Review: America Aflame

David Goldfield's, "America Aflame: How The Civil War Created a Nation"
David Goldfield’s, “America Aflame: How The Civil War Created a Nation”

United States, 1834-1876

David Goldfield’s America Aflame: How The Civil War Created a Nation is a sweeping antiwar take on the Civil War era and a throwback to Avery Craven’s “blundering generation” thesis.

Goldfield sets the “Civil War” with the Confederacy in the context of other perceived threats to mid-nineteenth century America: Roman Catholics, Mexicans, Indians, and labor unions. The preferred solution by Yankees to each of these threats was the use of violence.

Far from being an “Irrepressible Conflict,” Goldfield pins the blame for the War Between the States on the intolerance and fanaticism that was injected into the political process by the rise of evangelical Christianity during the Second Great Awakening.

Northern evangelicals like Harriet Beecher Stowe and William Lloyd Garrison transformed “political issues into moral causes” which “poisoned the political process,” undermined the political center inhabited by moderates like Stephen Douglas and Alexander Stephens, created an atmosphere of moral certitude in which compromise was impossible, and finally alienated the South to the point of destroying the Union.

Confident of their personal relationship with the Almighty, the Saints of New England tragically marched off to wage their crusade to “save the Union” against the wicked “Slave Power” which had thwarted them for so long. Southern evangelicals were no less certain that God was on their side. Somewhere in the midst of the carnage of battles like Cold Harbor, Northerners were chastened by Confederate guns and their religious fervor began to subside.

The “Civil War” created a “nation”: Goldfield argues that this nation, modern America, a consolidated activist government supervising an industrialized economy in which national citizenship in the sacred Union has replaced state citizenship in a loose confederation of sovereign states, was synonymous with the Republican Party and the victorious Northern states, which dominated the country until the Great Depression.

The North, or postbellum “America,” lost its religious enthusiasm and embraced the gospel of science and material progress. Northerners moved on into the Industrial Revolution of the 1870s and lost themselves in the consumer cornucopia that emerged in its wake. Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of the incendiary antebellum anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, moved to Florida, converted to Episcopalianism, and spent her elderly years writing books on interior design.

The South became an internal colony of the United States, a much larger version of Cuba or Puerto Rico, in everything but name. 1 out of every 4 White men between 20 and 40 had died in the war. Two thirds of Southern wealth was wiped out during the War Between the States. The South was reduced to political, cultural, and economic irrelevance within the Northern-dominated Union and wouldn’t even return to the level of per capita income it had in 1860 until the 1920s.

Like the Irish or the Poles, Southerners did not move on from the war. Evangelical Christianity wasn’t discredited in the South. It became synonymous with an emerging Southern folk culture, the Redemption movement, and the Lost Cause. The years between the end of Reconstruction and World War I was a period of intense nation building in “Dixie” in which the South developed a sense of national consciousness that had barely existed at the outset of the Confederacy.

The North quickly lost its zeal for imposing Reconstruction on the South. In particular, the emerging “Celtocracy” of Irish Catholic immigrants in Northeastern cities such Boston, Philadelphia, and New York City created a new sense of sympathy among Northern Protestants for White Southerners whose intelligence and property was also being swamped by the misrule of inferior races.

In the Western states, the energies of William Tecumseh Sherman, Philip Sheridan, and George Armstrong Custer were redirected from Georgia and the Shenandoah Valley and turned toward the pacification and annihilation of the Plains Indians. The Sioux and the buffalo that sustained their savage way of life were exterminated and the vast Midwestern agricultural empire which is dominated today by agribusiness was created in the Plains from the Dakotas to Kansas.

Goldfield closes America Aflame with a look at the Centennial Exposition of 1876 in Philadelphia which closed the first century of America’s existence: a continent had been conquered, the Union had been preserved, slavery had been overthrown, and America seemed to be on a dizzying upward trajectory with everything from steel to electricity to the telephone to Heinz’s ketchup making its appearance.

