Stephen Budiansky’s The Bloody Shirt: Terror After Appomattox is a powerful and detailed examination of the widely-supported terrorism in the post-Civil War South. Because Budiansky cites a lot of primary literature, such as newspaper editorials, legal testimony, and published memoirs, the horror and the nauseating race hatred of that era are not hidden with euphemisms. Were it up to me, this book would be required reading in every high school history class. And it is relevant to today’s politics.
Because the Southern Strategy is beginning to fail: that is, the bogus notions of Confederate Heritage, the Nobility of the Cause, and States Rights are slowly being exposed as the pathetic excuses for racism that they truly are.
This has led to an upsurge of revisionism regarding the causes of the Civil War, for if these odious, bigoted concepts can be rehabilitated in a less overtly racist form, then it grants more ground in which closeted unreconstructed bigots can maneuver. In the 2008 presidential election, there is a very good chance that a black man will be running for president, and that will send these troglodytes into a frenzy. But if they lose their code and trigger words, or at least some of them, that will far more difficult to mainstream their virulent toxin of hatred, and that strategy might even backfire. We, as a nation, will be the better for it.
Find someone you know who blathers on about Confederate Heritage or States Rights, and give him a copy of Budiansky’s book.