AHC: prevent the rise of the southern myth

First off I'm not sure if this goes here, but if not I'll delete it and place it in the proper forum.

Anyway, your challenge is to find a way so that after the civil war the overwhelming majority of americans living in the south view the existence of the CSA as not some honorable, valorous entity looked upon with pride or anything even remotely close to positive but in essence the same vein as say Germans today look upon Nazi Germany. Basically as a horrible mistake and wicked and evil thing that never should have been allowed to happen. In essence have it so that people see and view the CSA for what it really was and not what the lost cause or other pro confederate groups view it as.
 
You would need Radical Reconstruction, and long term military occupation of the South so that a generation or two of Southerners would be educated about their collective guilt.

All of this is hard to pull off, because as much as Northerners tended to oppose slavery (sometimes only for economic reasons), they certainly weren't multicultural or had similar values as the mid-20th Century.

Also, not to sound like I'm whitewashing the Confederacy, but slavery is not as horrific as the sickeningly refined industrialized genocide of the Nazis.
 
Apparently towards the end, Lee had to convince a chunk of his officers not to run off into the hinterlands to start a guerilla war. Say he isn't around to dissuade them?

Perhaps have someone like Nathan Bedford Forrest in a higher position of authority lead such a die hard faction for years after the war. Have them run a brutal campaign, killing many white as well as blacks, ruining infrastructure, agriculture and industry to 'deny' it the Union.

Have Lincoln live and oversee a more measured and ultimately moderate Reconstruction in secure areas. He comes to see the black population as both under threat and a provocation to southern whites and combines the Freeman's Bureau with the Homestead Act to resettle swathes of ex-slaves out West.

The diehards end up being seen as little better than psychotic bandits, by 1870 they are whittled down and most southern whites simply want to move on. Confederate symbols become even more political, becoming associated with Forrest and his cut throats, and are banned or at least seen in poor taste (really push the butterflies, have Stonewall Jackson survive the war and become an advocate for moderation, providing a bullet proof figure to lead Southern reconciliation with Lincoln).

Now this doesn't mean the South becomes a multicultural utopia, indeed I doubt such a souring of the Rebel image will stop much of segregation but as time moves on, the Confederacy comes to be seen as a particularly nasty mistake. You might have a separation, such as you see to an extent with Nazi Germany, where Lee, Jackson and the common soldier is seen as loyalist who came when their states called, but the Stars and Bars and the die hards were poisonous extremists unwilling to negotiate and crippled the south in the process. The CSA was an act of uncompromising ego by wealthy slave owners who exploited the 'patriotism' of Virginians and Georgians etc.

Come the modern era, the brutal racism of the 'resistance' only colours the imagery of the Confederacy even more in a bad way.
 
Have the South defeated sooner and not win in the Eastern theater for the first year and a half or so of the war. A quick curb stomping could make Southerners see the rising as a foolish mistake that caused them nothing but trouble. No realistic way to get some "collective guilt" thing over the idea of the Confederacy and why it was created though with 19th century mindsets. You would need to change the North as well as the South. Remember in the 1860s, 1870s Northerners may have had issues with slavery but wanting what we would see as racial equality was an idea only held by a few people on the fringe. The slave holding Union states like Maryland also make "collective guilt" ideas nearly impossible because the ex-Confederate states can rightfully point out that the North had slaves to. You also have decades of the idea of a loose or voluntary union being common in politics in both the North and South to deal with as well. Maybe have one of the Reconstruction amendments openly deny right to succession? I'm pretty sure even today succession is only de facto, not de jure illegal/unconstitutional.
 

RousseauX

Donor
Have the South defeated sooner and not win in the Eastern theater for the first year and a half or so of the war. A quick curb stomping could make Southerners see the rising as a foolish mistake that caused them nothing but trouble. No realistic way to get some "collective guilt" thing over the idea of the Confederacy and why it was created though with 19th century mindsets. You would need to change the North as well as the South. Remember in the 1860s, 1870s Northerners may have had issues with slavery but wanting what we would see as racial equality was an idea only held by a few people on the fringe. The slave holding Union states like Maryland also make "collective guilt" ideas nearly impossible because the ex-Confederate states can rightfully point out that the North had slaves to. You also have decades of the idea of a loose or voluntary union being common in politics in both the North and South to deal with as well. Maybe have one of the Reconstruction amendments openly deny right to succession? I'm pretty sure even today succession is only de facto, not de jure illegal/unconstitutional.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_v._White

Texas vs White ruled secession to be unconstitutional already
 
Also, not to sound like I'm whitewashing the Confederacy, but slavery is not as horrific as the sickeningly refined industrialized genocide of the Nazis.
I know, I admit that using the nazi's as a example is somewhat a extreme difference, but I honestly couldn't think of another example to get across what I meant.
 
I would actually have the more lenient reconstruction plans proposed by the northern moderates go into effect, which could breed less resentment of the southerners towards the union.
 
