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Littlefield History of the Civil War Era

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Littlefield History of the Civil War Era

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At the Precipice

Americans North and South during the Secession Crisis

Shearer Davis Bowman

The third volume in the Littlefield series, this manuscript by Dave Bowman follows (chronologically) Liz Varon's Disunion!, which dealt with the long process of separation of the two regions and its roots in the Constitutional and Federal periods. Bowman's study takes readers into the secession crisis itself, examining the thoughts and actions of key individuals including Lincoln, Buchanan, Davis, Tyler, Van Buren and others. In focusing on major figures from the period and their interactions, Bowman sets his work apart from those that view the crisis through the lenses of major forces, events, and developments. This approach provides especially keen insight into what Americans North and South on the eve of the Civil War believed and thought about themselves and the political, social, and cultural worlds in which they lived, and how their assumptions and thoughts informed their actions and decisions.

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Blue and Gray Diplomacy

A History of Union and Confederate Foreign Relations

Howard Jones

In an examination of Union and Confederate foreign relations during the Civil War from both European and American perspectives, Jones explores a number of themes, including the international economic and political dimensions of the war, the North’s attempts to block the South from winning foreign recognition as a nation, Napoleon III's meddling in the war and his attempt to restore French power in the New World, and the inability of Europeans to understand the interrelated nature of slavery and union. Most of all, Jones explores the horrible nature of a war that attracted outside involvement as much as it repelled it.

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The Civil War in the West

Victory and Defeat from the Appalachians to the Mississippi

Earl J. Hess

The Western theater of the Civil War, rich in agricultural resources and manpower and home to a large number of slaves, stretched 600 miles north to south and 450 miles east to west from the Appalachians to the Mississippi. If the South lost the West, there would be little hope of preserving the Confederacy. Earl J. Hess’s comprehensive study of how Federal forces conquered and held the West examines the geographical difficulties of conducting campaigns in a vast land, as well as the toll irregular warfare took on soldiers and civilians alike. Hess balances a thorough knowledge of the battle lines with a deep understanding of what was happening within the occupied territories.

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Disunion!

The Coming of the American Civil War, 1789-1859

Elizabeth R. Varon

In the decades before the Civil War, Americans debating the fate of slavery often invoked the specter of disunion to frighten or discredit their opponents. According to Elizabeth Varon, disunion was a startling and provocative keyword in Americans' political vocabulary: it connoted the failure of the founders' singular effort to establish a lasting representative government. For many Americans in both the North and the South, disunion was a nightmare, the image of a cataclysm that would reduce them to misery and fratricidal war. For many others, however, threats, accusations, and intimations of disunion were instruments they could wield to achieve their partisan and sectional goals.

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The Experience of Rev. Thomas H. Jones, Who Was a Slave for Forty-Three Years

Written by a Friend, as Related to Him by Brother Jones

Thomas H. Jones

Originally published in order to raise money to purchase his son's freedom, Thomas Jones's autobiography first appeared in the 1850s. This version, published in 1885, includes not only Jones's account of his childhood and young adult life as a slave in North Carolina, but also a long additional section in which Jones describes his experiences as a minister in North Carolina, while still enslaved, and then on the abolitionist lecture circuit in Massachusetts and the Maritime Provinces of Canada after he stowed away on a ship bound for New York in 1849. The narrative's most prominent focus is on Jones's ministry in and around Wilmington, North Carolina, before he escaped. The narrative puts a characteristically postbellum emphasis on shared religious devotion and even fondness between African Americans and whites. Perhaps the most compelling scene, however, is Jones's account of his forcible separation from his first wife and their three children, whom he never saw again.

