Museum

American Civil War Museum

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The spectacular American Civil War Museum opened in May in Richmond, Virginia, built in and around the ruins of the historic Tredegar Iron Works on the banks of the James River. It is a new home for the collections of the former Museum of the Confederacy, which opened in 1896 in the White House of the Confederacy, a building once occupied by the South's president, Jefferson Davis, and his family.

That museum functioned chiefly as a shrine displaying relics of the "Lost Cause." The new Tredegar facility instead provides visitors with a more comprehensive and inclusive interpretation of the Civil War. Like any museum, it displays artifacts, including maps, weaponry, uniforms, period photographs, and slave shackles. It also offers a wider-scope view than mere objects can provide via interactive timelines detailing significant events in both the North and the South.

Importantly, the evils of slavery and the shattering of the promise of Emancipation by the spread of Jim Crow apartheid are no longer obscured by antebellum Gone with the Wind nostalgia, as they were in previous museums. And the contributions of black Americans who fought in that war as spies and soldiers, and who later struggled to uphold their rights as citizens, are rightly highlighted.

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  1. I am sure the museum is full of historically accurate

    1. (Contd) references to the Democrat Party being that good ‘ol Party of slavery.

      1. I think you misspelled “white people living in the south” and guess who they vote for these days: Republicans.

        1. I’m sorry, but all the Democrats who embraced slavery are dead. They don’t vote for anyone these days.

          1. There are plenty of a Democrat’s alive today who support slavery.

            Anyone who believes that health care is a right, for example. That ‘right’ inflicts an involuntary obligation on some health care worker, I.e. slavery.

            1. TIL that any one who believe that health care is a right is also in favor of prohibiting health care workers from switching careers and reducing their pay to $0.

          2. Democrats are still the party of slavery, they just moved the slaves from the plantation to the voting booth. Take a look at how they react to black or gay Republicans, they still believe they own them

      2. It’s southerners. They used to be democrats. They’re now republicans. Get over it. I mean I guess you can say the current R’s in the south just worship democrats of old?

        It’s just funny how the republicans are hell bent on blaming the democrats as the cause of slavery and resting the blame of fighting for slavery on the democrats, but every action against a monument to the confederacy or any bad words against them are met with hostility from hardcore, 100% republican voters. Of all my annoying D friends or acquaintances at work, I have never had a D defending the south or the confederacy. Hell even most of the R’s up here (PA) dont give a shit. It’s mostly R southern voters.
        The R’s are currently those obsessed with the confederacy, and they are the ones defending the old south.

        Point is to an actual libertarian it shouldn’t matter. The democrats are becoming a cancer on society, as are the GOP. You can play point the finger games all day about who dun it back in the day, but fact is the republicans (who suck as well) are CURRENTLY the ones who always go to bat for the old south, their leaders, and their side of the war.

        1. Why would you think that Republicans would be loathe to the destruction of all the Democrat made homages to the Confederacy?

          Could it be that they don’t want them to further erase their culpability?

          After all, they’ve already got a plaque up at Northwestern declaring that Lincoln was a Democrat.

          1. I dont know if sarc?

            If you have met an ACTUAL defender of all things confederacy (again, tends to be southerners) you would be able to detect in a fraction of a second that they arent doing to so the dems look bad for their previous actions and their propping up of southern leaders….they worship the previous generals, name their progeny after them, and love them

            Southerners (hardcore R’s, consistent GOP voters) are extremely proud of their previous generals, soldiers, and cause and will scream it from the mountain tops. Assuming their purpose is to make sure everyone sees the “democratic heroes” and their evil, is laughable and would be shot down by most 5th graders in debate.

            If you cant follow by now, a summary for you; it might have been the democrats in the past, but they reproduced, and their progeny now vote with the R’s and the GOP. I honestly dont give AF what you call them nowadays, they are the same people, they just switched affiliations. Actual libertarians dont care what the slobs call themselves.

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  2. “a more comprehensive and inclusive interpretation of the Civil War.”

