A Ku Indeed!

The Civil War Never Ended?

Posted in Politics by Chris on October 30, 2008

An interesting post from Andrew Sullivan (he’s actually talking about someone else who poses the suggestion) on whether the Civil War only ended militarily in 1865, but continues to be fought on other fronts to this day. In a nutshell: the “culture war” is the continuation of the Civil War. Sullivan wonders whether Obama, if he wins, will bring the “longest war in US history” finally to a close. Interesting thoughts.


3 Responses

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  1. Alexus McLeod said, on October 30, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    I agree with the view that the “culture war” is an extension of the civil war and its related issues. But I don’t think an Obama presidency is going to end that war. It may even make it worse. After all, remember what happened when Abraham Lincoln defeated Stephen Douglas, one whose views were in harmony with southern interests and the other whose weren’t. It didn’t bring their disputes to any kind of an end. Rather, southerners felt thwarted, disrespected, and powerless within the U.S. (as they’re likely to if Obama is elected) and we all know what that led to…

  2. Million said, on October 30, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    It’s an interesting idea, but I’m not sure if it really takes into account the cultural in-fighting which preceded the Civil War. If you look at the root causes the war can largely be traced to a number of fundamental differences between the North and South that weren’t simply cultural.

    It took the emergence of the Abolitionist movement (who had no problems with trashing what they saw as an immoral Southern lifestyle), the following reaction of Southerners who went from seeing Slavery as a “necessary evil” to being a “positive good,” and the emergence of a strong regional split on the issue of Federalism and Anti-Federalism to really drive the two apart culturally. Even then, this split is more internal than external. Prior to our independence it’s worth pointing out that almost everyone in the country was of the same heritage. To chalk modern in-fighting up to being a continuation of the Civil War I think is a bit much.

    In-fighting has been there much longer and it’s roots aren’t purely cultural.

  3. Chris said, on October 31, 2008 at 8:17 am


    I guess it depends on what kind of leader he is. If he’s like Bill Clinton, then I say all bets are off. Clinton may have been a centrist in policy, but it was more due to a hard core pragmatism as opposed to a desire to get people to be on the same page. My guess is that Obama is also centrist oriented, but it will depend on his motivations. If he’s truly the transformational type people say, he may have a shot at least at getting a truce agreed to.

    I also think that Obama, unlike Jackson or Sharpton, or folks of that ilk, has both an understanding of the rightful anger of the black community but at the same time an ability to think past the ways that debates are typically structured in that context. So he might have more “cache” so to speak with the whole population.


    I don’t think the piece suggested it was just cultural, and it did agree that the conflict preceded the actual Civil War. I believe the author suggested that the military confict was a battle _in_ that larger conflict, and that the cultural war is another one.

    I also think it is interesting that voting maps in the 1860s (splits in the US) are virtually identical to the splits today. What that says, I’m not sure — but it is interesting.

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