Teaching the Civil War

The Washington Post is running a nice piece today on how the Civil War is being taught in the wake of Obama’s election. The article includes the insights of Civil War historians Ed Ayers, James McPherson, and Randall Miller.

Here is an excerpt:

As students across the region begin springtime Civil War lessons, historians say the election of Barack Obama as the first African American president offers an unprecedented opportunity to break through stereotypes and view the era in broader ways.

“His election means we can be more honest. We can stop giving one-word answers,” said Edward L. Ayers, a Civil War scholar who is president of the University of Richmond, in the city that became the capital of the Confederacy.

Obama’s ascent, historians say, has opened the door to a national discussion about race. There is renewed relevance to issues surrounding the country’s racial past, including the origins and aftermath of its deadliest conflict, said Randall Miller, professor of history at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.