The South – Grant – and what about the cotton strategy?

So, this fact is obviously not news to Ethan S. Rafuse – military historian – but since you mention cotton,

what about the South deciding to use that great stick they certainly did have – COTTON – by choosing to starve the system instead of flooding it?

Look, I’m sure this is probably the stuff of tons of scholarly debate that simply doesn’t rise to my level of experience, but point me to it, because I would very much like to add to it.

I could, in but a few hours, add thousands of words and hundreds of footnotes on why this was

the stupidest decision ever in the history of warfare.

And that statement contains only the thinnest shred of hyperbole, despite my reputation.

The South should not have risked the chance that the world could survive without their cotton.

Even in the realm of the tightest Secondary Order Effect [SOE] it has little payoff for what should have been seen as an unacceptable risk.

Because it was an unacceptable risk.

No serious scholar argues this.

In trying and starve the globe of cotton in the hopes that it would come begging, the South also bankrupted itself.

But of course, the worst and most foreseeable risk was that the world might discover that it could survive just fine without slave-picked cotton.

As it did.

Meanwhile, you’ve bankrupted yourself for the promise of a payday that will never materialize.

Now what?

 

 

 

MOOC Mania

 

I have become a certified MOOC freak. There are several different platforms for MOOCS – Massive Open Online Courses – such as edX and Coursera, and happily many others are available on YouTube. (Many are available through those platforms as well as on YouTube.)

I prefer the edX platform if I use one. I have never gotten a certificate or worried about that at all, so I ride free, just for the joy of cramming my ever-curious mind.

What’s so amazing is that anyone at all can, for free, peek in at some of the most elite and incredible classes being taught today.

Harvard’s most popular course, Justice,” for instance, taught by Professor Michael Sandel, is a class everyone should at least check out. I am big on “archived” courses, because they are always “self-paced,” but Justice actually just began again for real, so check it out.

Here’s the little course intro video and text below:

Taught by lauded Harvard professor Michael Sandel, Justice explores critical analysis of classical and contemporary theories of justice, including discussion of present-day applications. Topics include affirmative action, income distribution, same-sex marriage, the role of markets, debates about rights (human rights and property rights), arguments for and against equality, dilemmas of loyalty in public and private life. The course invites learners to subject their own views on these controversies to critical examination.
The principal readings for the course are texts by Aristotle, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, and John Rawls. Other assigned readings include writings by contemporary philosophers, court cases, and articles about political controversies that raise philosophical questions.

Other favorites of mine are Boston University’s War for the Greater Middle East taught by the amazing Andrew Bacevich – archived now at edX – and all three of the foremost Lincoln/Civil War Historian’s – (Dr. Eric Foner’s) – courses on Civil War and Reconstruction from Columbia University.

Jump in!