"No two nations on earth," wrote the Ohio Senator Benjamin Wade, "entertain more bitter feelings of rancour toward each other than these two nations of the Republic."
The two nations in question were the southern and northern peoples of America in the run up to the Civil War.
The historian Allan Nevins believed it was this "sectional consciousness, with all its emotional and psychological implications" which made war inevitable by 1861, not the issue of slavery per se.
Long before they were defined by grey and blue on the battlefield Americans had split into two sociologically and culturally distinct societies, sealed off from each other by distance, economics and a localised media.
Today the shadow of this division looms, barely acknowledged, over America's mid-term Congressional election, which has descended into a rancorous culture war with blasts of literal bellicosity at the edges.
It's a useful and apt comparison. However, I'd like to add that "Civil War," though a conveniently short handle for the events of 1860-65, isn't accurate -- "The War for Southern Independence" better evokes the issues that sparked the bitter hostilities between two regions separated by distinct cultures, as Albion's Seed documented.
Still, the BBC reflects a better, more realistic view than the simplistic progaganda that the war was a struggle between eeeeevil slaveholders and noble liberators.