SBOE Urged to Stop Teaching that Slavery 'Not the Only Cause' of Civil War

While the issue of whether the Alamo defenders were 'heroes' or not got all the attention, the Texas State Board of Education Tuesday was embroiled in a passionate debate over how middle and high schools should teach the origins of the Civil War, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Teachers now are instructed to teach children that there were many causes of the War Between the States, and slavery was only one of the many.

Historians from as far away as Ohio and Virginia descended on the SBOE during its work session to urge that be removed, and slavery taught as the sole cause of the war.

"There are Texans that care about getting their history right, and you would be failing them by adding falsehoods and gibberish in our social studies curriculum standards," one historican told the SBOE.

Texas has long had difficulty wrapping its arms around the leading role slavery played in the Civil War.  In the rotunda of the State Capitol is what is called the 'Children of the Confederacy Creed' which states, amazingly, that "The War Between the States was not a rebellion, nor was its underlying cause to sustain slavery."

Historians said this is blatantly untrue, and claims like this are the result of what has come to be known as 'The Lost Cause,' which was a sanitized version of the Confederacy and slavery that swept the south in the early Twentieth Century.

"Jefferson Davis repeated this in speech after speech and letter after letter, the Southern secession documents list one cause and that is slavery, they don't list any other ones."

In fact, the Texas Declaration of Secession, which was passed by the Legislature in February of 1861 and which makes for very cringe worthy reading today, recounts in detail Texas' love for slavery and contempt for African Americans.

"In all the non-slave-holding States, in violation of that good faith and comity which should exist between entirely distinct nations, the people have formed themselves into a great sectional party, now strong enough in numbers to control the affairs of each of those States, based upon the unnatural feeling of hostility to these Southern States and their beneficent and patriarchal system of African slavery, proclaiming the debasing doctrine of the equality of all men, irrespective of race or color--a doctrine at war with nature, in opposition to the experience of mankind, and in violation of the plainest revelations of the Divine Law. They demand the abolition of negro slavery throughout the confederacy, the recognition of political equality between the white and the negro races, and avow their determination to press on their crusade against us, so long as a negro slave remains in these States," is just one of several paragraphs in the declaration that list slavery as the cause of Texas' secession.

With the exception of one paragraph one one mention of the failure of the federal government to kill enough Comanche Indians, the entire document stresses the importance of slavery.

"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."

Historians say the teaching of 'Lost Cause mythology' in Texas schools has led to the uncomfortable situation of parents having to correct their teachers when speaking to their children, and teachers apologizing for being required to teach history they know is incorrect.

"If you cannot recognize racism, you cannot be an effective citizen in a society that has racial division and complicated history," one historian said.  "By lying to our students we are injuring them in their citizenship."


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