is an exercise in futility. If you know something of the culture, it radically changes the book.

Shakespeare is an excellent example. If you are familiar with Elizabethan mores and imagery he is both hilarious and dirty minded.


11 posted on 07/07/2012 12:52:58 PM PDT by buffaloguy
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To: PeaRidge

What does the origin of an evil system have to do with its enthusiastic perpetuation?

Americans never had a choice in how the British government ruled them. They were subjects not citizens. Hence they violated no laws they had agreed to be ruled under.

Naturally your red herring only smells.


12 posted on 07/07/2012 12:56:28 PM PDT by arrogantsob (Obama must Go.)
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To: buffaloguy
I agree. There are passages in all of his books that make you stop reading, hold the book, and say “Wow, this man could write”.

I have visited his home in Abbotsford, Scotland, near Melrose. Just being in the area is a delight and the tour is worth going out of one’s way.

13 posted on 07/07/2012 12:56:56 PM PDT by BatGuano (You don't think I'd go into combat with loose change in my pocket, do ya?)
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To: BatGuano

Personally I like the comment about charging those who submitted their poetry to the newspapers the same rate as for an obituary. Very funny.

Otherwise, typical academic writing I would say.


14 posted on 07/07/2012 1:02:55 PM PDT by arrogantsob (Obama must Go.)
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To: JimSEA
"There was a land of Cavaliers and Cotton Fields called the Old South.

Here in this pretty world, Gallantry took its last bow. Here was the last ever to be seen of Knights and their Ladies Fair, of Master and of Slave.

Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered, a Civilization gone with the wind.."

15 posted on 07/07/2012 1:06:57 PM PDT by Bratch
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To: PeaRidge

Not just the British Crown. Africans were an integral part of the slave trade, and a slave-holding African, Anthony Johnson (”Antonio The Angolan”) was responsible for bringing the law suit that established chattel slavery for the first time in the colonies.


16 posted on 07/07/2012 1:13:23 PM PDT by achilles2000 ("I'll agree to save the whales as long as we can deport the liberals")
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To: arrogantsob
The red herring is your braggadocian arrogance which is designed to barely rationalize your overt hostility.

Colonial attempts to eradicate slavery are well documented, as were the enthusiastic efforts of the Founding Fathers.

17 posted on 07/07/2012 1:19:53 PM PDT by PeaRidge
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To: achilles2000

Isn’t that the court case that established lifetime slavery?


18 posted on 07/07/2012 1:44:38 PM PDT by PeaRidge
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To: Bratch
"There was a land of Cavaliers and Cotton Fields called the Old South.

Here in this pretty world, Gallantry took its last bow. Here was the last ever to be seen of Knights and their Ladies Fair, of Master and of Slave.

Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered, a Civilization gone with the wind.."


I just cannot bring myself even fleetingly to a romanticized view of a class whose status and well being depended upon the abomination of slavery.

I say this as someone with family roots in Alabama and ancestors who fought for the Confederacy, and yes, some who owned slaves. But none of that makes slavery any prettier or the class that fed off slave labor anything other than abhorrent.
19 posted on 07/07/2012 1:57:14 PM PDT by Nepeta
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To: PeaRidge

Yes. Chattel slavery i sa colorful folkway of Africa that they brought here.


20 posted on 07/07/2012 3:18:55 PM PDT by achilles2000 ("I'll agree to save the whales as long as we can deport the liberals")
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To: BatGuano

I think I need toa take a trip to B&N for some Sir Walter. It has been too long.


21 posted on 07/07/2012 3:26:10 PM PDT by buffaloguy
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To: PeaRidge

You must be arguing with yourself since i never claimed there were no colonial attempts to eradicate slavery and it has no bearing on what I actually HAD discussed even so.

Though not technically a “Founding Father” Jefferson made gestures in Congress to limit slavery but that ended after he was sent to France. The only slaves he freed were the Hemmings. Hamilton formed the New York Manumission Society and defended escaped slaves in court which was one of the reasons he was despised in the South.

