Birth of a Nation

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by Hobbit, May 17, 2006.

  1. Hobbit
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    Hobbit Senior Member

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    I saw this movie just recently, and I must say, it's quite fascinating. For those who have never heard of it, it's a silent film from 1914, based on the book "The Klansman," that caused the 20th century resurgance of the KKK as a racist organization, rather than a purely political shadow power. The movie is about the War Between the States and the subsequent political stuggle during Reconstruction. It's called "Birth of a Nation" since many historians state that America was not a singular nation until the war and was instead a federation of independant states.

    Now, while this movie is indeed racist, it does cover one of the untold stories of that war, and the one which caused such a big stink about the KKK. That story is the one of political manipulation. After the war, speaker of the house wanted all of the Southern leaders executed and our lands to be oppressively treated as conquored territory, but Lincoln announced that he would treat the South 'as if they had never left.' John Wilkes Booth, however, ensured that the South's only friend on Capitol Hill was ten feet under. Those who took over still couldn't do what they originally wanted, but they did quite a bit to destroy the South. First, they forbid anyone who supported the Confederacy to vote, leaving mostly uneducated former slaves as voters. Then, the carpetbaggers found some easily manipulated free slaves that these new voters would support, and for years, all states in the South lost their right to govern themselves, as their politicians were being held up by Northern strings. This led to the birth of a shadow organisation called the Ku Klux Klan. The purpose was to protect Southern political interests.

    It's quite sad that this led to the mass violence that the KKK is now famous for, but the movie is probably the most influential silent movie in history, and I thought it was quite good. It's a good film, especially if you want to see a good chunk of history.
     
  2. Dan
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    Dan Senior Member

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    Whatever its purpose, the KKK is an evil hateful group. I've never seen this, but I'm curious to. it's not banned, is it?

    This movie also reminds me of the Disney movie Song of the South which is, as of right now, banned indefinitely. part of me really wants to see it, even though I know it's probably nowhere near as controversial as most people think it is.
     
  3. 1549
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    1549 Active Member

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    Re-construction is an interesting period of U.S. history. I tend to agree more with Lincoln than the rest of the republican party. The U.S. is just better off if North and South can work together, while many of the republicans just wished General Sherman had wiped the south off the map. (Though he did an admirable job of turning the South's icons into piles of rubble)

    At the same time, I agree with the Republicans that the prejudice southern democrats had to be rid from U.S. politics. Unfortunately it did not really happen for another 100 years.

    The disappointment of re-construction is that it failed to offer enough to the newly freed slaves. Don't let the early success in attaining politcal office fool you, in the long run: grand-father laws, literacy tests, intimidation and things of that sort were used by whites to regain control of the balloting (by the way, the movie horribly portrays the black politicians as monkeys in a state-house). Black codes worked to limit the potential for blacks to ever make modest progress in education and orginization.

    Birth of a Nation also has a disgusting scene in which whites appear as helpless victims of black hooligans, until the clan can come to the rescue.

    A sick, twisted, and vile movie. It will be remembered in history because its filming techniques were pretty innovative for the time and its views show the resentment associated with re-construction..
     
  4. The ClayTaurus
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    The ClayTaurus Senior Member

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    Yawn. This movie was KKK glorification. Propoganda at its finest.

    It was, techincally, however, quite groundbreaking for it's time. Definitely check it out for that alone, Dan.
     
  5. Dan
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    Dan Senior Member

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    I definitely will.

    And, hey, what's wrong with blatant KKK propaganda? :huh: :p:
     
  6. Hobbit
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    Hobbit Senior Member

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    I see it as the other side of the story, because I don't buy what you learn in public schools about evil southerners victimizing poor, pacifistic, helpless blacks. Now, I did admit that it was quite racist, and it did turn the KKK from a mildly racist political power (and most were at the time) to a purely racist organization. It does, however, show reconstruction for what it truly was, an attempt to completely subjugate the south with an oppressive occupation. I believe that even the name 'Reconstruction' is a gross misnomer.

    As far as eliminating the racist southern Democrats...pretty much everybody, Republicans and Democrats, were racist at the time. The disenfranchisement of southern voters was not a way to prop up blacks but a way to put down southerners. And blacks at that time were uneducated and easily led, as most had become accustomed to slavery, a life that didn't demand education and repressed independant thought. The image painted by most U.S. history books is grossly biased and innaccurate.
     
  7. The ClayTaurus
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    The ClayTaurus Senior Member

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    Can you ever really become "accustomed" to slavery?
     
  8. Hobbit
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    Hobbit Senior Member

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    There's a difference between becoming accustomed to something and liking it. No matter how much your life sucks, a life of constant routine is something you will eventually settle into.
     
  9. The ClayTaurus
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    The ClayTaurus Senior Member

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    So if I kidnapped you into slavery tomorrow, how long until you'd get accustomed to it? I need to know how long I need to hold you at gunpoint...
     
  10. Diuretic
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    Diuretic Permanently confused

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    I'd say Hobbit's right, broadly speaking. Humans are highly adaptable to various circumstances, including slavery.
     

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