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Essay On Polarization

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Recent U.S. elections, both congressional and presidential, have revealed a dramatic increase in polarization in american politics and society. In a time of such great disagreement, investigating instances in which polarization has occurred in the past remains an important way of understanding how empathy and compromise can be improved in the present. Polarization is not a new phenomenon, and has often been the cause of major internal conflict within a nation, whether it be during the Civil War, Civil Rights Movement, or our own modern era.
While many scholars have investigated the impact of the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement on issues of race, and numerous modern analysts have studied the reasons for polarization in our current political
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For example, a driving cause of secession during the Civil War was a concern for the collapse of the Southern economy. The South relied on high labor plantations that depended heavily on slaves in order to collect and cultivate the South’s natural resources. Conversely, Union support for the abolition of slavery and a Northern economy that did not rely on slave labor, caused major splits in the financial concerns of individual Americans. With a support of abolition in the North, and serious economic concerns in the South, money helped to drive the american public towards opposite sides of the political spectrum. Similarly, the Civil Rights Movement displays how racial and social inequality often lead greater societal polarization. Segregation, or the intentional polarization of society based on race, sparked a movement that aimed to decrease the gap of racial inequality. Even with a movement that strove to bridge a gap between Americans of different color, political disagreement grew into a larger problem, with regions influenced highly by the Ku-Klux-Klan witnessing higher voter turnout as a backlash to Martin Luther King’s ideas on
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