The Instigator
GMan
Pro (for)
Winning
12 Points
The Contender
Eick
Con (against)
Losing
9 Points

The American Revolution was far more important to American society and history than The Civil War.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/13/2007 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,676 times Debate No: 402
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (1)
Votes (7)

 

GMan

Pro

I would like to begin my opening argument by first saying that I in no way find The Civil War to be an unimportant part of American history. I just do not like the fact that in many history classes today, as well as in American society in general, The Civil War is given greater emphasis. I mean, honestly, let's face it people without The American Revolution all of the rest of American history would have been different. The opening chapters of novels set the stage for the rest of the book. Imagine if the opening chapter of this country had turned out differently? Bottom line: The American Revolution instilled in this nation the most cherished ideals, philosophies, traditions, and folklore that we as a people have. The Civil War was fought, in part, to preserve these ideals. But, preserve does not mean create. The Constitution, The Bill of Rights, even the idea of a presidency and checks and balances came from this great time in history. Even honest Abe can't compete with that. So I say…Bring it on Civil War!
Eick

Con

GMan, your argumentation is sound and I do agree that both wars are important. However, on the whole the Civil War is far more important when we look at it from the angle of preservation, which you so strongly use against it. For example, you mention the great fortunes and gits earned from the Revolution; independence, a constitution, folklore, ect. However, what you fail to mention is the importance of preserving these things, especially the Constitution (which I will claim to be the most important document in American history).

First we need to look at the actual histories and instigating factors of both wars. The Revolution was fought because we wanted equal representation in Parliament as colonies of the British Empire. When this fundamental right was refused we declared independence from Britain and 250 years later here we are. The Civil War on the other hand, represents at what cost we as Americans will go through to ensure these rights are protected. Slavery being one of the largest factors in the Civil War depicts the never ending American struggle to ensure all people, no mater what differences seperate us, are equal under God and Law.

Getting to your book analogy: As a writer I agree the opening chapters of any novel are gravely important. However, their purpose is merely constructional. It is in these chapters where we meet or protagonist and their supporting cast of characters. They are then faced with an antagonist, whether it be man, nature, concept, ect, but these early chapters have little more importance beyond this point. Later on in the novel we reach the climax, the point where our hero is tested and we see whether he falls or rises above the conflict.

This, my friend, is the essence of the Civil War. America was faced with a challenge: United under liberty or divided by belief. The war represents the essence of what America is today. We are all different and interpret what the Constitution means in our own way. It may be the Revalution which gave us priveledge to these rights, but the Civil war demonstrated what we were willing to do to ensure they lived on.

Continuing, your argument "without the Revolutionary War American history would have been different" is a weak argument in general. To say something is superior based soley on precedence is simply flawed. We might a well contend that the fighting which brought about the drafting of the Magna Carta is superior because the Constitutions roots to the document drafted in 1215. It is like saying the First World War is better than World War II because without World War I and the Treaty of Versailles Hitler may never have come to power, despite the fact that the social, political, and military efforts far exceeded those achieved after the Great War.

In conclusion we must look to what the two wars represent. The Revolution demonstrates the American ideal to be free and for the government to fairly represent to will of the people. On the other hand, the Civil War shows us that we feel these values are so important that man will turn on his brother before he turns on the Constitution.
Debate Round No. 1
GMan

