Preview the Contents for September 2024

Preview the Contents for September 2024

Volume 14, Number 3
September 2024


Kate Masur and Gregory Downs


Peter Carmichael (moderator), Lorien Foote, Jennifer M. Murray, Craig L. Symonds

A Panel Discussion on Military History

The Robert Fortenbaugh Memorial Lecture is presented annually on November 29, the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. In 2023, for the first time, the Fortenbaugh did not feature an individual scholar. Instead, a roundtable format was introduced, and a lively conversation ensued at the Majestic Theater in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, among Lorien Foote, Jennifer Murray, and Craig Symonds, moderated by Peter Carmichael. They broadly discussed the state of Civil War military history, reflecting on the field’s evolution from a focus on generals and battles to a more holistic war-and-society approach that integrates social, cultural, political, and military history. Although Civil War military history has changed with the times and undeniably broadened its scope, the field remains on the margins of the academy, an issue that the panelists explored at length. They concluded their conversation before an audience of some three hundred people by reflecting on the ways that the study of Civil War military history has the potential to inform inquiries about a world engulfed in conflict today.


Scott C. Martin

“A Fit Resting Place for One Who Loved Liberty, Justice, and Equality”: Liberalism, Antislavery, and the American Expatriate Community in Florence, Italy, 1820–1865

This article examines the American expatriate community in Florence, Italy, between 1840 and 1865. Florence, with its history of liberalism, attracted reformers from all over the Atlantic world, including many Americans and Britons committed to abolitionism. During the two decades before the Civil War, Florence attracted American and British cultural elites who valued its history, culture, cosmopolitanism, and suitability for untrammeled discussion and debate about a variety of liberal causes, including abolition. For American reformers and intellectuals like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Sumner, Theodore Parker, and Sarah Parker Redmond, the city represented both a physical location and an imagined community dedicated to abolition and liberal reform. American abolitionists’ interaction in Florence with English abolitionists such as Robert and Elizabeth Browning and Fanny Trollope suggests that the city looms larger in the geography of nineteenth-century abolitionism than previously appreciated.

Kathryn Schumaker

“They Were Married in Heart”: Race, Inheritance, and Interracial Common Law Marriage in Reconstruction Era Mississippi

In 1869, Mississippi voters ratified a radical new constitution that eliminated distinctions of race, including in its provision formalizing the unions of cohabiting couples as legal common law marriages at the time of ratification. Although white men had long established relationships of concubinage with Black women, the new constitution made it possible for interracial couples to claim the status of legal families. This article examines how Black women and their biracial children employed the 1869 state constitution to situate themselves as legal wives and children and the lawful heirs of dead white men. In response, white supremacists sought to deny them legitimacy by casting all relationships between Black women and white men as forms of concubinage that could never constitute legal marriages. This article examines how judges used the classification of concubine to distinguish Black common-law wives from white ones, undermining the radicalism of the state’s 1869 constitution. By making it more difficult for Black widows and children to claim to be the rightful heirs of white men, the courts channeled inheritances toward more distant white relatives.


Nicole Myers Turner

Reconstruction, Religion, Politics, and Race: A Historiography