The Civil War

1516 WordsJul 17, 20187 Pages
The Civil War between the North and the South in America was not even a half year old when well-known Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote his article “Bread and the Newspaper” in prestigious Boston The Atlantic Monthly magazine, which he helped to found. He wrote in the magazine that war to preserve the union will bring the various citizens of the country together and needs to be fought on three fronts, one is the law, one is in the mind of the people and one requires the spilling of blood, all in the tradition of the Revolutionary War. Holmes starts his comments in the article with the headline, which he named “Bread and the Newspaper” (346), which he calls “the new version of the Panem et Circenses of the Roman populace” (Holmes 346). Panem et…show more content…
They cannot fight it off, since it is like an assailant, literally ready to kill them (in the battlefield?). They have no control over the situation, just as the average soldier of the North had probably no control over the inhumane slavery that was happening in the South and the later the “compromise” named the fugitive slave law. They had to break the law when they acted in a humane way and did not actively help a fugitive be arrested, and the young men he names had probably no control over the firing of the first shots upon Fort Sumter in Charleston. Yet, here they are, in the middle of a war that they want and need to join in order to fight for the continuation of the Union. Holmes continues to use legal terms to define the war as being illegal: “This accounts for the ages we seem to have lived since the twelfth of April last, and , to state it more generally, for that ex post facto operation of a great calamity, or any very powerful impression, which we once illustrated by the image of a stain spreading backwards from the leaf of life open before us through all those which we have already turned “ (Holmes 347). The “ex post facto law” is “law that retroactively makes criminal conduct that was not criminal when performed” (ex post facto law) and Holmes seems to say that at first while everybody knew the law was not on the side of the slave holding states, it will now going to be a criminal act. Those slave holding states

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