Jul 29, 2021
The violent decade before the Civil War serves as a warning about the perils of political polarization and the ways we may rationalize violence when it fits our purposes. Americans in 2021 are not careening toward another civil war with armies on battlefields, but the congressional investigation, now underway in the House, into the Jan. 6 Capitol riot is a battle over the truth. Emerging narratives are becoming detached from reality, perpetuating a cycle of zero-sum polarization that is further dividing people into opposing camps. Are we reliving the 1850s? Paul Quigley, the director of the Center for Civil War Studies at Virginia Tech, returns to the podcast to discuss how Trumpist narratives about Jan. 6 are distorting reality, a day that evokes the history of the sack of Lawrence, Kansas, in 1856.