[Marxism] The US Civil War

Mark Lause MLause at cinci.rr.com
Mon Oct 10 20:19:46 MDT 2005

I don't necessarily disagree with Nestor's view of "the big picture"
over the later 19th century, but I don't think that view requires an
agreement between North and South over imperial expansion as of 1860.  

Earlier tonight, I was digging around in a 19th century history of
Greene County, Missouri (Springfield) to find out about Civil War era
Republican politics there...  The first and later Republican Congressman
there was a fellow named Sempronius H. Boyd.  Boyd was the favored son
of a slaveholding family from Tennessee.  He studied law under a future
Confederate general and his father went to the legislature while he
himself served as mayor of Springfield in the 1850s when known
antislavery people were likely to get ridden out of town on a rail.
However, when the war came, Boyd supported the Union and became a
Republican.  Although there was a tug-of-war in the district over it,
Boyd represented the party in Congress and helped make the Republicans
the party of business and industry and the railroad.  

Now, what seems to be happening in a lot of these cases is what was
observed in some aspects of the French Revolution or the Soviet
Revolution...  Once an elite has its power threatened, individuals can
cross over to the organization that threatens it.  Over time, they can
actually take over and remold the organization to their own purposes...

In 1860, the Republicans in Springfield recruited some strong-minded and
heroic people determined to thwart "the Slave Power."  In 1865, they
were recruiting people who wanted to be a part of the dominant party
because they wanted a railroad contract.  

These should not be conflated.  The antebellum North and the Republicans
were not simple self-interested representatives of business aspirations
and imperial expansion. 

Mark L.


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