Gingrich is a Terrible, Terrible Historian

He used to teach a history class at Kennesaw State College in Georgia. Among a wide variety of inaccurate nonsensical non-history...

Gingrich’s historical selectivity and outright errors are, well, revealing. He manages to get through the entire Civil War without ever mentioning slavery.

Ugh. Talking about the Civil War without mentioning slavery is like talking about the Civil War without saying the words "civil" and "war."

Don't let anyone tell you differently: Slavery was the reason why the Civil War was waged. The only reason. Lost Cause Mythologists like Gingrich have been trying to say it was all about states' rights. Fine, but the states' right to do... what? To base their economies on African slave labor is what.

By the way, the Lost Cause Mythology was manufactured and rose to prominence in order to unify the nation by glorifying the south and demonizing African-Americans as the common national enemy within. One way to glorify the southern cause was to make it about liberty -- state sovereignty.

So the whole states' rights justification for the war arose out of this highly revisionist and racist effort, and in order to give white America a scapegoat for all of the bloodshed (650,000 dead), white mythologists proceeded to paint African-Americans as lazy, shiftless, drunken rapists. Early silent movies were loaded with this kind of imagery. See also The Birth of a Nation. The North and the South had something they could agree about. Black people are dangerous! Hide your white women!

To this day, African-Americans continue to suffer the consequences of this myth. In fact, modern racism was born in the Lost Cause.

This, of course, is the very short form explanation because I could go on and on for hours about the repercussions of the Civil War and how the origins of modern racial issues rose from the aftermath.

Either way, Newt Gingrich, one of the Republican frontrunners, is perpetuating this racist myth. And he calls himself an historian.