North-South

To the Editor:
One wishes Gen. Kelly had elaborated the compromise he thought possible to prevent the Civil War.  The  economy of the South, its “way of life”, was dependent on slave labor (and White Supremacy) while, in the North, the abolitionist movement was gaining religious and humanitarian impetus.  Compromise on either side was impossible on the issue.  When the South opted to secede, Lincoln acted initially to preserve the Union, with abolition coming only later during the war.  During Reconstruction, Democrats gained the edge in the South, Republicans in the North.  When Lyndon Johnson pushed the Civil Rights Act through Congress, the two parties switched regions, but the North-South divide continues to this day.  The unfortunate aspect of Kelly’s remark is its Trumpian nod to Richard Nixon’s Southern Strategy.
Robert Porath

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