The Historical past Channel in late Could produced a largely laudable documentary collection on Ulysses S. Grant, rightly hailing the legacy of the victorious Union basic and the president who fought for civil rights. Nonetheless, the collection contained what’s grow to be a recurring problem in some historical reflections on the Civil Battle. All through the three half collection, the manufacturing repeatedly confirmed the slave-holding Confederates as purple states and the Union north as blue states. In actuality, it is the reverse.
As anybody acquainted with historical past is aware of, the Confederates have been Democrats. It was Abraham Lincoln’s Republican Occasion that fought the warfare to protect the union and finally to finish slavery. As Marine and retired U.S. Military Battle Faculty professor Daniel Douds astutely defined Grant’s technique to defeat the Confederates, the on-screen graphic showcased the (incorrect) blue state/purple state dynamic.
DANIEL DOUDS (Colonel USMC Retired, Professor, U.S. Military Battle Faculty): Grant’s thought when he turns into commanding basic is to get the entire Union forces to behave in concord. He desires to maneuver on Cell Bay, one of many final Accomplice ports. He desires Sherman to advance on Atlanta. He desires Franz Sigel to go down the Shenandoah Valley, the breadbasket of the Confederacy within the east. Benjamin Butler will come up the James River and get at Richmond from the south, hopefully dividing a few of Lee’s consideration. After which lastly, the Military of the Potomac will head at Robert E. Lee in Richmond. It is these 5 items performing in live performance that’s his unique imaginative and prescient for a way this warfare ought to come to a detailed.
Now, a charitable individual would possibly say the alternatives have been unintentional and never meant to affiliate trendy purple states with slavery. But when so, why not simply use blue and grey, the precise colours of Civil Battle uniforms?
This isn’t the primary time such a historic revisionism has occurred. CBS Sunday Morning on April 7, 2019 featured a narrative on the Reconstruction period after the Civil Battle and former slaves who entered Congress within the 1870s. The visuals for the CBS section used the political “purple and blue” state graphics.
Inconvenient or not, the slave-defending Confederacy was run by Democrats. Documentaries ought to replicate that truth.