The American Civil War

IYSSE holds meeting on “Race, Class, and the fight for Socialism” at New York University

By Owen Mullan and Sandy English, 21 November 2019

The meeting was addressed by socialist scholar Tom Mackaman who responded to the historical falsifications put forward by the New York Times’ 1619 Project.

230 Interview with Victoria Bynum

28 October 2019

“1619” and the myth of white unity under slavery

Book review: Masterless Men: Poor Whites and Slavery in the Antebellum South by Keri Leigh Merritt

By Eric London, 9 September 2019

Merritt’s research refutes the New York Times’ Project 1619 claim that poor whites benefited from slavery.

The New York Times’s 1619 Project: A racialist falsification of American and world history

By Niles Niemuth, Tom Mackaman and David North, 6 September 2019

The 1619 Project, launched by the New York Times, presents racism and racial conflict as the essential feature and driving force of American history.

The New York Times’s 1619 Project: A racialist falsification of American and world history—Part Two

By Niles Niemuth, Tom Mackaman and David North, 4 September 2019

The 1619 Project, launched by the New York Times, presents racism and racial conflict as the essential feature and driving force of American history.

Why are reparations for slavery being made an issue in the 2020 US elections?

By Niles Niemuth, 21 June 2019

At a time when social inequality is motivating a growing movement of workers and youth, race is being brought forward to divert opposition to capitalism and attempt to block growing interest in socialism.

The bicentenary of Frederick Douglass

A leading figure of the anti-slavery struggle

By Fred Mazelis, 20 December 2018

The foremost black Abolitionist escaped slavery as a young man and went on to advise Abraham Lincoln in the Civil War.

Ron Chernow’s Grant: An able and compelling new biography

By Andre Damon, 15 December 2017

Chernow capably weaves together an account of the life of the Civil War general, president and memoirist.

Trump on Jackson and the Civil War: Historical ignorance and the decline of the American presidency

By Tom Mackaman, 4 May 2017

In recent comments, the president said the Civil War was an avoidable mistake and that Andrew Jackson was angered by it—though Jackson had been dead for 16 years at the war’s outbreak.

The class essence of the Confederacy in the American Civil War

A further comment on Free State of Jones

By Douglas Lyons, 30 August 2016

In their attacks on the film, figures like Charles Blow of the New York Times are denigrating some of the noblest individuals in American history.

An interview with David Williams, author of Bitterly Divided: The South’s Inner Civil War

By Eric London, 16 August 2016

The World Socialist Web Site recently interviewed Professor David Williams of Valdosta State University about class conflict during the American Civil War and its relationship to social and political developments after the war.

“The records were full of evidence of dissent and insurrections by common people”

An interview with Victoria Bynum, historian and author of The Free State of Jones—Part 1

By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 12 July 2016

We are posting a conversation with Victoria Bynum, whose research helped inspire the film Free State of Jones, about an insurrection by Southern Unionists against the Confederacy during the Civil War.

Free State of Jones: Three cheers!

By Joanne Laurier, 28 June 2016

Gary Ross’s film is a fictional account of an intriguing, but little known chapter in American history.

“The world only discovered him a hero after he had fallen a martyr”

150 years since the assassination of Abraham Lincoln

By Tom Mackaman, 14 April 2015

In office, Lincoln guided the Civil War and transformed it from a struggle for the preservation of the Union into a revolutionary war for the abolition of slavery.

Exhibition at New York’s Morgan Library

Lincoln Speaks: Words That Transformed a Nation

By Fred Mazelis, 13 March 2015

An exhibition of letters and speeches makes the US Civil War and the role of Abraham Lincoln come alive.

How the British workers’ movement helped end slavery in America: Part one

By Joe Mount, 5 January 2015

This is the first part of a two-part article on the role of the British working class in the victory of the Northern Union forces in the American Civil War and the abolition of slavery in the United States.

150 years since Sherman’s March to the Sea

By Tom Mackaman, 27 November 2014

In November and December, 1864, Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman led a Union army deep through Confederate territory, resulting in the capture of Savannah and the liberation of thousands of slaves.

The Civil War in 1864

By Tom Mackaman, 23 May 2014

The American Civil War entered its decisive phase 150 years ago, in the summer and fall of 1864.

