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The Politics of Memory

In January 2020, the Socialist government of Spain, led by Pedro Sánchez, proposed a bill of profound cultural and political significance: a “Law of Historical and Democratic Memory.” If adopted, this law will bring to completion a twenty-year effort on the part of the Spanish left to limit . . . . Continue Reading »

The Real Sherman

If William Tecumseh Sherman is known for one thing, it is the scorching of Atlanta in November 1864 as he and his army set off on their March to the Sea. Like so much else that is associated with Sherman, the popular image of ruined Atlanta is an exaggeration. (About 70 percent of the city’s . . . . Continue Reading »

The Road to Revolution

The classic theory of revolution was formulated by Alexis de Tocqueville, who observed in The Ancien Régime and the Revolution that “it was precisely in those parts of France where there had been the most improvement that popular discontent ran highest.” Revolution is not generally . . . . Continue Reading »

Civil War Catholics

In recent decades, the Civil War has received an increasing amount of attention from historians. Some of this scholarship has focused on the role religion played in the war. In The Civil War as a Theological Crisis (2006), Mark Noll describes the Civil War as a turning point in the . . . . Continue Reading »

Tourists at a Tragedy

Vacation this year took us to Fredericksburg, Virginia just to see a ridge known as Marye’s Heights. It was there, December, 13, 1862, that a Union brigade of II Corps attacked the Confederate left, two thousand entrenched Rebels positioned behind a four-foot high stone wall bordering a narrow lane. Enhanced here and there by field fortifications, the wall was a perfect defense. Originally known as Telegraph Road, the lane was forever after called the Sunken Road. Continue Reading »

Statesmanship by Committee

Two questions underlie this study of the months leading up to the American Civil War: 1) At what point, if any, was Abraham Lincoln morally justified in fighting the Confederacy? and 2) Could an agreement have been reached that would have prevented the Civil War? Continue Reading »

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