Civil War's Lessons Still Relevant 150 Years Later

Failure to compromise nearly destroyed the nation: Ken Burns
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 12, 2011 12:36 PM CDT
Confederate re-enactors in Charleston, South Carolina.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Today marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, and Ken Burns thinks modern America is still learning its lessons. We like to boast of a post-racial world, for instance, but "we are continually brought up short by the old code words and disguised prejudice of a tribalism beneath the thin surface of our 'civilized' selves," he writes in the New York Times.

The further removed we get from those four brutal years, "the more central and defining that war becomes" in the story of America, writes Burns. It still "invades our consciousness like the childhood traumatic event it was," and we'd be foolish not to heed its lessons today. "In our less civil society of this moment we are reminded of the full consequences of our failure to compromise in that moment." Click to read his entire piece. (Read more Ken Burns stories.)

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