Re: Ch. 6 - John Brown and Abraham Lincoln: The Invisibility of Antiracism in American History Textbooks
I heard briefly about him, not enough to make an impression as to what kind of person he was except that he took arms against slavery. The song "John Brown's Body" was mentioned briefly as illustration that his actions were widely known and symbolic. I would be interested to hear how Lincoln reacted to him, since the common construction is that Lincoln staked his political position on saving the Union, which Brown was no help with. (Might be in the second half of the chapter - I am only half way through.)
There is an interesting development of the moral conflict in Marilynne Robinson's Pulitzer-winning book "Gilead", which I absolutely loved. John Brown features tangentially.
We tend to think of the Republicans as anti-slavery, but they were a coalition that included some slaveholders in Border States, as explained in "Team of Rivals" by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Partly they evolved from the old Whig party, which was mainly oriented toward infrastructure development such as locks, canals and turnpikes.
Now that this book has pointed out to me to what extent Jackson sought to extend slavery to the West (apparently in part at least due to development of the textile industry in Britain in the post-Napoleonic period,) it seems clear to me that the Whigs/Republicans represented the pro-tariff Northeast, the industrial interests of the U.S., while the Democrats had already come to represent the landed exporters of the plantation industries in the South. But neither of those is quite correct, as the "Cotton Whigs" of Massachusetts (including the textiles magnates of Lawrence, Mass who organized anti-slavery settlers in Lawrence, KS, setting off "bleeding Kansas" and to some extent the armed rebellion of John Brown that came out of it) were tied to the economy of the South, and the big cities of the North included many immigrants who backed the Democrats and became the big city machines after the Civil War.
How did the reversal happen that took Democrats from representing low education Western and Midwestern farmers, farm laborers in the South, and immigrant communities in the cities of the North to being the party that led against segregation despite its own segregationist wing? And took the Republicans from being the party of Earl Warren and Dwight Eisenhower, (who called out the Army to enforce Brown vs. Board of Education) to becoming the party of Law and Order and then Roger Ailes? Two-part pivot: FDR and the New Deal rode an angry populist wave created by the Great Depression, and Richard Nixon conceived the Southern Strategy to woo segregationists after Johnson pushed through the Voting Rights Act. Ronald Reagan solidified the shift in the South by, in my opinion, backing a kind of ignorant approach to policy, in which his heart was always telling him ridiculous things like that cutting taxes would raise tax revenue and Ollie North was stopping the Communist juggernaut. The great center of the country was happy with his genial incompetence because he was willing to let competent people make policy and they were generally genial and incompetent themselves. The crack cocaine epidemic solidified white people's image of inner city blacks as self-destructive criminals, and Bush and Ailes pulled the South farther into the Republican orbit with the not-so-subtle association of blacks with violent crime. All through the 90s and 00s the Evangelical Right was convincing itself that it was not racist anymore (and indeed, many black preachers rose to successful positions), that the immoral side was the backers of Roe v. Wade and the baby-killers, and that globalists were secret Socialists. The Obama phenomenon somehow transformed the old trope of considering racial integration to be socialist (Communist, originally) into a willingness to believe that Obamacare was some sort of transfer of resources from whites to blacks, setting up the epically bizarre rise of Donald Trump to the White House.
The culture war seems to have caused both sides to dig in, with nearly 60 percent of the electorate convinced that Republicans stand for corporate domination and authoritarian inclinations, and something above 40 percent convinced that socialism is making a bid for the complete suppression of freedom, including freedom to be evangelically Christian. The recipe for stalemate is obvious, but Trump has failed to resuscitate the Midwestern industrial economy (except perhaps the steel industry in Western Pennsylvania and Northern Ohio) and will probably lose that slice of the electorate that was crucial in 2016 unless the Dems totally flub that issue, but has a humming economy at his back, which will encourage many genially incompetent voters to prefer him to the looming threat of Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez. My crystal ball is unable to sort that one out.