Could The Civil War Have Been Avoided? Writer and Civil War Buff Mark Tooley Speaks at The Lyceum | News Release | City of Alexandria

Could The Civil War Have Been Avoided?

Writer and Civil War Buff Mark Tooley Speaks at The Lyceum, May 24


On Sunday April 30, in an interview with conservative writer Selena Zito, President Trump offered up an observation on the Civil War – on whether or not it could have been avoided.  “I mean, had Andrew Jackson been [president] a little later you wouldn’t have had the Civil War,” Trump suggested.  “He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart.  He was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War, [and] he said “There’s no reason for this.’ ”  The President summarized his thoughts with a question: “The Civil War, if you think about it . . . why?  People don’t ask the question, but why was there the Civil War?  Why could that one not have been worked out?”

The President’s apparent lack of understanding of the war’s causes drew instant criticism in the press, but the basic question has been asked many times — could the Civil War really have been avoided?  Mark Tooley will examine how close we came to doing just that, when he discusses his new book on Wednesday night, May 24 at The Lyceum.  The Peace That Almost Was: The Forgotten Story of the 1861 Washington Peace Conference and the Final Attempt to Avert the Civil War is Mr. Tooley’s third book, and examines in detail this little-known last attempt to avoid the bloodshed that took the lives of nearly three quarters of a million Americans, and left other deep scars across American society.

Mark Tooley is president of the Institute on Religion & Democracy in Washington, D.C., a think-tank organization that studies issues of religion and politics, and is where he has worked for 22 years.  He’s also editor of Providence: A Journal of Christianity & American Foreign Policy.  A graduate of Georgetown University, he previously worked for the Central Intelligence Agency, and is both a lifelong Northern Virginian and Civil War buff.  His articles on history, religion and politics have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Detroit News, Newsweek, Weekly Standard, Washington Examiner and other publications.

Mr. Tooley’s talk on The Peace That Almost Was will take place on Wednesday May 24 at 7:30 p.m. at The Lyceum.  Doors open at 7 p.m., and Mr. Tooley will sign a limited number of copies of the book following his remarks.  The program is free for Alexandria Historical Society members, and there is a nominal charge of $5 per person for non-members.  A membership table on-site will give people a chance to join the Society that night.  Parking is extremely limited at The Lyceum, but there are garages and street parking nearby.  To learn more about the Alexandria Historical Society, visit https://alexandriahistoricalsociety.wildapricot.org/

The City of Alexandria is committed to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended. To request a reasonable accommodation, e-mail Jim.Mackay@alexandriava.gov or call 703.746.4706 or Virginia Relay 711.


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