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John Hope Franklin, Historian, on
The South after the war

John Hope Franklin If you can talk to me about the South after the war, trying to give viewers a picture of what the South looked like.

Franklin : The South suffered enormously from the devastations that characterized the war. And what we sometimes forget is that some of the devastation came rather early. There was a drive into the South in 1862, which caused the whole Confederate government and Tennessee to collapse. And Nashville was in the hands of the Union Army early in the war. But of course the devastation extended all the way down the Mississippi River finally to New Orleans, and the South was cut off from each other. That is, one half the South was cut off from the other half of the South. And then there was the drive to the sea, to the Atlantic Ocean, which of course cut the northern part of the South from the southern part of the South. So you’ve got these sharp divisions that were brought about by military operations. And that was, of course, very devastating generally.

But that was only one part of it. Then you had the divisions, the ideological and political divisions, which of course meant that some people in the South were debating that the South should move in this direction politically; others were saying that it should move in that direction politically. And it’s interesting to observe that the very thing that caused them to divide from the North caused division within the South, you see. And that brought on great disorder generally.

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