Well, according to the Washington Post, the NAEP is once again stating that high-schoolers are illiterate scum.
I’m a little biased, here, I’ll admit; I went to high school in the late '80’s, when we were being told that high schoolers couldn’t find the US on a map, and that we were continually being shellacked by Germany and Japan in test scores. Neither of these things were actually true, but that never stops media hang-wringing over what idiots our children are. So I’m very interested to find out exactly how the tests were staged and phrased, because I expect the results are being portrayed as darker and more dire than they really are.
But my biggest problem with the current article is this line-
Ladies and gentleman, I have a Bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Maryland. I have over twenty books- all of which I have read voraciously- on the Civil War. I not only know who Judah Benjamin is, I can recite the order in which he held offices in Jefferson Davis’ cabinet. I can name every army commander of the Eastern theater and which army he commanded, in order, to the extent that there is some agreement over the definitions of “army” and “commanded”.
And I am very hard pressed to “adequately [explain] two advantages the South had over the North” without resorting to “Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.”
The Union had more soldiers. More material. More industrial capacity to build material. A President more capable of leading the country during war, both by knowing how to get out of the way, and by being able to inspire and lead the people around him and the public at large. The Union had a more competent Cabinet, support- or at least agreements of non-interference- from European states, and a real navy.
The South had- at first- better field generals.
I suppose one could argue that the South had the advantage of terrain, or the natural defensive superiority of the rifled muskets being used- but are those conditions we expect our students to learn in High School? Are we discussing history or The Art Of War?
So explain to me: what two advantages- which are important for high school seniors to know and understand- do you feel the South had?