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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


Young America

The Transformation of Nationalism before the Civil War Mark Power Smith

The Young Americans were a nationalist movement within the Democratic Party made up of writers and politicians associated with the New York periodical, the Democratic Review. In this revealing book, Mark Power Smith explores the ways in which–in dialogue with its critics–the movement forged... More


My Work among the Freedmen

The Civil War and Reconstruction Letters of Harriet M. Buss Harriet M. Buss. Edited by Jonathan W. White and Lydia J. Davis

Between 1863 and 1871, Harriet M. Buss of Sterling, Massachusetts, taught former slaves in three different regions of the South, in coastal South Carolina, Norfolk, Virginia, and Raleigh, North Carolina. A white, educated Baptist woman, she initially saw herself as on a mission to the freedpeople... More


The Cacophony of Politics

Northern Democrats and the American Civil War J. Matthew Gallman

The Cacophony of Politics charts the trajectory of the Democratic Party as the party of opposition in the North during the Civil War. A comprehensive overview, this book reveals the myriad complications and contingencies of political life in the Northern states and explains the objectives of the... 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


Colossal Ambitions

Confederate Planning for a Post–Civil War World Adrian Brettle

Leading politicians, diplomats, clerics, planters, farmers, manufacturers, and merchants preached a transformative, world-historical role for the Confederacy, persuading many of their compatriots to fight not merely to retain what they had but to gain their future empire. Impervious to reality,... More


Newest Born of Nations

European Nationalist Movements and the Making of the Confederacy Ann L. Tucker

From the earliest stirrings of southern nationalism to the defeat of the Confederacy, analysis of European nationalist movements played a critical role in how southerners thought about their new southern nation. Southerners argued that because the Confederate nation was cast in the same mold as its... More


The Worst Passions of Human Nature

White Supremacy in the Civil War North Paul D. Escott

The American North’s commitment to preventing a southern secession rooted in slaveholding suggests a society united in its opposition to slavery and racial inequality. The reality, however, was far more complex and troubling. In his latest book, Paul Escott lays bare the contrast between progress... 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


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 B. Dew

In late 1860 and early 1861, state-appointed commissioners traveled the length and breadth of the slave South carrying a fervent message in pursuit of a clear goal: to persuade the political leadership and the citizenry of the uncommitted slave states to join in the effort to destroy the Union and... 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


Longstreet's Aide

The Civil War Letters of Major Thomas J Goree Thomas W. Cutrer

One of the Confederacy's most loyal adherents and articulate advocates was Lieutenant Grant James Longstreet's aide-de-camp, Thomas Jewett Goree. Present at Longstreet's headquarters and party to the counsels of Robert E. Lee and his lieutenants, Goree wrote incisively on matters of strategy 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


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


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