Legendary documentarian Ken Burns was interviewed on CBS about the Civil War and its place in American culture. Burns hammered on the point that the war was not fought over states' rights or nullification, but over slavery. 

“[T]hey do not mention states’ rights. They mention slavery, slavery, slavery,” he said of South Carolina's Articles of Secession. He also directed blame towards the Founding Fathers. 


The main American theme, I think, is freedom. But we also notice that race is always there. Always there. When Thomas Jefferson says all men are created equal, he owns a couple hundred human beings and he doesn’t see the contradiction or the hypocrisy and doesn’t free anybody in his lifetime and sets in motion an American narrative that is bedeviled by a question of race.

Watch the video below: