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2015 was the 150th anniversary of the end of the American civil war. It settled two primary issues: that of slavery, and that of state v. federal authority and the legality of secession therefrom.

I'm curious to know what they teach about the US civil war in Canada. I asked a Canadian on this message board once if they taught any US history in schools, and the answer was very little--apparently most of your information on the United States and its history comes from popular culture. Contrast this to an Australian I know, who informed me that in their country, they teach more US history than their own.

In the US, it seems that the civil war issue is still fought along sectional lines. If you're from the south, you insist that the Civil War (which you probably refer to as the War of Northern Aggression) was fought not over slavery but over a romantic political idea styled "states rights". If you're from the north, you were likely taught it was fought over slavery. What both camps staunchly ignore is that wars sometimes start over one thing and are fought over another--at times, the peace settles a completely different issue entirely. I personally cannot stand that debate, I find it to be the sort of answers for people who want simple answers to everything. History and politics are too complicated to be confined to simple answers.

I'll post more on this, but for now, what are everyone's thoughts on this? And what do Canadians think of it in particular?

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I just remember an Aussie telling me they taught him more US history in school than Australian. Was wondering if that was the same in Canada, figuring that it might have something to do with its (present) superpower status. They do mention the colonization of Canada in American history classes (at least in mine they did) so there was a little bit of Canadian history we learned, just not "modern" history thereof.

But there's still a lot of interest worldwide in the US civil war, because it was one of the "transitional" wars of the 19th century, and there are certainly a lot of books floating around on it. There was some Anglo-Canadian intrigue involving the US civil war I understand. And it was just before the confederation (1867).

Nonetheless, this is the reason I posted it in the US politics forum; Americans might have more interest in the subject after all, I don't know.

Edited by JamesHackerMP
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Slavery was just the most sensational reason given by historians, there were many reasons for the civil war including the transport of goods, the south wanting to control the cotton trade, separation, and American Indian rights.  I don't claim to to be a civil war buff, but as a child all I ever heard about was slavery, however the civil war likely would've happened regardless of the slavery issue.

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Very little as I recall.  Southern states uses slaves so slavery is legal there. Northern states don't allow slavery. Eventually this issue comes to a head and the Southern states cecede for fear that the more numerous northerners will force and end to southern ways.  

   Not a hell of a lot but it does lead to the next section of history on what the Northern victory means for Canada . That bit takes many more classes to cover. 

Edited by Peter F
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On 11/15/2017 at 7:12 AM, JamesHackerMP said:

2015 was the 150th anniversary of the end of the American civil war. It settled two primary issues: that of slavery, and that of state v. federal authority and the legality of secession therefrom.

I'm curious to know what they teach about the US civil war in Canada. I asked a Canadian on this message board once if they taught any US history in schools, and the answer was very little--apparently most of your information on the United States and its history comes from popular culture. Contrast this to an Australian I know, who informed me that in their country, they teach more US history than their own.

In the US, it seems that the civil war issue is still fought along sectional lines. If you're from the south, you insist that the Civil War (which you probably refer to as the War of Northern Aggression) was fought not over slavery but over a romantic political idea styled "states rights". If you're from the north, you were likely taught it was fought over slavery. What both camps staunchly ignore is that wars sometimes start over one thing and are fought over another--at times, the peace settles a completely different issue entirely. I personally cannot stand that debate, I find it to be the sort of answers for people who want simple answers to everything. History and politics are too complicated to be confined to simple answers.

I'll post more on this, but for now, what are everyone's thoughts on this? And what do Canadians think of it in particular?

The civil war was not covered extensively in Canadian history class in elementary and high school.  However what was covered was that the south wanted slavery, the north wanted to end its practice, the south refused to end it and seceded on the election of Lincoln, Lincoln tried to appease the south, but they refused at this point believing it was a trick and war broke out.  That is how I remember them teaching but I could go scan the text book again, it was not very indepth, probably 1 or 2 paragraphs.

The civil war was factually about slavery.  The south wanted it to continue, the north wanted it to end.  It is true there were other issues involved like "tariffs", "State's rights", etc.  But these were all based in or rooted in slavery.  For instance, the tariffs being fought over were tariffs in goods that were almost exclusively being harvested, produced, manufactured and moved by slaves.  The state's rights, all dealt with the rights of whites to mistreat and abuse slaves or free african americans.  The south did not secede because they wanted the right to smoke indoors and northerners wouldn't let them.  The Southern states had felt their slave power was wanning after having a series of weak presidents who bent to give the slave states whatever they wanted followed by the election of a anti-slavery president, slavery was a growingly unpopular institution among white people who were often on the brunt end of violent slave revolts, many white immigrants had their entire industry undercut by slave power and many white industrialist as well.  Further, Southern whites were neglecting education of poor whites in favor of expanding slavery. Additionally the slave states had attempted to expand slavery in the mid 1800s into free states and into new Western territories and states.  Not only did the Southern states oppose state's rights, they had actively pursued and pressured and lobbied the federal government to pass federal laws, like the fugitive slave acts, to permit southerners to chase runaway slaves into free states and re-enslave them.  In fact the Dredd Scott case highlighted this.  Southerners opposed states rights and sued in court to have the federal government overlook the rights of states who had abolished slavery.

