Previous Issues

Previous Issues


The Journal of the Civil War Era


The June 2019 (vol. 9, no. 2) issue features Andrew F. Lang‘s Tom Watson Brown Award essay about how a “culture of martial republicanism” shaped demobilization and Reconstruction following the Civil War. William S. Kiser examines efforts by the U.S. and C.S.A. to broker alliances with the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sonora, reflecting the “environment of contested authority” caused by the Civil War and the French invasion of Mexico. Moving farther beyond the nation’s borders, 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, as President Lincoln couched the Civil War in the context of a hemispheric challenge to maintain republican government. Courtney Buchkoski looks beyond the war to discuss how the prominent abolitionist Eli Thayer sought to secure his legacy and shape the memory of the abolitionist movement by linking it with manifest destiny and continental settlement following the war. Andrew S. Bledsoe concludes this issue with his historiographical essay encouraging historians to recover traditional military history by reexamining 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 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 resist social and political change in the South. Kurt Hackemer challenges the notion that many veterans moved westward because they found it difficult to reintegrate into city. His study of Union veterans who moved to the Dakota Territory finds that many of them had been moving westward even before the war and that they had tended to serve longer and experience more combat during the war. Sussanah Ural’s portrait of Beauvoir, Mississippi’s Confederate veteran home, shows how it served a diverse population and reflected the notions 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 reading habits in the South, arguing that the secession crisis and war caused literate southerners to adjust their modes of thought and intellectual engagements to fit wartime exigencies. Joshua A. Lynn shows how gender norms shaped the ways that James Buchanan’s critics and proponents perceived him during the 1856 presidential campaign. Whereas Republicans saw Buchanan’s bachelorhood and portly body as unmanly, Democrats interpreted them as evidence of his manly independence and his fitness for the presidency. Joseph T. Murphy argues that British emancipation not only inspired the antislavery movement in the U.S., it 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.” The issue concludes with a review essay by Erik Mathisen that 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, the destruction of slavery, and subsequent battles for African American rights. Joseph Yannielli examines the rise and decline of 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 the communitarian labor reform movement and the abolition movement together shaped the brand of antislavery politics that eventually would bring the Republican Party to power. Peter Wirzbicki explores William Cooper Nell’s Adelphic Union, a club that brought together African American intellectuals, abolitionists, and Transcendentalists that enabled a remarkable cross-fertilization of abolitionist and Transcendental ideals. The issue concludes with Corey M. Brooks‘ review essay, which argues for reframing abolitionism as a political movement to better understand the breadth of antislavery activism and the political history of the Civil War era.


In the March 2018 (vol. 8, no. 1) issue Patrick J. Doyle revisits the debates over Confederate substitution policy and argues that it 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 recovers a major shift in the British memory of the American Civil War, one that downplayed the tension between Britain and America during that conflict, in order to forge a closer Anglo-American alliance during and after the First World War. 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 offering a new interpretation of Civil War infantry tactics by Earl J. Hess. Also in this issue, 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 force the nation to debate and define 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 sought to claim an “alternate states’ rights tradition” in counterpoint to the concept of states’ rights popularized in the South, and John M. Sacher challenges popular perception of the Confederacy’s so-called “Twenty-Negro” law as a measure that favored wealthy planters. Sacher instead argues that the law was a response to 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 battles over how to memorialize the Sand Creek massacre and the difficulties of settling on a single narrative of the tragic event. Also in this issue, 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 recovers the forgotten influences behind Francis Lieber’s famous General Orders No. 100, challenging the popular notion that he crafted the orders with emancipation in mind; 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 recent works comparing capitalism and slavery, in which he worries that some of these works ignore important insights from scholarship prior to the turn of this century.


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, Proclaiming Emancipation at 150, commemorating the sesquicentennial of the Emancipation Proclamation.  Martha S. Jones serves as guest editor. In this issue James Oakes challenges the popular assumption that the Confiscation Acts evidenced the Union’s reluctance to emancipate slaves and instead argues that these acts demonstrated early congressional support for military emancipation. Stephen Sawyer and William J. Novak discuss the Emancipation Proclamation as a critical moment in the creation of the modern liberal state, in which individual rights and the power of governance were being realigned. Thavolia Glymph brings to life the little-known insurrection led by an enslaved woman named Rose in Confederate South Carolina, demonstrating how freedom could upset traditional gender roles. Jones analyzes representations of freedpeople found in the sketchbooks of Civil War soldiers to get at these artists’ early impressions of emancipation and the meaning of freedom. In the concluding essay Michael Vorenberg reviews Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, arguing that the movie 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, and  Carole Emberton examines the paradox that African Americans’ willingness to join the Union military and kill for the state 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. The final research article in the issue, by Caroline E. Janney, challenges the notion that battlefield dedications following the Civil War promoted reconciliationist sentiments. Examining the 1895 dedication of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, Janney finds that surviving Union and Confederate veterans at that event still clashed over the meaning of the war and the principles for which each side fought. In the concluding review essay, David S. Reynolds notes the outpouring of books during the sesquicentennial of the Civil War and urges authors to “register voices and perspectives that are absent from more traditional histories.”

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. The issue’s articles grew out of the symposium. Gale L. Kenny’s examines the gendered concepts of nationalism in 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, those cultural, commercial, and even imperial connections between the U.S. and the Caribean that linked abolitionists in the former with enslaved rebels in the latter. Peter Kolchin reviews comparative perspectives on emancipation in the U.S. South and Russia; and Susan-Mary Grant considers the South’s former soldiers and disabled veterans as a lost generation searching for their 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. In it, he urges historians not to overlook common, but idiosyncratic, financial records as potential sources of new insights into the Civil War era. Geiger effectively mined such records to demonstrate in his award-winning book that many of Missouri’s guerrilla fighters took to bushwhacking after losing homes and property in debt-default suits.

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. The full version of the teaser essays in this forum can be found on the journal website at Forum: The Future of Civil War Era Studies. 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 by a North Carolina sharpshooter battalion 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, adding this western thread to the popular Lost Cause narrative. 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. Their lessons shift focus from the divisions in the women’s suffrage movement to the activism of hundreds of African American and white suffragettes who directly challenged their constitutional disfranchisement by trying to cast ballots in elections.

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 the popular comedy of the Civil War, particularly how Americans used comedy to cope with the conflict 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 places the Civil War, and its tactics, in a global context, to demonstrate how inapt was the concept of “total war” that had, until recently, dominated debates over 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 and recounting that our collective memory of the war has passed through several stages from mourning to reconciliation and now to revived debate over the war’s causes and meanings.


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 the 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. In the speech he warns historians of the Civil War not to be complacent in the current popularity of the conflict during the sesquicentennial and to find new ways to engage succeeding generations on this signal conflict and its continued meanings for contemporary audiences.


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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