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Thread: History is written by the victors

  1. #1
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    Default History is written by the victors

    Is it, though?

    The very common usage of the phrase shows that people know that "victors' history" is suspicious, and have made the effort to reveal the truth.

    I'll grant that pop history factoids and the narratives of patriotic scoundrels tends to be "victors' history". I'll grant that the incurious
    masses often know no better. But the truth tends to come out, if not right after the fact then in time. By the time it's "history" the facts tend to be known, or at least knowable, at least to people who actually read history books.

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    Default Re: History is written by the victors

    victor who?

    while i tend to agree that the victors' history gets picked apart by the scholars, the question is, which history matters most? that composed by scholars well after the fact from evidence and real events, which tends to run counter to popular narratives, or the history that people generally know and use as frame of reference, which tends to be a product of propaganda and advertising?

    by the time the true history is uncovered, we get people who say that it doesn't affect us today, shouldn't drive any actions today, and if you think it does, well, you're just "woke".

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    Default Re: History is written by the victors

    I suspect the phrase comes from well in the past. Without living participants or contemporaneously accounts it is hard argue with the victors accounts.

    But now we have the advantage of many accounts and lots of living participants. Makes it hard for a lie to live.
    Life is complex.

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    Default Re: History is written by the victors

    Quote Originally Posted by Too Little Time View Post
    I suspect the phrase comes from well in the past. Without living participants or contemporaneously accounts it is hard argue with the victors accounts.

    But now we have the advantage of many accounts and lots of living participants. Makes it hard for a lie to live.
    like fun it does.

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    Default Re: History is written by the victors

    Quote Originally Posted by L.W. Baxter View Post
    the question is, which history matters most? that composed by scholars well after the fact from evidence and real events, which tends to run counter to popular narratives, or the history that people generally know and use as frame of reference, which tends to be a product of propaganda and advertising?
    But then the problem is not the historians, but the educators. Science suffers from the same malady.

    A lot of it is religion, which messes up pop history as much as it messes up pop science. If your notion of history begins with the bible, it is built on the wrong foundation, and will be warped all the way up.

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    Default Re: History is written by the victors

    Quote Originally Posted by George. View Post
    ...Science suffers from the same malady...
    even the basic science?

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    Default Re: History is written by the victors

    Yes, unfortunately.

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    Default Re: History is written by the victors

    so, if one wanted to know the truth of the biological origins of gay and transsexual bigotry, where would one start?

    is science written by the bigoted? or just corrupted and twisted to meet a need.

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    Default Re: History is written by the victors

    Victors' history is generally true, as least as regards actual events. George Washington really was the first president of the US, the California Gold Rush was in 1849, Franklin Roosevelt was president for four terms. But things get left out, either deliberately to hide unpleasant truths, or because the victors don't think they're important.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

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    Default Re: History is written by the victors

    Victors history is suspicious, says the guy who believes victors history wrt to native Americans.

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    Default Re: History is written by the victors

    History is also written by good story tellers.

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    Default Re: History is written by the victors

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    Victors' history is generally true, as least as regards actual events. George Washington really was the first president of the US, the California Gold Rush was in 1849, Franklin Roosevelt was president for four terms. But things get left out, either deliberately to hide unpleasant truths, or because the victors don't think they're important.
    the thing getting left out is meaningful context.

    the stuff you list is just events. and without context, hardly more meaningful in-and-of themselves than "what's for dinner."

    if you couch the fact that washington was the first president in the context that "we (me and the mouse in my pocket) started with a blank slate, there was nothing here when europeans arrived", then you can call him the "father of our country" or whatever nonsense without cognitive dissonance.

    and that last characterization is a meaningful statement, much more so than the simple fact of washington's presidency. it carries all the freight of destiny and justification and the dimunition of all other claims. make a claim against that context, and you are hyper woke. "santorum is right on this one, guys, and you just can't handle it".

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    Default Re: History is written by the victors

    Washington was the father of his country. There were no United States of America before Washington. There was a large continent, long settled by humans, who had exterminated the megafauna by around 14,000 years ago. Those early settlers were not “more in touch with nature” or “morally superior” to the settlers who came later. They just had inferior technology.
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

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    Default Re: History is written by the victors

    The early colonists on cape cod thought some aspects of native technology (their homes, maize) superior

    and the California gold rush began in 1848.

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    Default Re: History is written by the victors

    I still love Churchill's statement that " history will be kind to me, for I shall write it."
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    Default Re: History is written by the victors

    Sometimes the defeated just never admit it - like right wing racist Republicans who claim that our Civil War was not about slavery. Zippity do dah . . .

