Kim Phillips-Fein

Kim Phillips-Fein is a journalist living in New York City.

Recent Articles

An Unfinished Peace

April 1865: The Month That Saved America, Jay Winik. HarperCollins, 496 pages, $32.50 I n January 1913, the 50th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, Dudley Miles, a professor at Columbia University, published an essay titled "The Civil War as Unifier." The "true significance" of the war, Miles wrote, was how quickly sectional reconciliation had been achieved. Unlike civil wars and separatist conflicts in other parts of the world, the American Civil War "deepened and spread the sense of nationality" throughout the country. Miles made no mention of slavery. Nor did he discuss the lynch mobs rampaging through the South attempting to enforce Jim Crow. Focusing on white Americans, Miles saw only a nation reconciled, the wounds of war healed. Miles wrote at the height of the Progressive Era, when pragmatic reformers appealed to the language of romantic nationalism--celebrating "the great fighting qualities of our race," as Theodore Roosevelt put it--to transcend the radical...