Previous Issues

Previous Issues


The Journal of the Civil War Era


March 2024 (vol. 14, no. 1) begins with Iain A. Flood’s examination of enslaved people’s roles in maintaining the domestic supply line among Missouri’s guerrilla households, while simultaneously creating a second supply line, one that moved information out of Missouri’s slaveholding households and onto the desks of Union provost marshals. Michael W. Fitzgerald and Mark Bohnhorst remind us of a Republican scheme in Florida and Alabama to halt federal elections in 1868 and have the legislature’s choose presidential electors. Conceived in response to systematic white supremacist violence that was designed to suppress African American voting, the proposed solution was roundly rejected by Republicans and Democrats alike, leading to an unsuccessful effort to enshrine the popular vote for president in the 16th Amendment. Katherine J. Lennard traces the roots of the Ku Klux Klan’s iconography, popularized by Thomas Dixon, Jr., to the nation’s early fraternities. Dixon drew inspiration from the symbols, regalia, and hierarchical order of fraternities, particularly the pro-southern Kappa Alpha order, and applied them to the Klan to stake a claim for their respectability. In a review essay, Christopher James Bonner considers some of the different ways recent historians have worked to understand the institution of slavery, with a particular focus on the question of how closely their approaches bring us to understanding the shape of enslaved humanity.

December 2023 (vol. 13, no. 4) is a special issue: TRANSPACIFIC CONNECTIONS IN THE CIVIL WAR ERA, moderated by Hidetaka Hirota. Hirota opens the issue with an introduction that considers  U.S. interaction with Asia and the Pacific shaped race relations, gender ideology, diplomacy, and legal rights in the United States during the second half of the nineteenth century. Ikuko Asaka examines the American press’s reaction to the samurai dress worn by a Japanese diplomatic contingent during an 1860 tour of the U.S. Asaka explains how attempts by the press to feminize the samurai and castigate the women who hosted them during their trip were undercut by diplomatic conventions. Stacey L. Smith uses the life story of Peter K.L. Cole, a Black world traveler and a resident of Yokohama, Japan, to explore how notions of race, empire, modernity, and citizenship circulated around the Pacific Ocean from the 1850s to the 1870s. Tian Xu details how Chinese women and men used habeas corpus proceedings in California to contest transpacific relations of gender, commerce, law, and power. Beth Lew-Williams uncovers the little known stories of Chinese immigrants who fought to attain U.S. citizenship despite the prohibition on naturalization contained in the Chinese Exclusion Act, which was not repealed until 1943. The special issue concludes with a commentary by Mae Ngai.

September 2023 (vol. 13, no. 3) begins with Sarah Barringer Gordon’s examination of how white southern Methodist church leaders used litigation to ensure that Black church property remained in the hands of the proslavery church, even after emancipation. Though they could not prevent the growth of a vibrant Colored Methodist Episcopal church, white Methodist leaders’ litigation helped preserve white supremacy in southern Methodism. Continuing the focus on property, Nicole Viglini mines the Southern Claims Commissions to show how free Black women in the antebellum era relied on their reputations as credible economic actors and employed their property and entrepreneurial expertise to achieve a modicum of security. In a roundtable moderated by Adam Domby and Karen L. Cox, eight scholars and history practitioners discuss contemporary debates and protests over Confederate monuments, their removal, and their place in Civil War memory. Jennifer Oast concludes the issue with a review essay explores recent works detailing how some of the country’s most oldest colleges and universities benefitted from slavery in the past while trying to grapple with this legacy in the present.


June 2023 (vol. 13, no. 2) leads off with Sebastian Page’s Tom Watson Brown Award acceptance speech. Page won the award for his book, Black Resettlement and the American Civil War (Cambridge, 2021. Hilary Green and Adam Dobmy’s roundtable discusses the efforts of colleges and universities to examine how their institutional histories are tied to the systems of slavery, the slave trade, settler colonialism, and segregation. In an article, John Quist explores the career of Theodore Foster, an ardent antislavery activist who eventually rejected abolitionism and embraced a racist belief that African Americans were incapable of fulfilling the responsibilities of citizenship. Quist’s article urges us to reconsider how to characterize the politics of white antislavery Northerners. Frank Towers concludes the articles with a review essay on the urban history of the Civil War era. Towers argues that future histories would benefit from older scholarship that viewed cities as historical agents in their own rights.


March 2023 (vol. 13, no. 1) features the Bryan LaPointe‘s Anthony E. Kaye Memorial Essay Award, examining how enslaved people intentionally shaped antislavery politics through absconding and sharing details of their former lives in slavery. Camille Suárez details how the 1851 Land Act in California turned Californios into colonized colonizers as they tried to defend the property rights they had enjoyed under Mexican rule after California became part of the United States. Elizabeth R. Varon explores James Longstreet’s brief postwar stint as United States Minister to Turkey, concluding that Longstreet ultimately failed in his efforts to project Republican power abroad and at home in his native South. The issue concludes with Alaina E. Roberts‘s review essay on recent research into the Five Tribes in the Civil War era, demonstrating how Black and Native activism, beginning in the 1970s, influenced subsequent scholarship that uses the lenses of race, gender, and tribal sovereignty to excavate Black stories in Native American history.


