The Amendment that Freed U.S.All

The thirteenth amendment was adopted on December 6, 1865 and became the first amendment of the Reconstruction. This amendment abolished all slavery and involuntary servitude except for punishment for a crime. The importance of this amendment is that it was passed shortly after the Emancipation of Proclamation to show that the proclamation was not just a temporary war measure for the Civil War. President Lincoln wanted to guarantee the slaves their freedom.

In addition, it is also important to know that it took many years for this Amendment to pass. The amendment was rejected the first time by the House of Representative. It was President Lincoln whom worked closely with the House that got the amendment passed the second time around.


The Emancipation Proclamation

Emancipation Proclamation (1863)Emancipation Proclamation (1863)

President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, as the nation approached its third year of bloody civil war. The proclamation declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.”  It proclaimed the freedom of 3.1 million of the nation’s 4 million slaves. The declaration highlighted freedom of all slaves within any state that did not submit to Union control and specified the states where the proclamation was to be unconditionally applied. The freedom it promised depended upon Union military victory.

The Emancipation Proclamation enjoined emancipated slaves to “labor faithfully for reasonable wages” in the United States. For the first time, it authorized the enrollment of black soldiers into the Union Army. The proclamation set in motion the process by which 200,000 black men in the last two years of the war fought for the Union. This added to the much needed manpower for winning the war against the Confederacy. Putting black men into the military implied a very different vision of their future place in American society than earlier plans for settling freed slaves overseas.

Source: http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=34


“Memory is a complicated thing, a relative to truth, but not its twin. “

The David Blight book sound very interesting because it sound like a different book that’s not only expressing different views but also questioning them. Its a book about the story behind a story. I think that anyone reading the book will benefit from it because they might learn something new and change their perspective on what really happened during the Civil war. From the reading the book review I realized that memory is a very important part of history. For example, before books history was passed down from generation to generation through stories that were  told from memory.

I believe that all shared experiences are remembered in different ways. For example, the war in Vietnam. Some people might say that the war was justified but others will say that it was  not only a waste of money and time but many lives were lost unnecessarily. Also, one can say that the war in Vietnam was worth it because it showed that the US was not a force to be reckoned with.  The war in Vietnam was politically motivated because it was during the time of the Cold War. During that time there was a lot of political tension between the communist and democratic countries.

Afterthoughts:One of the main points of the book review is there are different memories of the Civil War. In these memories some facts were suppressed and others facts were turned simply into something that couldn’t be further from the truth. Since “memory is a product of history” is history just simply a figment of our imagination since its building blocks are made up?

Title is a quote from Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams.


Cotton Field

The history of America can be said to be the history of the struggles of black people in America. Out of the many symbolic items out there, none can be as symbolic as the southern cotton fields, which served as the social and economical prison for many black slaves for generations.


bloodshed in the backyard

Eric Foner’s book review of David W. Bligh’s Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory paints a picture of a very captivating and refreshingly unbiased rehash of Civil War.  There are not only just two sides to a story, there are always three.  Your side, my side and the truth.  It is apparent that in David Bligh’s  publication he has taken everyone’s opinion and beliefs into account.   Anyone that would like to learn more about the Civil War and how different and colorfully portrayed one single event could take a lot from this book.

Memory from a first hand witness can be a great primary source.  Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to not write with an ‘angry pen’ when that source has been enveloped in a traumatic events.  This is why it is extremely important to take on the testimonial of many people.  Personally Civil War history has never appealed to me but I think that after reading the praising review I would read this book for enjoyment of knowledge, not as a task.

This book has also shown how obvious it is that historical memory is crucial.  Not only does it actually tell the tale of the affair, it also shows how that tale can change over the passing of time.  As the saying goes, “Time heals all wounds.”  Weather this is true or not, I’m not sure but I do know that time always helps.  In more recent memory, a similar situation occurred during last year’s salmonella outbreak.  A class action lawsuit was filed over some rotten eggs.  Proper inspection procedure were failed to be met causing some 1’500 to become fall ill.  Some people didn’t care enough to follow the story, some people vaguely even knew about it and some people became so sick, they’ll probably never eat eggs again.  Naturally, people of different cultures, nations and upbringings have different morals and values in life.  This is where it becomes a historian’s job to sift through the diverse array of information and find the more homogeneous story.


