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Civil War



  • Kidada Williams on The Reconstruction that Wasn't

    In the new "I Saw Death Coming," Williams describes a "shadow Confederacy" that refused to cede freedom or dignity to African Americans who often lived far from the reach of a federal government that was unreliably committed to their protection. 



  • The 14th Amendment Should Put a Stop to Debt Ceiling Hostage Taking

    by Eric Foner

    The provisions of the Reconstruction Amendments dealing with the national debt were tied to the nation's short-lived commitment to interracial democracy in the South; today they offer the Biden administration a possible tool to use if Congress pushes to the brink of default. 



  • Masculinity and Trauma in War and Football

    by Sarah Handley-Cousins

    Sports have been cast as a (relatively) peaceful way of inculcating a set of masculine virtues otherwise associated with war. But the experience of injury and grief will continue to confound the rules of manhood—and football fans and citizens should pay attention. 


  • Teach the History Behind "Emancipation" with the Primary Sources

    by Alan J. Singer

    Antoine Fuqua and Will Smith's "Emancipation" has rediscovered the life of an enslaved man variously called Peter or Gordon, who had been made famous through an 1863 photograph. Here's how history teachers can use the primary records of his life to accompany the film. 



  • The Black Widows' Struggle for Civil War Pensions

    by Hilary Green

    Black women's struggles to claim pensions earned by their late husbands' service in the Union Army reflected the incomplete realization of freedom after emancipation and the intrusive controls the pension system and growing administrative state placed on Black families. 



  • Was the Civil War Inevitable?

    by David W. Blight

    As a growing number of Americans entertain the idea that dissolving the nation might be better than holding its incompatible parts together, it's worth revisiting the series of decisions that led to the Civil War, and to ask whether the nation has, or will, experience the equivalent of the Dred Scott decision. 



  • Was Emancipation Intended to Perpetuate Slavery by Other Means?

    by Sean Wilentz

    Protests movements have latched on to a misguided interpretation of the Thirteenth Amendment that argues it allowed and even encouraged the system of mass incarceration as an extension of slavery. A new global history extends that critique to the age of emancipation in general.



  • Push Confederates Out of Gettysburg for Good

    by Kevin M. Levin

    Why are the forces that fought to preserve slavery, and who invaded the free state of Pennsylvania and kidnapped free Black Americans into slavery in 1863, allowed to march in Gettysburg's Remembrance Day parade? 


  • Healing a Divided Nation

    by Carole Adrienne

    From specialized trauma care to emergency transportation to board certification of physicians, when we encounter the medical system today, we are experiencing Civil War medicine. 



  • A Neighborly Civil War in Virginia over Street Names

    Leaders of a group of suburban Virginia homeowners who want to change the Confederate-related street names in their community have been accused of being puppets of George Soros and threatened. 



  • Lies We Teach to Kids about the Reconstruction Era

    by Ursula Wolfe-Rocca

    "The narrative of Reconstruction perpetuated by many state social studies standards is part of a longer and larger struggle over the past, the latest episode of which can be seen in a rash of new restrictions on what teachers can tell young people about our nation’s history.



  • Imagining Another Civil War is a Lost Cause (But That's Not Stopping People)

    by Richard Kreitner

    Journalist Stephen Marche presents scenarios under which the historical tensions among groups of Americans could openly rupture, but reviewer Richard Kreitner thinks some are unlikely, and don't grapple with the way that American institutions are implicated in the crisis of democracy.