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BackStory: Civil War 250th — Why They Fought

One hundred and fifty years ago this April, the Union went to war with the Confederacy. Ever since, Americans have been debating the causes of that war. Most historians today agree that it was fundamentally about slavery. And so what are we to make of the fact that most Southerners didn’t own any slaves, and most Northerners were not abolitionists?

In this hour of BackStory, historian-hosts Brian Balogh, Peter Onuf, and Ed Ayers turn the question of the Civil War’s causes on its side, asking instead why Northerners and Southerners took up arms to fight one another. What causes, in other words, were they willing to die for? By focusing on the lived experience of ordinary Americans, the episode will explore such questions as: Were families on the homefront united in their commitment to war, or were there differences of opinion? Who didn’t want to fight? What did slavery mean to white people on both sides, and what role did enslaved and free African-Americans play in the liberation of slaves? How much did Americans’ reasons for fighting change between 1861 and 1864? And finally – how have intervening wars altered the ways we interpret the motivations of Civil War soldiers?

WAMU 88.5

Taking Great Photos On Vacation Or "Staycation"

Professional photographers give us the latest on cameras, smart phones and shooting tips for great vacation photos this summer -- and every day.

NPR

Squeezed By Drought, California Farmers Switch To Less Thirsty Crops

Water scarcity is leading farmers away from planting staples and towards planting higher-value, lower-water specialty crops. Think wine grapes and pomegranates instead of citrus and avocados.
WAMU 88.5

Obama's Trip to Africa & Foreign Aid

By visiting Africa this month, President Obama is drawing attention to one of the diplomatic tools that most directly shapes America's relationships with other countries: foreign aid and assistance. But now all policy makers at home feel the United States is pursuing the soundest strategy when it comes to providing aid abroad. We explore the issue with the official in charge of the Africa portfolio for the United States Agency for International Development.

WAMU 88.5

Taking Great Photos On Vacation Or "Staycation"

Professional photographers give us the latest on cameras, smart phones and shooting tips for great vacation photos this summer -- and every day.

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