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BOOK REVIEWS79 actly one hundred years later the United States fought aforeign war against another enemy ofa different race, and in the unprecedented democratization and demilitarization without significant territorial aggrandizement of Japan, the popular ideals of the Mexican War could at last be said to have been fulfilled. Fred Somkin Cornell University Dark Lanterns: Secret Political Societies, Conspiracies, and Treason Trials in the Civil War. By Frank L. Klement. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1984. Pp. xiii, 263. $25.00.) Frank Klement has made Northern dissent and disloyalty his special province. First analyzing the Copperheads of the Middle West, then describing the life of Clement Vallandigham, he showed the limits ofloyalty while revealing the social and economic tensions that provoked opposition to the conflict. Dark Lanterns carries his work into a more specific analysis ofthe secret political societies that sprang up during the war. In tracing the life of the Knights of the Golden Circle, the Order ofAmerican Knights, the Sons of Liberty, as well as the Union Leagues, Klement revises our picture of antiwar sentiment and illuminates also the nature of wartime politics. He persuasively refutes the idea that there were powerful and wellorganized societies conspiring to advance the rebel cause in the North. On the contrary Klement shows that what Republicans, for their own political gains, asserted were dangerous conspiracies were in fact more often organizations that some buffoon or scoundrel had sought to promote in the prewar era for his own private purposes. These groups might have been organized to filibuster or to promote "the great principles which are the foundations ofall well ordered government," but their impact was nil. Founders exaggerated the size and effectiveness of societies to boost membership and when war broke out Republicans used these exaggerations to prove the extent ofthe "danger." A few Democrats, angered by the war and by Republican policies and tactics did seek help in Dixie and got a small amount offunds. Some threatened bold action should the administration and its party threaten civil liberties and the political process. Regular Democrats on the other hand ridiculed Republican charges and tried to distance themselves from their lunatic fringe. Although Lincoln himself retained doubts, Republicans saw advantage in crying "conspiracy." Manufacturing plots to release prisoners from Camp Douglas, to raise fifth columns in the North, and to betray Northern defenses to invading Confederates, army leaders and politicians manufactured the proofthey needed to "expose" their enemies. The organization of the Republican Union Leagues, a prowar secret organization, also benefited from the belief that fire had to counter fire. 80CIVIL war history Making excellent use oflocal records, following persistently the trails of minor historical figures, and checking carefully the government records, Klement has made a major contribution to understanding the dimensions of civil liberty in die wartime North. He has also helped us to understand the passionate political environment of the time in which a Northern population could credit charges that had so little foundation. Klement has discredited any abiding idea that Democratic war opposition was disloyalty . What he has revealed about Lincoln's party and the society Republicans led is a subject for historians to ponder more carefully. Phillip S. Paludan University of Kansas For the Common Defense: A Military History of the United States of America. By Allan R. Millett and Peter Maslowski. (New York: The Free Press, 1984. Pp. 621. $24.95.) Students and teachers of American military history have long awaited a readable, accurate, and well-organized survey book. The publication of For the Common Defense makes available such a volume. This is a gem; a book which serves ably as a survey course text, reference book, and a lively written review of a significant subject. College undergraduate students will not only like the book, they will actually read it! It is a handy reference which also merits close study. The authors bring to their subject considerable experience and expertise . Professor Maslowski, a military historian at the University of Nebraska, wrote the first nine chapters covering the period from 1607 to 1902. Professor Millett, a marine reserve colonel and noted Ohio State University historian and author of seminal books on the U.S. Army and Marine Corps, wrote...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 79-80
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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