James Loewen’s “5 Myths about why the South seceded” Washington Post’s Most Viewed

James Loewens’ op-ed in the Washington Post “5 Myths about Why the South Seceded,” published last Sunday, has become the most viewed article at their website, garnering more than a  half a million views as of Monday, and combined with print views, now more than a million views:

5 Myths about why the South seceded

Source: WaPo, 1-9-11

One hundred fifty years after the Civil War began, we’re still fighting it – or at least fighting over its history. I’ve polled thousands of high school history teachers and spoken about the war to audiences across the country, and there is little agreement even about why the South seceded. Was it over slavery? States’ rights? Tariffs and taxes? As the nation begins to commemorate the anniversaries of the war’s various battles – from Fort Sumter to Appomattox – let’s first dispense with some of the more prevalent myths about why it all began.

The South seceded over states’ rights.

Secession was about tariffs and taxes.

Most white Southerners didn’t own slaves, so they wouldn’t secede for slavery.

Abraham Lincoln went to war to end slavery.

The South couldn’t have made it long as a slave society…. –

Sociologist James W. Loewen is the author of “Lies My Teacher Told Me” and co-editor, with Edward Sebesta, of “The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader.”

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