(Part-2) Republican candidates constantly mentioning the Civil War. It shows GOP divisions.

Republicans were created “because someone needed to take a bold, uncompromising stand on human rights and civil liberties. That's not awake. This is true, said Iowa GOP head Kaufmann. “We are Lincoln's party. We've always been Lincoln's party." Experts believe conservative hostility to larger views of American history is founded in social concerns, not the past.

“The Republican Party is very much in favor of an understanding of American history that we are a country that is exceptional, that we have brought freedom to the world, that we have overcome the challenges of the past and that we need to be proud of our past,” said Harvard University Program on Education Policy and Governance director Paul Peterson. 

Republican contenders have sparred about history for months. Trump and DeSantis attacked Haley's Civil War remarks. Florida's history requirements were challenged by South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, the only Black Republican in the Senate, who called slavery “devastating” and said he “would hope that every person in our country — and certainly running for president — would appreciate that.”

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who abandoned his candidacy on Wednesday, warned Republican voters about the Civil War. Christie remembered Benjamin Franklin saying Americans had “a republic, if you can keep it.”

At this moment, Benjamin Franklin's remarks are more pertinent than ever in America. Christie claimed they weren't relevant since the Civil War, which was sparked by slavery. The intra-party insults reflect a larger dispute over Civil War legacy for policies.

“The Civil War was more than 150 years ago and we still haven’t fully come to terms with the consequences for this society,” said Columbia University professor emeritus Eric Foner, author of Republican Party and Civil War history.

“I think there's generally a feeling on the part of Republicans and conservatives across the board that the people who are trying to take down statues and rename streets are against American history and that everything about America that we used to believe was good in the past is now being cast as evil,” said Niskanen Center vice president of political studies Geoff Kabaservice.

Kabaservice noted that Republican voters share similar views and may respond “with polarization and partisanship on these historical issues” to cultural alterations in America's fundamental story.

Meanwhile, the Civil War argument underlines other facts about the GOP's coalition, which is now rooted on the South rather than the North where it was formed. Democrats and Republicans “have essentially stolen the garb of the other party from the 19th century,” Foner added. “I think, in fact, it's very possible to acknowledge the country's sins, even its atrocities, and its noble ideals and promises,” Kabaservice added.

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