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Tony J Case, Super Genius
23 September 2002, 01:08 PM
So, I had just recently picked up the DVD boxed set of the Ken Burns PBS documentary on the American Civil War. A damn fine series, and I've been enjoying myself quite a bit. Then, as I get to the last episode, it all clicks -

The splintering of the Republic is the American Republic in and around 1860. Think of Lincoln as Palpatine (right down to the emergency powers granted for the duration of the crisis), the Republic as the Union and the secessionist movement as . . . well, the secessionist rebels. Lincoln even had a "Grand Army of the Republic". And what did Booth say when he assassinated Lincoln? "Sic Semper Tyrannus" ('So always to tyrants'). As in Darth Tyranus, perhaps? Heck, even the basic origins of the conflict are the same - a trade dispute.

Ok, so Army of the Potomac wasn't backed by the Sith and powered by the Dark Side, but you get the general idea.

I got thinking, man - what a great source for material for a GM in the Clone Wars. Suddenly, the whole campaign is mapped out for you - events, battles, people - all there in the pages of history. Gettysburg alone would make for a hell of a game.

So, as soon as I get done with the first watching (I'd never seen the series before), I'm going to go back with a fine tooth comb and take some notes.

Thoughts, gentlemen?

****EDIT****
Doing a bit more reading during my lunch on Lincoln, I turned up a bit of trivia. His predecessor, James Buchanan was viewed as a marginal and mostly ineffectual president. Poor old Jimmy held the union together for his term or office, but made for a convenient scapegoat when things went all to hell on Lincoln.

Sound like the shift in power from Valorum to Palpatine?

Or how consider Senator John C Calhoun from South Carolina. His state was hard hit by the high tariffs in and around 1828 - so badly that it almost caused cotton producing states to revolt then and there. Much like Amadala, Calhoun was mostly blown off by the senate.

You might want to glance over http://gi.grolier.com/presidents/ea/prescont.html
for some of the political figures of the time. Sounds like there's a wealth of ideas to be had.

dgswensen
23 September 2002, 01:16 PM
Originally posted by Tony J Case, Super Genius
Thoughts, gentlemen?

I think I want to see the Civil War series now. Or at least bone up on some strategic Civil War history.

You're right, that would make for some great material.

BrianDavion
23 September 2002, 01:26 PM
I think your reading too much into this.. are there going to be parells to American History in SW? certinly GL is an American, but to claim SW was somehow based around SW is silly.. it's a pretty weak arguement

Tony J Case, Super Genius
23 September 2002, 02:12 PM
Originally posted by dgswensen


I think I want to see the Civil War series now. Or at least bone up on some strategic Civil War history.

Well, for those of you too cheap to drop 75 bucks on the set, PBS is running it again. According to PBS (http://www.pbs.org/civilwar/film/schedule.html), the show is running two a night, every monday.



Originally posted by BrianDavion
I think your reading too much into this.. are there going to be parells to American History in SW? certinly GL is an American, but to claim SW was somehow based around SW is silly.. it's a pretty weak arguement

Is it a note for note replay of the civil war? No. Is it a damn good source for game ideas? Hell yeah.

I'd say that Star Wars is as much based on the Civil War as it is on Zen teachings, Akira Kurosawa, old Flash Gordon serials and Arthurian legends. I mean I'm pretty sure that Lincoln wasn't being manipulated by the Sith - but you do have to admit that there are some strong parallels.

Tony J Case, Super Genius
23 September 2002, 03:25 PM
Whoops - sorry!

Reverend Strone
23 September 2002, 06:22 PM
I think there can be little doubt thatGL draws from history for his movies. I'd say most certainly that there are Civil War references in SW, but I wouldn't read too much in to it. As pointed out above, it's the classic myths that have most influenced the story structure of SW. Those are age-old stories that crop up again and again in all kinds of movies because they speak to us about the human condition- good vs evil etc, all themes of any war.

Still, there's definately something of the Civil war in SW, though perhaps only on certain levels.

BTW- I'd thoroughly recommend that Ken Burns series to anyone even vaguely interested in history. I own it on DVD as well. I'm not even an American, but the themes of war are universal, so it speaks to all of us. Having watched the series through more than once, I also found it very informative in understanding what it is to be American. Those who have seen the series will hopefully understand what I mean by that. For that reason, I'd thoroughly suggest renting or buying a copy especially if you happen to be a foreigner like me.

reliant
24 September 2002, 05:40 AM
I think there are definately some parallels between the civil war and the fall of the republic/rise of the empire. I never really thought of it before I read this discussion, but I think you're right Tony.

Cool...