    Ooooook…..

  3. “The spectacular American Civil War Museum opened in May in Richmond, Virginia, built in and around the ruins of the historic Tredegar Iron Works on the banks of the James River. It is a new home for the collections of the former Museum of the Confederacy”

    Truth in the news at last. I notice that the American Civil War Museum is NOT the Museum of the Confederacy in a new location. It is the home of the artifacts taken from the Museum of the Confederacy. There is no question about who won the military conflict in the mid 1860s.

    1. There also is no question which side had the better morals, arguments, and people.

      Except in the minds of our vestigial conservative bigots, who follow the path of their ideological ancestors by losing the culture war to their betters.

      1. +1 Pinochet Air Boarding Pass

      2. I bet it makes your family so proud to know that you continue to support the party of slavery and Jim Crow and that you are personally in the front lines fighting for a new world of segregation you bigoted racist piece of shit.

      3. Arthur L. Hicklib actually believes that white farmers from southern Indiana were fighting to free the slaves.

        1. By enslaving the secessionists.

        2. More accurately – that the South was fighting to extend slavery to all territories, to nullify all state laws which prohibited citizens of those states from owning slaves, and to force all citizens in free states to assist in the capture of anyone alleged to be a runaway slave at the risk of jail.

          1. Nothing you wrote refuted what I said.

            1. It’s not meant to refute that. The Civil War was like every war in history – a rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight. On the rich man’s side (say those who could avoid conscription – $300 men for the North and 20 slaves for the South) – those who caused the war – it was the South that had the worst possible cause any war has ever been waged for. Which by default means the North had a better cause. And let’s face it – this is the level at which all history aggregates to – which is why the ‘Lost Cause’ crap is so poisonous. That’s the level my comment is also addressed to.

              As for the poor man’s fight. Which is the reasons that motivated my ancestors (on both sides) and yours if they too were here then. And what your comment was about. Well I’d suggest you (and Rev for that matter) read something like For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War by James McPherson. Based on 25,000 letters/memoirs of regular soldiers.

      4. Right one side had slavery and the other had black people they owned.

      5. “There also is no question which side had the better morals, arguments, and people.”

        The Republicans?

  4. History finally rewritten by the victors?

  5. This sounds like a small, but nevertheless important, first step toward healing the divisions that have wracked the country as of late. This museum can bring together both the Loony Left and the Alt Right, opposing sides united in protesting how horribly wrong it is that this museum even exists. KKK and Antifa marching together side-by-side as brothers, declaring that the people who built the museum have no right to speak of such things and demanding this edifice of lies and misrepresentations of history be shuttered. I’m guessing it will be burned down within a week.

  6. Go to a battlefield instead. I’ve been to the old Confederate White House, and while it was interesting, you don’t get the same sense of what the conflict was like as you do when you, for instance, stand where the Union lines were at the end of the first day at Shiloh with your back to the river and imagine what those soldiers must have been thinking before their reinforcements from the Army of the Ohio came across the Tennessee river during the night. There are almost always reenactors on hand who will show you what an encampment might have looked like or how a field piece was operated and they are almost always happy to talk to tourists and show them their gear. Museums are all well and good, but battlefields are where most people will really connect with the Civil War.

    1. Most people connect with the Civil War by appreciating the American progress that was enabled by it.

      1. Arthur L. Hicklib doesn’t understand how visitor immersion works. Someone should put him in chains and strap him 100 times so the slack-jawed, slope-foreheaded, bucktoothed peckerwood finally gets what it was like for the blacks in Mississippi that he hates.

      2. Yes, the US progressed away from free association and toward more but different slavery.

        So progress!!! Much advance!!!

      3. “Most people connect with the Civil War by appreciating the American progress that was enabled by it.”

        And taking it for granted and misrepresenting it, as some do.

      4. Abolitionist John Wilkes Booth disagrees.

      5. “Most people connect with the Civil War by appreciating the American progress that was enabled by it.”

        Dimbulbs tend to one-dimensional views of history, right you asshole bigot.

