Jeremi SuriNov 2, 2022
Civil War by Other Means
America's Long and Unfinished Fight for Democracy
In 1865, the Confederacy was defeated, but the military victory did not end the tensions of the war or signal acceptance of a new, more equal nation. In Civil War by Other Means: America's Long and Unfinished Fight for Democracy (PublicAffairs, 2022), Jeremi Suri argues that, instead, efforts to bolster white supremacy began immediately. The big questions and conflicts of the Civil War lingered, continuing to cause other types of conflict among Americans. From conflicting interpretations of Abraham Lincoln's assassination by John Wilkes Booth to postwar riots to contested elections and stymied presidential agendas, Suri shows how the battles of the Civil War continued in other forms in the decades after the military conflict ended. Suri argues that, in fact, competing visions of democracy, freedom, and race still evident today have their roots in this period. In this episode of the podcast, Suri, who is the Mack Brown Distinguished Professor for Global Leadership, History, and Public Policy at the University of Texas at Austin, discusses this historical moment, what led him to research and write about it, and what it means for understanding the current challenges facing American democracy.
Christine Lamberson, PhD, is a historian. Her research focuses on 20th century U.S. legal, political, and cultural history. She’s currently working on a book manuscript about the role of violence in shaping U.S. political culture in the 1960s and 1970s.