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The American Civil War—the “War Between the States”—is the central event in American history, around which much of the rest of American history circles. The American Revolution was the defining event for hte nation, and historians have claimed that the revolution was not complete until the issue of slavery had been settled. The Civil War did that, and more. The Civil War redefined the relationship between the government and the people, and between the federal government and the states. For that and other reasons, it has been called “The Second American Revolution”

William Faulkner once said, “In the South, the Past Isn’t Dead; It Isn’t Even Past.” Certainly there are other areas of the United States where the past still lives: Boston's “Freedom Trail”; New York's Ellis Island; San Antonio's Alamo; along the Oregon Trail; Indian reservations; Baltimore's Ft. McHenry; Independence Hall in Philadelphia; Angel Island in San Francisco; and so on. But nowhere outside the South does the past pervade the lives of its people almost every waking moment.

The history of the American Civil War is still being written. As recently as 2009, over 700 new titles on the Civil War appeared. No end is in sight—nor need there be. For a nation founded on the principles of freedom and individual liberty, the Civil War is our biggest event.

lee

Readings

Documents

A wag once said that the real winner of the Civil War was the American Booksellers' Association. No human being could possibly devour in a lifetime all that has been written about the great conflict. Nor can any web site encompass all there is to know about the period. As an unreconstructed Yankee who has lived most of his life in the South, I will try to bring a small measure of clarity to the debate by trying to understand the issues as seen not just from both sides, but from many sides.

hancock
Sage Home Expansion & Manifest Destiny Antebellum Home Civil War Updated December 13, 2013