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.