How The Civil War Changed America

How the Civil War Changed America

Borrowing from the article from How the Civil War Changed America published in the Dailey Beast. I see a connection to our times. Could it be that we are fighting the Civil War all over again? Is the South trying to rise again? Rich

During the war, the U.S. government spent an unprecedented $3.4 billion and wielded extraordinary authority: it inaugurated national conscription, a personal income tax, and a national banking system. After the war, a Harvard professor remarked, “It does not seem to me as if I were living in the country in which I was born.”

When the fighting ended, manufacturers switched from wartime to peacetime production, beginning a half-century of phenomenal economic growth that established the United States as a global power. The market revolution that swept the North and West, however, left the South untouched.

Besides economic stagnation, bitterness and nostalgia were the South’s other postwar legacies. Thousands of Confederate Army veterans simply left the United States, but others, like the man who lost two sons and his slaves in the war, lived to hate. “They’ve left me one inestimable privilege, to hate ‘em. I git up at half-past four in the morning, and sit up till twelve at night, to hate ‘em!”

The “Lost Cause” movement venerated the disappearing Southern antebellum culture and the Confederate Army. Its apotheosis was the unveiling of a sixty-feet-tall equestrian statue of the late Robert E. Lee in Richmond on May 29, 1890. Thousands of Southerners lined the parade route amid a riot of Confederate flags. When the old generals and their former troops in gray marched past, the crowds erupted in ecstatic Rebel yells.


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