About the National Archives

Welcome Remarks for How the South Won the Civil War: Oligarchy, Democracy, and the Continuing Fight for the Soul of America

Greetings from the National Archives. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and it's my pleasure to welcome you to today’s virtual book talk with Heather Cox Richardson, author of How the South Won the Civil War.

Before we begin, though, I’d like to tell you about two upcoming programs you can enjoy online.

From Thursday, March 19, through Sunday, March 28, you may view The Greatest Good in a virtual film screening presented in Partnership with the United States Forest Service and the 2021 Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital. The film explores the history of the U.S. Forest Service, using rarely seen footage and photos and dozens of interviews to tell a complex and compelling story.

And on March 30, at noon, author Dorothy Wickenden will discuss The Agitators, which uses the intertwined lives of Harriet Tubman, Martha Wright, and Frances Seward to tell the stories of abolition, the Underground Railroad, and the early women's rights movement.

You will find links to both events in our online calendar at archives.gov/calendar.

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Randall J. Stephens, in his Washington Post review of How the South Won the Civil War, wrote that “Heather Cox Richardson . . . explains [Barry] Goldwater’s crusade and the trajectory of modern conservatism in her masterful [work]. A timely book, it sheds light on what was perhaps the most important political coalition of the 20th century.”

The coalition was that of the Deep South and the West, based upon a hierarchical view of government. Stephens further stated in his review, “Richardson tells the engrossing and deeply relevant story of these connections, and she ties that story to the most important political and social developments of American history.”

Moving from the founding of our nation, through the Civil War and western expansion, to the modern era, Richardson points out the ebb and flow of tensions between expansion of rights and their restriction, of government activism and its rejection.

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Heather Cox Richardson is professor of history at Boston College and the author of six books about American politics. Two of her other books, West from Appomattox and To Make Men Free: A History of the Republican Party were both Editor’s Choice selections of the New York Times Book Review. Richardson is a national commentator on American political history and the Republican Party. Her work has appeared in the Guardian, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Chicago Tribune, among other publications, and she writes the popular newsletter Letters from an American.

Now let’s hear from Heather Cox Richardson. Thank you for joining us today.