Wednesday, June 10, 2015

What's wrong with Bruce Catton's "history"?



Very much under construction, this blog is a mess, I know.  Still, the material here is unfortunately solid and accurate.

Me looking around China.

If Bruce Catton had known what we know now -- like Southern War Ultimatums, like  Southern leaders boasting they were killing to spread slavery, he might have written a better, and more intelligent, truthful set of books.

But apparently Catton had some basic gaps in his factual knowledge.



There is a limit, of course, of how accurate any narration -- or viewpoint -- can be.  No one can doubt this truth, that a narration for history depends first if you have all the basic facts.

Your narration may be written in prose so wonderful, you bring tears to your editor's eyes, and reviewers sit around and marvel at your wisdom.  But if your "fact set"  is incomplete, or worse, bullshit and wrong, your narration is no more accurate than fiction.

I grew up reading Bruce Catton on history, because my grandmother and school had copies of his books.   We were told that newspaper man Catton "bridged the gap"  and made history "accessible to the average person".

BC = before Catton...

Catton made a difference -- in two generations of people who would become "historians".     In fact, the leading historian of our day (arguably James McPherson)  literally uses -- and cites -- James McPherson for his own narrative.

Narrative means the overall story, the basic truths, of the Civil War.  

Turns out, Catton did not have a clue, when you find out what he simply never mentioned.

Like Southern War Ultimatums.  Never mentioned that.

Lincoln Southern leaders official boasting of killing to spread slavery NORTH (not just West).    Yes, Southern leaders officially boasted of spreading slavery North.

Kind of a big deal -- Catton did not know.

In fact, Catton did not know Southern leaders boasted of killing to spread slavery WEST -- 1856 on.   Nor did he know, or at least never mentioned, that Jefferson Davis sent over 2000 killers to Kansas, paid them,  and the leader of those men openly boasted he was killing to spread slavery, and killing, even, to stop folks in Kansas from even speaking against slavery.

In short, Catton had no clue, in a practical way,  that Southern leaders were killing to spread slavery and boasting of it, till they lost. 

He knew a lot about belt buckles. 

He knew-- or claimed to know -- which road this Army came to battle on, and what time that battle started.  But even there, he was proven mistaken.  But that did not matter, it does not matter which road someone used.

But it does matter that Southern leaders issued War Ultimatums, and boasted of killing to spread slavery.  They did not just boast - they did it. They boasted of killing to spread slavery as they killed to spread slavery.



This was back when "historians"  were kind of the "high priest" of history.  It took those high priest to decipher original documents and "complicated stuff".    And here, a newspaper man, a fine writer, would just make it clear.  

Sounded great to me, even as a teenager.

Surely, surely Catton had all the facts.





But then later, much later, my hobby was Southern newspapers from 1848-1865.  

The internet -- online -- made it possible to now easily find what newspapers (and books) from the South said in 1846, and 1840, and 1861.

Bruce Catton would have had to travel to Mobile Alabama, a four day drive for him, and hope the newspaper about Jeff Davis speech regarding South desertions were in, not destroyed.

But I could find such newspapers in a few seconds, while eating a cupcake.  No problem.  I did not need to travel four days.  Try -- sit on my ass for four seconds.

I found much more that Jeff Davis complaining that 2/3 of Confederate soldiers, both in deep South and in Virginia area, had already deserted, in 1864.

Till Catton's dying day, he apparently  never knew of that speech.

Even though a guy named William T Sherman heard of the speech via St. Louis newspapers at the time.  Davis did now know his speech would hit the telegraph, and get all over, or he would not have made it.

But Davis made the speech, Sherman knew 2/3 of the rebel soldiers already deserted, and the rest his history.

So Catton has no excuse, actually.

  To his dying day, Catton would repeat the South myth that Southern soldiers fought on for their flag.    When you find out the full story, very few Confederate soldiers were there by 1865, most had deserted, and many of those that did not desert just refused to fight by April.

I could find that in four seconds.

Catton had no clue, for example, that Atchison was even in Kansas after passing the Kansas Act, and there was killing to spread slavery and boasted of it.

Very basic. In fact, nothing -- nothing -- is more basic.

Atchison did not admit he was killing to spread slavery
and that he worked officially for Jeff Davis

He bragged about it.

Catton had no fking clue. Seriously, no clue.

_______________________________________________ Keep that in mind.

All Catton had to do was read Southern newspapers and speeches at the time. He did no such thing, at least not in any depth.

Catton had no clue his entire life. But he would have to read those Southern books, speeches, and newspapers that SOuthern leaders were so proud of.

He could not get the basic information from his sources -- his sources were largely Southern apologists.  They were not about to tell him. They actively distorted basic in formation (especially Davis) after the South lost.

What Southern leaders bragged out the ass about (like bragging of killing to spread slavery against states rights, and bragging of killing for GOD) Catton simply did not know.



Now you can get things like Atchison speeches, his reports to Davis, his boasting of killing to spread slavery, in a few minutes.

Catton went to his death being stupid- - yes he did -- about the basic history of Southern leaders insane, violence, creepy and unrelenting killing to spread slavery. 


Lincoln sure knew about it -- read his letters to Speed.  But the entire country knew of it -- slavery always spread by violence, always by foul means.

But Catton seemed to accept sociopath Jeff Davis as a truthful man -- he was most certainly not.  His book (and anything based on it, or like it) is a study in denial and lies.  SPecifically Davis would claim the South "just wanted to be left alone".

Left alone? He repeatedly sent killers to various places, issued War Ultimatums, and justified Atchison and other killers-- and even paid them.

That's not "just wanted to be left alone."

 That would have been a good clue for Catton, but he either thought Lincoln was lying or didn't know what he was talking about.

And that is just the tip of the iceberg of what Bruce Catton did not know.


 I kept finding out things that I never heard of before, like Southern leaders boasting of killing to spread slavery.

But that could not be important, or men like Catton, who must have known such things, did not mention it.

Southern War Ultimatums -- Southern leaders claiming Satan was the first abolitionist.  Lincoln's enemies screaming that Lincoln wanted "your daughters" to sleep with "Niggers".

No such things could be important, or we would have heard about them.   Right?




It's clear when you read much of Catton on the causes of the Civil War, that he got his information from Southern apologists.

This might sound amazing, but Catton was factually stupid - he did not know, no one told him-- of things like Southern War Ultimatums, and killing sprees. 

He simply did not know.  

And his narrative reflects a profound ignorance of basic things, the most basic. You can not get that stupid (really you can not) unless you only read Southern apologist, like Jeff Davis, or the post war "historians" who did little but ape Davis.

This impacted literally everything, every page, if not every paragraph Catton wrote.    

Catton might (might) know a few things about Confederate belt buckles, but other than that,  when dealing with I learned he was a bullshitter -- and worse, somewhat stupid about Lincoln and the Civil War. 

What was he stupid about?  And how did that happen?  I will try to explain it.  Surely he did not intend to get things profoundly wrong (as he did). He wrote the things he found, and would be aghast at the thought he pushed Jeff Davis's own pathologically dishonest narrative of the Civil War, but he did basically that, nonetheless. 

Question:  Did Bruce Catton's bullshit   screw up two generations of "historians"?

Answer:  So far, yes, two generations of historians (most notably James McPherson) literally and proudly adopted Catton's narrative.

I mean LITERALLY adopted it.

See for yourself.

Unless this changes, he may screw up a few more generations.



 There is little sunlight between Jeff Davis narration of the Civil War -- as he presented it after the war -- and Bruce Catton's narrative.

For example, Davis would never, after the war, boast about killing to spread slavery, boast about sending paid killers to Kansas to spread slavery.

Likewise, Bruce Catton never saw fit to mention such things.

Another example, Davis would never, after the war, repeat his official boasting of killing to spread slavery in the North.  Yes, official boasting.

Likewise, Bruce Catton never saw fit to mention that.



It's hard to know if Bruce Catton ever bothered to learn what Southern leaders did and boasted of doing to spread slavery for GOD.

If Catton knew about Southern War Ultimatums, he kept that secret.

James McPherson  mentioned -- mentioned --  Southern War Ultimatums, but as far as I know he never made it clear what they were.  Certainly McPherson never made it clear Southern leaders were killing to spread slavery for GOD, and boasting they were spreading slavery for GOD, as a basic fact leading up to the Civil War.

Instead, McPherson seems to channel Catton, who channeled Jeff Davis nonsense about tariffs, and the "state's rights"  issue.

Never mind that Jefferson Davis sent over 2000 killers to Kansas to stop states rights and explained why he did so.  Kansas citizens had no right to reject slavery, and state's  had no right to reject slavery, because of Dred Scott.

Not once, not ever, did Catton or McPherson ever see fit to mention in any clear way that Southern leaders did a complete flip flop on states rights when KS rejected slavery, and Southern leaders sent killers to KS to kill and terrorize citizens there to STOP states rights there.

Kind of a BFD. Would be nice to have the "leading historians" know this "trivial" thing.

But Catton spent, literally, more time and effort telling about Confederate belt buckles than about Southern War Ultimatums. In fact, Catton never mentioned those.

McPherson never explained those in any clear way.


First, you need to understand -- Bullshit is not necessarily wrong, or right. It can be either, or a mix.   And bullshit is nearly ubiquitous, it's human nature.  Bullshit is what you say or write, and in this case teach, that flows from your own ego, to sorta say "Look at me, how much I know".   

We do it, you do it, I do it.   But when it comes to history,  Catton's bullshit has a price.  He is grossely inaccurate on basic points.  I will show those points.

If Bruce was just some guy at a bar, yapping about Lincoln and Civil War, who cares?    He was a well read yapper, he wrote pretty well, and he sold a lot of books.  

A newspaper man by trade, Bruce got into Civil War history later in life,  and more than anyone I can think of, as a "popular" historian, he laid the basic narrative of the Civil War that we see use today..... mostly because Bruce's narrative is literally the same narrative James McPherson uses.

McPherson actually gave Catton "credit" 
for the narrative.

I would have used the term "blame". 
The overall narrative is that faulty. It's fundamentally wrong.

I mean LITERALLY the same narrative.  McPherson actually has the term "narrative by Bruce Catton" on the cover of his "Coffee table" book which he generously credited Catton as co-author.   It was obvious from reading both men that McPherson's  narrative came from Catton, but the surprising admission of it is kind of refreshing. 

Too bad the narrative is bullshit.  And McPherson should be ashamed he bought into it, and did not correct it. 

"I was 60 years old before I knew how stupid Bruce Catton was.   If I had died at 55, I would have still thought he was some kind of historian."

This map would confuse  Catton.  

 And it would confuse most high school history teachers.

There is a connection between what Catton did not grasp (or pretended not to) and what is taught in US schools. 

To oversimplify, Catton teaches not "Lincoln's "   narrative of the issues, but he teaches Jefferson Davis's bullshit. 

There is only one way Catton could this so wrong - and that would be to read much by and about Jefferson Davis, and accept that as fact.

For example, Jefferson Davis, though he sent killers to Kansas to prevent and then reverse that state's right to reject slavery,  time and again claimed he was for state's rights.   Utter nonsense -- and if Catton knew what Davis did, instead of Davis's million words or so which he used to fool people, Catton would know Davis killed to stop state's rights.

It was no secret.    Southern leaders for a time claimed they cared about states rights -- and Stephen A Douglas insisted he and Jefferson Davis were for state's rights.   But while both men were claiming to one thing, Davis was sending killers to Kansas led by his official representative,  David Rice Atchison,  former US Senator.

You can not teach, or even blen, Lincoln's correct and factually based narrative that Southern leaders were pushing slavery by means "foul and more foul" - including killing and torture --  with the intention of spreading slavery to all of the US.  

That might sound preposterous today, in fact, there is not a text book in the US that teaches that Southern leaders were killing to spread slavery, nor that they were boasting of such killings, nor that they would spread slavery not only to the entire West (against state's rights)  but that they would spread slavery even into the North.

Not one. 

But you only need to read Jefferson Davis's own official "Address to People of the Free States to know that -- and that is just one of the documents showing Southern leaders proud and bold declarations of killing to spread slavery.   It was only after the Civil War that Southern leader's slinked away from their boasts, and stopped their killings.   

Had Lincoln lived, and had he written his own book about the Civil War, he could not do any more than he did already in his thousands of speeches. Lincoln explained nearly endlessly what the South was up to.   And endlessly Lincoln went into detail about the means and goals of the South.   Unfortunately in life, Lincoln did not, in public speeches use sharp pointed language about the South's killing sprees.  

Others were documenting the South's killing sprees, to spread slavery, like Jeff Davis own Address to the people of Free States, and the Southern War Ultimatums, and speeches by men like Davis Rice Atchison. 

In private letters, and occasionally in speeches, Lincoln was more blunt -- but overall, LIncoln tried to rise above baiting the South into even more violence.

Lincoln repeatedly said Southern leaders had "machined" a way to spread slavery North and South, East and West.  Lincoln also wrote that the South had always killed, tortured, and terrorized to spread slavery, and this was going on again, in Kansas.

But that is not taught.  Quite the reverse.   We teach some convoluted bullshit about the "struggle" between state's rights, Northern industry, and southern "agriculture".

Serioiusly,  such bullshit is creepy and wrong.

Lincoln was right, Southern leaders were killing and torturing to spread slavery, and they did boast they would spread slavery North and South, and they did concoct "machinery"  that would make it impossible (unless it was defeated) to keep slavery out of everywhere.

If you told the average high school teacher that Lincoln even said the South created "machinery" that would for slavery through all of the US, they would look at you as if you were drunk.

But then have them read the "House Divided" Speech, and have them learn Lincoln's other speeches about Kansas Act.

Then have them read Jeff Davis justifcation for sending killers to Kansas in 1856, and the speeches by the US Senator Davis sent to Kansas, bragging that he was killing and torturing to spread slavery, and that he worked for Jeff Davis.

Then have them learn the US Senator who boasted he was killing and torturing to spread slavery, was the US Senator that passed the Kansas Act.

Then have them read Charles Sumner two day speech, wherein he describes in detail the killings and tortured down by Senator Atchison's men in Kansas.

Then have them understand, Charles Sumner was beaten for this speech -- where he spoke of what I just told you above -- how Atchison got Kansas Act, then went to Kansas immediately and started his killing sprees.

Then have them read that Jefferson Davis himself made it quite clear -- Kansas Act and Dred Scott decision changed everything, and that the COURT ORDERED blacks be seen not as human being (not person) but property.    Kansas, though they had voted against slavery by 90%,  though they were already a free state, MUST obey Southern War Ultimatums. To resist the spread of slavery into Kansas- - remember, Kansas was a free state by this time -- was "the intolerable grievance"

WHat portion of this did Bruce Catton ever mention? Zero.

What portion of this did James McPherson every mention?  Almost zero.

 The white border shows where Slave Power spread slavery -- by 1848, by violence. They  had doubled the area of slavery again, and again, each time by means "foul and more foul" said Sumner.

Slave territory was already 2x larger in size, that no-slavery territory.

And it was about to get 5x larger, if Lincoln didn't get off his ass.

Lincoln got off his ass.  


Who passed Kansas Act? 

Again and again, the way Catton (and his followers) write, things just fall out of the sky.  Kansas act "emerges"  and  "causes tremendous problems".

Kansas act  did not just fall, and it did not do anything. People did.

Did you know that the US Senator that got Kansas Act passed (see below) bragged he was going to spread slavery to the area outlined in red?  You probably think that's sophistry.   We show you the speech below. 

If you wrote, and better yet thought, in terms of who did what -- when telling the history of Kansas Act, Catton could have, should have, but quite avoided telling you, David Rice Atchison got Kansas Act passed.

We know he did, because he not only boasted of it himself, Charles Sumner was there on the floor of the Senate, when he did it, and Sumner spoke of this in the speech he was beaten almost to death for.

So the accusor (though Sumner was not the only one to notice Atchison got it passed) and the accused (Atchison) both said the same thing.   Kind of a big deal.

Catton never says one word about that. Not one word about Atchison bragging  he got it passed, not one word about Sumner explaining Atchison got it passed.

Not. One. Word.

Atchison speech, wherein he boasts of killing to spread slavery, is a marvel of trash talk to his Texas men, who he just met. But that speech is the best history lesson you never learned, but should have. 

And "historians" should have told you, even if Atchison's speech had been lost. What Atchison did  was documents six ways to Sunday, at the time. It was not a mystery.

You should read it that speech, so we put it below.

Catton would not be at all confused  if he bothered to read Southern War Ultimatums or speeches, from 1846 until 1863.

Bragging about killing to spread slavery?  He never heard of such a thing?  War Ultimatums to free states, that they must become slave states?