  7. The real problem being that the only civil war ever fought in what is now the U. S. of A. ended in 1781.

    1. I read all these comments sighing with warm nostalgia. Being from the South, I’ve had a lifetime of arguments with deadenders trying to deny what prompted secession, or attempting to make something noble out of the Confederacy’s “cause”. Many of my arguing opponents were family or friends. More often than not, they weren’t bad people – just hopelessly consigned to bad history and even worst historical understanding.

      Fun arguments tho. So easy to win……

      1. Pretty hilarious how nearly every screeching progressive on these boards turns out to be a self-loathing hicklib.

        1. The last time I visited the Tredegar Iron Works was quite a while ago, long before this new building. For entertainment, I spent a few minutes thumbing thru the guestbook. There were countless variants of the “Slavery had Nothing to do with Secession” nonsense, along with all the stock cliches people use to support that drivel.

          There’s also a statue of Lincoln and Todd outside (president and son had visited Richmond just after Davis fled). This statue was unveiled in 2003 and – sure enuff – five score deadenders from the Sons of Confederate Veterans protested. The poor things were positively red-faced with rage, much like many commentators here.

          It’s not a bad statue, set in a shallow niche in front of a high wall. These words from Lincoln’s second inaugural address are carved into the granite : ”To bind up the nation’s wounds.”

          I don’t think the Sons of Confederate Veterans bothered to read them….

          1. Thanks for confirming your origins, hicklib.

  8. Revisionist history for Reconstruction 2.0

  9. Like any museum, it displays artifacts, including maps, weaponry, uniforms, period photographs, and slave shackles.

    No mention of flags…

    1. They have damn near every Confederate battle flag carried at Gettysburg. The Yankees returned them in the spirit of reconciliation.

  10. United States – “let’s get married!”

    Southern states – “sure!”

    Later…

    Souther states – “we want a divorce, we’re leaving”

    Untied States – “Fuck you bitch I own you forever you’re not going anywhere, for freedom’s sake”

    1. Yet another alt-right Lost Causer who doesn’t understand the Civil War at all.

      so please do explain – eg – Missouri. Which voted 98-1 against secession in mid-March 1861. Which was followed immediately by the governor (a secessionist) ordering the state militia (previously reorganized as secessionist) to seize the Liberty Arsenal (near KC) and requesting/getting artillery from Jeff Davis to seize the St Louis Arsenal. Both of which occurred within a week after Ft Sumter. Looks more like a treasonous coup d’etat than a ‘separation’.

      Course including Missouri (and Maryland and Kentucky) as part of the Civil War also makes the Lost Cause narrative of ‘peaceable secession’ fall apart.

      The pro-slavery FireEater Dems (who nominated Breckinridge when they left the 1860 Dem convention) wanted to enforce the Dred Scott decision extending slavery to all territories (and Kansas) – which meant secession was merely a tactic to a)force DC’s surrender when Maryland secedes with b)a defensible border along the Ohio River when Kentucky secedes and c)take over federal territory west of the Mississippi River when Missouri secedes and d)bring the Midwest to heel when New Orleans secedes and closes off the Mississippi and e)bring the East to heel when King Cotton brings Britain/France into the war.

      Course when four of the five fail to happen as planned, it’s far easier to just remain as deeply deluded as the Fire Eaters were and to pretend that they were never planned at all and it was all just about a noble if losing cause.

      1. Course including Missouri (and Maryland and Kentucky) as part of the Civil War also makes the Lost Cause narrative of ‘peaceable secession’ fall apart.

        It was never going to be peaceable because some states had significant Unionist factions and areas. Those areas in particular also tended to be highly populated with yeoman rednecks that despised the slave-owning gentry of the coastal and Deep South.

        It’s not really an accident that Kentucky fruitlessly tried to declare neutrality, Missouri was a guerrilla battleground throughout the war, and east Tennessee nearly broke off themselves like West Virginia.