150 years since Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

By Tom Mackaman, 19 November 2013

President Obama has spurned invitations to the gathering commemorating America’s most famous political speech.

Falsifying the American Civil War: Doris Kearns Goodwin at Gettysburg

By Eric London and Jerry White, 8 July 2013

Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin attempted to strip the American Civil War of its revolutionary significance in her keynote speech at celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

150 years since the Battle of Gettysburg

By Tom Mackaman, 1 July 2013

On July 1, 2 and 3, 1863, the bloodiest battle in the history of North America took place at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in the midst of the Civil War.

One hundred fifty years since West Virginia statehood

By Clement Daly, 19 June 2013

West Virginia gained statehood 150 years ago in the revolutionary struggle to eradicate slavery in the United States during the Civil War.

Understanding Lincoln: An interview with historian Allen Guelzo

3 April 2013

Leading Abraham Lincoln scholar Allen Guelzo recently spoke with Tom Mackaman of the World Socialist Web Site.

PBS’s The Abolitionists: Remembering the political struggle against slavery

By Tom Mackaman, 31 January 2013

The Public Broadcasting System’s The Abolitionists is a reminder that the fight against slavery in the US was a hard-fought political struggle.

150 years since the Emancipation Proclamation

By Tom Mackaman, 3 January 2013

We repost here a perspective initially posted on September 22 celebrating the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s order that legally freed 4 million slaves and altered the course of the American Civil War.

Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln and the historical drama of the Civil War

By Tom Mackaman, 12 November 2012

Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln is a powerful cinematic treatment of the Lincoln administration’s struggle to pass a Constitutional amendment abolishing slavery in 1865, the final year of the American Civil War.

Interview with historian James McPherson: 150 years since the Emancipation Proclamation

By Tom Mackaman, 29 October 2012

McPherson is professor emeritus of history at Princeton University and the author of a number of books on the Civil War, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Battle Cry of Freedom.

Prelude to the Emancipation Proclamation

150 years since the Battle of Antietam

By Tom Mackaman, 17 September 2012

The Battle of Antietam, fought 150 years ago in the second year of the American Civil War, set the stage for Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

Huge turnout for viewing of Emancipation Proclamation in Michigan

By Shannon Jones, 23 June 2011

More than 21,000 people turned out to see the Emancipation Proclamation, which was on view for 36 hours at the Henry Ford Museum in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, Michigan

One hundred and fifty years since the US Civil War

By Tom Eley and David North, 13 April 2011

This week marks the 150th anniversary of the Confederate attack on federal soldiers at Fort Sumter, in South Carolina, which began the Civil War between the Union and the Confederacy—an epochal event in American and world history.

150 years ago: The election of Abraham Lincoln touches off secession crisis

By Shannon Jones, 24 December 2010

On December 20, 1860, six weeks after voters of the United States elected Abraham Lincoln as the 16th president, South Carolina seceded from the union. Other Southern states soon followed, leading within little over five months to the outbreak of the American Civil War, the bloodiest conflict in US history, and ultimately to the freeing of 4 million slaves.

150 years since the execution of John Brown

By Fred Mazelis, 4 December 2009

One hundred and fifty years after his execution for the failed raid he led on the Federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, the legacy of John Brown continues to generate controversy and disquiet.

The American media and the Lincoln bicentenary

By Tom Eley and David Walsh, 17 February 2009

The US media’s attempts to portray Obama as the heir of Lincoln’s legacy involve a grotesque historical and political falsification. While Lincoln will forever be associated with one of the great progressive causes of history—the ending of slavery through the Civil War—Obama bears an entirely reactionary relationship to today’s great political questions.

In honor of the bicentenary of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin

12 February 2009

It is among the most remarkable coincidences of history that Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin were born on the same date, February 12, 1809. Lincoln, as the 16th president of the United States, made an immense contribution to the political liberation of mankind. Darwin, in the sphere of science, contributed mightily to its intellectual liberation. Today the World Socialist Web Site pays tribute to the memory of these two very great men.

