Union or Disunion?

Adam I. P. Smith: Historian

disunion_flagI spend much of my professional life reading the words of people who were passionate advocates of Union, and, indeed, who declared their willingness to die for it. Last night I gave a talk about my new biography of Abraham Lincoln, who was the most articulate advocate of Union of all. The audience, at the Ealing branch of the Historical Association, were very interesting in discussing the parallels between the crisis of the American Union in 1861 and the crisis of the Union of the United Kingdom today. Is there a sense in which history is repeating itself as farce? No slavery at stake — that’s pretty fundamental. But it could be said that many Yes voters in Scotland want to secede, like Southern secessionists in 1861, because they don’t like the result of an election: the General Election of 2010 delivering  a government with a power base in…

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