Historian Warns Today's America Looks 'Eerily Similar' to Period Before the Civil War, Compares Movement Conservatives to Slaveholder Elite

A historian noted several likenesses between today and pre-Civil War America, saying President Donald Trump "was onto something" when he touted a similar conflict in the future if he is removed from office via impeachment.

Trump, facing impeachment by the House over the Ukraine-Biden affair, tweeted comments made on Fox News by the evangelical pastor Robert Jeffress that the president's removal "will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal."

Heather Cox Richardson, a history professor at Boston College who is an expert in 19th century America, laid out on Twitter what she described as the "eerily similar" parallels after Trump's controversial civil war tweets.

"The parallels between the consolidation of elite slaveowners' power from 1830-1860 and the rise of Movement Conservatives from 1954-2019 are eerily similar," Richardson said, remarking that they both took power by "denigrating black Americans."

"Their racial dogwhistles won voters and they began to pass laws that moved wealth upward. The more those laws hurt regular people, the more they doubled down on racism against all POC, and then turned on 'Feminazis,' all of whom they said threatened white men's liberty.

"As they got richer and lost popular support, they came to believe they were the nation's natural leaders who should rule even as people turned against their policies. They stayed in power by gaming the system: gerrymandering, voter suppression, and a compliant SCOTUS.

"But that is now crumbling. When Trump threatens civil war, he is not just talking about saving his own hide; he is calling for his supporters to rally around race and gender so they protect the oligarchy that has been gathering power for a generation or more."

Richardson added that there is a "crucial difference" between the two periods: "The world of 1860 was a world dominated by white men. But now POC [people of color] and women are political participants with voices and votes. And both are getting more powerful daily."

On Monday morning, Trump tweeted out the incendiary comments made by Pastor Jeffress, an action one Harvard law professor said was an impeachable offense in and of itself.

Trump tweeted: "'Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats can't put down the Impeachment match.

"They know they couldn't beat him in 2016 against Hillary Clinton, and they're increasingly aware of the fact that they won't win against him in 2020, and Impeachment is the only tool they have to get rid of Donald J. Trump - And the Democrats don't care if they burn down and destroy this nation in the process.

"I have never seen the Evangelical Christians more angry over any issue than this attempt to illegitimately remove this President from office, overturn the 2016 Election, and negate the votes of millions of Evangelicals in the process.

"They know the only Impeachable offense that President Trump has committed was beating Hillary Clinton in 2016. That's the unpardonable sin for which the Democrats will never forgive him.

"If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal.' Pastor Robert Jeffress, @FoxNews."

Donald Trump civil war tweets Twitter impeachment
US President Donald Trump speaks to the press in the Oval Office of the White House September 30, 2019, in Washington, DC. Trump tweeted a quote suggesting there could be a civil war if he is impeached. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
Historian Warns Today's America Looks 'Eerily Similar' to Period Before the Civil War, Compares Movement Conservatives to Slaveholder Elite | Politics