Muster

Teaching Military History with the <i>Official Records</i>

Teaching Military History with the Official Records

Every time I teach my Civil War and Reconstruction course, I meet students who probably would not have taken any other history class. The enormous popular interest in military history, as most academic historians know, can draw students into the discipline. At a time when boosting course enrollments and attracting ...
Read More
Teaching the Reconstruction Era Through Political Cartoons

Teaching the Reconstruction Era Through Political Cartoons

During this past fall semester I received an email from a curriculum coordinator at a local school district. She stated that a high school history teacher was running short on time, but wanted to spend one day with his students discussing the Reconstruction era before the end of the semester ...
Read More
New JCWE Editors Selected, Will Assume Position January 15

New JCWE Editors Selected, Will Assume Position January 15

The Journal of the Civil War Era and the Richards Center at Penn State are thrilled to announce our new JCWE co-editors, Greg Downs and Kate Masur, who will assume the position effective January 15, 2020. Gregory P. Downs is Professor of History at University of California-Davis. He studies the ...
Read More
Castles in the Air: A Review of Greta Gerwig’s <i>Little Women</i>

Castles in the Air: A Review of Greta Gerwig’s Little Women

Impatient for Greta Gerwig’s Little Women to come out, I watched the 1994 movie again to bide my time. Susan Sarandon (Marmee) and Winona Ryder (Jo) steal the show, delivering the movie’s most memorable lines critiquing Victorian gender expectations, such as when Marmee dismisses a neighbor’s concerns about her daughters’ ...
Read More
Putting Women Back Where They Belong: In Federalism and the U.S. History Survey

Putting Women Back Where They Belong: In Federalism and the U.S. History Survey

To say that women do not figure prominently in the historiography of federalism is an understatement, to say the least. What could debates about the relationship between states and the federal government possibly have to do with women, particularly before the Civil War, when they lacked the rights necessary to ...
Read More
The Civil War in Southeast Asia: Trade and Privateering in Singapore

The Civil War in Southeast Asia: Trade and Privateering in Singapore

The sectional conflict in North America coincided with vast upheavals around the world, including the wars of unification in Central Europe (Italy from 1859 to 1871, and Germany from 1864 to 1871), whose impact Civil War historians have done some work to illustrate. In Asia, the Taiping Rebellion (1850-1864), with ...
Read More
Paul Barba Joins Us as Field Correspondent

Paul Barba Joins Us as Field Correspondent

As longtime readers know, at Muster we publish pieces that are commissioned or submitted to us for consideration, but we also have a slate of field correspondents who write regular "dispatches"--posts that explore the varied facets of life in the Civil War era and help readers broaden their understanding of the ...
Read More
Poetry Not Yet Written: Revisiting Glory Thirty Years Later

Poetry Not Yet Written: Revisiting Glory Thirty Years Later

Glory begins as so many Civil War films do: the sun rises on a vast battlefield, brave Union men march into war, and a ferocious battle ensues, American and Confederate flags billowing in the background. Despite its adherence to well-worn tropes, however, Glory tells a tale that is often obscured ...
Read More
Before Opinion Polling: Tracking Public Sentiment in Civil War-Era Politics

Before Opinion Polling: Tracking Public Sentiment in Civil War-Era Politics

For better or for worse, public opinion polls are deeply embedded in American politics. Proponents argue that polls keep elected officials connected to their constituents, make the government more responsive to popular demands, and dispel “myths and stereotypes that might otherwise mislead public discourse.”[1] Critics argue that strict obedience to ...
Read More
‘Disgrace, Ridicule, Hatred, Contempt and Reproach’: The Impeachments of Andrew Johnson and Donald Trump

‘Disgrace, Ridicule, Hatred, Contempt and Reproach’: The Impeachments of Andrew Johnson and Donald Trump

“There has been no President in the history of our Country who has been treated so badly as I have,” complained President Donald Trump as the House of Representatives began its impeachment inquiry in September 2019.[1] Only three other Presidents have faced impeachment inquiries, and they certainly felt the weight ...
Read More

Editor’s Note: December 2019 Issue

Federalism in the Civil War Era This special issue focuses on the role of federalism in the Civil War era, primarily in the years before the war. Federalism—or the distribution of power among different governing bodies—defined how most nineteenth-century Americans understood their relationship to the government, both in theory and ...
Read More
Honoring and Remembering Indigenous Civil War Veterans in Public Spaces

Honoring and Remembering Indigenous Civil War Veterans in Public Spaces

A groundbreaking ceremony for the National Native American Veterans Memorial was held on September 21, 2019—the fifteen-year anniversary of the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI). The memorial will be located on the grounds of the NMAI on the National Mall. The ceremony included the presentation ...
Read More
Removing Slavery from Westward Expansion: Two Case Studies of Public Memorials in Missouri

Removing Slavery from Westward Expansion: Two Case Studies of Public Memorials in Missouri

The town of Marthasville, Missouri, is located about forty-five miles west of St. Louis. The oldest town in Warren County, Marthasville today is a quiet place with fertile farmland, a lakeside resort, and numerous wineries. Although I have lived in Missouri most of my life, I had never been to ...
Read More
"I Donte Want to Fight": One Union Soldier’s Struggle with Duty

“I Donte Want to Fight”: One Union Soldier’s Struggle with Duty

James Madison Jones wanted nothing more than to be out of the U.S. Army. The young father had enlisted in the 12th New Hampshire Infantry in August 1862, but once he donned the blue uniform and left his family behind, Jones regretted his decision. He tried–and failed–to renege on his ...
Read More
To Have and to Hold…or Not: Weddings, Independence, and the Civil War

To Have and to Hold…or Not: Weddings, Independence, and the Civil War

Even with the legalization of same-sex marriage, the U.S. marriage rate is the lowest it has been in at least 150 years, according to economist Jay Zagorsky of Boston University. Another recent study from Cornell University researchers concluded that the U.S. has “large deficits in the supply of potential male ...
Read More

Hatred and Vengeance in the Classroom

War generates powerful emotions and conveying those emotions to students presents numerous opportunities and a few pitfalls. More specifically, hatred and calls for vengeance inevitably accompanied (if they did not precede) the outbreak of war, and certainly the American Civil War was no exception to that rule. Students in Civil ...
Read More
Loading...