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A Nation Divided: Studies in the Civil War Era

This series seeks out the best new scholarship on the U.S. Civil War era, particularly works that connect the war to the major themes of the era and that integrate the social, political, economic, and cultural experiences of the period with military events.

Series Editors: Orville Vernon Burton and Elizabeth R. Varon


American Abolitionism
Its Direct Political Impact from Colonial Times into Reconstruction

Stanley Harrold

This ambitious book provides the only systematic examination of the American abolition movement’s direct impacts on antislavery politics from colonial times to the Civil War and after. As opposed to indirect methods such as propaganda, sermons, and speeches at protest meetings, Stanley Harrold... More


Preserving the White Man's Republic
Jacksonian Democracy, Race, and the Transformation of American Conservatism

Joshua A. Lynn

In Preserving the White Man’s Republic, Joshua Lynn reveals how the national Democratic Party rebranded majoritarian democracy and liberal individualism as conservative means for white men in the South and North to preserve their mastery on the eve of the Civil War.Responding to fears of African... More


A Strife of Tongues
The Compromise of 1850 and the Ideological Foundations of the American Civil War

Stephen E. Maizlish

Near the end of a nine-month confrontation preceding the Compromise of 1850, Abraham Venable warned his fellow congressmen that "words become things." Indeed, in politics—then, as now—rhetoric makes reality. But while the legislative maneuvering, factional alignments, and specific measures of the... More


The War Hits Home
The Civil War in Southeastern Virginia

Brian Steel Wills

In 1863 Confederate forces under Lieutenant General James Longstreet, while scouring Southside Virginia for badly needed supplies, threatened the Union garrison in Suffolk. For the residents of surrounding Nansemond, Isle of Wight, and Southampton Counties, the Suffolk campaign followed an... More


Daydreams and Nightmares
A Virginia Family Faces Secession and War

Brent Tarter

The decision of the eventual Confederate states to secede from the Union set in motion perhaps the most dramatic chapter in American history, and one that has typically been told on a grand scale. In Daydreams and Nightmares, however, historian Brent Tarter shares the story of one Virginia family... More


Lincoln's Dilemma
Blair, Sumner, and the Republican Struggle over Racism and Equality in the Civil War Era

Paul D. Escott

The Civil War forced America finally to confront the contradiction between its founding values and human slavery. At the center of this historic confrontation was Abraham Lincoln. By the time this Illinois politician had risen to the office of president, the dilemma of slavery had expanded to the... More


Apostles of Disunion
Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil War

Charles Dew

Charles Dew’s Apostles of Disunion has established itself as a modern classic and an indispensable account of the Southern states’ secession from the Union. Addressing topics still hotly debated among historians and the public at large more than a century and a half after the Civil War, the book... More


The First Republican Army
The Army of Virginia and the Radicalization of the Civil War

John H. Matsui

Although much is known about the political stance of the military at large during the Civil War, the political party affiliations of individual soldiers have received little attention. Drawing on archival sources from twenty-five generals and 250 volunteer officers and enlisted men, John Matsui... More


War upon Our Border
Two Ohio Valley Communities Navigate the Civil War

Stephen I. Rockenbach

War upon Our Border examines the experiences of two Ohio River Valley communities during the turmoil and social upheaval of the American Civil War. Although on opposite sides of the border between slavery and freedom, Corydon, Indiana, and Frankfort, Kentucky, shared a legacy of white settlement... More


Gold and Freedom
The Political Economy of Reconstruction

Nicolas Barreyre. Translated by Arthur Goldhammer

Historians have long treated Reconstruction primarily as a southern concern isolated from broader national political developments. Yet at its core, Reconstruction was a battle for the legacy of the Civil War that would determine the political fate not only of the South but of the nation.In Gold and... More


Intimate Reconstructions
Children in Postemancipation Virginia

Catherine A. Jones

In Intimate Reconstructions, Catherine Jones considers how children shaped, and were shaped by, Virginia’s Reconstruction. Jones argues that questions of how to define, treat, reform, or protect children were never far from the surface of public debate and private concern in post–Civil War Virginia... More


Slavery and War in the Americas
Race, Citizenship, and State Building in the United States and Brazil, 1861-1870

Vitor Izecksohn

In this pathbreaking new work, Vitor Izecksohn attempts to shed new light on the American Civil War by comparing it to a strikingly similar campaign in South America--the War of the Triple Alliance of 1864-70, which galvanized four countries and became the longest large-scale international conflict... More