        1. It was never going to be peaceable because the INTENTION of secession was not ever peaceable. Secession was intended to nullify the 1860 election and to impose the Breckenridge Dem platform on the federal territories – to extend slavery – by violence. That entire area west of Missouri/Iowa and east of Oregon/California (including Kansas which was not recognized as a state of the Union by the Confederacy) was not a ‘state’. It was irrelevant to ‘state rights’ however bogusly interpreted. It was FEDERAL. The Confederacy was simply a different model than the Union and the Confederacy intended that to be the model for taking over the entire area. Whatever the federal ‘Union’ owned was the territorial ‘objective’ of the war. That’s why its important to recognize the failures of the Fire Eater plans re Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri.

          Because that’s also what puts the wild eyed lunacy of ‘Confederate Arizona’ and the Indian Territory and the New Mexico campaign in its intended context. It is what makes one understand why the two sides called themselves ‘Union’ and ‘Confederate’ and why those terms were meaningful enough to fight for.

          1. Remember, a “filibuster” back then was person and group who attempted a private invasion of another country. This was against U.S. law after 1818, but filibusters still occurred repeatedly, and they were always Southerners determined to expand slavery into new territory. Cuba, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Mexico were all victims of these quasi-invasions from 1830 to 1860.

            Secession wasn’t over any threat to slavery as it existed, but about limits to slavery’s continual expansion. If you go by some of Jefferson’s ambivalent comments on the morality of slavery, you might think he had doubts about the South’s “peculiar institution”. But the slight limitations in the Missouri Compromise on slavery’s spread still enraged him as an old man.

          2. Interesting reads, JFree, thanks.

      2. @jfree – All your posts are excellent, though I don’t see how you can conclusively project bloodshed in the territories after secession. This was Lincoln’s war — and by that I mean a war Lincoln could have avoided (like Buchanan did). The Lost Cause (in my view) has more to do with a state’s right to secede. Secession was/is not illegal. But if one wants to argue that it was, then invasion was far worse and far more illegal (because more immoral). You, I’m sure, are well aware that Lincoln did not launch this war in order to end slavery.

        1. 1. I mean a war Lincoln could have avoided (like Buchanan did).

          That would be the same James Buchanan generally considered the worst president in U.S. history due to his inaction before and after secession? (a great relief to Mr. Trump, btw) Yes, Lincoln could have “avoided” the war by acceding to every Southern demand, but that’s an easy game to play. Churchill could have avoided war too. It’s never hard to “avoid” war.

          2. The Lost Cause (in my view) has more to do with a state’s right to secede

          Of course it does – in your view. That way you get to cleanse away the moral rot of secession’s cause. By the time the first Lost Cause “bibles” were written, it was almost as if the South seceded over the right to secede – which is obviously absurd. Lost Cause theology had one goal and continues to have one goal : Removing the issue of slavery from the founding of the Confederacy. What’s fascinating is how quickly after defeat the South decided to disassociate their decision from slavery. What does that tell you?

          3. Secession was/is not illegal.

          There will never be an answer to that. Certainly there was no mechanism for secession in the Constitution and the South did not pretend to negotiate secession terms beforehand. Indeed, the “Lincoln started the war” meme is a Lost Cause opening chapter. The seceding states seized by force numerous Federal properties within their boundaries, including buildings, arsenals, and fortifications. An attempt by U.S. President James Buchanan to resupply Ft Sumter was fired on by the South well before Lincoln’s inauguration. And, of course, Jefferson Davis ordered the first military action of the Civil War. (There’s a whole cottage industry of people “proving” that didn’t happen by truly tortuous logic)

          4. …..far more illegal (because more immoral)

          Again, there was/is zero legal basis for unilateral secession. Also, mortality is peculiar ground to defend a rebellion which wasn’t even based on any threat to slavery’s existence in the South, but instead over the South’s demand it expand into all territories. Remember : The South broke from Stephen Douglas because he insisted states could vote to exclude slavery. That insured Lincoln’s election which then triggered the war. A rejection of core State’s Rights (where slavery was concerned) was at the root of it all.