Somehow the “Civil War” had made it all possible. But at what cost?

About Hunter Wallace 12367 Articles
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Occidental Dissent

51 Comments

  1. What do you mean the moon doesn’t affect human behavior? Anyone with any experience w/ woman can tell you otherwise….

  2. Hey PGRT Mike – I’d be fascinated by your assessment of the Negro Homosexual Art-eest Wiley. Tell us how his work reverberates with your psyche.

  3. This was a very good comment thread, not only because of Svigor’s “svigor of speech,” but also because “Joan of Arc” wrote an excellent comment above that I would paste here if it were not so long. I recommend it.

  4. LandShark says:
    January 27, 2013 at 12:17 am
    Changes of a scale that used to take a half century of social engineering to augment now happen every couple of weeks.

    I had this exact thought only yesterday. It’s breathtaking really.

  5. Has anyone watched the video? It sounds like a jewish guy using the civil war to attack Evangelical christianity, keep christianity out of government, promote secularism and the jewish favorite idea, pluralism.

    It was a swell video.

    We should all use the Civil War to attack the evangelical freaks responsible for abolitionism among other foolhardy ideas. The Founders had made sure to keep proper regimented Christianity out of government which allowed mass-movement quacks to gain undue influence over politicians. This “White Man’s Banner” mentioned in the video was discussed on the forum here. Anything that chips away at BRA’s highground in its disgusting war against the South is ammo.

  6. Denise,

    Yep he’s literally erasing western art in every fugging canvas. The market is indeed wealth Jewish queers.

  7. On the radio right now there is an archived Art Bell show from 1996, and he had a Christian Identity caller whom he just laughed at. Then a white southern lady (who thinks she might be part Cherokee and a slightly amount black) called in and talked about the terror of living with a white supremacist father. She said she was almost kicked out of her house when she was 7 for being upset about the Birmingham black church bombing. The collapse was supposed to happen in the year 2000 then, followed by race war. Over a decade later and here we still are. Yes, I’m a metaphorical Jew with white blood, and proud of it. Sure pluralism isn’t always pretty, but it’s much better than any other system. I agree with people here about women in combat though; they should not be fighting imperialist neocolonial wars against the Middle East. That’s the one problem with the Jewish agenda.

  8. I’m not from Mississippi at all. When I was Mike, I almost felt bad for my deception when I read Denise’s response, but then I had lunch with my Jewish friend and my black friend and my Mexican friend and my Chinese friend, and I knew that I am right to be part of the BRA agenda. My over-the-top form of writing is a distraction/mind control mechanism meant to direct all of your thoughts away from real activism and more towards speculating about myself. I too come here to argue and learn, but I am using this learning against you; using it to figure out weak points in the establishment system so I can help figure out ways to fix it and keep it going.

  9. I’m not a fan of the black gay artists. I’m also annoyed at my university with the mostly white women advertising for the trash so-called play The Vagina Monologues.

  10. ” No Scotland no Labour majority.”
    That’s hardly a recomendation for Scottish rule. The labor party are the fucks who destroyed Great Britain with waves of third world immigrants – and were later revealed to have done it specifically to change the demographics of the electorate enough to lock themselves into power. That’s despicable. Sorry to hear that Scotland is a major factor in the destruction of the larger once-white polity that they are a part of.

  11. “Like the Irish or the Poles, Southerners did not move on from the war.”

    What do you mean by this, exactly? The Polish history in America is only superficially similar to the Irish. The Irish came in waves, the Polish in drips and drops. The first general to head the US Army calvary in the Revolutionary War, under Washington, was a Polish nobleman. There was Polish immigration of Catholics in the 1800s and Jews in the 1900s. Not much in common between them, different cultures, religions, genes and even language as most of the Polish Jews spoke Yiddish.
    There are no Irish Jews.

