Forwarded from Nestor (replies to Julio and Anthony)

Jim Farmelant farmelantj at
Tue Jul 8 16:35:01 MDT 2003

On Tue, 08 Jul 2003 18:23:06 -0400 Louis Proyect <lnp3 at> writes:
> 1) Backing my ideas on the American Civil War (in fact, not my ideas
> but
> those of Marx and Engels)
> Only today, I stumbled on Huato´s request that Louis Proyect back my
> flamboyant (Huato´s words) claims that the British bourgeoisie was
> fighting
> against the American bourgeoisie in the American Civil War.

BTW Carrol Cox used to like to point out that the American
Civil War was just one of a number of such conflicts that
broke out in the New World during the mid-19th century.
Many of the South American nations experienced similar
civil wars that pitted very similar social forces against
each other, or as he once put it, but their outcomes
were generally quite different from that of the US civil

" (As part of his general argument Frank coined a wonderful
term for the Southern Slavedrives: a Lumpen Bourgeoisie.)
His argument was that in the 19th c. every nation in Latin America
suffered through a civil war that divided up roughly as did the
U.S. Civil War, both sides being "bourgeois," but different wings
of the bourgeoisie. On one side were the merchants and
landowners, on the other side (I for get his exact term) a sector
of the bourgeoisie at least remotely analogous to what is
sometimes called a "national bourgeoisie." The former, he went
on to argue, were tied essentially to British interests: the landowners
wished high prices for their products, low prices for tools and luxury
which tied them to the Merchants whose interest was in
conducting this trade between domestic landowners and
British industrialists. This side's major interest then was in low
tariffs, or at least that interest tended to focus their whole collection

of interests. On the otherside was the embryonic class-sector of
manufacturers, who wished cheap food for their workers and high
prices (without foreign competition) for their products (e.g., farm
machinery). Frank went on to argue that in every nation of the Western
hemisphere *except* the United States the landowner-merchant
sector won the Civil War, the last of which wracked Chile in the 1890s,
just as England was being replaced by the United States as the
preeminent outside power to which the landowners-merchants tied
their fortunes. It has been many years since I read Frank and I probably
have not given a wholly accurate summary. Nevertheless the analysis
makes at least immediate sense, and I would like to know how well
it has held up in the years since I read it. It certainly dispenses with
the "feudal-bourgeois" analysis, but it is also compatible with
*some* of the political implications drawn from that perspective."

Jim F.

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