I wanted to take a moment between getting a bit of work done for a class and finishing up some work in my class to remind you all the significance of today in our history. It was 150 years ago, in the early morning of April 12, 1861, that the Civil War commenced with the bombardment of Fort Sumter in Charleston, SC by forces of the Confederacy. While the argument can be made that the first shot in the war was the firing on The Star of the West, the attack on Sumter was the point at which the nation fell off the precipice towards war. Thus begins the four-year period of reflection, remembrance, and research on the war for its 150th anniversary. Later this week, I will write from scenic Illinois, as I will be flying home to present a paper at the Illinois State History Symposium in Carbondale on Thursday. Have a great evening and keep researching.
With all the buzz over the 150th anniversary of the war, Longwood University has entered the Civil War blogosphere with their blog That a Nation Might Live. From what I have seen, they are off to a good start with some great posts. Two professors at Longwood, Dr. Charles Ross and Dr. David Coles write the blog, so check it out. Also, thanks to them for posting this site to their blogroll.
March has passed and the posts have been lacking, but that does not mean I have not been doing some interesting things relating to the war. On St. Patrick’s Day, my friend Stuart and I went on the RJ Richards Show on 1310 KNOX AM in Grand Forks. It was our second time on the show, as the first was us talking about the Northern Plains Civil War Round Table. This time, we were on for a whole hour, fielding questions from RJ and his audience. It was awesome and I have been told that I have a voice for radio (thankfully, no one has said I have a face for it). I am considering embarking on podcasting for the blog, which I think would be a new twist for you all.
Speaking of the Round Table, we have gotten a few new members courtesy of our visit to KNOX. We met this past Tuesday and discussed Fort Sumter. The anniversary is coming up this next week, though Fox News indicated that the planned reenactment may be altered from a possible government shutdown. One wonders if the reenactment of the attack will serve other motives beyond historical for the participants. It is a bit ironic to consider the debates over states’ rights today against the issues in Charleston and the US in 1861.
I will be posting a bit more often in the coming weeks as we begin the 150th anniversary of the war and enter the reenacting season. I will also look into setting up some podcasts for your enjoyment. Later this next week, I head back to Illinois for a couple of days, where I will present a paper at the Illinois State History Symposium in Carbondale, so if you are in that area, I invite you to come and check it out. Until next time, keep researching.
Today, March 4 represents the 150th anniversary of the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln as our nation’s 16th president. His address that day attempted to send a conciliatory message to the seceded states that they had nothing to fear from his administration regarding the status of slavery where it existed. I leave you with a link to that address and warm wishes. My post would have been longer, but I have had a long day helping and participating in the sixth annual Red River Valley History Conference, which is put on by our chapter of Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society.
February 8 represents the 150th anniversary of the formation of the Confederate States of America. I purposely put nation in quotes to reflect the unrecognized status of the Confederacy. The Confederacy is an interesting creation, as several influential Southerners viewed their nation as the heir to the Revolution, resisting the tyranny of Washington. I wonder how they would react today. The Confederacy stirs many emotions today, but it can not be denied that its short history is wrapped in its role in beginning our nation’s bloodiest war. While the actual Confederacy lasted only four years, the idea lives on through historical memory, first dominated by the Lost Cause, and now through the ongoing debates in history over secession and the current divide over states’ rights, etc. I will close this short post with the encouragement to go out and read the histories on the Confederacy to understand how the views on the southern creation have changed over the last 150 years.