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The Civil War as Revolution

July 11, 2019

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Americans tend to forget that our Revolution was also a civil war, and our Civil War was also a revolution. The War for Independence is overshadowed by the drama of inspired statesmen creating an entirely new Republic. Only military specialists care whether George Washington was lucky or skillful as a general. What matters is that he could have seized absolute power and didn’t. Our collective memory of the Civil War is exactly the opposite. The drama is in the terrible fighting, and the political results seem like an inevitable consequence of the Northern victory.

Reasons for the difference are not hard to find. Many leading loyalists in the American Revolution fled to Canada or Britain. Relative to the population, our

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