An Untold tale

Minorities have never had a voice. Or at least one loud enough to be heard over the mainstream opinion. For David Blight to write a book and dig deep enough to uncover the other side of the civil War story is something I’d personally be interested in. Everyone would benefit from reading this book because it would crumble the biases encountered from only reading and learning a one sided history textbook.

Historical Memory is important because it is what gives us the shape of the story. Of course there is a straightforward encounter of important events that happened in history, but when you collect the memories it is a more personal and in depth account.

Everything is politcally motived. Politics are apart of every aspect of history because there is always an agenda behind something. Two sides fight to get their way, or work towards a comprimise. A republican might see the history of gay rights as negative propoganda mean while democratics would see it more so as positive.


History is Memory.

In the review of David Blight’s “Race and Reunion,” Eric Foner brings to light the interesting and unique aspects of the book, setting it apart from other books written about the Civil War. However, personally while I feel that I would be interested as to see for myself why exactly Foner believes that Blight’s book is worth reading and why it stands out from all the rest, I feel as if I wouldn’t enjoy it. Although it is certain that there is much I do not know regarding the Civil War because you can only learn so much from reading a couple of textbooks, I feel as though, from the way it is presented in this review, that I would not be able to view it as literature, but rather as a textbook.

From this review, I have learned that memory is what makes up a large part of history. Without memory, we would not know as much about our history as we do today. However, what is tricky about this fact is that lots of times, memory can be subjective or incomplete. Granted, historians do not rely on only one source but rather a plethora of sources so as to see what matches up and can be considered valid and certain. Memories can definitely be politically motivated. Many moments in history are caused from political distress or events. A relevant example to this article is the Civil War itself. Those who took sides had to have some political motivation that lead them to make that decision. Politics is a huge part of society also, it is only natural that it can affect everyone when discussing a national conflict.



There are always different vision of stories as they are told, nevertheless the same goes for the Civil War. Through the lens of the New York Times, we are able to understand the abbreviate content of the text “Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American History” by David Blight. After reading the review I was able to understand the authors perspective of the Civil War, and how it was remembered by others. The way of how history are recorded varies from different authors, and that strongly connects to the authors background. If the author is an oppressed lower class man, he would have a much differ view from an upper class man.

An example of  a shared memory that is remembered in many different ways was the Presidential election of Barack Obama. The first African American as the President of the United States. To the Caucasians, this might have made them feel a little odd. In the other hand this was a glorious day to the colored people. The book sounds quite interesting because the author gathered multiple size of peoples understanding of the war. The book review would most likely benefit students or scholars that are interested in a brief summary of the textbook itself.


Perspectives make history.

What is history? How are events really remembered? These are both questions which are important in understanding what is passed off as history, what is recollected as events important to history, and how they have been recorded. Multiple bias’s reign blogs, textbooks, history resources and also what is communicated through word of mouth. Similarly, Eric Foner’s book exhibits a different perspective of understanding the American Civil War. Race is something which can be understood through the analysis he provides. For anyone who has any background of American history, they are sure to come across the whole discourse of race.

Understanding history is a challenge in itself, because of the multiple ambiguities which may come with any one event. The way it is understood, recalled and narrated further is based on an individual’s background and their personal bias. I have mentioned this before, and the reason for the repetition is solely because it is that important to understand! In most cases oral sources, used as primary sources are the most popular ways of events being recalled and talked about. A very small population of people look into documents, collect research and data to test the validity of a pre-existing opinion or thought. If this is the case, then it becomes even more important to understand what source you are getting your history from. This is because not all sources are legitimate. This book review offers another testable way of coming to know of unique interpretations of one war.

I recall hearing many stories of the 1947 Indian partition from my grandmother and being confused as a child about why and how the British left the country divided. Did they really want to leave newly free and sovereign state in ruins because of cultural and religious differences? Or was it in fact the Indians themselves who forced this separation and violent mass migration upon themselves? Depending on who I approached to understand this event, I was confronted with different views and takes on it.


The memory of History we never forget!!!!

David Blight’s “Race and Reunion” sounds very interesting book for me as it is clarifying the actual period of civil war era and what had happened after it. Every event in our life is a part of history. Yes, the book is clarifies the important of historical memory. From reading this book how I understood it was two opinions why the Civil War started: the emancipationists believed that slavery was a cause of the Civil War, but the reconciliationist dismissed this thought and claimed that the Civil War happened because of the disagreement in the state rights. Another example I think when my country had the orange revolution in 2005 because of president. My country is not a rich country and the president was always promised a lot of things to people, but he never did it. He sold some our lands to other countries, made deals with other presidents and all money he put to his pocket. Our president didn’t take care of our people, that’s why people tired of the poor life and promises and they made the revolution. I think different memories are politically motivated because people usually want to have positive thoughts about such figure or such event.


