Mythbusting the American Civil War

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Confederate re-enactors stand on the ramparts of Fort Moultrie are silhouetted in the rising sun to mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War on April 12, 2011 in Charleston, South Carolina. The first shot that began the Civil War was fired at Fort Sumter April 12, 1861 in Charleston harbor. (Photo: Richard Ellis/Getty Images)

President Trump's chief of staff John Kelly ignited a controversy with his recent remarks about the American Civil War made during an interview with Fox News. Kelly said "the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War" and called Robert E. Lee an "honorable man." Civil war historians have refuted Kelly's account, with one Columbia University professor calling it "the Jim Crow version of the causes of the Civil War." In this hour Forum discusses the cause of the civil war, how it is taught in schools and why it remains such a polarizing topic.


Edna Greene Medford, history professor, Howard University; editor of "The Price of Freedom: Slavery and the Civil War, Vols. I & II"
Stephanie Arduini, director of education and programs, American Civil War Museum
James Oakes, history professor, The Graduate Center, City University of New York; author of "The Scorpion's Sting: Antislavery and the Coming of the Civil War"