How the church can recognize the legacy of slavery and move toward reconciliation
Over the past 20 years, Catholic institutions and leaders have made real efforts toward racial reconciliation. Examples include the U.S. bishops’ anti-racism pastoral letter “Open Wide Our Hearts” in 2018; the formation of the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism in 2017; individual statements from church leaders, including Bishop Edward K. Braxton’s 2016 pastoral letter on the Black Lives Matter movement; religious men and women acknowledging their history with slavery, including the Jesuits in 2016 and three orders of nuns in Kentucky in 2000; and the U.S. bishops’ 2001 collection of essays Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself.
“Open Wide Our Hearts” acknowledges the need for U.S. Catholics to fully reckon with the sin of slavery: “The generational effects of slavery, segregation, and the systemic use of violence—including the lynching of more than 4,000 black men, women, and children across 800 different counties throughout the United States between 1877 and 1950—are realities that must be fully recognized and addressed in any process that hopes to combat racism.” The pastoral letter was accompanied by resources to educate Catholics about racism and its effects on education, employment, housing and migration; guides for clergy to lead discussions on race; and educational material for students at all levels.
These efforts are helpful, but the church can do more. And this summer, The New York Times provided a template worth considering.
The U.S. church can create an accurate timeline of its history and relationship with slavery—rather than waiting for the secular media to do it.
The 1619 Project was published to commemorate the 400th anniversary of what many historians believe was the first transport of African slaves to the European colonies that would become the United States. That summer, two English privateer ships attacked Portuguese vessels and captured 20 to 30 enslaved Africans. In August of that year, the White Lion arrived in present-day Virginia, and its crew sold several Africans to the colonists as indentured servants. Eventually, more than 12 million Africans were forcibly transported during the trans-Atlantic slave trade, including about 380,000 who were taken directly to North America. By 1860, the slave population in the United States had grown to four million.
The extensive work by Nikole Hannah-Jones, who spearheaded the project, and other writers, historians, sociologists and photographers traces this history. They argue that no part of American life is untouched by the legacy of slavery, from our prison system to our daily traffic jams (the result, in part, of segregationist housing patterns). In an interview about the project, Ms. Hannah-Jones said that it is for “Americans who are not black, so that they could understand this history and ongoing legacy and really reckon with our true identity as a country and who we really are. I wanted to reframe the way that we see this history and the way that we see ourselves.”
The 1619 Project was published to commemorate the 400th anniversary of what many historians believe was the first transport of African slaves to the European colonies that would become the United States.
Black worshipers have always been part of the Catholic Church in the United States and yet, as Tia Noelle Pratt recently wrote in America, there is often “incredulousness that surrounds the very idea that black people are Catholic.” Rather than serve as a safe space for black Catholics, Ms. Pratt writes that the church has become “a place where [racial] segregation is heightened and perpetuated.” She argues, however, that there is still time for the church to show black Catholics—and all black Americans—that it is committed to racial justice.
One way to do this would be by using the 1619 Project as a teaching moment and as a model for the church’s own efforts toward reconciliation. Here are two ways that can happen.
First, the U.S. church can create an accurate timeline of its history and relationship with slavery. While the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops provides great resources, as mentioned above, there is a need to clarify which Catholic institutions had connections to slavery; which bishops or other members of the clergy used enslaved persons as free labor; which Vatican documents were used to condemn or support slavery; and what the official church teaching was on slavery.
In my own research, I have come across history I was unfamiliar with, including the 1452 papal bull by Pope Nicholas V, “Dum Diversas,” that granted Afonso V, the king of Portugal, “full and free power, through the Apostolic authority by this edict, to invade, conquer, fight, subjugate the Saracens and pagans, and other infidels and other enemies of Christ,” language that was used by Catholics at that time to justify the institution of slavery. I also found “In supremo apostolatus,” a decree by Pope Gregory XVI in 1839 condemning slavery. Creating and making publicly available an accurate timeline that acknowledges such history would be beneficial to Catholics and better than waiting for the secular media to do it.
