The American civil war : "fatal blunder" or "fatal image"?
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For bewildering multiplicity of interpretations, the American Civil War stands unparalleled in our national history. The purposeless tragedy of the event has made it a fitting subject for romanticists and moralists. It stands today as unrefuted evidence of our incapacity to understand or control the forces which move us, as individual and as nation, to near destruction. From the mass of evidence accumulated, it seems probable that no one explanation or theory can account for that war. In the final analysis, we shall probably have to be content with reasonable conjecture, for the full understanding of human behavior, in spite of the earnest efforts of our Freuds, Jungs, Deweys, and Gesells. Wars in general have been explained by various theories, none of them widely accepted. Randall reminds us the theories of "great forces" bog down when the individual people who precipitate wars, and those who fight them are considered.