- Editor's Note
As Douglas R. Egerton noted in the inaugural issue of The Journal of the Civil War Era, the Atlantic World framework that has enlivened discussion of the history of the early modern era most often fades before reaching the middle and latter portions of the nineteenth century. International dimensions of the U.S. Civil War traditionally have involved diplomacy or the cotton trade, with most of the analysis conducted on an east-west axis between Europe (primarily England) and Washington. Recently, the African slave trade has gained more attention. However, signs indicate a new emphasis emerging in the scholarship of the war that has revealed additional merits for pushing beyond the borders of the United States. Whether that means using an Atlantic World framework, transnational methodology, or comparative techniques, this nascent trend raises new questions and, to answer them, reaches for both old and new tools.
Today, we offer a special issue that focuses on "New Approaches to Internationalizing the History of the Civil War Era," indicating the promise of situating the U.S. portion of the era in a larger world. We owe a special thanks to W. Caleb McDaniel and Bethany L. Johnson for serving as guest editors of the articles, which arose from a symposium at Rice University in 2009. McDaniel and Johnson provide an excellent introduction to the pieces, which include analysis by Gale L. Kenny on how parts of the Atlantic World attempted to entice African American emigration in response to the Fugitive Slave Act in the United States; Peter Kolchin on comparative Reconstruction between the United States and Russia; Edward B. Rugemer on the influence of slave insurrections and legislated emancipation on southern secession; and Susan-Mary Grant on the disabled Confederate, whose image as citizen-soldier mirrored trends in the nationalistic projects of various countries. Because these articles deal with significant historiographical methods, we have suspended for this issue the usual review essay on the state of the field. That feature will resume in September.
Capping off this issue is the publication of the acceptance speech of Mark Geiger, winner of the second annual Tom Watson Brown Book Prize. Awarded by the Society of Civil War Historians at last November's meeting of the Southern Historical Association and funded by the Watson-Brown Foundation, Inc., the prize recognizes the book as the best work published within a particular year, in this case 2010. The recognition carries with it a $50,000 cash award. In his award-winning effort, Geiger demonstrated [End Page 143] the advantages of a deep and thorough excavation of records that many historians overlook—financial data. His patient analysis of debt and financial records teased out patterns of guerrilla support and alliances in Civil War Missouri. In the address, he asks scholars not to overlook the financial arena for containing treasures that reveal not just wealth but also social values and covert activities. In doing so, he reminds us all that it is still a fruitful venture—as Deep Throat counseled a prior generation of investigators trying to find out what happened during Watergate—to "Follow the Money." [End Page 144]