Bruce Catton would say "Oh, yeah, forgot to mention, so sorry".



We show you 24 basic facts that Bruce Catton never even mentioned. Sins of omission.

    by Mark Curran.  Warning: blunt, and likely wrong. Under construction... like Lincoln was in search of a general, I'm in search of an editor....or even proof reader.

Catton a marvelous writer?   Maybe.

Interesting and engaging? Maybe.

Full of bullshit, with an apparent contempt for facts?

   Yeah.  That's him.  Bruce Catton  .


I was 60 years old before I knew how stupid Bruce Catton was. If I had died at 55, I would have still thought he was some kind of historian.

It was a gradual process, to realize how stupid he was.   I thought he was a genius, the first post WW2, modern and  "accessible" Civil War historian.

Until I found out what happened.


I worked on a screenplay for two years,  about a white family who raised Slave dogs, before the Civil War. 

I read hundreds of Southern newspapers for information - advertising about slave dogs-- we train them better.  Your slaves stay put, with our slave dogs.

I was looking for information and local stories about slave dogs.  

 Poor whites would raise dogs, and train them to chase and rip apart blacks who ran.  

If you are Steven Spielberg's barber, hook me up.

Anyway after I finished the screenplay, I kept reading Southern books, Southern newspapers, speeches, sermons, documents. Anything. 

Just to find material, and because it was fascinating.

I found things like Southern leaders bragged out the ass about killing to spread slavery.

Gee, I never heard of that.

A Southern leader, bragging about killing to spread slavery?

Not just any Southern leader -- the US Senator that got Kansas Act passed.

Go on -- check any "historian" you can think of.  Not one of them -- NOT ONE -- has ever made the connection. 

This is as basic as it gets.  The US Senator that gets Kansas Act passed, rushes to Kansas, and starts killing and terrorizing -- and even boasts of it.

Not one -- not one. Did I mention, NOT ONE modern "historian" (that I know) ever bothered to make the connection.


Rather, "historians" like Foner, McPherson and Catton dart around it. Almost as if, Catton and McPherson anyway, know of it, but dare not make that plain.

Very odd.  

It's almost as if they sure as hell don't want to admit Lincoln was right -- Southern leaders did in fact, and indeed, plan to  spread slavery all over the US, and beyond.   He said it in House Divided Speech, but Foner, Catton, McPherson and many others have essentially implied Lincoln had to be exaggerating. No, he was not.

Atchison as bragging about spreading it -- to this area in RED

The guy who got Kansas Act passed, then goes to Kansas and starts killing, makes it clear where he intends to spread slavery, and these fuckers never mention that?

Atchison was bragging to men  he hired from Texas.  1000 men in Kansas hired by a US Senator, in 1856.  

Let me repeat that. He did not just say he would spread slavery to Kansas Territories.  He promised he would spread it to the Pacific.

Literally -- you can not find this information in any thing Catton, McPherson, and Foner ever wrote.

But the most amazing thing of all -- THIS IS THE GUY that Sumner was talking about, in the speech he was beaten almost to death for.

The same "historians"  who claim they know all about SUmner's speech, literally can  not tell you who he was talking about, from those I asked.

There is a problem here.

These "historians" claim they know all about basic things, and they don't know shit. Not about the basics.  Not about who killed who in Kansas.

Not about Southern War Ultimatums.

Not about who passed Kansas Act.

Not about who was killing who, and reporting of it to his boss, Jefferson Davis.

But -- they know the name of Lee's pet chicken!

Catton even knows a lot about the belt buckles.


 When you read enough of these guys, you may see -- same details Jeff Davis left out, of his book, by the way, Rise and Fall, are exactly the details McPherson omitted.

Exactly the "details" Catton omitted.
Same details Foner left out.

Same details your  history teacher left out.

Same details that are entirely omitted in US text books.

That crazy Lincoln fella, he said over and over that was what Kansas Act and Dred Scott were about -- spreading slavery all over.



Every "history teacher" will claim they know all about Lincoln's House Divided Speech too.

Supposedly the most famous -- other then Gettyburg address, in US history.

Lincoln was exposing the unrelenting efforts to spread slavery to the entire nation.

Either slavery would be all over, or the Union would end.

Do Catton, Foner, McPherson support Lincoln on that basic premise? Hell no. Never. Inexplicably, they just avoid supporting Lincoln on this most basic point, that he ever made, in his entire life.  

Lincoln was right, of course, and we know it by the speeches, War Ultimatums and actions of Southern leaders at the time.  As well as their own documents and newspapers. 


Because Lincoln -- and dozens, hundreds -- of others were saying exactly this, that Kansas Act was ruse to spread slavery into not just Kansas, but through out the West -- including areas that were already in the Union.

And the Dred Scott decision came about, when Kansas Act by itself did not work.  In other words, when Atchison could not kill enough in Kansas to get slavery into Kansas Territory by that means, another tactic -- the Dred Scott decision.

How do these "historians" relay the Dred Scott decision?

Not well. Foner, idiotically, almost comically, calls Dred Scott a "rather narrow ruling".

How do you get that fucking stupid? Take stupid pills?

His book actually says on the cover, the narrative is by Catton.

This was apparent in all McPherson's "work".

Hilarious that  we call repeating bullshit "work" in solemn tones..

Someone needs to call him on that shit.

Since no one else is doing it --here goes.

Mark Curran


Jefferson Davis as Secretary of War, paid  thousands of men to go to Kansas and not only spread slavery, some of these paid folks, killed, drowned, or  hung anyone they could find, against slavery,.

And Atchison sent Davis reports about it - actually boasting.  The boasting by the killers in Kansas is rather refreshing, as opposed to the Orwellian double speak by Davis and others. There is a good reason guys like Catton didn't tell you about leaders in Kansas boasting of killing and terrorizing.  Catton tried so hard to make Davis seem like a moderate.

Boasted they killed? Southner leaders, including a US Senator paid by Jeff Davis boasted about the killings?

Wrote reports to Jeff Davis?

Had the support -- publically and privately and officially -- of Jeff Davis.

You didn't know that?

Can't be.   Bruce Catton, McPherson, Foner, everyone would be ALL OVER that.  You would know that, because they would have presented that basic fact, front and center. 

Clearly-- factually -- presented the information that was then common knowledge, and boasted of by those doing it. 

Uh -- not so much.

We will continue to lynch, continue to drown, continue to torture, every white livered abolitionist who dares pollute our soil.

No secret, this boasting, they wrote it themselves, at the time.

They boasted of things, at the time, that after the war, they dared not whisper.

But Catton, and others, should have reported what these guys did -- and bragged about. 

Even to this day, right now, this minute, you will find none of this in any book by Foner, McPherson, or any other "historian" (which includes most men claiming to be  historians) this basic thing exposed.  

This was not some side issue.  This was the guy passing Kansas Act -- who then went to Kansas, and there killed to spread slavery, and boasted of it.

And he worked or Jefferson Davis. 

It would be common knowledge, ironically, if Bruce Catton could have written a sentence or two, about it, in a  clear way.

He never did.





It seems Catton  cared about sounding smart.  That's fine, of course historians want to sound smart -- who does not?

Every page they write, they hope the reader thinks they are insightful and knowledgable. 

If you don't know this intuitively, check out the book "ON BULLSHIT"  about the prevalence of bullshit in academia.  History is no exception. If anything, historians swim laps in bullshit, and compete in triathelons of bullshit.

The winner often gets a Pulitzer Prize. It  happens.

 Bullshit is fine -- if you know what you are talking about, if you know the facts.   Get who killed who, and why, right, then lay on the bullshit till your editor screams for mercy.

That's the basic truth for all of history.  Catton too. Get the facts right, especially who killed who and why.

Sadly, Catton went right to BS,  which he happened to be good at.  He SEEMED to be so smart about the facts.

Uh - no. As you will see, he had a bunch of speeches sitting on his desk, speeches by Jeff Davis, speeches by Lincoln, speeches by Stephen Douglas.

Catton actually thought history was a word game. Who said what, on this date.

No. Those speeches are theater -- often deceptive.  Deceptive or not, what matters is who did what. Who killed who. 

Catton failed to mention at least two dozen basic things.


1) Southern War Ultimatums of May 1861. Not important enough to mention?

Did  he even know?


If Bruce Catton knew of the Southern War Ultimatums, that appeared in headlines in May of 1861, he never mentioned it.

He did mention, almost like a rock glancing off the water, thrown deliberately to make it skip, ultimatums.   But he never bothered to explain what those ultimatums were.  We have  no idea if it were these, or other ultimatums.

Strange, in a book ABOUT what led to the Civil War, you don't even mention what their own newspapers bragged of as "THE TRUE ISSUE"?

The TRUE issue, according to Southern leaders boasting of it at the time, was the spread of slavery into Kansas.

What makes that bat shit crazy -- is that Kansas was already a free state by then.

Did you know that? No.

There is not one history teacher we ever met, that has any clue, that Southern War ultimatums were for Kansas to accept and respect slavery  -- AFTER Kansas was a free state. 

Not. One. 

Not. One.

Why don't they know? Largely because Bruce Catton never mentioned it, at least in any meaningful way.

It was not just that headline, or others like them, that matter.  

The spread of slavery was daily, if not hourly, news for at least seven years.   Violence, killing, torture - reports from Kansas were not written in code. Newspapers reported the killings. 

Southern leaders were already in Kansas, and officially there, not clandestine.  The public was well aware of the killings and promises of more killings.  It might be a surprise to you, it was no surprise to anyone in 1861, that Southern War Ultimatums -- the first two -- were for the spread of slavery into Kansas, never mind what the hell the people of Kansas  wanted.

If Bruce Catton had just got that one bit of information in his books, most of what we now teach in US schools would at least mention Southern War Ultimatums.

Not one single text book, that we know of, has ever mentioned it -- much like Catton's own "works".

Cotton never tells you that  Charles Sumner's speech -- the one he was beaten almost to death for on the Senate floor -- was about  that Senator David Rice Atchison..

That's right, the famous speech where  he was beaten nearly to death?  You might have heard of it.  That was about Atchison, and how he got Kansas Act passed, then immediately went to Kansas and started his reign of terror.

 The crimes against Kansas Speech - was about David Rice Atchison, how he got Kansas Act passed, then went to Kansas and started his reign of terror.   Catton mentions none of that. NON


Nothing -- nothing -- shows Catton's stupidity (yes, stupidity) like his treatment of the killing sprees in Kansas, and those who spoke of them at the time.

Pompous oratory?   That's what he wrote. Routine criticism. Pompous. Ponderous. 

Ponderous -- ponderous, routine. 

Sumner was kicking ass - who was killing who, who tortured who -- who got Kansas Act passed.

Did Catton reflect any -- I mean ANY - of those facts in any of his books? No.  Who killed who?

If Catton has simply stated who Sumner spoke about, by name, future lemmings, I mean historians, might have notices.

Ironically Atchhison was speaking in Kansas, almost the same day to his Texas men. Before yet another invasion of Lawrence.

A historian -- hell a reporter-- who was interested in what happened, would note that.

Atchison and Sumner gave speeches on nearly the same day. Atchison is bragging he is in Kansas and will kill to spread slavery.

Sumner is exposing Atchisons past violence in Kansas, his connection to Stephen A Douglas, and how they got Kansas Act passed.

Atchison  boasted he would continue to kill until slavery was spread to the Pacific Ocean.

Atchison even boasted he was working for Jeff Davis.

Atchison confirmed even that -- that he was working for "the present administration".

Never before, or since, have two amazing speeches been given so close in time -- one Senator exposing the fraud and violence about spreading slavery.   The other bragging about his violence to spread slavery.

WHy did no one tell me this?

Why did I have to find it, in the newspapers and speeches of the time?

You simply can not get a whiff of that information from Catton. 

Catton never addressed this basic violence and promises of killings, bragging of killings, report to Jeff Davis about the killings -- that should be common knowledge to any freshman in college today (kind of gory details for high school).

While Catton does admit spread of slavery was an issue -- he never reveals who killed who, their tortures, their bragging, and how Jefferson Davis paid them,

Jefferson Davis not only approved -- he PAID these guys.

While Atchison, Stringfellow and others were killing and boasting of it, in Kansas, Davis remained in Washington, and literally intercepted information to President Peirce about what went on in Kansas.

Who even hinted about that before?  Maybe I was sick that  day in history class?  The Secretary of War sends 1000 Texas men to Kansas, where they torture, kill and terrorize, and Jeff Davis pays them?

And their leader boasts of it?

And this is the US Senator that got Kansas Act passed?

Pretty sure no one said anything like that.

So why doesn't Catton mention it?

Southern leaders loud, proud, official, demands to spread slavery, even by killing, even against popular soverighty and states rights.

Not one word.  But Catton used thousands of words to blame Sumner for pissing off men who sold babies and had slave girls whipped, but dressed nicely.

It is not difficult to learn what Sumner spoke of, from Catton's rendition of that speech, it is quite impossible.

   Sumner was "impertinent" -- Catton claims Sumners  words were so impertitent that he-- Catton -- essentially justifies an attack on Senate floor three days later (yes, the attack came three days later)  that nearly killed Sumner,

Catton, if he knew, was not about to mention the hours, upon hours, upon hours that  Sumner went into mind numbing detail about who killed who, and why, who did what, and why.

Yes Sumner's style of speech -- common at the time actually, was a kind of competition he, Douglas and others engaged in, stylistically. 

 I wish they had been more direct, but they didn't ask me.  This is the kind of tone cadence and oratory Douglas, Davis, and most of those speaking at the time, did. It's exhausting to read them - so exhausting, I doubt most people actually read them start to finish.

"Routine critisim and pompus oratory"   Catton said of Sumner's speech.


 SO, you mean Sumner and others routinely exposed, for hour upon hour the details of who was killing who in Kansas?

Sumner's speech was about who was killing who, who was torturing who.

Routine?   He was beaten almost to death for it, so it was not routine.


Catton crossed the line from promoting apologists BS to lying, when he had to.

 Catton even insulted Sumner for his cadence and tone of voice.

Do you think Catton had a  recording of that speech? 

The ONLY way Catton could insult Sumner about his voice and cadence, is if he read those at the time who insulted Sumner about it. 

 Which is exactly what Catton did. But Catton not only swallowed that narrative on his voice, but on the entire narrative on Sumner, and his positions.

Remember Sumner speech is about David Rice Atchison -- and his men, and what they were doing in Kansas.

Not one word about that -- NOT ONE WORD.

But hundreds of words trashing Sumner. Odd. Very odd.  And tells you all you need to know for Catton's "scholarship".

He could do footnotes, I suppose. 

SO unless you already know who Atchison killed, what they bragged about, who they worked for -- reading Catton's term "routine critism" would tell you absolutely nothing.

And you would be dumber -- not smarter -- about what happened, for reading that.


Sumner was exposing the duplicity of Stephen A Douglas -- how Douglas was working with Atchison.   

Catton had two people he seemed to adore.  One was Stephen A Douglas, the other was Jefferson Davis.

Instead of anything critical or even instead of questioning the veracity of either man,  Catton simple reguritated their own self serving statements, as facts. Implicity and explicitly, Sumner used their narrative.

Apparently Catton spent a lot of time reading Davis speeches, and Douglas's.

Did future Cattonites correct that?   Did they tell you what Sumner exposed, hour after hour?


Did they correct Catton, and show you what Atchison  himself boasted of?


Did they show you newspaper clippings -- there are hundreds, thousands -- about the violence and oppression in KS?   Kansas newspapers, Missouri, all states, every newspapers for years was focused on Kansas and the spread of slavery, one way or another.

It was not a side issue.

YOu can read Atchison's speeches in newspapers then, and comments he made, and promises of more killings.

Hell you can read Atchison's letter to Jeff Davis, and learn more about what caused the Civil War than all of Catton and McPherson's books.

YOu can read Atchison's speech to his Texas men, and know more that you will from Eric Foner.

Seriously -- these bullshitters who follow in Catton's footsteps are bullshitters. Quit calling them historians because they can hire a secretary to use proper footnote protocol.  

 Atchison wisely burned his papers during the Civil War, but one report to Davis remains.   

Did Catton mention Atchison even reported to Davis?


Did Catton even mention Davis paid and backed Atchison?


Not once. Not ever. You can not tell from "Two Roads to Sumter" that Davis and Atchison even heard of each other, let alone Atchison worked for, was paid by, had the support of, and wrote reports to, Davis.

Did Catton, or any of his lemmings after, tell you about that?


Did McPherson? No.

Did Foner?


SO how the hell would you find out?

Remember -- Atchison is the US Senator that got Kansas Act passed. Kind of a big deal.

Atchison SAID  he got it passed.  He boasted of that. 

