“THIS IS THE REWARD OF ARMED MIGHT, BUT ARMS CAN NEVER ESTABLISH TRUTH”

“It is often said that the victors write the history of wars.  In so doing, they declare the heroes, brand the villains, and rationalize the causes and the conduct of the conflict.  This is the reward of armed might, but arms can never establish truth.

“Before his death in 1864, Irish-born Confederate General, Patrick Cleburne, exhorted his officers with these words:

“‘Surrender means that the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy; that our youth will be trained by Northern school teachers; will learn from Northern school books their version of the War; will be impressed by all the influences of history and education to regard our gallant dead as traitors, and our maimed veterans as fit subjects for derision.’ 

“There are few better examples of historical distortion in war and its subsequent politics than the demonization of William Clarke Quantrill and his Missouri Partisan Rangers.  Nations often demonize their enemies to wage war.  In the case of Quantrill, the distortions of war propaganda have persisted and even increased to justify modern political fashions.  Behind the demonization of Quantrill, the Missouri Partisan Rangers, and the Confederate cause lies not only an ongoing agenda to justify and glorify the Northern cause, but also a relentless effort to cover up Union despotism and war crimes.  This is all part of a greater picture in which perversions of history and science are orchestrated to justify profound social change—embracing multiculturalism, egalitarianism, humanism, socialism, and quasi-religious Statism.

“Northern propaganda during and after the war was designed to justify the Union cause and to discredit the Confederate cause.  Discrediting Quantrill was essential to defeating Partisan guerilla warfare against Union forces and for rallying the people of Missouri, Kansas, many wavering Union States, and the Northern press to the Federal cause.  In regard to Quantrill and his Missouri Partisan Rangers, no lie in the pursuit of Federal victory was too big, too vicious, or too far from the truth.  Quantrill and other Partisans were depicted as psychopathic killers.  Every Partisan victory was described as a massacre.  Every vile practice and atrocious deed of Kansas Jayhawkers and Redlegs was turned around and attributed to Missouri ‘bushwhackers’ and ‘border ruffians.’  This did not end with the War or Reconstruction.  Much of this same propaganda still pervades the politically correct version of Kansas and Missouri history.” 

From The Un-Civil War: Shattering the Historical Myths

By Leonard M. Scruggs

2011

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