The Atlantic

Why There Was a Civil War

Some issues aren’t amenable to deal-making; some principles don’t lend themselves to compromise.
Source: Library of Congress

President Trump has peppered his first months in office with periodic announcements about the history of the nation he now leads, which he shares in the apparent presumption that others will be similarly amazed and astonished. In February, he marked Black History Month with a rambling speech, name-checking a variety of historical figures. “I am very proud now that we have a museum, National Mall, where people can learn about Reverend King, so many other things,” he said. “Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who's done an amazing job that is being recognized more and more, I notice.”

“Great president,” he told the congressional campaign committee of the Party of Lincoln back in March. “Most people don’t even know he was a Republican, right? Does anyone know?”

But more striking than these episodes in the education of

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