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Three Films of the South

Birth of A Nation, Gone With The Wind, The Color Purple
Background History[1] The American Civil War, which ran from 1861-65, was the worst in terms of American deaths in US history. By the time it was over, some 625,000 people out of a population of forty four million or so were dead. The War was, to any reasonable observer, fought because some states in the South of the USA wished to preserve the institution of racial slavery, and some did not. Before, during and after the war, southerners claimed that other issues—such as immigration, political corruption, free trade, or the ambitions of the federal centre—were at the heart of the conflict, but, as those at the time and after noted, these were more like symptoms than causes. The South was less literate, individuals were less mobile, there were greater extremes of wealth and poverty, and there was more military attachment amongst whites than in the North, it is true. The North did experience huge waves of immigration (at this point …

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