Wednesday, October 13, 2010

In the shadow of 1860 - America's "two nations" go to the polls

This BBC analysis of the growing US culture war likens it to the Late Unpleasantness:

"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.


shadowviper said...

whats sad about that post on bbc is that if you look down at the comments section there was not one response defending the southron cause. the fact that people in other countries see us all as racist, our ancestors as slave holders it just makes me sick.

Snaggle-Tooth Jones said...

You've got to remember, shadowviper, that these are the Brits, some of the most ignorant white people on the face of the earth. It is that ignorance that accounts for why their cultural and demographic suicide proceeds apace. They don't even understand their own history. Is it any wonder, then, that they can't understand ours?

Deo Vindice. God will vindicate. He will vindicate us and what few English patriots still exist on that Day.

Magister Ludi said...

The South was occupied by the feds... and now turns out most of the fighting men of the federal army, with numerous bases in the south... and the "rally round the (union) flag mentality of the families of those boys enlisted kills any local patriotism at its roots.
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"
I think most of the South has had a Stockholm Syndrome of its Soul... how else do you explain Lindsey Graham?!
had a buddy from Georgia, in the US Navy -told me Sherman did what he had to do to win... from a Georgia boy!

Anonymous said...

I just call it "Lincoln's War". He started it. And it can't be said enough: it was about the Morrell Tariff.

Anonymous said...

They've had 150 years to force-feed their propaganda to us. How many of us got taken in by the "Honest Abe, the 'Civil War' (sic) fought to free the slaves, Battle Hymn of the Republic" load? Yet most of us always knew down in their hearts that The Cause was noble and right. Now, thanks to the internet, we can get to the facts and details without them being strained out by the Yankee filter!

Been to a war re-enactment lately? They had to start marching the re-enactors in all together in my neck of the woods (a border state) because the greys were met with cheers and the blues with stony silence. Folks ain't stupid! They are figuring out what the Yankee victory brought on us all.

Who doesn't wonder nowadays what it might have been like if the North had not prevailed in the field? See:
Thank Goodness We Were Free @
for a sweet little taste.
- Dutchy

shadowviper said...

@ magister There is a difference in warfare and cruelnesss! sherman did not have to burn the homes of the south, his troops did not have to rape our women and burn our churches! even those dum brits understood the articles of war in the 1st war of independence in which there were certain things you just did not do. when a person abstains from being a human then he can no longer be regarded as such!