04/22/2010

Set the historical record straight

While reading the Facts editorial page on a rainy Wednesday, I came upon a headline, "Mythical view of American history." An editorial writer from Kingston, N.Y., was upset with Confederate History Month in Virginia.

"What does a New Yorker’s dislike of a Virginia event have to do with Redlands?" I wondered. After enduring the factual errors in the editorial, I got to his last – and bottom – line: Without slavery there would be no secession and no war.

The writer forgot that Spain, France and England abolished slavery without 600,000 people dying in each country. You don’t need to commit one great evil to end another.

He forgot that when Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated in 1861, seven slave states – South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas – had left the union.

However, eight slave states remained – Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas and Missouri. Lincoln started with more slave states than Jefferson Davis.

If slavery was the cause of secession, those eight slave states would have joined the Confederacy before Lincoln’s inauguration.

But they didn’t. And many other things that just aren’t so appeared in that editorial.

As a docent at the Lincoln Shrine and the descendant of a Confederate soldier, I know Redlanders can do more to learn history than read New York editorials. Visit the Lincoln Shrine and learn the truth:

New Yorkers in Kingston will not be celebrating Confederate History Month next year.

Read about it in the Daily Facts.

Steve Madden
Redlands