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On 11/15/2017 at 11:08 AM, JamesHackerMP said:

Exactly, I figured our histories were kind of intertwined like that.

I was also curious to know what is known about our civil war in other countries, and their perspectives on it.

O yes, I also remember that the history book they gave us said that Britain and Canada had secretly supported the confederacy, but were scared the north would declare war on them if it was too blantant.  In fact with the entire Trent Affair, Lincoln almost declared war on Canada and thousands of British Soldiers were moved into Canada in anticipation of the war.

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On 11/15/2017 at 8:34 PM, Hal 9000 said:

Slavery was just the most sensational reason given by historians, there were many reasons for the civil war including the transport of goods, the south wanting to control the cotton trade, separation, and American Indian rights.  I don't claim to to be a civil war buff, but as a child all I ever heard about was slavery, however the civil war likely would've happened regardless of the slavery issue.

The reasons all dealt with slavery.  Transportation of goods.  What goods =slaves and goods the slaves made.  transportation by who, doing what, for what reason and cause.  The south wanted to transport slaves through free states and territories and they wanted slaves to remain slaves even in states that abolished slavery!  When did the south not control the cotton trade? The south wanted to force northern states into taking slavery goods and slavery money.  They also wanted to do so without paying taxes to support the infrastructure.  Who was trading cotton, who was picking the cotton.  These are all slavery based issues.  The south never believed in separation.  They believed in dominating the free states and bow battering them into accepting slavery. Once a president with a backbone came along and said enough, they seceded.  The only American Indian issues that came up with with black Indian fighting the seceding states and refusing to bow to slave power, mainly in Florida with the whole seminole wars thing.  And that was entirely about slavery.

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On 11/15/2017 at 4:12 AM, JamesHackerMP said:

2015 was the 150th anniversary of the end of the American civil war. It settled two primary issues: that of slavery, and that of state v. federal authority and the legality of secession therefrom.

I'm curious to know what they teach about the US civil war in Canada. I asked a Canadian on this message board once if they taught any US history in schools, and the answer was very little--apparently most of your information on the United States and its history comes from popular culture. Contrast this to an Australian I know, who informed me that in their country, they teach more US history than their own.

In the US, it seems that the civil war issue is still fought along sectional lines. If you're from the south, you insist that the Civil War (which you probably refer to as the War of Northern Aggression) was fought not over slavery but over a romantic political idea styled "states rights". If you're from the north, you were likely taught it was fought over slavery. What both camps staunchly ignore is that wars sometimes start over one thing and are fought over another--at times, the peace settles a completely different issue entirely. I personally cannot stand that debate, I find it to be the sort of answers for people who want simple answers to everything. History and politics are too complicated to be confined to simple answers.

I'll post more on this, but for now, what are everyone's thoughts on this? And what do Canadians think of it in particular?

Read a book on the 250 yr history of the U.S. but my memory is not that great.  You have inspired me to go back and re-read U.S. history, especially around the civil war.

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I took a course called "Era of the American Civil War", but I don't have too many civil war books myself. Except one. It's called Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (Oxford History of the United States). It's got some pretty good background in it, a bit long though.

Either "slavery" or "state's rights" doesn't quite explain it, does it? I rather think that when southerners say "oh it wasn't over slavery" what they REALLY mean is that it wasn't over slavery as a moral issue. I very much doubt it was a moral issue in 1860-62. But in 1863 of course, that changed. The Emancipation Proclamation, issued that year, galvanized the struggle over "let's preserve the Union" into "let's free the slaves". Before that, the American Government (and Americans of the United States) insisted they were fighting to preserve the Union.

Where I disagree with the southern view (state's rights only) is twofold. First, wars don't always end over what they started over. The peace can be different from the original wartime objectives. Second, the economic system of the South--slave-based--was backward, and when you have a nation-state with an economically-backward region servicing the needs of the more advanced industrialized region, they're definitely going to come to blows at some point. Much of the south is still today economically backward compared to the rest of the United States.

