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History As It Happens

Oct 18, 2022

One-hundred fifty-seven years after Appomattox, Americans are still grappling with a question that hung over the post-Civil War period: what kind of democracy are we going to be? That is the central question of historian Jeremi Suri's new book, "Civil War By Other Means," which traces the violent controversies of Reconstruction over voting and citizenship to our current dilemmas. It was no accident that one of the Jan. 6, 2021, rioters carried a Confederate flag into the U.S. Capitol as his fellow "patriots" marauded the halls. The flag remains a powerful symbol of rebellion and the racism underpinning the notion that the "wrong people" voted in the 2020 election. Wars do not end; they migrate to our minds.