We Are All Social Rejects

In history the winners write the textbooks, the songs, the morals, the everything, while everyone else gets smothered under it all. Smothered watching everything they believe in unravel, smothered by the fact that losing means being wrong, smothered every time one looks at a newspaper or hear a bugle sound in the distance.

Well here’s the side you’d rather not hear: the loser’s side.

Go ahead, close your eyes, block your ears, sing “lalala, I can’t hear you.”

Be naive and foolish.

Not everyone thinks as you do, and as wrong as you may find my beliefs to be, just remember that’s what I think of yours.

Let’s start from the beginning.

I grew up on a cotton plantation in South Carolina. We were always pretty well off and owned quite a few slaves. The plantation had been in our family for a long time, and so had the slaves. Sometimes we bought a few and sold a few. Sometimes when a slave needed to be punished, they would be whipped to be taught a lesson. Slaves were like cattle, an investment. Property. And they had been property for a long time. They had always been property.

I was proud to be making history; I was proud to be a South Carolinian. I was proud to be a part of showing the rest of the world that our way of life was right, and that we would secede from the Union if we had to uphold it. I was proud of our secession and of our Confederacy. I was proud to don the cap and the suit of a soldier and fight for the way of life that we had been living for so many years. I was proud, and now, without any pride or self worth, what am I reduced to?

The war started out with the odds being in our favor; home territory, strong generals and soldiers, and king cotton. Everything was going smoothly. At the Battle of Bull Run we watched the blue boys run cowardly away with their tails between their legs. Their general, George McClellan was so timid in pursuing us that we sang “Tardy George” as we marched on. Our leader, Jackson, was a militaristic genius. His strategies crushed general after general, and we felt invincible. We were defending our land, our rights, and our property.

The years dragged on. Home was a distant memory. Battle after battle raged, and after losing a large chunk of men at Gettysburg, many of them being friends, we were getting desperate. The invincible Jackson was gone, and suddenly Lee got in a corner that he couldn’t back out of. Then just like that, it was over. Everything that we had fought for was lost. All those years.

So now the war is over, are you happy? When I returned home there was nothing left. The fields were weedy, the main house looted and burned, the slaves gone, everything gone. Although the war hadn’t taken my life, it took everything else. What was I supposed to do with the plantation in ruins? All my life had been fields of the snowy crop; I knew nothing else. I was lost and confused with nowhere to turn. Everywhere I looked there were judging glares towards Southerners. We were pushed down and kicked by society. We were ostracized. We are all social rejects with nowhere to go, simply because we wanted to be able to live our own way of life. So now you have your economic troubles, your emancipation, and your Union back in one piece. You also have your losers: us. Sorry, we didn’t mean to taint your perfect historical records. We just wanted to hold our lifestyles. You took everything from us. We’re broke while the North flourishes. How are you going to unite your Union back together when we’re all so different? How are we supposed to look over our differences and become a united country? How are the winners and losers supposed to get along? How?

Image: http://www.archives.gov/research/american-cities/images/american-cities-118.jpg

Derived from: http://www.archives.gov/research/american-cities/

Barnard, George N. “The Ruins of Mills House and Nearby Buildings…” Photograph. The Archive. The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, n.d. 12 December 2013.

The American Pageant, 11th Edition.

16 thoughts on “We Are All Social Rejects

  1. Since this was written in the first person, it was very easy to follow and also fun to read. I’m glad that you kind of shed some light on how it must have felt to be a loser in the war. Typically, as a Northerner, I never think about being the loser when talking about the Civil War, but this post covers how much the South lost along with the war.

  2. Writing from the point of view of a Southern plantation owner gave this post an insightful view of the effects of the Civil War on the South. The focus on an individual account, rather than a general account, shows the drastic lifestyle change that was caused by the Confederate loss. It was interesting to hear about the losses that the South suffered after the war instead of the results of the Union’s victory.

  3. I really liked how you wrote it like a narrative. Also the fact that it tells the story form the side that is most often forgotten. It was really entertaining while also providing a lot of actual information. Nice job.

  4. Wow, this isn’t something you see a lot. I think that this is quite interesting in the way that you portrayed the southern slave owner in a way in which we almost sympathized with them, and you did so quite well. We do focus a lot on the north throughout teachings of the Civil War, so reading about this is in a way a bit unsettling to see their point of view.

  5. I thought this was quite interesting. I liked the first-person perspective of this story/post because it really helps give a feeling of how the Civil War affected the people themselves, especially the ones on the Confederate side who we usually see as the “bad guys”. It was good to read especially since we don’t often hear about the accounts of the Southerns after the war.

  6. it was a little bit cliche, but it didn’t read like a pedantic rant and was easy to understand. nonetheless this is true about it being just the way things were in the deep south. and the reconstruction would be like if your dog made you pay him to bark incessantly and insist on playing catch when you are trying to do something

  7. This post was very interesting as it provided a different point of view on the Civil War. Usually, you dont get to hear the “loser’s” side and their side of the story is just buried. I liked how you wrote this in first person so that it was easy to follow. Great job.

  8. While I might not be entirely correct, I believe that our book, The American Pageant, is very biased toward the North. It concentrates on the North’s battles, motifs and reasoning, while portraying the South as of lesser importance. Considering this was a war fought by two sides, it is important to have some sort of basis for actual comparison. While this was fiction, it was written in a very believable way, and it definitely felt refreshing compared to the book.

  9. I think this a really engaging way of looking at the other side. I think that when we are reading American Pageant we forget about the sense of pride everyone had in their own states. Many people were fighting for the side they were on just because that was their home state, so it was natural to protect it. Love the story.

  10. This is a really cool way to show another side of the Civil War. The first person writing was intriguing; it really made me empathize with the southern perspective. It’s really well written! I agree that it’s important to recognize wars’ losers as well as their winners and to be wary of the historical accounts recounted by the winners. It’s easy to dehumanize war, too, but this really reminded me that these were real people. Young soldiers fought for a cause they truly believed in and they suffered losses and celebrated victories. Regardless of who won, these people should be recognized for their courage in defending their beliefs, even if they differ from our own.

  11. I really like how you provide the “loser’s” point of view, but it’s also interesting to think that despite winning the war, the North sustained a mind-boggling amount of casualties as well, and though they may have the victory going for them, many young men lost everything, just like your character did. Even the winners were losers in this war.

  12. Wow I really like this post. You never read about how the losers felt in history, and this was very informative. As Napoleon once said, “History is written by the winners,” and this is reflected very well in your post. Great job!

  13. I like that this was in narrative form. It made me sympathize with the southern soldier more and remember that these were real people whose lives were destroyed. It was still better that the North won and slavery ended, but it is important to remember the people who suffered.

  14. You did a wonderful job bringing to light the Southerner’s opinion about the Civil War. This really emphasized the Southerner’s call for state rights, for individualism, the want for true independence. The Southerners felt like they were protecting their individual values from an overarching government that wanted to change their ways, and you really brought that out in this post.

  15. I really enjoyed reading this post. The fact that you wrote it in the form of a narrative from the point of view of just one of the soldiers, and not just a general story about the lives of Confederate soldiers, made it unique. History books don’t really mention how difficult life is for the losers of a war once the fighting stops, even though it is very important.

  16. I really like that you looked at the whole even from a different side.You really showed what the soldiers believed in and were fighting for, and it lets us think in a different perspective than how we normally learn about the Civil War.

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