December 2022 (vol. 12, no. 4) is a special issue, Nineteenth-Century African American History and the Archive, guest edited by Leslie M. Harris and Daina Ramey Berry. Harris and Berry trace “the evolving history of African Americans in archives and historical interpretation” and urge scholars and archivists to continue to reread African American sources in the archive and reinterrogate archives’ role in preserving some histories and not others and shaping the public’s interpretation of those histories. Thomas A. Foster recovers the histories of enslaved people at Abingdon Plantation, where historical markers focus almost exclusively on the white enslavers who had called the site home. Kimberly Welch examines an antebellum civil lawsuit involving one of New Orleans’s richest free, Black women to show how “trial court records function as a form of archives in themselves” and how “Black Americans both used and produced those archives.” Jasmine Nichole Cobb explores images of African Americans in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine to critique how the implicit biases and choices the magazine made in portraying African American life make it a problematic evidentiary source for scholars. Brandi C. Brimmer concludes the issue with an article that combs through the pension records of Black veterans to gain insight into “the intimate lives of the Black poor and the legal communities they participated in as they navigated the US Pension bureaucracy.”

September 2022 (vol. 12., no. 3) features two special essays. It begins with Thavolia Glymph‘s Tom Watson Brown essay, derived from the talk she delivered upon winning the Tom Watson Brown Book Prize for The Women’s Fight: The Civil War Battles for Home, Freedom, and Nation. Louis P. Masur follows with his Robert Fortenbaugh Memorial Lecture, “Abraham Lincoln and the Problem of Reconstruction.” Evan Turiano explores how the specter of enslaved flight influenced both sides of the debate in Virginia’s secession convention. Richard Bell concludes the issue with a review essay charting the historiography of microhistory and its efforts to foreground “contingency, disruption, uncertainty, and transparency.”


June 2022 (vol. 12., no. 2) leads off with Ryan Hall‘s examination of the Civil War West, showing how the wartime collapse of civil administrative and economic institutions ultimately accelerated the dispossession and conquest of Native lands along the Upper Missouri. Patrick A. Lewis revisits the Civil War memoir, Co. Aytch, focusing on the experiences of Sanker, the authors’ enslaved valet, to demonstrate how this popular memoir manipulated Civil War memory by obscuring the crucial role slavery played in the lives of the author and his comrades. Christina K. Adkins revisits the various publications of Mary Boykin Chesnut to show how Chesnut employed the trope of deadly disease as a metaphor for the effect of slavery on the South and Confederate defeat. In the concluding review essay, Mark Boonshoft analyzes the last generation of writing on nineteenth-century American education, showing how it helps contextualize why public schooling was important to Republican and African American plans to remake the South and extend citizenship to freedpeople and how imperialism and white supremacy stifled inclusive education policy.

March 2022 (vol. 12, no. 1) opens with Peter Guardino’s examination of guerrilla warfare, counter-insurgency, and atrocities during the U.S.-Mexican War. Vanya Bellinger reconsiders the origins of General Orders No. 100, tracing how Francis Lieber adapted Clausewitz’s theory of warfare to the realities of a democratic society. Jonathan Wells discusses how Black newspapers in the American West promoted concepts of racial uplift and sought to distinguish Black Americans’ citizenship claims from Native Americans and immigrants whom they deemed less deserving. The issue concludes with a review essay by Cameron Blevins and Christy Hyman that analyzes the utility of the many computational and digital technologies that have shaped the study of the Civil War era since the 1970s.

December 2021 (vol. 11, no. 4) begins with Daniel W. Crofts‘s essay about Philadelphia diarist Sidney George Fisher and how southern overreach gradually alienated northern conservatives and led to sectional rupture. Cynthia Nicoletti examines how pardon broker William Henry Trescot negotiated the return of southern properties seized by the U.S. during the Civil War to their previous owners, preventing significant land redistribution during Reconstruction. Tarık Tansu Yi˙g˘i˙t discusses how Confederate and U.S. Civil War veterans found fraternity with one another while serving in the Egyptian army in the 1870s, enacting a kind of national reconciliation overseas. The issue concludes with Gerald Prokopowicz‘s historiographical essay on the concept of the “common soldier” of the Civil War.

September 2021 (vol. 11, no. 3) is a special issue: “Immigration in the Civil War Era,” guest edited by Katherine Carper and Kevin Kenny. Michael Schoeppner interprets state regulation of black people’s mobility in the antebellum era as a form of immigration law. Katherine Carper examines the often-overlooked role that shipping merchants played in crafting and implementing immigration policy at the municipal and state levels. Kevin Kenny demonstrates how antislavery ideology decisively shaped federal immigration policy through “An Act to Prohibit the ‘Coolie’ Trade by American Citizens in American Vessels” (1862) and An Act to Encourage Immigration (1864). Lucy Salyer offers a new, global perspective that situates U.S. naturalization policy in the context of domestic and international disputes sparked by mass migration during Reconstruction.

June 2021 (vol. 11, no. 2) begins with Thomas J. Brown’s Tom Watson Brown essay, which examines recent conflicts over Civil War monuments. Joel Iliff describes how James W. C. Pennington and other Black intellectuals engaged with German academic theology to challenge slavery before the Civil War. Lesley Gordon explores how Elmer Ellsworth sought to rehabilitate the reputation of the militia in the mid-nineteenth-century and the challenges he encountered in the frenzied martialism leading into the Civil War. In the final research article, Marcy S. Sacks analyzes how Civil War soldiers kept companion animals throughout the conflict to ameliorate boredom and reaffirm their humanity in response to the horrors they experienced. In the concluded review essay, Enrico Dal Lago examines recent scholarly works that integrate the US Civil War into global histories of the nineteenth century, showing how the Civil War was a pivotal moment in global processes of nation-building and empire-building.

