Pundits are quick to find parallels between the American Civil War and the nation’s fractured political system today. Are these comparisons historically solid or are commentators, both inside the media and in academia, stretching the past to fit their own political agendas? Join historians Jim Downs, Ashley Whitehead Luskey, Michael Birkner, and Peter Carmichael on April 1, 2021 for a virtual conversation about the ways that Americans use and misuse our Civil War past to explain the contentious nature of partisan politics in the United States. Panelists will explore such issues as how the popular image of Abraham Lincoln as the “great unifier” distorts or deepens our historical understanding of Lincoln the politician; the media creation of “political others” during the Civil War era; and the historical construction of white nationalism, among other topics.
Co-sponsored by the Civil War Institute and the Eisenhower Institute at Gettysburg College, this special program and will take place Thursday, April 1 at 7:00 pm via Zoom.
View the full video of this conversation.