History

The Repeated Reinvention of Gettysburg

The evolution of a national shrine.

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Today marks the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg address—as good a time as any to reread Damon Root's classic Reason piece from 2004 on the evolution of Gettysburg as a national shrine. Here's an excerpt:

Glad so many of you could come. I'm going to deliver a few words to dedicate this new national shrine, and then I'll cut the ribbon to formally open it. Now where did I put my giant ceremonial shears?

The blood had barely dried when humanitarian groups, distraught relatives, and large numbers of wealthy spectators descended on the smoldering aftermath. Quick to meet the commercial challenges posed by this influx, intrepid locals sprang into action. Hacks offered guided rides, property owners preserved battle damage for display, and relic hunters hawked everything from bones to bullets. Genteel shoppers, many of whom had never visited the battlefield, soon filled their parlors with a variety of Gettysburg-inspired products, including maps, photographs, sheet music, and poetry. Such items encouraged meaningful reflection on the Union victory; they also provided hours of entertainment and diversion….

Thanks to spectacular advances in technology and communication, plus rising wages and increased leisure hours, great numbers of Americans joined [the cultural argument over what we "should" consume] at the turn of the 20th century. The railroads ushered in a new era of mass culture, allowing millions of working- and middle-class citizens to travel for pleasure for the first time, visiting such places as amusement parks, museums of natural history, and even rural cemeteries. These new visitors often began by putting the landscape itself to new use. Gettysburg, with its wide avenues and lovely vistas, made an ideal setting for picnics, sporting matches, and other less refined endeavors.

Not surprisingly, many critics chafed at this populist behavior and attempted to regulate it through a variety of blue laws, fees, and restrictions….In 1933 the Park Service assumed control of Gettysburg National Military Park from the War Department, which had overseen the park since 1895.

By the 1970s, the Park Service had removed many monuments and avenues and erected a number of 1863-style buildings to give Gettysburg a more "authentic" appearance.

Read the rest here.

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  1. I’m stupid, so please forgive me. But, until recently, I had no idea that the Gettysburg Address didn’t occur until many months after the battle.

  2. Ripped off Pericles funeral oration, anyway.

    1. Pericles’ funeral oration, that is.

      1. No footnotes?

        1. No, no footnotes. Typical Republican skullduggery.

      2. Shouldn’t it be Pericles’s?

        1. Nope. My name ends in s, so my possessive ends in apostrophe.

          1. If your name is Ross, the proper possessive is Ross’s.

        2. Strunk and White suggest that for ancient names ending in s the dangling apostrophe is acceptable, though the construction “the thing of so-and-so” is better. In other cases they consider adding ” ‘s ” to the singular regardless of the final consonant.

  3. Little do many people know, but shortly after Lincoln concluded his Address, Axl Rose and Slash went on stage and delivered a moving, acoustic rendition of “Civil War.” That’s how the war got its name.

    1. I’m going to need a citation for that.

      1. I can show you the bill they were charged for trashing their Gettysburg Inn rooms later that night.

  4. The last time I four-scored was seven years ago.

    1. What Lincoln actually said, believe it or not.

    2. Lincoln:

      Four whores and seven kids ago my father brought forth on this continent, a new Lincoln, conceived in Liberty, Kentucky and dedicated to the admonition that all sluts are created equal.

    3. The last time I four-scored was seven years ago.

      Good for you that you ever four-scored!
      I never four-scored, and the first time I tried two-scoring a third scorer wanted in. The three-scorers got sore with each other before I got to do much scoring.

  5. I was impressed by this earlier.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/…..s_ago.html

    1. That is excellent! thanks for the linky

  6. OT, but related:

    Tomorrow, Thomas E. Woods Jr. will be a guest at our law school. (For those unfamiliar with the name, Woods is part of the neo-Confederate, Roman Catholic, anti-US triumvirate with Lew Rockwell and Thomas DiLorenzo.) Anyway, the title of his speech will be “Winning A War Doesn’t Make You Right.”

    I plan to attend. Do I attempt to engage in good faith discourse if the opportunity presents itself? Or do I just walk in the room and throw a boot at his head?

    1. It bothers me that the results of the war have been treated as having a substantial legal effect on our system–namely, taking the right of secession off the table for the states–but agreeing with that doesn’t mean I accept all the other neo-Confederate nonsense.

