Ultimately the crisis of the Confederacy threatened both the constitutionalism that southern politicians long had cherished and a core principle of the tradition of civil control over the military. Key figures in the army also took the lead in urging the use of slaves as soldiers and promoting the idea of emancipation. With many portraits of high-ranking generals and civil officials and telling anecdotes that reveal the nature of their relationships, this book reveals the depth of the Confederacy's social, political, and military crisis and highlights what this crisis revealed about the foundations of Confederate society.
Against the backdrop of the war's military drama and strategic dilemmas, The Confederacy brings into sharp focus the racial, class, gender, and political conflicts that helped destabilize the Confederacy from within. Along the way, Escott shows how time and time again, the South's political and economic elite made errors that further weakened a South already facing a Union army with greater numbers and firepower.