Franklin tried to have Congress deal with it before it was constitutionally eligible to do so.

What was originally a movement with adherents on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line became limited to the North side of it. What was originally legal in all states was outlawed by state authority in the North and enthusiastically defended in the South.

My “hostility” is entirely directed at the Slaverocracy and those attempting to justify its actions. I have none towards Southerners particularly since I was born and raised in the South and my family is all still there.

Most screwed by slavery was the South. It brought immense riches to a few and misery, destruction and horror to almost everyone else. And that misery was just begun by the war. The North was not utterly ruined by slavery, the South was. Yet, we still have people who try and pretend there was some state “right” at issue. The only right involved is not a right at all merely tyranny.


22 posted on 07/07/2012 9:18:14 PM PDT by arrogantsob (Obama must Go.)
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To: arrogantsob
I wanted it to be very clear to which group you were directing your hostility, and you have met that goal by stating your awareness of the fact that the issue was on the shores of the continent well prior to the time of the Founding, a continuing problem for decades, and then centering blame on the South as if it stood alone in the creation of the issue. Not only a stretch in logic, but a willing effort at factual concealment.

In your mind, you have contrived a concept of the “land of the whip and lash” in the South while conveniently sweeping from your consciousness that slavery arrived on these shores in 1620, first legalized in New England, and a fundamental underpinning of Northeastern industry for over 200 years.

Focusing negative comments on the South shows your hostility, which is obvious in its contrived nature. You just get a kick out of being a self-righteous boor. Surely you don't just sit there and smile at your misrepresentations, or do you?

23 posted on 07/08/2012 5:36:59 AM PDT by PeaRidge
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To: arrogantsob
The issue of slavery does not explain the reasons for my ancestors fighting for the south, as none of them owned slaves(at least that is what my research tell me). You wouldn't understand. Of course slavery was evil and wrong. EVERYONE in the south knew that blacks just weren't ready for freedom and self sustenance in 1860. History has shown that to be true. THe thought of turning out people with no education or survival skills would be like turning 8 year olds out and telling them to survive. Most former slaves STAYED RIGHT WHERE THEY WERE UPON emancipation, nothing really changed except they became share croppers instead of slaves. If the owners were SOOOOOOOOOO evil do you think they would stay on the plantation post-bellum? YOU ARE JUST AN IGNORANT jerkface and should really STHU. I don't know why I even bother.

Take your reconstructed history and shove it up your tail pipe.

24 posted on 07/08/2012 5:50:29 AM PDT by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: PeaRidge

He was probably referring to the failed insurrection of the southron slavocracy.


25 posted on 07/08/2012 8:47:59 AM PDT by rockrr (Everything is different now...)
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To: central_va

Hey, that’s the same rant you used over on the ‘Nuge thread. Good to see that you recycle ;-)


26 posted on 07/08/2012 8:59:58 AM PDT by rockrr (Everything is different now...)
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To: PeaRidge

None of your conclusions are valid. The Land of the Whip and the Lash was never a totally free agent and often the plantation owners were running their operations primarily to service the debts to Northern and British bankers.

As mentioned slavery was banned in the North despite the economic effects so my consciousness is working fine wrt this issue. Nor did anything I wrote indicate any ignorance of the fact that pro-secession feelings were not limited to the South but were widespread throughout the North especially New York City.

There is not one “misrepresentation” I have made. I suspect that many facts would be a “misrepresentation” deadly to your defense of the RAT Rebellion.


27 posted on 07/08/2012 12:41:41 PM PDT by arrogantsob (Obama must Go.)
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To: rockrr

It has been slightly tweaked.


28 posted on 07/08/2012 4:54:04 PM PDT by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: rockrr; central_va
Hello again rockrr. I see you are repeating your usual, tired comments.

There was no insurrection, since the authority of the Union government had been removed by the people of the seceding states, and replaced with their own.

They were carrying on with their lives until Lincoln sent warships to Charleston and infantry into Virginia.

