In the summer of 1863, in the simmering cauldron of New York City, tensions over the new Union draft law boiled over into a vicious, bloody, racially-motivated riot, the second-largest civil insurrection in American history after the Civil War itself. Experts examine the causes of the conflict, its sickening violence and the enduring legacy it left on New York.
For generations, Civil War military history has focused heavily on the land war, the big battles and on the heroes of the Union and Confederate armies. But the neglected story of the war’s landmark naval engagements, and its great naval heroes, ranks among the most compelling and dramatic in American history. Through both technology and old-fashioned gallantry, on oceans and rivers alike, at places like Hampton Roads, New Orleans, Mobile Bay and even Cherbourg, France, commanders like Farragut, Porter and Semmes changed the course of the war.
The American Civil War was the largest non-British conflict ever fought by British men and women. Serving as soldiers, spies and nurses for both the Union and Confederacy, never again would so many risk their lives on behalf of a foreign cause. In this discussion, acclaimed historian Amanda Foreman, in conversation with Harold Holzer, takes the audience on a journey to the drawing rooms of London, the offices of Washington and the front lines of a divided America to examine Great Britain’s integral role in the Civil War.
A century and a half after Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter to ignite the Civil War, leading historians ask and answer the crucial questions: What really caused the conflict? Could the Civil War have been avoided? Did Lincoln invite the first shot—or did the Union “get lucky?” This program marks the start of an ongoing New-York Historical Society focus on the great American tragedy with the first of several discussions and lectures.