With election season in full swing, it's easy to think that today's political environment is more polarized than in the past - that back in the old days, consensus was the norm, politicians didn't calculate with precision their next moves, and war wasn't politicized.
Of course, one has to merely rewind about 150 years to the American Civil War to rejigger that assumption.
In the aftermath of the September, 1862 battles at Antietam and the subsequent penning of the initial Emancipation Proclamation, the political conscience of the country could not be more fraught with anxiety - shared in great measure by the Great Emancipator Abraham Lincoln himself.
And as our Civil War historian Thomas Martin Sobottke shares with us, the Iron Brigade - and its Wisconsin soldiers - were, naturally, right in the thick of it all.
As our Iron Brigade and Beyond series continues, Sobottke explains that among the casualties at the arguably Union victory at Antietam - was the career of General George McClellan.
Sobottke is a Pewaukee historian, teacher, and the voice of our Iron Brigade and Beyond: Wisconsin in the Civil War series. He's the author of the book, Across That Dark River: The Civil War Memory, published by Moving Train Books, LLC. Our Civil War series is produced by Stephanie Lecci.