11.12.19. The New American Civil War

Civil War

This week we examine one publication’s concerns about a new “Civil War”, and the science behind why Americans are more polarized than ever.

“O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, the ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won.” These were the wors of poet Walt Whitman, whose famous words became among his most memorable, as they commemorated the fallen president Abraham Lincoln, whose leadership during the American Civil War helped to preserve the Union between the states of the nation.

In modern times, we often take for granted that we have preserved unity for as long as we have, although the idea of civil war has never really left us. After it was evoked by Donald Trump on Twitter, who said this would be the result if impeachment proceedings continued, The Atlantic took to the pages of its publication asking whether this threat could be more real than many recognize.

We examine this, along with the thoughts of members of the psychological community in terms of trying to understand how we ever became so polarized, and what history really teaches us about how political attitudes have changed over time.

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Image in episode art by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons. 

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