The “Apocalyptic Success” of the Civil War

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I found the most compelling aspect of the final chapter of “Inhuman Bondage” to be the vocabulary Davis used to describe the rationale behind both the Union’s and the Confederate’s wartime decisions. Davis successfully indicated the dangerous rhetoric used during the Civil War while simultaneously eliciting modern comparisons. For example, on page 302 Davis states, “Northerners repeatedly heard the argument that the war offered a transcendent opportunity for purification…” Furthermore, he quotes a Northerner named Josephine Shaw Lowell saying that “this war will purify the country” (302). Although we as readers can be confident that Davis is obviously not a proponent of slavery, this highlighting of dangerous, somewhat propaganda-reminiscent vocabulary used especially by the North may suggest that Davis is attempting to give a fuller picture of the logic of the Civil War rather than just political differences or pro-slavery versus anti-slavery. Davis clearly prefers to view the Civil War from an international perspective (perhaps to be less biased). As Matt said in his post, “the issue of “who” initiated conflict is also of some concern”–this preference is evidenced in that Davis questions all involved in the war, from Lincoln to confederate soldiers. He asks, “Why was it that a democratic nation that prided itself on rational moderation, peace, common sense, expediency, and compromise became the scene of the world’s first “modern” war, pursued by the North until its armies achieved unconditional victory, totally crushing the South?” (300). Again, we as readers have no reason to question that Davis didn’t support abolition, but it is clear that he is only sympathetic to the logical decision, and not the unnecessary psychological and physical destruction that occurred–no matter which side initiated it.