Another word that I will use more often. The South- Americas Scapegoat. It fits perfectly. After reading hundreds of recent post on the "cause" of Lincoln's war it is clear to me people today are using the same political mantra they did then. All to blame, shame, vilify whole sections of the country. To what purpose? To gain moral power in the name of political justice? Maybe. To intensify hate? Most likely. In almost every case those who argue their "cause" of the war focus on small things and amplify them. There is no one single answer to what caused that war... period. There maybe one single emotion that pushed it along though... hate. I see it everywhere today. No other section of the country is publicly hated so much as the South, and why? Because the South has the audacity to like itself even after the Federal Government and the North has proven time and again (to themselves) the South deserves nothing but scorn. Some Southerners believe the South should redeem (there's that word again) itself and join the rest of the country in bashing it's history and culture... so the rest of the country will like them. These people have lost their moral confidence and submitted to being scapegoats. They need to understand rest of the country will never accept the South on equal terms, they need the South for that moral and political scapegoat.
I've tried to look at that period in history in a larger sense; beyond the speeches and political spewing of Republicans and Democrats, abolitionist and fire-eaters. I look at the people, all people and what they were experiencing, what they needed to live and survive; all the issues of the day; and how they reacted to stresses and changes. Don't judge them, we cannot, we were not there. It is what it was, nothing more. I, long ago, accepted Southern history. North should finally accept it's own and but it cannot- it has wrapped its history around the myths it has accepted up to support morally beating the scapegoat- a political power advantage to be used at all times.
There is no real solution to scapegoating, it feeds on itself, it is almost always an incomplete process because both sides have not accepted their part or accountability. Accountability is not washed away by time. The only way it will eventually subside are these steps....
1. Established facts. Not cherry-picked but all known facts.
2. North take responsibility for any inappropriate blame.
3. The North quit blaming the South.
4. The South take responsibility for all relevant and inappropriate actions.
5. The North undertake not to restart the scapegoating nor claim, that the above process was invalid because it was forced into it.
Now it seems that back in the late 19th and early 20th century the above five steps were almost completed... but somewhere around 1960 the North rejected step 5 and a domino effect occurred of dropping the other four steps. We are back to full force scapegoating by the North over the South and I do not see any reconciliation in the near future.