It’s a question that has come to frame Civil War era studies more and more over the past few decades. I pose the question to my students to help them think about both continuity and change throughout the decade and beyond. The question certainly has pedagogical value.
Now I pose the question to all of you.
What are the interpretive benefits and/or pitfalls to understanding the war as ending in the spring of 1865 as opposed to a longer war that may have taken a different form?
I have some thoughts about this, which I will share in due time.