The Heart of the Confederacy

I am quite curious to see what the turnout will be this weekend in Montgomery, Alabama for the sesquicentennial commemoration of Jefferson Davis’s oath of office. According to Thomas Strain Jr. of Tanner, a member of the national board of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, “We are trying to present a historical account of what…

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Abraham Lincoln: Saint or Sinner?

Sometimes I wonder if people are aware that there is a historical profession that has been engaged over the past few decades in the critical analysis of every aspect of Abraham Lincoln’s life.  Consider the following description of an upcoming BBC documentary on Lincoln: To most Americans Abraham Lincoln is the nation’s greatest president –…

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Breaking News: Lincoln Advocated Colonization

The American Studies class that I team teach just finished reading William Gienapp’s concise biography of Abraham Lincoln.  Of all the challenges that students coming to Lincoln struggle with is the issue of colonization.  It’s not simply that Lincoln advocated colonization before the war it’s the extent to which he pushed for it during the…

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By Golly They Were Fighting For States’ Rights

It’s always entertaining to watch folks get worked up about the pride they feel when defending those brave white Southerners, who  in 1860-61 were doing nothing more than standing up against an evil federal government that had stepped beyond its constitutional authority.  For many, it’s nothing less than an act of patriotism that may have…

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