Books and Movies Reviews

Coming of the Civil War

"Rethinking the Coming of the Civil War: A Counterfactual Exercise," written by Gary J. Kornblith in the June 2003 issue of The Journal of American History, is an article that prompts the reader to reflect on the different dynamics which eventually lead to the Civil War.There are two diverse ideas concerning the causes of this War, one being Fundamentalism and the other Revisionism.
Fundamentalists believe that the Civil War was caused by distinct societies in the North and South, whose dissimilar paths were headed for collision come the mid-nineteenth century.The divergence of social systems, a divergence epitomized by free labor and slave labor were three key elements which influenced the road to conflict. In a society where the belief in individual liberty and religious devotion were prominent the means not to have an abolitionist movement was impossible. The argument still stands that had the North's and South's social/cultural system had not diverged so differently come the turn of the nineteenth century; the war would have never taken place.
Revisionists believe that the politics of the 1850’s provided for the Civil War.This entailed bad political leaders and sectionalism.The argument of the revisionists elucidates the fact that the Civil War could have been avoided if slavery was confined through politics.Charles W. Ramsdell was quoted saying, ;Had this question of slavery in Western lands been settled there would have been no Civil War.;
Kornblith writes this particular article from the perspective of a revisionist.He believes the election of 1844 was a significant reason for the Civil War.He claimed, ;Had Clay beat Polk in 1844, Texas would have remained an independent republic and we wouldn;t have gone to war a year later.;If Clay won the election his ;Manifest Destiny; would not have included Texas.Therefore, the issue of slavery would not …


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