Why don’t we hear more about Zachariah Chandler? He did great things and supported worthy causes. Even in Michigan, where he made his home, Chandler is pretty much forgotten. Today I received in the mail a softback book entitled: Zachariah Chandler: Michigan Patriot A Brief Look at a Forgotten Hero of America by Richard Buchko. The book is # 1 of The Memo Book Series. I would recommend the volume for those interested in Chandler, especially those who may know nothing or very little about the man. It is easy reading and can be finished in one sitting. The last chapter of the book Why Don’t We Hear More About Him? gives Buchko’s thoughts on the matter. Basically, if I’m interpreting the author correctly, a certain political correctness for the last 100 plus years has resulted in Chandler’s “demise.” Let me quote Buchko from his book, and you be the judge:
“In his day Zachariah Chandler was an outspoken and powerful man, who made many friends and many enemies. in the decades after the Civil War a movement began that suggested there were no traitors, that the Civil War was a misunderstanding between brothers that got out of hand. In order to assuage the guilt of the south and the resentment of the north, it was decided that they were all honorable men. The ideas of men like Chandler fell out of favor.
As the political climate changed, the Democrats returned to power toward the end of the 19th century. History books are not objective today, and were even less so back then. As books were written the idea that the Civil War was a misunderstanding took hold, and men like Chandler were left out, or their stories were twisted and changed. As later histories were written, the new generation of authors, instead of going back to primary sources of the Civil War era, relied on the revised histories of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, where they seldom found the name Zachariah Chandler. Certainly the Democratic voice was not going to announce him to the world; if they did, it was as a footnote or in a negative light. Slowly, but consistently, decade by decade, his name was written out of history, until today if he appears at all it’s as if to say, “Oh yeah-and Chandler was there.”
Author Buchko further writes that he is working on a complete biography of Chandler. We here at AbesBlogCabin.org anticipate that finished work with great relish.
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