Hollywood has struck again with another “Civil War” movie that, unsurprisingly as it may seem, does not do justice to the real Southland or the Confederacy. The latest episode is an epic by director Gary Ross, “Free State of Jones,” starring Matthew McConaughey as the film’s hero, Newt Knight.
“Free State of Jones” tells the story of a Knight-led rebellion against the Confederacy in Jones County, Mississippi, whereby the county allegedly seceded and declared itself a free state. This rebellion against the Southern Republic centered on the infamous “Twenty Negro Law” that exempted large slave-owners from the draft, raising the cry “rich man’s war, poor man’s fight.”
But aside from trashing history, the film has made Hollywood, and many of those on the political left, leap for joy because it does two things: It supposedly destroys the “Lost Cause” narrative of a monolithic South, for here is a new hero fighting against the Davis government who is pro-union and, most importantly, anti-Confederate, thereby giving them a club to beat against the mythic notion of a strong and unified Southern Confederacy.
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