Skip to comments.A Note On Footnotes(Lincoln Bashing)
Posted on 06/20/2002 1:32:23 PM PDT by WhiskeyPapa
click here to read article
Could you please point out where the conclusion part of the article begins and ends?
I think that in this article the conclusion is that one ought to verify the sources cited in history books and be alert to poor scholarship. The article assumes (whether rightly or wrongly doesn't pertain to the overall argument) that DiLorenzo's thought about Lincoln is incorrect but examines DiLorenzo's use of historical material, real and unreal.
As far as I'm concerned, I have drawn no conclusions about Lincooln from DiLorenzo's book because it is unreliable. For all I know his thesis may be correct, though I doubt it. But his book does nothing to advance the thesis and rather advances -- a very little -- the opposing POV because of the startling inaccuracies and imprecision of DiLorenzo's work.
I will have to look elsewhere for reliable information, that's all.
I turned in a manuscript last month of 200,000 words with 40,000 of them in footnotes. I did it for disclosure and because I felt perspective was required on sources.
My publisher claims they'll keep 'em. We'll see. I do think footnotes are on the way back.
In that case, one may see now that DiLorenzo was clearly referring to the charges on Marye's Heights, hence his assertion that the charges took place across an open plain. Your complaint is with Meade's temporary breach of the CSA right which, although it did happen, does not change or discredit anything DiLorenzo said. The open plains charges on Marye's Heights, themselves the core of the battle, were across the open plain, DiLorenzo's clear reference. All of them ended in disaster with not one man, dead or alive, reaching the wall.
I called this a small error, indicative of bias on the part of DiLorenzo. I think that just right.
And I asserted otherwise. I still assert otherwise as your own quote of DiLorenzo indicates that he was clearly referring to the charges on Marye's Heights, hence his mention of the open plain.
Of course Fredericksburg was a severe Union defeat. At the same time, it is simply not true to assert that no USA forces got "within 50 yards of the CSA lines at Fredericksburg."
But DiLorenzo did not say that. He said that none of the yankee charges across the open plain reached the confederate battle lines - an accurate statement. Meade sidestepped and hit the lines further up before being quickly overrun and repulsed. But he did not charge across the open plain on Marye's Heights, nor did he come within 50 yards of the confederate position on the wall at the hill's base.
We owe a duty of veracity and piety to our ancestors, on both sides. Meade's men had the only big Union success at this awful battle, and they ought not be denied it in polemical and revisionist writing.
Exactly where did DiLorenzo deny them? DiLorenzo's statement would have been innaccurate had they charged the wall and made it. But that did not happen. They did not even charge the wall. They slipped around the side of the other flank a good distance up the road. DiLorenzo does not mention that, as it did not affect the outcome of the battle or much of anything beyond a couple more casualties on both sides. But nowhere does he deny it either.
Second, and more importantly, Dr. D. inserts this error
What error? Your entire position is really a complaint that he didn't "highlight" a minor positive for the union in a battle that was a disaster for them. But that is not what yo are portraying it as. You portray it as a factual "error" for which he is to be faulted. But it is not. In reality, as indicated by the fact that he is clearly referencing the disastrous union charges across the plain, DiLorenzo made no error. He simply didn't highlight Meade's brief push on the line elsewhere, which you want to be included.
into an account meant to show that the CSA forces were both nearly invincible
Now that's an overstatement! DiLorenzo never portrays the CSA as some invincible and impregnable fortress. He only notes the historical fact that the confederates, for the first part of the war, were winning almost all the big victories. That fact is an undeniable part of history starting with the very first at Mannassas.
Lincoln was, in fact, fearful that the Proclamation would appear an act of desparation
Sure he did, and I believe DiLorenzo recognizes this, as he largely portrays it as that much.
As for pages 38-41, DiLorenzo is perfectly reasonable.
He starts off noting first Manassas - the first true battle of the war, and a major confederate victory.
He mentions the smaller western victories of the union in Tennessee. He puts Shiloh in perfectly reasonable context. It is considered a tactical union victory, but casualty wise the yankees suffered greater. More than anything else, Shiloh reaffirmed that the war was going to be a long one. He covers the events in Virginia throughout the next few months, which were predominantly either confederate victories or stalemates. Second Mannassas was another confederate win. Antietam was a stalemate, though you are correct it had effects in Europe - but not so much that the confederates lost something, but rather that they did not win it outright. Then there's the yankee disaster at Fredericksburg in December.
