The Emancipation Proclamation changed the course of the war, from protecting the Union to redefining freedom. But far from being the bringer of widespread freedom to all enslaved peoples, the Proclamation was very limited in its power.Read More
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.Read More
Abraham Lincoln and Union leaders realized from the war's outset the grave threat British intervention posed. Intervention likely meant successful Confederate independence. No matter what form, be it mediation, recognition, or literal intervention, any attempt by the British to interfere was based upon separation of North and South. The causes of the Union and Confederacy were mutually exclusive; either the Union remained whole or the Confederacy earned independence. British intervention effectively destroyed the cause of preserving the Union.Read More
In Civil Discourse's first ever roundtable question, we asked five of our writers a classic, yet undeniably important, question: what event most influenced the outcome of the Civil War? Our authors diverse answers (and non-answers!) may surprise you!Read More
1863, as we have noted, was a memorable year for Emilie Davis. A free black woman living in Philadelphia, Emilie celebrated the Emancipation Proclamation, twin Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, and steps toward lasting change as northern states like Maryland chose to end slavery voluntarily. But 1863 was also a year of devastation for Emilie, one in which she would witness the deterioration of her family as a direct result of the new rights that came along with the Emancipation Proclamation.
This is the third installment of Memorable Days: the Civil War through the eyes of a free black woman. To read an introduction of Emilie, click here. To read her take on the Battle of Gettysburg, click here.Read More
The United States did not enter the Civil War with the intent to destroy slavery. However, by the end of the war in 1865 slavery had been dealt its death blow. Today marks the 150th anniversary of the 13th Amendment passing Congress, and moving on to the states for ratification. While the Emancipation Proclamation is more famous, it was the 13th Amendment that gave emancipation meaning and solidified the end of the war as the end of slavery in America.Read More
On several occasions during his tenure in office, President Obama has made statements and comments describing his stance on whether or not to shield illegal immigrants in America from deportation. The problem seemed to come to a new head this past November, when the President seemingly turned from this statement to take executive action to shield four million illegal immigrants facing deportation. The issues and questions surrounding the President’s actions are numerous. Is his use of “executive action” legal? How does this affect us? How does this affect the economy? How does this action apply to? Is there anyway Congress could prevent this action? How is this different than an “executive order”? And the list continues. Thankfully, Max Ehrenfreund at the Washington Post compiled a fantastic article detailing these questions. When my students began asking similar questions I thought to myself, “I wonder if people realize President Obama is not our first President to use executive power to make a move on an issue pressing our country?”Read More