March 2021 (vol. 11, no. 1) is a special joint issue published in concert with The Western Historical Quarterly. It is titled, “An Unholy Union: Southern and Western History.” James F. Brooks helped to organize the issue and provides the Introduction. Andrew Shaler tells the neglected story of Native American emigrant companies who blazed trails to the West, particularly during the California Gold Rush. Max Flomen shows how “marronage and insurrection defined the long war against slavery and empire waged by Indigenous peoples and African Americans following the Texas Revolution of 1835–36.” Lance R. Blyth explores how Civil War conflicts in the Southwest like the Battle of Apache Pass and the Massacre at Fort Fauntleroy were shaped by local conditions that grew out of a deep and contentious borderlands history. Angela Pulley Hudson concludes the issue with an essay examining “westerners in the South,” specifically the internment of Apaches at Mount Vernon Barracks near Mobile, Alabama in the late 1880s and 1890s. The presence of these Apaches in the Jim Crow South caused white southerners to define Native Americans as existing outside of the South, erasing the indigeneity of existing southern Native nations, like the MOWA Choctaws.

The December 2020 (vol. 10, no. 4) issue features the inaugural winner of the Anthony E. Kaye Memorial Essay Prize: Robert Colby’s “‘Negroes Will Bear Fabulous Prices.'” Colby’s essay shows how trading in enslaved peoples remained robust throughout the Civil War, demonstrating Confederate citizens’ faith in the institution of slavery even in the Confederacy’s waning days. Campbell F. Scribner surveys the destruction of over 600 African American schools during Reconstruction, analyzing how Democratic machinations and inattentiveness in the Freedmen’s Bureau often obscured evidence of these systematic assaults. Stephen A. West examines the memories of Reconstruction in the memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant and James G. Blaine, which laid bare problems of national political power following Reconstruction and connected Gilded Age politics to antebellum anxieties about the national reach of the South’s antidemocratic influence. In a review essay, Christopher Morris compares recent studies of slavery and capitalism with similar studies from the 1970s. While critics rightly have pointed out that the recent studies largely ignored previous scholarship, Morris believes these critics also miss much of what is new and innovative in the recent scholarship.


The September 2020 (vol. 10, no. 3) issue leads off with Bennett Parten’s article about the powerful ways the concept of “Jubilee” shaped American abolitionism. Angela Zombek uses newspaper coverage of Old Capitol Prison during the Civil War to show how the popular press sought to shape the public’s notions of loyalty and treason in wartime. Catherine A. Jones examines the case of fourteen-year-old Mary Booth to show how Virginia transformed African American children into carceral subjects in the wake of emancipation. Chandra Manning closes the issue with a review essay that considers recent developments in the historiography of religion in the Civil War era.


The June 2020 (vol. 10, no. 2) issue begins with Amy Murrell Taylor’s Tom Watson Brown Award essay about the lives that freedpeople constructed in Union refugee camps during the Civil War. Marco Basile uncovers a little-known aspect of American expansionism, showing how Lincoln-appointed commissioners to the International Slave Trade Courts in the 1860s worked to expand American antislavery agitation into West Africa. Jonathan S. Jones examines opioid addiction among Civil War veterans, in what he calls the country’s first opioid addiction epidemic. Alaina Roberts uses the Dawes Roll testimonies to show how some African American and mixed-race Chickasaw freedpeople in the West sought land and recognition from the Five Tribes in Indian Territory during Reconstruction. Her essay won the 2021 Vicki L. Ruiz Award from the Western History Association. The issue concludes with Alison Clark Efford’s review essay, examining the recent historiography of Civil War era immigration.


March 2020 (vol. 10, no 1) is a special issue, Cracks in the Foundation: The Fourteenth Amendment and Its Limits, guest edited by Michael T. Bernath and M. Scott HeermanLisset Marie Pino and John Fabian Witt begin the issue by discussing how the ratification of the 14th Amendment brought an end to the federal government’s use of its expansive war powers in the South, with tragic consequences for freedpeople. Stephen Kantrowitz considers how Civil War-era policymakers’ parallel debates over African American and Native American citizenship shaped the 14th Amendment. Evelyn Atkinson explores how movements for Chinese exclusion and corporate regulation in 1870s California led to the extension of the 14th Amendment’s rights to corporations. Christopher Schmidt closes the issue with an article tracing how the ratification of the 14th Amendment led to the transformation of the concept of civil rights.


December 2019 (vol. 9, no. 4) is a special issue, Federalism in the Civil War Era, guest edited by Rachel Shelden. Laura F. Edwards demonstrates how overlapping federal, state, and local legal systems gave citizens without the full range of rights, particularly women, access to governance in ways that previous historiography has not appreciated. Matthew Karp examines the elections of 1856 as a populist antislavery political revolution. Jack Furniss notes how the federal structure of political competition allowed Republicans to appeal to disparate communities and local issues in their rise to power. William A. Blair shows how white supremacy merged with fears of transient voters in Pennsylvania’s decision in the 1830s to remove black suffrage from its constitution. Kate Masur explores northerners’ support of the power of individual states to regulate the mobility and residence of persons they considered potentially disruptive. Frank Towers closes the issue with an essay on states’ rights advocates critiques of imperialism and their rival vision of expansionism based on the principle of divided sovereignty.


The September 2019 (vol. 9, no. 2) issue leads off with George Rable’s 2018 Fortenbaugh Memorial Lecture, examining northern hatred of Confederates during the Civil War. Joanna Cohen explores how “patriotic consumerism” shaped how northerners felt, expressed, and displayed their loyalty to the Union. Nicholas W. Sacco demonstrates that Ulysses S. Grant was not a staunch opponent of slavery until the Civil War itself convinced him that emancipation and abolition were necessary to preserve the Union. Michael Woods’s review essay finds that a new strain of scholarship skeptical of the reach of the Compromise of 1850 fits well with growing scholarship on the Civil War era West, where the federal government had great ambitions but the least authority.


