Teach-In

Frederic Edwin Church / Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

The nation pauses Monday to mark Memorial Day and honor the thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who made the ultimate sacrifice for this country’s freedom. The holiday started in the late 1860s to honor Union and Confederate soldiers killed during the four brutal years of the American Civil War.

The University of Oklahoma's 2014 Teach-In on the Civil War panel discussion "Freedom in America and Civic Education" (L-R): Kyle Harper, Ronald White, Allen Guelzo, Joan Waugh, Ed Ayers, Vernon Burton, John Wilmerding.
The University of Oklahoma / iTunesU

During the University of Oklahoma’s 2014 “Teach-In on the Civil War,” each speaker gathered on stage for a panel discussion about Freedom in America and Civic Education, moderated by OU interim provost and director of the Institute for the American Constitutional Heritage Kyle Harper.

Richmond University President Ed Ayers says in order to ensure its vitality, the humanities need to play offense, rather than defense.

General Records of the United States / National Archives

Historian Allen Guelzo calls the Emancipation Proclamation “the single most sweeping presidential action in American history.” It dealt with slavery in a way the Framers during the Constitutional Convention never did, and decidedly outlined a key goal of the Union during the Civil War.

Matthew Brady / Library of Congress / Wikimedia Commons

Over the past six decades, dozens of scholarly surveys have attempted to rank the terms of U.S presidents. Beginning with Arthur Schlesinger’s poll in Life magazine in 1948, Ulysses S. Grant shows up near the bottom of dozens of lists well into the early 2000s.

Since a 2005 Wall Street Journal poll, though, Grant’s legacy has gradually improved over the last decade.

Winslow Homer / The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The first two major American military conflicts produced some of the most important art of the 18th and 19th centuries. John Trumbull’s portraits of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and Alexander Hamilton were later immortalized on the back of U.S. currency, and Thomas Birch documented the major navel battles of the War of 1812.

But there’s a void in cultural output when it comes to the Civil War. Princeton University art historian John Wilmerding argues there are three reasons: a high point of American literature, the rise of photography, and the American landscape as the definition of national identity.

Library of Congress

A little over a month before his assassination, President Abraham Lincoln delivered his second inaugural address as the Civil War drew to a close.

Steinbeck, Oklahoma Can Get Along

Apr 22, 2013
University of Oklahoma

John Steinbeck does not often rise to the list of universally revered authors among Oklahomans. His book, The Grapes of Wrath, is widely viewed as presenting a negative view of the state's residents.

But University of Oklahoma history professor David Wrobel says the state's reputation has not been cursed by the book.