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    Default Re: History is written by the victors

    The history of the victors is not the same history as that of the conquered. It is two separate and distinctly different experiences, coinciding only at the juxtaposition of the two parties.
    We came to a wilderness filled with wild savages who lived like animals and we subdued them and tamed this wild land.
    We lived in harmony with the land, then a strange vicious people came and slaughtered us and raped the earth.
    Both accounts are true. But one was heard louder,said stronger, and taken as the only true account.

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    Default Re: History is written by the victors

    While there are caveats, and efforts made to ameliorate the norm...

    The thread title is true, and has been true for a very long time.
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    Default Re: History is written by the victors

    The losers pop their heads up after a while and start rewriting history.

    This is not really a problem, but the absence of the losers version can be. Romans knew that “De Bello Gallico” was not just written by the victor, but was written by just one of the victors, but since the Gauls were illiterate and Caesar’s commanding officers saw better than to dispute his version, we simply don’t know which bits are made up. The same goes for the Spanish conquistadors.

    Where the victors are illiterate, we only have the losers’ versions. Ghenghis Khan, Timur the Lame, the Huns, Goths and Vandals never gave us their versions. The Israelites didn’t win often, because their country was stuck, like modern Poland, between two warring empires, but they were exceptionally good at writing it all down.
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    Default Re: History is written by the victors

    According to a Malcolm Gladwell, in "The Bomber Mafia", after the two day fire bombing of Tokyo, General Curtis Lemay said, "If we don't win this thing, we're going to be hung as war criminals".

    We did "win this thing", and proceeded to firebomb North Korea.
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    Default Re: History is written by the victors

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian McColgin View Post
    Sometimes the defeated just never admit it - like right wing racist Republicans who claim that our Civil War was not about slavery. Zippity do dah . . .
    The Civil Was wasn't about slavery the same way that modern Republicans made wearing masks about personal freedom. Most southern troops in the Civil War did not own slaves, but felt that someone "from away" was dictating how they should live and this rankled them. Sure it was about slavery (for those rich enough to own slaves), but the average Joe was just a fool being manipulated against his own good.

    I honestly think we need to find ways to let fools hurt themselves without hurting the rest of us and then maybe, just maybe, they will begin to learn.

    By the way, I'm not saying the average southerner who did not own slaves was not a racist. I'm arguing the financial side of supporting slavery.
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    Default Re: History is written by the victors

    Getting back to the point of the thread, I have said before that I work with some very bright and delightful young people. They may not be typical, but I think they come closer to it than the old farts like me can appreciate. They see through a lot of the problems we have today. They see the root source, they see the detrimental politics, and they see the solutions. I'm looking forward to when they have enough power to start fixing what my generation refuses to address.
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    Default Re: History is written by the victors

    Quote Originally Posted by CWSmith View Post
    The Civil Was wasn't about slavery the same way that modern Republicans made wearing masks about personal freedom. Most southern troops in the Civil War did not own slaves, but felt that someone "from away" was dictating how they should live and this rankled them. Sure it was about slavery (for those rich enough to own slaves), but the average Joe was just a fool being manipulated against his own good.

    I honestly think we need to find ways to let fools hurt themselves without hurting the rest of us and then maybe, just maybe, they will begin to learn.

    By the way, I'm not saying the average southerner who did not own slaves was not a racist. I'm arguing the financial side of supporting slavery.
    Maybe the southern "Joe the plumber" did not own slaves, but slavery gave them something to feel superior to, and was necessary to the economy that gave them employment, so maybe they were not the gulls of the rich?
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: History is written by the victors

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Maybe the southern "Joe the plumber" did not own slaves, but slavery gave them something to feel superior to, and was necessary to the economy that gave them employment, so maybe they were not the gulls of the rich?
    I agree that slavery made them feel superior to the slaves, but I'm not sure they were financially committed to the practice. We have seen how uninformed people can be made to vote against their own best interest using fear and I suspect there was a lot of that at the time.

    I'm not letting them off the hook on the slavery issue. I'm just saying I think they fought less for the institution of slavery and more for the protection of their homes (which were never really threatened until the war broke out).
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    Default Re: History is written by the victors

    Quote Originally Posted by CWSmith View Post
    The Civil Was wasn't about slavery the same way that modern Republicans made wearing masks about personal freedom. Most southern troops in the Civil War did not own slaves, but felt that someone "from away" was dictating how they should live and this rankled them. Sure it was about slavery (for those rich enough to own slaves), but the average Joe was just a fool being manipulated against his own good.

    I honestly think we need to find ways to let fools hurt themselves without hurting the rest of us and then maybe, just maybe, they will begin to learn.

    By the way, I'm not saying the average southerner who did not own slaves was not a racist. I'm arguing the financial side of supporting slavery.
    You are somewhat arguing the post-bellum revisionist history made up by the south, the losers of the war. Slavery was integral to the Confederacy and was the major “right” the states cared about; the proof is in their Constitutions.