Oh. You are saying things you know not to be true in order to accomplish some goal. You call that "needling". Here we have another name for that kind of thing.
We all know the current state of higher education. It's precisely the large institutions which produce the most bilge. We all know the remarkable amount of tripe produced by professors laboring under the lash of "publish or perish", yet you seem to suggest that publication is a sign of reliability, that being a professor at a school which prefers teaching and study to grandstanding is somehow a bad thing.
The subjects under discussion include the reliability of a book, the causes and implications of the 1861-1865 war, and the character and motives of Lincoln. Into this conversation you insert statements you know not to be true about someone making arguments with which you disagree. To answer such personal attacks, even if they had a grain of truth, would be a waste of time. And when the attacker knows his attacks are false? What would be the point of replying? Once you know your interlocutor has despised the truth, conversation becomes useless.
DiLorenzo appears to have written things which he should have known were not so to support a controversial thesis, a thesis worthy of attention, even if many of his arguments are poor. To defend him against the charge of inaccuracy and imprecision you write things which you say you know to be false. To choose to be unreliable seems a funny way to defend someone else's reliability.
Precisely where does he make that claim?
People will check either because they question what they read or find the subject being touched on in a particular passage in a good book so engrossing they long for more (The latter case for me was a great read The Coming War with Japan the book was so good and so heavy with footnotes I ended up checking out and reading in part some 30+ of the referenced text)
The fact a footnotes for your source "fact" for a books should be a requirement the same as a hyperlink to a source "fact" for a post here
Just as here on Free Republic if you make and controversial assertion in a post the first question is what is your source (ULR) to back up your statement
So it is with a book if you make and controversial assertion in a print the first question is what is your source (book/footnote) to back up your statement
In both cases if an authors does not produce a source (via ULR or footnote) for there stated fact there statement is open to doubt
In my article at the top of this thread, I said, "when I was younger ..." I meant when I was much younger, and greedily reading all sorts of things, not in a scholarly or controversial setting.
Later, as a Graduate School student and beyond, I did, of course, follow some footnotes, with complete trust, to see what else was out there, and to deepen my understanding.
It was only recently, when I met the LewRockwell/DiLorenzo school of "scholarship" that I began to mistrust citations, and feel a need to chase them down.
That experience has been quite enlightening to me.
To others, I say, do read DiLorenzo's book, and then check with more reputable authorities. I recommend Shelby Foote, McPherson, David Donald, William Miller, Jaffa, the West Point Atlas, Bruce Catton, and, in general, the more reputable historians.
On J. Q. Adams's views on secession, the 1839 "Jubilee Discourse," which is not readily available, should appear this summer on my website, Declaration Foundation
Having said what I wish to say, and not wishing to provoke further ill-will, I think I will not revisit these matters much in the near future.
Best to all,
From your post, yes you understood Sorry for any lack of clarity in the first post ... chalk it up to being a touch dyslexic that shows when writing fast and being very tired
Is my understanding correct that you are the author of the original article?
Yes, I wrote it.
The issue does seem to be dwindling down, but I don't think it's a complete loss where we've gotten nowhere. If nothing else, we've explored a couple of the issues more thoroughly - for example, Lincoln's tariff letters. At times it may seem tedious, but the ground covered can be healthy.
We probably do best to express our love for the American Republic, and resolve to work for good and common causes in our own time.
I'll agree and there is definately both room and a need for that. We live in a vibrant period in history and also one with an unhealthy political and cultural situation emerging on the left. But there also must always be room for dialogue within a movement as well. I was reading an article by Jaffa last night discussing conservatism in the post cold war era. While I don't often agree with the Abratollah, he did raise a valid point. The cold war presented a necessity of a conservative coalition throughout the movement. That coalition had to be because the battle of the day was against communism in the soviet world and elsewhere. Communists are still around, but the nature of the battle has changed. A victory in the cold war is what disrupted it, but also opened the conservative movement to greater dialogue internal to itself.
It can at times be intense and even bitter, but it is also a necessity afforded to us by a unique time in history. But it also refines the movement as a whole and better prepares it for future battles ahead, including the inevitable time when a coalition of the right must again push forth together to defeat the left.