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August 13, 2009


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Jamie Colburn

I imagine they took this exchange down because of how contentious it makes "facts" seem -- undermining the site's rather pretentious notions of "Just the Facts" reporting about travel.


Interesting debate. I've not seen the site but from the description I agree with Eric about how they addressed Lincoln's Richmond visit and particularly that it's absurd for the tour to fail to mention slavery. But he's reading too much into the presence of the black employee. Wouldn't he have complained equally if everyone there was white? Should the fellow have been denied the job because of race?

Also, IMO it's too easy to dismiss legitimate arguments about the Civil War and its aftermath by using the "Lost Cause" label and dismissing every contention identified with such sentiments. Reconstruction WAS an occupation. In fact, it was a period of outright martial law, a brutal fact for Southerners which is glossed over by the term "Reconstruction." My own family owned no slaves (or "butlers" for that matter) but was burned out by Sherman and fled Union occupation to Texas with nothing but the clothes on their backs. They shared much of the "lost cause" ideology described here but it was rooted in bitter loss and personal experience.

Winners write history with the terms they prefer, but that doesn't completely invalidate the language and perspective of losers in great historical conflicts.

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