According to Confederates in the Attic, what were Shelby Foote’s views on Nathan Bedford Forrest?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In Horwitz's interview of Foote in this book, Foote expresses a great deal of admiration for Forrest.  He argues that Forrest was one of only two "geniuses" in the war (with Lincoln being the other).  He argues that Forrest is unfairly maligned because he founded the KKK.

Foote argues that the early KKK was not a bad thing.  He says it was more like the French Resistance in WWII than what it has become.  He says that it is unfair for us to expect that Southerners would simply have given up after being defeated.  He also claims that the KKK was not opposed to all blacks but rather to the idea of incompetent blacks being given a place in government.

Because of this, Foote feels that the original KKK was not a bad thing and that Forrest should not be condemned for creating it.  He also argues that Forrest disbanded the KKK "when it turned ugly."  For these reasons, Foote feels Forrest was a great man.


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