Sumner was talking about Atchison getting that bill passed -- then leaving immediately for Kansas.

How can  you get that very basic information, from Catton's book?

You can't get it.


Show me any other speech of that time, where anyone articulates for  hours how Southern leaders got Kansas Act passed then sent one of their leaders to Kansas to kill.

Go on - show me. Routine? Really?

Catton goes on and on about this supposed insult by Sumner to another Senator.  Bullshit.

The insult was about the whore of slavery - that the South was wed to.  He was right of course. 

I'd rather Sumner not put that part in - right as he was. What bullshit would Catton blame, otherwise?

You have to say SOMETHING about why Sumner was beaten almost to death.   If Sumner had not gone into the whole "married to the whore" thing, Catton would be hard pressed to make up something.  That was the excuse used by Jeff Davis and others, at the time.

Catton has such venom of Sumner's "impertinence"   that he essentially approves of the beating three days later.  

Unless you study the speech itself, and the facts in Kansas, you can't possibly understand what went on, from Catton's books.  

 Never mind that at one time, many schools required reading Sumner's  speech, called "Crimes Against Kansas".

Better title would be -- Atchison goes to Kansas and kills, after he passes Kansas Act. But no matter what the title, Catton seems oblivious. 

What did Catton say about Crimes Against Kansas speech, regarding Atchison's killing and terrorizing?

Chirp. Chirp.

3)  Never mentioned Jeff Davis clear explanation that the resistance to spread of slave into Kansas was the intolerable grievance.   What did poor Jeff have to do, rent billboard space? In his own book.   Ironically Catton mouths and believes Davis claims of caring for states rights, so WTF?  

Was Davis kidding about the "intolerable grievance"  being the resistance to slavery in Kansas? Yes, Davis used the euphemism  of "our rights" in Kansas, but made it clear, those rights meant the spread of slavery. 


3)  Never mentioned US Senator  Atchison bragging he got Kansas Act passed, then goes to KS to kill, and brags of killing to spread slavery.  Yeah I mentioned that above. Here, it gets it's own mention. Atchison brags of it.  He was proud of it.


4)   Lincoln was called "Nigger Lover" and "Obsessed with equality for the Nigger"  according to Stephen A Douglas.  

This was a basic thread in Lincoln Douglas debates -- how Lincoln was radical -- and wanted your daughters to "sleep with and marry with Niggers"

Senator Atchison worked officially for -- sent reports of progress of killing to - Jeff Davis as Sec of War.  Yeah, little detail.  

Secretary of War sends a US Senator to Kansas, where he starts killing and terrorizing. Small detail, who needs that?

  We know Atchison worked for Davis, because not only did he say so, Davis backed him 100% with President Pierce, and always -- then and later, claimed what Atchison did in Kansas was "Constitutionally required".

So in case you think Atchison was some rouge lunatic -- no,  he was paid, and had the the title, money  and support, from Davis.  They even ment after the Civil War -- both men had run away like cowards in the war, but that's another story.

 That should get its own point, really.

A Senator goes to Kansas and starts killing, brags about it, promises to spread slavery further to the Pacific.  What does Catton say about this?

Chirp. Chirp.

By the way, this and much more came out in testimony of "Howard Committee" at the time.   Atchison bragged of it, but the Howard Committee nailed it, too.   Seems Bruce never mentioned that committee, but I should check.  

What did Bruce say about 

Chirp. Chirp.


4) Atchison's killing sprees in Kansas had two purposes, according to Atchison.  Spreading slavery to the Pacific, was one purpose.  The other, to stop anyone from publishing newspapers against slavery.

What did Catton (and McPherson) ever say about ATchison's two specific goals?

Chirp chirp. 


6) Jeff Davis payments to Texas men to invade KS 1856, boasted of by Atchison.      These guys did not work for free.


7) Atchisons reports about progress in killing to Davis, re getting rid of all abolitionist in KS.   Was not in Jeff Davis book, so Bruce had no way to get such information. 


8) Fact Kansas citizens, when allowed to vote, rejected slavery 95%.   Kind of a big deal, and proves how vile Aitchison  and Davis efforts to kill to spread slavery there, were. 

 Davis gave long winded justifactions that blacks were not really human beings, but property, so Kansas citizens, Kansas legislature, Congress, --  no one - -could decide to keep slavery out.

Yet idiotically, Cotton claimed that "in no way" did Dred Scott decision hamper the ability of the public to reject slavery in Kansas.

Holy shit, that takes a special kind of stupid.  Did he miss the entire Lincoln Douglas debates?

Did he miss 10,000 newspaper articles about this?

Did he miss Jeff Davis own very clear pronouncements that the matter was now decided, by the Taney court in Dred Scott?

Kansas citizens could "decide" to accept and respect slavery -- but not to reject it. 

  Yes, it was that Orwellian. 

SO where does Catton get off, saying that Dred Scott decision "in no way" deminished Kansas whites right to reject slavery?

 Reeder pointed out, (he was the first guy Davis put in as Gov of Kansas territory)  Davis cared about one thing -- spreading slavery. That's it.  He resigned -- well he was fired -- when he stopped going along with Davis violence against Kansas Citizens. 

And he said so - -he said Davis cared only about spreading slavery.

Maybe Catton heard of Reeder?

  If Bruce knew, he didn't mention it. 


9) Jeff Davis claim blacks were not human beings, but of a different "caste"  and so inferior they could never be people for purposes of the law. 

Davis made that clear, but Bruce ignored that part.  Bruce liked the part when Davis claimed he was for state's rights, however.


10) Dred Scott decision court order, that fed government will protect slavery even in Kansas which had rejected slavery.

Why mention that?  Trivial detail!  Oddly, Davis didn't think it was trivial, and used it to justify Atchison killing and terrorizing. 

Catton crossed the line from parsing words, to lying. Catton said  Davis said Lincoln's "threat" to slavery was intolerable.

No no no. 

Davis  used the word "intolerable" in his own book, with great specificity. 

Intolerable was Davis own word for the resistance to the SPREAD of slavery into Kansas.

Clever -- Catton never shows that Davis sent killers to Kansas, never shows Davis paid killers to go to Kansas.  That was after Davis sent the US military to Kansas to try to stop folks there from voting, or even gathering, to reject slavery.

Yes, as Secretary of War, Davis sent the US military to Kansas, to prevent Kansas from becoming a free state.

When that was not effective, he sent someone else -- US Senator Davis Rice Atchison.

That may surprise the shit out of you -- blame Catton. It was no surprise to anyone at the time, and Atchison boasted of it.  He did  not admit it, he boasted of it.

Out the ass boasting.

Loud and pround boasting.

Charles Sumner was speaking of this exact thing, in the speech he was beaten nearly to death floor.

Oh - yeah, Catton forgot to mention that, too.

Oh -- yeah, McPherson couldn't find space for that detail, either.

Oh  - yeah.  Foner didn't find space.

You know who found space for it?   Atchison.  Sumner. And about a thousand books,  newspapers and documents, including documents collected by the Howard Committe, a Congressional committe whose entire purpose was to gather information about it.

Do you know what Catton said of all that?


Do you know what McPherson said of it?


Okay, Foner, what did Eric say about it?


Even though Kansas was alreadly a free state -- yes, it was -- Davis found it, declared it, intolerable that folks in Kansas resisted slavery, after Dred Scott decision, and after he sent Atchison to Kansas as "General of Law and Order"

Not just speeches by Lincoln Sumner and others, but also speeches by Southern leaders boasting of it.

Even more deceptive, Catton  besmirches Lincoln for not being anti slavery enough -- not being eager to force the end of slavery in the South.

But at the same time, tries blame Lincoln for Lincoln's supposed threat to slavery.

Did every "history teacher" miss that? How do you miss that?

Catton actually defends Davis for his dred of Lincoln's desire to end slavery in the South, and tells his readers that Lincoln did'nt really care to end slavery. 

Well, which is it?

LIncoln bent over backwards in word and deed, not to rile the hornets nest.  He was going to stop the SPREAD of slavery -- and Davis said that was intolerable, and so did many others. 

Like Davis  himself, Catton liked to piss on LIncoln from both ends of the urinal.  When it suited him, Lincoln was "in no way an abolitionist".  But when it suited him otherwise "LIncoln's threats to slavery in the South".

Did anyone bother to notice that?

Back to Atchison, Atchison took out ads in papers in SC and Texas, to entice killers to Kansas. And he even told them, in the adds, this was going to be violent. He wanted violent men!!

The time for talk was over, Atchison told them in the add. This was the time for "bold action"  and to "kill every damn dog" abolitionist in Kansas.

That's several more things Catton didn't mention. I gotta renumber these.....

If Catton had even gotten that one point right - if he did not blow that -- all historians since, would  not be so stupid, and generally fall in that leeming like bullshit from McPherson, who apes Catton.
Lincoln's unshakable point -- no spread of slavery, certainly not into Kansas, which was already a free state.

Davis' unshakable point -- slavery MUST go into Kansas. Kansas must accept and RESPECT slavery. Not just allow it, Kansas, according to Davis, must actively protect slavery.

And yes, Davis knew Kansas had rejected slavery overwhelmingly, and had become a free state. He was not stupid.  He knew.  And he demanded the spread of slavery -- specifically, by name, into KANSAS.

Gee-- Catton never found that important enough to mention.

Davis found space for it, in his book. Southern newspapers found spaces for it, in their papers. 

But Catton?  Chirp. Chirp.


11)Atchison's boast he will keep killing till slavery extended to Pacific Ocean.    Kind of a big deal. He will keep killing. And God he did try.

A US Senator -- not some thug -- goes to Kansas, and promises he will keep killing till slavery is spread to the Pacific.

Catton does not MENTION that?


  Then leads 1000 paid Texas men into Lawrence to arrest or kill anyone who resists.

And does not MENTION that?

But he mentions belt buckles.

And Catton mentions that Sumner is "impertinent".

And Catton mentions that Jeff Davis is an honorable man.

And all kinds crap, Catton finds room for (no, Davis was not honorable)  but can't find room for the promises made by the guy who got Kansas Act passed?


12) That Charles Sumner two day speech detailed Atchisons killings and Atchison support by Jeff Davis. Catton decided Sumner was a troublemaker and "impertinent".    Funny, Jeff Davis and Catton again line up on same side. 

13) Over 500 newspaper articles showing Atchison and his men killing and terrorizing in KS, while Atchison was officially working for Davis, with Davis approval.  Catton wrote more about what a given soldier had for breakfast on a given day, than about the relationship between Atchison -- the guy killing and bragging of it - and Davis.


14) Atchison men promising to keep hanging, torturing, and drowning those against slavery.  But why mention that?  What did promising to keep killing and torturing and drowning have to do with anything?  Let's talk about belt buckles again.


15) Atchison and his men createdtheir own law making it a crime to speak or write a newspaper against slavery. Why mention that?  It was long ago. Why embarrass people now.  Let's talk about a letter written by a soldier who mentions his faith in God.


16) Atchison using 700-1000 Texas men, paid by Jeff Davis, to invade KS 1856, and promises to get 5000 next time and kill everyone against slavery.   Oh, see number 15.  Why bring up the past on things?


17)Jeff Davis speech promising perpetual slavery and order put freed slaves back on the "slave status" forever, and their issue, (children) in perpetuity, so after the war "there will be no confusion".   Oh don't mention that one. Davis just had a bad day.

Oh shit where is number 18?

Here. I made it up now.

18.  Catton never mentioned that Davis, Stephen A Douglas, Yancey, Toombs, etc,  even might be making excuses, or lying.  This should have been #1.   Catton apparently sat on his ass, read what Jeff Davis said, read what Stephen A Douglas said, and never bothered to dig much into their facts, or veracity, or their agenda. 

As you will see, Davis, Douglas, and Atchison had quite the agenda.  Catton didn't seem to know or care.


19) Robert E Lee's slave ledgers and bounty hunters. Lee was against slavery, right? Never mind the evidence he was an especially cruel man, all dressed up for church.


20) Robert E Lee's orders during war to capture free blacks in North, take them South, sell them as slaves


21) Robert E Lee's white looking slave girls.  Bobby couldnt be responsible for the slave children that looked about his skin tone.  What should he do about them, free them?  Slavery was from God, it's evil for man to use his own time table.  

22) Jeff Davis capture in a dress, and his wife's letter detailing his cowardice. Couldn't be true, right? Anyone can write a letter.

23) Jeff Davis wife book, wherein she admits Davis told her to get herself killed rather than surrender, but then he runs away in her dress. Anyone can write a book, too.

24) Vice President Stephens 5 city speaking tour, boasting Confederacy's "great moral truth" was blacks are inferior beings, ordained by God to be enslaved. God was punishing blacks for biblical sins, and prediction they would "lead the world" into this "great scientific truth". 

  Oh, that Alex, what's he know about it?  Was he there?

As the Richmond newspaper pointed out -- boasting of the war ultimatums-- the spread of slavery is literally written into the CSA Constitution, too.

You don't know a single "history teacher" smart enough to tell you that Southern War Ultimatums that Kansas must accept and respect slavery, came after KS was a free state.

But if Catton had mentioned it, these "history teachers"  would tell you.


So when Lincoln said -- as he did -- the "machinery"  built by Southern leaders to spread slavery,  would by necessity spread  it to all of the US,  or be ended in the process,  he was not yapping his gums.

The "logic" of Dred Scott and the fraud of Kansas Act, was FULL MONTY bullshit. It was the Pearl Harbor of the day.  It meant one thing would stay, and one would go, as Lincoln pointed out.

 That idiot fool Catton, implicitly rejected not only the facts that led Lincoln and others to say that, but explicitly reaffirmed Davis bullshit nonsense that South cared about states rights.

WTF?   Davis send 700-1000 killers to Kansas, when they dared to be against slavery. And even after Kansas became a state, Davis,  in his own book, said the resistance to slavery into Kansas was intolerable.

What did Davis need to do? Rent billboard space outside Cattons dumb ass little house?

As if Catton could not get any dumber, he actually writes that the "typical" Northern was like John Brown?

What is he yapping bout?  So the typical Northern was fighting back, freeing slaves and hoping they started a slave rebellion.

Seriously, you can't get that stupid that easily.   This is the kind of crap Jeff Davis tried to make people believe. Which is fine, understandable.  

But why on earth would Catton try to sell that?

So who decided slavery issues? 

 As Lincoln pointed out, this left only the slave owner.   

  But even worse, by order of the Surpreme Court, slavery must be PROTECTED.  States could not even decide whether to protect slavery.  Did you know that? 

The Dred Scott court ordered the government protect slavery.

When Douglas tried his pathetic after the fact excuse that Dred Scott was fine - because states and local government could just not protect slavery, and slavery could not happen -- no one believed him. Everyone knew that was an excuse.

Except Catton. That made perfect sense to Catton.   Oh, so what, COngress, the people, the states, the legislature, they can't decide slavery issues.  Dred Scott even orders the government to protect slavery.

But all you gotta do, is not protect slavery, and that will count as "popular sovereighty".

Dumb as hell, especially since Southern War ULtimatums was that Kansas MUST accept and respect slavery.

What did Catton yap about DRed Scott?

About where he was born.  When you hear some idiot start explaining Dred Scott, by telling where he was born, you are seeing the bastard child of Bruce Catton.

It didn't matter if Scott was born in a manger in Bethlehem surrounded by three wise men.

Lincoln of course, never bothered to blather about where Dred Scott was born, but he did hit the  bulls eye about what Dred Scott decision did -- it turned logic on it's head.   It made slavery a constitutional right, on the level of free speech. 

Was Lincoln stupid? Hell no -- Jeff Davis said the same thing, only he was proud of it, and used it to justify Atchison and his killings and tortures. 

So  The nature of these two bits of machinery, Kansas Act and Dred Scott,  made it all or nothing.

Gone was the "compromise" of 1820 and 1850, which was no compromise at all, as Lincoln pointed out.   The South demanded doubling, then doubling again, of slave territory.


But the Kansas Act, and then Dred Scott, just blew the  doors off.
Atchison goes to Kansas, and starts killing and terrorizing.

Brown goes to Kansas -- even LIncoln went to Kansas. 

Davis sends 1000 Texas men to Kansas.  People moved -- to Kansas.

Sumner gives his Crimes Against Kansas speech, and is beaten almost to death.

Along comes Dred Scott --no one could stop slavery any longer, because Kansas Act ripped away the "Compromises" - the demands -- of the South for huge expansion and Dred Scott claimed blacks were not even human beings (really, not human beings) but property.

Lincoln explained this -- repeatedly. Perhaps you noticed.  That little speech "House Divided"  was all about this -- ever word. 

Every. Word.