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God's Almost Chosen Peoples

A Religious History of the American Civil War

George C. Rable

This book takes as its focus the broader role of religion during the Civil War, as well as religion’s role in the everyday lives of Americans struggling to understand the meaning of the conflict. Examining published sermons of clergy who spoke on the sectional conflict and war, official statements about the war from various churches, denominational papers and periodicals, and letters, diaries, and newspaper articles written by regular Americans, among other sources, George Rable reveals how, not surprisingly, Americans viewed the secession crisis and the war itself from a religious perspective, how religious beliefs shaped many Americans’ views of passing events, and how the pervasiveness and importance of the belief that God’s intentions shaped the destinies of individuals and the nation affected Americans’ views about and experiences of the conflict.

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Lincoln and the Triumph of the Nation

Constitutional Conflict in the American Civil War

Mark E. Neely Jr.

This book reveals the dramatic debates over the Constitution during the Civil War. According to Neely, large questions of national existence were argued by political figures like Abraham Lincoln and unknown judges and lawyers at much lower levels of the court, and the document was in a struggle to survive the damage of the conflict. Neely explores how lawyers, judges, justices, and government officials thought about the Constitution and used it for their own political purposes, in many cases pushing the cause of nationalism, and for the first time describes and analyzes the kinds of arguments employed during the Civil War to explain and to capture their thinking. In addition, Neely goes beyond the United States Constitution to examine the Confederate Constitution as well, a document yet to be given rigorous examination by scholars. Rather than focus on a central argument, the purpose of the manuscript is to demonstrate the importance of the opinions of the judges, elected politicians, and political pamphleteers of the Civil War era, and set the stage for future constitutional histories of the Civil War.

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The Ordeal of the Reunion

A New History of Reconstruction

Mark Wahlgren Summers

For a generation, scholarship on the Reconstruction era has rightly focused on the struggles of the recently enslaved for a meaningful freedom and defined its success or failure largely in those terms. Summers goes beyond this vitally important question, focusing on Reconstruction's need to form an enduring Union without sacrificing the framework of federalism and republican democracy. This book offers a fresh explanation for Reconstruction's demise and a case for its essential successes as well as its great failures. Indeed, this book demonstrates the extent to which the victors' aims in 1865 were met--and at what cost.

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Remembering the Civil War

Reunion and the Limits of Reconciliation

Caroline E. Janney

As early as 1865, survivors of the Civil War were acutely aware that people were purposefully shaping what would be remembered about the war and what would be omitted from the historical record. In Remembering the Civil War, Caroline E. Janney examines how the war generation--men and women, black and white, Unionists and Confederates--crafted and protected their memories of the nation's greatest conflict. Janney maintains that the participants never fully embraced the reconciliation so famously represented in handshakes across stone walls. Instead, both Union and Confederate veterans, and most especially their respective women's organizations, clung tenaciously to their own causes well into the twentieth century.
Janney explores the subtle yet important differences between reunion and reconciliation and argues that the Unionist and Emancipationist memories of the war never completely gave way to the story Confederates told. She challenges the idea that white northerners and southerners salved their war wounds through shared ideas about race and shows that debates about slavery often proved to be among the most powerful obstacles to reconciliation.

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Theater of a Separate War

The Civil War West of the Mississippi River, 1861–1865

Thomas W. Cutrer

Though its most famous battles were waged in the East at Antietam, Gettysburg, and throughout Virginia, the Civil War was clearly a conflict that raged across a continent. From cotton-rich Texas and the fields of Kansas through Indian Territory and into the high desert of New Mexico, the trans-Mississippi theater was site of major clashes from the war's earliest days through the surrenders of Confederate generals Edmund Kirby Smith and Stand Waite in June 1865. In this comprehensive military history of the war west of the Mississippi River, Thomas W. Cutrer shows that the theater's distance from events in the East does not diminish its importance to the unfolding of the larger struggle.

Theater of a Separate War details the battles between North and South in these far-flung regions, assessing the complex political and military strategies on both sides. While providing the definitive history of the rise and fall of the South's armies in the far West, Cutrer shows, even if the region's influence on the Confederacy's cause waned, its role persisted well beyond the fall of Richmond and Lee's surrender to Grant. In this masterful study, Cutrer offers a fresh perspective on an often overlooked aspect of Civil War history.

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