Experts Warn What a Second Civil War Would Look Like in America

By: Julia Mehalko | Published: Jun 07, 2024

As the United States continues to go through a period of political partisanship that has led to severe polarization, many experts have begun to open up about what a potential second civil war would look like in America.

These historians and officials have warned that another civil war could ruin the country. However, it likely wouldn’t be similar to the first civil war that America saw in the 1860s.

People Think That We’ll See Another Civil War

Think that the United States will never see anything close to a civil war? While many Americans would have brushed off such an allegation just a few years ago, studies have shown that U.S. citizens are becoming increasingly worried that a civil war will indeed happen.

An American flag seen on a pole against a cloudy blue sky.

Source: Aaron Burden/Unsplash

British-based think tank Chatham House even revealed that 40% of Democrats think that the U.S. will see a civil war in the next 10 years. Meanwhile, half of Republicans believe this could happen.


Republican Lawmakers Are Increasingly Suggesting a Civil War

Some elected officials have even begun to openly suggest that a civil war — or something akin to it — should occur as the country continues to be incredibly divided.

Marjorie Taylor Greene talking.

Source: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Most notably, Republican House Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene has called for what she deems to be a “national divorce” between blue states and red states.

The South vs the North?

If another civil war indeed breaks out in the United States in the future, some analysts have claimed that it may be similar to what was seen in the 1860s Civil War.

An old cannon seen in Gettysburg in the daytime.

Source: John Kostyk/Unsplash

For example, many of the southern states that used to be the Confederacy continue to vote similarly on the same policies, even today.

A Different Kind of Civil War

While seeing southern states secede from the northern states yet again could be one possibility, analysts have stated that this isn’t the only way a civil war could appear in America in the near future.

An 1800s painting of the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War.

Source: Adam Cuerden/Wikimedia Commons

Some have even claimed that California could secede from the U.S. For decades, this idea has been popular among fringe groups. Some have even desired to see California, alongside the rest of the Pacific Coast, leave the country.

A Growing “Calexit” Trend

This Calexit trend has only grown in recent years as many liberal Californians have become angry at seeing their voice and vote diminished in the country.

An American flag on a pole next to a California flag.

Source: Craig Marolf/Unsplash

For example, 61% of Californians voted to elect Hillary Clinton as president in 2016 — an election Donald Trump won. This made many Californians feel that their vote doesn’t count, which has fueled thoughts of secession.


California’s Great Economy

California’s huge economy could actually help it thrive if it ever seceded. If the state became independent all by itself, then it would immediately become the fifth economy in the world.

The Golden Gate Bridge seen over blue water in the daytime.

Source: Maarten van den Heuvel/Unsplash

This would result in California having a bigger economy than the United Kingdom. Plus, California remains a huge state in the U.S. If it were to become its own independent nation, it would still be a large country and would even be bigger than countries such as Italy.


Some Analysts Don’t Think a Civil War Will Happen

Though the country is dealing with severe political polarization at the moment — and though many have stated they’ve never seen the U.S. more divided — some analysts don’t actually think we’ll see any type of civil war happen anytime soon.

A small American flag seen in green grass.

Source: Aaron Burden/Unsplash

Even with the anger and distrust the country has right now, these historians and analysts have explained that it’s nowhere near what was seen before the Civil War happened.


The Rise of Purple States

These experts have also pointed out that the “national divorce” between red states and blue states that Greene wants would never be able to happen.

A close-up of many American postcards.

Source: Dan Dennis/Unsplash

This is because even very red states, and very blue states, have centers of the opposite party thriving in specific areas. This has allowed more purple states to rise up in the past few years.


Every State Has Conservatives and Democrats

For example, a large, red state such as Texas is often touted as being incredibly conservative. While this is true, many areas of the state are increasingly liberal. Austin is one such city that is said to be a left-leaning place in Texas.

A view of the downtown Austin, Texas skyline seen in the daytime.

Source: MJ Tangonan/Unsplash

On the opposite end of the political spectrum, we have California. While much of California is liberal, there are still centrist or conservative circles found throughout the state.


Political Violence Could Rise

However, while these analysts don’t think a full-scale civil war could happen anytime soon, that doesn’t mean they’re not worried about a potential rise in political violence. Nina Silber, a Boston University professor, further explained this worry.

A view of a red and blue electoral map of the United States.

Source: Clay Banks/Unsplash

“I can imagine a future in which we deal with even more incidents of, or plans for, political violence — and that’s definitely a disturbing development,” Silber stated.


A Change in War

Experts have also warned that if the country were indeed to see a civil war in the future, it wouldn’t be anything like what was seen in the 1860s.

An American flag on a pole underneath a stormy sky.

Source: Tim Mossholder/Unsplash

Now, civil wars are fought by guerrilla units fighting to see who comes out on top, as is seen in countries like Sudan and Syria. This has led analysts to worry that militia groups, such as the Oathkeepers, may work to create a nationwide war themselves.