Who Writes Today's History?

Discussion in 'History' started by jmpet, May 30, 2011.

  1. wellwisher Banned Banned

    History written by the victor is a special case of time-space revision. In the examples given, each side will project the facts in the context of their own place in space and time. That allows limited facts to add up for their POV.

    To get history correct, you may need to shuttle between the different spaces (north and south during the civil war time) to find the truth that is somewhere in the middle. Just using the sourthern or northern POV will result in some revisionists history.

    Maybe science needs to rewrite history in the context of the facts, within time and averaged over space, since historians often drop the ball, since hisotry is a liberal art and not a science. Art is about inducing emotions and reactions and has the liberty of stepping outside of reality if that makes the art a masterpiece. Being liberal this means a liberal portion of bull is allowable in that art work.
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  3. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    I believe you will find that the Blockade of the Southern ports (Lincoln issued a Proclamation of Blockade Against Southern Ports on April 19, 1861) happened AFTER the battle at Ft Sumpter (April 12–13, 1861), not before.

    Indeed, at the start of the war, the entire US Navy was only 90 vessels and half of those were sail powered, so there was no possible way to blockade all the Southern ports and indeed it wasn't until 1864 till the last major port, Mobile, was blockaded.

  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  5. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    That is probably true, just as is the fact that the emancipation proclamation came very late in the war (as a military measure to weaken the South, which by then had started to use slaves for their supply wagons etc as they were short of white manpower.)* I.e. when some action is "legalized" can be years after it has been common practice, especially in conflicts.

    later by edit: Your link tells a very different story than your "90 ship" post:

    “… the Union commissioned 500 ships, which destroyed or captured about 1,500 blockade runners. … Ships that tried to evade the blockade, known as blockade runners, were mostly newly built, high-speed ships with small cargo capacity. They were operated by the British (using Royal Navy officers on leave) and ran between Confederate-controlled ports and the neutral ports of Havana, Cuba; Nassau, Bahamas, and Bermuda, where British suppliers had set up supply bases. …”
    i.e. England helped the South as it wanted the cotton.

    * Another distortion of history is that the civil war was fought to free the slaves. Almost all wars really have an economic cause, but something more noble sounding is usually proclaimed as the reason for the war.

    PS As far as the fact that the North had mainly sailing ships** that is irrelivant as the ships which would carry the South's cotton were mainly sailing ships too.

    **I won't search but as I recall the North's iron clad ship, was originally built in the south to help run the growing blockade but sunk when nearly finished. Then later in the war, when the North had overrun that area, it was raised and renamed by the north to fight its brief, but famous battle with the south's other iron clad ship. I.e. both were designed to run the growing blockade, which existed long before Lincoln proclaimed it a legal act of war.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 10, 2011
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  7. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    But sailing ships are ineffective at maintaining a blockade, even against other sailing ships, and the South was fairly quickly supplied with "Blockade Runners" by the Brits, that were fast and low and steam powered, burning smokeless anthracite coal.

    Well sorta, but you have the sides reversed.

    When the Southern state Virginia seceded from the Union the ships at the Norfolk Navy Yard were sunk or set on fire, but the Merrimack was only burnt to the waterline, and was later raised by the Confederates and then fitted with it's Ironclad top.

    The North's Iron cald ship, The Monitor was built in New York.

    The two ships fought to a draw in the Chesapeake bay in early 1862.

  8. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    Not at all Billy.

    You said that the blockade had started and was EFFECTIVE, before the battle of Ft Sumpter.

    I corrected you and pointed out that the blockade wasn't started till after Ft Sumpter and that when it was announced it couldn't be effectively enforced because of the few ships in the US Navy.

    I said: at the start of the war, the entire US Navy was only 90 vessels and half of those were sail powered

    Which is exactly in line with the LINK I supplied:

  9. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Yes I did and still hold that POV. Recall that about 80% of the cotton left for England from Charleston SC harbor for reasons I have already given. Thus just blockading it worked a great economic hardship on the south. You (and your link) said the North had about 45 steam powered ships and it was long after 1812 war at sea so they were armed with effective cannon. I don't know, but quite possibly none were required to stop shippments from that harbor as Ft. Sumpter, an island in the harbor as I recall, ALONE could close the harbor. Later in the war only four ship were required to blockade shipments from Norfolk. Thus with only half of that 45 a very effective blockade was feasible.

