We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Sacred Debts

State Civil War Claims and American Federalism

Kyle Sinisi

Publication Year: 2003

In this innovative book, Kyle Sinisi explores a little-known chapter in the history of American politics-the struggle between states and the federal government over the costs of fighting the Civil War. At stake was the disposition of some 8 million. Focusing on Kansas, Kentucky, and Missouri, Sinisi explores the process by which states were reimbursed by Washington in the most expensive intergovernmental contact of the 19th century. Recasting our understanding of governance, he shows that traditional sources of influence-courts and political parties-were less important in settling claims than adjutants general and private agents who fought for cash bonanzas. These power brokers helped shape the federal bureaucracy-and the process of state building.

Published by: Fordham University Press

Sacred Debts

pdf iconDownload PDF (70.9 KB)

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (65.8 KB)
pp. ix-x

As always, there are acknowledgments that should be made in a project of this length. While numerous archivists and librarians have provided help, I want to recognize the efforts of several in particular. They include Cindy Stewart of the Western Historical Manuscripts Collection, Marie Concannon and Mark...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (105.1 KB)
pp. xii-xvi

When the Civil War ended, a long line of creditors and claimants piled up at the door of the United States Treasury. Contractors, banks, bond holders, and aggrieved citizens all wanted their share of the Union government’s money...

read more

Chapter 1: Origins of the CivilWar Claims System

pdf iconDownload PDF (217.4 KB)
pp. 1-33

On April 13, 1861, war fever gripped the United States. One day after the Confederate attack upon Fort Sumter, popular sentiment in the North erupted in a show of support for the idea of Union. As men rushed by the tens of thousands to hastily set up recruiting offices, the governors of the states agitated and rode this tidal wave...

read more

Chapter 2: Missouri’s Precedentsand Lobbyists

pdf iconDownload PDF (291.5 KB)
pp. 34-85

In the battle for claims indemnification, Missouri was a victim of its own success. Much of the state had endured war firsthand through either pitched battles or bloody guerrilla conflict. The cost of the war to the state government was inordinately high, and Missouri would eventually possess the largest claims of any state...

read more

Chapter 3: Memory and Claims in Kentucky

pdf iconDownload PDF (266.9 KB)
pp. 86-131

The degrees to which either local circumstances or the public demand for retrenchment determined administrative action varied from state to state. Indeed, even within any given state, the relative importance of these issues generally changed over time. In Missouri, economic urgency, and the attendant demand for retrenchment...

read more

Chapter 4: Kansas and IntergovernmentalOperations in the NewlyCreated State

pdf iconDownload PDF (237.4 KB)
pp. 132-170

To this point, much of what has been described as defining nineteenth- century intergovernmental operations has been the ad hoc efforts of states trying to penetrate a fairly rigid national bureaucracy controlled by both precedent and the popular clamor for retrenchment. An additional characteristic of this system has been the extent to which local issues helped...

read more

Chapter 5: Conclusion

pdf iconDownload PDF (123.9 KB)
pp. 171-182

The slow pace of reimbursement for most states lasted until the turn of the twentieth century. At that time, Congress began to display considerably less interest both in watching over the issue of reimbursement and in carefully guarding the doors of the treasury...


pdf iconDownload PDF (94.1 KB)
pp. 183-188


pdf iconDownload PDF (134.2 KB)
pp. 189-204


pdf iconDownload PDF (77.2 KB)
pp. 205-208

E-ISBN-13: 9780823248452
Print-ISBN-13: 9780823222599
Print-ISBN-10: 0823222594

Page Count: 208
Publication Year: 2003

Research Areas


UPCC logo

Subject Headings

  • United States -- Politics and government -- 1861-1865.
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 1865-1900.
  • Federal government -- United States -- History -- 19th century
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Claims.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access