I promised that I'd do more blogging... then I did not! This is because I've been busy writing an essay.
If you've visited my web site (www.hyperbear.com) you might have noticed my writing section. I have written a number of essays, including several with respect to the American Civil War.
Years ago I decided I needed battle descriptions to go along with my battlefield photographs. When I started researching them I discovered that there were few sources for the level of detail I wanted. There are plenty of books with lots of detail, and plenty of overviews with little detail, but almost nothing at the brigade level. I set out to correct this. Unfortunately, it means that it takes a stink of a lot of time to write my essays.
By popular demand I'd been working on a Gettysburg essay. However, earlier this year I got side tracked. It occurred to me that I really didn't fully understand what actually caused the American Civil War. I'd read a lot of the standard stuff, but I'd never put it all together in a logical fashion. So, I began what I thought would be a fairly straightforward, single web page essay. I figured I could throw it together in a week or two and go back to Gettysburg.
I was wrong, of course. Part of it is my obsession with giving enough detail to be worthwhile. Part of it is because the subject just isn't that simple. This latter comment may surprise those who were taught that the war was "about slavery". This, as it turns out, is both true and overly simplified. It's like the police finding a drowning victim and declaring the reason he died was because he couldn't breathe water. Sure, that's what caused his death, but why was he in the water in the first place? Slavery was the root cause of the American Civil War, but why did it suddenly result in armed conflict?
I won't go into that now. If you're really interested, you can read the essay when I finish it. Most of it is done. I'm up to March, 1861, and the essay ends in April, 1861. I will say that I did discover a couple of surprises. I hadn't expected the argument that the South fought for "states rights" to be so easily shown as not true. I also didn't expect the level of racism in the North. Oh, I knew the North was just as racist as the South in the 19th century. I knew that the main reason the Republicans didn't want slavery in the newly formed states was because they didn't want slave owners competing against white farmers and craftsmen in the market place. I did know that the Northern states didn't want free blacks competing against whites any more than they wanted slave owners competing with whites. I did not know that Lincoln and many other prominent Republicans were prepared to add a permanent amendment to the Constitution preventing slavery from being abolished, so long as it kept it in the South and the South remained in the Union.
So, that's my excuse for not writing blog entries recently. I don't know if I'll have the essay done this weekend or not. I have Delta Green write-ups to finish, too, so I may have to shelve the essay temporarily in order to do the write-ups.
I will post here when the essay is complete.
4 Good Years
9 months ago