Thursday, August 07, 2008

The South and Secession

What's never mentioned in standard popular accounts of the South's secession prompting the Civil War is that for the thirty two years preceding Abraham Lincoln's election as President of the United States, U.S. politics was governed by a machine that united Northern and Southern interests and that approved of the existence of slavery. The idea of a polarized North and South that we see today was much less in existence on the ideological level before the Civil War, meaning that secession was the product of a breakdown of those relations. What I'm trying to get at here is that blame for the continued existence of slavery after the American Revolution is not solely on the backs of the Southern planters who actually engaged in the practice but also of northern allies who made its continued existence possible.

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