Pro

First, allow me to begin by saying that I can clearly see that I have found a worthy opponent. Eick, you are very articulate in your writing and I thank you for taking up my challenge. Let me try and take on your points one by one. First, I would just like to point out that The American Revolution came about for many reasons, not just for want of representation in Parliament. Now, you have said that The Civil War showed us at what costs Americans would go through in order to preserve our basic ideals as set down in the revolution. I would argue that most of our history has been a test of our willingness to preserve what we cherish. There are two wonderful quotes that John Adams once said that I believe demonstrate my point more clearly. He said after signing The Declaration of Independence: "The Revolution is now complete; all that remains now is a war." He also said later in his life and shortly before his death: "What was the revolution? The War? That was no part of the revolution. The revolution was what was in the people's minds. The War was a necessary consequence of the revolution." So what he was essentially saying in these two quotes was that The Revolutionary War or American War of Independence as some people call it was fought for one of the very same reasons that you charge The Civil War was fought for, namely: The PRESERVATION of the ideals of The Revolution. In addition, do you not find certain historical events such as, The Whiskey Rebellion, The War of 1812, the peaceful transfer of power from the Federalists to the Democratic-Republicans, and even George Washington refusing to become king but instead choosing to voluntarily step down from power as major tests of our willingness to hold up the ideals of the revolution? I should also like to point out that toward the end of your argument you stated: "The Civil War shows us that we feel these values [the values of the revolution] are so important that man will turn on his brother before he turns on the Constitution." You are correct with this statement. However, many historians have called The Revolutionary War, especially during the southern campaigns from 1780-1781 as America's FIRST civil war. Why? Well, because in the south many battles fought during the revolutionary war were fought almost entirely by loyalists v.s. patriots, brother against brother. In fact, one of the most famous battles of the south during the Rev. war, the Battle of Kings Mountain, which was fought in North Carolina and which involved over 2,000 men was fought with only one man actually being British; Lieutenant-Colonel Patrick Ferguson, the commander of the loyalists. So, as you can see brother against brother was not at all a new thing introduced by the civil war. Benjamin Franklin's own son stopped talking to his father because he detested the idea of American Independence. So the willingness to stand up for these beliefs was just as strong, if not stronger, during the revolutionary war.

Finally, let me explain my argument of precedence. I do not mean to say that the revolution was more important simply because it came first. No, I mean to say that it was during that period that the traditions and ideals were created. What would the generation of The Civil War have to fight for if the revolutionaries had not come up with their new ways of geovernemnt and representation?

I would like to end by thanking you for debating me. I look forward to reading your response.
Eick

Con

Thank you for your compliments. It's nice to see there are still cordial debaters left in the world. First let me pull across some of my argumentation. As I see it the argumentation left standing on both sides is what in fact each war represents. I think we both have essentially conceeded to the fact that both wars were fought to preserve what we call today "American fundamentalism" and that both wars pitted brother against brother.

In all honesty this first point has become mostly a wash argument. Trying to say which war better demonstrated the American will to preserve freedom andequality wold be like trying to argue whether apple pie is superior to cherry pie. However, the second point holds great promise for the both of us, and its here where I hope to achieve the other hand. In several American conflicts, war agaisnt one's brother has become almost a theme. For example, the First and Second World Wars n the European theatre returned emmigrants back to their home nations fighting under the stars and stripes. How many Germans, Italians, Eastern Europeans, and others were pitted agaisnt family in those many year of fighting. They, much like the American Revalution, did fight family undisputedly. However, in these three wars those bloodlines start to become scarcer or more farremoved. How many American's actually fought other American's in the South, I'm not a Revalutionary History expert so anyinformation you provide here can easily turn the tide of this debate? The majority of the Revalution, espeially the major battles in the New England colonies, mostly pitted British soldiers agaisnt American Minute Men.

On the other hand, the Civil War began due to the secesscion of twelve states from the Union. Beofre war was declared Abraham Lincoln sent a correspondence to Robert E. Lee asking im to serve as a general for the Union. Although Lee was in favor of the Union and agaisnt slavery, he chose to fight for Virgina, his home state. This is the signifigance of the Civil War. It was fought not by a people of just a similar heritage, but a nation of brothers. Brothers who fought for the same cause under two different flags. Why do we still see so strongly pride of the Stars and Bars in th South and not the Union Jack which would have been flown by the loyalists during the Revalutionary War. It is because of what the Stars and Bars stands for: Freedom, Independence, and Liberty. That connotation may vary depending on who you are, but to those still loyal to confederae brotherhood, its just as powerful a symbol as Old Glory.
Debate Round No. 2
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by A-ThiestSocialist 9 years ago
A-ThiestSocialist
Good debate guys. I'm giving the ballot to Pro on the basis that his argument on loyalists vs. patriots was pretty strong, and negated the idea of the civil war being simply American vs. American. The revolution was British against British American against American.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by GMan 9 years ago
GMan
GManEickTied
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Vote Placed by kels1123 9 years ago
kels1123
GManEickTied
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Vote Placed by Maddy 9 years ago
Maddy
GManEickTied
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Vote Placed by FunkeeMonk91 9 years ago
FunkeeMonk91
GManEickTied
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Vote Placed by A-ThiestSocialist 9 years ago
A-ThiestSocialist
GManEickTied
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Vote Placed by asian_invasion 9 years ago
asian_invasion
GManEickTied
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Vote Placed by wheelhouse3 9 years ago
wheelhouse3
GManEickTied
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