More Civil War
By Dwip July 9, 2008, 4:28 pm Comments Off on More Civil War RSS Feed for this post

Since I was thinking about this earlier, a little bit more blathering on The Civil War. Which is going to be mostly YouTube clips of the thing, hitting what I think are some of the emotional high points, starting with:

This clip from Episode 1, which lays out the basis for the thing about as well as anything can, I suppose, or at least gives you enough graphic reason to convince you that slavery is a bad, bad thing.

As to these next three, the first 1.5 are the bittersweet ending, and the second 1.5 cover Lincoln’s assassination, a topic I will return to in a moment.

This clip from the end of Episode 1, which contains a letter you should listen to.

Also, that music. Gods, the music. Listen to that top embedded clip, and you’ll understand why the music of this film has stuck with me half my life.

Now, as to Abraham Lincoln, it occurs to me, and I imagine I am not the first, that his assassination may well be the most tragic event in American history. On one level this seems obvious, but consider. Here’s the man that freed the slaves, and transformed the Civil War from a squabble over political powers to a struggle for the freedom of a people. And that was done before he was killed. And you end up with this brief moment, something on order of ten years, where you really do get something approximating equality for black people. And then the whole thing goes down in a blaze of corruption, greed, and entrenched racism that took us a century to overcome, and nevermind the intense sectional rivalries and hatreds.

Now, there’s only so much Lincoln can do in a single term as President, and unless he pulls an FDR and goes for 3 and 4 terms, he’d mostly be an elder statesman, but could he have dealt with the excesses of the Radical Republicans? Could he have somehow helped heal the country, forge real political and maybe even social equality for the former slaves? I sure dunno, and it’s a pretty big task, but if there was anyone to do it, Lincoln was that guy.

Andrew Johnson? Not so much. Not so much.

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