White women? “Brides for Indians?” Remember scene from this very funny movie, “Blazing Saddle?”
A cautionary tale that shows why we, as informed citizens, have to be constantly on the lookout for revisionist history in the popular culture.
Today one of my best friends mentioned that her book club will be reading the book “One Thousand White Women,” about a historical event that occurred during the administration of President Ulysses S. Grant. She described the story of the book roughly as follows: “Grant gave the Indians 1000 white women for 1000 horses.” She went on to describe that these women handed over to the Indians as brides were taken out of prisons and insane asylums, the latter places where any husband could put his wife on ice for any, or no, reason. She also said it reminded her of the Mariel boat lift of 1980. That was murderous commie dictator Fidel Castro’s way to empty his jails and insane asylums by sending their inhabitants to Miami. She even actually said, and I’m paraphrasing but the meaning was clear, “maybe Castro learned it from us.” She based the conclusion on the story of this One Thousand White Women book.
I know that Grant loved horses. Some consider him “probably the greatest Equestrian in US history.” He was also generally regarded as a kind, loyal man. He paid a price for that loyalty and for his trusting nature. He didn’t want to believe his friends would do anything wrong. He was sadly mistaken, as several scandals during his Administration demonstrated. He was also known not only for protecting the civil rights of newly-freed blacks, but also for his “peace policy” with the Indians, which sought to minimize military conflict with them. When I told my friend that Grant loved horses, she replied “but apparently not women.”
That an event like this would have occurred without my knowing about it seemed bizarre to me. After all, not only do I pride myself on my knowledge of American history, I also attended an American university in the late 20th century, during which I received the standard leftist indoctrination about how America sucks, as evidenced by not only slavery, but our treatment of what we must now call “Native Americans,” and women. I also took one of those silly “Women’s History” classes, which I remember vividly. The radical feminist professor who taught this course would have done at least a whole class lecture on an incident like that, using it to illustrate the evils of the “patriarchy,” and I know she never mentioned it. Nor was it in any of the propaganda-filled rags that passed for textbooks in that, or any other, class. It sounded like that line from the hilarious, and very politically incorrect movie, “Blazing Saddles.” Revisionist history perhaps?
This incident also sounded a little like the infamous accusation by disgraced, fired University of Colorado professor, Ward “Little Eichmanns” Churchill, who claimed that the U.S. Army gave blankets laced with smallpox to Indians in 1837. To quote Prof. Thomas Brown, who did an extensive analysis of this slander, “[e]very aspect of Churchill’s tale is fabricated.” Indeed this fabrication, versions of which he published 6 times, was the thing that finally caused the University of Colorado to give this clown the boot in 2007. Some people wondered, how, since he had no Ph.D., Churchill could be hired as full professor, and eventually be given tenure. To quote Prof. Brown again: “Documents from the University of Colorado archives indicate that Churchill obtained his tenured position there under a program designed to “recruit and hire a more diverse faculty.” Apparently, the university had not yet met its quota for liars. Affirmative action strikes again.[amazon template=wishlist&asin=0312199430]
I had never heard of One Thousand White Women: The Journals of Mary Todd, but I was curious to learn more, so I poked around a bit, and understood immediately why I had never heard of the historical incident described.
It never happened.
I discovered that One Thousand White Women: The Journals of Mary Todd is the debut novel of freelance writer and sports journalist Jim Fergus, first published in 1998. In other words, it is a work of fiction, inspired by an alleged historical event, that Fergus described in an interview:
“It is based on a true event,” Fergus said, “In 1854 a group of Cheyenne chiefs requested of the white authorities one thousand white women as brides for their young warriors. * * * But, the peace conference where the Cheyenne made their proposal fell apart and the women were not actually sent to mate with the Cheyenne.
But in my book they do,” Fergus said.”
See Fergus talk about it here at ~14:02.
Franklin Pierce, a democrat, by the way, was president in 1854, and Grant’s assumption of command of the Union Army was 10 years off, and his presidency not until 1873.
Here’s why I was so curious to get to the truth, and why you should care. I got the distinct impression from my friend that the woman who selected this book led the group to believe that it is non-fiction, or at least based on something that really happened, which it is not. My friend is an intelligent woman, yet, while I could be mistaken, I got the impression that she thought it was true. I don’t think that the author ever imagined that some would hear about his book, and assume it was true, but he should have realized that in today’s America, that was an unfortunately likely possibility.
Like “hands up, don’t shoot,” and so many other things that people today “know,” this incident never happened, something I knew instinctively when I first heard my friend describe the book. It fit too neatly into the typical anti-American revisionist history from the Left’s threadbare playbook. (Look, here’s another time when America and one of its “heroes” mistreated another group of the downtrodden! What a rotten imperialist bunch of rotten bastards!) Our job is to help our fellow citizens cultivate well-calibrated B.S. detectors so that they will know baloney when they see and hear it.
The book looks like an interesting work of fiction, but it is just that.
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