SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS/WBBM) — Not quite two years after Abraham Lincoln’s 200-year birthday anniversary, many history fans will be observing the start of the Civil War 150 years ago.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Dave Dahl reports, Adam Goodheart runs the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience at Washington College in Maryland, and he says Lincoln is not universally loved. That still resonates in the 21st century.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Dave Dahl reports

“He’s one of those figures who is sort of a source of endless inspiration for some, and vituperation, you might say, for others,” Goodheart said. “He’s a target, I think, for a lot of people who have issues about the size and the power of the federal government today, just as he was for those sorts of people in 1860 and 1861.”

Goodheart says the challenge, then as now, was to maintain unity while preserving diversity.

Goodheart is also the author of the book 1861, a Civil War narrative about how the conflict “inspired a new generation to reject their parents’ faith in compromise and appeasement, to do the unthinkable in the name of an ideal.”

The book explores the stories of several little-known Civil War heroes, including an acrobatic militia colonel, the wife of an explorer, a close-knit group of German immigrants, a regiment of New York City firemen, and a young college professor who later became president.

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