The Democracy That Broke: The Continuing Relevance of the Civil War

Presented by Mark Grimsley, Associate Professor of History, at the Clio Society meeting, May 2012.
Extremism in American political life led to the extreme actions that caused the Civil War. The Civil War challenged the idea that America was an "unbreakable union," as that union was torn asunder. Could the extremism that seems to characterize our politics today similarly tear our union asunder? During this, the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, Professor Mark Grimsley reflects upon the War's continuing significance in American political life.

The Clio Society consists of friends of the History Department at The Ohio State University. Some attendees are current and former students of the university; some earned degrees in history; others are current and former faculty members of the department; some have an interest in the History Department and its continued growth in excellence; and all love to read and talk about history. They range in ages from 18 to 88 and from history specialists to business people, lawyers, and other professionals who never lost their interest in history. For more information about the Clio Society, please visit