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History As It Happens

Apr 18, 2023

April is Confederate Heritage Month in Mississippi. Since the Confederacy was created by secession with the aim of protecting human chattel slavery, one wonders what kind of heritage Mississippians are supposed to celebrate. Maybe Governor Tate Reeves' bland proclamation, which makes no mention of slavery, treason, or the ruin brought on by Confederate defeat, is less a statement about history than current politics. Americans are deeply divided across a range of issues, and many people view their own government as the enemy of freedom, an attitude that echoes in the words of Confederate leaders. Historian James Oakes discusses what the Confederacy was all about.