Tag Archives: Civil War

Think the US is more polarized than ever? You don’t know history

Union dead at Gettysburg, July 1863. National Archives, Timothy H. O’Sullivan photographer

Gary W. Gallagher, University of Virginia

It has become common to say that the United States in 2020 is more divided politically and culturally than at any other point in our national past.

As a historian who has written and taught about the Civil War era for several decades, I know that current divisions pale in comparison to those of the mid-19th century.

Between Abraham Lincoln’s election in November 1860 and the surrender of Robert E. Lee’s Confederate army at Appomattox in April 1865, the nation literally broke apart. Continue reading

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