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tompritchett
05-23-2007, 09:43 AM
I believe it was Winston Churchill who once said that those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it. My question for you, is what lessons do you take from the Civil War that may or may not be applicable to today. I am not asking for yet another debate on why the war was fought or facts about the war. Rather, what does the Civil War mean for us today in line of Mr. Churchill's statement. Also, I would suggest that we try to post our own thoughts in this matter rather than enter in debates about others' opinions.

tompritchett
05-23-2007, 09:49 AM
My response - for years now, I have studied why our nation allowed itself to ever come to war. I guess for me a lesson would be how extremist minorities on both sides of an issue were able to push the majorities down a path of no return until shots were actually fired and our nation was at war with itself. Another lesson would be from the dangers of hubris as exhibited by the Southern leaders, formal and informal, during the time from the formation of the Confederacy and to the start of the second year of the war. IMHO, their hubris essentially hindered them from fully accessing their options in regards to the North, particularly in evaluating the North's true capability to wage war versus their capability to create a supporting war industry, and in regards to forcing European intervention into the war. (Editted - THP 1:46 pm EDT time, not forum time)

7thMDYankee
05-23-2007, 11:18 AM
"What we have here is a failure to communicate..."

When originally offered in "Cool Hand Luke," it summed up struggles very nicely. A failure to communicate is often at the heart of many conflicts.

When sides of a debate stop debating it begins a series of unfortunate events. Too often sides of a debate will exchange discourse for discord, plows for swords, and well, the rest is history. That's how it happened back then - and still does.

That to me is the lesson we can - and ought to - learn. The sad part, as I watch our society become polarized over partisan bickering... well, there is not much in the way of debate anymore. Politics seems to be a zero-sum game these days.

tompritchett
05-23-2007, 11:35 AM
"What we have here is a failure to communicate..."

When originally offered in "Cool Hand Luke," it summed up struggles very nicely. A failure to communicate is often at the heart of many conflicts.

When sides of a debate stop debating it begins a series of unfortunate events. Too often sides of a debate will exchange discourse for discord, plows for swords, and well, the rest is history. That's how it happened back then - and still does.

That to me is the lesson we can - and ought to - learn. The sad part, as I watch our society become polarized over partisan bickering... well, there is not much in the way of debate anymore. Politics seems to be a zero-sum game these days.

Reenactor Hat: I agree totally. I too have been struck by that parallel and, to paraphrase Forrest Gump, that is the end that subject.

Moderator Hat: To avoid discussions that will force this thread to be shifted to the Whine Cellar, I ask that we try to keep direct comparisons to modern politics to the minimum. Thank you for your cooperation.

Pvt Schnapps
05-23-2007, 01:10 PM
How about, if you don't have the votes, you probably won't have the bullets either.

NoahBriggs
05-23-2007, 01:51 PM
How about, if you don't have the votes, you probably won't have the bullets either.

I'd argue you will have the bullets, simply because if nobody votes, then there would be no opportunity to vote new blood in. No new blood means the same old folks voting the same old things, with no chance for change, and, to boomerang back to an earlier answer, failures to communicate and compromise.

bill watson
05-23-2007, 02:02 PM
"Don't let anybody else do your thinking for you."

Of course that's the lesson I derive from most things. :-)

creel
05-23-2007, 03:38 PM
I see past people using race as an "excuse" and many today using same race card to cover up their true agenda's of human greed and power wants.

This is from both "side" but being a Southerner I see it more of an attack from northerners (just because of mostly more numbers), which of course we are now so intermingled "place" doesn't matter as much.

The thoughts of numbers not being seen in above post isn't really true as US broke from England under much less attributes.

I see repeats of government trying to dominate peoples lives that continues with forced education policies, over taxing, disintegration of amendments 1-10, etc. As G Washington warned of getting involved with foreign governments "we" still do so.

History repeats and we never seem to learn. Goes to what Walter Williams says we are nation of mostly "sheeple."

tompritchett
05-23-2007, 04:16 PM
"Don't let anybody else do your thinking for you."

