Considering the overwhelming Confederate slant we see in motion pictures and most literature (eg. Gone With the Wind), it is equally important to address the media imbalance in regards to the Union Cause. We learned and discussed endlessly about the Confederate South and the Lost Cause, but the one element that we touched on but did not spend too much time on is the hypocrisy of northerners and the Union Cause. A fellow student brought up this issue more times than none and I began to see puzzling misconceptions I had about the North, especially the hypocritical practices and its double standard surrounding racism and segregation, just to mention a few.
As much as admire President Lincoln (and of whom I wrote about in my last blog), it was eye opening and disappointing to see how politics play out in the whole scheme of things. For example in Gallagher’s book Causes Won, Lost, and Forgotton… Lincoln’s speech to Congress reaffirms, “This is essentially a People’s contest…whose leading object is to elevate the condition of men.” Could this statement in Lincoln’s speech be in reference to the emancipation of slaves and surely the promotion that “all men are created equal?” If this is the case and if “men’s condition is to be elevated” then why did segregation exist in the Union army and why were the men in the 54th regiment belittled and treated with contempt and discrimination? No man’s condition can be elevated (let alone in spirit), when men are refused the necessities of life or most crucial, not treated with dignity and respect! For instance, one extreme injustice was when the men of the 54th showed their tear-stained letters from their families to politicians in the hopes that the pay crisis could be resolved as their families struggled in poverty.
In Hope and Glory Essays… Donald Yacovone writes about the promises made by Massachusetts’ governor John A. Andrew to black recruits, “The Fifty-Fourth would have the same equipment, be eligible for the same bounties and federal benefits, and receive the same pay as white Union soldiers.”  Of course, we all know what happed to the “pay crisis” controversy. Later we learn these men did not receive pay for over a year!  Learning about these injustices towards African American soldiers during the Civil War and who, I might add “volunteered” for the Union Cause was overwhelmingly sad and disappointing. To find out that the North was no better than the South in their politics and treatment of blacks is…you guessed it, pretty hypocritical.
 Gary W. Gallagher, Causes Won, Lost, and Forgotten: How Hollywood & Popular Art Shape What We Know About the Civil War, (North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press, 2008) 115.
 Martin Henry Blatt, Thomas J. Brown, and Donald Yacovone. Hope & Glory: Essays on the Legacy of the Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts Regiment, (Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts in association with Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, 2001), 44.
 Martin Henry Blatt, Thomas J. Brown, and Donald Yacovone, 35.
 Martin Henry Blatt, Thomas J. Brown, and Donald Yacovone, 44.