The Confederate States of America: an update

The other day I wrote about Steven Spielberg’s new movie about Abraham Lincoln. The movie ends, not with Lincoln’s assassination, but with the Second Inaugural, a beautiful speech in which Lincoln declared that the rebellious South was not an enemy, but a friend. Lincoln faced the prospect of “reconstructing” a bitter, defeated, impoverished South; it would have been difficult in any case, but Lincoln was a good man for working out difficult issues. It’s commonly thought that, if Lincoln had lived, Reconstruction would have been different: it would have been calmer and less acrimonious.

But we know what happened, and we know the aftermath. Lincoln was killed, and Reconstruction was led by Radical Republicans, who were further angered by Lincoln’s death. They wanted to punish the South, and they did.

And the South simmered in its bitterness and anger for decades.

Here’s the South that defied Lincoln (Union in blue, Dixie in Red):


And here’s the 2012 electoral map:


And here, just for the sake of comparison, is a map of poverty in the USA:


Here’s a map showing English literacy (remember that the western states and New York have large immigrant populations):


And finally, for shits and giggles, here’s a map showing how people feel about religion:


The Confederacy never died. It’s still with us.


About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

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