What are the Enduring Legacies of the American Civil War?
What did the violence in the bloodiest conflict in US history yield in the postwar era?
The Civil War left far too much the same
Susan-Mary Grant, Professor of American History at Newcastle University
In The Gilded Age, the novel that named the postwar era, Mark Twain observed that the Civil War had ‘uprooted institutions that were centuries old, changed the politics of a people, and wrought so profoundly upon the entire national character that the influence cannot be measured short of two or three generations’. This quotation frequently pops up in discussions of the war’s legacy. Yet whatever America’s civil conflict did, it did not uproot centuries-old institutions. At the time of writing, the United States’ centenary as a separate, political state was still three years away.