Civil War Mindset In Question

“A Union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets, and in which strife and civil war are to take the place of brotherly love and kindness, has no charm for me.” (Robert E. Lee)

Is the current state of political disharmony existing among Democrats/Republicans  in the  United States  heading us toward another Civil War? What lessons from this tragic period of American History appear  relevant to our present day conflict? In the months leading up to the Civil War in 1861, our country was deeply embroiled in a North/South sectional dispute over the issues of slavery and related states rights/powers. The inability of the two sides to settle on peaceful terms  would ultimately lead to eleven southern states seceding  from the union as well as a destructive bloodbath where over 620, 000 soldiers would ultimately lose their life in the ensuing  four years.      

06922FC9-7495-4BCF-8D67-6BA916070780 Major political change in Washington further fueled this conflict.  The rise of the Republican Party with Abraham Lincoln’s two term victory as anti- slavery President spread deep seated anger among slaveholders in the Confederate states. Yet through his determined leadership to preserve our nationwide unity, our country survived. 

58FCEAC8-22C1-4883-B42D-CFB5C1704594Being  curious to find authentic evidence of the political tone that prevailed in the pre-Civil War era, I discovered some revealing letters in my research of the “Online Internet Archive”. Common threads of Southern discontent expressed in these anonymously signed letters showed  radical opposition  to a “spirit of a country united “ and in particular President Abraham Lincoln’s Presidency at the time. It seemed true to me that our country today faces a similar set of extreme circumstances characterized by a rapidly escalating divide of friend and foe on a wide reaching, national scale. These letters thus showcased  below illustrate that these toxic atmosphere  elements again threatens to cause nationwide war.

1.  The God’s Will Crisis – “The South”

Click on letter here

Notice in this letter that holy “Godliness” appeared as a protector of “noble right” for Rebel insurrection. Southern devotion to his “holiness”, in this view, justified this cause is justification to slaughter their Union opponents in the future. With comparable religious passion, some “Christian Right” believers  today provide strong support for our President in hope that he will return our country to the strict moral teachings of the Bible. In the meantime, religiously conscious issues like women’s rights suppression, white supremacy, and xenophobia are targeted in a politically toxic way.       

2.Patriotism Gone Haywire – “ Southern Song of Liberty”

Click here for letter            

To defend our homeland” reveals as a strong theme in this letter, implying that Confederates  would fight against the enemy who they feel shamed the country’s greatness. The desire to retain a pro-slavery culture, as a patriotic duty , however, appeared treasonous in the North, inevitably providing heavy justification for war. In today’s times, our country equally seems under patriotic attack. Our  President angrily exhorts to his followers that (1) Democrat political opponents  threaten our country’s greatness, (2) NFL players who do not stand at attention during the National Anthem are treasonous, and (3) strict enforcement of anti- immigration policies restores the right path to American greatness. Unsurprisingly, however, his questioning of one’s  loyalty to citizenship, has exacerbated bitter disunity and political alienation for political gain, ultimately weakening our country spirit.

3. Charismatic Leader Myth – “Country,Home, and Liberty”

Click here for letter

A leader who expects  blind obedience to his/her cause can dangerously manipulate the minds of avid followers. In this letter, the reference to Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States provided strong reasoning that a state of Southern rebellion existed  to justify calls for warlike action. Many thus would see little wrong in Davis’ appeal for such endless bloodshed. Our “reality star” President today, likewise, propagandizes to his Republican base that “Making America Great Again” is his greatest priority. Yet his angry tweets, pathological lying , and “witch hunt” denials of  the Robert Mueller Investigation make greater headlines for him in his crisis ridden Presidency.         

 4.Lunacy of Violent Redemption –  “Liberty or Death”

Click here for letter

This letter vividly points out the “win at all costs”theory that Confederate should  commit intimidation and violent action  against enemy as a noble cause. Revengeful attacks to save their Southern homelands from enemy invasion seemed preeminent in their minds. Little attention was given in this letter, however to the moral implications of their mass killings. Enter today  a raucous political rally for Donald Trump today and you might not  feel safe if you work for CNN or have left wing, political leanings. If your child feels traumatized about a recent school shooting at a local high school, don’t expect talk of gun control from the President as a way to solve the problem. If you are a female activist  exercising your free speech right to have an abortion in protest, you might consider the emotionally driven tactics from your pro-life enemies that await you . 

The letters I presented in this blog fuel a bloodthirsty war and senseless road to our country’s destruction. A much different path seems critical now to transcend religious differences, embrace country over self, present honesty by leadership example, and embrace non- violent action. We all may not agree but at least  let’s try to consider voting for those who care in the above stated ways  to make our country better. 

Author:

I accomplished a rewarding career as a teacher and professor for 28 years.No more daily lesson plans now frees my curious mind to experience life on my own terms now.

12 thoughts on “Civil War Mindset In Question

  1. An excellent lesson for all Americans to read and understand. If we learn from our history, then we can prevent the worst from happening again. Let us hope we can unite, rather than fight, and that our elected representatives come to their senses before we split this entire nation apart once again.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. While the dire conditions facing this country seem to escalate daily, your ability for selecting the perfect words to express each situation, can only be described as masterful. You do it brilliantly and after listening to an illiterate President it makes me appreciate your talent even more!

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      2. Wow I am stunned that you see so much in my words. I do read a lot and think of my educated followers who seem to care more for my efforts than most of my students did.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I especially enjoy and relate to your quotes. Whether they be historical or literary, or even musical, they always reinforce your statements, and for me, that brings everything to life. Perhaps, I like them so much because my mind works that way too. I look and assess everything and then automatically think of a Reference. I think of a song, a line from a play, a Poem, novel, or words spoken by a real-life historical leader. I’m not sure if it because we are educators and trained to think like that because of the endless essays and research papers we were required to do to become proficient in our field, or that’s just how we think. Either way, it makes your blogs more meaningful to me.

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  2. The tragedy is that we do not learn the lessons of history. I have concerns about the divisiveness we see today, but another Civil War seems … illogical, for there are no geographical boundaries. The current divisiveness pits neighbor against neighbor, co-worker against co-worker. There is no doubt that we are on the brink of … a massive eruption, but I don’t think we can call it a Civil War. I’m not quite sure what it would be called. But yes, to the point, all the signs are there that the leadership of this nation, and I don’t mean only the prez, but his minions in Congress as well, is doing everything possible to drive a wedge between two groups of people. Sigh.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. A fascinating post and I appreciate the research and analysis that went into it, James. While the divisions between Americans seem to be as deep today as they were prior to the Civil War, I do believe that the election of leaders more intent on toning down the rhetoric will eventually reunite the nation. Anyone, GOP or Democrat who preach intolerance need to go.

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