Second, the church can conduct a nationwide study asking Catholics how well they understand slavery and whether they believe its effects are still being felt today. An example of what such a study would look like was conducted by The Washington Post in July. The poll surveyed 1,025 U.S. adults and found that 67 percent agree that the legacy of slavery still affects U.S. society today a “great deal” or “fair amount.” The study found that younger Americans were more likely to agree, but it did not include data on religious affiliation. The church could conduct a similar study among U.S. Catholics.
Making this kind of research readily available for Catholics would be a concrete way for church leaders to follow up on the call to action they issued in “Open Wide Our Hearts.” By engaging in historical study like this, the church and its leaders can continue to show their commitment to eradicating racism in the United States and, as Ms. Hannah-Jones said, help to “reframe the way that we see this history and the way that we see ourselves.”
Is racism a real problem? Or are claims that racism is a problem or that blacks are still experiencing the effects of slavery the problem? Blacks have a tough life but is it due to changes in family structure that accelerated in the late 1960’s and not to discrimination? Black Americans were definitely at a lower economic level than white Americans but making steady progress and that suddenly stopped in the late 60’s. It would be hard to say that this was the effect of slavery a hundred years before or Jim Crow laws which were essentially eliminated by then
Your ideas here are sheer racist idiocy. If you don’t believe racism is real, visit a prison. As I said before, you are a bigot.
Apparently you do not want to help black Americans but would rather insult people who do. Read Thomas Sowell, William Julius Wilson, Candace Owens, Jason Riley and Orlando Patterson for what has happened and what may help. It may open your eyes as to who the real bigots are.
Fatherless home were caused by Democratic Party policies
Again, one of the major reasons for black fathers being absent was the Republicans insisted that if the families were to receive welfare, a man could not live in the household.
Unbelievable distortion. Why make it? The Democrats had 60% of the house and Senate when this legislation was passed. They had even greater share the next congresses and could have passed anything they wanted.
Since it is the liberal Democrats who have traditionally seen the need to provide food, clothing, and shelter to poor children, the Democratic Party gets blamed for anything that goes wrong with the programs even when there are items in the programs the liberals did not support. Perhaps I should have said it was the conservatives who insisted that fathers leave the home to received welfare. I said Republicans because they overwhelmingly supported it. Republicans and segregationists, southern Democrats joined together and developed the strategy which resulted in the break up of poor black families. The conservatives insisted on the “No Man in the House” rule. The Dems had control of the Houses, but the party was split and the South frequently voted with the Republicans as they did on this issue. This kind of in fighting within the Dem. Party continued until finally, one by one, most of the southern Dems migrated to the Republican Party.
You are engaged in pure conjecture as to what happened and by whom in the passing of that legislation, all based on your position as a Democrat self servingly claiming that “we Democrats are traditionally always the good people in favor of helping others”
I suggest you check out the genesis of “the welfare system “which started in the Roosevelt years as a way to help single mothers who had no access to Social Security. Welfare by definition only included single woman households. Unmarried co habitation was not an accepted practice when the Great Society Programs we’re initiated.
You might also read Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s 1965 report on the factors destroying the fabric of the Black Community and Washington Post Article , June 13,2013 , Valbrum, “ Was the Moynihan Report Right, Sobering Findings after 1965 Report is Revisited”
One of the frustrating things in discussing things with conservatives is some of them reject your premises without making it clear which item they object to; and, they offer no proof of their objection. I am not sure what you are objecting to. Are you saying that conservatives did not demand the “No Man in the House” rule? Or is it something else?
I did not base anything on the “self-serving” fact “we Democrats are traditionally always the good people in favor of helping others.” I did not say that, yet you put it in quotes which, as you know, indicates that is exactly what I said, which it is not. I did not talk about doing favors for others. Republican do favors for others also. I said, “Since it is the liberal Democrats who have traditionally seen the need to provide food, clothing, and shelter to poor children…” I am confused by your objection. You and conservatives complain about these programs and how Dems are ruining poor families with them, but now you object to me conceding to the fact that is it is usually Dems who generate these programs. Why do Dems. promote the programs? Obviously, because Dems see a need for them. Self-serving? Further, that phrase was the introduction to my sentence to point out that since Dems are the ones who champion the programs, Dems are the ones blamed for any failures in them. Is that not true?