The June 2019 (vol. 9, no. 2) issue features Andrew F. Lang‘s Tom Watson Brown Award essay on the “culture of martial republicanism” that shaped demobilization and Reconstruction following the Civil War. William S. Kiser examines competing efforts by the U.S. and C.S.A. to broker alliances with the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sonora during the Civil War and the French invasion of Mexico. Patrick J. Kelly shows how the Civil War brought about a “brief period of ideological solidarity” among the U.S. and its fellow Spanish American republics. Courtney Buchkoski discusses how the abolitionist Eli Thayer sought to link the memory of the abolitionist movement with manifest destiny and postbellum continental settlement. Andrew S. Bledsoe’s historiographical essay urges historians to reexamine Civil War command and generalship in its “political, cultural, personal, and military contexts.”


March 2019 (vol. 9, no. 1) is a special issue, Reconsidering Civil War Veterans. Sarah Gardner shows how sympathy, rather than obligation, governed whether and how the United States Sanitary Commission provided aid to veterans following the war. Caroline E. Janney studies how disbanding the Army of Northern Virginia after Appomattox foreshadowed the ways in which former Confederates would fight the results of emancipation and socio-political change in the South. Kurt Hackemer finds surprising factors behind Union veterans decisions to settle in the Dakota Territory following the war.  Sussanah Ural’s shows how Beauvoir, Mississippi’s Confederate veteran home, reflected the ideals of efficiency, regulation, and reform that characterized the New South. Ian Isherwood concludes the issue with a historiographical essay comparing studies of Civil War and Great War veterans.


In the December 2018 (vol. 8, no. 4) issue, Timothy J. Williams examines how the secession crisis and war forced literate southerners to adjust their modes of thought and intellectual engagements to fit wartime exigencies. Joshua A. Lynn revisits partisan uses of popular gender tropes both to attack and praise James Buchanan during his 1856 presidential campaign. Lynn’s article won the Richards Prize for best article published in the 2019 volume year. Joseph T. Murphy shows how British emancipation directly shaped antislavery interpretations of the Constitution as an instrument of freedom. Leslie Schwalm analyzes the efforts of the U.S. Sanitary Commission to use scientific examinations of the bodies of Union soldiers to catalog and prove the supposed racial inferiority of African American soldiers. In the concluding essay, Erik Mathisen explores the recent historiographies of slavery, emancipation, and the “second slavery” and suggests we need new histories of coerced labor in the U.S. and around the world to better understand the gains and shortcomings of emancipation.


The September 2018 (vol. 8, no. 3) issue begins with Thavolia Glymph’s Robert Fortenbaugh Memorial Lecture, recovering the central role of black women unionists in the Civil War’s emancipationist turn. Judkin Browning and Timothy Silver re-examine the Peninsula Campaign and argue that the natural landscape, made nearly impassible by unusually heavy rains, played an integral role in the failure of General George McClellan’s invasion of Virginia. Gaines Foster charts the history of how the Civil War was named, showing how the term “rebellion” eventually gave way to “Civil War,” concluding that the latter term promoted reconciliation and de-emphasized slavery’s role in causing the war. Drawing on a ciphered letter between two members of the Ku Klux Klan from different states, Bradley Proctor argues that the group clandestinely coordinated their opposition to inter-racial Republican policies across state lines throughout the South. The issue concludes with a review essay by Brenda Stevenson that explores the history of portrayals of slavery in cinema and television and how those portrayals have reflected changes in slavery historiography and changes in the nation’s social relations.


June 2018 (vol. 8, no. 2) is a special issue on The Future of Abolition Studies. It begins with Christopher Phillips’ Tom Watson Brown essay on the importance of the middle border region to understanding how Americans interpreted the Civil War, emancipation, and subsequent contests for African American rights. Joseph Yannielli introduces us to Mo Tappan, a radical, multiracial abolitionist town in West Africa founded by the American Missionary Association and descendants of the Amistad revolt. Natalie Joy reminds us of abolitionists’ support for Native American rights, beginning with their opposition to President Andrew Jackson’s Indian removal policy. Sean Griffin shows how communitarian labor reform and abolitionism both shaped the Republican Party’s antislavery politics. Peter Wirzbicki explores William Cooper Nell’s Adelphic Union, a club that brought together African American intellectuals, abolitionists, and Transcendentalists and enabled the cross-fertilization of abolitionist and Transcendental ideals. Corey M. Brooks‘ concluding review essay argues for reframing abolitionism as a political movement to better understand the breadth of antislavery activism in the Civil War era.


In the March 2018 (vol. 8, no. 1) issue Patrick J. Doyle argues that Confederate substitution policy eventually was discarded because it became increasingly incompatible with Confederate understandings of manhood and citizenship. Elizabeth Belanger links working class women’s efforts in St. Louis to rid their neighborhoods of Confederate sympathizers to the material and spatial changes caused by neighborhood development. William R. Black explicates the origins of the racist watermelon trope and its relationship to white Americans’ attitudes toward emancipation. Nimrod Tal shows how the need to forge an Anglo-American alliance during the First World War, caused a major shift in the British memory of the American Civil War, one that downplayed the tension between Britain and America during that conflict. The issue concludes with a review essay by Catherine A. Jones that examines the tension between recent Reconstruction scholarship that emphasizes gendered exclusions in Reconstruction’s civil rights gains and research that foregrounds women’s engagement in the era’s radically pluralistic politics.


