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Thread: The American Civil War as a continuation of a lasting British division

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    The American Civil War as a continuation of a lasting British division



    The 150th anniversary of the start of the American Civil War is tomorrow, so let's talk about how we can see a little bit of Europe in the conflict.

    One idea that I have seen pop up in various writings regarding the American Civil War is that it was a continuation of a division in British society that dates back to at least the English Civil War, see Dawson, 1978. And perhaps even farther back than that, see:

    Quote Originally Posted by J.M. Hill, 1986
    The first United States census in 1790 revealed a well defined ethnic division between the Northern and Southern states. In New England 75 percent of the people were Anglo-Saxons in origin, while Celts outnumbered Anglo-Saxons in the South two to one.
    I have also read several references to the English Civil War as having significant ethnic division, where the Parliamentarians were principally Anglo-Saxon in heritage and identification, whereas the Royalists contained a significant Brythonic strain. Compare this map of the spread of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms into Britain with these maps of the sides in the English Civil War. There is a clear similarity between where the Britons were and the Royalists were, as well as a similarity between where the Anglo-Saxons were and the Parliamentarians were.

    Finally, there is little doubt that the early British settlement of America had mostly Royalists settling in the South, and mostly Parliamentarians settling in the North. I'll take this as common knowledge, although it would be easy to find sources if anybody doubts it.

    So, let's try to formalize this theory briefly, and debate it. Under this theory, there are two British groups who have been divided since the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain, and whose division persisted all the way to the American Civil War. Let's call these groups "A" and "B." They are:

    A: They were the Anglo-Saxons during the Anglo-Saxon invasion. During the Protestant Reformation, they became Puritans. They were the Parliamentarians during the English Civil War. When settling in America, they settled in the North. In the American Civil War, they fought for the Union.
    B: They were the Britons during the Anglo-Saxon invasion. During the Protestant Reformation, they became Anglicans. They were the Royalists during the English Civil War. When settling in America, they settled in the South. In the American Civil War, they fought for the Confederacy.

    I doubt this theory of continuity will go unchallenged in this forum, so... what do you think? Are there any steps above that are too much of a reach? Or is there some validity to this theory? If so, what kept the division alive?

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    My knowledge on that isn't that profound. But wasn't it also that originally climatic differences between North and South led to different organisations of agriculture and industry, eventually also to different types of economy and society? Which turned out to be the focus of the crisis? Not that I want to deny these differences of ethnic backgrounds, but somehow I have the feeling it's more some kind of co-incidence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkey View Post
    Finally, there is little doubt that the early British settlement of America had mostly Royalists settling in the South, and mostly Parliamentarians settling in the North. I'll take this as common knowledge, although it would be easy to find sources if anybody doubts it.
    For the Europeans, American universities have 'Mascots' for sporting events.

    Virginia, in the South, has a Cavalier.
    Virginia%2BCavaliers%2Blogo.jpg

    Harvard, in New England, uses a Puritan (John Harvard actually).
    10159516-harvard-mascot-john-harvard.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mzungu mchagga View Post
    My knowledge on that isn't that profound. But wasn't it also that originally climatic differences between North and South led to different organisations of agriculture and industry, eventually also to different types of economy and society? Which turned out to be the focus of the crisis? Not that I want to deny these differences of ethnic backgrounds, but somehow I have the feeling it's more some kind of co-incidence.
    I don't think I'm ready to argue that ancient ethnic divisions caused the conflict, but it's interesting to see that the split appears to have fallen along the traditional division. So, conflicts between the two sides involving economy, tariffs, and slavery were obviously in the forefront of people's minds at the beginning of the war, not ethnicity. But I think that it is possible to look back and see that differences in attitudes regarding what should be allowed in a society and how it should be governed have roots in the different attitudes in the English Civil War, which in turn was influenced by the ancient ethnic divisions. So, even though the causes of the conflicts were different, we see that the same split persisted.

    This political cartoon
    (offensive by modern standards) by Confederate sympathizer Adalbert Volck offers some additional support to the idea that Confederates felt that they were still fighting Puritanism. In it, negative social changes associated with Northern Unionism rest on a foundation of Puritanism.