      1. The problem with that argument is that secession isn’t off the table as a legal mechanism for the states; Unilateral secession is off the table (see: Texas v. White).

        Problem is, no state has tried to withdraw from the United States with the consent of the other states. Counties have seceded from states to form new states, with the consent of the states they were part of (Kentucky, Tennessee, Maine, West Virginia), and there’s currently a secessionist movement in Siskyou County, California to separate and form a new state.

        From TX v. White:

        The union between Texas and the other States was as complete, as perpetual, and as indissoluble as the union between the original States. There was no place for reconsideration or revocation, except through revolution or through consent of the States.

        1. Do you think that you can hang with Woods in debating secession? Go ahead, challenge him. You will get your arse handed to you.

          In my view, Lew Rockwell, DiLorenzo and Woods are far more friendly to liberty than almost all of the Reason writers along with the vast majority of posters here.

          1. In my view, Lew Rockwell, DiLorenzo and Woods are far more friendly to liberty than almost all of the Reason writers along with the vast majority of posters here.

            People believe all sorts of silly and incorrect things. And I support your right to think them.

            1. Thank you for supporting my right to think silly and incorrect things.

              However, my prior post stands. In fact, the proposition that Messrs. Dilorenzo, Rockwell and Woods are more friendly to liberty than almost all of the Reason writers along with the vast majority of the posters here is, a priori.

              1. However, my prior post stands. In fact, the proposition that Messrs. Dilorenzo, Rockwell and Woods are more friendly to liberty for white people than almost all of the Reason writers along with the vast majority of the posters here is, a priori.

                FIFY.

                1. I have to agree. The south had a moral right to secede but their cause was in no way pro-liberty.

                2. Proof, please.

                  Show us where, in either writing or speech, Woods or DiLorenzo or Rockwell articulate that which you attribute to them.

                  1. I’m not going to read their archives. Here’s a conditional proof, dependent on whether any of them consider the CSA to be a pro-liberty movemnt. I withdraw my objection if none of them have said that, not knowing either way.

                    Fighting to preserve slavery cannot be considered pro-liberty unless you count only the liberty of the slaveholders. There were other factors in the CSA’s secession, but the overwhelmingly dominant one was the preservation of the slave system within their borders. Thus, the only way to consider the CSA to be a pro-liberty movement is to only consider the effects on the slaveholders, for which “white people” is an inexact but close enough descriptor.

                    I qualitatively hold the condition of being a chattel slave to be a negative infinite value of liberty and the right to choose your government to be a finite positive value of liberty. Thus the net liberty value of the Confederacy must be negative.

                    1. You appear to be moving some goalposts; whether it is intentional or not, I will not speculate.

                      DiLorenzo, Rockwell and Woods have never asserted that the CSA was a moral beacon of liberty. Ditto for me.

                      What we have argued is that no individual and no collective has the right to mass murder civilians.

                      Lincoln knowingly and willfully employed the means of total war to achieve his objectives. You do realize that his objectives included a potpourri of progressive / totalitarian goodies like the implementation of the “American system”, i.e., massive central state, the imposition of an income tax, income tax bureaucracy, massive tariffs to protect favored republican party interests, rent seeking on a grand scale, the destruction of federalism, and the extinction of the Plains Indians?

                      You do realize that the north had its own version of apartheid, right? Do you know of the “black codes” favored by saint abe?

                      You do know that Lincoln imprisoned, literally, thousands of Northern newspaper publishers, editors and writers who dared challenge his decrees and mass murdering ways?

                    2. “You appear to be moving some goalposts; whether it is intentional or not, I will not speculate.”

                      I moved them closer to your kicker, don’t complain.

                      “You do realize that his objectives included a potpourri of progressive / totalitarian goodies like the implementation of the “American system”, i.e., massive central state, the imposition of an income tax, income tax bureaucracy, massive tariffs to protect favored republican party interests, rent seeking on a grand scale, the destruction of federalism, and the extinction of the Plains Indians?”

                      The south shared some of these; presumably they were all about taking the Indians’ land too. But as I said, preserving chattel slavery outweighs those others as a negative. I don’t have to have a good opinion of the north to have a bad opinion of the south. That last statement applies to the rest of your complaints.

        2. I think that’s particularly bogus, given our entire justification for leaving the Empire. After all, the Declaration doesn’t say we needed anyone else’s consent. And things got much worse as far as central state growth is concerned when the secession threat stopped being wielded by states.

