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  • Laurence D. Schiller
    ... James - in a sense you are right and in a sense you are very wrong. We certainly do need to work against those who redefine history to suit their own
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 1, 2005
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      At 6:04 PM +0000 10/1/05, civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com wrote:
      > > James2044 <JWD2044@h...> wrote:
      >> Are
      >> we "proving" something that could not be "proven" at the time? It
      >> seems that many are trying to do that.
      >
      >--- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, Steve Saultz <tristan4th@y...>
      >wrote:
      >>
      >> Very well stated James,.,..Thankyou
      >> Respectfully Capt.McCracken
      >
      >
      >You are welcome, I feel we need to defend history from those that wish
      >to rewrite it to suit "current thinking".
      >
      >James2044


      James - in a sense you are right and in a sense you are very wrong.
      We certainly do need to work against those who redefine history to
      suit their own political purposes ('current thinking').Political
      correctness whether from the left or the right (and believe me it
      exists quite strongly in both quarters) should be resisted. However,
      that said, just because a certain interpretation of historical events
      has been mainstream for some time absolutely does not mean we should
      stop studying these events and looking for evidence that may change
      our interpretations - no matter how uncomfortable that might be for
      some folks. That is not PC, as is often charged, but valid historical
      method. History is always being revised. That is what historians do.
      There is no absolute truth in history. For example, for a long time
      in this country the purveyors of the 'lost cause' were mainstream.
      Lee was the God and Grant the butcher, etc. Over the past 30 years,
      much of what was then mainstream has been shown to be simply wrong
      because historians have looked at more documents and gathered more
      data. The fact is that we have more data, such as eyewitness letters
      and accounts now about Ft. Pillow than they did when they were
      looking at it in the 19th century. Why can't we 'prove' something
      that couldn't be proven at the time? Just because they couldn't
      doesn't mean we don't have the means now. Many documents come to
      light only after the protagonists are dead - decades after the
      events. Are you suggesting we shouldn't look at these and form new
      opinions if warranted? This is what I meant by embracing all of the
      evidence. If you think NBF was not responsible for Ft. Pillow or
      whatever, then you can't just disregard these other documents or
      accuse those who examine them and come up with other interpretations
      as 'evil revisionists' - something I have heard applied to historians
      quite often by those who don't want to deal with realities that
      disturb their happy take on things. Nor is it valid to dismiss them
      with comments such as 'the writer must have been lying or had a weak
      stomach' without some pretty good evaluation as to why that might be
      so. An extremely important part of correct historical method is to
      evaluate your data - but you actually have to evaluate it, not just
      dismiss it. There are a lot of very complex issues in this War of
      ours we like to study and there are going to be opposing points of
      view. If you want to have your view taken seriously, deal with the
      flaws, if any, in the other fellow's view and his evidence and show
      why your interpretation is better - based on the evidence. Decrying
      'revisionism' does nothing to advance your point of view. I say this
      to everyone on both sides of this issue, whatever your opinion of NBF
      is. He is a significant and interesting character in our theatre of
      the war and ought to be properly evaluated, not mythologized or
      demonized.

      Best,

      Laurie Schiller


      --
      Dr. Laurence Dana Schiller
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