Upon the Altar of the Nation

The Civil War stands at the center of Americans’ collective memory. More than any other event, it defines the desired identity of the U.S. as an indissoluble union committed to equality and freedom for all. With good reason, U.S. history courses and textbooks are organized in semester sequences that end or begin with the war. It is the pole star that orients the rest of the nation’s story.

 

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