  12. There are always a few Polish in any campaign you care to mention. They like war. They even had a division or two operating in Normandy. Their Armoured Div sealed the falais gap.

  13. The presence of a few families a thousand years ago, doesn’t really justify their presence today. There is a minister in their government called Alan Shatter who is jewish. He’s importing niggers like a commodity. He’s also trying to get a holocaust memorial built there. He’s deliberately blackening Ireland.

  14. The first established community of Irish Jews came Normandy; more arrived from Norman England, especially around 1290, and in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries there was an immigration of Iberian Marranos — some of whom became influential in Cork centuries before that city welcomed the Lithuanian Jews expelled from Limerick.

  15. They should also mention that Jewish financiers backed the Norman invasion of Ireland. Josce of Gloucester funded the Strongbow invasion. They did just move there they were sent themselves to collect rents and taxes.

  16. Finally this morning on yahoo (although not a fan) attention paid to several slain in a thug style ghetto Chicago shoot out over the weekend. Gun laws really keeping those folks safe huh? If Emmanuel and Bloomberg and Como want to play tough publishing the names of responsible , respectable safe gun owners in their state making them targets to every criminal around then others must fight back. Demand media attention for every shooting in Chicago and every other city where thugs get to keep their guns but responsible gun owners are put if fear and told they are “mentally ill” for wanting to protect themselves. Get real people. We can’t leave the USA we created it. Stand your ground. Wake up! Fight back. Demand thug black male gun crime is exposed for what it is. Under a black president white privilege is nothing but something the current goverenment is determined to get rid of. They call it leveling the playing field so a group of corrupt crimminal gang families who paid big money to support their candidate who is currently in office can run this country. If you are in state with decent gun laws demand local protection for those laws. If you’ve got a bunch of liberals running your cities so that your local government feels like Berkley CA but you are supposed to live in the South get rid of them. YOu have no saftey with the current goverment in office. Demand attention for thug crime get your local governments correct and secure. Stand your ground and Fight!

  17. The Romans, not so much. The Normans, complex. They interupted a lot of development. It took a while to correct the French influence and restore a Germanic monarchy.

  18. The most important part of English history is the speedy but sometimes violent resolution of political differences and rivalries, followed by long periods of national consensus and unity.
    Very few states in Europe have that long continous history. For instance the monarchy goes back to Edgar. If you like it goes back to Alfred. It is one of the oldest institutions in Europe.

    1) the best thing is the cooperative people.

    2) the sacred monarchy.

  19. There’s no easy right or wrong here. Personally I don’t like Germanic common society/law, maybe you do, whether it is “Danelaw” or some other strange conglomeration. The monarchy is descended from William, not “Cnut”. Sure it has been muddied with German blood over the years. As to whether this was a contributing factor to the dismal royals of the last century I care not to speculate. Becket’s murder could perhaps be seen as a germanic cultural triumph.

  20. PGRT – whatever you are – you are one sad sorry fool. You are a total stooge. You do not like the things that Talmudic Jewry “bestows”. Ensler, like Tim UnWise, is a Mischling. A real abomination. Sexual depravity and degradation is the Hallmark of Talmudic Jewry – yet you still want to play on their team.

    You are not White. You are UnWhite. Your deepest, vestigially healthy instincts revolt against what your egoism strives to perpetrate – yet you seek to kill your healthy instincts. Sad. Tragic. You are a mess. You are wat war with yourself. Not us. You will lose, your war. You will lose everything.

    I’m glad you are not one of us. You are not worthy of us. You are Damaged Goods – by your own choice.

    FYI – your Chosen Masters despise YOU more than any-one.

    You’ll find out for yourself one day

  21. The North quickly lost its zeal for imposing Reconstruction on the South. In particular, the emerging “Celtocracy” of Irish Catholic immigrants in Northeastern cities such Boston, Philadelphia, and New York City created a new sense of sympathy among Northern Protestants for White Southerners whose intelligence and property was also being swamped by the misrule of inferior races.
    What I find interesting is that Hunter in his “White Nationalist” phase would have condemned such a criticism of Irish Catholics of “infighting” etc. but now since he’s moved to Southern Nationalism, feels open to attack Northern Irish Catholics. I’m not complaining, since I think that if Jews are fair game, others groups should also be fair game.