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    I think that the writer, although mentioning ethnic groups, is actually alluding to cultural differences particular to those groups.
    Of course there were a vast range of factors such as climate, economic etc. that lead to differences in the north/south regions. Having said that, I think that this could be a valuable discussion. People in many cases immigrated to regions that were being settled by those of the same socioeconomic and/or religious background. It was not by accident that Virginia came to be referred to as the "Old Dominion". The ruling elite were quite Cavalier in their outlook and it showed in their political leanings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkey View Post
    I don't think I'm ready to argue that ancient ethnic divisions caused the conflict, but it's interesting to see that the split appears to have fallen along the traditional division. So, conflicts between the two sides involving economy, tariffs, and slavery were obviously in the forefront of people's minds at the beginning of the war, not ethnicity. But I think that it is possible to look back and see that differences in attitudes regarding what should be allowed in a society and how it should be governed have roots in the different attitudes in the English Civil War, which in turn was influenced by the ancient ethnic divisions. So, even though the causes of the conflicts were different, we see that the same split persisted.

    This political cartoon
    (offensive by modern standards) by Confederate sympathizer Adalbert Volck offers some additional support to the idea that Confederates felt that they were still fighting Puritanism. In it, negative social changes associated with Northern Unionism rest on a foundation of Puritanism.
    Mmh, i'm trying to recall the explanation my English teacher at school once gave to us (he was from Atlanta, GA btw):

    People who settled in the South or in the North came of different reasons. As mentioned before, due to climate the South was very favorable for plantations of plants that didn't grow in England, like cotton, tea, tobacco, some fruits etc., but not so for living (refridgerators and electric ventilators weren't invented yet). People who settled there came for economic reasons mainly. In order to support the mercantilist economy, they got better protection from the Crown for their purposes.
    The people who settled north mainly did this for religious reasons, to practice their religion (Puritan mainly, to a lesser extend Catholic) freely. Even before they continued to settle in America, England was a refuge of other European Puritans, especially French (Huguenotts), but also Dutch. Of course, in accordance with their religious belief, they questioned the divine rule of the king (or any other person), and tried to gain influence on politics through Parliament by themselves. When the king offered those people to settle in the colonies, it was some kind of double win situation for him: first he got rid of his opponents in his front-lawn, but still he could keep these mostly highly business-minded and educated people within his empire.

    What I now would be interested in is, from which parts of England the king actually gathered the economic settlers, and from which parts the Puritans were mostly coming from. For some reason I claim to remember the economic settlers (who later settled in the Southern colonies) were mainly from the South East, East Anglia and Wes-Es-Sussex region. However, this would absolutly contradict the parliamentary and royalist maps I've seen now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mzungu mchagga View Post
    People who settled in the South or in the North came of different reasons. As mentioned before, due to climate the South was very favorable for plantations of plants that didn't grow in England, like cotton, tea, tobacco, some fruits etc., but not so for living (refridgerators and electric ventilators weren't invented yet). People who settled there came for economic reasons mainly. In order to support the mercantilist economy, they got better protection from the Crown for their purposes.
    The people who settled north mainly did this for religious reasons, to practice their religion (Puritan mainly, to a lesser extend Catholic) freely. Even before they continued to settle in America, England was a refuge of other European Puritans, especially French (Huguenotts), but also Dutch. Of course, in accordance with their religious belief, they questioned the divine rule of the king (or any other person), and tried to gain influence on politics through Parliament by themselves. When the king offered those people to settle in the colonies, it was some kind of double win situation for him: first he got rid of his opponents in his front-lawn, but still he could keep these mostly highly business-minded and educated people within his empire.
    Most of this is right, and offers insight as to why Parliamentarians went to the North and Royalists went to the South. A couple minor nitpicks: the most Catholic colony initially was Maryland, which is not that far north (kinda in-between), and many Huguenots settled in the South rather than the North due to their friendliness with the English crown at certain times. But those are tangential to this discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mzungu mchagga View Post
    What I now would be interested in is, from which parts of England the king actually gathered the economic settlers, and from which parts the Puritans were mostly coming from. For some reason I claim to remember the economic settlers (who later settled in the Southern colonies) were mainly from the South East, East Anglia and Wes-Es-Sussex region. However, this would absolutly contradict the parliamentary and royalist maps I've seen now.
    Per Fischer, New England Puritans came mostly from East Anglia, which is consistent, and Virginians came mostly from the South of England, which is only sort of consistent, as the Southwest was Royalist/more Brythonic and the Southeast was Parliamentarian/more Anglo-Saxon. At least, those who came from the Southeast would have been the Royalist crop within the Southeast. And Fischer also sees two more major migrations from the British Isles, one to the North and one to the South: Quakers from Midlands and Wales to the North, who didn't want to have much to do with conflicts anyway; and Irish, Scottish, Scots-Irish, and Northern English to the South (especially Appalachia), who would have enhanced the apparent Celtic origin of the of South and also reinforced the anti-Puritan attitude in the region.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkey View Post

