The Spirit of the Union, by Currier and Ives, 1860. Smithsonian American Art Museum, gift of the family of C.B. Shafer.
“Disunion—the possibility that it all might go to pieces—is a hidden thread through our entire history,” the journalist and historian Richard Kreitner writes in Break It Up: Secession, Division, and the Secret History of America’s Imperfect Union. “Our refusal to recognize this, like patients who insist, against all evidence, that they are not ill, has been a major cause of our political dysfunction and social strife. Secession is the only kind of revolution we Americans have ever known and the only kind we’re ever likely to see.” On this episode of The World in Time, Lewis H. Lapham and Kreitner start at the beginning of the United States of America and trace this history of disunion up to the present.
Lewis H. Lapham speaks with Richard Kreitner, author of Break It Up: Secession, Division, and the Secret History of America’s Imperfect Union.
Thanks to our generous donors. Lead support for this podcast has been provided by Elizabeth “Lisette” Prince. Additional support was provided by James J. “Jimmy” Coleman Jr.