But again, I think it lacks context, lacks perspective on the entire course of slavery and how slavery began and how slavery in the United States was hardly unique. I think it gets at a powerful element in the southern ideology in the antebellum. And so I don’t think you can really separate those two motives. In October 2002, he was promoted to rear admiral and assigned as the Deputy Judge Advocate General for the Navy and Commander, Naval Legal Service Command. James McPherson Twitter: @JimBMcPherson I have a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science and am a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association. And it coincided with, and partially caused, the abolition of slavery in half of the states, the northern states, as well as a manumission movement among Virginia slaveholders. He was moving in that direction. In October 1997, he became Special Counsel to the Chief of Naval Operations. You mentioned that you were totally surprised when you found Project 1619 in your Sunday paper. The response in the North, and especially among the men who signed up—and they were all volunteers for the first two years of the Civil War, and they were mostly volunteers throughout—viewed it at first as an unprovoked attack on the flag. Whether it existed in practical relations is another matter. He has mastered the art that Shelby Foote noted many historians lack, that of telling history in a way ordinary men will read. #340970 James M. McPherson. While the emphasis originally was on fighting for the Union, fighting for the United States, fighting to defend the flag, increasingly that became bound up with a conviction that the only way the North was going to win the war, preserve the Union, and prevent further, future rebellions against the Union, was to destroy slavery, which had brought the war on in the first place. Notable people with the surname include: A. Well, I didn’t know anything about it until I got my Sunday paper, with the magazine section entirely devoted to the 1619 Project. [13], Media related to James E. McPherson at Wikimedia Commons, Acting United States Secretary of the Navy, United States Under Secretary of the Army, The Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School, National Association of Attorneys General, 2020 coronavirus pandemic on USS Theodore Roosevelt, Register of commissioned and warrant officers of the United States Navy and reserve officers on active duty (1985), "McPherson officially sworn in as undersecretary of the Army", "UNDER SECRETARY OF THE ARMY - James E. McPherson", "Acting Navy secretary resigns after carrier remarks, Esper names replacement", "San Diego native appointed as acting Navy Secretary", "President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Personnel to Key Administration Posts", "PN1097 — James E. McPherson — Department of Defense", "President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate and Appoint Individuals to Key Administration Post", "Navy Leaders Recommend Reinstating Roosevelt Captain Fired Over Virus Warning", James E. McPherson - General Counsel of the Army, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=James_E._McPherson&oldid=985069740, Judge Advocates General of the United States Navy, United States Navy rear admirals (upper half), United States Under Secretaries of the Army, University of San Diego School of Law alumni, The Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School alumni, Short description is different from Wikidata, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 23 October 2020, at 19:32. A. I get asked this question a lot. And this is what the people who say the Civil War didn’t accomplish anything are missing. In December 1995, he joined the staff of the Vice Chief of Naval Operations as the Assistant for Legal and Legislative Matters. He received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1963. And he played a role in bringing them about. That part of it—that the South is as capitalist as the North, or Great Britain—is unpersuasive to me. Filled with fresh interpretations and information, puncturing old myths and challenging new ones, Battle Cry of Freedom will unquestionably become the standard one-volume history of the Civil War. The Princeton University history professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning author spoke at the Western Reserve Historical Society on April 29, 2000. James Edwin McPherson is an American government official and retired United States Navy rear admiral. Q. Q. In June 1994, he reported to the staff of Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet as the Force Judge Advocate. So did Lincoln. James Edwin McPherson[1] (born January 20, 1953)[1][2] is an American government official and retired United States Navy rear admiral. I know you’ve written on this question. A. in 1981 from the University of San Diego School of Law, and in 1991, he was awarded a Master of Laws degree in Military Law from The Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia. He previously pastored a significant church in Australia and South Africa. [3] Defense Secretary Mark Esper designated McPherson as Acting Secretary of the Navy on April 7, replacing Thomas Modly who resigned the same day. [5] In relation to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic on USS Theodore Roosevelt McPherson and Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Michael M. Gilday recommended that Brett Crozier be reinstated as the commanding officer of the Roosevelt on April 25, 2020. As president in 1993-1994 of Protect Historic America, he lobbied against the construction of a Disney theme park near Manassas