Obama: Must ‘Understand Slavery’ to Grasp Civil War History

April 9, 2010

(ChattahBox)— President Obama called Virgina Gov. Bob McDonnell’s exclusion of slavery from his controversial Confederate History proclamation, an “unacceptable omission.” McDonnell further angered Civil Rights leaders when he suggested that slavery was not “significant” enough to be included in his state proclamation declaring April Confederate History Month, to “understand the sacrifices of the Confederate leaders, soldiers and citizens during the period of the Civil War.” After intense condemnation and media scrutiny, McDonnell finally apologized for his omission of slavery.

Obama made his remarks in response to a question posed by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos during an interview in Prague, after Obama signed the landmark strategic nuclear disarmament treaty with Russia.

STEPHANOPOULOS: [T]he governor of Virginia proclaims Confederate History Month in Virginia. What did you make out of that?

OBAMA: “Well, you know, I’m a big history buff. And I think that understanding the history of the Confederacy and understanding the history of the Civil War is something that every American and every young American should, should be a part of. Now, I don’t think you can understand the Confederacy and the Civil War unless you understand slavery. And so, I think that was a — an unacceptable omission. I think the governor’s now acknowledged that.”

“And I think it’s just a reminder that when we talk about issues like slavery that are so fraught with pain and emotion, that, you know, we, we’d better do so thinking through how this is going to affect a lot of people. And — and their sense of whether they’re part of a commonwealth or part of a — of — of our broader society.”

First lady Michelle Obama is descended from a South Carolina slave.

McDonnell initially defended his Confederate declaration, saying it’s intended to promote Virginia “tourism” by drawing attention to the upcoming anniversary honoring Virginia’s secession from the Union on April 17, 1861. But the question was asked: What sort of tourists would such a proclamation attract? Answer: Red neck tourism?

Bob McDonnell finally issued an apology for his “major omission,” calling it “a mistake.” And he added a clause to his original proclamation recognizing the evils of slavery:

“WHEREAS, it is important for all Virginians to understand that the institution of slavery led to this war and was an evil and inhumane practice that deprived people of their God-given inalienable rights and all Virginians are thankful for its permanent eradication from our borders, and the study of this time period should reflect upon and learn from this painful part of our history…..”


6 Responses to “Obama: Must ‘Understand Slavery’ to Grasp Civil War History”

  1. Scott C on April 9th, 2010 12:54 pm

    Southern slaveholders were outraged when in 1860 the Republican Party nominated Abraham Lincoln as its presidential candidate in 1860. They looked to the Democratic Party to defend its interests but when it met in Charleston in April, 1860, it selected, Stephen A. Douglas. Unhappy with this decision, Southern delegates decided to hold another convention in Baltimore in June, where they selected John Breckenridge of Kentucky to fight the election. The situation was further complicated by the formation of the Constitutional Union Party and the nomination of John Bell of Tennessee as its presidential candidate.

  2. leslie on April 9th, 2010 1:02 pm

    So, its not okay to leave out Slavery but its okay to stop mentioning Jihad and including Muslims in regards to terrorism. That surprises me. Did you know that the Koran states that Muslims are supposed to either convert or kill Christians? But we being the tolerant nation that we are let Muslims practice freely in our country. The Koran also tells that when there are enough to rise up and inject themselves into the polital environment to start allowing Muslim practices such as raping babies and stoning women that are raped. Yes, lets end up like France or other European nations.

  3. Old Man Dotes on April 9th, 2010 1:53 pm

    Clearly this is the sort of tourists that McDonnell wants in Virginia: http://blog.rednecklaughs.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/redneck-horse-trailer-school-bus-camper.jpg

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