I am aware of the genesis of the Social Security Act. FDR, another one of those liberal Dems who saw a need, urged Congress to pass the Social Security Act, by stating to Congress "Among our objectives I place the security of men, women and children of the nation first." With all due respect, it is incorrect that welfare was limited to single women. The purpose of AID TO DEPENDENT CHILDREN was to support impoverished children and there is no requirement that the man, or anyone else, had to be out of the home. See the Social Security Act at https://www.ssa.gov/history/35act.html Title IV. You may be conflating Title IV with Title V which deals with MATERNAL AND CHILD WELFARE, but even here there is no requirement that the man must be out of the home. https://www.ssa.gov/history/35act.html Title V.
The Moynihan Report. I always liked Senator Patrick Daniel Moynihan, but his report was highly controversial when it was published and it still is. The term “blaming the victim” was first used against him. (I think conservatives have been very critical of blaming the victim.) The report’s ambiguities and contradictions produced confusion over its aims. Many liberals understood the report to advocate new policies to alleviate race-based economic inequalities. Many conservatives found it a rationalization for arguing that only racial self-help could produce the necessary changes. The worse among us used the report to reinforce racist stereotypes about loose family morality among blacks. It should be noted, that Moynihan stressed the debilitating legacy of American slavery, asserting that it was “indescribably worse” than any form of bondage in the history of the world.
I am utterly perplexed as to why you think the “No Man-in-the-House” rule was not inserted into the bill by conservatives. I am not talking about the passage of the final bill in 1964. I am referring to the “No Man-in-the-House” rule being added to the bill and who demanded it Republicans and conservative, southern Dems joined together demanding it. Obviously, it is not a concept the liberals would push. Do you have a source to prove otherwise? There are many credible sources on line that discuss this. I have an article and a quote from the article about the consequences of the “One Man Rule” and who supported it. They were written by Glenn McNutt who has a Ph.D. in Administration & Planning Practice/Social Work. You may check his credentials at https://www.bidenschool.udel.edu/Documents%20Bios%20CVs/john-mcnutt-cv.pdf.
In 1992 McNutt wrote: “So if a man lost his job, he literally had to leave home if he wanted his children to be eligible for government surplus cheese, beans and peanut butter. Somehow conservatives persuaded themselves that this encouraged ‘family values.’…Conservatives like to talk about the ‘law of unintended consequences’….Welfare hasn’t worked, they argue, because it only produces more dependency. Yet dependency clearly is a function of the great increase in single-parent, female-headed households over the last 20 years. And that, in turn, was at least in part an unintended consequence of punitive welfare rules that forced poor men to chose between abandoning their children or watching them starve.”
The article is “Welfare's Unintended Consequences" at https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/bs-xpm-1992-05-18-1992139210-story.html
McNutt in the Baltimore Sun tries to have it both ways...he claims without source that the “no man rule” was imposed by“conservatives” and he then modifies that a sentence or two later to say “Southern Conservatives” ....whom I believe at the time of passage were all Democrats.
But this may all be a big Red Herring:
The Dept Of Health And Human Services describes The Aid to Dependent Children as:
“...a grant program to the States to enable cash payments to needy children who had been deprived of parental support or care because their father or their mother was absent from the home, incapacitated , deceased or unemployed.
Make what you will of that .....but it does not constitute a “No man in the House Rule” as has been later characterized...and on this point you and I agree.
Nothing in the 1964 Economic Opportunity omnibus Bill appears to have such a “rule/regulation “ either.
It appears that such a rule may be imputed to be in Federal Legislation because various states used a “No man in the House” as one of its State Requirements to participate in the grants it received from the Federal Gov.
In which case I suggest you will probably find such state rule most prevalent in the then solidly Democrat Southern. States.
Indeed the Supreme Court decision in the1968 King Case declared such a rule void as frustrating the purpose of the Aid to Dependent Children Act and I do not believe the Court referenced any legislation in 1962 or 1964.