Where I disagree with the northern view (slavery only) is that most northerners really didn't give enough of a damn about the black people to fight over their freedom, at least until the Emancipation Proclamation was issued; and even then it was probably more about putting down the arrogant southerners than helping the enslaved to achieve freedom. But that doesn't mean there weren't a lot of people for whom it was an important moral issue.

Where I disagree with both crowds is that they just want a simple answer for everything, and history rarely has such a thing to offer. Not only that, you ask the average soldier what they're fighting for, it's really the man next to them in their foxhole. Not economic reasons, not political ideals...SURVIVAL. And politics is an extension of the human survival instinct; war being an extension of politics itself.

Edited by JamesHackerMP
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36 minutes ago, JamesHackerMP said:

I took a course called "Era of the American Civil War", but I don't have too many civil war books myself. Except one. It's called Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (Oxford History of the United States). It's got some pretty good background in it, a bit long though.

Either "slavery" or "state's rights" doesn't quite explain it, does it? I rather think that when southerners say "oh it wasn't over slavery" what they REALLY mean is that it wasn't over slavery as a moral issue. I very much doubt it was a moral issue in 1860-62. But in 1863 of course, that changed. The Emancipation Proclamation, issued that year, galvanized the struggle over "let's preserve the Union" into "let's free the slaves". Before that, the American Government (and Americans of the United States) insisted they were fighting to preserve the Union.

Where I disagree with the southern view (state's rights only) is twofold. First, wars don't always end over what they started over. The peace can be different from the original wartime objectives. Second, the economic system of the South--slave-based--was backward, and when you have a nation-state with an economically-backward region servicing the needs of the more advanced industrialized region, they're definitely going to come to blows at some point. Much of the south is still today economically backward compared to the rest of the United States.

Where I disagree with the northern view (slavery only) is that most northerners really didn't give enough of a damn about the black people to fight over their freedom, at least until the Emancipation Proclamation was issued; and even then it was probably more about putting down the arrogant southerners than helping the enslaved to achieve freedom. But that doesn't mean there weren't a lot of people for whom it was an important moral issue.

Where I disagree with both crowds is that they just want a simple answer for everything, and history rarely has such a thing to offer. Not only that, you ask the average soldier what they're fighting for, it's really the man next to them in their foxhole. Not economic reasons, not political ideals...SURVIVAL. And politics is an extension of the human survival instinct; war being an extension of politics itself.

It there still a lot of friction between the states that were in the civil war?  Is there a noticeable difference between the people in the different civil war states, north and south?

Edited by blackbird
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I remember we did cover some aspects of US history, in elementary school. I had an assignment that made reference to the US constitution and Thomas Jefferson. But that was about it. Later in high school, history class was all Canadian history. I learned about the US Civil war primarily through TV, American media. I think the movie "the Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" with Clint Eastwood was an early reference.

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41 minutes ago, OftenWrong said:

I remember we did cover some aspects of US history, in elementary school. I had an assignment that made reference to the US constitution and Thomas Jefferson. But that was about it. Later in high school, history class was all Canadian history. I learned about the US Civil war primarily through TV, American media. I think the movie "the Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" with Clint Eastwood was an early reference.

I learned about it from these, when I was a kid.  Brutal!

https://www.google.ca/search?q=american+civil+war+cards&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi7o82IzMjXAhVMw2MKHbcHAX8QsAQIOg&biw=1536&bih=710

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6 hours ago, blackbird said:

It there still a lot of friction between the states that were in the civil war?  Is there a noticeable difference between the people in the different civil war states, north and south?

That's a good question. The farthest south I've been is North Carolina and only briefly. But they have the reputation of being more relaxed than their northern counterparts.

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I don't recall learning any American history in school but it doesn't matter.  You can't avoid it in day to day life.

There were 2 Americas - the enlightened, educated one and the one that was backwards, stupid, greedy and evil.  The second one denied science, twisted religion, dehumanized people who were different and failed to honor basic human rights. 

Some things never change.  When is the next civil war?

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7 hours ago, ReeferMadness said:

I don't recall learning any American history in school but it doesn't matter.  You can't avoid it in day to day life.

There were 2 Americas - the enlightened, educated one and the one that was backwards, stupid, greedy and evil.  The second one denied science, twisted religion, dehumanized people who were different and failed to honor basic human rights. 

Some things never change.  When is the next civil war?