Yet Catton never bothered to tell folks that -- he even claimed Dred Scott decision in no way prevented folks in Kansas from rejected slavery.

That takes a special kind of stupid.  Jeff Davis himself was clear -- Dred Scott decision absolutely did prevent the people in Kansas from rejected slavery. 

And because Dred Scott decision prevented KS people from rejecting slavey - that was the "INTOLERABLE GRIEVANCE."

Davis  wrote that in his own  book,.

How did Catton claim Dred Scott did nothing of the sort, when Davis himself was clear Dred Scott changed everything?

Good question. If I could dig Catton up, that's the second question I'd ask.

The first is -- did you bother to actually read any of this shit that Davis and other Southern leaders bragged of at the time?

Worse -- if possible -- the Dred Scott decision ordered the federal government to protect slavery, even in Kansas, which was 95% against slavery.

You heard none of this before, unless you read Lincoln Sumner, and about 1000 newspapers, books, speeches, at the time.

You heard none of it from McPherson, none of it from Catton.  

How did Catton miss that entire train of facts, killings, tortures, and slavery?




But he had a pile of Stephen A Douglas  official, for publication speeches.

He had what these men sculptured for publication.

He had their bullshit, in other words. And both men were good at bullshit.





Mostly, Catton was fooled by phrases like "popular sovereignty".

Never mind that in action, while Douglas and Atchison both said they passed Kansas Act to get "popular sovereignty" into Kansas,  Atchison actions out there were violent suppression of of that.

The whole fraud of Kansas Act seems to have escaped Catton -- if he had just heard Atchison brag about killing to spread slavery, and the justification for it, being the protection and expansion of slavery against what people wanted, Catton might have had a clue.

BUt he had speeches.  Douglas said himself, his "great principle" was popular sovereignty.

Yes, yes, Lincoln showed what a farce that popular sovereignty  was, in the LIncoln Douglas debates.  It was quite the opposite of actual popular sovereignty.  

The Kansas Act was a delibrate, planned, bit of machinery to prevent people in Kansas from actually chosing slavery or rejecting it. That was what the North -- Sumner, LIncoln, and 1000 others, were screaming about.

How do you miss that?  Kansas Act did not open Kansas so people could chose. It did quite the opposite. If Atchison's violence had worked, Kansas would have been a slave state, never mind that 95% of the citizens there would vote against slavery.

Something Catton seemed incapable of grasping himself, much less telling any reader.

Kansas Act and Dred Scott decision had pushed things to all or nothing. And by design.  Atchison and Davis did not count on John Brown to fight back, or the telegraph to send their actions all over the US.

(That's another thing, this was the first attempt to spread slavery by means foul, and more foul, when they had their own "internet" -- the telegraph..  People all over would know within a day or two, what the hell was going on.  Davis grew up in an era killers and slave owners could get away with anything - and no one was the wiser.

With the telegraph, people were the wiser. And it made all the difference) 

Something had to go -- slavery, or the Union.  Lincoln predicted right - it wont be the Union that goes.

By inference, of course, as the South screamed of at the time, was that slavery would go.

Lincoln was very clever, very precise in what he said on this matter. And he was right.   There was machinery, crafted deliberately, to spread slavery that could not spread without it.  He made it clear -- that machinery was Kansas Act and Dred Scott.

Catton never explained either of those things in a clear way, as part of machinery designed, crafted, built, to spread slavery.  Lincoln explained it.  

If Catton had pointed that out -- so would McPherson, so would Foner, so would your text books.

Did Catton ever bother to look at a damn map?  By 1848, slavery territory was already much bigger  than free territory.

But the Southdemanded much more.  They got it. 



If Kanas Act and Dred Scott vile "logic"  continues, there was no legal way to keep slavery from the red border areas above -- or even all areas.  Because Dred Scott created the "right" to have slavery anywhere the slave owner wanted.

So no, Lincoln was not wrong about that.

 are these "scholars" in our universities? Maybe they should read the damn Southern newspapers. 

How about those NYT reviewers, who praise this Civil War book or that?    Why is it, no one seems to notice what these guys left out?

(I hope to change that).

BTW, McPherson, Foner, the rest, they never mentioned this either. But they would have, if Papa Catton did. Really. 

It took me about forty years of reading about the cause of the US Civil War, to realize something about Catton.

It seems Bruce Catton channeled Jeff Davis basic bullshit, and did  not believe Lincoln.

Clue to Bruce.  Lincoln knew what he was talking about. Davis made up bullshit.


There is little difference between Jeff Davis narrative (which is false as hell) and Bruce Catton's basic narrative.  

There is a world of difference from what Lincoln said the issue was - and Bruce Catton's narrative.

Not saying Catton was pro slavery, of course not.  But his implicit narrative about what caused the Civil War, is about 90% Davis from his 1881 book, Rise and Fall of Confederate Government.

10%  Lincoln.

Catton implicitly rejects Lincoln's narrative, made evident in House Divided Speech and 100 other Lincoln speeches and letters, that Southern leaders  foul and more foul efforts to spread slavery by violence and subterfuge, was spreading slavery in a way that would, by necessity spread it all over, unless stopped.  



Catton sure as hell does NOT accept Lincoln's raw view of what caused the Civil War -- the violent relentless spread of slavery, by means foul and more foul.  

Catton never even mentions the killing sprees, the endless violence, the war ultimatums, or 100 other things.  He should have stuck to belt buckles.  

Had Bruce Catton accepted that -- or even mentioned the overwhelming proof of Lincoln's claim (because Southern leaders boasted of it),  all historians since, especially James McPherson (nick name: I follow Catton, no matter how goofy he was), would likely have echoed and built on that.

They boasted -- their leaders did -- that their nation was founded on not just slavery, but "the great moral truth" that blacks were inferior and being punished by GOD. 

Lincoln actually could have, and should have, been much more emphatic and dramatic in his speeches - but he was trying to placate Southern violent leaders, not antagonize them. 

Lincoln's letter to Speed show he was exceedingly aware of the vile and vile nature of Southern leaders.  

So what caused the Civil War -- from those bragging about starting it, (yes, Atchison boasted he was starting the war) was not a minor point.

Nor were these guy (Atchison, Davis, Toombs, Yancey) some bit players.

Nor are their declarations of war ultimatums or bragging about their goals, some "gotcha" out of context thing.  They bragged about it -- fully, incontext, and clearly.

Not some minor point - what caused Civil War.

Catton  puts NONE of that, in any of his books.  WTF?  At least not in any way that's clear, specific, or shows his readers who did what.

Who killed who, and why?  You won't get any sentence like that from Catton. And so, you won't get a sentence like that from McPherson. Or Foner.

Catton took the road more travelled - he peddled bullshit, culled mostly from Jefferson Davis pathologically clever book. 

To overstate it just a bit --Catton seems to have swallowed Jeff Davis narrative of what caused the Civil War.  Both he and Catton blamed "abolitionist" agitators.  Both he and Catton try to pass off Southern leaders as giving a rat's ass about state's rights. 

Catton was seduced by Jefferson Davis bullshit. Yes, he was. 



For example, Catton repeats JD bullshit about caring about "state's rights".   He seems oddly unaware JD morphed away from, actually hated, states rights when Kansas rejected slavery.

Yes, at least a dozen times, JD said the words "states rights".

Catton was so stupid -- insult inteded --he didn't even suspect JD just claimed that at the time, as an excuse. More, Catton seems dumb as a box of Arkansas rocks about Davis repudiation of state rights, regarding slavery, because of Dred Scott.

JD sent 700-1000 killers to Kansas (he paid them) when he was Secretary of State in 1856, something that was common knowledge then.  JD also sent US Senator Atchison there, naming him "General of Law and Order".  There, Atchison bragged what he was doing, and who sent him.  He did not admit it, he boasted of it. He was there representing "the entire South" and "the present administration".  Atchison even made his goal clear -- to spread slavery all the way to the Pacific.

Very basic, and Catton doessn't seem to have a clue.

Catton never -- ever -- ever  mentioned it.  Not once, at least not in a clear way. Not ever.  At least McPherson mentioned Atchison's threats, but was essentially as stupid and or as unwilling to show anything vile or violent, coming from Jeff Davis. 


Little detail -- one of many -- Bruce missed.  He could write circles around anyone else, about belt buckles.

Yet if Catton new that era well, from 1853-1861 he would not even need to know those appeared in Southern newspapers, loudly and proudly, because for five years, Southern leaders had been sending killers to Kansas to get those exact ultimatums in place. 

It was in the news and everything.  Even a guy named Lincoln mentioned it.  And about 10,000 others. Maybe Bruce should look at a few newspapers of that period, that was front and center in every newspaper for YEARS. 


While before the Civil War, Jeff Davis hated state's rights, for example, he sent over 1000 Texas killers into Kansas in 1856 (see below) to stop people in KS from even speaking against slavery -- Bruce Catton never mentioned that.

Catton never did grasp that words are one thing --and actions are another. Seriously, Catton suffers (enjoyed?) the simplicity of picking out quotes from Jeff Davis, not caring or even suspecting they may be excuses, lies, justifications, or Orwellian bullshit.

Jeff Davis said it - I believe it, is kind of Catton's motto.  Except when Davis says things that make it clear Davis was a lunatic, head of a movement to kill to spread slavery, and justify that -- in which case, apparently Catton missed those parts.


Davis completely repudiated state's had rights to keep slavery out. DId you know that?  Hell no, you didn't know.

You should know -- and you would know -- if Bruce Catton had grasped it.

Davis wrote in his own book the "intolerable grievance"  that made Civil War necessary was the resistance to slavery into Kansas.   Yet Kansas citizens voted 95% against slavery.

Exactly like Davis -- Catton never mentioned that.   

In fact, Catton was stupid on t his -- he called Davis a "state's rights man".  How stupid can you be?

Yes, occassionally Davis would speak those words.  And clearly Catton was so stupid (really) he believed implicitly whatever Davis said, that Catton liked.   Catton had no clue that Davis even might use an excuse now and then.   

By the way, this is common among US historians.  They are quote collectors -- actions don't mean much.  Davis was part of the killing machine -- sending Atchison to kill and terrorize, even getting reports from Atchison about the "progress" of hangings -- that does not matter.  

What Jeff Davis claimed in his own self aggrandizing speeches  THAT mattered to Catton.

What Davis did -- did not matter.  That is not over stating the case, that is what happened for Catton to be so stupid about Davis and the entire Southern leadership, including Lee. 

I can understand Jeff Davis not giving the full story.  Davis sent killers to Kansas, officially paid the Texas troops in Kansas while he was Secretary of War, and used Senator David Rice Atchison as his lead killer.  

Of course Davis himself is not going to expose that, and much more. Like his cowardice, running away in a dress, after telling his wife to get herself killed.

OF COURSE  Jeff Davis is going to praise and honor himself in his own book and speeches.

But why did Catton have to essentially give Davis own wacko version of  facts, as true?

And, believe it or not, Catton never does disagree with Davis.

Catton disagrees with Lincoln.

Lincoln's basic warning to the US was that SOuthern leaders were killing and scheming to spread slavery by any means -- Kansas Act and Dred Scott were part of a deliberate "machinery"  that made it all or nothing -- we would have slavery all over, or we would not have slavery at all.

Hard to miss that, if you read Lincoln's speeches.

Catton did not believe Lincoln.  He believed Jeff Davis. 

Catton actually believed Southern leaders cared about "states rights" -- and shows Lincoln as not for state's rights.

Holy shit, what a dumb ass.  

It was not Lincoln that sent 1000  Texas killers to Kansas in 1856. That was Jeff Davis, as Secretary of War, using Senator Atchison as the leader of the killers -- or as Jeff Davis called Atchison "General of Law and Order in Kansas".

It would have helped Catton to know what Atchison boasted about -- he boasted he passed Kansas Act, then boasted he would kill to spread slavery.

Atchison's speech -- which predated Lincoln's House Divided Speech, pretty much proves Lincoln was exactly right about South's intent and means to spread slavery, by killing, by machinery like Dred Scott, and by Kansas Act.

Catton never did get it, that Davis, Stephen A Douglas, and David Rice Atchison were behind Kansas Act, then the killing and terrorizing by Atchison and his paid men, in Kansas.

How about Charles Sumner's speech -- the one  he was beaten almost to death for.  

Maybe Bruce should have, you know, read it. 

You probably have no idea that in the speech Charles Sumner was beaten almost to death for, on Senate floor, was about Senator Atchison going to Kansas, after he passed Kansas Act, and starting his reign of terror.

The reason you do NOT know that Sumner was exposing, by name, Atchison passing Kansas Act, then he rushed to Kansas for his reign of terror there -- is that Catton didn't bother to take Sumner's speech, (Or Atchison's speech bragging about it) seriously.

 That was the most basic event in US history, in the 1850's. Nothing comes close.   It got Lincoln back in politics.  And got Jeff Davis all worked up about spreading slavery to the entire West, by the same means.

David Rice Atchison was quite proud of it -- he boasted of it, and his speech from 1856 is in Kansas Historical archives.

Bruce Catton never mentioned that Atchison was the guy Sumner was talking about.

I doubt he had a clue. Not a clue.

Bruce Catton never mentioned that Jeff Davis paid Atchison's Texas men, nor Atchison himself.

It's a good bet, Catton had no clue whatsoever that Atchison even had paid killers, and that Jefferson Davis paid them.

How do we know that? Atchison bragged about it, in his speech.

And Atchison reported his progress-- about killing -- to Davis, one of the reports survives.

Kind of a big deal.  The Secretary of War, sends a US Senator to Kansas, and there that Senator brags about killing to spread slavery --and Catton missed it.

Catton blames those bad abolitionist. Not Davis. Not Atchison's killing sprees or his killers. It's those damn abolitionist!

And that is exactly Jeff Davis narrative. It was those damn abolitionist.

It does not get more basic that this -- because Atchison is the US Senator that passed Kansas Act, and said he got it passed.

Did you know that Atchison bragged he got Kansas Act passed?   

Did you know that Charles Sumner was beaten for a speech he made -- wherein he spoke for  hours about the violence, killing and oppression, by David Rice Atchison?

Hell no, you didn't know.

You should --because it's important as hell.  And Catton missed it.

Foner never told you, either.

McPherson never told you.

No one told you -- if I had not told you, you still would not know.

But if Catton had done his job, you would know this. This would be  in your text books.

Catton never mentioned it, and like lemmings, Foner, McPherson, and the rest, didn't mention it either. If they did  - I never saw it. And I read such books all the time.

Catton could only be this stupid about the Civil War, if he focused on Jeff Davis self serving speeches and book.  And apparently, that's what he did.

He sure as hell did not accept Lincoln's factual representations of Kansas Act, and what happened.  Lincoln sure as hell was clear anough about that, in Lincoln Douglas debates and his own House Divided Speech.

And newspapers North and South were filled with information -- including Southern War Ultimatums.

How the hell did Catton miss all that? Really, how did he miss it?

In fact, Jeff Davis and his cabinet issued War Ultimatus -- five of them.  

Did you know about the Southern War Ultimatums?

Hell no.  Don't feel bad, Jeff Davis bragged about it at the time, but didn't mention it after the war.

Bruce Catton never had a clue, because Jefferson Davis never told him. 

As strange as it sounds, Bruce Catton did actually get most of his narrative -- his basic information -- from Jeff Davis book "Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government"




As to the CAUSE of the civil war -- Catton had a quick summation:  it was those radical abolitionists.

Catton was NOT big on Richmond newspapers, or he would have seen Southern War ULtimatums under the headline  "THE TRUE ISSUE".

Southern leaders are bragging out the ass (Atchison) they  are in Kansas killing to spread 

Southern newspapers headlines are about the Five Ultimatums -- the spread of slavery in Kansas.

And Catton had, NO  CLUE.

Nor was anyone surprised at the South's own newspapers calling the spread of slavery "The TRUE ISSUE"  because that is exactly what Southern leaders had been shouting about for years, including bragging of killing to spread slavery, as a war, in Kansas.

Charles SUmner knew who got Kansas Act passed -- David Rice Atchison.  And he said so, too.

Catton -- nor McPherson, nor Foner, nor any of the other "historians" have ever made that clear.   They probably didn't even know.

It was not the killings to spread slavery from 1854 on, by killers sent, and paid for, by Jefferson Davis.

Catton didn't know that.

But he knew a lot about belt buckles.

Catton  had no clue about reports from Senator Atchison, about the "progress" of hanging or killing or ridding Kansas of abolitionst.

He would have told you that, if he knew.  But he did not know.

Yes, it makes a difference.. too complicated.  Facts do make a difference.

War Ultimatums -- loud proud and specific.

Killings to spread slavery, led by a man who boasted of it -- loud proud and specific.