    Per Fischer, New England Puritans came mostly from East Anglia, which is consistent, and Virginians came mostly from the South of England, which is only sort of consistent, as the Southwest was Royalist/more Brythonic and the Southeast was Parliamentarian/more Anglo-Saxon. At least, those who came from the Southeast would have been the Royalist crop within the Southeast. And Fischer also sees two more major migrations from the British Isles, one to the North and one to the South: Quakers from Midlands and Wales to the North, who didn't want to have much to do with conflicts anyway; and Irish, Scottish, Scots-Irish, and Northern English to the South (especially Appalachia), who would have enhanced the apparent Celtic origin of the of South and also reinforced the anti-Puritan attitude in the region.


    'The Horse the Wheel, and the Language" also has passages that refer to the bulk of early New England colonists coming from East Anglia. The writer maintains that this also had a strong effect on the development of the unique accent of New Englanders.

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    Well, I think I've just mixed up something from my memory, concerning the origin of those colonial settlers.

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    Hmm Very strange logic.

    Why should the Irish and Scots go to the south?
    The Scots went to Canada, an part of it even has the name Nova Scotia.
    Dutch protestants mostly went to the USA, Dutch catholics preferred Canada. Ontario and Nova Scotia.
    Dutch puritans were a very small group of people who didn't have much influence on the history of the USA.
    BTW The French were living in the south. Louisiana is named after the French King.
    All that is left there is Nouvelle Orleans (New Orleans) and Cajun music and food.
    Because the French went to Canada.

    So, Canada is more Celtic.
    The USA is more English.

    The opposite what has been told by the OP.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reinaert View Post
    Hmm Very strange logic.

    Why should the Irish and Scots go to the south?
    The Scots went to Canada, an part of it even has the name Nova Scotia.
    Dutch protestants mostly went to the USA, Dutch catholics preferred Canada. Ontario and Nova Scotia.
    Dutch puritans were a very small group of people who didn't have much influence on the history of the USA.
    BTW The French were living in the south. Louisiana is named after the French King.
    All that is left there is Nouvelle Orleans (New Orleans) and Cajun music and food.
    Because the French went to Canada.

    So, Canada is more Celtic.
    The USA is more English.

    The opposite what has been told by the OP.
    The Southern colonies, particularly the areas just West of those were settled by much larger amounts of Scots, Scotch-Irish, Germans and early Irish than Anglo-Saxons. Their legacy is reflected in the surnames and culture of those areas. It does not matter why they went there. We are talking about the fact that they did do so. Anglo-Saxons who left the coastal areas early on went west of and north of the northern states.

    Actually the Dutch had a major influence in New York and New Jersey.

    French influence is almost completely restricted to specific areas, like that of Louisiana and the Mississippi corridor, with scattered groups in Michigan and Wisconsin. Many French came to Louisisana after being forced out of Canada. There were small groups of Hugenots in South Carolina, etc.
    Last edited by Regulus; 14-04-11 at 00:30.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reinaert View Post
    Why should the Irish and Scots go to the south?
    In the first wave, as indentured servants to cavaliers (they didn't have a lot of choice). In the second wave, probably mostly for land.

    Quote Originally Posted by Reinaert View Post
    The Scots went to Canada, an part of it even has the name Nova Scotia.
    Dutch protestants mostly went to the USA, Dutch catholics preferred Canada. Ontario and Nova Scotia.
    Dutch puritans were a very small group of people who didn't have much influence on the history of the USA.
    BTW The French were living in the south. Louisiana is named after the French King.
    All that is left there is Nouvelle Orleans (New Orleans) and Cajun music and food.
    Because the French went to Canada.
    Most of this is correct, but somewhat tangential, I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by Reinaert View Post
    So, Canada is more Celtic.
    The USA is more English.

    The opposite what has been told by the OP.
    I'm not sure I see a large difference between the Celtic heritage of Canada and the USA. I suppose there was probably a higher concentration of Scottish settlers in Canada than in the USA, although I'm not sure about what the exact difference was. There were Scottish settlers in both places, and in the USA, it was mostly in the South and Appalachia. Maybe a Canadian can clue us in regarding the migration patterns there.

    Nonetheless, I didn't mean to include Canada as part of the North. I'm talking strictly within the borders of the USA here.

