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"The Civil War" The Better Angels of Our Nature (1865) (TV Episode 1990) Poster

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Barbara Fields - Historian: It is *the* event in American history in that it is the moment that made the United States as a nation. And I mean that in different ways. The United States was obviously a nation when it adopted the Constitution, but it adopted a Constitution that required a war to be sorted out, and therefore required a war to make a real nation out of what was a theoretical nation as it was designed at the Constitutional Convention.

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Shelby Foote - Writer: Before the War, it was said 'the United States are'. Grammatically it was spoken that way and thought of as a collection of independent states. And after the War, it was always, 'the United States is,' as we say today without being self-conscious a'tall. And that sums up what the War accomplished. It made us an 'is'.

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