OrderSponge
24 September 2002, 09:18 PM
Originally posted by Tony J Case, Super Genius
Think of Lincoln as Palpatine (right down to the emergency powers granted for the duration of the crisis)....

Wait a second, Lincoln as Palpatine. Ehhh, I have a really hard time drawing that comparison. :)

On the other hand, you are absolutely right about the parallels, and the idea of brother versus brother could be used to profound effect in a campaign. Such as, the sibling of an important Imperial officer joins a rebel cell, or even becomes a leader. Soon the Imperial brother is ordered to destroy the 'terrorist cell', and lo and behold, his brother who he hadn't seen in years is right there! How unpleasant.

Of course, this would probably be played from the other side, but you get the idea. If your group was into deep immersion roleplaying, the possibilities are endless.

Mitchell!!
25 September 2002, 04:45 AM
I think it's pretty safe to say that the Civil War was a large influence on GL when he started writing the prequels. Although in this case, it looks like Palpatine is both Lincoln AND Jefferson Davis -- so no matter who wins he comes out on top.

And Dooku does kinda look like General Lee... ;)

Col. Sa'lor
5 October 2002, 03:25 AM
You have some very good points, however the aspects listed above have a basis in almost any civil war in history. It is the very nature of a civil war to have a republic, or like government split to advocate a conflict. That is the very nature of a civil war. You have a very good idea there. I had never considered comparing an actual historical civil war to my campaign until now. Thank you for the incite.:D

Tony J Case, Super Genius
11 October 2002, 02:51 PM
Originally posted by Mitchell!!
I think it's pretty safe to say that the Civil War was a large influence on GL when he started writing the prequels. Although in this case, it looks like Palpatine is both Lincoln AND Jefferson Davis -- so no matter who wins he comes out on top.

And Dooku does kinda look like General Lee... ;)

Strangely enough I would put Dooku in the Jefferson Davis roll, and put Sev'rance Tann (the general of the Confederation of Free Planets from Galactic Battleground) as the General Lee spot. The parallel isn't perfect, of course - I don't recall the Civil War secretly being started by Lincoln, Dark Lord of the Sith, or Palpatine being assassinated just after the Clone Wars concluded.

But I do admit that Christopher Lee *DOES* look a lot like Bobby Lee.

Otonashi
15 October 2002, 09:52 AM
The fox tv show "Firefly" is more or less a post US Cival War in space. Think of it like "The Outlaw Jose Wales" goes to space.

strensk
16 October 2002, 07:51 AM
Wait a second, Lincoln as Palpatine. Ehhh, I have a really hard time drawing that comparison.

Actually there are many similarities.

Lincoln suspended the right to habeus corpus (not 100% sure on spelling). He did this without consulting anyone at any level of government, be it the Judicial or Legislative branches.

Anyone that spoke out against him was labeled a traitor, jailed, or they eventually changed their point of view (usually due to threats).

He raised his army without the consent of Congress. Congress was actually out of sessoin when he did this, and when they came back the Army was for the most part mobilized and just waiting for the order to attack.

The states are actually allowed to succeed. During Thomas Jefferson's presidency, the state of Massachusettes actually did succeed from the Union, at least in their state legislature they approved it. Jefferson wished them well and hoped that they could still continue a mutually beneficial relationship.

I would say there are many similarites between both the Civil War and the Galactic Civil War, and betwee Palpatine and Lincoln. A good book on this if you are interested is: When in The Course of Human Events; Arguing the Case for Southen Succession by Charles Adams. Good book.

StClair
17 October 2002, 05:34 PM
I go into greater detail in an article I've submitted for the new Journal, but here's how I break it down:

Classic Trilogy: WW2

E1 TPM: Napoleonic
E2 AotC: American Civil War
E3 ???: WW1

(Thousands of expendable droid and clone troops thrown 'into the mud' to take a single objective, the best of an entire generation lost, a bloody and final end to the Gilded Age that came before... "We'll have the enemy wrapped up and be home by Life Day.")

And afterward, an exhausted Galaxy demands the kind of peace and order that only the fascists can provide...

Jake Sunspot
17 October 2002, 10:09 PM
This thread is incredible. I have always been fascinated with the civil war as one of the most interesting periods of American history, but I had never thought of the paralells in star wars until now. Then again apparently neither had any of you. I am a history minor and have "borrowed" from history for my games for quite some time. I'm gonna have to dig out some old american history books for insiration.

Excellent thread Tony, thanks for starting it.

Ardent
20 October 2002, 09:54 AM
I tend to look on the Old Republic and the rise of the Empire as based on the Roman example (going so far as to compare Vader to Brutus if you like), while the Imperial-era stuff is a bit harder to parallel to any historical event(s), I really can't deny the plotline is amazingly similar to Flash Gordon's. <g>