In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

82CIVIL WAR HISTORY war at first seemed like a game to Morgan; well before she finished her diary, however, it had become deadly serious. Hers are the perspectives of an avid supporter of the Confederacy to the bitter end, despite the Northern backgrounds of her parents and despite her father's (and her own) early opposition to secession. Sarah Morgan is not one of the female critics of the Confederacy who abounds in the recent studies by George Rable and Drew Gilpin Faust. She eulogizes the South in the final pages of her diary with the prayer that she will always "be a Rebel in heart and soul, and that all my life I may remember the cruel wrongs we have suffered" (611). Although written with insight and passion, the observations of Sarah Morgan lack the wit and bite of Mary Chesnut's. This lack is more than compensated by the lengthier and more authentically contemporary remarks of Morgan. But she is a much younger, much more self-conscious critic of her society; indeed, Morgan seems at times excruciatingly thinskinned and always anxious for the approval of her peers, especially her male peers. In the style of the Southern lady that she was, her remarks are often disingenuously self-deprecating or irritatingly haughty. Yet Morgan's immense pride and frequently displayed prejudices provide all the more insights into the collective mind of the nineteenth-century Southern master class—their sense of themselves as a noble race and class; their lack of shame about the power and privilege enjoyed at the expense of others; their deeply engrained beliefs about male and female honor. All of these traits are better understood, if no less tragic in what they foreshadowed for the nation, because of Sarah Morgan's diary. Victoria Bynum Southwest Texas State University Correspondence of James K. Polk. Volume VII. January-August, 1844. Edited by Wayne Cutler. Associate Editor, James P. Cooper, Jr. (Nashville : Vanderbilt University Press, 1989. Pp. xxxiv, 561. $32.50.) When last we had a new volume of the Polk correspondence it was 1843 (well, 1983), Polk was at home suffering from gubernatorial defeats that augured political oblivion, and the Polk project was housed at Vanderbilt University. Now it is 1844, Polk has captured the presidential nomination after inching toward it in a quest for the vice presidency, and the editors have joined the Andrew Jackson and Andrew Johnson projects in the Tennessee Presidents Center at the University of Tennessee. Despite relocation , new computer technology, and staff changes, the present volume is of the same excellent quality as the first six. We know Polk as a meticulous, hard-working president. The first volumes showed him as a dutiful congressman. Now we see him as a shrewd political tactician, manipulating from a distance, working through BOOK REVIEWS83 friends, and remaining off the public stage during the complex campaign of 1844. Polk always described himself as a Van Buren loyalist, yet well before the convention he authorized delegates to use his name as they saw fit. Such posturing made Polk, who also professed never to have aspired higher than the vice presidency, readily available when Van Buren proved incapable of nomination. Perhaps, as the editors suggest among numerous excellent insights, Polk was not a "dark horse" after all. Before the convention, Polk directed his friends with orchestral precision . "This [delegate selection in Mississippi] must give a great impetus to my prospects, and if properly used must overcome the schemes at Washington to defeat me" (35). "I beg you to suffer nothing to prevent a sufficient number of copies from being made out and sent off" (37). "I hope you may be able by a proper appeal to ... [a delegate] to prevent him from doing mischief" (120). "I shall expect you to write me daily after the receipt of this until the convention is over" (135). After the convention the challenges were much more delicate. How to manipulate Tyler into abandoning an independent candidacy? How to keep the Tyler men in the party without appearing to buy them with offices? How to suggest that aging patriarch Andrew Jackson mark his opinionated letters to other Democrats "private" to discourage publication and accusations...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 82-83
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.