Twenty five years ago this year Ken Burns launched his supposedly epic series entitled “The Civil War.” One thing you have to understand about Mr. Burns going in, he is a modern day radical abolitionist. That is his mindset. Oh, he feigns objectivity but a quick look at his work will show you that he is anything but objective.
His original “Civil War” series lasted several nights on prime time television and to be sure I got it all I sat through the entire thing. Supposedly it took Mr. Burns five years of research and a ton of Rockefeller money, all to discover that, guess what, the war was really all about slavery! What a surprise! Knowing at least part of his funding sources could anyone who has followed any of this think his conclusions would be any different.
Well, that was a long time ago, you may say. However I’ve been told that Mr. Burns is about to redo and update this series and bring it back again. After all, almost a whole generation has gone by since this series was last presented and so it’s about time now, especially in light of all this planned fuss over Confederate flags and symbols, to reintroduce this generation to the “Civil War was only about slavery issue” so that people will not forget this holy mantra of the left.
Back in October of 1990 I did an article for The Christian News out of New Haven, Missouri about Mr. Burns’ series and the title of it was exactly the same as the title for this article. Mr. Burns probably has the financial backing to update and redigitalize his material. Unfortunately, I don’t have such, so all I can do is to go back to my original article and pull out some significant excerpts and hope this will suffice. Since I expect that most folks reading this will not have seen my original article this will probably not be repetitious to most. So please bear with me.
“Being a student of that period of U.S. history that encompasses the period from around 1820-1890, I was naturally interested when I saw several articles in newspapers touting public television’s “Civil War” series, shown the week of September 23rd for five successive nights. The series got such favorable preview publicity in the media that I felt it might be the crowning achievement of propaganda in regard to the War Between the States. Being somewhat forewarned, and being, though Northern by birth, basically of a Southern disposition in regard to the War, I was not, unfortunately, disappointed in my assessment of the series.”
“If, in some faint vein, I had hoped for objectivity in this series, such a vain hope was dashed on the first night’s broadcast. We were supposed to have the ’causes’ of the War outlined on the first broadcast. The ’causes’ all boiled down to the same stale abolitionist rhetoric that far too many of our ‘history’ books parrot today–the reason the war was fought was to free the slaves, a noble endeavor on the part of the North. The whole question of states’ rights and constitutional issues was given no more than a line or two, barely lip service. The theological implications of the War were totally ignored, as if they had never existed, and indeed, for the promoters of the program they probably did not, consciously. We were told that the man that put this series together spent five years researching his subject. That may be, but he surely didn’t read the same books I have!”
“The series hardly dealt with the Unitarian-influenced abolitionist movement in the North and the pressure that radical movement exerted on Northern politicians. It did not at all deal with the revival of reformation Christianity taking place in the South before the war.”
“John Brown, the abolitionist terrorist, was mentioned chiefly in his connection to the aborted raid at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. One got the impression from the program that Brown did all that he did on his own. Never was there a mention of the wealthy group of Northerners, one a Unitarian clergyman, called ‘the Secret Six’ that paid for a great deal of John Browns terrorism, both in Kansas and other places. Why weren’t these Northern financiers of Brown’s terrorism mentioned? They are mentioned in the National Park Service museum at Harpers Ferry. Their pictures are on the wall there.”
Lord willing, I will continue with these comments in another article. I don’t know when Mr. Burns’ updated series will be rebroadcast but it might not hurt to sit in when it is and make note of all the things that have been conveniently left out. I am sure you will find the list considerable.
by Al Benson Jr.(PART II)
I have been informed that Mr. Burns’ update for his “Civil War” series has been on public television this week (probably for the first rebroadcast of many) so I wanted to conclude my comments about it during this week. As readers can probably deduce from my comments in the first article, I have significant disagreements with Mr. Burns’ worldview.
