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The Chicago Civil War Round Table Monthly Meetings

411 EpisodesProduced by Marc KunisWebsite

The Civil War Round Table of Chicago present programming of interest to devotées of American Civil War history, support preservation of Civil War battle sites, and sponsor a very popular annual battlefield tour. Founded in 1940, The Civil War Round Table of Chicago was the very first of over 200 suc… read more


CWRT Nov 2018:Paul Kahan: The Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant: Preserving the Civil War's Legacy

Paul Kahan: The Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant: Preserving the Civil War's Legacy  In his most recent book, The Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant, Kahan tackles a presidency vilified as one of the all-time worst, and shows its circumstances, accomplishments, and failures equally and fairly. Unlike most (all?) political leaders, Grant was less than obsessed with becoming president, announcing to his wife the day after the election, he was afraid he’d won. He did it because of all the suffering of the Civil War. He did not want to let the wartime accomplishments slide away.   The Grant Administration was buffeted by three storms: Reconstruction, Economic Depression, and internal corruption. Grant seemed not to be up to dealing with all three at once.   For the time, President Grant was considered quite active in enforcing civil rights laws. Until recently, the thought was Reconstruction of the south was a mistake altogether, that America should have left things alone to evolve for themselves. Nowadays, the thinking is Grant didn’t go far enough with strong laws and harsh enforcement that would have dealt racial discrimination a harder blow. Either way, Grant “failed.”   President Grant seemed to have had no vision beyond saving his accomplishments in the Civil War. He personally was honest, straightforward, plain spoken and untainted. But the events of his era swept him into the dustbin of history, unjustifiably according to historian Paul Kahan. He says the critics were unfair, and the many accomplishments minimized. (h/t review at   Paul Kahan is a lecturer at Ohlone College in Fremont, California. Dr. Kahan earned a Ph.D. in U.S. history from Temple University, an M.A. in Modern American History & Literature from Drew University and B.A.s in history and English (with minors in medieval/ Renaissance studies and music) from Alfred University. His 2016 book, Amiable Scoundrel: Simon Cameron, Lincoln’s Scandalous Secretary of War, was praised as “Essential for any Civil War historian’s library. Kahan talked to our Round Table in March 2017 on Cameron. His most recent book, on U.S. Grant’s presidency, is the subject of this presentation.

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