There is no shortage of op-eds warning us outright or questioning the likelihood of another civil war. The American Civil War looms large in our current public discourse, perhaps too much so.
- “Imagine Another American Civil War, But This Time in Every State”
- “Is the US Really Heading For a Second Civil War?”
- “Can America Avoid a New Civil War?”
- “A New Civil War in America?”
- “I Don’t Want to Fight About It But This Talk of US Civil War is Overblown”
- “Is America Headed to Civil War or Secession?”
- “How Civil Wars Start and Why It Can Happen Again in America”
- “Was the Capitol Riot Really the Opening Battle of a Civil War?”
And on and on and on…
On the face of it, a comparison with the American Civil War of the 1860s seems incredibly unhelpful. How does the growing regional divide over slavery, the creation of a new nation-state in the Confederacy and four years of war, fought overwhelmingly by organized armies, help us to understand the present political divide?
Surely, there must be other moments in American history, including the violence and growing class divide during the Gilded Age, that might serve as a more helpful guidepost for people looking for historical context.
That’s just my two cents. What do you think?