In short it appears that the “No man in the House Rule” was NOT inserted in any federal legislation by anyone but was a state by state issue.
Indeed it turns out that NY City itself had such a rule and it has never been noted as a bastion of conservative government.
I will keep searching for how this “No Man rule” gained currency
I really don’t know how to respond to you when you make comments that imply you either did not read my responses correctly or you what…I don’t know.
McNutt was not trying to have it both ways. I already stated to you, MORE THAN ONCE, that the southerners were Dems at the time, but they were VERY CONSEVATIVE. The split between the liberal Dems and the conservative Dems was so great mostly because the Dems were pushing for the Civil Rights Act, that the conservative, southern Dems eventually migrated to the Republican Party. Yes it was conservatives, regardless of what party they were in at the time, who insisted on the No Man Rule. McNutt did not have a source? I gave you a link to check his credentials, which are very impressive, so you could know he is not a fraud. Writers give sources in their research work; they normally do not give them in newspaper or magazine articles. Further, as I stated before, with no effort at all, you can go online and find tons of articles that write about conservatives demanding the No Man rule.
Your quote from the Dept. Of Health And Human Services. I agree it does not state the No Man Rule. I never said it did. It merely states, “ their father or their mother was absent from the home, incapacitated , deceased or unemployed. Note, it does not say the man is not permitted to be in the home.
Is it your contention that the No Man rule does not exist? Please make that clear to me.
I was going to cite the King Case for you to show that the No Man rule actually existed. I agree that NY City is not conservative. I think this is even more indication that it was a federal requirement. Why else would NY City have it?
I don’t think it was a state decision and this is why. One of the reasons the feds inserted themselves into the programs was because so many states, especially in the South, were not distributing funds fairly. They often excluded blacks from the funds even when they clearly qualified for them.
I don’t know where in the enormous bill that the No Man rule is. Nor do I want to go into that kind of research. I have relied on all my readings about it from several credible sources.
If “no man in the house were in any bill then the Court in !ing would have mentioned it...Note the King case stands for the proposition that the “No man rule” violates Federal Law!
The case was brought against a state rule.
The Aid to Dependent Children and all subsequent welfare grants were “block grants “ to the states that participated with each State setting its own parameters. I believe a footnote in the King case indicates that some 31 states had adopted the equivalent of what you call the “ no man in the House Rule”....but that the language differed in many of this 31.
Just read the King case. The case was brought against Alabama for its rule .....that rule could not have violated Federal Law if the same rule existed in Federal Law.
McNutt has no source because there is none on a federal level....The King. Case demonstrates it was solely a state initiated rule right up to the time that case was decided. Yes , the fact that NYC had such rule demonstrates that there was no Federal Rule. A city or a state does not independently adopt a rule that already exists and is binding under Federal Law
I already stated to you why McNutt did not cite a source in his article. This conversation is of no use. Your side is determined to promote the position there is no tremendous racism in this country and ignore all the numerous, credible studies to the contrary. I don’t see the continuation of this as producing any benefits.
If you know any black people, I recommend you ask them about any discrimination or racism they have endured. I guarantee you they will have stories to tell you, if they are willing to do.
After a good deal of research on the “No Man in The House Rule” and McNutt’s lack of a source: There was no such rule in any Federal Legislation! Your attribution of such a rule to “conservatives” is bogus! Your reference to the Man in the House Rule has become such a liberal meme that it is referenced in “West’s Encylopedia Of American Law, Edition 2 , 2008.
West Law is a standard legal reference series. It states in pertinent part:
“Before 1968 administrative agencies in MANY STATES CREATED andENFORCED TheNo Man in the House Rule.
In 1968 The Supreme Court struck down the regulation as being contrary to the legislative intent of Aid to Families of Dependent Children Act (AFDC) Program.” ....[emphasis added by capitalization]
In short there was no historic action by Southern Conservatives and Northern Republican Conservatives in Congress to create this regulation. It was the product of individual states !
To my knowledge, Larry Elder did not do a study, nor is he quoting one. He is a radio talk show host who is merely giving his opinion.