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    Well.. The Scots and French were allies during a long time. So Canada was more interesting for them.
    And another thing is, the French went from the USA to Canada, not the other way around.
    That's why a part of Canada still speaks French... "Vive Le Quebec libre..." That was De Gaulle's publicity stunt.

    Another point is, the English changed the way the British soil was used. Agriculture in the form of production of food changed into grasslands for keeping sheep. A lot of poor English, Welsh, Irish and Scot farmers depended on their landlords, who demanded too high prices for hiring farmlands.
    That was the major reason for emigration to the USA and Canada.
    Anyone who was active against this brutal British system ended up in Australia.
    That's where a lot of political prisoners were sent.

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    There were also two major upheavals in both Scotland and Ireland that lead to mass migration to the US. The English crackdown on the Clan system and the Highland clearances after the Battle of Culloden in 1745 and, later, the Irish Potato Famine in the 1840s, which not only effected Ireland, of course, but also Scotland and Western Europe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reinaert View Post
    Well.. The Scots and French were allies during a long time. So Canada was more interesting for them.
    And another thing is, the French went from the USA to Canada, not the other way around.
    That's why a part of Canada still speaks French... "Vive Le Quebec libre..." That was De Gaulle's publicity stunt.

    Another point is, the English changed the way the British soil was used. Agriculture in the form of production of food changed into grasslands for keeping sheep. A lot of poor English, Welsh, Irish and Scot farmers depended on their landlords, who demanded too high prices for hiring farmlands.
    That was the major reason for emigration to the USA and Canada.
    Anyone who was active against this brutal British system ended up in Australia.
    That's where a lot of political prisoners were sent.

    You will need to do a considerable amount of reading on this subject. It is clear that you are not very familiar with this era either. A very large number of French from Canada left and settled in Louisiana. They were for the most part expelled from Nova Scotia and other regions in the immediate area after the Seven Years War.
    They settled in Louisiana and became known as Cajuns. These people have maintainted a distinct culture apart from others of French descent in that state.


    I would recommend reading about Acadians and the term "The Great Upheaval" that refers to their expulsion. I am surprised that one who despises the Brits as much as you do is not aware of this event.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Antigone View Post
    There were also two major upheavals in both Scotland and Ireland that lead to mass migration to the US. The English crackdown on the Clan system and the Highland clearances after the Battle of Culloden in 1745 and, later, the Irish Potato Famine in the 1840s, which not only effected Ireland, of course, but also Scotland and Western Europe.

    Good points.
    The part that must be kept in mind about the Potato Famine immigrants is that they did not arrive until quite a while after the days of colonization (relative to US time periods). By this point the US was getting close to the boiling point on things like slavery. These people began pouring in at a time when cities like NY, Boston, and Philadelphia had grown to a point that such large numbers could be absorbed (not easily done at first, though). They differed from the earlier migrants in the days of colonization in that they congregated in the cities where they could find work or got hired out in large groups for canal or railroad projects.
    Last edited by Regulus; 15-04-11 at 01:31.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reinaert View Post
    Why should the Irish and Scots go to the south?
    The Scots-Irish and to some extent, the Scots, went south because they had nowhere else to go.

    Philadelphia was the main port of entry in Colonial times, not New York. It was the Erie Canal across New York State that built up NYC in the 1820's. When the Scots-Irish arrived in Philadelphia in the 1750's, they found that all of the good land in eastern Pennsylvania was taken by the English and Germans, so they went west. But the Appalachian Mountains stopped them. Pennsylvania was impassable going west until the railroads blasted through the mountains with huge tunnels in the late 1800's. The Appalachian Mountains are really a series of ridges each of which had to be crossed, except for the first one. This first ridge formed a huge valley with the second ridge. There is a large gap in the first ridge 50 miles west of Philadelphia which permitted access to the Great Valley which runs 1,000 miles from Maine to Georgia. The Great Wagon Road was built in this valley, along the path of an Native American trail, and it was this that led all settlers in this era to the South.

    Since it was mostly Scots-Irish who arrived in this era, they were the predominant ethnic group in the Appalachian area and the non-Tidewater South, which was English.

    One of the reasons that the Erie Canal was built was to bypass Pennsylvania and connect the West to NYC via the Great Lakes.

    I read a book some time ago, whose thesis was that the Canal let New England people spread through the Midwest and continue their culture in that area.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eochaidh View Post
    The Scots-Irish and to some extent, the Scots, went south because they had nowhere else to go.