Of COURSE Davis is not going to include that clearly in his book he wrote after the wary.

And since that book seems to be where Catton got his narrative -- (if you know where else he got it, let me know)  Catton did not know.  He was that stupid.

But a wiz on belt buckles. 

Catton spent more time talking about Jeff Davis camels, than he did about David Rice Atchison, the man who got Kansas Act passed -- yes he did -- and bragged of it.

Try to grasp that.  The essential thing that led to Civil War was the Kansas Act, followed by killings to spread slavery and then Dred Scott decision that blacks are not human beings.

Yeah -- not HUMAN BEINGS. Not persons.

Catton failed to catch that little detail too.  But he sure knew him some fine shit about  belt buckles. Yes he did.

Now, which is more important?  Davis attempt at using camels in 1856, or the fact a US Senator gets Kansas Act passed, goes to Kansas, starts killing and terrorizing and bragging he will spread slavery to the Pacific, and works officially for Jeff Davis?

Which is more important, that Dred Scott court ordered -- yes ORDERED -- that blacks be seen not as human beings, but as property?

Take your time on this one, I know it's hard. 

Catton apparently thought it was more important to tell you about the camels. He never told you that Dred Scott court literally ORDERED -- O R D E R E D the fed gov to recognize blacks not as persons, but property.

They did not suggest it.

They did not wish it.

They did not imply it.

They ORDERED it. 

No -- you did not know that. Till I told you, you had no clue.

Catton never told you.

Foner never told you.

McPherson never told you.

You would have to read it yourself -- for some reason, "historians"  have white washed and watered the Dred Scott decision down. Foner, for example, idiotically claimes Dred Scott was a "relatively limited ruling"  about Congressional authority to decide slavery issues.

What a dumb ass. Read the decision Foner -- and Catton.  Too much to ask?

People need to start over and read the original documents yourself. 

You better read me, or original sources, because you sure as hell are not going to find out anything like this from Foner, McPherson, etc.   They got Bruce Catton style stupidity.


The Southern War Ultimatums could have nothing to do with it?  It was their own war ultimatums, at the time, in headlines.  

Maybe they knew something.

Indeed, as the newspapers reported, the ultimatums were implicit in the Southern Constitution itself.

And, it was.  

Catton blames radical abolitionist -- did they write the ultimatums?

Did the "radical abolitionist"   invade Kansas and terrorize, kill, and promise more killing, until slavery was pressed to the Pacific?

Who were those non-existant radical abolitionists anyway?

He never names them, except John Brown. And even then, Catton does not seem to grasp, that Brown's son was killed in Kansas by David Rice Atchison's men, and they promised to kill the rest of his family, if they could find them.

Brown was responding - in kind -- to what war Atchison and others had started, and boasted about.  And Brown is the bad guy?

In Catton's narrative, Brown is horrible

Atchison is not terrible -- oh no! He invades KS with 200 men the first time, over 500 men the second time, and promised to come back with 5000 men and just kill every abolitionist in Kansas.

(Abolitionist to Atchison, was anyone that was not eagerly pro slavery).

Brown's neighbor testified that Brown, and others, were threaten by the men he killed.   As far as Brown could tell -- by the actions and words of David Rice Atchison, it was all out war now.   
The point is, Brown REACTED to killing sprees, and finally give Atchison and his paid killers a "push back".

Catton, of course, thinks Brown was evil and crazy.  Yet Atchison -- who bragged about killing, and his men, who bragged about killing,finally found someone who would push back, give them what they gave others.

Catton would never admit that, if he knew it.



Okay --Catton and others, you yap about all these "aggitators" who "interfered" in Southern "institutions" -- name them.

Tell who they are, and give us information about them.  That's other than John Brown, who we deal with below.

How about a name?

And what did they do?  

Southern leaders had a long history of killing to spread violence -- including the Mexican War, which was, as Lincoln rightly said at the time, was a war to spread slavery.  Not many people know it - Cotton sure did not -- that Lincoln stood up to Polk and accused him of starting the war against Mexico, as a pretext to expland slavery.

And he was right.

Furthermore, Southern leaders were already in Kansas from 1854 on, violently pushing for the spread of slavery.  

And they boasted of it.

David Rice Atchison's men promised to kill the rest of Brown's family, after they killed one of his sons. 

So -- who, got a name? -- who from the North went to the South causing that "interference" .

The way Davis, and many people talk today, there were all these folks "interfering".


Most people have no idea that the South made it impossible to even SPEAK of slavery in Congress for 13 years.  Did you know that?

And it was illegal in the South to preach, or write publically, against slavery, from the 1840's on. 

Did you know that?

If so, you sure never got it from Catton or McPherson, if they knew, they didn't see it as important enough to mention. 


Southern leaders wanted Northern writers executed -- this is not sophistry -- for even writing against slavery IN THE NORTH.

It was a crime, as we mentioned above, for those in the South to speak and write -- or even own a book --that was against slavery.

But some in the South wanted anyone in the North arrested and executed for writing against slavery. Sounds bizare?  Only because you don't know how violent and oppressive the South was about speech against slavery.

Even preachers could be, and were, just for owning the wrong book.  

Here is a newspaper account of Southern leaders demanding the execution or life imprisonment of those in the North who wrote against slavery --in the NORTH.

Torture of citizens. 
Here is a newspaper article about a woman stripped and whipped in the South -- for saying, just saying, she could not wait to get North, where there was freedom.

They grabbed her, stripped her, and had 30 lashes applied.

She was white. Imagine what they did to blacks.

Read the damn thing.

Just speaking in public about the North being free, got this woman stripped and whipped, if this paper is to be believed.

See the book "The Militant South"  about how violence, threats, and killing were very much a cultural reality in the South. Yet Catton and others would have you believe Southern leaders were "Christian" men of "deep principle".

If you don't believe that paper, you have a lot to learn about the violent culture (culture = how you get attention and status) in the South. 

It was a culture based on violence, and threats.  Not idle threats, either.

Who the hell was Catton -- or anyone -- talking about, re "interfering" with the "domestic institutions in the South".

Bluntly put, Southern men had the deserved reputation of being brutal, and their cultural rewarded cruelty.  Slavery, despite what Jeff Davis said about being a "kindess" was based on terror.

Lincoln wrote that slavery was all about violence - began in violence, spread by violence, kept by violence. 

Catton did not believe Lincoln -- neither does McPherson.

So it's no surprise when Kansas citizens rejected slavery, Jeff Davis  sent his  "General of Law and Order" David Rice Atchison to make sure (or try to) Kansas citizens didn't get any idea of rejected slavery.

Who was interfering?

 Catton apparently disbelievs Lincoln that the South was using violence and terror -- any means -- to spread slavery all the way to the Pacific.

In public, LIncoln spoke much more diplomatically.  But to Speed -- Lincoln slept in the same bed as Speed for four years, by the way -- he did not need nor try to be diplomatic.

Does Catton think Lincoln just made that shit up?

Does Catton think Kansas newspapers made it up, in their reports of the tortures, killings in Kansas by Atchison and his paid men?

Catton -- nor McPherson, have ever mentioned that the men who were killing and terrorizng in Kansas to spread slavery, were paid - paid by Jefferson Davis, according to Davis's own General of Law and Order, David Rice Atchison.

Not once, not in 40 years of writing about Civil War and belt buckels, did Catton see fit to mention the killers in Kansas were paid.   Nor did McPherson ever mention it.

But Charles Sumner, Lincoln, and David Rice Atchison mention it, Atchison very bluntly.

Does Catton think Charles Sumner was making shit about, about the non-stop violence by Atchison and others in Kansas, after Atchison got Kansas Act passed?

Catton would know about the "Howard"  Committee, which heard evidence about what Atchison was doing in Kansas.

Charles Sumner gave a two day speech about what Kansas Crimes, and he said Atchison was the leader who got Kansas Act passed.

Catton never mentioned that most basic fact: the guy who got Kansas Act passed, then went to Kansas and started terrorizing folks.

You don't know about that comittee, but Catton sure as  hell should have.

Did all those witnesses lie?



Catton has the excuses down -- for Davis and other slavers.

Catton even calls Davis a "Planter".

Planter is orwellian double speak for slave owner. Davis made money on FLESH.  He did not plant anything.  Just like Robert E Lee was not a "planter".   He was a slaver, he made his money on flesh -- buying it, renting it out, selling . 


Nor did Catton ever seem to grasp, Southern leaders flipped flopped entirely on state's rights, when Kansas rejected slavery.

You have to be some kind of stupid not to notice the thousands of references -- by Lincoln, by Sumner, by a plethora of others -- who pointed out emphatically how actually, Davis and the South, while they used the term state's rights and popular sovereignty, had actually repudiated and made a mockery of both.  Violently so.

That was the basic issue in the Lincoln Douglas debates, how actually the claim of "popular sovereignty" was a fraud, a ruse, and Kansas Act obliterated popular soverighty, made it not just inoperable, but Southern leaders and paid Texas men, were in Kansas terrorizing to stop popular sovereighty.

YOu can claim, if you want, that Lincoln was wrong, Sumner was wrong, that 1000 others were wrong.   But Catton does not even show this basic part of the entire era. 


Jeff Davis had a litany -- a list-- of excuses, justifications, for not just slavery. 

Where -- I mean this sincerely  -- where did Catton get the list of excuses?
Did he accidently absorb Davis excuses through the air?

No, he got them from Davis, or others repeating that meme.

For example, Catton insists, and accepts as obvious and true, that South just did not have enough men.

Jeff Davis and many others used that excuse after the war. But it was not true. 

But it's not true. It never was.

Actually, Jeff Davis himself said (in his Macon speech) that  2/3, a stunning 2/3, of Confederate soldiers deserted or went awol by summer of 1864,

Davis also said, the Army of Virginia-- Lee's bunch -- had similar desertion rate.

If just half the men came back from desertions, Davis said, the South could not lose.

Was Davis lying?   He said it in an impromptu speech in Macon.

And those reports were confirmed by others -- Richmond editor Edward Pollard was sure in 1865 the Confederacy would be forever shamed by the horrible desertion rate of its troops.

Why the hell doesn't Catton know that?  

After all Jeff Davis himself spoke of 2/3 desertion rate by 1864. 

Catton also acts as if Southern leaders pushed slavery into Kansas because "they did not want to be surrounded by free states, because slaves would not have far to run"  kinda bullshit.

So -- getting rich on slavery had nothing to do with it?

But Catton never wrote one word to disagree with Southern excuses.  He presented their excuses as self evidently valid.

He never seemed to grasp the difference between an excuse, and a reason.


Catton  and others seem to think slave owners generally were eager to spread slavery.

That was not true, according to a guy who should know.  That whole "Lets spread slavery or white race is exterminated"  crap,  were the hate mongers than got attention and power for those speeches.

Slave owners -- according to Preston Blair -- were not yapping in person about spreading slavery. That was what the political leaders said in speeches to get crowds cheering. "Southern Rights"   and how Lincoln will make your daughters sleep with "Niggers" kind of speeches.

 The spread of slavery meme was one that centered around a the political  men -- Yancey, Toombs, Davis, and Atchison.     

They got attention and power for such speeches.    They used that issue to incite the stupid.  


Maybe Preston Blair was wrong, sure.  But there were not slave owners giving these speeches, that I ever saw.  The folks getting the attention were those pumping up the hate and fear.

They had to -- how else are you going to the public hateful and fearful, unless you tell them Lincoln and the North are going to bring death and misery to you?

This is not a new tactic of political leaders who want to get attention and power -- hate and fear is what sells well, and drives out doubt, in the minds of stupid people.

 James Debow of Debow Review said the wealth of slave owners was proof they had favor with God.

Never before in history, Debow wrote, has anyone grew so rich, so fast, just by starting out young with breeding stock of slaves, then growing to produce more slaves. The work and "issue" (children) of those slaves produced abudnant wealth, unmatched in the North.

Catton's narrative gives no indication whatsoever that he disagree at all, with the South's idiotic blabbering about being surrounded by free states.

By that logic along, (that they did not want to be close to a free state) -- then what the hell, everyplace had to be a slave state.




And did Atchison himself brag about terrorizing and urge his Texas men to kill, as a joke?

 Who was interfering?

They should have, hell  yes.   But other than John Brown, in a two hour fiasco,  very late in the "game,"  who the hell are they talking about?

He doesn't say. He just repeats the oft claim by Southern leaders that bad Northern folks were "interfering" in our institutions.

They SHOULD have interfered, but they did not.  Yet so often was this nonsense repeated by the South, Catton bought into it.

Which is the main reason, so many buy into that nonsense now.

They were not mere war ultimatums, but the headline was  "THE TRUE ISSUE"  .

What makes it even more amazing - no one on earth was surprised. New York papers reprinted the Ultimatums two days later, and suggest Lincoln obey them.

Catton didn't know about that.

He should have -- most people alive in 1858 knew that Southern leaders rejected state's rights and popular sovereignty when Kansas rejected slavery.

Catton, however, steeped as he was in writings of Jeff Davis, and the speeches by Stephen A Douglas, thought the South really cared about popular sovereignty.

Not so much, actually. 

It was not the promises of more death and violence to spread slavery, by Southern leaders, until slavery is "all the way to the Pacific".?

That was not some cowboy in a movie -- that was US Senator David Rice Atchison, speaking officially, to his men, hired by Jefferson Davis.

Did you know -- did anyone ever even mention -- that Jeff Davis paid for Texas men, in 1854, to kill and terrorize folks in Kansas?

Hell  no. No one told you.

But Atchison was boasting of it, at the time.

Catton did not know about Southern leaders loud, proud, incontext, (not gothca bs) boasting they would continue to kill until they got slavery all the way to the Pacific. 

Catton seemed unware of what Some Southern leaders (the important leaders, those doing, leading, killing, paying killers)  themselves boasted out the ass about, until they lost, excuse the bluntness, but someone has to be blunt about this, Southern leaders sure were, at the time. 

That's right -- what Southern leaders bragged out the ass about, till they lost, is not what Southern leaders said later, and certainly not what their children and grandchildren were led to believe, or wrote in their "history" books.

Essentially, Catton bought into the slave owner's excuses, justifications, and Orwellian double speak.  You can only buy into that bullshit, if you don't know who killed who, and why, leading up to the Civil War.

Catton, like many historians, have hard time figuring out excuses for reasons -- so if Jeff Davis claimed his only interest in life was for Consitutional purposes, that must be so.

He did, after all, say that.

Catton acknowledged Kansas Trouble "forshadowed"  the US Civil War.  

Actually, when you learn what happened in Kansas, and that Jefferson Davis was personally behind it, personally in charge of went on there, (something Catton had no clue about) you won't be so stupid.

The Civil War started in 1854, and Southern leaders, in 1854, bragged out the ass about that -- and they called it war. 

Not sorta war, not kinda war, not venting their feelings, they called it W A R.

They even called it war to spread slavery.

Why didn't Catton tell us that?

He had no clue. None.  Or he would have.  

And if he had written those words on a piece of paper, you would know much more about what happened, than you do now.


If Catton had pulled his head out of his ass, and forgot the bullshit about belt buckles, and learned what Southern leaders bragged about - you would not be so misinformed today.

There is no way, for example, for Bruce Catton to know that the US Senator who got Kansas Act passed, bragged about killing in Kansas, not that long after he pushed Kansas Act through the Senate.

He should have known partof that, however, because Charles Sumner spoke of that Senator, and what he did, for hours on end, in the famous "Crimes Against Kansas" speech.

That was the speech Sumner was beaten almost to death for, on Senate floor.

Did Catton even know that much?

Hell no.  Catton did not seem aware, that the man Sumner was talking about, for hours, was Davis Rice Atchison and his followers in Kansas.

So Catton could not possibly know, that after Sumner's speech about Atchison and his actions, the killings and terror grew worse, as Atchison led his Texas men - those paid by Jeff Davis -- into Lawrence for first of three attacks.

Remember -- if you knew -- that when KS white citizens got to vote, despite Atchison making it a crime to vote or speak against slavery (really, he made it a crime to vote or publish newspapers against slavery) , white males voted 90 % and more, against slavery.

Did Catton even know that much?


Then really, he didn't know much at all about what led up to the Civil War.

Just because he knew a hell of a lot about belt buckles might impress you, I suppose it impressed me, when I was young.

Im not young now, not so easily impressed.

There is not 1 in 1000 history teachers, as far as I can know, who can tell you who, by name, Charles Sumner was talking about.   He was talking about his fellow Senator, who got Kansas Act passed, then went to Kansas and terrorized, killed, and tried to force slavery into Kansas.]

Sumner named Atchison, but he also made it clear, he was talking about two other men, still in DC, that were the masterminds and caused Atchison - Kansas terror.