    If not to try to end an effective blockade of about 80% of their cotton, why do you think the south fired on Ft. Sumter?*

    I think the answer is much like the Japanese reason I discussed in post 20's first example. I.e. the South was being economically strangled in effort to get their cotton sent to the mills in New England states. Like the Japanese, they surely knew that their adversary was a much stronger military and industrial force but decided that when being destroyed and desperate, they should take the only slim chance they had to survive.

    * Note also that even late in the war when 1500 fast blocked runners were operating by English crews, according to your link, still 95% of the cotton production was not able to be shipped! Before those 1500 blocked runners were available the blockade was very (~100%) effective. The South, like the Japanese, had no choice but to take action (attack their adversary) that they knew was very likely to fail, but their only chance to survive.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 10, 2011
  10. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    Billy, there was no blockade by the troops at Ft Sumter on ships entering or leaving Charlestown.


    Indeed, Anderson never fired a shot from Ft Sumter until fired upon and was so ill armed and staffed that the battle lasted only a few days and not one death resulted in the so called battle.


    Finally, I find no support for your 80% of cotton from the South left via Charleston.
    The railroads in the South were not that great and since Mississippi was our largest cotton growing state and so it's hard to believe that a lot more than 20% of our cotton crop didn't leave from New Orleans and Mobile.

    I also found reference that total cotton shipments to Europe from the South just before the war was ~3 million bales.
    But also the number of bales shipped out of New Orleans at the same time was ~2.2 million.

    Last edited: Jun 10, 2011
  11. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    As I post from memory of prior read articles, I will accepted your corrections, except for this one. - A claim based on what Lincoln proclaimed, after the facts already existed I believe.* If you answer my question (bold type of last post) with a plausible reason (other than the one I gave) why the South would pick an un-provoked fight with a vastly more capable industralized sector of the US, owner of most of the guns and ships, and larger army, if not as well directed as it turned out, but that was not foreseeable by the South etc. then I may agree with this claim too.

    * In part, no doubt because I was never North of the Mason-Dixon line before going to Cornell and heard the version I am claiming, which gives a very plausible reason why the South was forced to fire on Ft. Sumpter (or economically die with plantation cost greater than the price the New England mills would (or could) pay for their cotton).

    BTW, most economic historians agree that the main reason why slaves were not used in The North's factories is that it was cheaper for the owners to pay low wages to "free but poor" men.** I still assert that the civil war had very little to do with freeing the slaves. Like almost all wars, the reason for it was economic conflict. South wanted to sell cotton to England for about twice what the New England mills could pay. North blockaded them to stop that shipment to England, not to fight the war, which came later than the start of the blockade. That blockade did takes some years to become fully effective and England tried to help it fail as wanted that cotton. To improve the effectiveness of the pre-war blockade, the Anadaconda Plan was created. - It did not start / was not the first / blockade.

    ** Cornell has a excellent school of industrial and labor relations. I took a class there. The only thing I still remember is part of one of the norther mill's labor contracts -The water-powered mill provided lunch and the contacted stated it could not be salmon more than three times per week! Interesting indicator of the environmental changes, don't you think. I assume that the dam blocked the salmon's progress up stream - all the cook had to do was catch them in nets as they fell back after not making their leap over the dam.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 10, 2011
  12. Skeptical Registered Senior Member

    I am not a historian. But I was watching a History Channel doco the other day, which discussed an ancient battle, Egypt against the Hittite Empire. The presenter ( a professional historian) showed that it was a Hittite victory, but the hieroglyphic records showed an Egyptian victory with great deeds of prowess by the pharoah. The loser presented a very different picture to that of the winner.

    I am sure that the whole of history is packed with examples.
  13. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Yes, to the extent it influences anyone, usually only the residents of the losing country, the loser tends not to say they started the war without any provocation; However, it is ALWAYS the winners version that is globally accepted. You can see some of this in my exchanges with adoucette, who is presenting the winner's version (and me the loser's version).

    adoucette, version of how the US civil war started is totally implausible as it claims that the South would fire on Ft. Sumter without its way of life being threatened by the north's blockade of cotton exports. adoucette, maintains that there was no blockade until after the South fired on Ft. Sumter as only then did Lincoln proclaim it as a legitimate act of war. Thus, for reason adoucette has yet to suggest despite being twice asked for them, the unprovoked and un-threatened South fired on Ft. Sumter.