Wow, why do I keep seeing threads with this exact same subject pop up in such a short amount of time? Especially in such a politicising way, as if you are the one who knows what the CSA "really" was?

Anyway, it's more or less impossible like you mean it. The best way to prevent any sort of nostalgia for it might be to have an earlier defeat and a much lighter reconstruction which might move the feelings of the south towards ambivalence, so that almost everybody in the "modern" south walking around going "meh" at the whole thing, instead of some romanticising it or whatever.

Perhaps have someone like Nathan Bedford Forrest in a higher position of authority lead such a die hard faction for years after the war. Have them run a brutal campaign, killing many white as well as blacks, ruining infrastructure, agriculture and industry to 'deny' it the Union.
So what's the PoD that caused Forrest to become insane?
 
Just to keep banging on the drum: it was not a lack of moderation that as the problem with Reconstruction. Rather, it was a lack of economic reform and insufficient radicalism when it came to preventing and punishing attacks on civil rights.
 
First off I'm not sure if this goes here, but if not I'll delete it and place it in the proper forum.

Anyway, your challenge is to find a way so that after the civil war the overwhelming majority of americans living in the south view the existence of the CSA as not some honorable, valorous entity looked upon with pride or anything even remotely close to positive but in essence the same vein as say Germans today look upon Nazi Germany. Basically as a horrible mistake and wicked and evil thing that never should have been allowed to happen. In essence have it so that people see and view the CSA for what it really was and not what the lost cause or other pro confederate groups view it as.
Depends on the POD. Shift the proportion of non-slave owners in the lowlands who vote against secession, so as to make the votes really knife-edge. Slightly intensify Confederate policies on printing money to pay for the war, shift up the cotton embargo, intensify draft resistance especially with more egregious loopholes for slave owners. Intensity Unionist sentiment in West Virginia, East Tennessee, Northern Alabama, and the Western Carolinas to the point where you have widespread and successful revolt against the Confederacy anywhere where slavery is weak.

And critically, stick the landing with Reconstruction. Distribute confiscated and public land to white yeoman farmers and freedmen alike so they have a common political interest (a la biens nationaux), make the mixed-race alliance in southern politics stick. It would take some very creative revisionist history, but I think you could get a plurality of whites to see the Confederacy as treason in defense of slavery and a conspiracy against the innocent and loyal white yeoman of the South (in the same way that people after WWII were very insistent that all of France resisted, or that Austria was the first victim of Nazi aggression, etc.).
 
Having the lost causers and Sothern romantics meet an early end might help - get rid of the likes of Jubel Early, Margaret Mitchell, and Sons of Confederate Veterans and the like, and you maintain the South that hated the slaveowers as much as they hated the slaves. Hardly a utopia, we wouldn;t have people weeping over the downfall of the CSA or wearing the stars and bars on thier sleeves or shirts.
 
Just to keep banging on the drum: it was not a lack of moderation that as the problem with Reconstruction. Rather, it was a lack of economic reform and insufficient radicalism when it came to preventing and punishing attacks on civil rights.
Considering how light of a touch Johnson was with Reconstruction, I really don't see how it could have been any more "moderate" short of refusing to punish Confederates at all.
 
But under Grant the reconstruction was much less moderate.
If by that you mean Grant for once enforced the law against terrorists seeking to overthrow elected state governments by a campaign of violence and intimidation, I'm tempted to quote Goldwater. And that normally makes me feel ill.
 
Have the Confederacy win.
I would actually have the more lenient reconstruction plans proposed by the northern moderates go into effect, which could breed less resentment of the southerners towards the union.
300,000 Southern war dead, and all for nothing. They were far far worse off WITH the war than if they had just chosen to give Lincoln a chance. But that would have meant admitting that the war was all the fault of their own hotheadedness. That's all the cause for resentment you need.:mad:

Wow, why do I keep seeing threads with this exact same subject pop up in such a short amount of time? Especially in such a politicising way, as if you are the one who knows what the CSA "really" was?

Anyway, it's more or less impossible like you mean it. The best way to prevent any sort of nostalgia for it might be to have an earlier defeat and a much lighter reconstruction which might move the feelings of the south towards ambivalence, so that almost everybody in the "modern" south walking around going "meh" at the whole thing, instead of some romanticising it or whatever.
An early Union victory could mean no emancipation. Especially in a "Six Week War" that everyone was expecting. Status quo Ante-Bellum?

So what's the PoD that caused Forrest to become insane?
Nobody said he was crazy. But as to many of his followers, "crazy with hate"?

Having the lost causers and Southern romantics meet an early end might help - get rid of the likes of Jubel Early, Margaret Mitchell, and Sons of Confederate Veterans and the like, and you maintain the South that hated the slaveowers as much as they hated the slaves. Hardly a utopia, we wouldn't have people weeping over the downfall of the CSA or wearing the stars and bars on their sleeves or shirts.
Martyrs

Considering how light of a touch Johnson was with Reconstruction, I really don't see how it could have been any more "moderate" short of refusing to punish Confederates at all.
Indeed, most of the high-ranking Confederates were laughing at Johnson (quietly) as they made their pilgrimages to the White House to get their pardons from the man.