He was talking about -- correctly so -- Stephen A Douglas, and Jeff Davis, as documents from that period show.



So it was no secret. Lincoln got back into politics because of David Rice Atchison's actions, both in his passing Kansas Act, and going to Kansas to terrorize folks in Kansas to prevent them from voting or even speaking against slavery.

Very basic.  Nothing could be more basic -- and more missed in Catton's "scholarship" ..

Because Catton didn't know, and didn't write it down, seems like anyone after him didn't dare mention these facts either - didn't the dean of Civil War history already say it was those radical abolitionist?


What was not known widely then, is David Rice Atchison speech to his Texas men was written down, and saved.  It's now available, and has been for over a decade now, online.

So too, Atchison's report to Jeff Davis, boasting he would kill and hang enough, that soon, Kansas would be rid of any abolitionist.

Kind of a clue -- right there, that yes, Atchison as he said emphatically, worked for "the present administration" -- Jeff Davis and Stephen A Douglas.

Those were Atchison's superiors in DC.

Those men -- Davis and Douglas, is who Sumner meant by the "others" still in DC, while Atchison was terrorizing and killing in KS.

Catton knew none of that, or if he did, he did not see fit to mention it.

Catton knew a whole lot about belt buckles. He saw fit to mention those. 

But if he knew about the others, he didn't bother to mention it.

That's why you don't know.






Catton, for example, as best as I know, never wrote one single word about Southern War Ultimatums of 1861.

The Ultimatums were headlines in Richmond papers, under the banner "THE TRUE ISSUE".

Do you know what those Ultimatums were?

No -- you don't. But if Catton had ever known and written about them, you would know. And so would most people in the USA.

The War Ultimatums were a BFD.   New York papers reprinted the War Ultimatums two days later, and suggested Lincoln obey them.

Of the five specific ultimatums, 1 and 2 were for the spread of slavery into Kansas.

The "TRUE ISSUE" according to Richmond papers just before outbreak of Civil War,   was the spread of slavery into Kansas.

Yes, Lincoln knew of the Ultimatums, he had said in House Divided Speech, leaders of the South had created "machinery"  that would mandate slavery all over -- Lincoln was well aware of what the South was after, and said so often enough.

The SPREAD of slavery into all of the West, including places that already were accepted into US as free states.

Lincoln -- and everyone else in US --was aware of the killings in Kansas, and who was behind them.    Other than perhaps 911 and Pearl Harbor, nothing came close in US history as the Kansas Act, and its consequences.  

Lincoln alledged, many times, and in many ways, that the Kansas Act was deliberate way to spread slavery by deceit and violence, that they could spread no other way.

Apparently, Catton thought Lincoln was kidding.  Seriously, Catton did not believe Lincoln about this.

But  Lincoln was sure, and correct, as events proved immediately after passage of Kansas Act.    What more prove can you possibly have, than the man who passed KS Act (he bragged he had it passed) soon shows up in KS and invades KS, sets up his own government, now called "the bogus legislature"  and then brags about killing to spread slavery.

Seriously, WTF does Atchison have to do, send every "historian" a telegraph and DNA sample?

Atchison even sent Davis reports on his progress. Davis claimed everything Atchison did was "constitutionally required".

Everything Atchison did was done to STOP citizens in KS from speaking or voting against slavery.   

So was Atchison and Douglas Kansas Act a ruse to push slavery into Kansas?

HELL YES.  Just as Lincoln said. Just as so many others said, at the time.

Catton seems unaware of that.  

Southern leaders were already killing to spread slavery,  before Lincoln even ran for Senate, much less the  Presidency. 

By the time Lincoln debated Douglas,  the US Supreme Court had already ruled blacks are not human beings, but property, and Jeff Davis used that language in Dred Scott to justify the killings in Kansas.

Bruce Catton never grasped that.

 Lincoln's speeches and personal letters show he was acutely aware of the killings in Kansas, and how the killings came directly from Kansas -Nebrask Act.


Apparently, Catton didn't believe Lincoln.   Catton's narrative of the cause of the Civil War, lines up with Jeff Davis writings, not Lincoln. 

There has to be some reason for this -- Catton does not outright say, Lincoln was wrong about Southern efforts to spread slavery by violence, and deceit, starting with Kansas Act, and then Dred Scott.   Lincoln predicted the same "machinery" that forced slavery into Kansas, or tried to, the South would use to force it anywhere, and everywhere.

Clearly -- Catton did not believe that.

But when you get all the documents -- including Atchison boasting he got Kansas Act passed, then went to KS to violently suppress speech and votes- - Lincoln was correct, on the money.

The communication between Davis and Atchison, leaves no doubt,  and that's only part of the verification for their plan to do exactly as LIncoln said.

Lincoln got back into politics because of Kansas Act, and what Atchison did in Kansas. 

Catton never seem to grasp that, either. YOu can't read the Lincoln Douglas debates, Lincoln's private letters, Lincoln's House Divided, and not know Lincoln did believe the machinery was in place to spread slavery either everywhere in the US, or no where.

He was right, too.

Hundreds of newspaper editors knew and spoke about the killings in Kasas. And those that knew Douglas the best - Lincoln, Sumner, John Palmer, all knew what he was up to.

Not so easy to find for Mr. Catton.


Catton never referred to David Rice Atchison, as the US Senator who boasted about killing to spread slavery into Kansas.

In fact, no one  has bothered to characterize  Atchison as the guy who got Kansas Act passed (confirmed by Atchison himself, and Charles Sumner, in his speech)  and then went to Kansas and started killing to spread slavery.

Sorta proves Lincoln knew what the hell he was talking about -- Lincoln exposed the Southern machinery of spreading slavery.

He was right.

Did you know about David Rice Atchison's speech bragging he was killing to spread slavery?

Hell no.  Most people have no clue.  Here is one of the surviving letters to Davis, from Atchison.

Athison reported to Jeff Davis.

We know of Atchison's papers, and by knowing the dates, and who he was writing to, we can see Atchison was assuring Davis, his boss, that he would soon kill or scare away all opposition to slavery, in Kansas.

See-- if Catton had bothered to find out these things, and mention them, you would know, and so would most people in the US.

It's not that Catton was a lying bastard, though he might as well have been, in certain regards. The damage he did, was the same, whether he intended it, or not.

That's the trouble with an "historian" who doesn't know that much, but can spread the bullshit so well. 

Catton was not the only one, but as far as I can tell, he set the tone and narrative for the following bullshitters -- McPherson, Foner, and 100 others.

I could be wrong.  There may only be 80.  Hell I don't know. 


Catton spent more time and words about Confederate belt buckles, than about who killed who, and why, leading up to the Civil War.

No, that is not sophistry.


Catton had no clue what David Rice Atchison did, or bragged about.  
He did't read  enough Kansas newspapers.

 Lincoln did not think for a second that Southern leaders were just yapping their gums about the War Ultimatums.

Do you know what Southern War Ultimatums were, in 1861 Richmond newspapers?



Of course you didn't know about these War Ultimatums. You should -- everyone should know.

You would know, however, if Catton had ever mentioned it.  He never did.  Not just those Ultimatums, but the entire history of Southern defacto war ultimatums, from the previouis five years.   The Ultimatums just got into the newspaper before the Civil War, in a clear way.

But the killings to spread slavery, was clear already.  

Of the five listed ultimatums, the first two were about the spread of slavery into Kansas. 


Not one person in the USA, North or South, was surprised.   The spread of slavery-- by means foul, and more foul-  was the center of attention for almost everyone living in America, at the time.

Of course, the Southern leaders actually spreading slavery by violence -- they did not think it was foul. It was for God and white survival.

Lincoln could not possibly obey the war ultimatums,  if he wanted.  Kansas was, by then, admitted as a free state, and the white males had voted a stunning 95% against slavery.

Kansas had fought a five year war against slavery.

Lincoln even went to Kansas, he was obsessed with Kansas and the Kansas Act, and correctly claimed Kansas Act was "machinery"  created deliberately to spread slavery to the rest of the West.  If that machinery was not stopped, the US would be destroyed-- all free, or all slave states.

Lincoln was right, when you find out the "machinery"  he talked about was geared to spread slavery, and spread it to the rest of the US, as boasted about by Southern leaders, namely David Rice Atchison, who got Kansas Act passed.

So no -- Lincoln was not going to obey the Southern War Ultimatums listed in Richmond papers in 1861. 


Idiotically, people today claim "Lincoln tricked the South" into attacking first.  Fool -- Some Southern leaders were already attacking, already calling it war,  before Lincoln even ran for Senate.

If Catton was an actual historian, with all the facts, he would have told you that.


A common bit of sophistry, oft repeated, is that the winner writes the history.

Actually, Southern leaders were eager to write their own BS after the Civil War, and did.  From 1875 - 1920,  books by everyone from Jefferson Davis, another by his wife, and by nearly every Southern big name, flooded the lucrative emerging book market.

Biographies -- so called -- praising Southern leades such as Lee, Davis, and Jackson, were best sellers.   The author writing the most absurd devotions to Southern leaders, seemed to sell best.

Shelby Foote said the South was "obsessed" with the Civil War, because they lost.  That's not true.   They were obsessed with the Civil War, because Southern leaders went to war to spread slavery -- not to keep it. 

They did not just brag about killing to spread slavery -- the did kill to spread slavery. 

Their war ultimatums -- headlines in their own papers- - were about the spread of slavery.

Their own President wrote in his own book that the resistance to slavery in Kansas was the "intolerable grievance"

Their own leaders made it quite clear they would kill to spread slavery.

What the hell do they have to do? Rent billboard space?\

AFTER 1866 - WHO US?

To hear Southern apologists tell it, "Who, slavery, us?  No, no no, we were for state's rights".

Actually, the killings began in earnest, when Kansas rejected slavery,  a fact overlooked by Catton and many others.

States rights went right out the window, and Davis made a different excuse, why Kansas can not reject slavery.

If Catton had gotten this right -- so would everyone that followed. 

Catton led the way into getting it wrong.


Kansas white men just voted overwhelmingly AGAINST slavery.  Yet here Southern leaders are - according to Richmond papers boasting of it -- demanding the spread of slavery into Kansas.

In fact, the Ultimatums demanded Lincoln do this  -- that Lincoln force slavery into Kansas.  Get your head around that. 

The ultimatums were NOT about coming back to the Union. This was after secession --and the demands for slavery into Kansas was written into the CSA constitution itself, as the ULtimatums made clear.

 Kansas must be a slave state, in the Confederacy.  

Kansas could not be in the Union -- they were already in the Union.  And yes, those who wrote the ultimatums were well aware, Kansas had just become accepted (Before Lincoln got there) as a free state.


Who killed who and why, is real history. All else is commentary.  

So demanding Kansas be a slave state -- as a war ultimatums -- that's a BFD.  Crazy ass nonsense.   But the South did not consider it crazy, nor did the North.  This was already the issue for six years.

  It was then, the Richmond newpaper called it the TRUE ISSUE.


Southern leaders had a whole different point of view and life than you do.  When is the last time you told your overseer to bring this, that, or  the oher woman or child up to the wagon, so you could take it to the slave auction?   

That's the kind of power Southern leaders had, in their own little world.  That's the power Lee had, Davis  had, Toombs had, Atchison had.

George Mason had it right -- he said slave owners had a "poisoned mind"  

[Slavery is a] slow Poison, which is daily contaminating the Minds & Morals of our People. Every Gentleman here is born a petty Tyrant…. And in such an infernal School are to be educated our future Legislators & Rulers.

In fact, George Mason predicted the US Civil War, based on his "poisoned mind" theory -- he actually predicted a giant calamity, caused by the men who are raised from birth to see slavery as ordained by God. 

Every master of slaves is born a petty tyrant. [Slaves] bring the judgment of heaven on a Country. As nations can not [sic] be rewarded or punished in the next world they must be in this. By an inevitable chain of causes & effects[,] providence punishes national sins, by national calamities.[2]

Catton and McPherson portray Southern slave owners, certainly Southern leaders, as basically  honorable men.    They were not.  As Mason predicted, and events proved, those Southern men were vile and violent, with the garments and gab of "gentlemen" but as evil as any tyrant of any time, per Mason.

Yes, Lee had slaves sold at slave auctions. Bought slaves too, per his slave ledgers. Yet another thing Bruce Catton had no clue about.

If Catton could have seen Lee's slave ledgers, letters to and from his bounty hunters, Catton would not have been so stupid about Lee. 

Bruce Catton never seem to grasp what Southern leadlers were about, because he only read their own self serving missives. 

Remember, that was an ultimatum, and Richmond paper called it an Ultimatums, not  a suggestion.

Remember too, no one was surprised.


No one alive -- seriously, no one -- was surprised at the War Ultimatums. Not Lincoln, not the South, not Richmond newspapers, not Jeff Davis.

Lincoln, Charles Sumner, and about 1000 Northern papers said what caused the Civil War.

Take a gander at House Divide Speech.  Lincoln said -- and others said - hundreds of times, in thousands of ways, in writing, about Southern leaders role in violence, killing, and other nefarious means to spread slavery.

Apparently, Catton, McPherson, and other "historians"  assume Lincoln was making shit up.

Lincoln's House Divided Speech, and his letter to Joshua Speed, showed Lincoln was acutely, painfully aware of what the nation was aware of, at the time - the efforts by Southern leaders to spread slavery by means foul, and more foul.

Catton blamed radical abolitionist-- NOT Southern leaders.

Why would Catton think that?

Davis was the one that WROTE the damn war ultimatums, which are implicit in the  Confederate Constitution, as made clear in by Richmond papers.

Furthermore, in his own book "Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government"  Davis actually said that the resistance to the spread of slavery into Kansas was the "intolerable grievance".

Davis did not, of course, mention his own role in killing to spread slavery, his own part in the war ultimatums of 1861, his own excuses that blacks  had so much affection for their masters that it's a cruelty to slaves, not to have slavery in Kansas Territories.

That's right, Davis actually wrote that it's cruel to slaves not to let them be slaves in KS territories, because they had such affection for the master.

Catton could not know that, of course,  but you can,  I can, with the internet.

 I can find Jeff Davis writings, books, book by his wife, I can find his speeches, bullshit, and involvements, online, sitting on my ass, reading original sources.

I can and did find Varina Davis letter exposing his cowardice, and running away in a dress. Original sources -- the actual letters, and her book, where she writes Davis told her to get herself killed, then he runs away in her dress, to extrapolate a bit.

Catton  viewed Davis as Davis sold himself - a deeply honorable and brave man.   Catton did not know about his wife's letter about his cowardice, or many other things about him, like his roll in killing sprees to spread slavery.

This information you and I can get, because we have access to information and documents that Catton had no idea even existed.

I can find, for example, Lincoln's speech about Kansas Nebraska Act -- exposing it as a fraud, a ruse, and find out Southern leaders bragging they used that Act to violently spread slavery.

Catton never apparently believed Lincoln --though Lincoln repeated over and over, in various ways, what Kansas Act was about. It was the "first bit of machinery" built to spread slavery where it could not be spread otherwise.

Lincoln was exactly right, too, when you understand that the guy who got Kansas Act passed, then rushed to Kansas and what he did there, violently, relentlessly, with the support of Jefferson Davis and the "entire south" as Atchison claimes.

I can find Atchison speech  bragging about killing to spread slavery, and explaining who he worked for, and what his goal was.

Atchison's speech, was a crude, but candid, explanation of what Southern leaders wanted -- war to spread slavery.,  That's not kinda what Senator Atchison said, that is exactly what he  said,

Atchison's speech about killing to spread slavery is more important than Lincoln's House Divided speech, both to learn about what was going on at the time, and to learn the violent nature of those efforts.

Notice Lincoln's careful parsing language.  He never tried to incite a riot, or even incite anger or hatred, toward slave owners. Again, and again, and again, Lincoln spoke with some degree of empathy for the South who did  not invent slavery, but where born with it in place.  He admitted if he were in their place, he would not know what to do, either.

He did, however, have on resolute line -- no more spread of slavery. Anything but that.

Jeff Davis -- who never showed any emphathy or compassion for anyone -- was resolute too.  Kansas must accept and respect slavery. Period. Per Kansas Act, and per Dred Scott decision, any resistance to slavery in Kansas was tantamount to a declaration of war.  If LIncoln could stop slavery in Kansas, he would stop it everywhere.

In McPherson's recent book about Jeff Davis, he had his nose so far up Davis ass, the Sons of Confederacy didn't have room to breathe.  McPherson idiotically, and shamelessly, rephrased  Davis own narrative of himself, as McPherson's narrative.