December 2017 (vol. 7, no. 4) is a special issue, Crises of Sovereignty in the 1860sPhillip Buckner writes about the role that the U.S. civil war played in spurring Canadian confederation; Marise Bachand explores how creole and canadienne women in North America navigated their roles as mothers of the “French  race” in a North America in ruled by the U.S. and the British; Andrés Reséndez compares the spread of debt peonage labor in Mexico and the U.S. in the mid-nineteenth century and efforts in both countries to curb this new mode of unfree labor; Erika Pani examines Mexico’s tumultuous decade of civil strife from 1857 to 1867 through the lens of the law, demonstrating how rival political movements sought to use the law to refashion state sovereignty and citizens’ loyalty to the state; and Jay Sexton considers how the revolutionary technology of steam transport abetted imperial designs and the shaping of new sovereignties in North America.


In the September 2017 (vol. 7, no. 3) issue, Mark A. Noll writes about the Catholic Press and its charges of Protestant responsibility for the Civil War, Ashley Mays discusses the cultural significance of changes in the practice of writing condolence letters during the Civil War, Erin Stewart Mauldin uncovers ecological changes in southern agriculture unwittingly caused by postbellum farming practices, and Dale Kretz examines African American veterans’ pension petitions as citizenship claims in the era of American state-building. In the concluding review essay, Lorien Foote calls for new scholarship that reconsiders the concept of the Confederate “home front” and whether it can be meaningfully distinguished from centers of war production.


The June 2017 (vol. 7, no. 2) issue features the Tom Watson Brown Award essay by Earl J. Hess, offering a new interpretation of Civil War infantry tactics. Daniel Peart unearths the factors beyond party that influenced congressmen’s crafting of the 1846 tariff, and Sarah L. H. Gronningsater profiles black northern legal activists’ practice of filing freedom suits in the courts to challenge the legal limits of slavery. Gronningsater’s article earned the Richards Prize for best article published in the 2017 volume year. Michael E. Woods reminds us that antebellum northern Republicans offered an “alternate states’ rights tradition” to counter southern claims of states’ rights. John M. Sacher argues that the Confederacy’s so-called “Twenty-Negro” law assuaged public demands to retain overseers on plantations to guard against slave rebellion. William D. Carrigan’s review essay rounds out the issue, arguing for extending the study of lynching back into the mid-nineteenth century to identify its formative roots.


March 2017 (vol. 7, no. 1) is a special issue on The Future of Reconstruction Studies. It includes a forum by nine authors urging scholars of Reconstruction to expand the geographic and chronological boundaries of the subject to better understand the depth and breadth of its impact. Also in this issue, Brook Thomas assesses Reconstruction historiography and calls for a new narrative that grounds our understanding of Reconstruction’s promise in the many, often contradictory, aims it sought to achieve. Jennifer Whitmer Taylor and Page Putnam Miller highlight the political clashes that undermined the effort to create the National Park Service’s first site dedicated to Reconstruction, and Hannah Rosen calls for greater attention to teaching Reconstruction, especially as an apt topic for teaching the history of race and racism. The issue concludes with a roundtable discussion on Reconstruction in public history and memory, moderated by David M. Prior and featuring six leading scholars, educators, and activists.


December 2016 (vol. 6, no. 4) is a special issue on The Civil War West. In this issue Pekka Hämäläinen challenges the popular thesis of Native American declension in the Civil War era by demonstrating the success of Great Plains nations in that period in frustrating the U.S.’s expansionist designs, Megan Kate Nelson examines how the unforgiving environment of Apache Pass, Arizona dictated how Confederate and Union troops and Apaches fought each other in the region, and Kevin Waite discusses Jefferson Davis’s visions of establishing a proslavery empire in the Far West. In the concluding review essay, Stacey L. Smith considers the question of how historians can better incorporate the West in Civil War scholarship.


The September 2016 (vol. 6, no. 3) issue begins with Joseph T. Glatthaar’s 2015 Robert Fortenbaugh Memorial Lecture, offering a demographic and cultural analysis of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the Union Army of the Potomac. Also in this issue, David K. Thompson writes about the importance of Union bond drives in funding the war, and Mark E. Neely Jr. answers the question, “why didn’t the Confederacy resort to guerrilla warfare in the waning days of the Civil War?” Neely’s essay won the journal’s Richards Prize for best article published in the 2016 volume year. Completing the issue is a review essay by Robert Cook that challenges popular notions of a speedy sectional reconciliation following the war.


The June 2016 (vol. 6, no. 2) issue begins with Shauna Devine’s Tom Watson Brown Award essay examining the Civil War as a powerful catalyst for the rise of American medical science. Also in this issue, Ian Delahanty explores the transatlantic roots of Irish-American anti-abolitionism, Skye Montgomery discusses the politics of Anglo-American reconciliation during the Prince of Wales’s 1860 tour of the U.S., and Sarah Handley-Cousins investigates Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain’s postwar life as a symbol for the issue of non-visible disability in the postbellum North. The issue concludes with a review essay by Robert E. Bonner urging that scholars take a thalassalogical, or ocean-centered, approach to the study of the Civil War to uncover new perspectives on its international impact.


In the March 2016 (vol. 6, no. 1) issue Matthew Mason untangles the local, national, and international politics behind Edward Everett’s nomination as minister to Great Britain, Lorien Foote shows how the scourge of fugitive Union POWs in the South signaled the impending collapse of the Confederacy, and Rachel St. John examines William Gwin’s aborted plans to resettle discontented southerners in French-controlled Mexico at the conclusion of the Civil War. Brooks D. Simpson concludes the issue with a review essay arguing that recent historiography suggests that the Union’s will to continue Reconstruction policy in the defeated South essentially had collapsed by 1869, several years before Reconstruction’s official end in 1877.


