Race and Recruitment
Civil War History Readers, Volume 2
Publication Year: 2013
The second volume of the best from Civil War History
For more than fifty years the journal Civil War History has presented the best original scholarship in the study of America’s greatest struggle. The Kent State University Press is pleased to present this second volume in its multivolume series reintroducing the most influential of the more than 500 articles published in the journal. From military command, strategy, and tactics, to political leadership, race, abolitionism, the draft, and women’s issues, from the war’s causes to its aftermath and Reconstruction, Civil War History has published pioneering and provocative analyses of the determining aspects of the Middle Period.
In this second volume of the series, John David Smith has selected groundbreaking essays by David Blight, Eugene Genovese, Mark Neely Jr., Brooks Simpson, and other scholars that examine slavery, abolitionism, emancipation, Lincoln and race, and African Americans as soldiers and veterans. His introduction assesses the contribution of each article to our understanding of the Civil War era.
Those with an interest in the issues, struggles, and controversies that divided a nation will welcome this essential collection.
Published by: The Kent State University Press
Title Page, Copyright
The famous 1863 Civil War recruitment poster “Men of Color To Arms! To Arms! Now or Never!” signed by Frederick Douglass and fifty-four influential black Philadelphians, cogently underscored the vital nexus between slavery, race, and military recruitment during the Civil War. The broadside admonished African American men to enlist in the U.S. Colored...
Rebelliousness and Docility in the Negro Slave: A Critique of the Elkins Thesis
Despite the hostile reception given by historians to Stanley M. Elkins’ Slavery: A Problem in American Institutional and Intellectual Life,1 it has established itself as one of the most influential historical essays of our generation. Although Elkins ranges widely, we may restrict ourselves to his most important contribution, the theory of slave...
The Gerrit Smith Circle: Abolitionism in the Burned-Over District
Since the publication of Gilbert Hobbs Barnes’ The Antislavery Impulse in 1933, historians intent on classifying types of abolitionists have generally settled upon a two-camp schema—“radical” Garrisonians and “conservative” or “moderate” Tappanites. Some historians have maintained that these two camps emerged through both...
The Liberty Party in Massachusetts, 1840–1848: Antislavery Third Party Politics in the Bay State
The Liberty party in Massachusetts has received little serious attention from either political historians or scholars of the abolition movement despite its central role in the national development of the antislavery party, its importance in the transformation of the abolition movement from a predominantly apolitical approach of the 1830s to a more...
Only His Stepchildren: Lincoln and the Negro
If the United States had a patron saint it would no doubt be Abraham Lincoln; and if one undertook to explain Lincoln’s extraordinary hold on the national consciousness, it would be difficult to find a better starting-point than these lines from an undistinguished poem written in 1865...
Emancipation in the Federal City
Despite the vast amount of research that has gone into the study of slavery and the Civil War, emancipation in the District of Columbia remains a relatively obscure event. From the late 1820’s until 1862 there was a three-cornered struggle in Washington over the continuation of slavery in the city. This was a reflection of the growing national struggle between...
Circumventing the Dred Scott Decision: Edward Bates, Salmon P. Chase, and the Citizenship of African Americans
In August 1863, Brig. Gen. George F. Shepley, military governor of Louisiana, returned from Washington with authority to register African Americans as voters in the selection of delegates for a state constitutional convention. His instructions directed him to register “all the loyal citizens of the United States” in each parish. He also brought from Washington...
Defending Emancipation: Abraham Lincoln and the Conkling Letter, 1863
Abraham Lincoln might well have believed that “I never in my life was more certain that I was doing right than I do in signing” the Emancipation Proclamation into military law on January 1, 1863. But doing what was right and what was politically viable were two different things. “At no time during the war was the depression among the people of the North...
Lincoln and Equal Rights for Negroes: The Irrelevancy of the ‘‘Wadsworth Letter”
The question keeps reviving whether at any time Lincoln favored a reconstruction policy that included Negro suffrage. The latest entry in this interpretive sweepstakes is Professor Ludwell H. Johnson’s suggestion that portions of a letter, ca. January 1864, from Lincoln to General James S. Wadsworth are spurious. As a consequence, authors...
Lincoln and Equal Rights: A Reply
In a recent number of Civil War History,1 Professor Harold M. Hyman takes issue with some remarks I made in the course of an article that questioned the authenticity of a letter allegedly written by Abraham Lincoln to Major General James S. Wadsworth. The letter represents the President as advocating civil and political equality for Negroes as a condition...
Abraham Lincoln and Black Colonization: Benjamin Butler’s Spurious Testimony
“I can hardly believe that the South and North can live in peace, unless we can get rid of the negroes.” According to Benjamin F. Butler, President Abraham Lincoln expressed this fear to him in a conversation in Washington sometime after the Hampton Roads Peace Conference of February 3, 1865.1 Butler’s reminiscence, which appeared in...
Fort Pillow Revisited: New Evidence about an Old Controversy
The capture of Fort Pillow on April 12, 1864, by a force of Confederate cavalry under the command of Major General Nathan B. Forrest is, perhaps, the most controversial battle of the Civil War. A congressional report on the engagement concluded not only that Forrest’s troops massacred a substantial portion of the racially mixed garrison, but also...
Frederick Douglass and the American Apocalypse
In 1862–63, the prospect of emancipation gave a new purpose to the Civil War and a new meaning to American history. For the slaves and for abolitionists, both black and white, emancipation was initially something more easily felt than explained. For Frederick Douglass, the former fugitive slave turned orator-editor...
“The Doom of Slavery”: Ulysses S. Grant, War Aims, and Emancipation, 1861–1863
Like many Northerners, Ulysses S. Grant went to war in 1861 to save the Union— and nothing more—in what he predicted would be a short conflict. By 1863, after two years of bloody struggle against a stubborn enemy, Grant came to understand that a war to preserve the Union must of necessity transform that Union. Central to that revolutionary transformation...
“I Do Not Suppose That Uncle Sam Looks at the Skin”: African Americans and the Civil War Pension System, 1865–1934
In 1876, William F. Mifflin, a Union veteran living near Liberty, Ohio, applied for a federal pension based on his Civil War service. There was nothing especially remarkable about Mifflin’s application except that he was black. Mifflin was a veteran of the 27th U.S. Colored Infantry, one of approximately 178,000 African Americans who served...
“Shoulder to Shoulder as Comrades Tried”: Black and White Union Veterans and Civil War Memory
On May 6, 1864, the 30th Regiment, United States Colored Troops (USCT), prepared to go into battle as one of the first African American units to fight alongside the Army of the Potomac. The 30th, part of the First Brigade, Fourth Division, of Ambrose Burnside’s Ninth Corps, had spent most of the Battle of the Wilderness guarding wagon...
Slavery, Emancipation, and Veterans of the Union Cause: Commemorating Freedom in the Era of Reconciliation, 1885–1915
In July 1913, veterans of the United States and Confederate armies gathered in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to commemorate the fifty-year anniversary of the Civil War’s bloodiest and most famous battle. The four-day “Blue-Gray Reunion” featured parades, reenactments, and speeches from a host of dignitaries, including President Woodrow Wilson. Striking among...
Page Count: 336
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Civil War History Readers