David Blight’s book, “Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory” sounds like an interesting book for me after reading the review. I think we can definitely catch up some missing information and hear some different voices of the memories. From the same piece of historical event, the Civil War, the author reveals a different version of history, “the reconciliationist vision.” It can be very interesting because it may not be the same as what we learned in our textbooks.

The true nature of historical memory is that these memories serve their political needs. There is always a one tell us what to remember and what to forget. Today, the version we read of the history may someday be challenged by other political purpose.


War for Nothing, 1 Black still equals to 3/5 Black

In “Race and Reunion: the civil war in American memory,” Civil War is viewed as a war for reunification rather a war for equality.  As Eric Foner mentioned in his review, “rather than the crisis of a nation divided by antagonistic labor systems and ideologies, the war became a tragic conflict that nonetheless accomplished the task of solidifying the nation.”  Although Union army believes in equality for all mankind at the beginning of the war, the ideology behind the war changes after the war broke out.  During the war, there are almost 180,000 African American joined the war and many had died for the cause.  The war ends with Union’s victory.  However, African Americans are still treated unfairly as second class citizen.  Many people see the South’s defeat as defeat on battlefront, but victory in ideology and memory.  Due to such ideology, many African American who fought during the war was totally forgotten after the end of Civil War.

The winner writes the history.  The book contains both Union and confederate’s ideologies for war.  It is interesting to see how the ideology influence both North and South after Civil war.  By reading the book, any reader can have an understanding of Civil War and reasons for war.  Moreover, people can relate the American Civil War with other events in the world.  Being a Chinese, the most unacceptable thing is to hear denials from Japanese officials on World War II invasion.  Many of the Japanese students were educated with the ideology of their invasion during World War II is a holy war to create a greater Asian empire.  Many Asian countries has suffered greatly from the war.  many people are slaughtered like animals to satisfy soldiers’ cruelty.  However, all these negative images are prohibited and twisted in Japanese history due to Japanese Government’s political motivation to justify their mistake.


which is the truth

After reading the review of “Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory”, the book sounds interesting to me. Author, David Blight mentions that there are different memories about Civil War caused by the political motivation. For instance, in “emancipationist view, the war is bringing a rebirth of the republic in the name of freedom and equality, but reconciliationist memory is to emphasize what the two sides shared in common”. He says that “race” is an important fact for politician to modify the truth of Civil war in American memories and illuminate that the history we learned is a bias made of the ‘winer’. Therefore, I think reading the book will benefit to everyone.
The other example is Nanjing Massacre. This is a sad memory for everyone. 18 September 1937, Japanese invaded Nanjing. Japanese soldiers raped and killed 300,000 Chinese civilians during one week. Those soldiers played a game that is who kill most Chinese people and treat Chinese people lower than animals. As a result, Chinese government makes Nanjing Massacre as national disgrace and every Chinese people learn the history when they were kids. However, this unhumanized action of Nanjing Massacre was denied by the Japanese government. They stop teaching the history and eliminate the truth on textbook. Additionally, Japanese officials worship the war murders as heroes. Now, Nanjing Massacre still is a controversy between Chinese and Japanese governments.


“Who controls the past, Controls the future” -George Orwell, 1984

What was so interesting about Eric Foner’s review was his remark about what goes in historical memory can have political motives. It eerily reminds me of the book “1984” by George Orwell and how history is manipulated by the party to keep check of what is being remembered. And we know from Neurology and psychology that what we remember plays a fundamental role in forming the basis of our reality.

Foner mentions the dichotomy between the views provided by the North and South about how the Civil War should be remembered. One was the “Emancipationist” view provided by the North which emphasized freedom and equality for all men. The south embraced the “Reconciliationist” view which accentuated the commonality between the two sides and the bravery of the individual soldiers. The Reconciliationist view downplayed the role of slavery as the cause of the Civil War and Foner also mentioned how the South still embodied the with supremacy view even after the Civil War. David Blight’s book does seem to render important facts about how we remember the Civil War, but I am not so sure if it would be an interesting read for me, I had rather read the condensed review! But maybe serious history students and historians might find the book useful. Another event in history I think is remembered differently is the War against Iraq in 2003. The two most prevalent views is that the war was caused by the threat of WMDs in Iraq, while the other view is that the prime concern was taking control of the huge oil reserves in Iraq. Both view might have political agenda and that the democrats may advance the latter view to portray the Republican party as composed of greedy capitalists.  


