The Fourth of July celebrates American independence, but it's also 150 years to the day since Abraham Lincoln asked for troops to restore the Union. The North and the South differed over what independence really meant, and they went to war over states' rights and civil rights, issues that still divide the nation today. Was the Civil War more about slavery or economics? Was it worth what it cost? Could slavery have been ended by peaceful means? Was the war a historic struggle or a tragic mistake? Those questions help demonstrate how the Civil War has defined American culture and politics. We hear from five eminent historians with different points of view.
Christopher Phillips, University of Cincinnati
David Goldfield, University of North Carolina, Charlotte
Nell Painter, Princeton University
Peniel Joseph, Tufts University (@PenielJoseph)
Michael Kazin, Georgetown University