Friday, December 18, 2009


Bit of finals week fun from the University of Kentucky that shows some ideological continuity between 1861 and 2009 in the Commonwealth. My intro to U.S. students had a short essay question as follows:

Who’s to blame for the Civil War, and how did we get there, between 1840 and 1861?

Now, this should prompt the students to air the grievances of both North and South, taking into account the litany of events that drove us toward conflict for twenty years. Historiographically speaking, I'm looking for a "blundering generation" sort of answer, which is perhaps debatable, but seems to cover the material well enough for non-majors. However, I was pleased to see this from a student still, it would seem, steeped in the anger and frustration that proslavery Unionists in Kentucky felt during the secession crisis.

The Confederates are to blame for starting the Civil War. Just because you’re not getting what [you] want doesn’t mean you need to succeed [sic] from the Union and start a war with them. They should’ve just kept calling congress into session until they reached compromise and if they didn’t get their states rights, then they could have succeeded [sic] from the Union.

Legacy of H. Clay much?

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