Which Document?

Just wanted to jump on the blog and say that my full series on Gone With The Wind over at Emerging Civil War is wrapping up this week and I will post it here on Friday with all the links! Hopefully, then, there were be some resemblance of “normal” and a posting schedule around here.

Now for a little Wednesday Wandering… People are talking about history in ways that I’ve never seen before. There’s a lot of curiosity. There’s a lot of good information, but misinformation is also a problem.

One thing that really, really bugs me is when the Declaration of Independence is quoted as the U.S. Constitution…and unfortunately, I’ve seen it multiple times recently. So…here’s your history tip the week before Fourth of July:

Life, Liberty and The Pursuit of Happiness

Is in the Declaration of Independence, not the U.S. Constitution. The declaration was ratified on July 4, 1776, and most of the signers added their names on August 2, 1776, declaring the 13 colonies to be free of British rule.

Happy, helpful tip this Wednesday!

Miss Sarah

3 thoughts on “Which Document?

  1. Hi Sarah,

    I agree that confusion between the DOI and the Constitution is very irksome. It is happening more, now. A former history professor of mine remarked that the DOI was the “ghost” of the Constitution. That is an interesting way of thinking about it. Consider the ways life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are reflected in the Constitution and the ways that they are not. Of course with the understanding that the terms “liberty” and “happiness” have specific meaning within the context of the Enlightenment.

    I subscribed to your blog quite some time ago. I believe I responded once to a post, here, or maybe at Emerging Civil War, asking you the basis (citation) for your assertion that Eliza Clinedinst Crim was “friends” with Moses Ezekiel. I didn’t receive a reply. I assume that this idea is based on correspondence described as “friendly letters,” housed at either VMI or the LOV. My research on Crim indicates to me that she was, to put it bluntly, something of a social climber. I was going to give a paper on the topic of “Mother Crim” at the Virginia Forum last March. The Forum was cancelled, but I’m committed to next year.

    I continue to read your posts because they occasionally contain something of interest to me. I’m not particularly interested in the military history of the Civil War, per se, but I have a deep seated interest in the Shenandoah Valley and its history because all my people are from there. That is how I came to find Emerging Civil War.

    Lately, I’ve been increasing frustrated by your writing. You make interesting points, such as “People are talking about history in ways that I’ve never seen before. There’s a lot of curiosity.” OK, I agree. But when the follow up is “There’s a lot of good information, but misinformation is also a problem” I want some examples. I feel that someone who considers herself a historian should feel compelled to provide examples.

    I understand that anything related to the CW is difficult to discuss right now. I have watched you proceed with caution. At some point, however, one’s writing becomes a pointless endeavor if evidence is not marshaled and conclusions drawn.

    I hope you are in grad school or plan to attend in the future. Such considerations may be the basis for your reticence on the blog, which is understandable. While I assume you are trying to strike a balance between the political left and right, you could do so while pointing to examples.

    I wonder if you have read Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South by Stephanie McCurry? A relatively new book, but one that IMO will transform thinking about the Civil War for years to come.



    • Hi Susan,
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
      Agreed, Lydie Clinedinst Crim had a bit of an agenda, particularly in how she wanted to New Market memory to be written. 🙂 Shenandoah Valley Battlefield Foundation has some additional letters, which I’m sure you’re aware of. I am supposed to be at Virginia Forum next year for work, so perhaps we’ll meet in person! Always nice to hear about new research.

      My intention is not to be frustrating with my writing. This blog is in something of state of evolution, working toward historical citations which had not been done in the past. I see the value and am always striving to “do better history.” The recent posts with the generalized statements are thoughts of the moment, not academic platforms, so I don’t cite as much on them as I will be on the history pieces in progress for the coming months. I have chosen not to cite the variety of articles and tweets that I comb through daily because I would like to avoid a confrontation at this point and am not using my blog as a platform to call out those issues right now.

      I have no plans to get another degree or go to university right now. It’s just not affordable, and I have to keep up with my job and bills as it is! But maybe later in life, and in the meantime, I will continue trying to be a life-long learner and bettering my research skills with my mentors.

      Thank you for the book recommendation. I will hope to check it out at the library…when those reopen and in the meantime I have a shelf-full of other memory books that are keeping me busy.


      • I very much appreciate your response and wish you the best. Graduate school, now, is a different proposition than it was for me in in 1990-92. I received an MA w/out debt due to a fellowship with the Frederick Law Olmsted papers project. I didn’t live lavishly on the 7,900 k a year it provided, part time during school year and full time in summer, but I cld survive. And I learned a lot about research. It saddens me terribly that these kinds of opportunities no longer exist—apparently, based onl hearsay but also my own daughter’s experience w/ art history grad school. Again, I wish you well. Hopefully we can meet in the future, at VA Forum 2021.


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