Sunday, May 01, 2005

Denying history doesn't change it

The good news: More than 140 years after the Civil War ended, a Mobile Register poll has found that Abraham Lincoln has a higher approval rating among Alabamians than Jefferson Davis or Robert E. Lee. The bad news: More than half of the state's adults believe states' rights, not slavery, was the war's main cause.

A follow-up question I wish the pollsters had asked: The states' rights to do what? Sorry, Confederate apologists, but a review of 1860s secession documents makes the answer pretty clear.

3 Comments:

Blogger Lee P said...

I wonder just how much insight a poll of this sort is able to provide on a topic as complex as the Civil War. "States' rights to do what?" That's a great question...and one that can't be explored fully in a public opinion poll.

6:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The right to hold slaves.

Correct? Did I get it?

10:17 AM  
Blogger Alabamian said...

Five hundred bonus points to you, anonymous commenter.

Lee, I agree that it's difficult to gauge people's opinions about the Civil War's causes precisely from a telephone survey. I suspect at least some of the respondents who said "states' rights" see slavery as the primary cause but said "states' rights" because they thought it was a more holistic term.

Still, the poll shows a disturbing urge among a sizable number of Alabamians to buy into the idea that everything would have been just fine if it weren't for those uppity Yankees.

9:00 PM  

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