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Civil War Trust

Essay Contest 2011 Honorable Mention, Senior Entry

Robert Schwarzhaupt, 11th

Teacher: Thomas Kuhn
School: Mundelein High School, Mundelein, IL

Preserving 150 Years of History

Most Historians classify United States history into two categories: antebellum and postbellum; the war that these classifications are referring to is the American Civil War. The profoundness of the civil war is unprecedented in the transformation of American society. The intense political, social, and economic battles that prelude the war, and the violence and controversy that perpetrated the country during and after the war shaped and are continuing to shape America. The civil war must always be looked at as a turning point of our country. Remembering the civil war is a gigantic and dutiful task. Since the battles of the civil war took place on American soil it is up to American’s to preserve the essential lands that educate, inspire, and fuel inquisitiveness in America’s history. To move forward we must always have one eye towards the future and one eye towards the past; to effectively learn, conceptualize, and visualize people must be able to see the manifestation of history, which, in this case, are the majestic battlefields that populate the American North and South. Preserving these battlefields allows for American’s of all ages to learn about an essential and profound part of American history in a meaningful and inspirational way, something that a text book or a sign where the battlefield stood just can’t do. Walking the fields of Manassas, and exploring the civil war through Manassas is something I have personally done, and enjoyed like nothing other. Seeing is believing and I was able to transport myself to a place of grave importance. Perspective is everything and fostering the ability for Americans to grow is the goal of any government, and any iteration of history. As my eyes gazed over Manassas I felt a real connection to America which inspired me to educate myself and become a lover of history and government. America’s lands inspired many people across time, and it is our duty to let the land inspire even more people.

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