I’ve been reading an excellent book about the 1860 presidential election, Year of Meteors: Stephen Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, and the Election that Brought on the Civil War by Douglas Egerton. In the book, Egerton explains the political forces that led to the birth of the Republican Party and the eventual secession of the South. Honestly, it’s one of the best explanations I’ve ever read for why the Civil War happened. Yes, it was about slavery. But it didn’t just happen overnight. It was a long process that had been building since the end of the American Revolution. What’s even more interesting, however, is how those same forces are at work in today’s political climate.