Texas students to learn that slavery was “central” to Civil War
Texas schoolchildren will soon be taught that slavery was the central cause of the Civil War. Before this, they were taught that sectionalism, states’ rights and slavery, in that order, led to the Civil War.
The reason behind the change, according to Democratic Board of Education member Marisa Perez-Diaz (San Antonio), is simple.”What the use of ‘states’ rights’ is doing is essentially blanketing, or skirting, the real foundational issue, which is slavery.” The same Texas Public Radio article quotes the opposition:
Republican board member David Bradley, from Beaumont, argued for keeping the other causes in the curriculum. He said, “Each state had differences and made individual decisions as to whether or not to join into the conflict, correct? I mean, that’s the definition of states’ rights.”
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is what happens when you let non-experts decide how to teach history. Dr. Fritz Fischer, who chairs the history department at the University of Northern Colorado, says,“From my point of view, having been through this eight years ago, it becomes tiresome because it’s just another debate between different people who have different visions.” Instead, students should be shown primary source documents and taught how to interpret data for themselves.
So what do primary source documents say about the Civil War? Here’s Texas’ “Declaration of Causes,” a document from February 2, 1861, in which Texans explained why they joined the Confederacy.
“Texas abandoned her separate national existence and consented to become one of the Confederated States to promote her welfare, insure domestic tranquility [sic] and secure more substantially the blessings of peace and liberty to her people. She was received into the confederacy with her own constitution, under the guarantee of the federal constitution and the compact of annexation, that she should enjoy these blessings. She was received as a commonwealth holding, maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery–the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits–a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time. Her institutions and geographical position established the strongest ties between her and other slave-holding States of the confederacy. Those ties have been strengthened by association.
We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.
That in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding States. [emphasis added].”
The document mentions a few other causes for secession, such as the Federal Government’s failure to defend Texas’ border against Indian attacks. But the primary cause is, undeniably, slavery.
More about education.Posted by Josh Taylor