The Civil War Chaplains Who Shaped Modern American Patriotism

In Prisons and Hospitals, Clergy Tended to Fighters While Stoking Familiar Strains of Nationalism

Chaplain Henry S. White, of the Fifth Rhode Island Heavy Artillery, was a devout Christian—and so when he was captured by the Confederacy, he naturally led a service for his men in prison that included prayers for the U.S. government and its armies. For White’s Confederate captors, praying for the U.S. government amounted to a hostile action. One Sunday, the prison commandant, a Captain Tabb, listened in on the service and scoffed, “Well, your prayer won’t do much good,” according to Frederic Trautmann, a Union soldier who witnessed the scene. …

The Heartbreaking Love Letters That Spurred an Ohio Blacksmith to Join John Brown’s Raid | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Heartbreaking Love Letters That Spurred an Ohio Blacksmith to Join John Brown’s Raid

Dangerfield Newby’s Enslaved Wife Wrote Increasingly Desperate Missives That Inspired Her Husband to Join the Abolitionist Rebellion

Every October 16 marks the anniversary of John Brown’s historic raid on Harpers Ferry in West Virginia in 1859. Accompanied by 18 supporters, Brown, a radical abolitionist, hoped to …

American History, Theology, and Three Competing Memories of the Civil War

A Yale Historian Explains the Power of Myth and Why History Is Never Over

David W. Blight, a historian at Yale University who has written seven books and edited many more, stopped by Zócalo’s offices in December of 2018. Earlier that day, The New …

The Union Army Regiment That Survived Andersonville

Defeated and Humbled in Battle, the 16th Connecticut Volunteers Gained a Measure of Redemption by Enduring a Year in a Brutal Confederate Stockade

More than 40 years after the Civil War ended, machinist George Q. Whitney, formerly a private in the 16th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, helped to dedicate a monument to his …

When Is It Right (or Wrong) to Rebel?

Considering Syria Through the Writings of Thomas Hobbes Shows the Promise and Perils of Revolution

When protesters confronted the autocrats of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Syria early in 2011, many liberally minded people around the world hailed this Arab Spring as a moment of great …