  22. The North quickly lost its zeal for imposing Reconstruction on the South. In particular, the emerging “Celtocracy” of Irish Catholic immigrants in Northeastern cities such Boston, Philadelphia, and New York City created a new sense of sympathy among Northern Protestants for White Southerners whose intelligence and property was also being swamped by the misrule of inferior races.

    What I find interesting is that Hunter in his “White Nationalist” phase would have condemned such a criticism of Irish Catholics of “infighting” etc. but now since he’s moved to Southern Nationalism, feels open to attack Northern Irish Catholics. I’m not complaining, since I think that if Jews are fair game, others groups should also be fair game.

    • I’m not attacking them at all.

      Goldfield makes the argument in the book that Tammany Hall caused Yankees to sympathize with White Southerners who complained about living under the corrupt negro despotisms in the South.

  23. America gettin hot….Prison Planet >> Obama and the Royalty Factor video is One Hour and Half but well worth the time to listen to…www.prisonplanet.com/obama-and-the-royalty-f… Note: All the Cops, ATF Agents, FBI Agents, Fed Marshalls, Military Men with Masonic Rings will have to make a decision which side they are on. Will they side with us or Evil Royalty Criminals…All these millions of Whiggers if they stay loyal to the Evil Ones—they will later on be eliminated and slaughtered by the Evil Ones they supported….and what about Lawyers and Judges who are members of The American Bar Association and pay dues to the CROWN and are good SUBJECTS..Many of these who are politicians and also have the Masonic Rings On will have to make a decision—which side are they on…

  24. Maybe I am taking it out of context, but the quotation seems to compare Irish Catholics in the North to Blacks in the South – and then argue that White Protestants in both areas were sympathetic to each other. Which of course fits my crusade.

  25. I linked to something about Tammany.

    I think that abolitionists even began to doubt themselves after witnessing the serrated ranks of coins that descended upon the north after abolition. See that link above.

    The coming on of the clannish Irish in NYC and Boston probably woke a few self satisfied northerners from their slumber too. Ethnic white influxes probably damped down the nigger lover enough for Darwin to become the new holy of holies.

  26. John, the consensus you’ve recently noted as England’s strength has everything to do with the monarchy and Church. The US only approached consensus when it fought wars and never since WWII, which is why WWII followed by Lincoln are the national pivots when our chattering class dabbles in history. No national church, no sovereign above the fray….. No sooner were the Injuns east of the Mississippi subdued (1840’s) then white Americans found it physically impossible to be civilized amongst themselves.

    The development of something approaching traditional European society down South was the last straw, it had to be destroyed economically and socially. America was supposed to represent “progress” aka manichean bullshit according to the grandsons of the founders (see John Adam’s grandson’s letter to Karl Marx). Throw in Nigger-Worship and this country’s fate was fixed long ago. *spit*

  27. “What the Liberal Media Fears Most – 500,000 March for Life”

    The videos of the 2013 March for Life in Washington DC are now going up. Here is one of the Tradition Family Property with their Holy Choirs of Angels band and our Lady of Fatima taking the salute.

  28. consumer cornucopia

    I’d say television has been a net positive in BRA. In a land where the average white Christian Yankee has been steadily culturally disinherited it’s better he watches TV all day than joins the Communist Party or whatever the non-Communists are that teach Negroes how to read Doris Kearns Goodwin; Democrats, Unitarians?

    The best thing the average Yankee can do after being born is burrow into his barcalounger and keep a low-profile when he’s not at work. That’s the ideal. Expecting him to be a good actor is too much, he just shouldn’t act, he should watch. Thanks to television most do.

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