battlefield. He qualified in 1847 and soon became Thurlow's partner but was restless. A. Maybe you could speak on Lincoln. [1] Beckert (Empire of Cotton) is at Harvard University. This article was updated at 7:35 p.m. James was articled to the solicitors, Chambers & Thurlow. Could you speak on this a little bit more? He remained interested in the South and wanted to find a southern liberal tradition, and even a radical tradition, which was the underlying motive of his interest in the southern Populists and Tom Watson, portraying them as potential racial egalitarians until the 1890s when things went sour for them, and they themselves went sour. Q. Cotton and sugar were central. McPherson is known for his outspokenness on contemporary issues and his activism, such as his work on behalf of the preservation of Civil War battlefields. Q. And the Times did not approach you? Q. Because elsewhere in her essay, Hannah-Jones writes that “black Americans have fought back alone” to make America a democracy. [6] He received his Juris Doctor (J.D.) Q. [7] In 1979 he was commissioned as an ensign in the Judge Advocate General's Corps of the Naval Reserve. But the struggle ever since 1870, when the 15th amendment was ratified, has been how to transform this achievement on paper into real achievement in the society. He has served as the Acting United States Under Secretary of the Army since July 23, 2019, and was sworn into the position full-time on March 25, 2020 following confirmation by the Senate. However, for all his skills at penmanship McPherson makes several critical errors in Battle Cry, errors common to his generation. (Library of Congress) The Civil War had a greater impact on American society and the polity than any other event in the country’s history. The institution which sustained them and the institution they went to war to defend was slavery. In fact West Virginia becomes a union state—one-third of the state of Virginia—in the Civil War. The herrenvolk idea was an ideological effort to undercut class conflict among whites in the South by saying that all whites are superior to all blacks, all whites are in the same category, they are not of different classes. Spring 2010, Vol. Nevertheless, the anti-slavery ethos that did come out of the Revolution was a subterranean movement that erupted in the 1830s and shaped American political discourse. Because this is a subject I’ve long been interested in I sat down and started to read some of the essays. I think that any one statement about “the soldiers” in the Union Army would not make any sense. But I don’t know who advised them, and what motivated them to choose the people they did choose. Q. James M. McPherson is one of the nation's most renowned historians of the American Civil War era. Identity politics undermines a person’s achievements and perpetuates the lie that immutable characteristics are the most important thing about a person. Well, I think they have a lot of very good insight into what was going on in the American Civil War. Well, not every white southerner bought that argument. The book, which earned the 1989 Pulitzer Prize in History, spans over eight … The Civil War did fill up half the bottle. In fact, the principal reason for secession in 1861 was because they had lost control of the United States government for the first time ever. He has served as the Acting United States Under Secretary of the Army since July 23, 2019, and was sworn into the position full-time on March 25, 2020 following confirmation by the Senate. It’s accomplishments were more political than social and economic, but nevertheless there were some social and economic dimensions to it, progressive dimensions I would say. A. A NORTH-EAST councillor has called for Banff to mark the legend a folk hero whose hanging was the last public execution in the town. Could you speak specifically on what motivated Union soldiers in the Civil War? Q. He concurrently served as the General Counsel of the Army from 2018 to 2020. A. It’s been some time since I’ve read it. That was a part of the “free labor ideology” that 50 years ago Eric Foner wrote about so effectively. If I could do that without freeing the slaves, I would do that. The World Socialist Web Site recently spoke to James McPherson, professor emeritus of history at Princeton University, on the New York Times’ 1619 Project. And that’s a good definition of white privilege. And that’s especially true in parts of the South where slavery was marginal to the social order: western Virginia, eastern Tennessee, western North Carolina. While visiting the battlefields and re-examining the gruesome events there, his students often ask, \"Why were men willing to cross thi… James B. McPherson, in full James Birdseye Mcpherson, (born Nov. 14, 1828, Sandusky county, Ohio, U.S.—died July 22, 1864, near Atlanta, Ga.), Union general of the American Civil War about whose death General Ulysses S. Grant is reported to have said, “The country has lost one of its best soldiers, and I have lost my best friend.”. 1 By James M. McPherson Enlarge An 1870 engraving of the Battle of Gettysburg, possibly Pickett s charge. A. James McPherson's fast-paced narrative fully integrates the political, social, and military events that crowded the two decades from the outbreak of one war in … James's ethnicity is unknown, whose political affiliation is none; and religious views are listed as unknown. A. I think it’s partly an outgrowth of broader social and political developments of the past twenty years or so. It looks like that literature informs the 1619 Project, especially the essay by Matthew Desmond. He’s a colleague, a professor here at Princeton. Q. Nikole Hannah-Jones, the lead writer and leader of the 1619 Project, includes a statement in her essay—and I would say that this is the thesis of the project—that “anti-black racism runs in the very DNA of this country.”