At our nation's founding, Philadelphia witnessed both the triumph of the U.S. Constitution and the tragedy of the flawed compromise on slavery. Years later, the Civil War brought a stunning transformation, both to Philadelphia and the surrounding countryside.
Philadelphia entered the Civil War as a divided city with strong ties of family and commerce to the slaveholding South. It emerged as an industrial powerhouse committed to the Union cause, supplying men, materials and transport and nursing hundreds of thousands of sick and wounded soldiers. Women, immigrants and African Americans joined in the war effort and staked their own claims to a share in America's freedom.
Find the stories of the Second American Revolution woven into the fabric of Independence Park, the nation's most historic square mile. Follow the threads into the city's many neighborhoods and the surrounding counties to learn about the men and women who fought in the struggle for freedom and equality that goes on to this day.
The Civil War History Consortium
Get your Philly Civil War history here! Tour historic sites and museums, visit Philadelphia neighborhoods that still retain their Civil War architecture and plan a research trip to explore the collections in our libraries and archives.
Independence National Park
and National Constitution Center
The seeds of the Second Revolution were sown in the birthplace of the first. Here Abraham Lincoln swore that he would rather be assassinated than give up the Union. Learn how the Liberty Bell was used as a symbol for the abolition of slavery.
African American Museum of Philadelphia
See the stunning, new permanent exhibition about Philadelphia's African American community, the largest black urban population north of the Mason-Dixon Line.
The Philadelphia Museum of History at the Atwater Kent
In its extraordinary collection of cherished objects and images from Philadelphia’s history, The Philadelphia Museum of History at the Atwater Kent offers Civil War enthusiasts a collection of more than 1,500 Civil War artifacts.
Union League of Philadelphia
Founded to support the Union cause, this Philadelphia landmark was the birthplace of a patriotic movement that grew to 600 branches across the nation by the end of the Civil War.
Laurel Hill Cemetery
The final resting place for 42 Union generals and one Confederate general, this 78-acre landscaped park overlooks the Schuylkill River.
Fair Hill Burial Ground
Step off the beaten path and witness a story of cooperation between white Quakers and African Americans, spanning the centuries and continuing to this day.
and Johnson House
Visit two historic houses that served as stops on the Underground Railroad.
Or visit many of Philadelphia's landmark sites, constructed just after the war, which are destinations in their own rights: Philadelphia's City Hall; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; the Philadelphia Zoo; and the magnificent 1876 Memorial Hall, now home to the Please Touch Museum.
Outside the city, check in with the Chester County Historical Society to see its Lincoln exhibition or visit the Historical Society of Montgomery County and its historic cemetery where two important Union generals are buried. Plan to take one of the many tours sponsored by the Kennett Underground Railroad Center.
Everything you need to plan a trip to Philadelphia and its countryside.