December 2015 (vol. 5, no. 4) is a special issue on Civil War Veterans, guest edited by James Marten. In the issue, Brian Matthew Jordan traces Union veterans’ unending war as they labored in the postbellum period to settle the issues raised by war, such as the meaning of freedom and citizenship. James Marten examines the nation’s ambivalence toward veterans as revealed in the literature of the Gilded Age, and Barbara A. Gannon uncovers conflicts in the politically powerful Grand Army of the Republic over whether to extend membership to Spanish-American War veterans following that conflict. In the review essay, Wayne Wei Siang-Hsieh examines veteranhood, the meanings and status attached to being a veteran, from a transnational perspective.


The September 2015 (vol. 5, no. 3) issue begins with the Robert Fortenbaugh Memorial Lecture by Nina Silber examining invocations of Abraham Lincoln in New Deal political culture as a symbol for progressive government power and racial justice. Also in the issue, Kimberly Welch explores forgotten civil suits from antebellum Natchez that show how free black residents frequently used the courts to defend themselves from libelous whites, and John Frederick Bell explores how the North’s leading poets portrayed the crisis and compromise of 1850 in verses that urged northerners to preserve the Union with honor. The concluding review essay by Susan J. Pearson examines the Civil War as the violent birth of a new kind of regulatory state.


The June 2015 (vol. 5, no. 2) issue features Ari Kelman’s Tom Watson Brown Award essay on the contested efforts to memorialize the Sand Creek massacre and the difficulties of settling on a single narrative of the tragic event.  Cathal Smith compares slavery in antebellum Mississippi and landlordism in 19th century Ireland to highlight the modern, capitalist impulses of slaveholders and landlords; D. H. Dilbeck challenges the popular notion that Francis Lieber crafted his famous General Orders No. 100 with an eye toward emancipation; and Millington W. Bergeson-Lockwood recounts African Americans’ legal challenges to discrimination in places of public amusement in 19th century Boston. Bergeson-Lockwood won the journal’s Richards Prize for best article published in the 2015 volume year. Scott Reynolds Nelson concludes the issue with a review essay on capitalism and slavery.


The March 2015 (vol. 5, no. 1) issue focuses on the German-American experience in the Civil War era. Andrew Zimmerman shows the influence of the failed German revolution of 1848 on German-American officers in the Union army who embraced a war for emancipation, Mischa Honeck demonstrates how gender ideals spurred many German-Americans to volunteer for the war effort, Allison Effords resurrects northern German-American Democrats’ early embrace of an ideology of racial neutrality, and Friederike Baer explores how nativism colored popular perceptions of the antebellum murder trial of German-American physician, Paul Schoeppe. In place of a review essay, the issue concludes with a forum by six scholars moderated by David M. Prior on the topic of teaching the Civil War in a global context.


December 2014 (vol. 4, no. 4) is a special issue on Coming to Terms with Military History. It begins with an introduction by guest editors Gary W. Gallagher and Kathryn Shively Meier that makes a case for the continued importance of, and new directions in, military history. Peter C. Luebke examines the striking ubiquity of blackface minstrel performances in Union military camps in the South, John J. Hennessy tracks Union soldiers’ campaign against the Copperhead movement and what they saw as a general lack of commitment from the northern homefront during the Union army’s failures in late 1862 and early 1863, and Andrew F. Lang shows us how the biracial Union military force that occupied parts of the South during Reconstruction shaped Americans’ thoughts about how a standing military should comport itself, especially during peacetime.


In the September 2014 (vol. 4, no. 3) issue Felicity Turner examines infanticide trials involving freedwomen in the postbellum South as evidence of white southerners adopting new legal practices to reinstate the racial hierarchy that was supposedly undone by the Civil War; Paul Quigley writes about the efforts of foreign-born residents of the Confederacy to challenge its conscription laws, igniting a debate over the nature of citizenship; and Jay Sexton discusses William Seward’s posthumous travelogue of his two-year journey around the world following the Civil War and how it shaped his and subsequent generations’ perception of how the United States should take its place on the world stage. Patrick J. Kelly concludes the issue with a review essay demonstrating that historians long have accepted the international reverberations of the Revolutions of 1848, but they have yet to fully appreciate how the Civil War similarly impacted world events.


The June 2014 (vol. 4, no. 2) issue begins with John Fabian Witt’s Tom Watson Brown Award essay calling on historians to be mindful of the ways in which law shaped the Civil War. Also in this issue, Chandra Manning writes about the ways African American men and women used their labor in so-called “contraband camps” in the Union-occupied South to successfully press citizenship claims on the federal government; Michael F. Conlin recalls the unsuccessful efforts of antebellum conservatives, North and South, to stave off radical social philosophies, like abolitionism and women’s rights, that presaged a new modernity; and Nicholas Guyatt traces the strange career of internal colonization, a short-lived proposal following the Civil War to create a territory in the defeated South for the resettlement of freedpeople. The concluding review essay by John Craig Hammond considers U.S. history from the Seven Years War to the Civil War in a global context, arguing that the period was defined by a continuous effort to build a continental slave empire.


In the March 2014 (vol. 4, no. 1) issue Nicholas Marshall provocatively argues that the social and emotional impact of the Civil War’s massive death toll  might not have been as unprecedented as we think; Sarah Bischoff Paulus suggests that politicians’ veneration of Henry Clay after his death concealed their inability or unwillingness to compromise on the pressing issues facing the nation; and Ted Maris-Wolf explores the surprising motivations behind the Buchanan Administration’s strenuous efforts to suppress the illegal Atlantic slave trade. His essay won the Richards Prize for best article published in the journal’s 2014 volume year. In his review essay, W. Caleb McDaniel considers where to draw the boundaries around abolitionism and how to assess abolitionists’ relative responsibility for bringing on the war. The issue concludes with Craig A. Warren’s Professional Notes essay on the physical portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in film as a symbol for the filmmakers’ portrayals of the Union, the meaning of the war, and of emancipation.