Some events is not over

Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory. By David W. Blight. I think this book is very interesting because it brings history back to what happened in the Civil War. It refreshes people memory, what we learned in the history class. But just read the review, we can found a lot detail that we did not learn in the class. So this is very good book to read if you want to know more about the Civil War. Everyone can benefit from the reading because the civil war was the most divisive war in the American history. Most American died in this war than in any other.  So people can get more detail in the book. This book review shows that race is very important part of the civil war, I think  African –Americans  should treated equal than white, because they are sacrificed their live just like white people, they are also the hero of the America too.

The one of example remembered in many different ways is Nanjing Massacre. As a Chinese; this is first thing come to my mind. On December 13, 1937, during this period, hundreds of the Chinese civilians and disarmed solider were murdered and 20000-80000 women were raped by solider of the Japanese army. This is terrible thing in the Chinese history.  People in that time, like live in the hell, people worried their will die soon, or their family. After short time, Japanese government try to clean up this history, they are pretending no things happen. So this never mention in Japanese textbooks.


A War to Remember

In the book review of “Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory, ” by Eric Foner, it sheds light on the distorted memory of the Civil War. The Civil War may have ended, but the battle of how to remember it is still going on. When asked about their opinions on the war, a Southerner will most likely give a completely different answer than a Northerner. This is primarily because of politics. Both the North and the South wanted the memory of the Civil War to be favorable to them.  In addition, our perspective of the Civil War depends on how racial relations are in present day.

This is an important issue because historical memories are valuable sources to understanding the past. If memories are manipulated, it will present a biased, false impression of the event. There are many instances of historical happenings that result in different experiences and views. For example, the truth about the first Thanksgiving. In American textbooks, the first Thanksgiving was illustrated to be happy and harmonious. The story goes that the Pilgrims met a nice Native American, called Squanto, who taught them how to plant corn.  Out of respect, the Pilgrims invited the Native Americans for a Thanksgiving feast. However, the truth about Thanksgiving is that Pilgrims did not come up with it. Indians had been celebrating Thanksgiving for centuries. Pilgrims were never actually part of it. In the 1890s, the Pilgrims started to be tied in with the tradition after Abraham Lincoln made it a national holiday.

The book is interesting because it reveals the forgotten heroes and repressed memories of the Civil War. It is a useful opportunity to enlighten the people, who previously held certain biases or reservations regarding the war.


Truth behind biased historical events

I find David Blight’s book Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory, to be very incisive because he brings back the unheard voices and memories of neglected African-Americans who participated in the Civil War; in order to bring forth the truth behind the biased history imprinted in our culture. African-American soldiers should be honored and given credit to because they are also heroes who sacrificed their lives for the Civil War just like the White soldiers. Everyone would benefit from reading this book because there are always two sides to a story and we get to know the other side of the story of those who also participated in the war but was neglected. Blight’s book shows the importance of historical memory because there can be politically motivated bias in historical events, in this case he brings to light the truth behind politically motivated bias of historical events that took place in the Civil War.

One example of a historical event that is remembered differently is the Rape of Nanjing. Many Chinese men and women suffered from barbaric treatment by the Japanese invaders. Many thousands of women were rape, brutally injured, mutilated and killed. However the Japanese are in denial of these actions. Japanese school textbooks, historical works, or newspapers never mentioned anything about the Rape of Nanjing. This shows that Japan is putting this historical event under the covers and pretending that this massacre never happened, their actions prove that this is most definitely politically motivated. Japans’ denial prevents its whole nation from facing history and the truth.

Rape of Nanjing Memorial Hall


Fake Memory… Revealing!

