Civil War Perspectives

1870 Words 8 Pages
The Civil War was a pivotal moment in the United States’s history being a high point in a sectional discord that’s affects have continued to be evident in several issues in today’s society. As most wars, there’s at least two decidedly divided and biased sides to the story. With two perspectives coming from one country America had to decide how they wanted to remember this war. Being such a complex dispute with two very distinct viewpoints, each side had their personal view on the reasons for the war, the events throughout the war, and the effectiveness of reconstruction. Through extensive measures by multiple people, each side go their story out and shaped how others viewed the war decades after the fact, no matter how contrasting these memories …show more content…
The northern viewpoint was that the South was so vehemently against abolition that they seceded from the Union. In 1929, in an effort to get their story out and to inform future generations, a movement in the South created the Confederate Catechism, a document that did all it could to justify the South. It made such claims as slavery didn’t start the war but rather “the vindictive, intemperate anti-slavery movement that was at the bottom of all the troubles”, the South fought “…to repel invasion and for self-government, just as the fathers of the American Revolution had done”, and said that they would not have fought had “Lincoln not sent armies to the South” (Gardiner, Confederate Catechism). To the South the war was entirely started by the North infringing on state’s rights. In their mind they were every way in the right, and they continually denied the issue of slavery. However, there was much evidence to the contrary. Alan T Nolan in “The Anatomy of a Myth”, Nolan tackled the ‘myths’ of this “Lost Clause” ideology. He debunked the argument that the South lost purely for lack of military numbers, slavery not being the sectional issue, the South willingly giving up slavery eventually, and most astonishingly, slaves were docile and loyal servants (Nolan, Anatomy of a Myth). These ideas separated the North and South as they searched for truth. The South especially became frustrated as they felt their voices being …show more content…
Stories are told of the soldiers bravery in battle, shook hands and split their rations amongst themselves. Ulysses Grant greeted Robert E. Lee with respect and admiration and Lee returned with humility and grace. It was a momentous occasion, one to celebrate reunion and reconciliation. It was heavily romanticized, a beautiful and symbolic picture at the end of a gruesome war. But this was not the full story. Grant, in his report to congress at the conclusion of the war, he praised the general for his gracious surrender but felt he had “unnecessarily and tragically prolonged the war” (Fahs, page 13). Still, the veterans of the war remembered this time as a positive end on both sides. A few generations later, however, this was not the case. The descendants of these veterans began tontine matters into their own hands when it came to the remembrance of Appomattox. in 1932, United Daughters of the Confederacy member Mary Davidson Carter was outraged to hear a memorial was being planned for the disassembled McLean house where the surrender took place. To her and many others in the UDC, it was not a place of camaraderie but a place of defeat, and they refused to have that immortalized in stone. Due to their efforts eventually the monument was scrapped and a battlefield monument was erected in it’s place. (Janney, War Over a Shrine of Peace: The Appomattox Peace

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