Textbooks teaching the incorrect "States Rights" argument for the Civil War
All of which explains both how that dubious assertion that thousands of slaves fought in defense of the Confederacy came to be included in that Virginia textbook back in 2010, and how the error came to light. As it turns out, the textbook’s author took her information from the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ website; the error was discovered when a history professor at the College of William and Mary happened to come across it while browsing through a copy of one of her fourth grade daughter’s schoolbooks. Had that not happened, who knows how long the book would have been in use? To this day, it’s possible to stir up a hornet’s nest among ordinary Southerners by asserting that slavery was a primary cause of the Civil War; at the least, it will earn a native Southerner the accusation of having signed over his brain to those Ivy League intellectual snobs who despise all things Southern. The conviction that the South went to war primarily to defend the concept of states’ rights “is in [Southerners’] families, in their churches, in their schools, in their political structure,” Pitcaithley said. “They’ve been taught that over generations. It so embedded that—as you have found—if you suggest otherwise they look at you like you’ve put your pants on your head.”
From “The New Mind of the South” by Tracy Thompson. Copyright 2013 by Tracy Thompson. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster Inc.