Is America in a State of Civil War?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017
By Paul Martin

America is in a state of supersessionist civil war, between the body that voted for the president of the United States and the body that voted for the other candidate.


Is America in a state of civil war?

“Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure,” said Abraham Lincoln at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery on Nov.19, 1863—the Gettysburg Address.

Asserting the construction “great Civil War” in 1863 was a risk. The U.S. Congress did not use the term until 1907.
Calling any contest for sovereignty a “civil war” is a threat to the state.

I learn from David Armitage’s new book, Civil Wars: A History in Ideas, that the term “civil war” has been such a threat over the last 2,000 years, associated with horror and ruin, that it was useful for monarchs, poets, and philosophers to avoid the Roman idea of civil war by using less foreboding words: “rebellion” or “insurrection,” or even “revolution.”

By the latter half of the 18th century, about the time of the founding of the American Republic, scholars were able to identify three kinds of fearsome civil war.

The first was called successionist. Since pre-history, this was a probable result of a monarch’s death. Tom Paine wrote in favor of a non-hereditary state by arguing, “… [M]onarchy and succession have laid (not this or that kingdom only) but the world in blood and ashes.”

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