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Civil war lessons often depend on the location of the classroom

Photo: Shutterstock

The Civil War lessons taught to American students often depend on where the classroom is, with schools presenting accounts of the conflict that vary from state to state and even district to district.

Some schools emphasize states' rights in addition to slavery and stress how economic and cultural differences stoked regional tensions. Others highlight the battlefield acumen of Confederate commanders alongside their Union counterparts.

At least one suggests that abolition represented the first time the nation realized its founding ideals while another offers Confederate General "Stonewall" Jackson as an example of effective leadership.

The differences don't always break down neatly along geographic lines, but their effects often aren't obvious until related issues thrust them into the spotlight like the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the resulting backlash against Confederate symbols.

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