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America Was Less Divided During the Civil War Than It Is Today

My latest in PJ Media:

There is growing worry these days about whether or not we are headed for another civil war, and whether the divisions in American society are as bad as they were in the run-up to what is still the bloodiest war in American history. In fact, there is no comparison between the divisions between Americans today and in the run-up to the Civil War. The ones today are far worse. That doesn’t necessarily mean that we are headed for a shooting war, but we certainly may be.

A civil war is by definition a war between citizens of the same country, and the American Civil War was certainly that. Both sides revered Washington, Jefferson, and the other Founding Fathers. Confederate spokesmen often termed the war their own war for independence, insisting that it was a new iteration of the same desire for self-determination that had led to the American war of independence against Britain.

Both sides respected the United States Constitution to the extent that the Constitution of the Confederate States of America was essentially a copy of that of the nation the Confederates were leaving, with a few minor modifications. It protected the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, and the freedom of religion; it allowed for “the right of the people to keep and bear arms,” it protected citizens from unreasonable search and seizure, and contained numerous other provisions taken from the earlier Constitution….

No less an authority than Abraham Lincoln noted the similarity of the two sides in his second inaugural address, even as he pointed out the one thing that sharply distinguished them: “Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces; but let us judge not that we be not judged.”…

Rating America’s Presidents shows how Abraham Lincoln’s unique and incisive articulation about what exactly was wrong about slavery, something that was not at all as clear to many of his contemporaries as it is to today’s woke mob, helped break the logjam that had existed in American politics for the previous half-century. It still took a long and bloody civil war to lead to national reconciliation and the binding up of the nation’s wounds….

There is much more. Read the rest here.

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