At its core, Civil Discourse offers fresh and thought-provoking content via our blog, which delves into one of the richest and most significant eras in American history: the 19th-century.
Examining the era via a range of perspectives and lenses (political, cultural, social, gender, and military, among others), Civil Discourse invites you to read our thoughts and share your own.
While we at Civil Discourse strive to present a wide variety of topics and viewpoints, our content is ultimately a product of our own experiences. Learn more about Civil Discourse by checking out our mission statement and authors' bios.
Featured Blog Post
We periodically highlight content that has us thinking, arguing, reflecting, and learning.
Recently, Becca Capobianco explored the worries of Fredericksburg resident Betty Herndon Maury on the increased power of enslaved persons in her area, and the ability of African-Americans to challenge slavery bit by bit throughout the war.
Several sessions at this year’s meeting of the American Historical Association focused on the job market, and how to successfully land your first job in academia. Here are tips from historians on how to nail your interview and transition to your first job.
On first glace, Micki McElya’s The Politics of Mourning: Death and Honor in Arlington National Cemetery appears to be a history of the creation and development of the United States’ most famous national cemetery. Very quickly, however, the reader realizes that this book is a much deeper analysis of how Arlington National Cemetery grew from a family home and plantation to the country’s most sacred burial grounds, one that considers race, gender, memory, and politics. As a result, this work illuminates not only the history of the National Cemetery, but the society in which it developed.
Earlier this month, Civil Discourse quietly passed a milestone...our blog turned two! The new year and our blogging venture's anniversary offer an opportunity to look back at what we've accomplished in 2016 and what lays ahead in 2017.
The perception about the United States in the period before the Civil War is that the North was “free” and the South was “slave.” Now, in some senses this division is accurate; certainly the two regions would end up going to war against each other for issues very related to this debate over slavery. However, the demise of slavery in the North was far more complicated that usually presented. It is certainly not the oversimplified story of slavery ending in the North after the Revolution, leading to a “free” region, as we sometimes see presented in classrooms.
New Year's Day and Civil Discourse's second anniversary are just around the corner, so today we finish our look at the top ten posts of 2016. Earlier this week we cracked the top ten, and in today's posts we bring you the five most popular posts of the year. Whether your a Civil Discourse regular, an infrequent friend, or a first-time visitor to our blog, examining our top posts of the year is a great way to get a feel for the stories we share on our blog. So without further ado, here are our top post of the year! You can read more by clicking a post's title!
We're approaching a new year and Civil Discourse's second anniversary in 2017! As we did last year, we're finishing 2016 with a look back at the year's top ten posts. These popular pieces not only shed light on the Civil War but also allow us to understand the conflict from new perspectives. Without further ado, we begin our top ten countdown with posts six through ten!
Forty-five years old at the start of the Civil War, David Hunter Strother had built his career through pen and pencil. A renowned artist, known via his pen-name "Porte Crayon," Strother traveled throughout the nation in the antebellum years, sharing sketches and stories of his travels via popular magazines of the day. Yet as the nation collapsed in 1861, Strother, who hailed from western Virginia, decided to put his artistic talents to use for the Union army. In the war's early years, Strother served as a topographer for Union forces in the Shenandoah Valley and western Virginia; he eventually earned a commission as a Union officer. Besides Strother's daily work of scouting terrain and sketching maps, the observant Virginian also kept a meticulous, detailed diary which would eventually span dozens of journals. In today's post, I want to share David Hunter Strother's experiences and opinions of various important Civil War figures with you. All of these diary entries date from September, 1861-February, 1862; these diary entries were not published in Cecil Eby's Virginia Yankee. While I have edited lightly for clarity, I have largely left Strother's words and occasional misspellings as they were. After each entry, I have offered a small note with my thoughts and biographical information.
Yet here we are, as Maury and her peers were, confronted with a people demanding recognition even without the protection or support of the law. In this moment, freedom existed alongside slavery, making it all the more difficult to reckon with both for contemporaries and for historians.
All of our bloggers possess extensive experience studying the Civil War and, more specifically, spending time visiting and interpreting both the war's battlefields and its participants. We've all become familiar with countless regiments, but from the many we've encountered, a few have stuck out. Here are some of our authors favorite regiments.
We all know the story of Joshua Chamberlain holding the left of the Union line at Gettysburg. But, did you know that a similar action occurred on the right of the Union line as well? Guest author Justin Voithofer gives us a look at David Ireland's 137th New York Infantry at Culp's Hill.