29 posted on 07/09/2012 11:16:38 AM PDT by PeaRidge
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To: arrogantsob

Your misrepresentations began with these.....

“There was nothing chivalrous about the Land of the Whip and Lash nor the RAT Rebellion. Fantasies aside, slavery was based on an inhumane, anti-American kind of thought and the insurrection was justified with outrageous lies.”....

...and continues on with an occasional attempt at facts. You are not interested in facts but flaming and blaming...who it is not clear.


30 posted on 07/09/2012 11:21:05 AM PDT by PeaRidge
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To: PeaRidge

....nor does it matter.


31 posted on 07/09/2012 11:22:33 AM PDT by PeaRidge
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To: central_va

I was going back over some recent threads and saw that “non-sequitur” had taken some new names and was trying to re-post after his banishment. Had you seen any of that?


32 posted on 07/09/2012 11:24:35 AM PDT by PeaRidge
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To: PeaRidge

“It seems you are not aware of the fact that slavery was brought to the colonies by the British Crown”

Maybe AFTER slavery was institutionalized as a legal practice by a black man that enslaved another black man; Anothony Johnson enslaved for life John Casor. Prior to that, indentured servants were held but only for five to seven years to pay off their debt for being brought to the colonies.


33 posted on 07/09/2012 11:25:51 AM PDT by CodeToad (uired to vote for a treaty.)
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To: PeaRidge

Hello again pearidge. I see you are repeating your usual, tired retorts.

There most certainly was an insurrection, complete with fighting and everything. The south tried to muscle their way in order to thwart an election they didn’t like under the pretext of a secession.

It didn’t work out too well, did it?


34 posted on 07/09/2012 11:28:21 AM PDT by rockrr (Everything is different now...)
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To: PeaRidge

NS is back under several names. He’s just an angry idiot that hates the southern States and hasn’t a clue as to why. He claimed to have been station in Charleston, SC in the Navy and was treated badly, or so he claims. I think he’s just a yankee liberal that believes all things Southern are ignorant and stupid. In other words, he’s one of those yankee liberals that’s always in a bad mood and can’t stand happy southern hospitality.


35 posted on 07/09/2012 11:33:47 AM PDT by CodeToad (uired to vote for a treaty.)
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To: PeaRidge

i haven’t seen him under another name for awhile now. I feel he lurks however.


36 posted on 07/09/2012 11:47:07 AM PDT by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: central_va
Reading Booker T. Washington's “Up From Slavery”.

Sure, you keep a people ignorant - pass laws against them becoming educated - keep them working from before sunrise to after sunset at back breaking labor - THEN claim that they simply are not ready for freedom!

Slavery was a blight upon not just those held in slavery - but the slave holding society itself.

After emancipation many of Washington's relations did indeed stay on the farm - where they continued to do the work and tend to the children and wash the puke from the the face of the drunkard who inherited the farm, undress him and put him to bed when he stumbled in.

“The whole machinery of slavery was so constructed as to cause labour, as a rule, to be looked upon as a badge of degradation, of inferiority. Hence labour was something that both races on the slave plantation sought to escape. The slave system on our place, in a large measure, took the spirit of self-reliance and self help out of the white people. My old master had many boys and girls, but not one, so far as I know, mastered a single trade or special line of productive industry. The girls were not taught to cook, sew, or even to take care of the house.”

37 posted on 07/09/2012 11:47:55 AM PDT by allmendream (Tea Party did not send GOP to D.C. to negotiate the terms of our surrender to socialism)
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To: allmendream

If you want me to defend slavery I won’t. My only comment is that the former slave, now share cropper, worked 3 hour days and lounged around until supper. Every day, including harvest time reading Harpers Magazine.


38 posted on 07/09/2012 12:13:29 PM PDT by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: central_va

Sure sure. Farmers have always had SUCH an easy life. It was no doubt easy to earn a living getting a share of the crop production after three hours of labor a day; while people who owned their farms were living a life of total ease getting ALL of the profit and produce from their own leisurely work schedule./s

Do you think the former slaves would have been MORE ready for freedom after another hundred years of slavery - or less?


