As the most populous state at the time of the Civil War, New York was central to winning the war. The state not only provided the most men and materiel, but was also the North's economic center as well as an important center of political and social activism. Inhabited by increasing numbers of immigrant groups, abolitionists, and an emerging free black community, New York's social and political environment was a microcosm of the larger social and political conflict being played out in the war. The symposium addressed these tensions by examining the role of women, blacks, Native Americans, and European immigrant groups in New York, particularly the various perspectives held by members of each group regarding the war effort.
The symposium examined the difficulties Abraham Lincoln faced in keeping New York favorable to his policies. It revealed the tremendous sacrifice New York made in the military campaign, as well as the treatment of Confederate soldiers at New York's Elmira Prison Camp. The State of the Union is a compilation of the papers presented at the symposium.
The essays included in the volume:
Housekeeping on Its Own Terms: Abraham Lincoln in New York, by Harold Holzer
The Volcano Under the City: The Significance of Draft Rioting in New York City and State, July 1863, by Iver Bernstein
What's Gender Got to Do With It? New York in the Age of the Civil War, by Lillian Serece Williams
In the Shadow of American Indian Removal: The Iroquois in the Civil War, by Laurance M. Hauptman
Above the Law: Abitrary Arrest, Habeas Corpus, and the Freedom of the Press in New York, by Joseph M. Bellacosa and Frank J. Williams
New York's "Andersonville: " The Elmira Military Prison, by Lonnie R. Speer
The Continuing Conflict: New York and the Impeachment of Andrew Johnson, by Hans Trefousse
For readers interested in uncovering the history of the Empire State, The Best of New York Archives highlights some of the most popular articles of the unique, award-winning publication—as told through the records of the men and women who made it.
Home to some of the United States’ most important historical treasures, the New York State Archives serves as steward for more than two hundred million records of New York’s colonial and state governments from 1630 to the present. Contributions from Pulitzer Prize winners to best-selling authors mine this wealth of information to tell lively and engaging stories of New York State’s rich history. From the pages of The Best of New York Archives, nearly four hundred years of history comes alive.
“By evoking the Flushing Remonstrance, Evacuation Day, the women’s suffrage movement, and other pivotal episodes in the state’s history, The Best of New York Archives reminds readers that, as Columbia’s Ken Jackson likes to say, ‘America begins in New York. ’” — Sam Roberts, New York Times
“The New York State Archives is full of rich documents that serve as gems—they reflect and reveal transformations in national and world history. You’ll find many of those gems presented here, and New York’s vibrant history comes to life through the eyes of those who lived through it.” — Kimberly Gilmore, Senior Historian, History Channel/A+E Networks
“The Best of New York Archives is a treasure trove of compelling essays that inform and expand understanding. The selected narratives reflect the essential role the New York State Archives plays in the preservation of the fascinating and wide-ranging particulars of New York State’s history. As a bonus, the sampler is a storehouse of golden nuggets useful to deflate any annoying know-it-all whose behavior cries out for it.” — Harry Rosenfeld, author of From Kristallnacht to Watergate: Memoirs of a Newspaperman
“An original, authoritative, and entertaining walk through Empire State history—provided by a who’s who of leading historians and all inspired by the unparalleled treasures in the New York State Archives.” — Harold Holzer, Jonathan F. Fanton Director, Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College