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Warriors into Workers

The Civil War and the Formation of the Urban-Industrial Society in a Northern City

Russell Johnson

Publication Year: 2003

In this portrait of Dubuque, Iowa, Russell Johnson combines personal narratives with social, political, and economic analysis to shed new light on what the War meant for one city and for the rapidly growing north.

Johnson examines the experiences of Dubuque's soldiers and their families to answer crucial questions: What impact did the Civil War have on the economic and social life of Dubuque? How did military service affect the social mobility of veterans? And how did army service, as a form of industrial organization, help create a modern workforce?

Warriors into Workers makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the formation of American industrial society, and addresses key issues in labor history, military history, political culture, and gender.

Published by: Fordham University Press


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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. iii-iv


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p. vii

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pp. ix-x

I wish to thank several groups and individuals who made this project possible. From a material perspective, timely fellowships from the University of Iowa’s Graduate College (the Louis A. Pelzer Fellowship in American History) and from the State Historical Society of Iowa, Inc., funded research trips to Washington, D.C., Dubuque...

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xi-xii

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INTRODUCTION: Military Service and Industrialization

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pp. 1-17

‘‘Much of the history of industrialism’’ according to Herbert G. Gutman, one of the pioneer students of working-class life in the United States, ‘‘is the story of the painful process by which an old way of life was discarded for a new one.’’ Similarly, historian James I. Robertson Jr. refers to the ‘‘process of making obedient soldiers out of carefree citizens’’...

PART I:Dubuque and Its Soldiers

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p. 19

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CHAPTER 1 - The Key City: Dubuque before the Civil War

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pp. 33-57

The city of Dubuque lies on the west bank of the Mississippi River, about two-thirds of the way from Saint Louis to the south and Minneapolis and Saint Paul to the north. The main portion of the city in the mid-nineteenth century was situated on an alluvial plain approximately four miles long and one mile wide. ...

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CHAPTER 2 - ‘‘Volunteer While You May": Mobilization for the War

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pp. 58-100

Hopes that the war might reestablish harmony in Dubuque went unfulfilled. At the Herald, Dennis A. Mahony adopted a hard-line position against the war from its beginning. Meanwhile, the Times supported the war and regularly called for suppression of it rival, preferably by the government but by a mob if necessary...

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CHAPTER 3 - Independent Soldiers and Soldier-Sons: The Social Origins of Enlistees

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pp. 101-142

While being held as a prisoner of war after the Battle of Shiloh in 1862, Second Lieutenant Luther W. Jackson from Dubuque recorded his impressions of the war in his diary. From Jackson’s perspective, the South had a natural beauty, ‘‘but give me old Iowa thank God she is Free.’’ ...

PART II: Military Service and Its Impact

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p. 143

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CHAPTER 4 - ‘‘The Boys All Stood to the Work Manfully’’: The Army as an Industrial Workplace

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pp. 145-191

Whether as artisans or unskilled workers, or as the sons of the city’s low-nonmanual and artisan families, the soldiers from Dubuque had been accustomed to a certain independence as men and as workers before the war. That independence had generated growing concern among some people in the city. ...

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CHAPTER 5 - Ten Thousand Men in Shebangs: The Army as an Urban Working-Class Environment

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pp. 192-237

Near the beginning of the war, the Dubuque Times offered some advice to men about to embark on military service: ‘‘We would earnestly say to all of our noble hearted volunteers . . . [you] may come home maimed for life in body and limb, but do not return with crippled character, and poisoned faculties.’’ ...

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CHAPTER 6 - ‘‘A Duty of the Hour’’: The Home Front in Dubuque

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pp. 238-273

While expressing concerns about decaying civilian morals, some observers in Dubuque found at least one area to praise: the response of the city’s benevolent community, especially the women, to the relief needs of soldiers and their families. In its May 1864 editorial on ‘‘the effect of the war on the morals of the people,’’ for example...

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CHAPTER 7 - The Civil War Generation: Military Service and Social Mobility

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pp. 274-315

Americans often have held conflicting opinions about their returning soldiers. On the one hand, as the Times put it in July 1865, the Union soldiers were ‘‘returning heroes,’’ fresh from a successful crusade to preserve freedom and democracy from evil tyrants seeking to destroy both. ...

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CONCLUSION: Hawkeyes in Blue

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pp. 316-324

Throughout their history, Americans have seen their national mission as a march into the wilderness, a symbolic rejection of ‘‘the past—Europe and the city—for the future, the frontier, and the countryside.’’ In this symbolic world, the Civil War represents a clash between competing visions of that future...

APPENDIX A: Data on Dubuque Society and Politics

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pp. 325-332

APPENDIX B: Data on Dubuque’s Soldiers

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pp. 333-350

Select Bibliography

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pp. 351-377


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pp. 379-388

The North’s Civil War Series

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pp. 389-390

E-ISBN-13: 9780823248643
Print-ISBN-13: 9780823222698
Print-ISBN-10: 0823222691

Page Count: 388
Publication Year: 2003

OCLC Number: 56208927
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Warriors into Workers

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Industrialization -- Iowa -- Dubuque -- History -- 19th century.
  • Soldiers -- Iowa -- Dubuque -- History -- 19th century.
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Social aspects
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Economic aspects.
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Influence
  • Dubuque (Iowa) -- Economic conditions -- 19th century.
  • Dubuque (Iowa) -- Social conditions -- 19th century.
  • Iowa -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Economic aspects.
  • Iowa -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Social aspects.
  • Dubuque (Iowa) -- History, Military -- 19th century.
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