I think you are making too extreme a division or distinction.  I don't think everyone fits neatly into either of those categories.  There are non-religious people who see themselves as superior to other people that are a different colour for example.  But in history there also have been religious people in christian churches in parts of the U.S. that believed that a white person should never marry a black person or have anything to do with one.  That was based on a misinterpretation of some part in the Bible.  There may be still a few fundamental type churches that believe that whites should not marry blacks although they may not believe in discrimination in other walks of life.  I think Bob Jones university Baptists did not believe in mixed marriages but don't know what they believe today.  Actually come to think of it, mixed marriages were illegal in some parts of the U.S. up until the 1960s I believe.  There was at least one movie made about that.

I don't know of any religious denomination that denies science.   But depends what you mean by denying science.  Many christians do believe that God created the universe and many believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible regarding creation being in six days.  This does not mean they deny science.  I'm one of those people.  A large number of renowned scientists who lived from 1200 A.D. to 2000 A.D. believed in God, creation, and the Bible.  There are many scientists who believe strongly in the scientific method and science in general who still do not believe in the theory of evolution but believe God created the universe as the Bible says.  

Dehumanizing people is a very broad term.  Not sure what that would be in reference to.  Prior to the civil war,  slaves of course were dehumanized by many of those who used them, but there may have been a lot of people who had slaves and treated them with dignity as well.  Slavery is probably as old as man.  It existed in ancient history.  In the earlier centuries parts of Europe sold slaves to buyers in the middle east.  The Vikings were well known for taking people from Europe and selling them as slaves further south in the middle east.

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17 hours ago, blackbird said:

I think you are making too extreme a division or distinction.  I don't think everyone fits neatly into either of those categories. 

You don't say.

Quote

There are non-religious people who see themselves as superior to other people that are a different colour for example.  But in history there also have been religious people in christian churches in parts of the U.S. that believed that a white person should never marry a black person or have anything to do with one.  That was based on a misinterpretation of some part in the Bible.  There may be still a few fundamental type churches that believe that whites should not marry blacks although they may not believe in discrimination in other walks of life.  I think Bob Jones university Baptists did not believe in mixed marriages but don't know what they believe today.  Actually come to think of it, mixed marriages were illegal in some parts of the U.S. up until the 1960s I believe.  There was at least one movie made about that.

Religion is an excuse for people who want  to do good things to do them and it's an excuse for people who want to do bad things to do them.  You take a book that was written thousands of years ago in a completely different context and - surprise! - people can interpret it just about any way they want. 

Quote

I don't know of any religious denomination that denies science.   But depends what you mean by denying science.  Many christians do believe that God created the universe and many believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible regarding creation being in six days.  This does not mean they deny science.  I'm one of those people.  A large number of renowned scientists who lived from 1200 A.D. to 2000 A.D. believed in God, creation, and the Bible.  There are many scientists who believe strongly in the scientific method and science in general who still do not believe in the theory of evolution but believe God created the universe as the Bible says. 

OK.  You believe that a book written over the course of ~1,000 years translated from obsolete dialects of a foreign languages; consisting of passages which were selected by various people hundreds of years after the original authors were dead is the literal word of God and should be followed literally today.  And you're saying there is no contradiction between that and science?

If you consider a religion as a belief system based solely on faith instead of logic with a devoted following that will not be swayed by evidence to the contrary, the most important religion in practice today is fundamentalist capitalism.  The markets are the gods.  They provide all that's good in the world and when they don't it's obvious that you haven't followed the religion closely enough.  The commandments are all in support of endless economic growth and they are followed regardless of any facts or evidence which get in their way.  The latest example is the latest round of tax cuts for billionaires (including a tax break for private jets!) which proponents swear will pay for themselves.  This line has been trotted our repeatedly going back at least 50 years and tax cuts have NEVER paid for themselves but the true devotees bow their heads and defer to the market gods .  And any science that is inconvenient (climate change, the effects of fracking, the impacts of wealth disparity on society, the list goes on and on) is ignored, de-funded,  denied or undermined.

 

 

 

 

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On ‎11‎/‎15‎/‎2017 at 10:34 AM, Boges said:

Why would the US Civil War be taught in Canadian History Classes? The War of 1812 on the other hand. 

We don't even teach Canadian history in Canada.

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On ‎11‎/‎15‎/‎2017 at 11:08 AM, JamesHackerMP said:

Exactly, I figured our histories were kind of intertwined like that.

I was also curious to know what is known about our civil war in other countries, and their perspectives on it.

Most Americans don't even know much about their civil war beyond what Hollywood has told them.

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On ‎11‎/‎15‎/‎2017 at 2:34 PM, Boges said:

The Plains of Abraham was Canada's Civil War. 

Hardly. It was a war between Britain and France which spilled over into their colonies in Canada.

You can't have a civil war when you don't have a country, and we didn't.

 

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