Journal of the Civil War Era, December 2013, volume 3 number 4

December 2013 (vol. 3, no. 4) is a special issue, guest edited by Martha S. JonesProclaiming Emancipation at 150, commemorates the sesquicentennial of the Emancipation Proclamation. James Oakes begins by challenging popular conceptions of the Confiscation Acts, arguing that they demonstrated early congressional support for military emancipation. Stephen Sawyer and William J. Novak describe the Emancipation Proclamation as a critical moment in the creation of the modern liberal state, realigning individual rights and state power. Thavolia Glymph brings to life a little-known insurrection led by an enslaved woman named Rose in Confederate South Carolina, demonstrating how freedom could upset traditional gender roles. Jones analyzes early impressions of emancipation and the meaning of freedom in the representations of freedpeople found in the sketchbooks of Civil War soldiers. In the concluding essay Michael Vorenberg reviews how Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln demonstrates that historical complexity and accuracy can make film both educative and entertaining.


Journal of the Civil War Era, September 2013, volume 3 number 3

The September 2013 (vol. 3, no. 3) issue begins with the Robert Fortenbaugh  Memorial Lecture by Steven Hahn, which compares the emancipation of slaves and the conquest of Native American nations in the 1860s as twin projects in nation building. Also in this issue, Beth Barton Schweiger challenges popular perceptions of antebellum southern illiteracy and demonstrates that the region had a robust reading culture, Brian P. Luskey traces the commodification of free labor during the Civil War through the proliferation of employment agencies called “intelligence offices,” and Nicole Etcheson contributes a review essay on the promise that the method of microhistory holds for capturing untold aspects of the history of African Americans and other marginalized people. In the concluding Professional Notes essay, Megan Kate Nelson explores monuments to the Civil War in Virginia and ruminates on how we decide what artifacts to preserve from the Civil War and to what effect.


Journal of the Civil War Era, June 2013, volume 3 number 2

In the June 2013 (vol. 3, no. 2) issue Stephen Cushman compares the intellectual make-up of Abraham Lincoln and Ralph Waldo Emerson, exploring their shared understandings of “fate” and “self-reliance”; Christopher Phillips re-examines Lincoln’s early application of hard war on the Border States, which he employed earlier than Union commanders applied it to the Confederacy; and Jonathan White explains the reasons behind the surprising insignificance of the Supreme Court during the Civil War. In her review essay Yael A. Sternhell’s critiques the “neo-revisionist” antiwar turn in recent Civil War scholarship. The issue concludes with a Professional Notes essay by Gary W. Gallagher drawn from his Watson Brown Book Award acceptance speech. In the essay Gallageher argues that the prevailing view of the Civil War as a war for emancipation, rather than union, raises questions about how well Americans understand this conflict during its sesquicentennial.


Journal of the Civil War Era, March 2013, volume 3 number 1

In the March 2013 (vol. 3, no. 1) issue Amber D. Moulton writes about the sophisticated tactics Massachusetts abolitionists used to end that state’s law against inter-racial marriage, Marc-William Palen resurrects the forgotten impact of the North’s protectionist Morrill Tariff and the South’s free trade policy on British debates over whether to recognize the Confederacy, and Joy M. Giguere introduces us to the creation of perhaps the most visually radical monument to commemorate the Civil War: Jacob Bigelow’s Americanized Sphinx, which celebrated a multiracial, but not necessarily fully equal, postwar society. In his review essay, Enrico Dal Lago compares the nationalism of Abraham Lincoln in the U.S. and statesman Camillo Cavour in Italy, declaring them leaders of a new global movement of “progressive nationalism” in the Civil War era. The issue concludes with James Broomall’s Professional Notes essay on past conflicts over the interpretation of the Civil War in Virginia museums and how that has shaped interpretations in preparation for the sesquicentennial observances of the war.


In the December 2012 (vol. 2, no. 4) issue Mark Fleszar examines the idiosyncratic colonization plan by one southern planter who sought to create a free, but still dependent, labor force on plantations in Haiti; Jarrett Ruminski explores the questions of loyalty that arose from the illicit trade in contraband between Confederate civilians and military authorities in Union-occupied portions of Mississippi during the Civil War; and K. Stephen Prince questions why northerners in the postbellum period were so quick to embrace southern descriptions of corrupt northern “carpetbaggers” undermining good governance in the Reconstruction South. Rose Currarino’s review essay examines a recent trend among cultural historians of the antebellum era to use methodologies from economic history to better represent cultural history in a socially dynamic context. T. Lloyd Benson concludes the issue with a Professional Notes essay that promotes Geographic Information Systems technology and crowdsourcing as innovative tools for telling new stories about Civil War landscapes.


The September 2012 (vol. 2, no. 3) issue begins with Joan Waugh’s Robert Fortenbaugh Memorial Lecture, which assesses how General Ulysses S. Grant’s experience of previous surrenders in the Civil War shaped his “lenient” surrender terms at Appomattox. Also in this issue, Patrick J. Kelly argues for a hemispheric approach to the Civil War era that links the crises that simultaneously afflicted republican government in both the U.S. and Mexico. Carole Emberton examines the paradox that African American military service demonstrated their fitness for citizenship while simultaneously raising questions in white Americans’ minds about their capacity to exercise their freedom responsibly. Emberton’s article won the Richards Prize for the best article published in the 2012 volume year. Caroline E. Janney, examines the 1895 dedication of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park to challenge the notion that battlefield dedications following the Civil War promoted reconciliationist sentiments. In the concluding review essay, David S. Reynolds urges authors to “register voices and perspectives that are absent from more traditional histories,” during the sesquicentennial observance of the Civil War.