Jack Riley asks, “ Did the “legacy of slavery” and Jim Crow skip over a couple of generations and then reassert itself in the mid-1970s?” Why is Riley not aware that the 1970s would be one of the consequences of the conservatives insisting that poor families could not receive welfare unless the man of the house left the home; the infamous “No Man in the House.”
As noted above your attribution of the “no man in the house rule “ to conservatives is a totally unsubstantiated argument ...Jason Riley probably missed that because it wasn’t and isn't true.
Obviously, someone just took this sentence out of Wilson’s book and pretended it proves racism no longer exist. This is merely a statement of fact that the situation for blacks in the inner city had worsened. It did not say why.
Wilson’s rejected the conservatives’ view that black poverty was due to cultural deficiencies and welfare dependency. Instead, Wilson blamed “sweeping changes in the global economy that pulled low-skilled manufacturing jobs out of the inner city, the flight from the inner city of its most successful residents, and the lingering effects of past discrimination.” He believed the problems of the inner city blacks could be alleviated only by “race neutral” programs such as universal health care and government-financed jobs.
“When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor” by William Julius Wilson.
Wilson is a professor of Sociology at Harvard and has been awarded numerous awards for his research and publications.
This is one of the shell con statements conservatives love to use. Dennis Prager uses this too.
This is comparing the U. S. to other countries. Fine. However, the issue is not how blacks are doing in other countries compared to the blacks in the U. S.
The issue is how blacks are doing in America compared to the whites in America.
Read Cornel West and Michelle Alexander and W.E.B. Dubois and Toni Morrison and countless others. You are ignorant and racist.
Whenever the discussion is about race, you continually cite the same people with the same statements. How old are the studies these people did; although, I don’t think Candace Owens did a study.
You ignore the numerous studies and research that demonstrate racism is alive and well. Your refusal to learn what other studies show implies you want your interpretation to be valid regardless of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
What studies? What overwhelming evidence? Maybe you should cite them.
Thomas Sowell and Jason Riley have published books in 2019 about the topic. Candace Owens is obviously current. Patterson has been publishing for the last 30 years on the topic and his latest work in 2015. Larry Elder's facts are current.
I have given you studies on other issues. You never responded and from your continued postings of the same studies, I assume you did not even bother reading them. I shall try again. You asked for some studies of proof and below are just a few. There are many more. I don’t understand how you avoid them if you do any research.
“The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander
White Washing Race: The Myth of a Color-Blind Society by Michael K. Brown et al
HOUSING DISCRIMINATION AGAINST RACIAL AND ETHNIC MINORITIES 2012 Executive Summary by HUD
Deadly Force, in Black and White
A ProPublica analysis of killings by police shows outsize risk for young black males.
Study: Racist Attitudes Are Still Ingrained
PEW Center on the States
Why don't you point out when I did not respond. If indeed I did not respond I will try to here. I have not looked at this thread in a couple days but thought I had to respond to this specific comment. By the way there have been many times when I responded to you but never had a reply.
Trump was being criticized for his bigoted statements. You came up with a claim that Obama had done something similar. It was so long ago I don’t remember what it was, but it sounded totally out of character for Obama. I asked you SEVERAL times to give me the source of your claim. You ignored me every time.
You ignored me every time.
Not true. I answered you.
Why don't you extract the findings of this book that indicate ongoing racism due to slavery. No one is denying that Blacks have a very tough time and are incarcerated at a much higher rate. Neither this nor any of the other studies you mention support the proposition that slavery or Jim Crow is the cause of current problems.
I gave you the source. It is up to you to review it. That is how it works when you source something. When you post something, I go to it and review it and research its credibility. Giving someone a few lines out of a book can be very misleading.
Your responses to me often do not relate to the issue I am discussing. The theme of the book is that black men are incarcerated at such a high level that it has become the new Jim Crow system. The author states, "a stunningly comprehensive and well-disguised system of racialized social control that functions in a manner strikingly similar to Jim Crow. She calls it a “racial caste system.”
