HOT BLAST: The making of another U.S. civil war?
Oct 16, 2013 | 1731 views |  0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
House Speaker John Boehner, left, and President Obama
House Speaker John Boehner, left, and President Obama
If it's true that Congress hasn't been this dysfunctional since the mid-1800s, is it possible that the steep divide in Washington could lead to another U.S. civil war?

Hard to imagine, obviously. But in this interview with the Orlando Sentinel, University of Central Florida political-science professor Aubrey Jewett does a good job of adding context to the current political climate in D.C.

Jewett told The Sentinel, "Statistically, the congressional parties are more ideologically polarized than they have been since the Reconstruction Era of the 1870s. Previous to that, Congress was even more volatile and dysfunctional during the 1850s because of profound disagreements over slavery. There were a number of physical altercations in Congress including the brutal beating of one senator with a cane, a brawl that broke out among dozens of members, a few members who pulled out their pistols, and several challenges to duel with guns or Bowie knives. It took a Civil War to iron out those differences.

"The climate in Congress almost certainly will change. Hopefully it will change sooner rather than later and without the necessity of another Civil War! Over time the public will change, membership will change and issues will change. After the deep divisions of the Civil War and Reconstruction Era, polarization between the political parties in Congress declined for decades, and between 1930 and 1990, Republican and Democratic lawmakers were much closer than they are today, compromising on liberal legislation in the 1960s and conservative legislation in the 1980s."

-- Phillip Tutor
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