          1. Pro Lib-

            Obviously, agreed.

            Woods is an expert on secession, particularly the state ratifying conventions and the early secessionist movements.

            1. Since the power of any law derives from force, the validity of a legal opinion is entirely dependent on the ability and willingness of those who hold it to enforce it. Thus it is correct to say that the Civil War demonstrated the illegality of the CSA’s secession, but it is not correct to say that it settled the question forever.

          2. I think that’s particularly bogus, given our entire justification for leaving the Empire. After all, the Declaration doesn’t say we needed anyone else’s consent.

            Pro-L, it says either by revolution or consent. America went the revolution route against Britannia and won. The Slave Power took up arms against the United States and lost.

            It appears rationally and historically consistent.

    2. I thought he was that Hobbit guy.

      1. I thought he was that Hobbit guy.

        Keep me out of this.

        … Hobbit

    3. Having listened to his podcasts, Woods strikes me as a libertarian Rush Limbaugh. He’s terrible at presenting the opposing arguments in a reasonable way, and I’ve never cared for the “preaching to the converted” style of broadcasting.

      1. Actually both Woods and Limbaugh excel at presenting opposing arguments; in fact, both tend to know opposing arguments and their rationales far better than their proponents.

        Imagine, without teleprompters and sans notes, Obama debating either Limbaugh or Woods. The affirmative action beneficiary would be eviscerated.

        1. He doesn’t present the opposition as being reasonable though, and often assumes the worst about those that oppose him ideologically. It’s a style I don’t care for.

      2. Woods has branded himself as the Mises MC who caters to the interests and education of younger libertarians. He has a bit of Stossel about him and can be too open when responding to personal criticism (he’s very sensitive about criticisms of Aquinas and his five arguments), but he’s a tireless advocate of nonaggression and anti-statism. I don’t know anyone who works harder to make libertarianism a meaningful topic of public discussion.

    4. As an alternative, I would recommend that you stop using the slur “neo-confederate” to refer to individuals moral enough to oppose imperial invasions that cost 600,000 men and boys, most of them draftees, their lives.

      But since you’re likely too enlightened to cease the use of offensive and inaccurate slurs on the suggestion of a faceless internet person, I would recommend that you go ahead and throw your boot so that the rest of us can play spot-the-murder-apologist when we watch the video.

      1. The employment of the term “neo-confederate”, itself, is a reflection of the proposition I noted above, namely, that Woods is far more friendly to liberty than almost all of the Reason writers and the vast majority of the posters here.

        1. Politics has never been for sensitive souls lacking a strong stomach for hatred, but the neoconfederate tag is analogous to conflating those opposed to the war in Afghanistan with agents of the Taliban. It’s not just offensive; it’s dumb.

          But Dr. Jackson said it best when he opined, “Fans don’t boo nobodies.” There’s a reason why people who oppose war are always marginalized by friends of the state and all the violence it engenders; we’re dangerous, and they know it.

          1. But Dr. Jackson said it best when he opined, “Fans don’t boo nobodies.” There’s a reason why people who oppose war are always marginalized by friends of the state and all the violence it engenders; we’re dangerous, and they know it.

            Attacking and seizing federal property under force of arms is what peaceful people who respect property rights do. Only evil warmongerers would dare try to reclaim their or lost property or defend what had not been stolen.

            1. Your house? That’s my property. Get out before I’m forced to evict you and everyone else.

              If a little blood gets spilled, well, that’s the price for you claiming property that I claimed for myself.

              1. Nope, I have title in fee simple absolute, in perpetuity (see Ft. Sumter).

                But please, continue to defend the peaceful natureof armedbrigandry.

      2. As an alternative, I would recommend that you stop using the slur “neo-confederate” to refer to individuals slavers and sympathizers moral hypocritical enough to oppose support imperial invasions open rebellion that cost 600,000 men and boys, most of them draftees, their lives.

        FIFY.

        1. I’d like to take you to Shiloh sometime and show you the “bloody pond” where hundreds of teenaged boys on both sides went to get one last drink before they died. Maybe I could take you to an uncle who could recount the old family story about his great-grandfather, a blacksmith who was murdered by gut-shot in his bed because he refused to be conscripted into the war effort of which side was sweeping through town that month.

