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Blog Post 09/28 – Kayla O’Connell

In this week’s reading of PHUS, Zinn outlines the complicated and disgusting past of slavery during the civil war. The United States government supported slavery at the time due to the vast economic benefits derived from plantations. Despite the fact that the slave trade was abolished, 250,000 enslaved individuals were illegally transported into America before the civil war. Although this number is only a statistic, they can only show so much. A statistic can never truly portray the pain of families being torn apart or the violence that an individual experienced. I find it crazy that our own government supported plantations because of the economic benefits. This highlights how transactional our government can really be. 

Zinn also documented Abraham Lincoln and his thoughts on slavery. When running for the election, Lincoln was able to blend the interests of the very rich and the interests of the Blacks at a moment in history where their interests seemed to intersect. History books tend to glamorize Lincoln and his impact on slavery. To my surprise, Zinn described that Lincoln did not denounce the Fugitive Slave Laws. In fact, he wanted to send the enslaved individuals back to Africa because he didn’t see them as equal. The Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation was a military move that Lincoln thought would spur antislavery forces. Even the leaders that were a part of monumental moments of history all seem to have ulterior motives. 

I really enjoyed watching the video that was assigned for class this week. Not only did the video outline the Civil War in great detail, but also added a funny twist to history. I found the use of comics and memes to be beneficial to my learning. The video was able to keep my attention from beginning to end.


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  1. Maggie Otradovec Maggie Otradovec

    It’s unsettling to realize the difference between how we’re taught the Civil War and what really happened (which is the case with almost everything we discuss in this class). American society puts Lincoln up on a pedestal for bringing the states back together and for freeing the slaves. While he more or less did both of those things, his true intentions for the latter are often lost.

  2. Olivia Cosco Olivia Cosco

    The part you mention about Lincoln not seeing the slaves as equal was also very alarming to me. We are supposed to see our presidents as heroic figures, which is why we learn about them in a certain way, but discovering more of the truth in these readings was shocking.

  3. Olivia Cranshaw Olivia Cranshaw

    I also agree, the idealization of Lincon in our history today is unsettling, misleading, and almost disturbing. The idea of Lincon is integrated into a lot of iconic American things, which really does show that a lot of a country’s history is fueled by the myths it creates.

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