Sunday, February 8, 2009

What kinds of comparisons can you draw between secessionists in North America and nationalists in Europe?

The secessionists in North America and the nationalists in Europe actually shared quite a few desires and motivations. But for the fact that we (as US citizens) view the South's secession from the Union with a nationalistic surprise, the South's movement for independence is no different from the various entities of Germany in 1848, trying to make it their own way in Europe. Around the time of the civil war, the United States as a nation state (the one we all love dearly today) did not exist as strongly as the individual political, economical, and cultural interests of the various states. The South had a system of life that was very different from the North because of the virtually free labor-based plantations. As the North continued to gain diversity from the various immigrants, the South had very few free workers, since none could hope to compete with slave labor. The South developed the independent cultural identity that fired up all the nationalistic urges in Europe, and they acted on those interests by seceding from the Union.

4 comments:

Cote Laramie said...

Geographcal differences are apparent in all cultures. If the South hadn't the flatland warm climate to grow cotton and Britain had, it would have depended less on the cotton industry and slave-labor.

Lena said...

I agree, the South might as well have been its own country, they had a different pattern of speech, different customs and different social standards and morals. All of these by the nationalistic and Volksgeist standards were reason enough to want independence and be granted it to be their own people ruled by their own centralized government that catered to them, and not the biased north.

The Captain said...

Could Poland be compared to the south then? I mean both wanted their independence from a greater nation-state, both enjoyed (as stated by Lena) different customs and speech, and both in the end were unsucessful. Poland was annexed back into the realm of Russia and the South again joined its northernly neighbors.

Hanjae Lee said...

I don't think it was nationalism that drove the South to break away from the North. While, European nations such as Germany was driven by nationalism, the South was driven by the economic interest.