Re: [sixties-l] Re: sixties-l-Vietnam War Memorials

From: robert (
Date: Wed Jun 21 2000 - 16:52:31 CUT

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    For starts, we should first consider the civil war of the 1860's and the
    undeclared war of the 1960's at home and the vietnam war abroad as all

            That said, we could go onto to consider whether during the 1960's how we
    re=fought some of the unresolved issues of the American Civil War, and
    failed again, tragically.

            To simplify: the slavery issue was adopted by the Republican Party as a
    means to get northern young men to die in defense of the protective tarrif;
    and the Emancipation Proclamation served a military objective. It seems
    more black historians are more aware of this, than white.

    Robert Houriet

    At 09:35 PM 6/20/00 -0700, you wrote:
    >Greetings All.
    >In a recent post, Lynne Patrick Doyle recently submitted the following to
    >the list:
    >>The American abolition of slavery was an extraordinary moment in the
    >>history of humanity of a people taking a united stand against the
    >>enslavement of their fellow human beings.
    >>It is indeed a starkly moral, an incandescent, moment.
    >As a student of history I would like to suggest a few of my thoughts on
    >this view of emancipation in particular, and this type of historical memory
    >more generally. And finally I would like to pose a question.
    >First on the abolition of slavery: While there is no doubt that the
    >emancipation of slaves in 1863 had earth-shattering consequences, we must
    >remember the tortured path to the final freeing of the slaves. In saying
    >this I do not mean the long history of slavery and emancipation throughout
    >the history of antebellum America. I am referring instead to the history
    >of the Emancipation Proclamation that many people seem to forget. Lincoln
    >did not free the slaves when he entered the White House. Instead he waited
    >until the end of 1862 to announce his decision, a decision that was based
    >on military necessity and not moral considerations. Furthermore, neither
    >the preliminary nor the final Emancipation Proclamation abolished slavery
    >in the United States. During the war only the slaves in states of active
    >rebellion were freed, meaning that those in MD, TN and MO remained in
    >bondage. It was not until the passage and ratification of the 13th
    >Amendment in 1865 that slavery was truly abolished in the US. And even
    >then political considerations played a huge role--re-entry into the union
    >was contingent upon rebel states ratifying the amendment.
    >Why this tangent into Civil War history? I find the memory of the Civil
    >War an interesting parallel to the memory of the Vietnam War. People have
    >redefined the Civil War as all about slavery and they have placed Lincoln
    >and his Emancipation Proclamation on a pedestal--yesterday was Juneteenth,
    >the celebration of the last slaves in Texas learning they were free. But
    >the history was infinitely more complicated. Morality was only one factor
    >in the decision to free the slaves.
    >I would suggest that similarly, morality was only one aspect of why
    >Americans finally turned against the Vietnam War in 1968, yet the moral
    >opposition to the war dominates the history of the antiwar movement.
    >Obviously a sizable segment of the American population--particularly the
    >formal movements of the Left--opposed the war on moral grounds--certainly
    >that was why so many of the contributors to this list fought against the
    >war. But when more than half of Americans told pollsters in 1968 that they
    >did not support the war in Vietnam, what exactly were they saying?
    >It seems to me that only a portion of the sentiment of the time is
    >represented on this list. Certainly other Americans turned against the war
    >because they felt we had paid too high a price, others thought the war was
    >unwinnable. But I have noted in some of my local research, and some
    >historians have argued more generally, that many were simply saying since
    >we'll never fight the war the way it should be fought, then we should get
    >out. When teaching the Vietnam War to my students, I find that these are
    >many of the perspectives they want to know about. They have been taught,
    >or more likely they have heard, about the moral arguments that many made
    >against the war, but they are seeking more than that. They want a more
    >complicated history.
    >So I pose this question to this list, What were Americans saying when they
    >turned against the war? I have taken what you have all said about your
    >own personal histories to heart, and I hope to convey such sentiments to my
    >students when I teach this time period again. But what do you consider the
    >range of responses to the war, the complexity of antiwar sentiment? What
    >was going on beyond the moral arguments against the war?
    >I thank you in advance.
    >Craig M. Kind
    >Department of History Grad Program
    >University of California, Irvine

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