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    Default Re: History is written by the victors

    Quote Originally Posted by CWSmith View Post
    I agree that slavery made them feel superior to the slaves, but I'm not sure they were financially committed to the practice. We have seen how uninformed people can be made to vote against their own best interest using fear and I suspect there was a lot of that at the time.

    I'm not letting them off the hook on the slavery issue. I'm just saying I think they fought less for the institution of slavery and more for the protection of their homes (which were never really threatened until the war broke out).
    Why not? they provided services to a slave owning economy. The smiths will have made tools for the estates, as well as shackles and so on. Every artisan and shopkeeper was embedded in the slave owning economy.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: History is written by the victors

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Conway View Post
    You are somewhat arguing the post-bellum revisionist history made up by the south, the losers of the war. Slavery was integral to the Confederacy and was the major “right” the states cared about; the proof is in their Constitutions.
    The post-war south argued that what I said was correct (defending their homes, etc.). I am arguing they were wrong and manipulated by the powerful in much the same way we now see the Republican Party manipulate uninformed working people. There is a significant difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Why not? they provided services to a slave owning economy. The smiths will have made tools for the estates, as well as shackles and so on. Every artisan and shopkeeper was embedded in the slave owning economy.
    And every artisan and shopkeeper could have made and sold other goods. Look, I'm just saying that the average southern soldier wasn't thinking about slavery as their prime motivator. That doesn't mean they get a pass for being part of a slave culture or that they thought the black man their equal. I'm just saying they viewed it differently and we can learn a lesson about the present from that if we are open to it.
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    Default Re: History is written by the victors

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Why not? they provided services to a slave owning economy. The smiths will have made tools for the estates, as well as shackles and so on. Every artisan and shopkeeper was embedded in the slave owning economy.
    One quarter of households in the south owned slaves, almost one half of households in Mississippi did, it was pretty widely distributed in 1860.

    the voting franchise in the south meant there weren’t many people casting ballots, about 70k people voted in the 1860 presidential election in Mississippi. If anything the interest of voters and slavery was more aligned than the population at large in the south,
    Last edited by Hugh Conway; 06-13-2021 at 02:11 PM.

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    Default Re: History is written by the victors

    Quote Originally Posted by L.W. Baxter View Post
    so, if one wanted to know the truth of the biological origins of gay and transsexual bigotry, where would one start?
    The theory of evolution would be a good start. It gives rise to all sort of nasty traits we would rather not have.

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    Default Re: History is written by the victors

    Who wrote the Victors you ask?

    Louis Elbel, a student at The University of Michigan composed the Victors in 1898

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    Default Re: History is written by the victors

    Quote Originally Posted by George. View Post
    The theory of evolution would be a good start. It gives rise to all sort of nasty traits we would rather not have.
    so, it's in the origin of species then? the biological basis for human bigotry? which chapter?

    give me hint, which gene is to blame.

    or is it just something you feel is implicit, because it helps you maintain your self regard.

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    Default Re: History is written by the victors

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Craig-Bennett View Post
    Washington was the father of his country. There were no United States of America before Washington. There was a large continent, long settled by humans, who had exterminated the megafauna by around 14,000 years ago. Those early settlers were not “more in touch with nature” or “morally superior” to the settlers who came later. They just had inferior technology.
    we had a celebrity sheriff recently charged with contempt for arresting u.s. citizens who "looked mexican", for not carrying proof of citizenship. is george daddy of all that?

    george was the father of the country made of people who look like him, all the way down to today's second generation white european immigrants who can pass for heirs to "real" american culture. while setting aside peoples who have occupied the continent for thousands of years.

    but there are many countries within the borders of the u.s.a..

    only people who think of george as old dad think that others haven't made a significant contribution to "american culture".

    george is not the paternal figure of everybody. not by a long shot.

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    Default Re: History is written by the victors

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Conway View Post
    One quarter of households in the south owned slaves, almost one half of households in Mississippi did, it was pretty widely distributed in 1860.
    That high? That's far beyond the plantation image we see so often.

    I'm rethinking my opinion based on that statistic.
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    Default Re: History is written by the victors

    Quote Originally Posted by CWSmith View Post

    And every artisan and shopkeeper could have made and sold other goods.
    That is a spurious argument. The only way that they could not participate would be by selling their goods to a non slave owning state. In other words, by emigrating to some other country.

    So, how did they view it when they had valued customers who owned slaves? And how do you know what they thought?
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: History is written by the victors

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    That is a spurious argument. The only way that they could not participate would be by selling their goods to a non slave owning state. In other words, by emigrating to some other country.

    So, how did they view it when they had valued customers who owned slaves? And how do you know what they thought?
    First, I mean if the slave economy changed to a free economy.

    Second, I already recanted my earlier opinion.
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