Lincoln’s Death, New Nation: April 1865 to 1877

Lincoln’s Posthumous Fame

Why do we remember the gallantry and heroism of combat so much better than the death and destruction that accompanied it?

The answer lies in human nature. People often have to forget the worse parts of an experience in order to get up and move; so it was with Americans—white and black, rich and poor—when the Civil War ended. It was—and remains—much easier to concentrate on the heroism of Pickett’s Charge than to really contemplate that seven thousand men were killed, wounded, or went missing that afternoon. To use a statistical approach, those seven thousand men represented roughly one-tenth of one percent of the entire white population of the Confederate States!


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