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United States History Commons

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Full-Text Articles in United States History

Generations Later: Has Once-Remote Promise Of Freedom Been Fulfilled?, Edward L. Ayers Oct 2005

Generations Later: Has Once-Remote Promise Of Freedom Been Fulfilled?, Edward L. Ayers

History Faculty Publications

Emancipation began with a flickering promise, burned intensely for a few years during Reconstruction, and then smoldered for a century. Equality and justice have come into view for most African-Americans only in the past two generations. For many descendants of slavery, those essential rights of a free people are still hard to see.


What Caused The Civil War?, Edward L. Ayers Jan 2005

What Caused The Civil War?, Edward L. Ayers

History Faculty Publications

The challenge of explaining the Civil War has led historians to seek clarity in two ways of thought. One school, the fundamentalists, emphasizes the intrinsic, inevitable conflict between slavery and free labor. The other, the revisionists, emphasizes discrete events and political structures rather than slavery itself. Both sides see crucial parts of the problem, but it has proved difficult to reconcile the perspectives because they approach the Civil War with different assumptions about what drives history.