Marching Masters
Slavery, Race, and the Confederate Army during the Civil War

Colin Edward Woodward

The Confederate army went to war to defend a nation of slaveholding states, and although men rushed to recruiting stations for many reasons, they understood that the fundamental political issue at stake in the conflict was the future of slavery. Most Confederate soldiers were not slaveholders... More


Confederate Visions
Nationalism, Symbolism, and the Imagined South in the Civil War

Ian Binnington

Nationalism in nineteenth-century America operated through a collection of symbols, signifiers citizens could invest with meaning and understanding. In Confederate Visions, Ian Binnington examines the roots of Confederate nationalism by analyzing some of its most important symbols: Confederate... More


Frederick Douglass
A Life in Documents

Frederick Douglass. Edited by L. Diane Barnes

Frederick Douglass was born enslaved in February 1818, but from this most humble of beginnings, he rose to become a world-famous orator, newspaper editor, and champion of the rights of women and African Americans. He not only survived slavery to live in freedom but also became an outspoken critic... More


Worth a Dozen Men
Women and Nursing in the Civil War South

Libra R. Hilde

In antebellum society, women were regarded as ideal nurses because of their sympathetic natures. However, they were expected to exercise their talents only in the home; nursing strange men in hospitals was considered inappropriate, if not indecent. Nevertheless, in defiance of tradition,... More


A Separate Civil War
Communities in Conflict in the Mountain South

Jonathan Dean Sarris

Most Americans think of the Civil War as a series of dramatic clashes between massive armies led by romantic-seeming leaders. But in the Appalachian communities of North Georgia, things were very different. Focusing on Fannin and Lumpkin counties in the Blue Ridge Mountains along Georgia’s northern... More


Reconstructing the Campus
Higher Education and the American Civil War

Michael David Cohen

The Civil War transformed American life. Not only did thousands of men die on battlefields and millions of slaves become free; cultural institutions reshaped themselves in the context of the war and its aftermath. The first book to examine the Civil War’s immediate and long-term impact on higher... More


Civil War Talks
Further Reminiscences of George S. Bernard and His Fellow Veterans

George S. Bernard. Edited by Hampton Newsome, John Horn, and John G. Selby

George S. Bernard was a Petersburg lawyer and member of the 12th Virginia Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. Over the course of his life, Bernard wrote extensively about his wartime experiences and collected accounts from other veterans. In 1892, he published War Talks of Confederate Veterans... More


The Enemy Within
Fears of Corruption in the Civil War North

Michael Thomas Smith

Stoked by a series of major scandals, popular fears of corruption in the Civil War North provide a unique window into Northern culture in the Civil War era. In The Enemy Within, Michael Thomas Smith relates these scandals—including those involving John C. Frémont’s administration in Missouri,... More


The Big House after Slavery
Virginia Plantation Families and Their Postbellum Domestic Experiment

Amy Feely Morsman

The Big House after Slavery examines the economic, social, and political challenges that Virginia planter families faced following Confederate defeat and emancipation. Amy Feely Morsman addresses how men and women of the planter class responded to postwar problems and how their adaptations to life... More


Take Care of the Living
Reconstructing Confederate Veteran Families in Virginia

Jeffrey W. McClurken

Take Care of the Living assesses the short- and long-term impact of the war on Confederate veteran families of all classes in Pittsylvania County and Danville, Virginia. Using letters, diaries, church minutes, and military and state records, as well as close analysis of the entire 1860 and 1870... More


Civil War Petersburg
Confederate City in the Crucible of War

A. Wilson Greene

Few wartime cities in Virginia held more importance than Petersburg. Nonetheless, the city has, until now, lacked an adequate military history, let alone a history of the civilian home front. The noted Civil War historian A. Wilson Greene now provides an expertly researched, eloquently written... More


Lincoln's Tragic Admiral
The Life of Samuel Francis Du Pont

Kevin J. Weddle

Once revered as one of the finest officers in the U.S. Navy, Rear Admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont is now, when remembered at all, criticized for resisting technological advancement and for half-heartedly leading the disastrous all-ironclad Union naval attack on Charleston. Although his reputation... More


Ashe County's Civil War
Community and Society in the Appalachian South

Martin Crawford

Distinguished from traditional historical narrative by its balanced portrayal of wartime experiences both at home and on the battlefield and flavored by its vivid portrayal of a divided Appalachian community, Ashe County's Civil War: Community and Society in the Appalachian South breaks new ground... More


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