1. Introductions: Why Does the Civil War Era Have a Hold on American Historical

by David W. Blight


Spring 2008

Professor Blight offers an introduction to the course. He summarizes some of the course readings, and discusses the organization of the course is discussed. Professor Blight offers some thoughts on the nature of history and the study of history, before moving into a discussion of the reasons for Americans’ enduring fascination with the Civil War. The reasons include: the human passion for epics, Americans’ fondness for redemption narratives, the Civil War as a moment of “racial reckoning,” the fascination with loss and lost causes, interest in military history, and the search for the origins of the modern United States.

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David W. Blight

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Yale University






Cotton, Enslavement, Slave trade, US

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