Antebellum America, Civil War and Reconstruction

Though the Civil War began in 1861, its roots go back decades, and its effects continue to be seen today.

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Cotton, oil, and the economics of history
Cotton, oil, and the economics of history

Sail, steam, cotton, and oil — the engines of the American economy.

Lilly Martin Spencer, <em>The Home of the Red, White, and Blue</em>
Lilly Martin Spencer, The Home of the Red, White, and Blue

How women contributed to the repairing a country that had been torn apart.

Face to face with the Missouri voters
Face to face with the Missouri voters

Before TV and Twitter, politicians talked to voters face-to-face.

Snakes, petticoats, and Civil War politics
Snakes, petticoats, and Civil War politics

The makers of this ostentatious ceramic jug used images from popular satire to poke fun at the Civil War politics.

A lost history of African Americans in NYC
A lost history of African Americans in NYC

The creation of a beloved landmark destroyed a thriving community of African Americans and Irish immigrants.

The first African American celebrity artist
The first African American celebrity artist

Tanner studied in Philadelphia and Paris, and his style combined elements of American Realism and the Old Masters.

A nude in Victorian America
A nude in Victorian America

Though at first glance this nude seems plucked from classical antiquity, it actually alludes to modern politics.

Soaring above politics
Soaring above politics

Unlike the other monuments on the Mall, this monument tells us virtually nothing about the man it commemorates.

The Civil War, liberty front and center
The Civil War, liberty front and center

Johnson paints a courageous African-American family fleeing slavery.

John Quincy Adams Ward, <em>The Freedman</em>
John Quincy Adams Ward, The Freedman

This remarkable work honors those who fought for their own freedom, but acknowledges that the struggle goes on.

War News from Mexico
War News from Mexico

Painted for a divided US, people from North and South could identify with this image—others remain marginalized.

Shrady and Casey, <em>Ulysses S. Grant Memorial</em>
Shrady and Casey, Ulysses S. Grant Memorial

Shrady’s sneaky self-portrait within this sculpture took on tragic connotations after the monument claimed his life.