. Well, of course. And this was the first step toward doing that. It was a crucial step on the way to the eventual proletarian revolution, as Marx perceived it. A. Q. But there was also a more social dimension to the American Revolution, and a movement toward greater democracy, though they didn’t like to use that term. It’s the ancient question about whether the glass is half full or half empty. You may not be a slaveholder and you may not have much money, but you are white. When a black man hits a black woman it’s a white man’s fault, according to Diversity Council Australia. It was not a revolution in the sense of the French Revolution, which followed it by a decade, or the Soviet Revolution of 1917, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t accomplish anything. You are one of the leading historians of the Civil War and slavery. [11] He was sworn in on March 25, 2020, after being confirmed by the Senate. Q. One of the people they approached is Kevin Kruse, who wrote about Atlanta. Slavery undermined the concept of the dignity of labor and held down the white working man because labor was identified in the South with slavery. But the idea that the ideology of the planter class in the South was a capitalist ideology, there I’ve always been a little bit more on the side of Eugene Genovese, [2] who sees the southern ideology as seigneurial. He had become convinced by the summer of 1862 that he could never achieve his primary goal—the preservation of the Union—without getting rid of slavery. And the Freedom Rides that started in 1961 when I was still in graduate school. It presents the origins of the United States entirely through the prism of racial conflict. The 1619 Project also attacks it as founding a slavocracy. He graduated from San Diego State University in 1977 with an undergraduate degree in public administration. Out of the Revolution came an anti-slavery ethos, which never disappeared, even though the period from the 1790s to the 1830s was a quiet period in the antislavery movement—though there was the Missouri Compromise of 1820. The Times’ Project is a politically-motivated falsification of history. Q. It was basic to the Republican Party. McPherson’s bold 1988 narrative, Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, examines the social, political, and economic factors related to antebellum America and the Civil War. But of all the versions of the tales of Ossian, the most lastingly controversial are those by James Macpherson (1736-96). The Alabama Democratic convention [instructed] its delegates to walk out of the national convention if the party refused to adopt a platform pledging a federal slave code for the territories. James maintains relationships with many people -- family, friends, associates, & neighbors -- including Karen Jury , Patricia Mcpherson , Jenny Vanduinen , Dolores Karpinski and Laura Zielinski . It is an Anglicised form of the Gaelic Mac a' Phearsain and Mac a Phearsoin , meaning "son of the parson". And it also doesn’t account for the countervailing tendencies in American history as well. But this scholarship is going further with the argument. McPherson has served as the executive director of the National Association of Attorneys General. Bio: James M. "Jim" McPherson is an American Civil War historian, and is the George Henry Davis '86 Professor Emeritus of United States History at Princeton University. I think that that’s a vast oversimplification. In this article, James McPherson, an emeritus professor of history at Princeton University, explores various interpretations attempting to explain the cause of sectional strife. Q. We’ve spoken to a lot of historians, leading scholars in the fields of slavery, the Civil War, the American Revolution, and we’re finding that none of them were approached. [5], McPherson is a native of San Diego. So with the abolition of slavery you have at least the partial achievement of a substantive freedom for the freed slaves. Q. But the idea that racism is a permanent condition, well that’s just not true. …Well the initial motivation was revenge for the attack on the flag. It seems to me that much of that complexity finds manifestation in the figure of Abraham Lincoln. It did exist, at least in theory. ... James M. McPherson. But secession, ironically, brought on the very revolution that it attempted to preempt, through the war: the abolition of slavery. James M. McPherson (born October 11, 1936) is an American Civil War historian, and is the George Henry Davis '86 Professor Emeritus of United States History at Princeton University. So I thought the account, which emphasized American racism—which is obviously a major part of the history, no question about it—but it focused so narrowly on that part of the story that it left most of the history out. Nikole Hannah-Jones refers to Lincoln as viewing African Americans as “an obstacle to national unity.” And then she moves on. A. I don’t really know. A. He was designated as Acting United States Secretary of the Navy on April 7, 2020, following the resignation of Thomas Modly. Slavery doesn’t exist anymore. Almost from the beginning of American history that’s been true. The people you’re talking about claim that it’s never gone beyond slavery, or that something almost as bad as slavery replaced slavery. Battle Cry of Freedom, his Pulitzer Prize-winning account of the Civil War, was a national bestseller that Hugh Brogan, in The New York Times Book Review, called history writing of the highest order. It’s like the question of what would have happened had Lincoln not been assassinated. The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and Slavery. That even though two-thirds to three-quarters of southern whites did not own slaves, they all owned the white skin. He’d in fact already made up his mind when he wrote that letter. He had already drafted the Emancipation Proclamation, and he was preparing the way for it. On November 10, 2004, McPherson became the 39th Judge Advocate General of the Navy, a position he held until 2006.