David Goldfield is the Robert Lee Bailey Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He is the author of Black, White, and Southern: Race Relations and Southern Culture (1990), which received the Mayflower Award for Nonfiction and the Outstanding Book Award from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights; Still Fighting the Civil War: The American South and Southern History (2002); Southern Histories: Public, Personal, and Sacred (2003); and the widely acclaimed America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation (2011). He is also a coauthor of the textbook The American Journey (7th edition, 2013). His latest book, The Gifted Generation: When Government Was Good (2017), offers a fresh interpretation of post-World War II America and argues that the federal government as led by Truman, Eisenhower, and Johnson was instrumental in the great economic, social, and environmental progress of the era.
The Coronavirus and the Trump presidency will alter American politics in ways the Civil War and the Great Depression transformed the nation's political landscape. What clues do these earlier events offer for national life after 2020 in terms of legislation, settlement patterns, race relations, immigration, and foreign policy?