Russ Gifford
The Crucible - How the War of Rebellion Changed America


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My Presentations:

Those Who Came Before Us: Regional Prehistory

Native Americans and American History

The Founding Fathers

The American Revolution & Creation of the Republic

A History of the House of Representatives

Presidential Leadership

Contentious Elections in American History

One Term Wonders

Pivotal Moments In American History

The American Civil War and Reconstruction

The Crucible - America After the War of Rebellion

Westward Expansion

Traveling the West in the 19th Century

Supremely Confident: Legal Cases that Changed History

The Fight for the Right to Vote - the Women's Movement

Women Making a Difference

The Rise and Fall of Mass Media

The Great War

The 1920s

Regional Greats

WWII - 75 Years Later

Justice Delayed: The Civil Rights Movement

The Cold War

The History of the CIA

The War in Vietnam

My Generation: The History of the 1960s

Boomer Classics: Books that Shaped the Sixties

Into the Darkness: 1968

Power to the People - from the 1950s to Today

The History of Rock n Roll: The First 30 Years

Regional History

Those Who Came Before: The Mill Creek Culture

Iowa in the American Civil War

Sioux City: Our History and Our Hopes

Sioux City: Ground Zero in the Great Depression

Sioux City: Crime Corruption, & Redemption

World History

The Crusades

The Reformation at 500

Written Works and Articles

Spectacular Voyage: Lewis and Clark in Our Region

Murder On Water Street: The Death Rev. Haddock

A Glimpse of the Past: Steamboat Perils

Empty Parking Lots and Dark Wal-Marts

Susan B. Anthony and  Sioux City in the 1870s

A Chance Encounter with a Legend


Music of 1966:Summer in the City

Music of 1966:Music of Blond on Blond

About Russ Gifford

Contact Russ


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How the War between the States Changed America

Beyond the deaths that reached all members of society; beyond the suffering that stretched to all states and territories; beyond the cost in money and blood, the American Civil War changed everything that came after it. This series of talks will discuss the changes in government and politics, in industry, and in personal lives! 

Part I: Political Change -- Amendments, Laws, and Practices of Politics (link Session 1)

The Civil War amendments – 13th, 14th, and 15th – changed the relationship of the Federal Government and the States. They cast a long shadow into today, and many still decry that, which takes guts, considering these amendments were dedicated to put an end to slavery. They intended to change things. They had to. The Civil War was the result of not responding to needed changes. But did the changes made have the intended impact? How did the politicians, including the presidents and Courts respond? This session will look at how and why the reach of the Federal Government increased, and where this led.

Part II: Professional Change -- How the War Changed American Business (link Session 2)

All wars change businesses. But from the middle of the American Civil War on, this war accelerated major changes in American business practices. The most important being the massive change from independent businessmen to enormous business factories that could produce the supplies and armaments needed by the Union army. These megalithic businesses would be more powerful than local and state governments. In this session, we will see many examples of the War’s impact on the workforce, and the changes it brought to society – good and bad.

Part III: Personal Change --How the Events of the Civil War Altered Choices in America (link Session 3)

From funerals to financial issues, homesteads and home life, pastimes to personal freedoms, the war made a difference in American life. We will see examples of these changes occurring at the grassroots stage and continue to the turn of the century and beyond. Yet, what about the changes in the South? These may be the most important and the most far reaching of all the changes. What was the response to a new population of freedmen? We will look at these and the other unintended consequences of the Civil War on America in this session. The answers will surprise many.

Looking for a speaker that holds audiences spellbound? Attend one of Russ Gifford's many classes!

       “His ratings were the highest for our entire season of 12 workshops, and far eclipsed those for the previous season. He created a fantastic class, and people left feeling empowered.” -- Dr. Lynn Barteck, Tri State Graduate Center

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