REMEMBERING THE CIVIL WAR
It's the sesquicentennial of the Civil War -- it's been
150 years since that epic war began. Americans will commemorate and remember
it from different points of view. In this hour of To the Best of Our
Knowledge, Remembering the Civil War. We'll talk about soldiers' experiences
on the battlefield, and their reconciliation afterwards. We'll debate
the controversial legacy of the abolitionist, John Brown. And we'll reflect
on why the Civil War still has a living -- and highly contested -- history...
If you think that 150 years was enough time to settle
all of the war's big historical debates then, well
Americans still clash over some of the war's most fundamental issues
like, how the war began, and why it was fought. This hour
historians Victoria Bynum, as well as David Blight, Sean Wilentz and
others talk about the challenges involved in Remembering the Civil War.
Drew Gilpin Faust is the President of Harvard University, where
she also works as a Lincoln Professor of History. Her latest book, This
Republic of Suffering, explores one of the most sobering aspects of
the Civil War its colossal death toll. She talks to Steve Paulson
about the violence of the Civil War.
For many people, commemorating the Civil War is a time
to reflect on the end of slavery, and the expansion of American freedom.
But starting right after the war, many Americans chose not to remember
the Civil War in these terms. They played down some of the very issues
over which they had gone to war, in order to promote national harmony
and sectional reconciliation between North and South. Historian David
Blight teaches history at Yale University, and is the author of
Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory. Blight tells Jim
Fleming Americans in both sides played a role in whitewashing the history
of the Civil War, in favor of a more unified nation. Also John Brown,
an abolitionist who from the beginning was committed to the abolition
of slavery and called for ending it through armed insurrection.
Over the years, Steve Paulson has asked many historians and writers
about John Brown's role in Civil War history. And he has this historical
it may surprise some to know that not all white southerners
actually fought with the Confederacy in the Civil War. In her book,
The Long Shadow of the Civil War, historian Victoria Bynum relates
the story of three communities in the South that waged what she calls
"inner civil wars.Bynum tells Anne Strainchamps, about southern
unionists who fought against the Confederacy in places as diverse as
Jones County, Mississippi, North Carolina's Quaker Belt, and the Big
Thicket region of East Texas.
CD copies are available at 1-800-747-7444.
Ask for program number 11-02-20-A.
- After Faust
Jay Ungar, Ashokan Farewell, from "Songs of the Civil War"
- After Blight
John Hartford, Aura Lee, from "Songs of the Civil War"
- After The John Brown piece
John Hartford, The Secesh (Shiloh), from "Songs of the Civil War"
- After Bynum
U.S. Military Academy, When Johnny Comes Marching Home, from "Songs
of the Civil War"
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