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 Posted: Thu Sep 18th, 2008 12:56 am
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Wrap10
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Bighouse wrote: I beleive a war was inevitable, regardless of who led the nation. It may not have occurred at the same time in history, but eventually the issue would have had to have been resolved and resolved by force.
The assassination of Lincoln ruined the South's chances at a more amiable (if that's the right word) approach to reconstruction. Andrew Johnson was rabid about making the South pay for secession and it's "rebellion".

That's the ironic thing about Johnson though, is that he came into office breathing fire toward the South, but ended up being more of a friend than an enemy as far as white Reconstruction was concerned. I don't know that he did them, or the country, any real favors in the long run though.

On the war's inevitability, I understand the point, but I'm not sure about it one way or the other. For the most part I tend to think that the future is not foreordained, so I lean more toward thinking the war was not, in fact, inevitable, even though it can seem that way when reading about the events leading up to it. The problem with learning about something that's already happened is that in retrospect it's obvious how "inevitable" it truly was. Especially since it happened. Can't get much more inevitable than that! :)

But things are usually much more obvious in retrospect than they are beforehand. How many of us here for example, could have predicted all that has taken place so far this year, from politics to the weather to world events? Or even in our personal lives? If I had taken a test on the year to come, 2008, I think I would have failed, given a lot of what we've seen. Yet much of it might seem "obvious" after the fact.

Plus, when I read about or think about some of the things that took place before the war, it's almost like watching the Titanic heading toward that iceberg. You want to find yourself a time machine, transport back to the bridge that night, grab the captain by the shoulders and shake him until he listens to you. Or until they toss you over the side. (Hopefully with the time machine alongside.) But the reason why you want to do that is because you can see that a different decision here or there could have changed the outcome. They miss the iceberg, everyone lives, the Titanic does not go down as a legendary doomed ship, and no one ever hears of Leonardo DiCaprio later in the century.

The road leading to the war is a lot like that, although more involved of course. I do think a peaceful solution to the slavery question was going to be extremely difficult. Maybe even impossible. But I'm just not totally convinced. Perhaps the biggest problem they had was their unwillingness to accept the possibility that the "other side" might in fact actually be willing to go to war at some point. And also, that it would evolve into the kind of war they eventually got. Had they known all that ahead of time, or at least believed it a realistic possibility, I think it's safe to say they would have found a way to avoid it. But they weren't blessed with 20/20 foresight anymore than we are. Where's that time machine when you need it?

Perry

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