    This is a totally implausible POV as the south certainly knew they had little chance of winning a war against the North because the North had more than 10 times the their industrial capacity, many more railroads for moving troops, many more ships with cannons, (> 10 times as many?) a larger army and population, especially if only those who could read were counted. Slaves play no role in the war until the South was essentially defeated and then only behind the lines to drive supply wagons etc. (No Southern would ever put a gun in a slave's hands and teach him how to use it. It was even illegal to teach a slave to read.)

    Like the Japanese (see discussion in post 20's example 1) the South was being economically destroyed by a blockade on their cotton exports (instead oil imports in WWII Japanese case). The inefficient, water-powered, textile mills in the New England states could only pay about half what the steam-powered mills of England could for cotton. Those mills were large and selling textiles to a global empire for very low overhead cost per unit of cloth produced. The blockade was to force the southerners to sell cotton to the New England mills, not England, even though that did not cover the cost of operating the plantations producing the cotton.

    I.e. the south was being economically destroyed by the North, and even though their chance of victory, if war came, was very slim, firing on Ft. Sumter was their ONLY* hope for economic survival. Perhaps they hoped the North would lift the blockade, rather than pay the price in dollars and lives a war would bring?

    Like the Japanese, their choice was: (1) sure economic destruction OR (2) challenge the blockade with force and risk all out war. (The Japanese, initially had success - they destroyed the British blockade of their oil lifeline. Their attack on the naval armada being assembled at Pearl Harbor to prevent the US from re-establishing the oil blockade and the attack did buy them a few years more of oil supply.)

    *The South had few (none?) warships with which to challenge blockading Northern warships, so fired on a Northern fort which controlled their most important / shortest trip / (for cotton exports to England) harbor.

    PS - Not only can we Southreners not get the truth accepted, we can not even get the war called "the war between the states" instead of the "civil war."
    The implausible North's version of what happen and why prevails.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 11, 2011
  14. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    Billy, I was educated in Virginia.
    I am well aware of the South's version of the Civil war.
    There was no blockade of Charleston prior to the battle of Ft Sumter.

    Indeed, had there been a blockade then the history books (and there are history books written that lean towards the South) would NOT leave it out as it would be clearly seen as a hostile act that started the war.

    But I be you can't FIND ONE REFERENCE to a blockade prior to the battle

    There indeed WERE hostile acts by the North prior to the firing on Ft Sumter, but they did not include a blockade.

    The reason there was no blockade is the fort was not finished and the fort had almost no provisions and none of it's big guns had any ammo. It was staffed with only a few men and couldn't even man all the guns it did have, and worse, shore batteries from Charleston could rain so much fire down upon the fort that the soldiers were forced to seek cover.

  15. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Name one of sufficient importance that the South would think made it necessary to start a war it had essentially no chance of winning.
    (This BTW is the third time I have asked you for a plausible reason why the South would start a war it knew it could not win.)
    I claim the South was in the same position as the Japanese - being killed economically with only a very slim chance, via attack of vastly more powerful forces, of surviving, but at least there was a chance they could survive that way instead of passively accept destruction of their way of life.

    If that is true, then the blockaded of Charleston SC harbor was by ships, like at other harbors. Perhaps the South wanted to prevent the fort, when it was fully maned and supplied with powder, cannon balls, etc., from taking over the task of closing the harbor as that would release the ships blockading the harbor for service else where. Your post seems to suggest that the North was increasing the fort's capacity. I.e. better to attack it before they were at full strength.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 11, 2011
  16. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    Sorry Billy, you can't win this argument on logic.
    You have to provide actual evidence that the fort was enforcing a blockade (or that the North was blockading the harbors prior to the battle of Ft Sumter)

    But there is not a single report of Ft Sumter preventing a single ship from leaving or entering Charleston harbor.

    Feel free to update the Wiki Entry though if you are so sure of yourself.


  17. Skeptical Registered Senior Member

    I know little or nothing about the American civil war. But I was watching a TV doco last night, and it mentioned a couple of things I found interesting.

    First : the stated reason for waging war by the north was initially reunification. Nothing about slavery. The war was well under way when Lincoln realised that something extra was needed to bolster the morale of the northern soldiers, and make them think they were fighting for a 'divine' cause. That was when Lincoln made his Declaration of Emancipation, and spread the word that slavery would not be permitted in the north. According to the doco, it worked, and the northern soldiers perked up with the message they were now "doing God's work".

    Second : Slaves did play a major part in the war, but not on the side of the south. After the Declaration, a large number (thousands) of slaves promptly ran away to the north. Not a few of them became volunteers and took up guns against their erstwhile masters.