I am mystified how you can discuss these issues and be totally unaware of various credible studies showing just the opposite of your comment. One would think you would at least stumble across them. I suspect you merely go to right wing sources and do not search for any body of work that disputes the studies you want. It is obvious you do not read the sources I post for you. It is also pretty apparent that you do not bother to search for their credibility.
The question of why has been answered in various studies. Black men get much longer sentences than white men for the same exact crime. Other similarities and differences are taken into consideration with the studies.
Why don't you take the evidence provided by the book and list it to show how the discrimination the book claims to exist occurs and how it compares to the past.
Again, I gave you the source. It is up to you to review it.
Definitely discrimination against some blacks and to a lesser extent against some Hispanics and Asians still exists but down substantially over the years.
It is breath taking how you are so dismissive of serious studies. Your statement that housing discrimination is down from over the years is meaningless. Over what years? Are you talking about when discrimination in housing was legal?
The study shows that some blatant forms of discrimination like refusing to even meet with a minority is down, but other forms persist. The discrimination is substantial and it restricts housing options for minorities.
The evidence is overwhelming that there is not police lethal force against blacks compared to whites. What people are comparing is the reaction of police to a criminal act, which are more likely to occur in black population areas. There are actual studies showing police less likely to shoot a black than a white in similar situations. One might ask why do blacks commit such a high rate of violent crime when that was not the true years ago. What changed to make that happen?
What are your sources for such a claim? To my knowledge no credible study makes such a claim. What is your "overwhelming evidence?"
Are you not aware of all the black men who have been killed by law enforcement and they had no weapon; or were giving the law no problem; or were merely asking a question? Tell me, do you watch Fox News?
Link in article is missing a character. Not sure what this shows other than what is already known. A much higher percentage of black are in prison. No one denies that. The question is why?
Thank you for the information.
I listened to Dennis Prager years ago when his show on Sunday nights was about religion. He always had a priest, a rabbi, and a minister as guests. I enjoyed it. Then he got into politics with a daily show. Again, at first, I enjoyed it. I like to read and listen to people whose views are different than mine. Else, how do we learn? However, Dennis started moving more and more to the right until he became too difficult to listen to---and I was not learning anything from him. I do recall all his “proofs” about why there is no racism here. Many people are taken in by him because he is so articulate and appears to know everything about anything. If you listen to him closely you can hear when he is doing a shell game. He is terribly arrogant and that often gets in his way.
This has become my favorite thing that he does. He has been married three times through divorces. Every Friday he has a segment on relationships and advises people on how to maintain a good relationship with their spouses. Sorry, but I find that so amusing.
He also says that gay people being allowed to marry is a threat to traditional marriage. I don’t understand that. I have been married once and divorced once. He has been married three times and divorced twice. It seems to me that, if there is any threat to traditional marriage, it would be Dennis and me.
Has it occurred to the author that
“younger Americans are more likely to agree.....that the legacy of slavery still effects US Society [either ] a great or a fair amount”
because that is what they have been taught in school?
This reflects more on the increasing failure to teach balanced broad swaths of US history. The current textbook trend is to teach carefully selected topics on what America has done wrong since its founding without any balance in either the facts or the positive accomplishments. Indeed the tracts on slavery and its conditions pass lightly over the tens of thousands of active abolitionist and the 320,000 Union Deaths which were brought to bear to destroy slavery.
The goal needs to be to present a balanced picture and the NYTimes Series promises to be anything but balanced and contextualized. The fact that the world now views any form of servitude as incomprehensibly discriminatory cannot simply ignore that in prior generations over a thousand years multiple cultures in multiple areas held entirely different views and understandings of the “morality” of slavery and other forms of servitude. The “yardstick measuring morality” in these matters has been demonstrably different over the last 3,000 years of history. This current educational trend to strip facts and circumstances from their historical context distorts and ill serves our public discussions of every topic. It is gross over simplification that polarizes every conversation.
