Of course, the Civil War still matters. There are many lessons to be learned from the events that triggered this conflict, and I have long been a firm believer in the truth of the statement by George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
We see many of the political concerns that triggered the war rearing their ugly heads once more: the belief that states can nullify federal laws that they don’t like, extreme political polarization among the citizenry, sectional disputes, disputes over whether states rights or federalism should predominate, the expansion of presidential powers, and other similar unhappy phenomena. Mix in dangerous traits like the rise of armed militias, and you have a tinderbox that seems ready to trigger a second American civil war.
Since I believe firmly in learning the lessons of history, the study of the American Civil War, and particularly, the events that caused it, is more important today than it has ever been. Americans need to learn the lessons of history and pump the brakes before the ship of state careens into an iceberg, to mix my metaphors.