Today we welcome a guest blog post from Alice Elizabeth Malavasic, author of The F Street Mess: How Southern Senators Rewrote the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Pushing back against the idea that the Slave Power conspiracy was merely an ideological construction, The F Street Mess argues that some southern politicians in the 1850s did indeed hold an… Continue Reading Alice Elizabeth Malavasic: The Momentous Issue of Our National Soul
Today, we welcome a guest post from Michael D. Robinson, author of A Union Indivisible: Secession and the Politics of Slavery in the Border South. Many accounts of the secession crisis overlook the sharp political conflict that took place in the Border South states of Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri. In A Union Indivisible, Michael… Continue Reading Michael D. Robinson: Where Was the Political Middle Ground during the Secession Crisis?
Today we welcome a guest blog post from Alice Elizabeth Malavasic, author of The F Street Mess: How Southern Senators Rewrote the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Pushing back against the idea that the Slave Power conspiracy was merely an ideological construction, The F Street Mess argues that some southern politicians in the 1850s did indeed hold an… Continue Reading Alice Elizabeth Malavasic: What’s in a Name?
Today we welcome a guest post from Jessica Ziparo, author of This Grand Experiment: When Women Entered the Federal Workforce in Civil War–Era Washington, D.C., looking back on the first debates about equal pay for equal work. In the volatility of the Civil War, the federal government opened its payrolls to women. Thousands of female… Continue Reading Jessica Ziparo: One Hundred and Fifty Years of Equal Pay
Offering new and definitive interpretations of the battle’s place within the Atlanta campaign, Earl J. Hess describes how several Confederate regiments and brigades made a pretense of advancing but then stopped partway to the objective and took cover for the rest of the afternoon on July 20. Hess shows that morale played an unusually important role in determining the outcome at Peach Tree Creek—a soured mood among the Confederates and overwhelming confidence among the Federals spelled disaster for one side and victory for the other. Continue Reading Earl J. Hess: The Battle of Peach Tree Creek
This second, updated edition of the acclaimed A Field Guide to Gettysburg will lead visitors to every important site across the battlefield and also give them ways to envision the action and empathize with the soldiers involved and the local people into whose lives and lands the battle intruded. Ideal for carrying on trips through the park as well as for the armchair historian, this book includes comprehensive maps and deft descriptions of the action that situate visitors in time and place. Continue Reading Battle of Gettysburg Field Guide
Juneteenth is a celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation, given by President Abraham Lincoln, that declared freedom for all slaves in states still in rebellion. Continue Reading The History of Juneteenth: 5 Facts You Need to Know
Sitting at home, alone, many women in the North and South were overcome by feelings of fear and grief as their husbands fought on faraway battlefields. For all too many, nighttime only exacerbated their concerns. Nightmares of blood and gore tortured countless wives. And yet over time, some women gradually overcame such fearful feelings—even in their dreams. Continue Reading Jonathan W. White: A Shadow Over My Heart: The Transformation of a Northern Woman’s Dream Life during the Civil War
The reason that we in the twenty-first century need to develop these complementary sensibilities is that the Civil War erupted against a standard of literacy different from our own, one with increasingly unfamiliar conventions of reading and writing. Because most of us know what we know about the war primarily through the medium of writing, understanding the war we read about depends to a large extent on our understanding as many historical and aesthetic layers of its writings as possible. Continue Reading Stephen Cushman: Stephen Crane, Historical Researcher
In the fall of 1864, slaves prayed with and for hundreds of Yankee soldiers who sought refuge in their cabins. The words of these prayers reveal slaves’ powerful faith that God would intervene in history to defeat the Confederacy and bring about their freedom. Continue Reading Lorien Foote: How Slaves Prayed for Yankees during the Civil War