The saying, “history is written by winners,” proves that history is not always accurate as what people think. In fact, history is accurate at all because people have their own views of history, and difference between them is whether they are close to accuracy or not. I think the book “Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory” by David W. Blight sounds very interesting because what he does in the book is to reveal the different aspects of how we remember the Civil War. Race, religion, culture, region, and other factors affect how we look at the history. Not everyone is historian or has the interest to discover the “real” history. The major source of where our knowledge about the history comes from text books, which might not provide enough details about the certain events. Therefore, I think everyone should read this book and will eventually take something out of it. Blight gives several examples that memory of history can be made up by somebody else. For instance, a memory that was once promoted by the Southern Historical Society claimed that slavery did not exist in the South and the African Americans were just faithful servants to their white masters. We all know that this is untrue because we have all the evidences that can prove it. 

The war between Americans and Native Americans was another piece of memorythat is remembered in different ways. The peace was broken when British came and took over Native Americans’ homeland. This was not the end of the exclusion. When the U.S was formed, Americans started to expand their territory to the west, which many of Native Americans had been killed because of the expansion. On the face of it, Americans were saying to civilize those savages. But in fact, they were taking their lands and lives away. Eventually, they were forced to move to the Indiana Territory. The memory for Native Americans are painful because they were driven out of their mother land, and many of their people were killed because of the enforcement. On the other hand for Americans, it might not seem as bad as it is in Native Americans’ eyes. Most people think they have a better life under the U.S. Government’s control and they are well protected. As what it says in the review, “the Civil War is not over.” It might seem it is over, but the gap between people is getting bigger. Discrimination, prejudice, injustice, and stereotyping are signs of this continuous war. I think many of the memories are politically motivated because the government will always try to adjust their figure positively, which many of the improper facts can be potentially hidden. 



Remember the History

The book review “Race and Reunion” by David Blight sounds like a interesting book. This book is interesting because people can know how others remembered the history of the Civil War. Just like what the review said, these studies is the conviction that memory is a product of history. It is being constructed and in many ways political. I think that most people can benefit from this reading because we can learn about black Americans that were often denied in works. Blight believes that “how we think about the Civil War has everything to do with how we think about race and its history in American life.”

This book review shows how race plays an important role of historical memory. During the Civil War, Northerner fought for the freedom of slavery. The  Southerner fought to keep slavery. In the book review it says how slavery was not part of the Civil War. This shows two different sides that people saw during that period.
Another event that was remembered in many different ways was the Vietnam War.  During the Vietnam War, the United States fought North Vietnam in order to contain communism and stop it from spreading to South Vietnam. Many believe that if we did not fight this war communism might have spread even further than Vietnam. The other point of view is that many Americans thought it was a waste of our military soldiers and a waste of time. U.S.A spent many years in Vietnam and lost a great deal of soldier during the war only to have lost. I think that some memories are politically motivated since we have different points of view can may motivate others.


Things Remembered

The book sounds pretty interesting to me. In the book review, Eric Foner says, “‘Race and Reunion’ is the most comprehensive and insightful study of the memory of the Civil War yet to appear.” It gives a lot of information to people who get to know Civil War history straight forward from text books. As a foreign student, I would be one of them. Before coming to the Unites State, I’ve only read about Civil War from the text books when I was in school, I only knew that Civil War was about Americans from the north and south fighting over slavery and trades. However, I could get more details and facts from many other books like Race and Reunion.

The book uses Civil war as an example to emphasize how important historical memories are. Eric Font indicates that Blight has used some historical events to debate what happened during some other historical events. For example, “The origins of the reconciliationist memory, Blight argues, can be traced to debates during Reconstruction, when Republicans made a commitment to legal and political equality for the former slaves and then abandoned it in the face of violent opposition from the white South and a Northern retreat from the ideal of equality.”Eric Foner also uses the examples in the book tells us to view historical events (like Civil War) by different angles and ways.

Talking about similar examples, as a Chinese, the first thing come to my mind is the Nanjing Massacre. It was probably one of the cruelest massacres against humanity in recent history.  In this event, an estimate of three hundred thousand Chinese civilians and disarmed soldiers were murdered and 20,000 women were raped by soldiers of the imperial Japanese Army in the city of Nanjing, during the years of 1937-1938. The massacre also involves political elements; some Japanese nationalists argue the massacre was fabricated.  While the Japanese government has records of the number of casualties after Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, the Nanjing massacre perpetrated by them seems to be a forgotten issue. The exact number of killed Chinese civilians will never be disclosed as evidence was destroyed shortly after the Japanese surrender to the invasion war. Historical facts remember the massacre, while political manipulations try to clean it from the record.