Does anyone notice, but me, McPherson absorbs narratives not only from scum, but does not have the brains or balls to announce his own. He had nothing but bullshit. He is led around like a punk - first by Catton, and even by Jeff Davis.

Yeah both men could write some nice sounding words about freedom -- hello, who is against freedom?   But neither man write in a way that was that much different that Jeff Davis, regardling what caused the CIvil War -- those damn abolitionist.

Other than claiming Davis was the most brave and giving man of his generation, who "gave more for the South" than any other man in history, McPherson generally accepted Davis own self interpretation, as valid.

Atchison worked for Jeff Davis, officially, something McPherson always forgets to mention, and Atchison bragged he had Kansas Act passed, another thing McPherson forgets to mention.

McPherson has no excuse.  He knows that kind of thing - Catton had no clue.

.  Atchison sent reports to Davis, and told him the job "would soon be done".

The job was to terrorize - and kill if need be -- to spread slavery.  That whole thing started with Kansas Act, which Atchison actually got passed, according to his own speech to Kansas men.  Also,Missouri reporters, at the time, said Atchison had Kansas Act passed, with Douglas the "face" of the legislation, Atchison was the one actually doing it.

So no, no one was surprised.

Bruce Catton, James McPherson, and 100 others forgot to mention it.

If Bruce Catton had not had his head so far up his ass about about Confederate belt buckles, maybe he could have read the Southern newspapers, headlines, war ultimatums, speeches, and books,  written loudly and proudly that demanded the spread of slavery, the VIOLENT spread of slavery.


Catton did not just ignore that, he never wrote one word about. it. NOT ONE WORD.

If Catton had mentioned the Southern War Ultimatums -- THE TRUE ISSUE -- according to Richmond papers at the time, everyone else would have mentioned it too.


Slaves had natural affection for their master, and were the most contented laborers on earth, said Davis.  Seriously, Jeff Davis said it was a cruelty to slaves to keep them from being slaves in Kansas and the west.

No -- Catton never relayed that information about what Davis said and wrote.

Then, like a bunch of idiots lined up to repeat that bullshit, "history" teachers and professors repeated that crap, as if it was true, valid.

Including McPherson

Catton  did have some words for abolitionists:   They were radical, and the Civil War was  their fault.  He had no proof of that, cited none, he just thought that was the case.

Damn abolitionist.  That John Brown guy.

 Im one of the few people who seem to think Southern Senators bragging about killing to spread slavery, and calling it a war, and bragging about working for Jeff Davis, is important.

Too, Im so silly, I think Southern War ULtimatums in their own newspapers, very specific, that they demanded the spread of slavery into Kansas and beyond, is important.

Lincoln knew -- Lincoln and Sumner  knew -- hell, most of the folks alive in 1850s, knew about Atchison and his killing sprees, his bogus legislature, and his LeCompton constitution.

Not a word from Catton.

Not a word from McPherson.

Catton  had no the time to tell you , no space to mention, that Southern headlines were about the TRUE ISSUE being the spread of slavery into Kansas.

Of course he had time -- he just did not know. 

I'm showing you -- what information these guys have, matters. 

Kansas must accept and respect slavery, even though Kansas rejected slavery by a 95% vote.

Let me repeat that. Catton never told you -- McPherson, no one told you.

Southern War ULtimatums, in May of 1861, according to their own papers, was for the spread of slavery into Kansas, though Kansas had rejected slavey by 95%, and by a four year war.

Kind of a big deal, right?

SOuthern leaders demand the spread of slavery into Kanas, after Kansas is a free state?

That's right AFTER Kansas was a free state, Southern leaders demanded the spread of slavery into KANSAS.

You know about the belt 
buckles, so Catton told you something useful, right?

Just not about what caused the Civil War.

Turns out, Catton DID read Davis book on the Confederacy,  but did not notice that sentence about the "intolerable grievence" being the resistance to the spread of slavery into Kansas -- just what the War Ultimatums said, just before the Civil War started, in Richmond papers, boasting of it.

So no -- it was not some typo or hyped up editor in Richmond making up boooshit.   


Instead, Catton seems to have absorbed Jeff Davis narrative. 

So too, McPherson has absorbed Davis own self narrative.

Catton takes, nearly verbatim, Jeff Davis own insistance he was a humble man, and did not seek power. He was "disappointed" when power was thrust upon him.

You could not say such stupid things if you know what Davis was doing as Secretary of War, paying for Texas men to serve under his own General of Law and Order, in Kansas, to invaded Kansas and kill any and all abolitionist who didn't run away already.

Seriously, Catton's information about Davis came from Davis. 

Even Davis capture --one of the more cowardly events in US history, Catton accepted Davis own narrative that he was brave, and Northern papers slandered that poor brave man.


Davis "forgot" to mention in his book that his excuse to spread slavery into Kansas was that it was cruel to slaves -- seriously -- not to spread slavery, because slaves had such affection for their masters, if their masters went to Kansas and the West, the slave would be sad.

Iditoically - yes, idiotically, Catton never seem to notice the absurdities in Davis own books.

Catton did accept as gospel, Davis own writings about his own heroism, selflessness, and love of liberty.

Davis, in his clever Orwellian double speak, declared that the "Intolerable grievance"   that made the the Civil War and secession necessary, was the resistance to slavery IN KANSAS.

Did Davis know Kansas rejected slavery, and was by 1861 a free state? HELL YES.

But Davis claimed that did not matter, blacks were "so inferior" they were not human beings, (not persons)  but were property.  As property, Kansas citizens, in fact no one, could keep slavery out of Kansas.

No one told you that? Yeah, funny.

The War Ultimatums in Richmond papers did not surprise anyone, because Southern leaders had already been killing to spread slavery and calling it war, since 1854.

From 1856, Southern leaders had sent killers to Kansas, and paid them, to kill and terrorize in Kansas.

That's the most basic fact possible, re the US Civil War.

Catton missed it. Seem to have no clue whatsoeer.

But he did know about belt buckles.

Yes, Southern leader -- US Senator David Atchison, then officially General of Law and Order in Kansas who reported to Jeff Davis, boasted he was in Kansas killing to spread slavery.  See his speech!

One of his letters to Davis survived Atchison burning of his own papers -- Atchison bragged to Davis that he would kill enough abolitionist in Kansas that it would "soon be over".

It was very clear that Atchison boast that he was killing to spread slavery-- was not idle bragging.  That is what he was doing.

Atchison bragged, too, he was doing this  "For the entire South" .

Even more important, Atchison, was the guy that got Kansas Act passed, at least he claimed as much in public not long after he arrived in Kansas,  after Kansas Act got passed.

It was Atchison who Charles Sumner spoke of for hours, in great and specific detail, in his speech, the one he was beatn almost to death for, on Senate floor.

Why not just read that damn speech. You think Sumner was making shit up about Atchison?

No, he was not.  Sumner was hitting bullseyes on Atchison, as the events -- and Atchison's own speeches and reports to Davis -- prove.

Oh yeah, Bruce didn't mention any of that.


Lot of words about what soldiers ate, their belt buckles, their letters home.

NOT ONE WORD about the guy who got Kansas Act passed, then went to Kansas, to kill and terrorize.

It was Atchison who led the Texas men on the first of three invasions into Kansas, claiming he fought for "the entire" South and told the men they would be well paid by "the present administration".

You now know more -- really, you do -- than Bruce Catton did about what led to the Civil War.

Catton apparently had absolutely no awareness of that.

Catton thought it more important to tell you about belt buckle design, that about Kansas Act, who passed it, and why.

Catton did  not know Atchison worked officially for Jeff Davis, or at least, he did not say so.
Did not know Atchison was killing and terrorizing in KS.

Catton was like a lot of folks -- rather, a lot of folks are like Catton,   because he did not know that there was virtually no organic -- local -- support for slavery in Kansas in 1854, and no apparent support to violently spread slavery, until Atchison showed up, and hired first Missouri men, later Texas men, to kill and terrorize.

Very important to know -- the violence to spread slavery into Kansas, and all the way to Pacific, as Atchison said he would, was NOT from local people in Kansas.

The way Catton tells it, the "radical abolitionist" were interfering with the South!

The only way you can believe that, is to believe Jeff Davis and other Southern leaders excuses.

 No one was bothering the South -- other than John Brown. Catton tries to paint everyone in the North -- see his sentence -- as like John Brown.  He did not posit that as Jeff Davis paranoia or excuse -- he said that in his own narrative.


Why didn't Catton know all these things?
I'm not being funny -- Bruce did not have internet.

I found so much information in Southern books, Southern speeches, Southern documents, -- like Atchisons speeches, and Southern War Ultimatums -- that no one told me about in high school and college.

Bruce Catton sure never mentioned it.
Bruce claimed "radical abolitionist" caused the Civil War.

Since Bruce was not there, Bruce got all his information from books and newspapers, right?

He read, apparently, a lot of Jefferson Davis.

There is very little in Catton's narrative of the cause of the Civil War, that was different than Jeff  Davis own narrative, in his book "Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government".

Strange indeed Catton forgot the same things as Jeff Davis. 





George Mason knew slave owners -- he knew them from slave auctions, he knew what they laughed at, when they bought slave girls.

Mason knew, for example, that Lee's father had a slave girl hung for knocking down a white man.

To know what Davis, Lee, and other slave owners were like, here is a clue: their self serving and edited quotes might not tell the whole story..

Catton is a dumb ass, because he did not even wonder about that. He just repeated their own self serving, and highly edited, supposed quotes.

Mason claimed -- in the vernacular of the day -- that slave owners were kinda sociopaths dressed up for church.

Catton thought - stupidly -- that because Southern leaders (at times) could write some lofty sounding bullshit, that must be true.

Davis, for example, said it was a cruelty to slaves NOT to spread slavery into Kansas, cruel to slaves! Slave owners were so kind and careful with slaves, it would be wrong to deny slaves to be slaves in Kansas.

He claimed slaves were "the most contented laborers on earth"   and that the "affection" between the slave and the master made it cruel to slaves to keep them away from their master, if they went to Kansas. 

Holy shit. 

Lee claimed God "knew and intended"  slaves "must endure painful discipline" because "pain is necessary to their instruction."

Gee -- pain is necessary and God knew that.    

Lee was only an instrument of the Lord, we should not question God, was the jist of Lee's letter to his gullible, religious wife.

And Lee's torture of slave girls was in three newspapers, before the Civil War. At least one girl he had tortured (torture is the right word) was so young, his regular overseer refused to whip  her.

Did Catton know that? Catton never told anyone, if he did.

See -- facts matter. You have to get your facts first.  Then create a narrative.  

 Catton had his bullshit narrative of Southern leaders as honorable, because that is what Jeff Davis and other slave owners claimed.  

Historians should be smarter than that.  Or don't call yourself historians.

Learn what people DID, what they said, especially to justify war, slavery, or oppression.

 I was 60 years old before I  realize how stupid Bruce Catton was. I thought he was brilliant.  Hell I thought every historian I read was brilliant --didn't they know all kinds of stuff?

I didn't realize the damage Catton  bullshit did, till I was 63.



Catton's paramount aim - what he wanted- was to put out bullshit that made him sound smart.   That's not bad, we all do it. Historians more than anyone. Bullshit is part of life, like farting.

Just - - don't do too much of it, if you are a historian.

atton farted a lot. 


Catton did  not seem to know, or care,  who killed who, and why, from 1848-1861. If he knew, he never said a word about it.   Real history is this -- who killed who, and why.

All else is bullshit. 

Yes, add all the bullshit you want -- after you know who killed who, and why. Pontificate all you want, till your editor screams foul,  till your ego is satisfied, till your ass is so wide on that chair, it sticks out the side.

But get who killed who right.  It matters. 

Catton was big on bullshit.  He was puny on who killed who, and why.


Of all the stupid things in Bruce Catton's book, none could be dumber and more telling, that his support of Davis meme that slavery was "for the positive good".

You can only say something that stupid, if you don't know of the tortures, even at places like Lee's Arlington slave plantation (yes Lee had slaves tortured -- learn about his slave ledgers).  

  Catton claimed, and his narrative reflected it, that Southern leaders as men of principle and honor. Why? Because they could give amazing speeches, and certain letters by them speak about God, honor, and their own altruism. It must be true.

In other words, Southern leaders could lay down some great sounding bullshit, Davis most of all.  It's no coincidence, then, that the Davis pathologically vile and false narrative, was essentially Catton's narrative.   I could be wrong, but so many of Cattons phrases, and "connecting the dots"  are straight out of Jeff Davis written pages, and spoken speeches.

More -- if Davis did NOT say it, for example, if Davis did not say he sent Texas killers to Kansas in 1856, under leadership of Davis Rice Atchison, Catton seemed to literally have no clue of that fact. None.  

Actions mattered little to Catton. Apparently he spent a lot of time reading Davis speeches, Davis books.   There is not a single sentence in this book -- perhaps in any book -- where Catton points out Davis lying, excusing, or or justifying  torture, killing,  or enslaving.   Catton pretty much channels Davis own stated view of himself. Davis stated motivations -- principle and concern for others -- Catton bought into.  Lee, the same thing.  If a given sentence in a letter by Lee said something, then that settled it.

If Catton knew of the ACTIONS by Davis, and Lee -- what they did, who they killed, who they tortured, who they bought, who they sold -- he never mentioned it. 


We all only know what we are told. I doubt Catton knew what Lee laughed about at a slave auction, nor would he know the names of girls Lee bought from bounty hunters. Yes, Lee bought girls from bounty hunters -- his slave ledgers show that and much more.

Did Catton know?  To get your narrative right, you have to know the basic facts.  Catton was not big on facts.  He was big on bullshit.



I found out what Southern leaders did and bragged about, in their OWN books, newspapers, documents, speeches and letters.  

Raising slave dogs to terrorize and rip apart slaves, even child slaves, was hard to take - but I kept running into other vile stuff, that Southern leaders boasted of.



Not that I was an expert, but with a fresh awareness of what Southern leaders, newspapers, books, speeches boasted of -- I went to re-read these "historians". 

Catton was one I re-read.  Almost made me sick.

Slavery was benevolent?  Does he know how slave girls were tortured, even at Arlington?

But did Catton get any basics right?   A single word  about Davis sending US Senator to Kansas, and there boasting of killing to spread slavery?

The Secretary of State, sends a US Senator to Kansas, who there starts killing and terrorizes, and boasts of it?   Southern papers are not quite giddy with the killings, but support Atchison.  

No one told me this,  not in college. Not in high school. Sure as hell Shelby Foote didn't let that kind of thingin Burns "documentary"  about Civil War.

I had to get it from David Rice Atchison, boasting of it, and opposing newspapers, exposing it too. Atchison is refreshing, in that he boasted of things  that most other Southern leaders would only say in euphemism. He boasted of killing, he boasted of violence to stop free speech.

Jeff Davis himself said he supported Atchison, both in writing, and speech.  Cryptically, Davis said what Atchison did in Kansas was "Constitutionally required".

The Dred Scott decision itself was written after Atchison's early killing sprees, but Davis used Dred Scott to justify Atchison's violence, both before Dred came out, and after.  In fact, Davis used Dred Scott as the logic behind the Southern War Ultimatums


I had to find out about the Southern War Ultimatums, from Southern newspapers at the time (Richmond) bragging about  it, May 9 1861.    I was stunned -- THE TRUE issue is the spread of slavery into Kansas??

No one was stunned then -- everyone already knew it. The true issue was the spread of slavery.    And from Southern documents I learned Atchison  boasted he would keep killing till he spread slavery by force, not just into Kansas Territory, but all the way to the Pacific.

Why do I have to read period newspapers to find out about this guy? Are you serious?  The Secretary of WAR, sends a US Senator out to Kansas, and gets reports about the success of killings, and boasts of what he is doing, and why?

Lincoln got back into politics, because of David Rice Atchison, and how he passed Kansas Act.  Does Catton bother to mention that?

 Not a word.

Atchison was the guy who Charles Sumner spoke about for HOURS -- detail, after detail, hour, upon hour of detail -- names, dates, exact tortures, exact killings.  One of the most amazing speeches in US history -- and it was about David Rice Atchison.

Do you know how Bruce Catton characterizes that speech?  "Nothing unusual .. an old tire chestnut ".   Nothing unusual?

That old tired chestnut? What the hell does that even mean?  

Chestnut? WTF? Are you kidding kidding me. Old tired chestnut?

The reason I never heard of most of that -- I blame, perhaps wrongly, and the stupidity of Bruce Catton.   Maybe it's not his fault, but I can spell his name better than McPherson.  It begins "yet slavery obviously lay"....

