My interest in Skyrim popped up from the ocean of my mind recently. I bought a used version and that opening cutscene is still familiar to me (mostly because I was constantly making characters. I'm picky). But it also reminded me of a large plot point for the Elder Scrolls continuity, and that was the civil war.
Unless my memory's failed and truly turned into Red, then about 99.999999999999999999% percent of players supported the Stormcloaks (That's what the internet seemed like, anyway). But I didn't. So drawing upon my knowledge of both the American Revolution and the United States Civil War, I'd like to explain why I agree with the Imperial side of the Civil War.
1. Secession is considered illegal
This one is a simple point that cost thousands of lives in a more complicated effort to defy it. The Civil War was fought in the beginning, not because of slavery, but because the southern states tried to declare themselves independent from from the United States. Ultimately, the largest point of the war was to tell the South that secession was illegal.
It's the same reason that England took offense to the American Colonies seceding from Great Britain. The only reason that the Colonies weren't punished was because they were a) backed by other nations, and b) they had a three thousand mile ocean on their side. As much as I appreciate what the forefathers did, they did still commit treason.
2. Religion of Akatosh and Reactions
This is where it gets a little personal. Religion, or more appropriately, the right to practice religion of a person's choosing, has spawned several clashes in history. There were several Crusades, multiple religions in the United States were required to exodus west to avoid persecution, and even now people are punished or attacked because they believe differently to a party with power.
In the Elder Scrolls world, the Empire had quote "Banned worship of Akatosh" unquote. And yes, I believe the double quoting is important. Because while the Empire had banned it, they didn't do anything to enforce it. There are several laws in the US today that would cause trouble if someone actually followed them. But no one does, because they're considered duds.
The ban on worshiping Akatosh was a dud. The Empire only did so to create a cease fire with the Dominion, and initially treated it like a dud. It could have stayed that way, too. However, the Stormcloaks were highly vocal about their dislike of a law. History in our world shows that when people complain, the government tries to quiet them. So when the Dominion heard about the Stormcloaks breaking the law publicly and vocally, the Empire was forced to enforce its dud law.
In other words, the Stormcloaks kind of brought this on their own heads.
This draws an eery parallel to the American Revolution, and it's admittedly my weakest point. England thought to raise taxes on the colonies because of the French and Indian War fought to keep them. The colonies protested the tax hike, and England began trying to suppress their complaints.
Here's where I find difference. The Akatosh dud law was made during emergency times to prevent war. The tax hike on the American Colonies was during peacetime. Also, Skyrim was represented in the Imperial Council by the Skyrim King. America had no representatives in Parliment, and that was their complaint. So Skyrim had had representation. It was just that the Stormcloaks openly complained anyway, and that forced the Empire to do more than create the law.
(In fact, if England had given them representation in Parliment, I bet the Colonies would have been more complacent because they weren't just ordered about. There likely wouldn't have been a revolution).
3. Ulfric Stormcloak
Anyone who played Skyrim can probably tell about Ulfric. Personally, I find him to be an absolute fucking asshole . In other words, a big jerk and a hypocrite.
Let's start with his declaration to secede. The Americans not only wrote the Declaration of Independence, they actually sent a copy to King George for him to approve. Before, there had only been battles between British soldiers and angry colonists. After the Declaration's creation, the forefathers waited for England's response before an official attack against them. If England had approved it, then there wouldn't have been a war.
In contrast, Ulfric did so with much less honor. He challenged the current Skyrim king to a duel. Then he literally blew the king apart. The issue with this is that while Ulfric was a seasoned soldier who also knew how to use the Voice, the king was a young man with little actual training. It would have been similar to a Special Forces soldier versus a college graduate in a fight to the death, and the soldier had all of his arms and equipment.
Ulfric didn't even give the king a chance to surrender to try to peacefully approach the situation. He flat slaughtered him and then declared a revolution in blood. Revolutions that don't try a peaceable approach first tend to fail. Look at any civil rights movement and revolution, both peaceful and violent. The peaceful approach tends to have a much higher success rate.
The second part of my issue with Ulfric is his hypocrisy. He wants a Skyrim where he can worship according to his needs. That in itself isn't wrong. What's wrong is how he demonstrates it. While he's more than willing to play victim against any who might disagree with his policies, he then exerts a tyrant's boot on other races.
Elves, Argonians, Khajit, and anyone Ulfric doesn't like is crushed under his "superiority" while claiming that he himself is under a tyrant's thumb. The evidence of this is obvious to anyone who walks through Ulfric's city. It's a squalor with a big seat at the top.
I want to speak more on topic number 3, but I'm out of words. I'll write another entry soon. Tell me your opinions and if you find any fault with my logic.