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Blog Post for 9/28

Zinn’s chapter “Slavery without Submission, Emancipation without Freedom” does a great job of highlighting one of the most common themes of the whole semester: how the history we are familiar with is not always the most thourough or even the most truthful history. As children in America, we often learn of Abraham Lincoln as the president to end racism and slavery in America, who acted as a progressive leader for racial equality and understood the moral wrong of slavery. This, however, as Zinn brings attention to, is an incomplete story. Lincoln contradicts himself multiple times throughout his election and presidency about his opinions on the institution of slavery, and whether or not he, as the president, even has the right to abolish slavery. Additionally, it was well known that up until the point of allowing black men in the North to fight for the Union army, Lincoln vehemently asserted that the purpose of the Civil War was not to end slavery, but for the “preservation of the Union.” Zinn also cites multiple instancs of Lincoln saying that he does not support equality of blacks and whites, and thinks that if the blacks were ever freed, they should be sent back to Africa. These quotes from Lincoln, and this perspective of the Civil War and fight to end slavery, paint a stark contrast between the narrative we are used to hearing growing up, likely because we want our history to be seen as the least harmful as it possibly can be. However, missing key details such as these gives us an incomplete story of our history, and hinder us from fully grasping the history and hardships faced by our fellow Americans. Although it can often be hard to read, I think Zinn’s chapters explaining the “other” perspectives of history are extremely important in understanding our country’s culture and current tensions, as well as shaping ourselves to become holisitc and effective leaders.

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2 Comments

  1. Alexander Dimedio Alexander Dimedio

    I think you did a great job analyzing the topic at hand. I also learned the same things about Lincoln, and until I read this book I still thought of Lincoln as a well intentioned president fighting slavery, because it is the right thing to do. I agree with your comments about Lincoln, and I like how you bring in specific references from Zinn to support your post.

  2. Henry Groves Henry Groves

    Again, I was surprised at what I did not learn either. When Zinn brought the full truth about Lincoln’s stance on slavery I was surprised like you. Like you mentioned, the quotes that Lincoln said took me to think about who he really was.

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