June 2021 (vol. 11, no. 2)

June 2021 (vol. 11, no. 2)

Volume 11, Number 2
June 2021

Editors’ Note
Kate Masur and Gregory P. Downs

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Thomas J. Brown

Iconoclasm and the Monumental Presence of the Civil War

The following represents the acceptance speech for the Watson Brown Prize for the best book published on the Civil War era in the calendar year 2019. Tad Brown, president of the Watson-Brown Foundation, awarded the prize to Thomas J. Brown for his book Civil War Monuments and the Militarization of America, published by the University of North Carolina Press. These remarks would have been given at the annual banquet of the Society of Civil War Historians (SCWH) held during the Southern Historical Association annual meeting in November 2020 but instead were delivered virtually, in accordance with health directives. Given the still-changing dynamic, it would be impossible for the piece to incorporate all developments in Civil War era memorialization between the delivery of the talk and this volume’s publication; therefore Brown has left those time references dated to November 20, 2020. The SCWH judges and administers the book prize.

Keywords: Civil War monuments, iconoclasm, Lost Cause, Charleston, George Floyd

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Joel R. Iliff

“Sustaining the truth of the Bible”: Black Evangelical Abolitionism and the Transatlantic Politics of Orthodoxy (winner of the 2022 Dorothy Ross Prize for best article in U.S. intellectual history from the Society for U.S. Intellectual History)

This article examines how the black Presbyterian minister James W. C. Pennington (1807–1870) and other black evangelicals engaged with German academic theology to challenge southern slavery and demonstrate fitness for citizenship. It also shows that these black evangelical leaders strategically associated themselves with the same conservative German religious thinkers admired by southern slaveholders. Recovering this transatlantic exchange reveals the surprisingly conservative character of many black evangelical abolitionists as well as the roots of an enduring black intellectual and theological tradition that explicitly linked religious orthodoxy with racial equality.

Keywords: James W. C. Pennington, Black evangelicalism, German theology, orthodoxy, religious orthodoxy, racial equality

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Lesley J. Gordon

“Novices in Warfare”: Elmer E. Ellsworth and Militia Reform on the Eve of Civil War

The militia is a central component of America’s military tradition based on the belief that  the “citizen soldiery” could best defend the nation in times of crisis.  Yet by the mid-nineteenth century, the militia had largely fallen into disfavor and disarray.  Elmer E. Ellsworth, a self-styled military expert, thought he had a solution that would not only revive the institution, but in the process, reinvent himself as a respectable gentleman. In the end, larger societal and political forces overtook him and he failed to anticipate the resistance he would face. As a result, Ellsworth’s example serves as a cautionary tale about how difficult it is to mold citizens into soldiers in the midst of frenzied martialism.

Keywords: citizen soldiery, Elmer E. Ellsworth, militia, Zouaves

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Marcy S. Sacks

“They Are Truly Marvelous Cats”: The Importance of Companion Animals to US Soldiers during the Civil War

This article focuses on the presence of companion animals in Union army camps during the U.S. Civil War. It argues that soldiers turned to animals of all kinds (including cats, dogs, mice, and pigs, along with less common species), despite official sanction against such practices, to ameliorate boredom and to distract themselves from the horror at hand. Most importantly, pets helped the soldiers reconnect with their humanity in the midst of the necessarily dehumanizing act of waging war. The study draws principally on the letters and journals of Union soldiers, along with sketches and photographs, to demonstrate not only the ubiquity of animals in military camps but also their importance to the men at war.

Keywords: Pets, Animals, Trauma, Soldiers, Killing, Death, Civil War, Dogs, Cats

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Enrico Dal Lago

Writing the U.S. Civil War Era into Nineteenth-Century World History

Recent comparative and transnational studies of the nineteenth-century United States point toward the integration of the U.S. Civil War Era into a current global historical narrative that considers the nineteenth century as a crucial period in world history. In doing so, these studies reinforce the idea that the processes of nation-building and empire-building were closely intertwined throughout the history of the nineteenth-century United States, with the Civil War Era as a turning point in both processes. At the same time, this perspective also shows the significance of engaging in hitherto little explored avenues of global historical comparisons with countries such as, for example, Germany and Japan, which underwent processes of national unification/consolidation and later imperial expansion parallel to those that characterised the nineteenth-century United States.

Keywords: Civil War Era, World History, Nation-Building, Empire-Building, Comparative, Transnational, Global

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