Are we heading toward Civil War? The American Civil War was brutal. In its wake over 620,000 Americans were left dead. The population then was about 31.4 million people, which means about one person in 50 died in the Civil War. That means about 2% of the U.S. population met their death. An equivalent war today would kill 6.6 million Americans.
What did the Civil War accomplish
The Civil War remains the bloodiest conflict we have ever fought. It defined the nation and left an imprint that remains to this day. Most of us think the outcome of the war was for the better. The entrenchment of the rigid regionalism came to an end. The Civil War made us view ourselves as Americans. It brought to an end the period when we were Virginians, Granite Staters, Georgians, or New Yorkers first.
American as our national identity was forged flames of this conflict. The United States was 34 states at the start of the war. By the conclusion, the 34 states had been smelted into one nation. The notion of military officers resigning their commissions to join their state’s secession efforts is alien today. That was not the case then.
We share common principles. We’re also a country where we move more frequently. There is mobility. That doesn’t mean that a sizeable slice of the population that wants to annihilate the rest won’t be any less destructive. The ties that bind us together have been a buffer for the divisions that led to our civil war.
Where are we now?
There were many issues that led to the Civil War. Recent surveys show leftists and conservatives value different cultural norms. Each views the other as alien. So, are we on the path toward another destructive conflict between the states? There is even a difference in the language each group uses. The words may be shared but the meanings are not. Should we buckle up our chinstraps?
Sure the lines would be geographically different. Probably it would be the coasts versus the interior instead of north versus south. Many people roll their eyes when new civil war talk or armed rebellion against the government comes up. But think about this, nearly 70% of Americans think we could be reaching that point according to a new poll. Here what the Washington Examiner has on the subject:
“Partisan political division and the resulting incivility has reached a low in America, with 67% believing that the nation is nearing civil war, according to a new national survey.
“The majority of Americans believe that we are two-thirds of the way to being on the edge of civil war. That to me is a very pessimistic place,” said Mo Elleithee, the executive director of Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service.
And worse, he said in announcing the results of the institute’s Battleground Poll, the political division is likely to make the upcoming 2020 presidential race the nastiest in modern history.”
In June of 2018, Rasmussen found that 31% of voters felt a civil war was possible within the next five years. Maybe this thing is being overblown. It’s a highly divisive time. Tensions and emotions are running high. Will cooler heads prevail? I don’t know. All I know is what this nation became after our first civil war. We came to abolition of slavery and the national identity we know today emerged. That’s what came from one of the most brutal moments in our history. Are we heading toward Civil War… should we buckle up our chinstraps?