There are a few potential parallels between modern and antebellum religious leaders. Many modern religious leaders seemingly hope to set aside thorny issues such as LGBT rights and immigration so they can refocus on their core religious missions. Continue Reading Matthew Mason: Morality, Politics, and Compromise: The Plight and Prospects of the Moderate, Then and Now
Governors asserting themselves in ways that strengthened the Union was the cornerstone of the cooperative federalism that emerged in the Civil War North and contributed to a Union victory. If it is true, as some scholars have asserted in the last 150 years, that the Confederacy died of Democracy, it might also be said that the Union lived because of it. Continue Reading Stephen D. Engle: IL Governor Richard Yates and the Union’s Cooperative Federalism
Lieber was a Berlin-born jurist and scholar who taught in South Carolina from 1835-1856, but was professor of history and political economy at Columbia College in New York City at the outbreak of the Civil War. Almost as soon as the war began, Lieber (who wrote widely on the laws of war in the antebellum era) saw the need for something like the code he eventually drafted. The traditional just-war framework distinguishes between jus in bello, just conduct in war and jus ad bellum, legitimate reasons for engaging in war. Continue Reading D. H. Dilbeck: What is a Just War? How the Union’s “Lieber Code” Answered a Perennial Question
If we can bring ourselves to take seriously their protestations both of love for the Union and distaste for slavery, we should not be surprised to see them move along a spectrum of antislavery belief and action. While that peregrination rarely proceeded in one direction or predictable ways, it did transpire within limits for every antebellum Northern politician. The relative strength of their antislavery principles dictated that there were bounds beyond which their conservatism could not go, but their nationalism and respect for law and order also set boundaries beyond which their antislavery could not go. Continue Reading Matthew Mason: Movement within Bounds on the Antislavery Political Spectrum: The Case of Edward Everett
Director Gary Ross had a fascinating and complicated story to tell, and if he had difficulty weaving the parts together for a two-hour movie, his problems would have been compounded had he tried to tell the story of the deserters in rebellion against the Confederacy in the Carolinas. Imagine Free State of Jones with nearly 3,000 escaped prisoners of war thrown into the mix. Continue Reading Lorien Foote: Adding Prisoners of War to ‘Free State of Jones’
Today the film Free State of Jones opens in theaters across the United States. Historian Victoria E. Bynum, whose book of the same name helped inspire the film, has been making media rounds this week, talking about what the New York Times has called “the first Hollywood drama to come with footnotes.” Director Gary Ross comes correct on the history in this project, so historians, enjoy! Here are four ways you can celebrate the opening of the movie today. Continue Reading 4 Ways to Celebrate the Release of Free State of Jones
In the following video, Actor Mahershala Ali (House of Cards) shares his experience transforming The Free State of Jones: Mississippi’s Longest Civil War into an audiobook for Audible. Continue Reading Video: Mahershala Ali on Narrating ‘The Free State of Jones’ for Audible
We welcome to the blog a guest post from Brain Craig Miller, Civil War historian and author of recently published Empty Sleeves: Amputation in the Civil War South. In today’s post, Miller reflects on the Civil War America series and how it shaped his views of the Civil War. ### It was the morning prior… Continue Reading Brian Craig Miller: “Civil War America” and a Side of Tomato Soup
We welcome to the blog a guest post from James J. Broomall, Civil War historian and director of the George Taylor Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War at Shepherd University. In today’s post, Broomall writes about how the Civil War America series has guided his studies over the years. ### Like any good… Continue Reading James J. Broomall: Reflections on “Civil War America”
It was a cold, rainy December afternoon when my wife finally asked the question: “Who was Virgil Lusk?” It was a fair question. After all, I had dragged her around Asheville’s historic Riverside Cemetery for well over an hour trying to locate his grave. With each grave adorned with a miniature Confederate battle flag, my frustration mounted. Lusk was a Confederate soldier. So why was my strategy of driving toward those flags not producing any results? Was his flag missing? Who was Virgil Lusk? Continue Reading Steven E. Nash: Who Was Virgil Lusk?