In 1860, Charleston, South Carolina, embodied the combustible spirit of the South. No city was more fervently attached to slavery, and no city was seen by the North as a greater threat to the bonds barely holding together the Union. And so, with Abraham Lincoln's election looming, Charleston's leaders faced a climactic decision: they could submit to abolition--or they could drive South Carolina out of the Union and hope that the rest of the South would follow.
In Madness Rules the Hour, Paul Starobin tells the story of how Charleston succumbed to a fever for war and charts the contagion's relentless progress and bizarre turns. In doing so, he examines the wily propagandists, the ambitious politicians, the gentlemen merchants and their wives and daughters, the compliant pastors, and the white workingmen who waged a violent and exuberant revolution in the name of slavery and Southern independence. They devoured the Mercury, the incendiary newspaper run by a fanatical father and son; made holy the deceased John C. Calhoun; and adopted "Le Marseillaise" as a rebellious anthem. Madness Rules the Hour is a portrait of a culture in crisis and an insightful investigation into the folly that fractured the Union and started the Civil War.
Orville Vernon Burton, Leonne M. Hudson, and Daniel E. Sutherland delve into the master-slave relationship, the role of blacks in the army, and the nature of southern violence. Herman Hattaway, Paul D. Escott, and Judith F. Gentry offer innovative perspectives on the influential leadership of President Jefferson Davis, Lieutenant-General Stephen D. Lee, and General Edmund Kirby Smith.
Other contributors consider politicians and the public: Michael J. Connolly and Clayton E. Jewett investigate how despotism contributed to Confederate defeat; David E. Kyvig and Alan M. Kraut examine the war's impact on the Constitution and racial relationships with Jews; and Bertram Wyatt-Brown, Kenneth Nivison, and Emory M. Thomas discuss the critical function of memory in our understanding of Lincoln's assassination.
The essays in The Battlefield and Beyond consider the fundamental issue of the Confederacy's failure and military defeat but also expose our nation's continuing struggles with race, individual rights, terrorism, and the economy. Collectively, this distinguished group of historians reveals that 150 years after the nation's most defining conflict its consequences still resonate.
Christopher Childers, Sarah L. Hyde, and Julia Huston Nguyen consider the ways politics, religion, and education contributed to southern attitudes toward secession in the antebellum period. George C. Rable, Paul F. Paskoff, and John M. Sacher delve into the challenges the Confederate South faced as it sought legitimacy for its cause and military strength for the coming war with the North. Richard Follett, Samuel C. Hyde, Jr., and Eric H. Walther offer new perspectives on the changes the Civil War wrought on the economic and ideological landscape of the South.
The essays in The Enigmatic South speak eloquently to previously unconsidered aspects and legacies of the Civil War and make a major contribution to our understanding of the rich history of a conflict whose aftereffects still linger in American culture and memory.
Gardner considers such well-known authors as Caroline Gordon, Ellen Glasgow, and Margaret Mitchell and also recovers works by lesser-known writers such as Mary Ann Cruse, Mary Noailles Murfree, and Varina Davis. In fiction, biographies, private papers, educational texts, historical writings, and through the work of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, southern white women sought to tell and preserve what they considered to be the truth about the war. But this truth varied according to historical circumstance and the course of the conflict. Only in the aftermath of defeat did a more unified vision of the southern cause emerge. Yet Gardner reveals the existence of a strong community of Confederate women who were conscious of their shared effort to define a new and compelling vision of the southern war experience.
In demonstrating the influence of this vision, Gardner highlights the role of the written word in defining a new cultural identity for the postbellum South.
Rather than focusing exclusively on postwar political and economic factors, Creating a Confederate Kentucky looks over the longer term at Kentuckians' activities--public memorial ceremonies, dedications of monuments, and veterans organizations' events--by which they commemorated the Civil War and fixed the state's remembrance of it for sixty years following the conflict.
When asked to make sacrifices, civilian leaders found themselves caught in the dilemma of either aiding the Confederacy or losing money through poor utilization of slave labor. To sustain profits, the business and planter classes often traded with the enemy. Upon consideration of arming the slaves, many members of Congress proclaimed that the war effort was not worth the demise of slavery and preferred instead to take their chances with the Northern government. Cultural leaders, clergy, newspapermen, and men of letters claimed their loyalty to the war effort, but often criticized government policies in public. By asking for financial support and instituting a military draft, the national government infuriated local patriots who wanted to defend their own states more than they desired to defeat the enemy.
Coeditors William J. Cooper, Jr., and John M. McCardell, Jr., introduce the collection, which contains essays by the foremost Civil War scholars of our time: James M. McPherson considers the general import of the war; Peter S. Onuf and Christa Dierksheide examine how patriotic southerners reconciled slavery with the American Revolutionaries' faith in the new nation's progressive role in world history; Sean Wilentz attempts to settle the long-standing debate over the reasons for southern secession; and Richard Carwardine identifies the key wartime contributors to the nation's sociopolitical transformation and the redefinition of its ideals.
George C. Rable explores the complicated ways in which southerners adopted and interpreted the terms "rebel" and "patriot," and Chandra Manning finds three distinct understandings of the relationship between race and nationalism among Confederate soldiers, black Union soldiers, and white Union soldiers. The final three pieces address how the country dealt with the meaning of the war and its memory: Nina Silber discusses the variety of ways we continue to remember the war and the Union victory; W. Fitzhugh Brundage tackles the complexity of Confederate commemoration; and David W. Blight examines the complicated African American legacy of the war. In conclusion, McCardell suggests the challenges and rewards of using three perspectives for studying this critical period in American history.
Presented originally at the "In the Cause of Liberty" symposium hosted by The American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar in Richmond, Virginia, these incisive essays by the most respected and admired scholars in the field are certain to shape historical debate for years to come.
Through primary source research and the re-analysis of the rich historical literature about the antebellum era and the causes of the Civil War, Lawrence A. Anderson explores the relationship between federalism and the movement for secession in the United States during the pre-civil war era. Focusing primarily on South Carolina, Anderson carefully revisits theory on institutional analysis of political development to expose what caused secession in the United States.