“Fighting for Reunion: Dilemmas of Hatred and Vengeance” examines a central paradox for supporters of the Union during the Civil War. Any war, including a civil war, inevitably generates hatred of the enemy and calls for vengeance. But reunion (which remained the central northern war aim) also made intense hatred of the Confederates problematic. During the war, northerners debated the nature and limits of hatred and vengeance. It was easy enough to claim that Confederates were the real haters or hope that religious convictions could control the problem. The goal of reunion at times tamped down expressions of hatred toward the Rebels even as many northerners expressed considerable partisan and racial hostility. But there was continuous disagreement over both the objects and legitimacy of hatred. The whole question of vengeance was equally divisive and unsettling. If the goal of the war was reconstruction of the Union and ultimately sectional reconciliation, the whole question of hatred and vengeance posed some serious dilemmas.


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pp. 347-377
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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