Thomas DiLorenzo takes issue with somebody. . .but who, exactly?

That’s the question I ponder at a new piece I’ve written for the Abraham Lincoln Institute blog.  See what you think, and feel free to add your comments over at that site.

I’ve enjoyed having the opportunity to pitch in over at the Institute blog, both as a contributor and editor.  Let me take this opportunity to ask that you make it one of your regular online stops if you’re a history blog reader, and to add it to your blogroll if you’re a history blog writer.  In the near future we’ll be posting some interviews with Lincoln scholars and other material of interest, so check it out.

About these ads

1 Comment

Filed under Abraham Lincoln, Historiography, History and Memory, History on the Web

One response to “Thomas DiLorenzo takes issue with somebody. . .but who, exactly?

  1. I personally suspect DiLorenzo doesn’t give two shits about Lincoln or the Civil War, except that it’s proved to be a going concern for him, personally. He’s got a calender full of speaking gigs at the Abbeville Institute, the League of the South, and similar organizations, and there’s an eager market for any book outlining the perfidious dishonesty of Lincoln. Not many economics professors have a popular following, as DiLorenzo damn surely does. One wonders if he has groupies, and what they’re like. It’s gotta be a good life for someone in his position.

    As you note in your piece, DiLorenzo is knocking down straw men, slashing his way through positions serious historians don’t actually hold. But that doesn’t matter, because his audience uses those same straw men, too. They’re absolutely convinced that serious, mainstream historians actually think that way, and make such claims. It’s easy to poke holes in a childish myth, much easier than challenging someone like McPherson or Blight or Foner on their actual narrative and analysis. Much more fun, really, to shout, “Lincoln was a racist!” and give high-fives all around.

    What’s amusing — and a little sad — is that DiLorenzo’s followers, who have such contempt for the simplistic hagiography that sometimes surrounds Lincoln, cannot see that same attribute in themselves, when it comes to Lee, Jackson or the Confederacy as a whole. Their sense of history is a Manichean, cartoon world, filled with wicked tyrants (Lincoln), murderous rapists (Sherman’s army), unblemished martyrs (Lee and Jackson), and humble patriots (butternuts generally). No screed about Lincoln is too inflammatory, and no paean to the South is too reverential, to set of these folks’ bullshit warning. It’s a deeply superficial view of the past they choose to hold, and react with predictable anger when it’s challenged.

    Does DiLorenzo see the past that way? I doubt it. He’s not a dumb guy, but he’s definitely smart enough to see where, and with what audience, his own, personal success lies.

    (cross-posted at the ALI Blog)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s