The author of Robert E. Lee and Me – Reckoning with the Myth of the Lost Cause, Seidule spoke about why he wrote his book and his efforts to share the history behind the Lost Cause myth. “I couldn’t change people’s minds with facts; I had to tell my own story.”

Ty Seidule Visiting Professor of History and Brigadier General (ret.) Ty Seidule
“We’re not changing history, we are changing commemoration,” said Visiting Professor of History and Brigadier General (ret.) Ty Seidule during an interview on public radio’s “On the Media.” Titled “Removing the Relics of the Lost Cause,” the segment delved into the ongoing debate surrounding the commemoration of historical events and icons associated with the Lost Cause movement.

Seidule explained the myth of the “Lost Cause” and the commemoration of the Confederacy began with a campaign by the Daughters of the Confederacy beginning in the early part of the 20th century. He noted that the naming of Army bases and camps for Confederate soldiers began at about the same time and continued through WWII.

“Bad awful and evil” was how Seidule described those Confederates for whom bases were named. He offered short biographies of several of them including Henry L. Benning and Braxton Bragg, both segregationists. He said that it was at the same time that these bases were named that monuments celebrating the Confederacy appeared in the South, symbolic of white supremacy.

Ty Seidule
Ty Seidule, visiting professor of history and executive director of Common Ground at Hamilton, speaks at the podium during a panel discussion on campus. 

As vice chair of the Naming Commission charged with the renaming of bases associated with the Confederacy, Seidule said, “We must reckon with what we were and what we choose to honor.” He described how the commission came into being and how the members chose new BASE names.

Seidule observed that the Commission’s work “Isn’t going to stop racism but it’s a start. Who we commemorate represents our values.”

The program was broadcast on public radio stations across the country on Aug. 4 and 5.

Last semester, Vice President of Enrollment Monica Inzer invited Seidule to participate in the SUCH Counselors program, a three-day program available for high school counselors interested in learning more about colleges and universities in the Upstate New York region. He shared information about both the courses he teaches and the Common Ground program. “It's a great program and I enjoyed working with the Admissions Team and meeting the counselors,” he said.

One of those counselors at The Park School in Baltimore just asked Seidule to serve as the “Parents’ Association Resident Scholar” at the school for the 2023-24 academic year. Last year’s scholar was former attorney general Eric Holder.

Other recent engagements at which Seidule has served as a speaker include a panel at Howard U on the 75th Anniversary of the integration of the military, Seidule was joined by speakers including actor Morgan Freeman, secretary of the navy, secretary of veterans affairs, among others, at the July 26 event.

Seidule has also appeared in the national print media recently including in an Aug. 7 essay in the Washington Post titled “Suit aims to halt removal of Arlington Cemetery’s Confederate Memorial.” In reflecting on the memorial, he said, “Arlington’s memorial is not about reconciliation. This was accomplished when Confederates were granted amnesty on Christmas Day in 1868. Instead, the memorial was erected in the 20th century by segregationists committed to Jim Crow and to ‘showing the White South is in charge again.’”

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Common Ground and Bipartisan Policy Center partnership announcement

Bipartisan Policy Center Partners with Hamilton

This collaboration will connect Hamilton’s Common Ground program and BPC’s University Partnership Program to encourage civil discourse and bring bipartisanship outside the beltway through robust intellectual exchange. Hamilton is the first liberal arts college to partner with BPC.

Ty Seidule

Seidule Urges Graduates to “Know Your Own History”

Ty Seidule, a military historian and the College’s inaugural Chamberlain Fellow, advised Hamilton’s 484 graduates never to stop learning and striving to achieve the College’s motto, Know Thyself. “Know your own history. Know your community’s history. … Keep questioning. Because that is really the only way to know thyself.”

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