Have the south win and begin to collapse in on itself. That should kill the southern myth.
If they win, that gives them major mojo, more than enough to maintain the myth.

But under Grant the reconstruction was much less moderate.
Which is why after being stiffed for 145 years, Grant is finally getting the recognition he deserves as President. Since every major Reconstruction history in the US was a Southerner (until the 1960s), the Southern Myth (Dunning Thesis) regarding Grant being The Worst President Ever is finally getting seriously punctured. Until the most recent decennial, Grant was typically down in the bottom four or five Presidents. But recently, he shot up to the middle of the pack!:eek:

Ironic that a man so cruel to the Native American is now regarded as the biggest Civil Rights champion pre-Lyndon Johnson.:rolleyes:

If by that you mean Grant for once enforced the law against terrorists seeking to overthrow elected state governments by a campaign of violence and intimidation, I'm tempted to quote Goldwater. And that normally makes me feel ill.
"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!"

Senator Barry Goldwater
Presidential nomination acceptance speech
1964 Republican Convention

This, from a man who by the time he retired from the US Senate was Pro-Choice and Pro-ERA. Today, he would be declared a RINO. There is good reason why the Tea Party and Republicans (but I repeat myself) and Fox News (but I repeat myself again:p) don't like to bring up his name anymore.

StevenAttewell, you have no reason to feel ill today when thinking of Barry Goldwater. He was a different man in his old age than he was in much of his political career.:) Feel free to indulge your temptations.:):cool:
 
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If by that you mean Grant for once enforced the law against terrorists seeking to overthrow elected state governments by a campaign of violence and intimidation, I'm tempted to quote Goldwater. And that normally makes me feel ill.
I'm not saying that a more moderate reconstruction is a good thing (I think it should have gone further myself), I'm saying that it could prevent resentment among the southerners, which could lead to less glorification of the confederacy, which is the point of this thread. We aren't debating what was the best thing to do, we are debating what would make the glorification of the south less, not what would make the south a better place. If the racist former confederates are happier in a nation where they aren't being punished, then they would have less reason to wish they were not in the union. If they are being punished and their racist goals are being prevented, they will be unhappy and look back more favorably on a chance they had to avoid that.
 

RousseauX

Donor
I'm not saying that a more moderate reconstruction is a good thing (I think it should have gone further myself), I'm saying that it could prevent resentment among the southerners, which could lead to less glorification of the confederacy, which is the point of this thread. We aren't debating what was the best thing to do, we are debating what would make the glorification of the south less, not what would make the south a better place. If the racist former confederates are happier in a nation where they aren't being punished, then they would have less reason to wish they were not in the union. If they are being punished and their racist goals are being prevented, they will be unhappy and look back more favorably on a chance they had to avoid that.
What resentment? How were they being punished? The truth is that post-1865 south didn't have a problem with being in the union, the lost cause was developed to explain the losing of the war, not so much as the consequences of it.
 
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This, from a man who by the time he retired from the US Senate was Pro-Choice and Pro-ERA. Today, he would be declared a RINO. There is good reason why the Tea Party and Republicans (but I repeat myself) and Fox News (but I repeat myself again:p) don't like to bring up his name anymore.

StevenAttewell, you have no reason to feel ill today when thinking of Barry Goldwater. He was a different man in his old age than he was in much of his political career.:) Feel free to indulge your temptations.:):cool:
When it comes to political grudges, I tend more towards the Thaddeus Stevens than the Lincoln approach. I'm not particularly surprised that Goldwater became pro-choice and pro-ERA, but that was never the problem with him.

I'm not saying that a more moderate reconstruction is a good thing (I think it should have gone further myself), I'm saying that it could prevent resentment among the southerners, which could lead to less glorification of the confederacy, which is the point of this thread. We aren't debating what was the best thing to do, we are debating what would make the glorification of the south less, not what would make the south a better place. If the racist former confederates are happier in a nation where they aren't being punished, then they would have less reason to wish they were not in the union. If they are being punished and their racist goals are being prevented, they will be unhappy and look back more favorably on a chance they had to avoid that.
I don't think it could. I think moderation convinced a lot of Southerners that they were right, because here's ol' Andy Johnson on their side fighting for the "Constitution as it was," and they could therefore win the peace by fighting one day longer than the radicals.

Let's be quite clear, white Southern resistance to Reconstruction was not caused by resentment alone or even primarily. For the former ruling class of the South, this was an existential conflict - in order to maintain their economic, political, and social power, the freedmen must be reduced to serfdom and the white yeoman must be reconsecrated to the cause of white supremacy, and any of them who step out of line will be race-baited, intimidated, or bushwhacked. This began before any "punishment" took place.

There are plenty of historical accounts of racial violence starting right in 1865, as whites sought to enforce the old order. Take a look at the records of the Freedman's Bureau online, especially the "Registers of Outrages".
 
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