Toward a Social History of the American Civil War: Exploratory Essays

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Edited by Paul A. Cimbala and Randall M. Bronx, N. ISBN Not surprisingly, however, "[t]he social historians marched off to Dixie" p. Nonetheless, historians have continued to focus their scholarship on the Confederacy. An Uncommon Time attempts to redress this situation, and editors Paul A.

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Miller credit Vinovskis and Paludan as the inspiration for their compilation of original essays. The twelve articles chosen for inclusion lack a common theme, reflecting instead diverse issues such as family life, political culture, party ideology, and gender roles. While it is difficult to group the essays, certain similarities do exist. Several focus on political and economic issues, including Michael Green's analysis of how the war influenced the development of Republican ideology; Adam Smith's study of the changing nature of political partisanship; John Syrett's assessment of the Confiscation Acts; Kyle Sinisi's investigation of the persistence of strong federalism in the wake of the war; and Melinda Lawson's reappraisal of Jay Cooke's motivation in wartime bond drives.

Essays by Peter Parish and Bryon Andreasen uncover the link between religion and politics. Parish explores the active support of evangelical Protestant clergymen for the northern war effort, while Andreasen investigates the squashing of antiwar dissent through church trials.

Alice Fahs and Earl Hess offer insights into wartime publishing. Hess evaluates how combat was portrayed in the media, while Fahs analyzes popular "sensational literature," especially novels.

Race, class, and gender are examined in Rachel Seidman's inquiry into the attitudes of diverse groups of northern females toward gender dependency and Lex Renda's essay on black suffrage as a political issue in Connecticut. Finally, Michael Conlin's study of Joseph Henry and the Smithsonian reminds us that the war affected all aspects of northern society, even scientific inquiry.

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The volume concludes with an excellent "Afterword" by J. Vinovskis Editor. The American Civil War has been the subject of thousands of books and articles, but only a small fraction of this literature examines the impact of the war on society and on the lives of the participants.


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This volume of essays, which focuses on the North, is intended as an initial reconnaissance by social historians into the study of the Civil War. The first essay, 'Have S The American Civil War has been the subject of thousands of books and articles, but only a small fraction of this literature examines the impact of the war on society and on the lives of the participants.

The essay also examines rates of enlistment for the North and the South, and the significance of pensions for Union soldiers and their windows.

Subsequent essays look at the support for the war in small towns; the influence of nineteenth-century values and culture on Union soldiers; the nature and role of large-scale relief efforts for soldiers in Philadelphia; and the impact of the war on the politics of Chicago. The final two essays discuss the continuing importance of the war for its survivors: one by looking at those who joined the major national organization of Union veterans; and the other by studying the impact of the Civil War on Union widows in three Northern towns.

Miller on Mauro, 'The Civil War in Fairfax County: Civilians and Soldiers'

Taken together, the essays demonstrate the need for historians to rediscover the impact of the Civil War on nineteenth-century society. Get A Copy.


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