Civil War Book Review: A Disease in the Public Mind: A New Understanding of Why We Fought the Civil War

A Disease in the Public Mind: A New Understanding of Why We Fought the Civil War
by Thomas Fleming

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; 1st Edition, 1st Printing edition (May 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306821265
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306821264

A Disease In The Public Mind Civil War by Thomas Fleming (Da Capo Press)This book is upsetting a number of people, looking at the distribution of Amazon’s one and five star ratings prove this statement.  Spending any time on Civil War sites and you will find people that damn the Confederacy for slavery, comparing the CSA to the Third Reich armed with statistics showing how backward the South was/is.  This book chronicles the development of this mindset.

Race based slavery is largely a New World invention changing an economic system from a social base to a racial one.   Race created a new set of problems; Blacks are considered an inferior dangerous subspecies that had to be controlled.  The rebellion on Saint-Domingue with the attendant killings of whites, Nat Turner and several rumors of slave revolts tend to confirm this idea.

The founding fathers simply did not know what to do with slavery and the slaves.  Slavery existed to a degree in all the states and no one wanted a large population of “free Negros” in their state.  The book takes time to establish this and the hope/expectation that slavery would simply fade away in time.  Sending “free Negros” back to Africa is the answer to what should happen after slavery ends.

In about 80 years, slavery goes from an unfortunate thing America is stuck with to a sin.  This book chronicles this transformation with a good deal of detail and hard facts.  Slavery as a sin originates in New England along with secession.  Abolitionists take an increasing hard and bitter stance toward slavery, Southerners and America.  Southerners take an increasing hard stance toward slavery, Northerners and America.  We follow this vicious cycle from John Quincy Adams to the Civil War.

This is a history of misunderstanding, fear, bitterness and hate.

It is not a pretty story but it is an accurate one.

Neither side is right and neither side is wrong but both are trapped.



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