One thing that bothered me was the way in which he dealt with some of the personalities, notably Stonewall Jackson. In my original Christian News article back in October of 1990 I stated: “Other things in this series bothered me. Stonewall Jackson, one of the South’s ablest generals and a devoted Christian gentleman, was labeled as a ‘cold-eyed killer, unloved by his men and fond of slaughter. I’m no expert on Jackson (though I have read two or three books about him) but I’ve read enough to know that such a description is utter hogwash! Jackson’s Christianity was couched in terms that made him appear to be a religious fanatic. Robert E. Lee was dealt with somewhat more charitably, but probably because his own devotion as a Christian is so well-known that, like George Washington, he cannot be vilified with impunity.” (At least that was the situation when I wrote the original article. In the fanatical political correctness now afoot in the land I’m not so sure that norm holds anymore.)
“The series was very will done, artistically, with skillful use of old photos of the period, along with background music and sound effects of that time. All this was blended together in such a way as to make it all very watchable, particularly if you happen to be a history buff. All you had to watch out for were the conclusions drawn from the series.”
“The part of the series that dealt with the battles was well done and probably mostly accurate. The horrible bloodiness of the conflict was noted and not glamorized, and that was good. Having visied several of the battlefields noted in the series, I would have to say that, historically, that was the best part of the series.” (Although now I understand that the National Park Service has gone around and changed all the plaques to state the the reason the war was fought was only over slavery, and that’s not good because it is totally erroneous. Slavery was one reason for the War, among many, and not the main reason no matter what these politically correct “historians” try to shove down your throats.)
“The program hinted at the fact that, after two years of ‘Civil War” Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, not out of a concern for slaves, but mainly as a political move, a ‘noble’ reason for the conflict to continue. Other historians have said it with more authority, though.”
“The final episode dealt with the collapse of the Confederacy, Lincoln’s assassination, and the remainder of the lives of some well-known ‘Civil War’ figures. The birth of the Ku Klux Klan was mentioned, but NOT ONE WORD was said about the “reconstruction” period specifically, one of the most shameful periods in our history. That part of the picture was totally ignored. Down the memory hole if you will!”
“One thing admitted in this series was that the War Between the States changed the course of our history. One narrator in the series said we were never the same country after the war. He seemed to feel that the change was for the better.” (Looking at what we have to deal with in our day, I’m not so sure of that. I think, in many ways, it’s worse.) “Another speaker summed it up by saying that, before the war, when the United States were spoken of, it was in the plural form ‘The United States are’ after the war the singular term ‘The United States is’ came into usage. So much for the rights of and our recognition of individual states. These were swallowed up by a strong national government. Due to apostasy in this country (and most of our troubles can be traced back to that cause) the War Between the States was truly the American Revolution (and our French Revolution) a revolution that most God-fearing Americans, both North and South lost! Most have not realized that even unto this day. Slaves were not freed in the truest sense of the word. Care and ownership was just transferred from plantation owners to politicians who had big plans to use ex-slaves as a gigantic voting block to keep them (the politicians) in power. Many even said as much, though naturally, with less offensive terminology.”
“One of the concluding narrations was given by a lady “historian” who went so far as to say that as long as we have the downtrodden and the homeless on the streets the Civil War is never really over. One might translate that to mean “until the federal government is willing to provide cradle to the grave security for all citizens (socialism) the Civil War goes on!” And don’t we hear echoes of this same mantra today?
I have to agree with Mr. Burns on one point–the War never really has ended, but I don’t agree with his reasons. It has not ended because the Yankee/Marxist regimes that inhabit Washington have determined that the South and its Christian heritage and culture must be destroyed and they will not discontinue their war on us until they have accomplished that. We need to wake up and realize that. This latest planned and orchestrated attack on all things Confederate should be a wake-up call to Southern folks and all honorable folks everywhere as to the fact that the Ruling Elite expects you to surrender your history, faith, and culture to their minions and they will fight you until you do. Lets make sure they have a long, long fight!