    Philadelphia was the main port of entry in Colonial times, not New York. It was the Erie Canal across New York State that built up NYC in the 1820's. When the Scots-Irish arrived in Philadelphia in the 1750's, they found that all of the good land in eastern Pennsylvania was taken by the English and Germans, so they went west. But the Appalachian Mountains stopped them. Pennsylvania was impassable going west until the railroads blasted through the mountains with huge tunnels in the late 1800's. The Appalachian Mountains are really a series of ridges each of which had to be crossed, except for the first one. This first ridge formed a huge valley with the second ridge. There is a large gap in the first ridge 50 miles west of Philadelphia which permitted access to the Great Valley which runs 1,000 miles from Maine to Georgia. The Great Wagon Road was built in this valley, along the path of an Native American trail, and it was this that led all settlers in this era to the South.

    Since it was mostly Scots-Irish who arrived in this era, they were the predominant ethnic group in the Appalachian area and the non-Tidewater South, which was English.

    One of the reasons that the Erie Canal was built was to bypass Pennsylvania and connect the West to NYC via the Great Lakes.

    I read a book some time ago, whose thesis was that the Canal let New England people spread through the Midwest and continue their culture in that area.
    Very well said.

    The book that you read was clearly a good source. Your knowledge of the settlement of Appalachia is better than that of most Americans. Colonists of English descent, before the period when the west (into western Pennsylvania and Ohio and beyond) was opened were left with few options for open land. Western New York state land was held by many of the land baron type. Those who desired their own land were consequently limited to what little was available in the west of that state and the more northern regions of New York and New England.

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    English civil war / American civil war

    Thank you to everyone for these postings.

    I have long wondered if there were a relationship between the way America was settled and the American civil war. Apart from the issues of slavery, I have wondered if ethnic rivalries were also at the heart of the north / south conflict eg French / Anglo saxon (English)....and / or, as some of the postings are suggesting, Briton (celt, cornish etc) / anglo-saxon (English).

    It was when I asked myself if there were a link between the English civil war and the way the US was settled (and what impact this might have had on the War of Independence and the US civil war)...that I stumbled onto your site.

    What fascinates me is how issues which once divided a nation (eg in the UK: religion, allegiance to throne / parliament etc) subside within a couple of centruries and a new, national identity takes shape eg the British identity of empire and the Victorian era.

    What I am left wondering, however, is what common identity is there for the UK of the 21st century? What is the common thread / set of values that British people today can unite around before people allow themselves to be once again divided by ethnicity or faith

    Incidentally, terms are constantly changing: what does English mean to many people today? For some today, it is a description of ethnic origin and for others it simply describes the fact you live in England (but this opens up another can of questions / issues).

    Sorry for the long post:

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    Quote Originally Posted by mimran1965 View Post
    Thank you to everyone for these postings.

    I have long wondered if there were a relationship between the way America was settled and the American civil war. Apart from the issues of slavery, I have wondered if ethnic rivalries were also at the heart of the north / south conflict eg French / Anglo saxon (English)....and / or, as some of the postings are suggesting, Briton (celt, cornish etc) / anglo-saxon (English).

    It was when I asked myself if there were a link between the English civil war and the way the US was settled (and what impact this might have had on the War of Independence and the US civil war)...that I stumbled onto your site.

    What fascinates me is how issues which once divided a nation (eg in the UK: religion, allegiance to throne / parliament etc) subside within a couple of centruries and a new, national identity takes shape eg the British identity of empire and the Victorian era.

    What I am left wondering, however, is what common identity is there for the UK of the 21st century? What is the common thread / set of values that British people today can unite around before people allow themselves to be once again divided by ethnicity or faith

    Incidentally, terms are constantly changing: what does English mean to many people today? For some today, it is a description of ethnic origin and for others it simply describes the fact you live in England (but this opens up another can of questions / issues).

    Sorry for the long post:
    Welcome aboard and trust me, your post was not long at all. I too came across this forum while trying to do research. I was a little disappointed that this thread seemed to give out quickly. Maybe your post(s) will get it started again.

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    I think it's again Anglo-American propaganda to put the blame for the American civil war in the camp of those who had nothing to do with it. The French, the Irish and the Scots. Glad they didn't mention the Dutch..
    The same as always.. Anglo-Americans commit crimes, and blame it on the others.
    Yawn.

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    Thanks, both

    Humour - the panacea? A beautiful thought. Yes, we do all laugh at the same things!!

    Not wanting to play the 'ethnic blame game' though, I am left wondering how learning about the crises of the past might help us avert those waiting in the wings. How easy it seems for peoples to be divided from one another (civil wars, international conflicts etc)

    A common sense of belonging seems to evade most peoples today (and not just here in the UK) and this must spell difficulties ahead.