June 2012 (vol. 2, no. 2) is a special issue, New Approaches to Internationalizing the History of the Civil War Era. It begins with an introduction by W. Caleb McDaniel and Bethany L. Johnson that traces the special issue back to a 2009 symposium at Rice University on the South and the World in the Civil War era. Gale L. Kenny examines Jamaica’s appeals to free black American men in the 1850s to emigrate to the island and finally enjoy “the entitlements of masculinity,” including the right to vote, that the U.S. denied them. Edward B. Rugemer resituates the coming of the Civil War in the Black Atlantic, which linked abolitionists in the U.S. and former enslaved rebels in the Caribbean. Peter Kolchin reviews comparative perspectives on emancipation in the U.S. South and Russia; and Susan-Mary Grant considers how former Confederates sought a place in a new American nation following the Confederacy’s defeat. Mark Geiger concludes the issue with his Professional Notes essay, drawn from his Watson Brown Book Award acceptance speech. Geiger won the award for his book Financial Fraud and Guerrilla Violence in Missouri’s Civil War, 1861-1865.


The March 2012 (vol. 2, no. 1) issue begins with a forum on The Future of Civil War Studies organized by Stephen Berry. In the forum, seven leading historians discuss future avenues of study on such topics as nationalism, slavery and capitalism, military history, the southern homefront, environmental history, northern women, and race. Also in this issue, Jacqueline G. Campbell re-examines General Benjamin Butler’s infamous “woman order” in New Orleans as an ingenious means of denying recalcitrant women the satisfaction of political martyrdom for their contemptuous treatment of occupying soldiers. David C. Williard discusses how Reconstruction courts in North Carolina chose reconciliation over retribution by denying that they had jurisdiction to prosecute executions of unionists in the waning stages of the war. Matthew C. Hulbert tells us of the long crusade of publisher John Newman Edwards to construct a romantic memory of the guerrilla violence that plagued Missouri in the Civil War. In the concluding Professional Notes essay, Kathi Kern and Linda Levstik share new methods for teaching women’s suffrage that they developed through a Teaching American History grant. 


In the December 2011 (vol. 1, no. 4) issue Rachel A. Shelden demonstrates that “intersectional sociability”, rather than sectional division, among congressmen in Washington was a critical aspect of the political process in the antebellum era; Bruce Levine challenges the popular notion that conservative nativists exercises outsized influence in the Republican Party, and James L. Huston uses statistical analysis to prove that ethnic and religious identities did not determine voting behavior in antebellum Illinois. In her review essay, Lyde Cullen Sizer considers the recent emphasis on geography and mapping as useful tools invigorating women’s history. In the concluding Professional Notes essay, Brian Kelly and John W. White introduce readers to the After Slavery website, a transatlantic project that provide digital collections grounded in pedagogy to help teach Reconstruction.


In the September 2011 (vol. 1, no. 3) issue Jon Grinspan examines how Americans turned to popular comedy to cope with the Civil War and its consequences. Joan E. Cashin searches the motivations and meanings of trophy hunting by Civil War soldiers, a topic that has been surprisingly absent from most historical treatments of the Civil War; and Anne E. Marshall shows us how theaters in early twentieth-century Kentucky became battlegrounds over the memory of the war as the United Daughters of the Confederacy opposed screenings of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and African American activists protested stagings of The Clansman. Marshall’s article won the inaugural Richards Prize for best article published in the 2011 volume year. Wayne Wei-Siang Hsieh’s review essay employs a global context, to demonstrate how inapt the concept of “total war” is in explaining the nature of the Civil War. Barbara Franco concludes the issue with a Professional Notes essay that anticipates the educational opportunities that arise from the commemoration of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War.


In the June 2011 (vol. 1, no. 2) issue A. Kristen Foster calls attention to the gendered fault lines in Frederick Douglass’s writings on citizenship, in which he argued that black men could win freedom and citizenship through force and violence while women ought to work patiently through the legal system for their rights. Kathryn S. Meier discusses the often overlooked impact of environment and disease on the Union’s 1862 Peninsula and Shenandoah Valley campaigns, and Brandi C. Brimmer teases out the complex negotiations and exchanges between African American widows of Union soldiers and the claims agents who sought to help them negotiate a federal pension system that appeared stacked against them. In a review essay,  Frank Towers traces the broad trends and significant changes in the historiography of the causes of the Civil War. The concluding Professional Notes essay is drawn from Daniel E. Sutherland’s acceptance speech for the inaugural $50,000 Watson Brown Book Award, for his book A Savage Conflict: the Decisive Role of Guerrillas in the Civil War.


The Journal of the Civil War Era, March 2011, v1n1

The March 2011 (vol. 1, no. 1) issue is the debut of The Journal of the Civil War Era. In it, Edward L. Ayers and Scott Nesbit demonstrate how geospatial tools can give us a better understanding of the shifting and multivalent scales of freedom in the American South; Melinda Lawson takes on a tour of the changing ways slavery was imagined on the northern stage from 1776-1860; and LeeAnn Whites calls fresh attention to women’s crucial role in forming the domestic supply line for guerrilla bands on the Civil War’s western border; Douglas R. Egerton’s review essay takes on the task of rethinking the concept and boundaries of Atlantic history as a means of placing the Civil War in a global context. Aaron Sheehan-Dean‘s Professional Notes essay examines the sharp drop in jobs in nineteenth-century U.S. history in the first decade of the 2000s.

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