Grijalva Invites Trump on Tour of NPS Civil War Sites to Explore History, Legacy of American Slavery

Washington, D.C. – Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today invited President Trump on a tour of Civil War sites protected by the National Park Service (NPS), offering Trump a chance to learn more about a defining moment in American history. “While excellent programming relating to the War Between the States is available on cable television,” Grijalva writes, “visiting sites that conserve and interpret Civil War history could provide a more informative and lasting experience.”

The invite comes shortly after Trump publicly mused, “Why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?”

Trump went on to suggest that President Andrew Jackson, who owned slaves and supported slavery during his administration, could have prevented the war had he lived longer – a view that is almost unique to Trump himself. As Prof. David Reynolds of the City University of New York wrote for CNN in response to Trump’s comments, “The only deal Andrew Jackson might have offered the South to prevent the war would have been to allow slavery to persist and spread.”

To aid our nation’s president in understanding at least some of what led to the Civil War, Grijalva suggests joint visits to several NPS sites that tell the story of the period, including:

  • The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis, which includes the Old Courthouse building where the Dred Scott case was decided.
  • Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in West Virginia, the site of John Brown’s infamous raid on the U.S. Armory and Arsenal in 1859.
  • Fort Sumter National Monument in South Carolina, which preserves the site where the Civil War began.
  • The Fort Scott National Historic Site in Kansas, which offers insights into the “Bleeding Kansas” period and the concept of “popular sovereignty” in the Kansas Territory.
  • Civil War battlefields, including Gettysburg and Antietam.
  • Appomattox Courthouse National Historical Park in Virginia, where the War came to its official end with the surrender of General Lee to General Grant.

Grijalva in today’s letter points out to Trump that the National Park System “also includes several sites significant during the Presidency of Andrew Jackson and the War of 1812 that might be of interest.” He also suggests that NPS officials could help resolve the issue of the plaque at Trump National Golf Course in Virginia commemorating a Civil War battle that historians say did not occur, as Golf Digest has previously pointed out.

The complete letter is available here: http://bit.ly/2pLg8Kl

Press Contact

Diane Padilla                                                     

(202) 225-6065 or (202) 306-1333