GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

Unification War = Civil War?

POSTED BY: REAVERMEAT
UPDATED: Monday, January 23, 2006 08:27
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Monday, January 23, 2006 3:12 AM

REAVERMEAT


Discuss.


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Monday, January 23, 2006 4:23 AM

UNREGISTEREDCOMPANION


Well...considering the South was fighting for the right to keep slaves, and slavery is ALL OVER the alliance run planets...it doesn't fit.

~~~~~
"Funny and sexy. You have no idea. And you never will."

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Monday, January 23, 2006 4:51 AM

JUBELLATE


I wouldn't break down the Civil War so simply.

But I don't think the out planets were really part of Alliance control to begin with. Kind of like the American west wasn't part of the United States. The US just kind of assumed control over it and those who fought against them were considered rebels and put down by the army.

The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule. – H.L. Mencken

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Monday, January 23, 2006 4:56 AM

TOMSIMPSONAZ


Mudders? The girl Badger was looking at?

No slavery my muscular buttocks :)


Not everyone in the south had slaves or thought it was right, the war was about the freedom for your state to decide what it wanted to do on issues such as slavery.

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Monday, January 23, 2006 5:28 AM

JUBELLATE


I didn't argue that there wasn't any slavery.

I just didn't think there was an "Independent" rebellion per say, it was more a resistance to being integrated and paying taxes.



The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule. – H.L. Mencken

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Monday, January 23, 2006 5:34 AM

PDCHARLES

What happened? He see your face?


Yes, I think there are many similarities…..

The fact that in the “Train Job” ( a show supposed to define the series in an hour ) Mal says, “I'm thinkin' we will rise again” immediately made me think of the war between the states.

I have read on other threads that say “Jubal Early” (Jubal Anderson Early
(1816-1894)) was a Confederate soldier…

Wikipedia lays claim to the notion that Nathan Fillion is his ancestor
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jubal_Early_%28Firefly%29#Jubal_Early

Much like the old west and the early south, aristocrats saw land and people not under their control and sought reasons for conquest. Well, Mal don’t hold to that!

I would hope that this thread does not turn into a soapbox for people on the moral high ground. None of us were there.

It is very easy for people in the information age (hence the link above) to quickly judge opinions of the war that mostly have nothing to do with slavery. A historical fascination or interest does not condone an ASPECT of a nation’s war.

With that being said, The overall aspects of the show and the war flow together. I think natural selection applies for most things and causes them to come to congruency. Societies, religions, political affiliations, space territories, corporations... and hopefully not as far as the Borg!

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Monday, January 23, 2006 6:36 AM

PRINCESSROHANNEN


Well, the war that Mal fought in was most certainly a civil war.

I seem to remember hearing somewhere that reading a book about the American civil war was one of the key factors that inspired Whedon to develop the verse. (It could have been an audio commentary. Does anyone know what I'm talking about?)

I don't think Firefly was meant to be allegory for the American civil war - no one to one correlation.

There are aspects to the world of Mal and co. that seem to echo the after-effects of the American civil war, though. After the North and South were done warring and the slaves were freed, life in the South became exceedingly difficult.

Many men had died, and not many were willing to lend a hand to the survivors to help them get back on their feet.

I'm sure many of you have seen "Gone with the Wind," or at least heard about the carpet-baggers and the property seizures.

In response to their hardships, some turned to crime and others starved. The life that had once been easy and luxurious became a daily struggle... All because those in the South had wanted to be independent of the Union.

There are communities in the Southern states that still haven't fully recovered from the civil war.

Mal is certainly giong through a similar struggle; trying to pick up the pieces and make a life after everything was taken from him by the loss of the war.

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Monday, January 23, 2006 6:47 AM

VIKING


Quote:


Well...considering the South was fighting for the right to keep slaves, and slavery is ALL OVER the alliance run planets...it doesn't fit



plain untrue

slavery was not a major thing for the war in the begning

the freeing off the slaves was more off a consecvense then a reason

The wages of sin are death, but the hours are good and the perks are fantastic.

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Monday, January 23, 2006 6:57 AM

STAKETHELURK


Quote:

Originally posted by PrincessRohannen:
I seem to remember hearing somewhere that reading a book about the American civil war was one of the key factors that inspired Whedon to develop the verse. (It could have been an audio commentary. Does anyone know what I'm talking about?)

Whedon was inspired by “The Killer Angels,” a book about the Battle of Gettysburg, and it got him thinking about Confederate veterans heading West.

The Unification War is definitely meant in many ways to correspond with the American Civil War in many respects (though not a one to one allegory, as PrincessRohannen has pointed out), but the Unification War is most definitely not a civil war. The Independents were not rebelling against the Alliance, they weren’t part of the Alliance at all. They were their own, Independent worlds. The Alliance saw them (perhaps rightly so) as unnecessarily barbaric and eventually elected to “civilize” them by force.

Quote:

There are aspects to the world of Mal and co. that seem to echo the after-effects of the American civil war, though. After the North and South were done warring and the slaves were freed, life in the South became exceedingly difficult.
It’s interesting to look at the Rim as we see it in the series and try to extrapolate backwards to what they were before the war. How much of the hardship, crime, and lawlessness was present before Unification, and how much was because of it? In the “Brief History” found in the Visual Companion, Whedon notes that Persephone was an Independent planet, but was largely untouched by the war. So, the slavery and stratified society we encounter there in “Serenity, Part I” and “Shindig” is probably the same as before the conflict. I think Whedon wanted life on the Rim to always have been a “daily struggle;” the Unification War came about because the Alliance tried to forcibly offer an “easy and luxurious” life to people who did not want it. I think that’s what it comes down to, the Alliance’s failure to comprehend that some people don’t want any part of the “easy life” that it’s offering. Instead of accepting this view, the Alliance tries to make people conform to its own vision, “for their own good.”

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Monday, January 23, 2006 7:14 AM

DATALESS


Quote:

Originally posted by UnregisteredCompanion:
Well...considering the South was fighting for the right to keep slaves, and slavery is ALL OVER the alliance run planets...it doesn't fit.

