Sunday, 11 June 2017

separate and unequal

Prior to the series of Lincoln-Douglas senatorial debates whose interlocutors of course became the presidents of the United States and the Confederate States of America respectively, the notion of interracial relations—socially and contractually, was referred to as amalgamation. Democratic party pundits, ahead of the election, tried to convince the voting-public that Lincoln and his Republican party were strong proponents of the mingling of black and white society and progressive integration was a dangerous and unwelcome thing, but were less than wholly successful in their campaign with Lincoln winning but the nation divided in civil war, beginning in April of 1861 just a month after his inauguration.
The message was that being anti-slavery automatically equalled surrendering one’s job to emancipated slaves, but because the Democrat’s ploy fell short of defeating Lincoln the first time (despite the ensuing bloody conflict, divided families), they redoubled their efforts to bring down the president and the supporters of the Union for second term. A sympathetic, anonymous provocateur published a propaganda pamphlet that took the notion of amalgamation and nuanced it as a more threatening and insidious concept called miscegenation—a bit of dog-Latin for to mix miscere and kind, genus—suggesting that not only was to vote Republican potentially a way to jeopardise one’s own financial standing and security, furthermore such political-leanings exact an ever higher commitment. Though perhaps the subtext that race is a fiction is a good and positive thing, surrogates attempted to frighten voters by proffering that miscegenationists—Lincoln and his party, not only felt that the mingling of the races is permissible but should be mandated, intimating that a hapless voter would see his daughter betrothed to a black man, the party believing that evolutionary progress (also a contemporaneous idea) might only be achieved by the off-spring of intermarriage. This facetious exposition was responsible for informing the destructive ideas of eugenics that we are familiar with and entrenched resistance to accepting relationships that look different from our own.