Why Are You Interested in the Civil War?

My co-blogger Paul Zummo and I also blog at The American Catholic.  Yesterday we were asked by a commenter why we were interested in the Civil War.

Here is my answer:

There are many eras of history that interest me, Pinky, but I am especially interested in the Civil War for the reason noted by Shelby Foote:

“Any understanding of this nation has to be based, and I mean really based, on an understanding of the Civil War. I believe that firmly. It defined us. The Revolution did what it did. Our involvement in European wars, beginning with the First World War, did what it did. But the Civil War defined us as what we are and it opened us to being what we became, good and bad things. And it is very necessary, if you are going to understand the American character in the twentieth century, to learn about this enormous catastrophe of the mid-nineteenth century. It was the crossroads of our being, and it was a hell of a crossroads. “

Here is Paul’s answer:

I’m an American history buff, and the Civil War is the seminal moment in our history. There’s also something to the fact that many of the battlefields are either wholly or at least partially preserved. You can go to Gettysburg, spend a couple of days there, and still not see everything. So being able to stand on the fields and see how the battles played out is something that is unique to the Civil War, as I don’t believe the Revolutionary War battlefields are as ubiquitous. (more…)

Published in: on February 15, 2011 at 5:30 am  Comments (1)  
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