The American Civil War ran from 1861 to 1865, right smack dab in the middle of the Victorian period in England. This week, I went to the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia. Richmond was the capitol of the Confederacy during the Civil War and has many very interesting historical sights, monuments, and museums pertaining to the war. During my time at the museum, I found one item of particular interest. On display were several textbooks printed during the war for use in Southern schools. The names of the books are shown in the photos below: The Southern Confederacy Arithmetic (apparently we had our own math in the South?), Geographical Reader for the Dixie Children, York’s English Grammar Revised and Adapted to Southern Schools (Adapted? Perhaps they added “Ya’ll?”), and Johnson’s Common School Arithmetic.
According to the museum placard, these textbooks were filled with Southern propaganda. In some cases, it was blatant. One of the math problems in Johnson’s Arithmetic was, “If one confederate soldier kills 90 Yankees, how many Yankees can 10 confederate soldiers kill?” The placard in the photo says,
The Geographic Reader described the Southern Confederacy as consisting of the states that, ‘lie south of the United States and possess a warm climate.’ The United States, ‘once the most prosperous country in the world,’on the other hand, was now a country ruined by the triumph of Northern abolitionism.