    It would be wonderful if it were simply enough to empathise with one another and simply celebrate being human, whilst laughing WITH each other about our frailties etc

    We live in hope that a critical mass of people will one day achieve this...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reinaert View Post
    I think it's again Anglo-American propaganda to put the blame for the American civil war in the camp of those who had nothing to do with it. The French, the Irish and the Scots. Glad they didn't mention the Dutch..
    The same as always.. Anglo-Americans commit crimes, and blame it on the others.
    Yawn.
    I don't know, I think that the people who advance the ethnic component of the theory the most often are those from the South, not the North. So, it's not Anglo-Americans blaming French, Irish, and Scots for driving the Confederacy, but rather Southerners who see their culture as fundamentally distinct from that of the North, due to ancient divisions. Hence they think that their secession was more justifiable because it wasn't just about politics. See A Southern View of History (not the best site in terms of facts IMHO but it proves my point here... also, they mention the Dutch...). I want to be cautious myself in following that line of thought, and I think that I have done so, so far. As I have mentioned before, I don't think that ancient cultural difference caused the conflict, nor am I about to blame any particular ethnicity for the conflict. But I still see a persistence in the same division, which warrants historical investigation.

    I also like to think that I'm not too biased here... my American ancestry is from the border states mostly, and I have both Unionist and Confederate ancestors.

    Quote Originally Posted by mimran1965 View Post
    Not wanting to play the 'ethnic blame game' though, I am left wondering how learning about the crises of the past might help us avert those waiting in the wings. How easy it seems for peoples to be divided from one another (civil wars, international conflicts etc)

    A common sense of belonging seems to evade most peoples today (and not just here in the UK) and this must spell difficulties ahead.

    It would be wonderful if it were simply enough to empathise with one another and simply celebrate being human, whilst laughing WITH each other about our frailties etc

    We live in hope that a critical mass of people will one day achieve this...
    I agree, a lot of the persistence of conflict that we see results from those who fail to learn from history and who continue to see another segment of society as the other. We are all human, after all.

    The ancient British division that I speak of still persists today in different forms, but I think it has found more healthy outlets most of the time. Things like voluntary devolution in the UK and celebration of local culture in the USA have helped people keep their unique cultures and ideas without bloodshed. Ideally, we should all be at peace, communicate with one another, and maintain our diversity of culture. I hope that that's where we're all headed... but history may have something else to say about that.

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    The ancient British division that I speak of still persists today in different forms, but I think it has found more healthy outlets most of the time. Things like voluntary devolution in the UK and celebration of local culture in the USA have helped people keep their unique cultures and ideas without bloodshed. Ideally, we should all be at peace, communicate with one another, and maintain our diversity of culture. I hope that that's where we're all headed... but history may have something else to say about that.[/QUOTE]

    Thank you.
    It's fascinating how events, coupled with the power of the media, can either quickly galvanise or divide people. The royal wedding today is seeing a surge in national pride / patriotism unseen in years. Super! Billions around the globe are watching...and perhaps there is even an international galvanisation occurring as 'a large part of humanity' send their best wishes (and prayers) to the young couple (who really do seem the 'genuine article'). People love goodness, wherever it is to be found.

    And yet, the words or actions of a maverick leader or a militant few can just as quickly turn the tide of opinion of the masses violently against communities with just the slightest links to those few who spread dissent and violence eg with what is happening in the Muslim communities.

    In the English / US civil wars, led on by the passion of a growing few, whole communities became bitterly divided previous to which people had peacefully co existed. Admittedly, this happended without a mass media to fan the flames.

    But the slaughter in Rwanda WAS exacerbated by mass media, just as media machines were used to demonise 'the Hun' or the 'Boer' or 'Charlie' in 'Nam.

    After a conflict, people can quickly return to co existence (Europe after the second war)....although no doubt passions can still run deep after many conflicts (the confederate identity in the Deep South). Mass media (feeding on a human urge for peace) no doubt plays a powerful role in how quickly relations can be normalised.

    So questions remain about who controls the media, how feelings can be manipulated, how old tensions can be scratched, how conflicts can be stoked up (perhaps to serve the interests of a few) ...........and how the radical agendas of a few can be stopped before whole communities are radicalised.

    Humour and the sharp analysis of people blessed with wisdom and a sense of justice should be able to save us from ourselves. Let's hope the mass media is always prepared to give such voices spaces to be heard. :)

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