As the city of New Orleans debated the fate of the Confederate monuments, one can only wonder if the perspectives were based on the actual facts of the Civil War.

The high school textbooks, and those of many universities as well, are littered with dates, names, places and an obvious slanted overview of the war and by no means contain complete, factual information.

It is only through the research of memoirs, letters, books authored by men and women of the time, here and abroad, etc., can the facts of the war truly manifest.

We are taught at an early age that the Civil War was fought to free the slaves. Through research, facts state that the slaves were a mere pawn to generate national and international justification for the continuation of the Civil War and to influence public opinion by then-President Abraham Lincoln and his administration. Through research, we find that Lincoln lacked the political skills for the office of president, including that of diplomacy. There was a strong belief among the people of that time that the war could have been averted. Through research, we find that Lincoln’s provocation and then engagement of war against the Southern states was economically induced. Through further research, we learn of a transaction involving Lincoln’s wife and family in the sale of slaves, from which both Lincoln and his wife reaped financial gain.

The facts do paint an entirely different picture of this war and if the public was better informed, could lead to better relations between the races and cultures. Until factual revisions are made in Civil War history, this confusion will continue. However, change may require a literal act of Congress.

The Confederate monuments and battle flag have been misrepresented and misunderstood in past decades. The evil agenda of narrow-minded individuals and the ignorance of others during the past 55 years has led to the current confusion and chaos. Having four ancestors who served in the Confederacy, I will always know that they fought and died with honor, regardless of the decisions that will be rendered from New Orleans and the other Southern communities concerning the monuments and flag.

Let us remember, after the Civil War, Union officers and soldiers, including Civil War hero Gen. George Custer, participated in the ethnic cleansing and near genocide of the Native Americans. This in the name of progress or simply put, economics! Some ideologies never change.

These facts are all common knowledge and there are many more not listed here. So why do they remain ignored by education?

Jim Litsey

human services