The Civil War and Emancipation 150 Years On


The sesquicentennial of the Civil War catches the nation in the middle of a conversation. Evidence about Americans’ opinions is contradictory and confusing. On one hand, public commemorations show a sensitivity to African Americans unimaginable at the time of the centennial of the war. On the other hand, polls reveal that nearly half the people in the nation believe that states’ rights rather than slavery led to war—and younger people are more inclined than their elders to think this way, contradicting all that their textbooks tell them.

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Copyright © 2011 Emory Center for Digital Scholarship. This article first appeared in Southern Spaces May 17, 2011.

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