David W. Blight is Class of ’54 Professor of American history at Yale University and the author most recently of American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era, published in September by Harvard University Press. This essay is an adaptation of a chapter from that book. Copyright © 2011 by David W. Blight. Used by Permission. All rights reserved. Blight is also the author of the Bancroft Prize-winning Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory.

Advertisement