". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Gettysburg Battle Cyclorama Re-Opened

The 1884 377 foot painting in the round has had a 5-year, 14 million dollar restoration.There's a video of the site and a few feet of the panorama on the WaPo.

Following the still constant, never-ending revisionism of the Civil War, the narrator mentions only two men's names from the course of the battle, both Confeds, Pickett and Lee, with the additional information that Lee just about won the war at Gettysburg. Lincoln and the cause of the Civil War, slavery, are not in it.

I just finished Lincoln scholar Phillip Shaw Paludan's The Presidency of Abraham Lincoln (1994), part of the University of Kansas Press's American Presidency Series. This volume of the series won The Lincoln Prize. It is readable, and concentrates on Lincoln's legal reading of the Constitution and his analysis of slavery in connection with the laws of the land, and his analysis of secession with the constitutional laws of the land.

Again, if anyone still can say the Civil War was not about slavery, and that Lincoln himself was not concerned with slavery, personally or as President, I challenge that person to read this book. In particular, they should concentrate on the chapters titled, "Assembling the Cast," and "Northern Power Emerges."

As well, the book throughout provides a strong description and explanation of the North's growing sense that Abolition was the only answer to the mess the nation was in due to the Southern War of Aggression that her slave owners were waging so aggressively during the Pierce and Buchanan administrations.

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