Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Similarities Between the Periods of 1860 and 2012

With the Sesquicentennial commemoration of the War Between the States in its second year and the political landscape ratcheting up towards the November general elections, more and more people are realizing the climate in regards to state’s rights is quite similar today as it was 150 years ago.  Star Parker, a nationally syndicated black columnist recently wrote, “I'm struck by the similarities between today and the tumultuous period in our history that led up to the election of Abraham Lincoln and then on to the Civil War. So much so that I'm finding it a little eerie that this year we are observing the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the Civil War.  No, I am certainly not predicting, God forbid, that today's divisions and tensions will lead to brother again taking up arms against brother. But profound differences divide us today, as was the case in the 1850s. This is the most polarized the nation has been in modern times.  This deep division is driven, as was the case in the 1850s, by fundamental differences in worldview regarding what this country is about. We wrestle today, as they did then, with the basic question of what defines a free society.”  She made the comparison that the economic/capitalistic as well as the moral/social issues of the mid-nineteenth century parallel those of today. 
Dr. Walter Williams, prominent black economist, author, syndicated columnist, and professor at George Mason University stated in a recent article, “The problems that led to the Civil War are the same problems today - big intrusive government. The reason why we don't face the specter of another Civil War is because today's Americans don't have yesteryear's spirit of liberty and constitutional respect and political statesmanship is in short supply.  Actually, the war of 1861 was not a civil war. A civil war is a conflict between two or more factions trying to take over a government. In 1861, Confederate President Jefferson Davis was no more interested in taking over Washington than George Washington was interested in taking over England in 1776. Like Washington, Davis was seeking independence.  History books have misled today's Americans to believe the war was fought to free slaves.”
Near the end of the War for Southern Independence, just prior to his capture near Irwinville GA, Jefferson Davis was quoted as saying, “The principle for which we contended is bound to reassert itself, though it may be at another time and in another form.”  And so it is, in some measure and perhaps increasingly, today, the issues of States Rights and individual liberty are reasserting themselves.
The following blogposts will examine the parallels between the pre-WBTS period and that of today’s political and social environment.  Race and civil rights, geographic economic differences, philosophical differences regarding taxation, state’s rights, nullification and secession, social contrasts of morality and, the parallels between the systems of indentured servitude and a welfare state will be examined.

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