[8]. Q. David Brion Davis says that the abolitionists viewed the Declaration of Independence as sacred scripture…. But it’s not so simple, as it turns out. [3][4] He concurrently served as the General Counsel of the Army from 2018 to 2020. A. I thought that Eric Foner’s biography of Lincoln was excellent. In September 2000, he assumed command of Trial Service Office East, Norfolk, Va. He lives in New Jersey with his wife of forty-three years, Patricia. He served as a judge advocate and trial counsel at several Navy commands and ships before and after completing his graduate training in 1991. Learn More: James McPherson's Pulitzer Prize winning book "Battle Cry of Freedom" is available from our Civil War Trust-Amazon Bookstore James McPherson was born in North Dakota and raised in Minnesota, where he graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1958. But it existed in the ideology of the pro-slavery argument. Meanwhile, the slaveholders in the United States actually controlled the government through their domination of the Democratic Party, right through the 1850s. But his sympathies and his perspective were with the Civil Rights movement—even while maintaining a southern perspective, there’s no question about that. From 1990 to 1993 he sat on the Civil War Sites Advisor… Hinton Rowan Helper made that a theme of his famous book. Nowhere is this more obvious than in coverage of female politicians in recent elections. It is certainly part of the history. It’s both. The best book about the American Civil War If you're ready to take the plunge and get the fullest account of the events leading up to, during, and after the Civil War, then this is the best book there is. Let me ask you a counterfactual question. …Absolutely, I think so. He also writes regularly for The Spectator. And he wrote a book in 1857 called The Impending Crisis of the South, in which he attacked the slaveholders and the Slave Power controlling society in their interest, and using this argument of herrenvolk democracy to keep down, to mitigate, class resentment and class conflict among whites in the South. Do you recommend any recent books on the subjects we’ve discussed today? A. I knew that its purpose was for education, but I haven’t heard many of the details of that, including what you’ve just mentioned. There is a historian, Gerald Horne, who has recently argued that it was waged as a slaveholders’ counterrevolution, to protect their property rights. Q. A. Attitudes in the Union Army ranged from extreme racism to a kind of radical idealism and anti-slavery. James's present occupation is listed as a Principal at J B Mcpherson. But it’s also half full. He doesn’t quite fit the mold of the other writers. The way I see it, while the bottle is not full, it is half full. JAMES M. MCPHERSON George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History Princeton University T Nhe traditional answer to the question posed by the title of this paper is: Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves. When you look at the way the historiography on the Civil War and on slavery has changed over the generations—and I know you’ve made this point in the past—it’s been influenced by contemporary politics. The analysis you’ve just given fits with the very good histories of the era, which acknowledge the complexities and contradictory character of the politics, and the way that that interacted with the movement of many, many people. And I was a little bit unhappy with the idea that people who did not have a good knowledge of the subject would be influenced by this and would then have a biased or narrow view. Grant, James McPherson. Those two were, in effect, permanent achievements. Another argument frequently made, and that is at least implicit in the 1619 Project, is that the Civil War didn’t accomplish all that much, that what followed it in the South—Jim Crow—was simply slavery by another name. But if I could do it by freeing the slaves, I would do that.’ (The full text of Lincoln’s letter to Greeley’s New York Tribune.) Up until that time, the perspective on slavery and the abolitionists was very much a southern perspective—that’s oversimplifying it, but it was there—and a kind of right-of-center perspective. He concurrently served as the General Counsel of the Army from 2018 to 2020. The emphasise on … Although the Times doesn’t list its sources, what do you think, in terms of scholarship, this 1619 Project is basing itself on? A. George Frederickson [(1934-2008) - TM] came up with the idea of “herrenvolk democracy.” He was a historian at Stanford University who wrote on the ideology of white supremacy in the US, and comparatively with South Africa. I think slavery would have continued for another generation. The third thing the Civil War accomplished was a potential, and partial, transformation, in the status of the freed slaves, who with the 14th and 15th amendments achieved, on paper at least, civil and political equality. There’s no question about that. Second, it abolished the institution of slavery. A. On December 5, 2019, Trump nominated him to be Under Secretary of the Army, a position that he had been holding since July 23, 2019, in an acting capacity, while concurrently serving as General Counsel of the Army. [12], McPherson is a recipient of the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, and the Meritorious Service Medal. McPherson is a Scottish surname. That’s how the Republicans got votes in 1860. He was one of the academics that did the research for the plaintiffs in Brown vs. Board of Education in the early 1950s. I studied with him at Johns Hopkins from 1958 to 1962, when, I think, he was gradually moving a little bit toward the right. Part of the Republican critique of slavery that emerges in the 1850s is the idea that slavery degraded all labor. You were a student of C. Vann Woodward, if I am not mistaken. 