Connecting the Civil War to the Present

posted Dec 17, 2017, 7:38 AM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Dec 17, 2017, 7:38 AM ]
The American Civil War ended over 150 years ago, but it's lessons, issues, and effects can still be felt and seen today. America is the country it is today because of the Civil War. While it was awesomely horrible in its scale of death and destruction, from that carnage arose a more united and free country. The modern, and very patriotic and nationalistic nation that we know today, was born from the Civil War. More curiously though, Americans have a strange, almost nostalgic relationship with the War's legacy, especially in the South.

The Confederate States were traitors. They rebelled violently against the Federal government of the USA. Yet, the men, history, and symbols of that time can be found even today in prominent places such as the tops of government buildings, public monuments, and even the sides of mountains. Those symbols and men immortalized in monuments mean different things to different people. For some, they are a way to revere ancestors lost or a part of their culture and heritage. For others, those same symbols represent unfettered hate and the inhumane institution of slavery. these parts of the US are still struggling wit that legacy and how to remember it today as these monuments are debated and challenged all the time. This is not dissimilar to how symbols and monuments of KMT symbols and men from the ROC's early history are being challenged and debated today here in Taiwan.

To better understand this debate, we will debate it ourselves in class this week. Students will research a position on this issue and debate it live in class. Feel free to read the assignment sheet below to better understand the task assigned to the students. I am looking for to their answers to the three big questions we hope to answer during the debate: Do Confederate monuments like this one represent history or hate?, Should monuments to the Confederate cause be allowed on public land?, and Should Confederate monuments be illegal?