The Slavery Compromise: David Waldstreicher in the 'NYT'

Graduate Center Distinguished Professor David Waldstreicher (History) was interviewed for a recent New York Times article covering the comments made by White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly about the Civil War.

Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general, called Confederate General Robert E. Lee “an honorable man who gave up his country to fight for his state.” He also said that it was “the lack of ability to compromise” that “led to the Civil War.”

Walstreicher, who is the author of Slavery’s Constitution (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010) asserted that the compromises over slavery were rooted in the Constitution.

“The Civil War was caused by the compromises in the Constitution over slavery, which shaped not only the evolution of slavery but also so many of the functions and dysfunctions of national politics, and still does,” Waldstreicher said. “It makes no sense to talk of a failure to compromise, except insofar as every war or political conflict is a failure to make a deal. The original compromises shaped everything.”

Submitted on: NOV 1, 2017

Category: Faculty | General GC News | History