On August 20, 1866, President Andrew Johnson officially declared the American Civil War over.
There are people I know who just might disagree with that!
Johnson wasn’t the first President to make a mistake, and he surely wasn’t the last!
When Lee surrendered and the guns went silent a year earlier, fighting continued in parts of the South.
With no official government and the Confederate Leaders on the run, there was no actual peace treaty between the two nations. Lee’s surrender was that of an army, not of a nation.
There was also no real peace for decades. Reconstruction and retribution were the norm, and many old soldiers refused to fade away.
Secret societies formed, battles were fought in state houses, and aging widows kept the war going – at least in their hearts – for nearly a hundred years.
Though our view of history shows us clearly the folly of the conflict, the battle scars remain, and come to light in the judgments and preconceptions we make.
I don’t think anyone today can fathom why the nation became so divided that it actually went to war with itself.
It’s a lesson we must learn, and one we must heed, lest we become that divided again.
Looking around the world as ideals clash, beliefs conflict, tempers rise, and nations fall apart, we can only hope that the divisions and differences we have today never again lead to such destruction.
Could something like this happen in America?
Yes, it could, simply because it did.