Let me suggest that if science were to prove that a fetus has feelings and responsive nerve endings at a much earlier age than we now know, then current advocates of abortion will quickly and accurately state “We did not know”............BUT 30 years thereafter given the current trends in uncontextual education such people would be summarily branded as advocates of infanticide or as torturers. It won’t be fair and it won’t be honest but it will be simple and easily understood by those too lazy to be educated.
Your statement that young people are not being taught balanced, broad swaths of US history is interesting because that is exactly what is happening in many states…only in the opposite direction. The Texas Board of Education came under intense criticism with its selection of new history text books. The text books present slavery as a side issue in the Civil War and they barely address segregation in the Jim Crow-era South. This has been a view the South has always pushed as they try to diminish the horror of slavery by cloaking it in “states’ rights.” There were several causes of the Civil War, but, slavery was the main cause. We know this because in every Confederate state, the secession documents clearly stated that slavery was the central motivation for seceding.
It is said the victors of a war are the ones that write the history of it. This is generally true, but an exception to that is the Civil War. When the war ended, the North returned to build a strong industrial nation. The South returned home and justified its actions by writing about the war. Thus, we have had generations of Americans who believe the war was fought for the “noble cause” of states’ rights; Robert E. Lee was a deity who could commit no wrong; and, the South was “romantic, brave, and tragic.” Many historians claim that, “while the South lost the war, they won the history.”
One may wonder why it matters what Texas does. Texas and California are the largest purchasers of text books. Publishers do not edit the books for each state. Instead, what Texas or CA select is what goes out as text books for the entire country.
I suggest you pick up some of the current American history textbooks.....they no longer teach about events, persons and documents. They teach themes and conclusory points of view.
There is little sense in our debating the causes of the Civil War. But on that point it is sufficient to note that the Republican Party Platform in 1860 with Lincoln as its nominee opposed only the expansion of slavery into new territories and states, promising not to disturb that practice in existing slave permitting states. The Southern States viewed such “limitation” as a threat to create a voting block of non slavery states and a first step to eventually outlaw slavery.
Your suggestion that “States Rights” was not a major issue simply ignores that The Constitution only was ratified by the then southern states because of the compromise permitting slavery where it existed and leaving that decision to each of the respective states. The tension over that compromise did not diminish over the next 60 years.
You mention that Texas and California are the major purchasers in the text book business....yet you never mention what effect California’s educators have on such content....being satisfied it seems with tarring Texas. I think it’s reasonable to conclude that California’s approach to the issues you describe is extraordinarily liberal in its approach. Yet youquieltly pass over that point
Unmentioned is that while textbook content is very important, the thoughts and attitudes of the teachers using those texts is even more important and probably determinative. That teachers as a group are lopsidedly liberal to very liberal seems to be a point generally conceded even by the various teachers unions.
You misunderstand what I am saying. I am not claiming that states’ rights was not a big issue. It was a significant issue and it would be foolish to claim otherwise. My position is the South tried to pretend that slavery was a side issue and that states’ rights was the central cause of the war. However, as I stated before, slavery was the main cause of the Civil War. We know this because in every Confederate state, the secession documents passed by the state legislatures, clearly state that slavery was the central motivation for seceding. These are original sources. To repudiate that slavery was the main cause, one has to repudiate what the Confederate states claimed when they seceded.
We can also review the position of Alexander Stephens who claimed, “Slavery was without doubt the occasion of secession; out of it rose the breach of compact, for instance, on the part of several Northern States in refusing to comply with Constitutional obligations as to rendition of fugitives from service, a course betraying total disregard for all constitutional barriers and guarantees.” Alexander Stephens, Vice-President of the Confederacy, Diary Entry, 1865.
The reason I did not mention CA is because the year that Texas ordered new history texts, CA did not. Plus, it was Texas that came under intense criticism for its books. One of the things the Texas texts did was to refer to slaves as “workers.” The statement was, "The Atlantic Slave Trade between the 1500s and 1800s brought millions of workers from Africa to the southern United States to work on agricultural plantations." It appeared on a page titled "Patterns of Immigration." After another outcry, the text book company apologized and changed it. Surely, you would agree that Texas’ efforts were absurd.
