Quote 2

“The bringing of the African to America planted the first seed of disunion.”

With this plain and bold intertitle, the story of the film begins. We see a white pilgrim on a platform praying over a group of hunched, bound, and confused black men in a public square. This image shows that New Englanders (i.e., Northerners) originally brought the slaves to America, causing all the subsequent problems presented by the film. The image of Northern abolitionists demanding freedom for slaves two hundred years later is an early strike at the character of the waffling North. It also sets out the simplified thesis of the film: the land was great and noble, with unlimited potential, until Africans were brought to America, precipitating our painful and calamitous dissolution into civil war. The evocative language of the intertitle suggests an infestation or an exponentially developing disease that branched out silently through the developing United States.