“Rethinking the Coming of the Civil War: A Counterfactual Exercise”
In his article “Rethinking the Coming of the Civil War: A Counterfactual Exercise”, Gary J. Kornblith compares the fundamentalist and revisionist points of views regarding the beginning and causes of the Civil War. Kornblith contrasts the facts and argumentations that are provided by the supporters of the point that the war was inevitable and by the opponents of this statement as well.
Kornblith does not express his own view on the matter but applies the counterfactual method to clarify the core areas of scholarly discussion and to prompt reflection regarding the interaction of different factors that caused the Civil War.Kornblith’s background as a professor and as a scientist makes it possible to expect that his argumentation is objective and non-biased. His background has influenced his writing style in the point that Kornblith applies the scientific method to shed the light on the long-lasting discussion. At the same time, Kornblith being involved in the anti-racism movement makes him more sympathetic to the abolitionists and Republicans whom he calls “more heroic because they succeeded in pushing antislavery principles and policies forward when they could well have failed” (Kornblith 105).
As a professor, Kornblith seeks to encourage the scholarly reflection on the discussion.Kornblith’s background as a scholar who focused on the topic of slavery and used his knowledge to “bridge Oberlin’s town-gown and black-white divisions” (Oncampus.oberlin.edu) makes the reader anticipate the respective rhetoric. However, in the article selected Kornblith does not promote his personal views but explains the event with the scholarly reasoning and supportive historical fact. Kornblith career as a scientist convinces the reader in the reliability of the argumentation and analysis. Kornblith analysis is marked by the high estimation of the human factor in history both individual and collective which makes the article easy to read and relate to the events of the period.
Kornblith, Gary J. "Rethinking the coming of the Civil War: A counterfactual exercise." The Journal of American History 90.1 (2003): 76-105.
Oncampus.oberlin.edu. 'Gary Kornblith Retires'. Oberlin OnCampus. N.p., 2012. Web. 7 Dec. …