A historian compared several likenesses between today and pre-Civil War America, saying President Donald Trump “was onto something” when he talked about a similar conflict in the future if he is removed from office via impeachment.
Trump, facing impeachment by the House over the Ukraine-Biden affair, tweeted comments made on Fox News by the evangelical pastor Robert Jeffress that the president’s removal “will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal.”
Heather Cox Richardson is a history professor at Boston College, she is an expert in 19th century America. Richardson laid out on Twitter what she described as the “eerily similar” parallels after Trump’s controversial civil war tweets.
“The parallels between the consolidation of elite slaveowners’ power from 1830-1860 and the rise of Movement Conservatives from 1954-2019 are eerily similar,” Richardson said, remarking that they both took power by “denigrating black Americans.
“Their racial dogwhistles won voters and they began to pass laws that moved wealth upward. The more those laws hurt regular people, the more they doubled down on racism against all POC, and then turned on ‘Feminazis,’ all of whom they said threatened white men’s liberty.
“As they got richer and lost popular support, they came to believe they were the nation’s natural leaders who should rule even as people turned against their policies. They stayed in power by gaming the system: gerrymandering, voter suppression, and a compliant SCOTUS.
“But that is now crumbling. When Trump threatens civil war, he is not just talking about saving his own hide; he is calling for his supporters to rally around race and gender so they protect the oligarchy that has been gathering power for a generation or more.”
Richardson added that there is a “crucial difference” between the two periods: “The world of 1860 was a world dominated by white men. But now POC [people of color] and women are political participants with voices and votes. And both are getting more powerful daily.”