Monday, April 03, 2006

3/8ths review of Kindred

In this tape, Octavia actually does what I suggested. Our heroine teaches her ancestor to read & befriend her. She also starts teaching one of the house slaves to read. What a dull tape. Quite surprised that this section has gone on for as long as it has with no time travel, no near death experiences for Rufus, and no rape attempts. Oh there was one flogging, but not told in such excruciating detail as the first flogging Dana witnesses.

Historical debate: In Safire's Freedom Breckinridge & A.S. Johnson were arguing whether slavery necessitated the civil war. The argument by Breckinridge being that slavery had been kicked downstream by the founders, by the Missouri Compromise, and by the Compromise of 1850, so if the generation in power in 1860 had just managed to kick the issue of slavery downstream one more time, war would have been averted, and slavery would have ended peacefully. Johnson argued that slavery, while being pushed downstream, had never fully disappeared from our national discourse; the compromised had only delayed the issue - war was inevitable. Johnson loses the debate & is miffed at himself since he knows his argument is valid, but he has simply been out argued by a more seasoned debater.

In the voluminous notes, Safire states that he agrees that the Civil War could have been averted and was the fault of Jeff Davis and others of his ilk - 1 more compromise would have been enough.

Personally I believe that Civil War was inevitable. Few nations go through their history without one, and in the mid-1800's you had a rural, agricultural, South vs. an urban, industrial, Protestant North. Our Civil War was the growing pains of a new nation, which largely solved the Federal vs. State issue. Slavery was clearly the spark that set it off, but as writers of the time noted, the south was looking for an excuse to secede even without slavery.

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