A few weeks ago, President Trump made some remarks about the Civil War. He said, “People don’t realize, you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why? People don’t ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?” He also said that Andrew Jackson – had he been “a little bit later” – would have prevented the war.

Jay takes the occasion to have a “Q&A” with one of the most distinguished historians of the United States, and in particular of the American South: J. Mills Thornton III. They talk about the origins of the Civil War; the effect of slavery on Manifest Destiny; the issue of the Confederate flag today; and other things.

Years ago, Jay enrolled in a course taught by Professor Thornton: “The Ordeal of the Union.” At the end of this podcast, Jay says he feels like he has just had a refresher course – and it was just as good the second time around, if not better.

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There are 4 comments.

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  1. James Jones Member
    James Jones Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I believe you’ve posted Episode 116 again by mistake.

    • #1
    • May 31, 2017, at 4:48 PM PDT
    • Like
  2. GroovinDrJarvis Inactive

    James Jones (View Comment):
    I believe you’ve posted Episode 116 again by mistake.

    agreed. I’m happily looking forward to ep. 117 though.

    • #2
    • May 31, 2017, at 5:44 PM PDT
    • Like
  3. Blue Yeti Admin

    Apologies. This should be fixed now. If you received it the file on your phone, delete the file you have and re-downlaod it.

    • #3
    • May 31, 2017, at 6:10 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  4. Lois Lane Coolidge

    I enjoyed the podcast very much, so thank you for posting it. I especially enjoyed the end segment in which the two engaged in a discussion of what is essentially historical/ahistorical thinking.

    I remember Mona and Jay discussing removing statues/names in the past, and I disagreed with some of their analysis back then because–whilst I like both commentators very much–I found some of their views on that matter much too simple and, if they’ll forgive me, a bit stilted.

    As I recall, they had been discussing John C. Calhoun, a man who was committed to slavery and who shaped the “positive good” rationalization, but I felt in their assessment of how Calhoun should be remembered (or forgotten, actually), they engaged in a great deal of reductionism for that member of the Great Triumvirate. (Though he surely did have what are now abhorrent views on race, he was a politician who lived in a slave society, and slavery was not the sum total of the man.)

    Regardless, I understand that there are lots of very valid issues brought up by monuments/building names, etc. Sure. Of course. Yet I mostly fear that our wiping away of the South per the removal of all men/symbols associated with the CSA often obscures history rather than “corrects” any record. (I have clearly lost that argument as names and statues continue to disappear, and I continually have students who couldn’t tell you even the century in which the Civil War was fought, much less the motivations of any of the big players.)

    I also agree that it is very easy to be a somewhat wounded Southerner, especially when you are from a family that is of the South. (The stereotypes do tire, let me tell you, and they are often perpetuated for purely political reasons.)

    That said, when we discuss the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s in my classroom, I remind my students that their living grandparents were alive during the Jim Crow era. (No wonder the gaping wound created by a hierarchal society has not yet healed for many people.)

    Then when we think about the Civil War, I point to a woman named Irene Triplett. The last time I checked, she was still alive, and her father fought for both the Union and Confederate armies. (She still gets a benefits check every month from the VA. Really. Go look her up.)

    You see, 1954 (Brown v. Board) was yesterday, but 1865 was not so long ago either. There’s “memory” there as well.

    So empathy really is the most important ability for a historian to develop if he/she wants to understand why the past unfolded as it did then or even how the past continues to shape our now.

    Thanks for the interesting topic.

    • #4
    • June 1, 2017, at 7:44 AM PDT
    • 1 like