In this video which has been all over social media, Colonel Ty Seidule presents a concise summary of why slavery caused the Civil War. In less than six minutes, Colonel Seidule, the head of the Department of History at the United States Military Academy, demolishes the ignorant neoconfederate claims that slavery had nothing to do with the Civil War.
I have yet to see a Civil War historian who doesn’t like the video. Not all folks, however, are approving it. In this article from The Nation, Richard Kreitner demonstrates that the young, college-age Bill Clinton was not the only one who loathed the military, and in Kreitner’s case, that loathing isn’t in the distant past. Kreitner writes, “ Setting aside for a rainy day the creepiness of an American military man instructing ordinary Americans about the finer points of history—whatever the truth and belatedness of the actual lesson being taught—I couldn’t help but wince at something Seidule says near the end of the video, after he has already reiterated and thoroughly demolished the usual counter-arguments. It’s to America’s everlasting credit that it fought the most devastating war in its history in order to abolish slavery,’ he intones. ‘As a soldier, I am proud that the US army—my army—defeated the Confederates. In its finest hour, soldiers wearing this blue uniform—almost 200,000 of them former slaves themselves—destroyed chattel slavery, freed more than four million men, women and children from human bondage, and saved the United States of America.’ ”
Let’s look at this again: “Setting aside for a rainy day the creepiness of an American military man instructing ordinary Americans about the finer points of history … ” Colonel Seidule has a Ph.D. in history and is the Head of the Department of History and a Professor of History in an accredited modern American university [Kreitner only has a BA in Philosophy from McGill University]. Why should his instructing ordinary Americans about the finer points of history be “creepy” or even unusual? It’s only because he’s wearing the uniform of the American military Kreitner obviously loathes that makes it “creepy” to Kreitner. Kreitner’s insult to the American military is just as disgusting and offensive as anything the most rabid neoconfederates put out.