You state that teachers as a group are lopsidedly liberal. This has been the mantra of conservatives for decades. They create visions of wild, radical teachers running amuck throughout our schools. There are many liberal professors at the university level. We should ask ourselves why that is, but that is a discussion for another time. However, within the local school districts of high schools and grade schools, teachers are a reflection of their communities. They are liberal, or moderate, or conservative. I am a retired teacher in CA. Now you will assume all sorts of wild things about me. I taught English, History, and American Government in high school. I recall the English Department tended to have liberal teachers, no extremists. The History Department was dominated by conservatives, no extremists, who voted Republican.
Lincoln and the republicans in 1860 did not run on the basis they would eliminate Slavery......the Southern States did not believe that....no one disputes what the articles of succession said. But listen to your own comment: you say first that the South said slavery was a side issue....yet you then cite the succession articles to point out the South considered it the main issue.
As to your comment on whether teachers as a group were/ are mostly liberal I refer you to the platforms, goals, and candidates supported by any teachers union in the United States.
Stuart, please read what I wrote and not what you think I wrote.
I agree with your comment about Lincoln, but I never discussed him. My issue was about the South.
I did not contradict myself about the South. I said, “My position is the South TRIED TO PRETEND that slavery was a side issue and that states’ rights was the central cause of the war.” This is what the South wanted the world to believe.
Then I said, “However, as I stated before, slavery was the main cause of the Civil War. We KNOW THIS because in every Confederate state, the secession documents passed by the state legislatures, clearly state that SLAVERY WAS THE CENTRAL MOTIVATION FOR SECEDING. These are original sources.” This shows what the South’s true motivation was for seceding---slavery.
You said, …”no one disputes what the articles of succession said.” My issue is not if people dispute the seceding documents. My issue is the deceit of the South. There is nothing glorious about fighting to defend slavery; it sounds much better to propagandize that one fought for states’ rights.
Most of the early books on the Civil War were written by Southerners with a definite Southern point of view. There has been much more scholarly research on the war in the last years and the discovery of many more documents. Much of the research has been done by those who do not feel a loyalty to the South or the North and they are able to be more impartial. One of the many issues to come out of the research is an effort to clarify why the South really seceded which the documents demonstrate was slavery.
As for the teachers, I stand by my position.
Some facts that might influence thinking about slavery in the Western world:
1. As the article correctly estimates, only 3.2% of the 12 million trans-atlantic slaves went to the US and Canada, and only 5% of these countries were Catholic. So, it would seems that any Catholic consideration of the slave trade should include Catholic Latin and Central Americans, who received 96%. I wonder if any Hispanic bishops have ever addressed their outsized historical involvement in slavery?
2. This was over 300 years, and the same time 14.5 Million Africans were enslaved by the Muslim Ottoman Empire, and there were countless slaves in Asia. So, maybe a more ecumenical approach (with Muslims, Hindu etc.) is wiser.
3. Furthermore, the Europeans rarely captured Africans themselves. Slavery was endemic in Africa and the African tribes who captured the peoples and sold them to the slave traders could also be involved in any historical considerations.
4. The author mentions Dum Diversas, which was written in 1452 (before Columbus) to address the attack on Constantinople by the Muslims, and had nothing to do with the Americas or racial slavery, only a defensive measure. The servitude of war was the norm then, as a more merciful alternative to mass killing, akin to replacing the death penalty with forced labor for life. It failed to raise the army and the victorious Ottomans ruled from 1453-1918, and had many more slaves than all of America combined.
In the US itself, the slaves were freed by the Republican Unionists in the Civil War. So, I would say anyone who has an ancestor who died in that war have already given more than they could ever owe, even though I agree with Biden that no one alive today should be responsible for events that happened before they or their ancestors got here.
Thank you, Tim. You and Stuart (above) are exactly right.
Too often those who only react to things with emotion do not grasp the entirety of the matter.
Being a pious and religious Catholic does not involve self-flagellation, however, some have to signal their virtue to show how good a person he is.
Blaming us Catholic Americans for something that happened hundreds of years ago by others is not a meaningful way to atone for anything. Isn't there something in scripture about the sins of the father?