    This was especially true when northern forces moved into North Carolina, and slaves could reach them easily. So many slaves joined the north, and fought so bravely and well, that Lincoln authorised entire regiments of ex-slaves. They were a significant factor in the eventual victory by the north.
  18. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Probably not, but I can still wait for your "plausible reason" that the south would start a war it knew it had little chance to win if the very existence of its economy were not threaten with destruction - i.e You are claiming it could export its cotton to England and I am claiming it could not because of the pre-war existence of a near perfect blockade.*

    Again, for the fifth time: What was so strong a threat to the South that it chose to start an un-winnable war, if not the existence of a blockade destroying its economy?
    * Even with 1500 fast English manned "blockade runners" near end of the war they only could export 5% of their cotton!

    PS As far as I am concerned: "There was no blockade before the South fired on Ft. Sumter." is a perfect example of the winner re-writing history.

    Perhaps there was only a blockade by powerful New England owners of textile mills, many of whom probably also owned slave importing ships and ships which were used for whaling. That elite wanted and needed the South’s cotton. Then one could correctly say there was no pre-war blockade by the US government.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 11, 2011
  19. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    And yet you offer not one shred of proof that this blockade existed.

    Sorry Billy, you can't claim your version of history is correct because you don't think the South's attack on Ft Sumter was logical.

    The fact is that prior to the Civil war, prior to SC seceding from the Union, SC had already sent a delegation to discuss with Buchanan what to do about Seceding and about Ft Sumter.

    As to Seceding Buchanan said that while he didn't think any state should secede from the Union he would not use military force to prevent it.

    So clearly, Buchanan didn't believe in a military response or any such Blockade as you suggest and there is no evidence of it in any history of the South that you can find.

    As to why they fired on it, well the only issue that I'm aware of is that SC had been paid for the land the island was on, and then of course the US had built a valuable fort on that island, but SC did not have the money in their treasury to pay back the US so the delegation worked out an agreement with Buchanan, that they would pay the US back and that they would not take possession of the fort until then, if the US would agree to just 3 things.

    Not to reinforce the fort with more soldiers.
    Not to add any more cannons.
    Not to use the fort for any acts of aggression.

    Of course in those days, Buchanan was a lame duck President, and though Lincoln was elected in November, wouldn't take office until March.

    And so it was that Military officers loyal to Lincoln indeed tried to do all three things (these were unknown to Buchanan) and that led to SC telling Anderson to get out of the fort or they would open fire.

    Because they knew Anderson could not prevail and was running out of food and water they thought that he would leave.

    He didn't till they showed him the firepower they could bring against him.

    After the Civil war, these acts of the military following the wishes of a yet to be sworn in President, were sufficient for Congress to move the Inaguration day to January to prevent these kind of things happening again.

  20. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    To adoucette:
    I think we must drop this and agree to disagree. The thread is about who writes history and I think both my illustrations in post 20 do show, that the winner of the war does, mainly to blame the loser for starting it without provacation. My third speculative illustration about how European WWII history would read if Hitler had won is fiction of course but not beyond the skilled power of Hitler's propaganda team.
  21. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    Total BS Billy.

    There are contemporaneous writings available about the events from the Newspapers and Magazines published before and during the Civil war from all the major cities in the US at the time. Charleston, Savannah, New Orleans, Washington DC, Baltimore, NY, Philly, Boston etc etc

    If you have access to a decent library you can find copies of the originals on Microfilm yourself.

    Harpers Magazine started in 1850 and has EXCELLENT contemporaneous articles about the period, devoid of any rewriting by later historians.


    But the key point Billy is that the existence of a blockade on the Southern ports prior to Ft Sumter would be in ALL THE FRIGGIN Papers.

    It's existence would NOT be unknown today.

  22. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    I really don't want to continue this, but as I noted in earlier post the pre-war blockade was effective for only about one year before the South fired on Ft. Sumter in April 1861, thus it is not very surprising that 11 years earlier there is no mention of it in the Harpers article.

    If the blockade were in place for 11 years with no income from cotton exports the South would have collapsed long before 1861.
  23. Medicine*Woman Jesus: Mythstory--Not History! Valued Senior Member

    M*W: But what about Roanoke Island and pre-Jamestown settlers prior to 1607. That's when it officially became a "city," but there were settlers there before then as early as the late 1500s.

Share This Page