ECW5: Sarah Kay Bierle


In case you haven’t heard the news…Emerging Civil War is celebrating its 5th Birthday! And there’s been a request to share some thoughts for the occasion.

I’m still “new” to Emerging Civil War. Not yet a veteran of late-hour debates and long-winded arguments. It was awesome to attend the 2016 Symposium and get to meet the members and see how ECW works when we’re not all behind our computer screens!

Emerging Civil War is unique. It brings people together to create a community where history is the common thread. Yes, members, readers, and symposium attendees represent many different viewpoints, jobs, hobbies, interests, and ideas, but there is a true and uniting interest in the past.

I think ECW is fostering the American spirit of conversation, debate, and – yes – controversy. By opening new research and ideas or re-examining old topics, ECW is asking people to think and react. Sometimes we get positive reactions. Other times its skirmishing (or all-out war) in the comments. That’s not bad. (Though maybe there’s a nicer way to say things?) People are thinking; that’s good. They are willing to talk.

Folks,—historically speaking—it was this kind of discussion of ideas that made America. Think about the Constitutional Framers. Did they all agree? Nope. Did they talk and possibly try to understand other viewpoints and ideas? (Or just agree to disagree?) Yes.

As ECW turns five and we are looking ahead to the future, I hope the organization will continue to launch topics to the historical discussion table. We discussed some new projects for the blog and publishing ventures that will be exciting and will undoubtedly continue the conversation.

Blog readers and ECW fans – don’t be afraid to comment on our blog posts. Join the discussion. We want to hear your voices. One question I answered a lot last weekend: can the authors see comments? YES! And most would love to see your thoughts and respond. Unfortunately, our subscriptions to mind-reading ran out a long time ago (just kidding here) and we don’t know if you like, disagree, or have questions unless you tell us!

I was in a hotel elevator, wearing my ECW name badge and getting ready to head out for the Symposium. “What’s the “emerging” part of Civil War?” a gentleman asked. I explained that the organization gives a voice to up-and-coming (emerging) historians to talk about Civil War history with a public audience.

Walking out to the car, I thought about it a little more. It’s more than that, I realized. It’s  not really about us. It’s about all of you – the blog readers, symposium audience, book connoisseurs, or casual website visitor. It’s not just our voices. ECW members and writers are just the beginning – the starters of the conversation. You are the ones who continue the discussion…and sometimes teach us a thing or two.

Happy Birthday, ECW! Here’s to many more years of giving a voice to the next generations of historians, thinkers, debaters, Americans, and world-wide lovers of liberty.

2 Responses to ECW5: Sarah Kay Bierle

  1. Well said Sarah! And Happy birthday #5 ECW. The ECW blog, the organization’s events and the books they have published through Savas Beatie are indeed adding to (and even shaping) public conversations and understandings of many facets of Civil War History. And it’s providing its authors and guest authors both a forum and sounding board for their ideas, research and writing. For all of the above I am grateful.

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