          I’d like to hear you crack wise when you’re forced to confront the actual price in innocent blood that this nation paid due to warmongers like you. I don’t doubt you could make jokes, to be sure, but it’s good to confirm the sociopaths for future reference.

          1. I’ve always chuckled at the use of the neo-confederate slur when it is directed at anarcho-free enterprise-individualist native New Englanders, like myself.

          2. So, I take it you’re more outraged by someone disrespecting your peculiar neo-confederate ancestor worship than the fundamental hypocrisy of declaring that you shall defend to the death your liberty to deny others theirs.

            1. Show me where I have expressed some “peculiar neo-confederate ancestor worship”.

              Show me where I have supported the proposition that I would defend to the death my liberty to deny others theirs.

              You are deflecting. The logical fallacies abound in your arguments.

              IOW, check and mate, mass murdering apologist.

              BTW, Peyton Manning’s first four games this year are still better than Flaco’s four post-season games last year. There are no extra points for post-season performance. Straight up, Manning’s stats simply bettered those of Flaco.

              1. I do find interesting that libertarians who don’t like Hitler or Stalin very much do still criticize FDR and Truman. For some reason (drink!) this attitude is not allowed with Lincoln.

                1. For some reason (drink!) this attitude is not allowed with Lincoln.

                  Not allowed by who? Every time a Civil War thread pops up, the battle lines are drawn and we do our usual little dance around here (Lincoln was the worstest president ever! How dare he fight back after we stole property fair and square! Slavery would have died out [meanwhile, fuck the black people while their rights are denied] just like it did in Britain [except the British didn’t engage in a campaign of censorship against their abolitionists, and there’s a little historical and chronological error with the speculation that the Southern states would just up and let their slaves go: when Somerset v. Stewart was decided by the King’s Bench in 1772, the response by the American colonies was to enshrine slavery in their statutes. So while England was trending towards abolition, the states in rebellion were trending towards greater enslavement.]

              2. “Straight up, Manning’s stats simply bettered those of Flaco.”

                Know what sixteen wins and the single-season TD record got Tom Brady?

                A Lamar Hunt Trophy. In other words, bupkis.

              3. Wasn’t directed at you, but okay.

                Show me where I have supported the proposition that I would defend to the death my liberty to deny others theirs.

                Irrelevant, as it wasn’t directed to you.

                You are deflecting. The logical fallacies abound in your arguments.

                Such as?

                IOW, check and mate, mass murdering apologist.

                Given the fact that you hold Rush Limbaugh or Thomas Woods to be rhetorical heavyweights, I doubt you play anything more complicated than tic-tac-toe.

                IOW, TKO in the first round, slaver.

                1. A slaver is one who supports the income tax, the income tax bureaucracy, tariffs, mass murder, the planned extermination of the plains Indians, the warehousing of native peoples in concentration camps, the Pentagon and trillion dollar military budgets, incarcerating folks who challenge warfare / welfare actions and policies et al.

                  Lest you forget, Russia effected the manumission of its serfs without a bloodbath in which hundreds of thousands of civilians were murdered.

                  Lest you forget, much of Europe and several latin American countries ended slavery without a bloodbath like the War of Northern Aggression.

                  Logical fallacies? How about moving the goalposts? Distorting the arguments and positions of others? How about the employment of straw men?

  7. I think about Gettysburg every time I see some moron driving his truck around with a PA license plate and a confederate flag decal. A lot of people gave their lives here to throw you scumbags and that stupid flag OUT of our state.

    1. “A lot of people gave their lives here to throw you scumbags and that stupid flag OUT of our state.”

      Yeah, but nobody you know or could conceivably have any emotional ties to.

    2. A lot of people gave their lives here to throw you scumbags and that stupid flag OUT of our state.

      Yep. A war to free the slaves and enslave everyone instead. If that’s your idea of progress, maybe you should change your handle to Woodrow Wilson.

  8. The speech got really shitty reviews:

    “We pass over the silly remarks of the President. For the credit of the nation we are willing that the veil of oblivion shall be dropped over them and that they shall be no more repeated or thought of.”
    http://www.pennlive.com/opinio…..dress.html

    1. Does that mean Reason 150 years from now will be apologizing for being racist towards Obama?

      1. Haven’t they already done that?

        1. Never too late to start! When is Welch’s new book coming out?

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