Emancipation, the Union Army, and the Reelection of Abraham Lincoln (Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War) The Union army's overwhelming vote for Abraham Lincoln's reelection in 1864 has led many Civil War scholars to conclude that the soldiers supported the Republican Party and its effort to abolish slavery. In Emancipation, the Union Army, and the Reelection of Abraham Lincoln Jonathan W. White challenges this reigning paradigm in Civil War historiography, arguing instead that the soldier vote in the presidential election of 1864 is not a reliable index of the army's ideological motivation or political sentiment. Although 78 percent of the soldiers' votes were cast for Lincoln, White contends that this was not wholly due to a political or social conversion to the Republican Party. Rather, he argues, historians have ignored mitigating factors such as voter turnout, intimidation at the polls, and how soldiers voted in nonpresidential elections in 1864. While recognizing that many soldiers changed their views on slavery and emancipation during the war, White suggests that a considera-ble number still rejected the Republican platform, and that many who voted for Lincoln disagreed with his views on slavery. He likewise ex-plains that many northerners considered a vote for the Democratic ticket as treasonous and an admission of defeat. Using previously untapped court-martial records from the National Archives, as well as manuscript collections from across the country, White convincingly revises many commonly held assumptions about the Civil War era and provides a deeper understanding of the Union Army.
Gateway to the Confederacy: New Perspectives on the Chickamauga and Chattanooga Campaigns, 1862-1863 A collection of ten new essays from some of our finest Civil War historians working today, Gateway to the Confederacy offers a reexamination of the campaigns fought to gain possession of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Each essay addresses how Americans have misconstrued the legacy of these struggles and why scholars feel it necessary to reconsider one of the most critical turning points of the American Civil War.
The first academic analysis that delineates all three Civil War campaigns fought from 1862 to 1863 for control of Chattanooga—the transportation hub of the Confederacy and gateway to the Deep South—this book deals not only with military operations but also with the campaigns’ origins and consequences. The essays also explore the far-reaching social and political implications of the battles and bring into sharp focus their impact on postwar literature and commemoration. Several chapters revise the traditional portraits of both famous and controversial figures including Ambrose Bierce and Nathan Bedford Forrest. Others investigate some of the more salient moments of these campaigns such as the circumstances that allowed for the Confederate breakthrough assault at Chickamauga.
Gateway to the Confederacy reassesses these pivotal battles, long in need of reappraisal, and breaks new ground as each scholar reshapes a particular aspect of this momentous part of the Civil War.
Russell S. Bonds
Caroline E. Janney
Evan C. Jones
David A. Powell
Gerald J. Prokopowicz
William Glenn Robertson
Craig L. Symonds
Loathing Lincoln: An American Tradition from the Civil War to the Present (Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War) Winner of the The Jules and Frances Landry Award
While most Americans count Abraham Lincoln among the most beloved and admired former presidents, a dedicated minority has long viewed him as not only the worst president in the country’s history but also as a criminal who defied the Constitution and advanced federal power and the idea of racial equality. In Loathing Lincoln, historian John McKee Barr surveys the broad array of criticisms about Abraham Lincoln that emerged when he stepped onto the national stage, expanded during the Civil War, and continued to evolve after his death and into the present.
The first panoramic study of Lincoln’s critics, Barr’s work offers both an analysis of Lincoln in historical memory and an examination of how his critics—on both the right and left—have frequently reflected the anxiety and discontent Americans felt about their lives. From northern abolitionists upset about the slow pace of emancipation, to Confederates who condemned him as a “black Republican” and despot, to Americans who blamed him for the civil rights movement, to, more recently, libertarians who accuse him of trampling the Constitution and creating the modern welfare state, Lincoln’s detractors have always been a vocal minority, but not one without influence.
By meticulously exploring the most significant arguments against Lincoln, Barr traces the rise of the president’s most strident critics and links most of them to a distinct right-wing or neo-Confederate political agenda. According to Barr, their hostility to a more egalitarian America and opposition to any use of federal power to bring about such goals led them to portray Lincoln as an imperialistic president who grossly overstepped the bounds of his office. In contrast, liberals criticized him for not doing enough to bring about emancipation or ensure lasting racial equality. Lincoln’s conservative and libertarian foes, however, constituted the vast majority of his detractors. More recently, Lincoln’s most vociferous critics have adamantly opposed Barack Obama and his policies, many of them referencing Lincoln in their attacks on the current president. In examining these individuals and groups, Barr’s study provides a deeper understanding of American political life and the nation itself.