42, No. A. Clearly that would have gone on. Sometimes James goes by various nicknames including James P Mcpherson, James P Mcphersn and James Mc Pherson. James McPherson, dean of Civil War historians and another Pulitzer winner, said the Times presented an “unbalanced, one-sided account” that “left most of the history out.” Well, the American Revolution was first and foremost a war for independence. James … And there’s nothing like the protections for the institution of slavery that exist in the American Constitution in the British political order. In this article, James McPherson, an emeritus professor of history at Princeton University, explores various interpretations attempting to explain the cause of sectional strife. While I don’t know entirely what Woodward thought of some of these things, certainly his basic underlying attitude was sympathetic to these changes. Yet another argument that’s made is that the Civil War, and emancipation in the United States, came late, compared to Great Britain which did in 1833, and it’s argued, “Look, the British did it voluntarily without a great civil war.”. He received the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era. Lincoln became increasingly convinced, as many of the Union soldiers did, that that the Union could not be preserved if that disturbing factor—slavery—remained. A. Can you explain who Hinton Helper was? Few individuals have influenced the understanding of an entire historical topic more than Princeton University historian Dr. James McPherson. One of the problems they run into is that, if it’s the case that everyone agreed…. A. He also served as the general counsel of the Department of Defense Counterintelligence Field Activity. Q. Back in the 1930s, he, like many intellectuals and artists, flirted with socialism, even the Communist Party. Other influences on me were being in Baltimore during the Civil Rights movement, and sit-ins and demonstrations in a border city. It does not make very much sense to me. It did continue to exist in Brazil and Cuba for another generation, and it might not have come to an end as it did those two countries had it not already been abolished in the United States. We know that James's political affiliation is currently a registered Republican; ethnicity is Caucasian; and religious views are listed as Christian. We can’t say for sure when slavery would have come to an end, and under what conditions it would have come to an end, but clearly there would have been no 14th and 15th amendments for a long time, if ever. So with the slave system, as Senator Hammond of South Carolina put it, the slaves are the “mudsill” of the society, and all whites were above that mudsill because they were white. A. I called it a “preemptive counterrevolution.” This is a concept I borrowed shamelessly from my colleague here at Princeton, Arno Mayer, who wrote on preemptive counterrevolution in Europe in the 20th century. Q. James M. McPherson. Over time, like most people I suppose, he became more conservative, moving toward a sort of southern liberal ideology, in his interpretation of segregation in The Strange Career of Jim Crow, which Martin Luther King publicly called a kind of Bible of the Civil Rights movement. I read the letters and diaries of well over 1,000 of them, and their attitudes on this question ranged all the way from a racist, pro-slavery position to a kind of radical egalitarian perspective. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Battle Cry of Freedom, his most famous book. Have you had a chance to review any of the literature on slavery and capitalism, by for example Sven Beckert, Ed Baptist, and Walter Johnson? So I read a few of the essays and skimmed the rest, but didn’t pursue much more about it because it seemed to me that I wasn’t learning very much new. He was bothered by the countercultural aspects of liberalism that emerged in the later 1960s. The United States is still a single nation. A. His most noted work was Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made. Q. Historian James M. McPherson “No one deserves more credit than Abraham Lincoln, as commander-in-chief, for the victory of the United States” in the Civil War,” said James M. McPherson. And the slaveholders in the Caribbean, who obviously opposed this, had very little power in Parliament. Q. Baptist (The Half has Never Been Told) is at Cornell University. I do know that he is a political activist, and he did urge Obama to not place the Confederate wreath in 2009. [6], McPherson enlisted in the Army in 1972, and served three years as a military policeman, before leaving the Army for college. International Committee of the Fourth International, of Lincoln’s letter to Greeley’s New York Tribune. Certainly, they were part of a capitalist world order. I acknowledge that it is half empty.

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