For many of its ideologues, a slaveholding Confederacy was meant to be a bulwark against radical politics of all stripes.
During Reconstruction, elites used racist appeals to silence calls for redistribution and worker empowerment.
Even before the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified, enslaved women struggled for the passage of the Enlistment Act of 1865 and their own emancipation.
After the Civil War, workers struggled to make wage labor go the way of chattel slavery.
For over a century, black elites have pushed improved “race relations” instead of redistribution as the solution to inequality.
Eric Foner on the abolitionists, Reconstruction, and winning “freedom” from the Right.
Why have so many films dealing with the Civil War embraced the Confederate struggle?
Frederick Douglass believed there was an alternative. So should we.
We shouldn’t reduce historical narratives solely to questions of black agency. It’s bad history — and can lead to even worse politics.
The Civil War inaugurated a titanic revolution that within years brought slavery to an end and broke the planter class.