Of course that's the lesson I derive from most things.

Bill, would you care to elaborate on how you saw that playing out back then?

bill watson
05-23-2007, 05:54 PM
Sure.

A lot of people on both sides allowed their emotions to be played upon, southerners by the bugaboo of Yankee invaders and northerners by the attack on the flag. Those precipitated visceral responses, people came out swinging.The people doing the thinking were the abolitionists who funded John Brown's raid and the southern upper class who deliberately precipitated war by firing on Sumter. Both acts inflamed opposing passions, by giving southerners the very thing they'd been warned would happen, a northern-fomented slave insurrection, and by giving northerners something emotional to rally around, an assault on the flag. The abolitionists always wanted to end slavery; the southerners wanted to end their association with the United States as soon as it became clear they could no longer control the central government to the point of immobility on the slavery issue.


In each case, Brown's Raid and Sumter, some people on both sides did back off two steps and ask "Who benefits if we go roaring off in anger?" But they were drowned out by the roaring. And there they all were, with guns in their hands.

The moral of the story for me is that when a whole lot of people become very angry and start roaring, it's time to stop and take stock. I've always hated being pushed around, and to me that kind of emotional buttonpushing is still "pushing around."

jda3rd
05-23-2007, 06:26 PM
Mark Twain pointed out that (paraphrasing) history doesn't repeat itself. But it does rhyme!

Another old adage I've heard regarding life in a democracy is that ultimately the people have 2 options: the ballot, and if that proves useless, the bullet.

Frank

tompritchett
06-16-2007, 12:53 PM
"What we have here is a failure to communicate..."

When originally offered in "Cool Hand Luke," it summed up struggles very nicely. A failure to communicate is often at the heart of many conflicts.

When sides of a debate stop debating it begins a series of unfortunate events. Too often sides of a debate will exchange discourse for discord, plows for swords, and well, the rest is history. That's how it happened back then - and still does.

That to me is the lesson we can - and ought to - learn. The sad part, as I watch our society become polarized over partisan bickering... well, there is not much in the way of debate anymore. Politics seems to be a zero-sum game these days.

As I posted earlier, I could not agree more. First, we are seeing today what we saw then. Individuals who try to seek solutions instead of just rhetoric are villianized by both sides, much as Henry Clay was then. Back then many issues were viewed in the strict black and white standards of pro- versus anti-slavery. You were either against us fully or for us fully. There was no room for partial agreement and discussion of areas of disagreement - much as certain conservative commentors have done with their pet issues, as the Administration has done with Iraq, and the more radical Greens have done with certain environmental issues. As in the pre-Civil War days, we have allowed the more radical wings of both sides to set the tone of most public dialogs and thus allow the discussions to become more polarized each day.

Finally, one of the communication lessons of the later part of the Buchanan administrations is that when you remove yourself from the communication process, you also remove yourself from influencing subsequent decisions. As Southern cabinet members resigned from Buchanan's cabinet either in protest or as their states seceded, his cabinet became more hostile towards the South and the seceding states, thereby further reducing the chance of any compromise being reached that would prevent the upcoming war. Yet, today we refuse to hold upper level talks with nations like Syria and Iran to find solutions to the problems in Afganistan and Iraq. In addition, we refuse to hold upper level meetings with North Korea, even as part of multi-nation negotiations to deal with its growing nuclear threat.

bob 125th nysvi
06-16-2007, 07:00 PM
I think that was Santayana (sic) who said that well before Winnie said it.

bob 125th nysvi
06-16-2007, 07:05 PM
the outside parameters of any disagreement. So in this case you had the abolitionists driving in one direction and the pro-slavery forces going in the opposite.

Using the power of the press both sides made it seem like they were more powerful than they actually were feeding the other sides fears.

Then things started to happen which allowed them to take control of the situation and drive the mob through hysteria.

Once everybody was worked into a frenzy it only took one spark to ignite the powder and BOOM....

America's deadliest war.

But we did learn the hard lesson, no matter how bad our differences as a nation we have refused to allow the radical minorities to drive us into chaos again.