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.
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We periodically highlight content that has us thinking, arguing, reflecting, and learning.
Recently, Becca Capobianco explored the intertwining legacies of the American Revolution, the Civil War, and African-Americans at Yorktown.
The historical amnesia of the South regarding its black and white Union soldiers should be rectified. By choosing to selectively remember and honor Confederate soldiers while simultaneously ignoring the many Southerners who fought for the Union, Southerners send clear message that loyalty to region, protection of white supremacy, and veneration of the Confederacy are the only legacies of the Civil War worth remembering. If Confederate monuments continue to be torn down, new ones should go up, celebrating those Southerners--black and white--who remained loyal to the Union and brought about “a new birth of freedom.”
Almost every historian, buff, and enthusiast has an origin story, a memory of how they became interested in history or their particular topic. How they got their “spark” so to speak. What is your story?
In the aftermath of defeat at Chancellorsville, the XI Corps received the bulk of the blame. They had run, had crumbled under Jackson’s attack without resistance. They were labeled cowards and forevermore known as the “Flying Dutchmen.” The nickname was earned within a short period of time on the battlefield but the series of events that caused the XI Corps’ flight was put into action long before that moment, even before the armies knew they would meet in the Wilderness west of Fredericksburg.
For most people the Gettysburg Address is something they had to memorize in school or a vaguely understood document from the Civil War. For me, the Gettysburg Address represents inspiration for my future as a historian.
Dudley’s father, Thomas Worth Olcott, made his contributions on the homefront, in ways that are perhaps less recognizable, but hardly less important, than soldiers.
Surrounded by the capitol city that has grown up around it, Ten Broeck Mansion was built in 1797-8 outside Albany, NY and remained a private home until it was presented to the Albany County Historical Association in 1948. Although its early history remains a strong focus—to this day it retains the name of its builder and first owner, General Abraham Ten Broeck—the mansion witnessed another upheaval of American History, the Civil War. At the time, the family of Thomas Worth Olcott owned and resided in the house. He and his son, Dudley, both offered their service to the cause of the United States, although in entirely different ways.
Sure enough, I managed to find some Civil War history in my backyard; and I’m sure there is more here if I just keep looking. So, the next time you see something interesting make sure you take a look, you never know what you will find.
Yet with their retreat, and the subsequent Union occupation of Yorktown for the rest of the war, the success of this siege had far more deep implications for the legacies of Yorktown and the Revolution.
Even if you do not work for a big museum, there are opportunities to put together exhibits at colleges, libraries, local sites, or special events. These steps will vary depending of your specific exhibit, but hopefully this framework will help inspire more creative exhibits!
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.