Friday, August 06, 2010

The Civil War

Looking back on the blog archives, it seems that I wrote a lot about the Civil War while I lived in the South, specifically in North Florida, which is part of the South. The funny thing about the Civil War is that despite it ending slavery and putting in place a revised Constitutional system that on paper guaranteed equal rights for everyone on the State level as well as on the Federal level, all of the supposed Abolitionist fervor which the country was engaged in seemed to dissipate in the years afterwords. Instead of carrying through the reforms which would have followed if folks in power and otherwise had really cared about civil rights a system was created that while being better than slavery still doomed African-Americans to a sort of servitude in the economic and social sense and that outright violated the newly created guarantee that rights established in the Constitution definitely existed on the State level and not just with relation to the Federal level.

The Civil War is celebrated as an occasion on which the U.S. did the right thing, yet in the wake of the Civil War segregation was allowed to exist for close to a hundred years. How is it that the image of the triumph of rightness in the Civil War and the reality of segregation could co-exist? The Civil War had great, positive, consequences for African Americans, but racism continued to dictate national policy.

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