"Yet slavery obviously lay at the bottom of all the trouble. The Southern states would never have seceded if they had not considered Lincoln’s election an intolerable threat to the “peculiar institution” on which Southern society rested. They were fighting for their independence, but they would not be doing it if it had not been for slavery; if the Federal Government was not fighting to abolish slavery, the war nevertheless was about slavery."

Did you know what he missed?  Probably not.

 I missed it, till I wrote a screenplay about "Slave Dogs" and picked up the hobby of reading Southern newspapers, Southern books, Southern documents, Southern letters, from 1848-1861.

I found out what Southern leaders did and bragged about, in their OWN books, newspapers, documents, speeches and letters. No one ever told me about Southern War Ultimatums.

No one ever told me Lee had slave girls tortured.

No one ever told me Jeff Davis sent a US Senator to Kansas, where he started killing, and bragging of it, to spread slavery.

I kept going -- WTF.WTF.WTF.

I was more able, IMHO, to also check more modern texts -- biographies about men Catton deeply admired - Lee and Davis.  But most of my information, came from original documents.  I now almost distrust anything written after 1865, and try to verify any such material. 

Then I went to re-read these "historians".   Anything about Davis sending US Senator to Kansas. Not a word.

Anything about that Senator bragging about killing to spread slavery?

He actually claims Sumner is "impertinent" -  never a word about who Atchison was killing, torturing, and boasting of, in Kansas,  and goes on and on about some bullshit that Sumner had insulted someone's wife.   Yes, that bullshit is now standard fare.  Hour, upon HOUR, upon HOUR Sumner details the crimes, the names.  Not one word.  But paragraph after paragraph about some supposed insult to a wife. 

What did he say about Atchison being the Senator that actually passed Kansas Act?

Chirp. Chirp. (That means, nothing).

What did Catton say about Sumner showing hundreds of cases of violence -- not just to spread slavery, but to terrorize or kill folks for speaking against slavery.

Chirp. Chirp.

So -- right now, this minute, you can go to any library, read Foner, McPherson, or dozen others, and they too, like Catton, say nothing about the specifics, nothing about Atchison passing Kansas Act nothing about then Atchison quickly leaves DC, as he did, and goes to Kansas, officially working for Jeff Davis, and boasting about killing to spread slavery.


But there is more.

YOu might be able find a word from Catton -- but no major information, on Jeff Davis "logic" of spreading slavery into Kansas.  Jeff Davis -- and others -- own boasting and writing about this logic.

Blacks are not only not human beings, but the United States Supreme Court ordered -- ORDERED -- that no matter if KS voted 95% against slavery, KS must protect slavery.


And LIncoln was a "Nigger lover"  who was a " traitor" for saying blacks were equal to whites?


And Southern demands that Northern officials actually arrest newspaper editors in the North, and send them South to be punished, for writing things IN THE NORTH against slavery?

HOLY SHIT. WTF.   Why didn't I know a damn thing about this, from any history book I ever saw.

The reason I never heard of most of that -- I blame, perhaps wrongly, and the stupidity of Bruce Catton.   Maybe it's not his fault, but I can spell his name better than McPherson.



So how bad is Catton's book?  At least on what caused the Civil War,  it's atrocious. It's like a book on the solar system, without mentioning the Sun.

Yes, it's that bad. It's worse. 

You are more stupid if you read his book than if you read nothing.

 If you just took a wild ass guess,  you would probably come closer that Bruce Catton did, in "Two Roads To Sumter"

That's how bad it is.  

Slavery, for example, never laid.  At the bottom or top. People do things. People kill.People enslave. People sell slaves. People terrorize.   

People write emancipation proclamations, issue war ultimatums, invade Kansas, and people boast about it. Or did. Of the things people DID -- who did what - Catton never did get around to telling you about.  Did he know?  

I doubt it.

All the trouble, Catton wrote then.  You could no more find out what "all the trouble" meant, from Catton's book, that you could find.

Tortures. Rapes. Children sold. Men burned to death. Lee's father had a slave girl hung, and Lee himself screamed at slave girls as  he had them whipped. Lee even owned white looking slave girls.  

Slavery didn't own white looking, brown looking or green looking slave girls. Robert E Lee did. Jefferson Davis told his wife to get herself killed, then ran away in her dress, leaving his children in danger.

Establishing what PEOPLE did -- and why, is history. Telling gullible folks "slavery lay"  is not only stupid, it does not tell anyone anything. Quite the reverse, it makes it impossible for the reader, and really the writer, to grasp the reality of what happens. Who does what. Who kills who. Why do they kill that person.

As if slavery was not "trouble" enough, Southern leaders, Jeff Davis and Davis Rice Atchison most of all, were killing, or paying others to kill, to spread slavery.

That's all glossed over, in Cattons clever "all the trouble".   Heaven forbid you find out Lee's bought people from the North -- free folks, apparently female, that his hunters caught, while searching for escaped slaves.

Trouble is, I was 60 years old before I realized Catton was a dumb ass.  By that I mean he was dumb about who killed who, and why, 1848-1861.   Yes, he was.    Never mind the details like the shade of skin of Lee's most expensive slave girl (yes, they had prices) Catton didn't bother to get the big picture, like Southern War Ultimatums, and killers sent to Kansas in 1856, by the Secretary of War, Jeff Davis. 

What makes this unforgivable, if you pretend to be a historian -- who killed who, and why, is real history. Everything else is bullshit.

Yes, bullshit is fine.  But get the "who killed who - and why" part right, first, then add all the bullshit the public or your editor wants.

Catton did a lot of bullshit --and did a horrible job on who killed who and why.


 Catton was my "history" idol when I was in college about the Civil War.  Not quite scholarly enoughfor college courses,  Catton was "accessable". Almost anyone could read and be misinformed by his bullshit.

I was. 

Trouble is, I was not the only one misinformed.


He knew the belt buckles.   He knew the battles -- Catton even knew the name of Lee's pet chicken.  

 So OF COURSE he knew what caused the civil war.  If he knew Lee's chicken, he has GOT to know what caused that war.

Not so much.


Baby boomers, born after WW2, including James McPherson and Eric Foner,  got their information, and narrative, about the Civil War, from Bruce Catton.  Most people did. 

Big mistake. 

We are still paying for that mistake.


If you want information about Confederate belt buckles, Bruce Catton is your guy, apparently.

If you want tear jerker comments about the poor lads, North and South, who died at Gettysburg, Lincoln is your guy, but Catton is close behind.

But if you want to know who killed who and why, leading up to the Civil War -- Catton does not know his ass from a banana, and apparently, didn't care, either.

Didn't care? Or didn't know?  Either way, he passed on that stupidity. I'd like to end that.

.... under construction,  yes formatting is terrible, other mistakes.   It's a mystery to me why somethings are capitalized below, and some are not. 

If your name is David Blight, I'm glad you are here.  

 If your name is Steven Spielberg, I have a screenplay called "Slave Dogs" I'd consider selling you.  Have your people contact mine. 

 If you are someone else, I welcome your corrections or comments. I'd like  to know where I am wrong, on the factual matters below.

Now that is out of the way ------


Slavery lay at the bottom?

Word bullshit. God it's everywhere.

Slavery did not lay, top or bottom. PEOPLE do things.   People torture, kill, attack, write war ultimatums.

People sell children, send others and pay others to kill. People stand up, and sit down.   People buy women at slave auctions, and other people sell them.   People chase slaves, they even train dogs to rip apart slaves who run ( I researched that one).

This may sound like semantics, and it is, but it's also how Catton thought and wrote.   Some person wrote the Southern War Ultimatums, and some person wrote the Emancipation Proclamation.  Some person promised to keep killing until slavery was spread to the Pacific.

Some  person bragged he worked for Jeff Davis, and that he would kill and arrest anyone who spoke against slavery.  Slavery didn't lay. People woke up in the morning, put on their shoes, and the did things.  It was that way before the Civil War.  And it's that way now. 

Historians should stop that shit, really.   Yes, bullshit is fine -- if you first get who killed who, and why right.  And if you think bullshit isn't the staple of "historians" you don't know much about human nature, or bullshit. 

If you count how many simple, direct, factual sentences are in Catton's book on what caused the Civil War -- such as, who did what, to who, and why, you won't find many.

Look for any sentence, such as "Davis justified Atchison's killings in Kansas by the Dred Scott decision".  OH hell no.  But that's what happened, Davis really did justify Atchison's killings in Kansas on Dred Scott decision.

 Who did what, who killed who, and why, is real history. Im not going to read Catton's book again, but I don't recall any such sentences, the first time. When you realize who killed who, and why, is real history, don't be surprised if you aren't swayed by bullshit.

Instead, Catton did what many "historians" do -- he used limited resources, he didn't care who killed who, he cared who said what, in some speech.    What they did away from the speech -- he was lousy at.   Even more damaging, Catton simply believed guys like Jefferson Davis and Stephen A Douglas, he did not even question what they said.    

The most damaging -- Catton passed along a narrative that was as dumb as he was -- and it got repeated.

A narrative is only as valid as the facts and truth behind it. Even if Catton meant well, he didn't get the facts. We show you what he missed. Clue -- he missed the basics. 

But he got the belt buckles right, I assum.


Historians are only as valid as their information.  Catton, too. His information is almost as bad as his narrative.  


Rather stark and clear demands: Kansas MUST accept and respect slavery.  MUST.  

Yet Kansas citizens had rejected slavery -- overwhelmingly -- had officially ecome a free state by the time Southern leaders created this war ultimatum, and Richmond papers proudly called it "THE TRUE ISSUE".

WTF?   There isn't a single high school student in the US that knows Kansas became a free state, by overwhelming vote, and THEN Southern leaders proclaimed as a war ultimatum, that Kansas must accept and respect slavery.

It's not shown, and never has been shown, in any US text book.

Yet it was a  headline in Richmond papers. 

No one was surprised at the headline, either.  New York papers reprinted the five ultitmatums. Not one single comment like "What are you talking about".

Why no surprise -- at all?  Because this is exactly what Southern leaders had been demaning, by action and other speeches for years  now. 

WTF?  What ever  happened to that whole "states rights" meme? 

That whole "state's right" meme only existed if a state would agree to slavery. Not if it rejected slavery, as events proved.

Nor were these idle threats. Say what you may about Southern leaders, they did not bluff. They did not bluff their slaves, they did not bluff anyone. If they said they would kill -- they did. If they said they would spread slavery -- they did.  The people in Kansas learned that painful lesson from 1854 on.

Slave women, slave men, slave children, had known it forever. 



Here is what Bruce Catton wrote.....  see if you spot the error. 

"Yet slavery obviously lay at the bottom of all the trouble. The Southern states would never have seceded if they had not considered Lincoln’s election an intolerable threat to the “peculiar institution” on which Southern society rested. They were fighting for their independence, but they would not be doing it if it had not been for slavery; if the Federal Government was not fighting to abolish slavery, the war nevertheless was about slavery."

Did you know what he missed?  Probably not.

Slavery laid at the bottom?  Slavery did something?  I'm not being flippant, Catton seemed so enmeshed in bullshit, he did not think, or write, in terms of who did what, to who, and why.

People do things. They have names.  Like this -- Jefferson Davis demanded the spread of slavery into Kansas as a WAR ULTIMATUM.

Senator David Atchison went to Kansas, and once there, started killing and boasting of it, to spread slavery.

He did not go as a private citizen, or even a US Senator. He went, officially, as General of Law and Order in Kansas, named as such, and paid as such, by Jefferson Davis.

Did "Slavery" go to Kansas, as Jeff Davis's official "General of Law And Order"?  No that was David Rice Atchison, the same guy who got Kansas act passed, or claimed  he did.

 Did slavery lead 1000 Texas men in the second invasion of Lawrence?  Or was that a  human, too?

Who do you think rode that white horse Atchison boasted of, in leading that attack?

 Did slavery boast to those men about killing? Who knew slavery was such a powerful speaker?

  Did slavery brag the Texas men would be well paid and could keep the loot they stole?   

Did slavery write reports to Jeff Davis, boasting of his killing so far? Did slavery write boasts that Davis right hand man would keep torturing, keep hanging, keep drowning every damn abolitionist in the territory?

Or was that a guy named David Rice Atchison, or his assistant, Stringfellow?

Did slavery get  Kansas Act passed?

Did slavery write the Dred Scott decision?

There is another huge error. Did you find?

There was no danger to the "peculiar institution". For some fucking reason, every bullshitter I've ever read, reverts to that "peculiar institution"  when they are soft peddling the horrors. 

There was no danger to slavery, where it was. And Catton knew that as well as Davis.  The issue was -- as their own War Ultimatums said, the SPREAD of slavery. Lincoln was bending over backward, to assure the violent South that he was no threat to them for where slavery was.   Lincoln knew -- as did Southern leaders -- that slavery had to spread.

According to the governor of Florida --no one had ever claimed Lincoln was trying to end slavery where it was.

Not that LIncoln  wanted slavery to continue - any more than your cancer surgeon wants you to have cancer. 

LIncoln saw, and said repeatedly, that stopping the spread of slavery would eventually kill it off, like a cancer.

And Southern leaders agreed. Stopping the SPREAD of slavery was the issue. The Southern War ultimatums were explicitly about the spread of sslavery  Just stopping the SPREAD of slavery would exterminate the white race.  The SPREAD of slavery was the issue.

Catton -- not unwittingly -- tries so hard to give Davis an excuse for his acts of terror and violence.  

Catton never -- ever -- wrote a single sentence making it clear who was killing who, nor WHY.   The spread of slavery, not the continuation of it, was the issue, because Southern leaders were already killing to spread slavery. And already using means "foul and more foul" to spread slavery.

Lincoln said it often enough, his note to Stephens is a prime example. But hundreds of other documents, speeches, actions, made if abundantly clear, and Catton knew it, that the issue was the violent spread of slavery.  The South had been the bullies and tyrants for 60 years, to their slaves, and to the nation.

Southern leaders bullies? HELL  YES.  They whipped their slaves, they sold humans, they were raised in a violent culture, regardless of some of them dressing up for church. As Lincoln wrote to speed, every aspect of slavery is violence, violence upon violence, to spread, to start, to maintain.

ANd now - Southern leaders were demanding the spread of slavery not just to places no one in the North cared about -- but to the entire West.

And worse -- as Catton well knows -- the "machinery" Southern leaders used to spread slavery into Kansas, they would necessarily use to spread it all over.  Kansas Act, and Dred Scott, made it all or nothing. 

Lincoln was not the only one that knew, Kansas Act/ Dred Scott machinery meant all or nothing.   The guy who got Kansas Act passed -- bragged out the ass about it. He did not mention it, he bragged out the ass, that is what they were doing.  

Did Catton know that about Atchison? About Kansas Act? About Dred Scott decision? Hell yes.

He just didn't tell you about it, as the machinery designed and built largely by a man he admired -- Jefferson Davis. 

Lincoln said no more spread of slavery, and those guys just went ape shit, is kind of what happened. 


Lay all the bullshit on you want. Lay bullshit till your editor cries for mercy, till your momma thinks you are the best writer on earth.  Till your book sales get mentioned in NYT.

But get who killed who correct first.


Yes,  slavery laid is figure of speech, of course he did not think slavery laid.  But Catton never escapes that mind set. 

It seems likely -- because Catton's prose is full of it -- that Catton spent most of his time reading speeches by Jeff Davis, and Stephen A Douglas.  Much of what Catton poses as a narrative, could come straight out of their public speeches.

There were no apparent images in Catton's brain of slave auctions, whipping posts, women being raped, the children sold.  In Catton's brain were images of Jeff Davis claim he was for state's rights, or that he was a humble "planter".

Planter?  If Davis ever planted anythign in his entire life, I'd be surprised.   He was a slave owner and politician. Douglas for popular sovereighty? Well, he said so in his speeches, must be so.

Real history is this -- who killed who and why.  Especially true of who killed who and why, leading up the Civil War.  Catton never got to that point. He swam in a pool of bullshit, and reported it as reality.


He seemed to think in terms of -- does this sound wonderful?  Does this seem lofty enough that it seems I know a lot of facts (no, he did not know a lot of facts).   

Every writer does that, and if you don't know that, I can't help you.

This is intrisic in writing. We do care deeply what people think.

But did Catton care more about what happened? Or about how he could write the bullshit?   

In "Two Roads to Sumter"   he did not even have the facts right.  But he was heavy on bullshit.

When you know the basic facts -- you don't need to write page after page of bullshit. Oh sure, bullshit will be there, but who killed who was such an amazing feature of that era -- you would have an abundance of facts to relate.  By necessity, you could not write that much bullshit.

Catton wrote page, after page, of bullshit.  

But get the basics right FIRST. Then bullshit the night away. Catton never  had the basics. And worse,  he was not above lying a bit here an there, which he did.

Yes, Bruce Catton sometimes lied.