Archived Discussion

This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Tzintzuntzan: Lincoln wasn't as indifferent to slavery as this entry makes him out to be. In public early in the war, he said that he only cared for the Union. But before the war, in private during the war, and in the last days of the war, he often talked (and wrote)about the evils of slavery and how it must be ended.

Of course, Lincoln's attitude toward slavery depended on who he was talking to — he was a politician. It's often hard to say when he was giving his true feelings and when he was Pandering to the Base — the base being either abolitionists or Northern racists, depending.

Ununnilium: Yeah. Hrm. Lemme try an edit...

arromdee: This trope needs a lot of work. For one thing, the writers apparently didn't know that Civil War films in fact were extremely popular around the 50th anniversary of the war; but then again, not a lot of people know that. The first section also disagrees with the second section about how slavery is presented. I fixed it a little bit to make the second section refer to older movies, but it still flows very awkwardly.

Sebastian: I plead guilty to knowing little about the early silent films. However, I stand by the situation as described by the 30s on, pending further reference. We have a difficulty in Civil War history (both scholarly and popular) in that (a) For a lot of Southerners, the war still isn't over, (b) For a lot of modern white conservatives, any topic involving black history is subject to instant sneer and snark (Note that the generalized comment about black soldiers in mass media Civil War history is based on one movie, possibly two), and (c) Both Afro-American historians and pro-Southern historians like to dis Abraham Lincoln on the subject of slavery. Lincoln's own writing indicate he despised slavery all his life. He just placed a higher priority on saving his country, then the only large Democracy in the the history of the world to last more than a decade or so generation. The rest of the world, both intellectual and political, had always expected the United States to disintegrate and fall into chaos and despotism (like it eventually did in the 20th Century). That point of view has seldom, if ever, been well-portrayed in movies.

Sebastian The most recent comment is certainly interesting. I wonder if the troper could, if asked, make a list of "Civil War movies" as examples of this trend. Lesse, there's Glory and . . . what else? Reminds me of the British chaps who complain about recent American movies (as opposed to 50s flicks, like Spartacus) being anti-British. When I asked for examples they named U352 and . . . two movies by Mel Gibson, the noted Australian film star. Hell, most American film-goers dote on the Brits and on British films. Their movies and TV have a collective IQ a good 10 points higher than American flicks. And, of course, Americans don't get enough Civil War films these days to even make up a trend.

Sebastian Removed the "white resentment" quotes: "When African-American soldiers are featured, there is no ambiguity allowed; they must be the story's heroes who are ready to give all to fight for their people's freedom" . . . "Again, African American . . . fearlessly fight with all their strength for their people's freedom" . . . "As mentioned above, African American soldiers are the exception, they know exactly what they are fighting for and are heroically willing to sacrifice all to win their people's freedom" . . . "In many modern Civil War movies . . . the Confederate armies are shown to be made up almost solely of ragtag hicks dressed in rags" As I noted above, there has only been one major film about Black soldiers in the Civil War. One movie isn't a trend, its an oddity.

Sebastian "The Union commander, General Grant, is widely known to have been an alcoholic who, in his presidential years, was tolerant of corruption. This may not be true, but it makes for good fiction." Grant actually was an alcoholic, though he never drank to excess while on active service as a general or as President. The comment is simply irrelevant. It neither supports nor contradicts the statement that "union officers are usually portrayed as corrupt, foolish, or incompentent."

K Garrett: Meanwhile, on the battlefield, there is smoke and blood everywhere, with doctors severing limbs left and right, bugles blowing, drummer boys drumming, and cavalry charging every which way. < Removed the "off" from the sentence, as it's redundant.

Tananjoh I don't think there was 50 states in USA during this time.