39 posted on 07/09/2012 12:21:40 PM PDT by allmendream (Tea Party did not send GOP to D.C. to negotiate the terms of our surrender to socialism)
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To: CodeToad

Thanks for the detail. Good facts.


40 posted on 07/09/2012 1:19:32 PM PDT by PeaRidge
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To: rockrr

It was working very well until Lincoln, with the permission of the Republican controlled Congress, started a war to protect the financial interests of the Northeast.


41 posted on 07/09/2012 1:23:54 PM PDT by PeaRidge
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To: CodeToad

Could not agree more.


42 posted on 07/09/2012 1:26:01 PM PDT by PeaRidge
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To: PeaRidge

Except that it was the southron fire-eaters that started the war.


43 posted on 07/09/2012 1:29:30 PM PDT by rockrr (Everything is different now...)
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To: allmendream; central_va

“Do you think the former slaves would have been MORE ready for freedom after another hundred years of slavery - or less?”

I don’t think that is the question.

Since slavery was peacefully eradicated in the Western hemisphere by 1888 (Brazil), the real question is, “Was it worth over one million American lives to end it twenty three years earlier?”


44 posted on 07/09/2012 1:37:27 PM PDT by PeaRidge
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To: rockrr
Actually it was the Northron fire eaters in the White House cabinet office that started the war.
45 posted on 07/09/2012 1:39:27 PM PDT by PeaRidge
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To: PeaRidge

(snicker) Sure chief.


46 posted on 07/09/2012 1:48:54 PM PDT by rockrr (Everything is different now...)
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To: PeaRidge

Was it worth over one million American lives to attempt to keep practicing slavery for another twenty three years?


47 posted on 07/09/2012 1:50:59 PM PDT by allmendream (Tea Party did not send GOP to D.C. to negotiate the terms of our surrender to socialism)
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To: PeaRidge

Every word is true. I do not know what your particular fantasy is about that era and area or where it comes from but I know how that in general comes about.

It is not my fault that the economic system of the slavers was obsolete and inconsistent with the American spirit, Freedom, and the rest of the modern world. Hell, even Brazil and Russia had gotten rid of it by 1860.

No one should be surprised that the justifications used by the Slavers would only work on the most ignorant or interested parties in the South.

There were NO rights threatened by Lincoln’s election. Historical advance definitely threatened the Slavers though.


48 posted on 07/09/2012 7:37:20 PM PDT by arrogantsob (Obama must Go.)
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To: central_va

LoL no wonder you believe the crap you believe. Hell, there would be volunteers signing up for such a plantation life.

Where those slave “readers” of Harpers those who learned to read in spite of the LAWS passed FORBIDDING whites from teaching slaves to read? Can you imagine a law actually FORBIDDING the teaching of reading? Wow.


49 posted on 07/09/2012 7:44:19 PM PDT by arrogantsob (Obama must Go.)
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To: central_va

Why were freed slaves or those who escaped the Land of the Whip and the Lash to the North able to be ready for freedom but not Blacks in the South?

Was it because the Blacks of the South were forbidden education by LAW? Because they were forbidden to learn to read and write by LAW? Was it because of the systematic abuse of the Slave by LAW?

Obviously you know NOTHING of the reality of the REAL role of the slave in that economy or you would have to admit that MOST of the skilled and/or mechanical jobs in the South were performed by slaves not by the ridiculous ruling class which owned them. Mostly helpless parasites. The slaves were the Labor class producing the wealth of the South but are not capable of living in freedom? Utterly ridiculous.

Those without survival skills were the decrepit and degenerate ruling class of the South.

Why Mammy went to the city with Scarlett and don’t forget Big Sam left Tara too. Of course, you cannot understand that the system under discussion was evil not all the people trapped in it. Many were stupid and immoral but not all however it is difficult to remain pure when in a cesspool.


50 posted on 07/09/2012 7:56:43 PM PDT by arrogantsob (Obama must Go.)
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