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Massachusetts Rich In Civil War History

The monument to the Massachusetts 54th regiment, one of the first civil war units comprised of African Americans, sits near the Massachusetts State House. (Tony the Misfit/Flickr)

The monument to the Massachusetts 54th regiment, one of the first civil war units comprised of African Americans, sits near the Massachusetts State House. (Tony the Misfit/Flickr)

Massachusetts has long celebrated itself as the cradle of revolution, the birthplace of America’s particular conception of liberty.

There’s everything from the passionate mob cut down at the Old State House, to the equally impassioned anti-slavery speeches belted out by William Lloyd Garrison on the steps of the Park Street Church.

Barbara Berenson, a lawyer at the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts and co-author of a new book of Civil War walking tours on Boston’s Freedom Trail, says the self-celebration masks a deeper, conflicted history Boston has with true meaning of liberty in America. Liberty from what? And for whom? .

“I think for the North, the issue was the legacy of the American Revolution,” Berenson said. “Was the legacy liberty? Or was the legacy union?”

The walking tours reveal the spectacular hidden history of Massachusetts’ own struggles in the war of North vs. South. It’s more complicated than you might think. Not everyone was a fire-breathing abolitionist.

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Host Meghna Chakrabarti introduces us to newsmakers, big thinkers and artists and brings us stories of relevance to Bostonians here and around the region. Live every weekday at 3 p.m. and 10 p.m.

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