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April 12, 1861: We are still dealing with the psychological trauma of the Civil War.
The American Civil War began on this day.
Today is the opening of the American Civil War. It was a morbid affair that divided the nation and forged a new birth of freedom under the auspices of a war fought over a racially inspired and dehumanizing industry of slavery.
The American Civil War has been written about for over a century and a half.
It was an early industrial war that showed the world what the power of (then) modern artillery and guerilla tactics could do to traditional armies. This is very American as we look back at the Revolution as well.
The death toll of the war not only changed the makeup of households but also left a psychological toll on the nation that has weakened it into the modern era.
The South could never reckon that the war was fought over racial slavery. It would connect people to an undeniably horrific industry that they enabled or actively participated in. Many people were just practicing (or were victims) of raw ignorance. This is why the myth of the happy slave had to be created.
There was also an intense effort to make the Civil War about honorable men on BOTH SIDES that were part of a mechanized tragedy they had no control over. This gives fuel to the “War of Northern Aggression” narrative, as it makes the Northern states an imperialist cabal that wanted to institute industrial aristocracy and factory feudalism on gentile Southern states. The industrial output and organization of the North is real and the economic system of wage labor that featured an abusive relationship with obscenely powerful producers is also real. However, this aspect is overly inflated to cancel the voices of slaves and descendants of slaves who were already in a feudal system that allowed them to be raped, sold, and beaten at the whim of their master.
As America’s decades-long industrial heyday began after the Civil War, this false narrative silenced the voices of African Americans and became palatable (and desirable) to a dominant public not even thinking about African Americans’ existence, feelings, or perspective.
This legacy lives on today as the new Confederates, a transformed party of Lincoln built out of decades of racist political messaging, use state power to ban history lessons and books. The South has always come off as a politically feudal region to me. All of the great people in my favorite region of the country are held under the thumbs of a system still reminiscent of the slave lords of yesteryear.
The psychological traumas of the Civil War made the South a one-party region for so long and it isn’t until the postmodern era when that began to change. However, the post-1960s Republican party took advantage of the Southern political formula and demonized others while pushing policies that hurt most of the region, just like the slave lords.
We see hints of a multi-party miracle in the South in states like North Carolina, Georgia, and the pipe dream that is Texas. If we can make politics competitive in the South, and also cohesive to the educational and economic situations of those states, we can change America.
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