US Civil War still un-civil
And off these fields, its legacy still runs through the country, dividing it.
“It’s not a civil war, a civil war is a war within one country," argued Deny Myers, owner of Wildman' Civil War Surplus shop in Kennesaw, Georgia. "We had two countries here; we had the Confederate states of America and the United States of America."
In the South, there's still rebellion against the Northern victors' version of events. And battles rage on in American’s minds about what was at stake in this conflict then and now.
“For a lot of people here I think the Civil War is a current topic not a historic topic," said Robert Jones, president of the Kennesaw Historical Society.
In this town it’s left residents defensive over their right to bear arms. Here owning a gun is mandatory.
“Southerners view the last gasp of the citizenry against an oppressive government is to revolt," explained Jones.
And in the very capital of the nations, residents are still fighting the federal government for full voting rights, and for representation in Congress.
“The residents of the District of Columbia have never had the rights that are bestowed upon everyone else in this country," said Nan Aron, an activist at a protest calling for Washington DC voting rights.
The limits to their rights stem in part from Civil War divisions.
"It’s definitely part of it," said another activist protesting with the DC Vote movement. “Before that, people never thought about blacks voting at all.”
And scholars argue though the war may have ended slavery, it was far from ending racism. With Washington DC’s large population of newly freed black citizens at the end of the war, to limit their influence, political elites pushed to curb voting rights for everyone. Residents are still fighting that legacy today.
“This is fabulous it’s like standing up [against] slavery," cheered a protester at the DC Vote protest, as several activists were arrested by police.
And the Tea Party protests that have swept across the US have re-energized a rally behind “states rights,” reminiscent of confederate rhetoric 150 years ago.
"When you look philosophically at how they line up and indeed their even genetic pedigree at some level going back to the states most of these people are from, it's much more aligned with the Confederacy of 1860," said Chris Chambers, a lecturer at Georgetown University.
Southern balls celebrate Civil War state secession while modern day civil rights activists equate it to celebrating treason and slavery.
And polls show a divided country; more than half of Americans believe the Civil War is still relevant today, only a minority relegate it to history. While the country remains split over the cause. That's according to pollsters at Pew Research.
So while the literal re-enactments of the Civil War may be the most visible leftover of a war that divided the nation, leftover battles are still being fought by many more, in a war that lives on, today.
Ana Kasparian of The Young Turks said it is important to remember the Civil War and how it shaped and influenced the United States.
“It’s incredible to see the diversity of ideologies that surround this,” she said.
Kasparian argued that some areas of the US still focus more on the ideas of gun rights, race, slavery, state’s rights and other civil war topics, while some states often overlook the issues.
The issues have become rolled into a polarized issue of the people vs. the government. She said the rhetoric surrounding these issues focuses on groups who feel for whatever reason that the government is imposing on their rights.