~~~~~
"Funny and sexy. You have no idea. And you never will."



The Civil War was not about slavery. It was part of why the war was fought but no the whole reason. The real reason was because the southern states wanted to be able to decide for themselves individually what laws they had, whether they could have slavery or not. They didn't want some bigger, less involved government deciding for them. So the southern states seceded from the United States. The US didn’t like that, so the war began. So it does fit. The Alliance fought the war to bring the ‘Verse under their control. If you want to understand it better you can listen to the signal ep. # 12 or read the book that inspired Joss to create Firefly “The Killer Angels” By Michael Shaara http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0345348109/qid=113803618
4/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/104-4663722-3895169?v=glance&s=books
so you can find out more.

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Monday, January 23, 2006 7:24 AM

SIKKUKUT


The slavery issue is very much a red herring here, in my opinion.

To quote the Simpsons:

Proctor: All right, here's your last question. What was the cause of the Civil War?
Apu: Actually, there were numerous causes. Aside from the obvious schism between the abolitionists and the anti-abolitionists, there were economic factors, both domestic and inter--
Proctor: Wait, wait... just say slavery.
Apu: Slavery it is, sir.

Anyway, I can't add much to the discussion re: Joss being inspired by The Killer Angels (other than, "Yep."), but do note the similarity of post-Unification lawlessness to the exploits of historical groups like the James gang, which was made up of Confederate soldiers.

Definitely not a one-to-one correspondence, but certainly at least a wee bit allegorical, considering the simple facts of a huge civil war, following which many of the veterans of the losing side try to find freedom on a lawless frontier.

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Monday, January 23, 2006 7:29 AM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Well, the war that Mal fought in was most certainly a civil war.

A civil war is one that takes place within the territories of a single nation between factions from within that nation.

The Alliance was one government (one nation) and the Independents were a coalition of Governments (many nations) like the allies from the Second World War. It wasn't a civil war.



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Monday, January 23, 2006 7:29 AM

MUIRGHEAL


Wow, it is amazing to me that this myth still gets perpetuated, that the "Civil" war was fought over Slavery. Slavery was dieing out all over the south long before the war was started.

I recommend Gods and Generals as a good viewing into what the war was about. Let me remind you, the Union army invaded Virginia. I am the grandchild of many many soldiers of the Confederacy. Not a one of which owned slaves or would tolerate it. But then not many of my ancestor's KNEW anyone who owned slaves.

I agree with a previous poster who said the main similarities are in the years AFTER the war. The cripled economy, the opinion that the Rebels somehow deserve to starve for not just allowing themselves to be ruled by a government who really had no interest in their lives.

The is the main thing I love about Firefly, its very familiar to me. But Im a very southern gal.



Muirgheal
A Shiny Happy Person
"Ain't we just!"

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Monday, January 23, 2006 7:44 AM

STAKETHELURK


Quote:

Originally posted by Sikkukut:
The slavery issue is very much a red herring here, in my opinion.

I agree that the slavery issue has little relevance to the ‘Verse as written, and its persistence in this thread will only produce more hostility. Look already at the people rushing to “clarify” the issue of the Civil War and the South’s motivations. And since I disagree with many of them, I’m biting back my own “clarification.” But this thread is about relevance to the ‘Verse; if we want to debate the causes of the Civil War, that’s what the RWED is for.

Quote:

but do note the similarity of post-Unification lawlessness to the exploits of historical groups like the James gang, which was made up of Confederate soldiers.
I think it’s interesting that you brought up Jesse James & Co; I definitely see the relevance there. I also think it’s important not to close off other historical influences though, such as Citizen’s comment about the parallels with World War II. Joss mentions, I think it’s in the Visual Companion, that another source of inspiration was a book he read about the Jewish resistance in Poland and the schemes they got involved in after the war. (He didn’t elaborate, but I’d love to read that book!) After reading that, Joss realized that any period of history could have relevance in the universe he was creating. So let’s also be careful not to wedge the ‘verse too tightly into any single historical model.

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Monday, January 23, 2006 8:27 AM

MYCROFTXXX


To me, the war was more like the British Empire versus the American Revolution rather than a civil war only this time on many fronts (independent planets) that, out of necessity, combined forces to fight off the "Grand Unification Plan" (not unlike the indivdual colonies raising a continental army).

One other interesting aspect... there is a line in one of the episodes where Mal says something to the effect that "the Alliance drops off families with nothing more than blankets and a few supplies to fend for themselve" which would indicate that even though they managed to overcome the independents their expansion plans continue much like the Western expansion of America after the US won their independence and managed to keep the country together through a civil war. No doubt had Britain prevailed in quelling the "American colonial insurrection" as I'm sure they would now be referring to it in the history books they would have continued with that push to the west.

There's also the economic side of all this. In Jaynestown it illustrates how there are resources on these outer planets that are very much in demand within the Alliance (ceramics in this case). Economics are often a major driving force to "colonize" a barbarians' homeland.

Seems to me that although Joss drew upon several individual aspects of western history he is also citing present day activities as well. Not that unusual with any movie or TV show (BSG is a good example). Afterall, writers live in the present so they can't help but be influenced by today's global and political activities.

Oh, one more thing... I have no doubt that the cost of this "unification" was enormous and probably resulted in great costs to the Alliance which would further drive them to recoup their losses on the backs of the people they "conquered". The ole "to the victors go the spoils" cliche.

Conclusion (finally!): Civil war? No, it is much much more complex than that.

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