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The Civil War and the Reconstruction constitute a significant element of the American history. The American people have upheld the memories of these two historical events for more than one and a half decades. While the Civil War represents an essential milestone in the country’s legislative progress, the Reconstruction is equally important as an elementary basis of the reunion between the northerners and their southern counterparts. Modern popular cultures have incorporated a diverse range of perspectives that have gone a long way in influencing the social and political aspects of the country. The influences are both positive and negative as they represent a basis of interpretation. Despite the extensive knowledge that most Americans possess concerning their history, there is still an inconsistency in the interpretation of the Civil War and the Reconstruction, thereby leading to undesirable consequences.
The prevailing social and political phenomenon is in one way attributable to the ways in which Americans remember the civil war and the reconstruction. For instance, the use of suggestive works of art to commemorate the events of the civil war have in the past contributed to the growth and spread of the tendencies of racism, a phenomenon, which was a negative consequence of the Civil War. The combined efforts of the veterans during the Reconstruction helped in reducing the animosity between the northerners and their southern counterparts. However, this animosity is revisited and reignited every time American commemorate the Civil War and the Reconstruction because it is difficult to overlook the negativities of the events when reliving the memories of the historic events. An increase in the spread of racism is the ultimate consequence of the ways in which Americans remember the Civil War and the Reconstruction (Chadwick 1).
The ways in which Americans remember the Civil War and the Reconstruction also present the risk of dividing the country along regional lines, hence reverting to the pre-reconstruction era during which the northerners and southerners differed not only on regional but also ideological grounds because every time memorials of the historical events are conducted, their negative memories are revisited, and members of the modern popular cultures are likely to blindly subscribe to the notion of animosity and racial discrimination (Chadwick 5). As a consequence, the division may result in the destruction of the liberties that have cost the country decades and the lives of the veterans that were lost during the Civil War. Furthermore, the political consequences of these methods of remembering the Civil War and the Reconstruction could lead to the paralysis of fundamental rights and liberties, thereby raising concerns over the effectiveness of the constitution and its amendments.
White supremacy is the predominant interpretation of the Civil War and the Reconstruction, especially as racial forces constituted a large proportion of the motivations of both the War and the Reconstruction. It is this perceived supremacy of the whites that contributed to the spread of slave trade and the oppression of the African Americans. For this reason, the predominant interpretation of the Civil War and the Reconstruction is centered on the concept of slavery and racism, both of which contributed to the civil injustices that prevailed for a better part of the eighteenth century. The use of force to break away from the bondages of slavery were made successful by the proclamation of antislavery by the Lincoln administration, which was followed by massive emancipation in both the northern and southern regions of the territory.
One of the consequences of this interpretation is the imbalance in the dispensing of justice in the American society, which is evidenced by massive cases of racial profiling and the high rate of incarceration among the African Americans. The high incarceration rates and the racial profiling are both viewed as consequences of the interpretation of the Civil War and the Reconstruction as a paradox of the white supremacy that is the prevailing case in the US. Also, a significant number of citizens feel that remembering the Civil War and the Reconstruction limits the credit of its success to white veterans giving no room for the accreditation of their African American counterparts (Chadwick 8).
Memories of the Civil War and the Reconstruction have a profound effect on the perception of both social and political phenomena in the American context primarily because of the multicultural nature of the society in the US, which is bound to exhibit and develop a varied set of interpretations, especially to the Civil War and the Reconstruction. Despite a long time since the date of the Civil War to the current times, the effects of the events have a profound impact on the social and political orientation of the members of the society. Consequently, it is worth noting that there is an urgent need to review and amend how Americans remember the Civil War and the Reconstruction, which would help in reorienting the multifaceted interpretations that are harbored by the various cultural backgrounds in the modern-day America.
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