A Time Revisited And A Time Explained

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Slavery has always been the dagger in the heart of America’s attempt at projecting democratic ideals, and it was that most bloody of wars, the American Civil War of the mid ninetieth century that was the first titanic clash of these polar opposites — slavery and democracy. This violent eruption of two societies and nations within a nation set the table for so much of the xenophobia that seems to keep bubbling up year after year within the our nation.

When the South was defeated on the battlefield it counter attacked with Jim Crow laws and lynchings in order to maintain a ruthless form of de facto slavery right into the late nineteen sixties. Traces of a slavery hangover are even now promoted by the current Republican Party, after it had original been the party pushing against slavery and human rights abuses. Back then the cause against slavery was lead by the so called radical Republicans and a somewhat initially reluctant President Abraham Lincoln — the first Republican commander in chief.

Lincoln had always hated slavery though he could never bring himself, as with the vast majority of Whites both North and South at the time, to believe that Negroes were the intellectual equals of Whites. For his part the President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, faced no personal ambiguities. Legally and morally he firmly believed that the North had no business tampering with what some in the North referred to as the South’s specular institution. What’s more Davis insisted that the South had every right to succeed from what he knew to be a volutary union of states, and if necessary the South must fight any attempt at physical coercion by Yankee extremist.

And so the Confederacy was born and war ensued. But with many in the South the spirit of the Confederacy never died. It is a spirit of defiance, David against Goliath, and raging tribalistic instincts that politicians of both major political parties have exploited over the centuries, with the Republicans and Donald Trump being the lead painters of today’s ugly American streak.

And so if any of my loyal supporters or others out there have friends who are Civil War buffs, or are simply interested in the foundation of the current national chaos, you might want to clue them in on, Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis, ISBN 978–0–692–15160–0 Cannonade Press. Yes, it can be found on Amazon.

This book was written looking through the eyes of six of the war’s most influential instigators — three from the South and three from the North — President Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee General Joseph E. Johnston for the Confederacy, and President Abraham Lincoln, General Ulysses S. Grant and General George B. McClellan for the Union. The book was originally published in 2002, and it has just recently been republished.

While not measured in blood (and this was America’s bloodiest war by far, with, moreover, but a fraction of todays population so that almost every family personally felt the sting of war) the intramural belligerence between the two presidents and their generals was debilitating in the extreme to the war effort of both sides.

I would not hesitate to say that a reader would be required to digest at least two dozen of the best Civil War narratives so as to equal the historical insight packed into this single volume.

Jim Ridgway

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