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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Staff Editorial

Civil War anniversary shows a historical repeat

Tuesday marked the 150th anniversary of the hostilities of the Civil War, which is fitting because Democrats are acting in the same manner that victorious Northern Republicans in Congress did after the war.

After the North won the war, many an intellectual persuaded Congress to act in haste to set up the North’s dominance over the South and change its antebellum ways.

Frederick Douglass, in his “Reconstruction” essay written for The Atlantic in 1865, wrote: “Whether the tremendous war so heroically fought … shall pass into history a miserable failure … or whether, on the other hand, we shall … have a solid nation, entirely delivered from all contradictions and social antagonisms, based upon loyalty, liberty, and equality, must be determined one way or the other by the present session of Congress.”

Douglass was wary of Northern politicians who were too eager to acquiesce to the demands of Southern politicians — and rightfully so. The failure of Northern politicians to demand changes in the Southern system resulted in another 100 years of systematic discrimination and segregation.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, also writing for The Atlantic, said in his essay “American Civilization” that had the Free States done their duty beforehand, the war would have been averted.

Instead, “the Free States yielded, and every compromise was surrender, and invited new demands.”

Democrats took over the House in 2006 and the Senate and the White House in 2008. They should have taken victories and majorities in both chambers as reason enough to counter the agenda of the Republicans during the Bush years, but instead, Democrats have been caving in to Republican demands of all kinds; caving in to the same minority that they “yielded” to 150 years ago.

The $38 billion in cuts they just “compromised” on is just the latest example. Democrats should learn the lessons from yielding too much, and should learn it in this session of Congress. It’s time they fought for the least of us—which pretty soon will include people our age fighting to get an education and a quality job in the future.

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