This semester, I’m teaching my Civil War & Reconstruction course, which is absolutely jammed with opportunities to confuse–and that brings me to my title’s admittedly provocative claim. When we really look at the evidence, we know the Civil War did not end slavery. It ended a nation-building project predicated upon slavery. It ended a certain set of legal and political protections for chattel slavery. It produced an amendment that stipulated slavery and involuntary servitude were no longer legally-recognized statuses and conditions. It created a political framework (theoretically) no longer based upon complexion. But it did not end slavery. There was a chasm between theory and practice. Sure, there were different names (convict labor comes readily to mind), and the scale and scope of slavery were diminished. But laws and amendments are not self-enforcing. And elite white Americans of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were not interested in enforcing them either. So in practice, slavery continued in the US–altered and without certain formal protections it once enjoyed–but it most assuredly continued. Anti-human trafficking organizations remind us more and more frequently that it exists still.

"The September release of The American Civil War Collection, 1860-1922: From the American Antiquarian Society includes a wide range of voices and perspectives. The documents include a discourse on slavery in reaction to John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry prior to the war; a Confederate general’s report on a Union general during the war; and two retrospectives written years after Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. Often these differing viewpoints provide details and nuances not found in other Civil War accounts…."

(via From Harpers Ferry to Gettysburg: Perspectives of Confederate and Union Soldiers | Readex)