DOI: 10.17721/2521-1706.2020.10.1

Andriy Martynov

Doctor Habil. (History), рrofessor, Institute of History of Ukraine, NASU, Kyiv, Ukraine


Americans as a nation are more focused on the present and the future than on the past. Until recently, various «historical traumas» have not been the subject of current American political discourse. The American dream focuses on the needs of everyday life, not on the permanent experience of the past.

The aim of the article is to highlight the peculiarities of symbolic conflicts over the sites of the Civil War in the United States in the context of the 2020 election campaign.

Research methods are based on a combination of the principles of historicism and special historical methods, in particular, descriptive, comparative, method of actualization of historical memory.

The scientific novelty of the obtained results is determined by the historical and political analysis of the “wars of memory” during the presidential election campaign in the United States in 2020. Radical political confrontation exacerbates the conflicts of collective memory. This process is not prevented by the postmodern state of collective consciousness, the virtualization of political processes, attempts to form a «theater society». The coronavirus pandemic has raised the issue of choosing a strategy for the development of the globalization process as harshly as possible. Current events break the link between the past and the present, which makes the future unpredictable. Developed liberal democracy is considered the «end of history». Multiculturalism has created different interpretations of US history.

Conclusions. Trump’s victory deepened the rift between different visions of the history of the Civil War. The Democratic majority unites African Americans, Latinos, women with higher education, and left liberals. Attacks on the memorials of the heroes of the former Confederacy became symbols of the war of memory. The dominant trend is an increase in the democratic and electoral numbers of non-white Americans. The «classic» United States, dominated in all walks of life by white Americans with Anglo-Saxon Protestant identities and relevant historical ideas, is becoming history. The situation is becoming a political reality when white Americans become a minority. It is unlikely that such a «new minority» will abandon its own interpretation of any stage of US history, including the most acute. This means that wars of memory will become an organic element of political processes.

Key words: war of memory, identity, racism, liberal democracy, Confederate United States, multiculturalism, D. Trump.

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