Lincoln’s Cooper Union address—an appeal to reason

By Shannon Jones, 5 July 2005

Lincoln at Cooper Union: The Speech That Made Abraham Lincoln President, by Harold Holzer, Simon & Schuster (2004) ISBN 0-7432-2466-3

The enduring significance of the Emancipation Proclamation

By Shannon Jones, 2 June 2004

Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America, by Allen C. Guelzo (Simon & Schuster, 2004)

A conversation with historian James M. McPherson

How the US Civil War became “a remorseless revolutionary struggle”

By David Walsh, 28 February 2003

A recent conversation with historian James McPherson of Princeton University was prompted by two events: the appearance of Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York, which purports to deal with an episode of the Civil War, and the publication of Professor McPherson’s most recent work, Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam, which studies one of the turning points in that same conflict.

A presidential family in time of war

By Joseph Kay, 7 March 2001

Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided, Produced and directed by David Grubin, a presentation of the Public Broadcasting System series The American Experience

Lincoln letters posted on Library of Congress web site

By Shannon Jones, 10 May 2000

The first selection of a planned posting of some 20,000 letters to and from Abraham Lincoln are now available on the Library of Congress (LOC) web site [http://www.loc.gov]. The initial batch, 2,200 letters, posted in February, date mainly from 1849 to 1865. A large portion relate to Lincoln's 1858 run for the US Senate against Stephen Douglas and the presidential election campaign of 1860.

American historian C. Vann Woodward dies: an interview with Civil War historian James McPherson on Woodward's contribution

By David Walsh, 24 December 1999

The remarkable historian C. Vann Woodward, who contributed much to an understanding of the American South, died December 17 at his home in Connecticut at the age of 91. Woodward is perhaps best known for his work The Strange Career of Jim Crow, published in 1955, which did a good deal to debunk the myth that segregation was the inevitable consequence of Southern culture, and pointed instead to its roots in social and political relations.

An interview with historian James M. McPherson

The Civil War, impeachment then and now and Lincoln's legacy—Part 3

By David Walsh, 21 May 1999

This is the third part of an interview conducted by WSWS editorial board member David Walsh with James M. McPherson. Walsh spoke to McPherson, the distinguished historian of the Civil War era, in his office at Princeton University. Professor McPherson's works include Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution ; Battle Cry of Freedom [a Pulitzer Prize winner]; For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War and The Struggle for Equality . Explanatory notes to assist the reader follow the article.

An interview with historian James M. McPherson

The Civil War, impeachment then and now and Lincoln's legacy—Part 2

By David Walsh, 20 May 1999

This is the second part of an interview conducted by WSWS editorial board member David Walsh with James M. McPherson. Walsh spoke to McPherson, the distinguished historian of the Civil War era, in his office at Princeton University. Professor McPherson's works include Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution ; Battle Cry of Freedom [a Pulitzer Prize winner]; For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War and The Struggle for Equality .

An interview with historian James M. McPherson

The Civil War, impeachment then and now, and Lincoln's legacy—Part 1

By David Walsh, 19 May 1999

WSWS editorial board member David Walsh recently spoke to James McPherson, the distinguished historian of the Civil War era in his office at Princeton University. Professor McPherson's works include Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution; Battle Cry of Freedom [a Pulitzer Prize winner]; For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War and The Struggle for Equality.

Historian James M. McPherson and the cause of intellectual integrity

By David Walsh, 18 May 1999

Starting tomorrow we will be presenting on the WSWS a lengthy interview with James M. McPherson, probably the leading contemporary historian of the American Civil War era. We hope that readers will find that the subjects of the discussion—the political turmoil of the period leading up to the Civil War, the violence of the war, Lincoln's legacy, the impeachment of Andrew Johnson—are of interest and that they shed some light on contemporary events.

"There is a big idea which is at stake"—Corporal in the 105th Ohio, 1864

For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War, by James M. McPherson, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997

By David Walsh, 3 November 1997

[Originally published in the International Workers Bulletin, November 3, 1997]

An exchange with a Civil War historian

By David Walsh, 19 June 1995

[Originally published in the International Workers Bulletin, June 19, 1995]

James McPherson's What They Fought For: When great ideals gripped the American people

By David Walsh, 5 December 1994

[Originally published in the International Workers Bulletin, December 5, 1994]