Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

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This is probably the best and most important thing you can read on Appomattox, what happened there and what it means, amidst all that's been published over the last week. It's a Times oped by historian Gregory P. Downs which builds on and in some ways summarizes his recent book on the subject. The gist is that the war did not end at Appomattox. It continued in an intensive military occupation that lasted another five years and in widespread terrorist and paramilitary violence directed largely at newly emancipated free black men and women, in a pitched societal battle to enforce or turn back the results of the Civil War. This is a case where history and deceiving fable reach down into the present day. Read it.

With today's anniversary of Appomattox, I wanted to link back to this post from almost two years ago. I discussed a simple fact about the aftermath of the Civil War: The North, which is to say, the United States bought the South's acquiescence into reabsorption into the federal union by ceding the battle for historical memory, nostalgia and valor to the South. The Union bought a seemingly permanent regional peace by abandoning the freedmen of the South and going along with a concocted story about superior Southern valor.

I'm not sure I'd say I'm outraged. Outrage is a cheap emotion anyway. But this is a pretty odd way for the federal government to sum up the curtain call of the Civil War at Appomattox 150 years ago.

From TPM Reader CV ...

Greetings TPM folk,

Today is the 150th anniversary of Lee's surrender at Appomattox and if you go to the NPS website for the Park you find this explanation: "On Palm Sunday (April 9), 1865, Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House, Virginia signaled the end of the Southern States attempt to create a separate nation. It set the stage for the emergence of an expanded and more powerful Federal government. In a sense the struggle over how much power the central government would hold had finally been settled."

I find that disturbing and offensive. *Thats* the nutshell takeaway from the Civil War?

I've had this conversation with a number of people. And just yesterday, a former TPM reporter asked me my thoughts on the GOP presidential primary. So I thought I'd share what I've been telling people.

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