Main Topic: Our Nation
Topic: The Civil War & Reconstruction
Speaker: Fred Nielsen
Completing, Remembering, and Forgetting the Civil War
The work of peace was, in its way, as difficult as the fighting of the Civil War. After Appomattox, divisive questions remained: What was the place of freed slaves? What was the federal government’s responsibility to them? How would former Confederate states be readmitted to the Union? In the end, Americans put their country back together by often forgetting why they had fought in the first place. How they reconstructed a broken nation in the 19th century still shapes the United States in the 21st.