Ta-nehisi Coates sparks months of debate with his contention that The Civil War Isn't Tragic
. "The Civil War is our revolution. It ended slavery, and birthed both modern America, and modern black America.
That can never be tragic to me."
Coates later continues his point
, citing as inspiration James McPherson's This Mighty Scourge
"It is a privilege to view the Civil War merely as four violent years, as opposed to the final liberating act in a two and half century-long saga of horrific violence, a privilege that black people have never enjoyed, and truthfully that no one in this country should indulge. "
Writer J.L. Wall
and historian Brooks Simpson
offer early responses, with Simpson arguing, "In short, even as the destruction of slavery is cause for celebration, that it had to come to that through war is cause for reflection and contemplation."
This month, progressive blogger Matthew Yglesias and Forbes writer E.D. Kain argued for tragedy in the wastefulness of the war, both in economic terms and in the number of lives lost.
: "Expending vast resources in pursuit of human freedom was eminently justifiable, but it’s still the case that relative to other conceivable ways of wrenching slaves from the grips of their masters “fight a giant war” is a tragically wasteful way to do it."
: "That there was no other way – and I believe there truly was no other way – is in itself a great tragedy. That many men died, including many slaves and freed slaves, many immigrants and poor, and many children, is a great tragedy."
Coates latest post on the subject concludes
: "I decline all offers to mourn the second American Revolution. No one mourns the first."
Previously: Ta-Nehisi Coates on the American Civil War