          5. You, I’m sure, are well aware that Lincoln did not launch this war in order to end slavery.

          Ending slavery was a very late war aim. In 1860 Lincoln would have happily made any pro-slavery commitment to preserve the Union.

          1. “. . . the same James Buchanan generally considered the worst president in U.S. history . . . .”

            Many of the presidents considered the “greatest” were, in fact, the worst (when measured but their oath to uphold the Constitution). E.g., FDR, Lincoln. And yes, I would have taken Buchanan’s inaction over the unnecessary deaths of about 650,000. (I’m guessing that those 650,000 might agree with me.)

            Anyone who knows their history acknowledges the connection between slavery and secession. Much of the problem discussing this comes down to people firing back the word “slavery” without context. Simply saying that slavery was the issue suggests (to the 21st century ear) that the argument in 1861 between the north and south was over the morality of the institution. This was not the case. Abolitionists were about 2 – 3% of the population. The slavery issue was about its expansion into the territories. Also, as I will note further on, secession was not just about slavery (i.e., its expansion into the territories).

            Your paragraph #3 states that there is no answer whether secession was legal. Then, you contradict yourself in paragraph #4. (“Again, there was/is zero legal basis for unilateral secession.”) Are you saying that secession was illegal because the underlying reason (slavery) was immoral? Well, there was more to it than that. True, one of the main drivers of secession was the expansion of slavery into the territories, but there were other drivers as well (sectional differences over tariffs, and over internal improvements, over political power at the federal level). Secession was not just about “slavery.”

            All this said, I truly appreciate your thoughtful post. I think you make an excellent point regarding what you call “Lost Cause Theology.” It is wrong to remove slavery from the issue of secession. It is likewise wrong say secession was just about states rights. Secession was due to a section conflict over many things.

            One last: If California secedes, should the US Army march in to make them come back into the Union?

            1. (1) We’ll have to disagree over the merits of Lincoln vs Buchanan.

              (2) You say “anyone who knows their history acknowledges the connection between slavery and secession”. Well, I too am from Richmond (though not a current resident), and have faced decades of arguments with my fellow Southerns on just that very point – often with fanatical Civil War history buffs.

              As for secession being over slavery’s expansion, yes. The conflict was obviously triggered by Lincoln’s election, but he himself posed no real danger to the Peculiar Institution. But the fact that he could be elected signaled an erosion of Southern power. That suggested expansion of slavery would be thwarted. To the South, that meant slavery would eventually die.

              (3) You’re right; I wasn’t clear on secession, so I’ll try again: First, there was/is no basis in the Constitution for secession. There is no mechanism in the Constitution or law for secession. There was almost zero discussion or debate by the Founding Fathers which has the remotest connection to any right of secession. The Supreme Court consistently interpreted the Constitution to be an “indestructible” union, before and after the Civil War. And I don’t understand how anyone can possibly distinguish unilateral secession by force without no pretense of negotiations as being anything other than rebellion. Having said that, secession is just like rebellion : Its legal basis is irrelevant. People claim a right to secede or rebel and then it becomes a question of events.

              (4) You say : “but there were other drivers as well (sectional differences over tariffs, and over internal improvements, over political power at the federal level). Secession was not just about “slavery.”

              Three quick points : First, you have to massively overestimate the importance of tariffs to make it even a partial issue behind secession. Second, secession came in waves and the first states who seceded sent emissaries to those still wavering. They made speeches to promote the cause and win hearts & minds. There’s a book about this I recommend called : Apostles of Disunion: Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil War, by Charles Dew.

              These commissioners did not talk about tariffs. Their rhetoric was repeatedly about slavery and southern “honor”. Lastly, the hottest debate over federal power at the time was the Southern states wanting MORE federal power to enforce slaveholder’s property rights across the country – not less.

              (I’m in stand-by mode on California’s secession. I admit to no holding my breathe either way)

  11. They have damn near every Confederate battle flag carried at Gettysburg. The Yankees returned them in the spirit of reconciliation.

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