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Margot Roussels Blog Post 9/28

After reading Chapter 9, Slavery Without Submission, Emancipation Without Freedom and watching the video, I began to realize how different the story of the Civil War is from what is told. Firstly, Abraham Lincoln is painted as the great emancipator who tirelessly fought against slavery when in actuality in the beginning, he repeatedly said he was not going to take slavery away from the south just prevent its growth. Moreover, for many of the first few years of the war he refused to make the battle about slavery instead he was just fighting to keep the union together. This made me wonder if he should get all the praise that he does. Although, he did always retain that his personal views were against slavery, but he would do whatever was best for the nation.

Another thing that really struck me from the reading is that the southerners were confused when their slaves were not loyal to them. I honestly found these accounts hilarious because the slave owners were consistently surprised when their slaves deserted to the “enemy” meaning the north. This just shows how deeply engrained slave culture was into the society that these people could not even see the cruelty that happened every day and why it was wrong. Zinn told us that it was estimated about 1/5 enslaved people ran away to the north and helped by doing the most grueling parts of army work like digging trenches.

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  1. Sara Moushegian Sara Moushegian

    In my Slavery and Freedom class I took at Richmond, we read a story about a woman enslaver and her domestic slaves within her home. This story took place after the 13th amendment was passed, so slaves were now legally free. In the story, the enslaver refuses to free her slaves herself, and tries to keep them around for as long as she can. When her slaves realize they need to take it upon herself and simply runaway from the home, she is perplexed why they would “abandon” her like this. Enslaver’s truly believed what they were doing was not morally wrong.

  2. Sofia Adams Sofia Adams

    I too was surprised by Abraham Lincoln’s actually mindset during the civil war. In school I had always learned that he was a champion of ending African American enslavement. When in reality he really only championed the preservation of the union. I don’t think this makes Abraham Lincoln and bad person or president. He did disagree with slavery and did do many things to help end it. However, I think it raises an interesting question about how we choose to depict historical figures. Sometimes in school we only learn half of the story of historical figures or events. I think a single story about anything or person is dangerous. I think it is important to learn about things in their entirety.

  3. Elina Bhagwat Elina Bhagwat

    I also rethought how Lincoln had been praised and wondered if this praise was justified after reading Zinn’s chapter. I think that this just goes to show how polarized views in politics cloud personal morals because politicians are worried about maintaining power. While Lincoln may have had the right ideas about getting rid of slavery, he ultimately tried to prevent the expansion of slavery rather than completely abolishing it in order to appeal to more people.

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