December 2017 (vol. 7, no. 4)

December 2017 (vol. 7, no. 4)

Volume 7, Number 4
December 2017



William A. Blair

Guest Editor’s Note: Imagining a Hemispheric Greater America

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Phillip Buckner

British North America and a Continent in Dissolution: The American Civil War in the Making of Canadian Confederation

Between 1864 and 1873 the British colonies on the northen half of the North American continent were united into a new and larger colony that stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. One factor that led to the Confederation of the British North American colonies and the creation of the Dominion of Canada in 1867 was clearly the northern victory in the American Civil War, which permanently changed the balance of power on the North American continent. Canadian historians have been divided over precisely how important the American Civil War was among the other factors which led to the Confederation of Canada. This paper examines this historiographical debate and the recent research into the impact of the American Civil War in order to assess who has the better case.

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Marise Bachand

Disunited Daughters of the Confederations: Creoles and Canadiennes at the Intersection of Nations, States, and Empires

This article compares and connects the experiences of Creoles and Canadians women as they became Americans and French Canadians during the Civil War era. Demographically and politically minoritized in Louisiana and Canada by the Anglo-Saxon race, Francophones engaged in the period between 1830 and 1890 in processes of collective refashioning such as nationalism and creolism that were deeply ingrained in the construction of gender identities. There was a fundamental contradiction between women’s roles as mothers of a French race in North America and the fact that they were unsovereign. Gendered conflicts were triggered by different conceptions of homeland that changed the practices of everyday life: going to school, socializing, marrying, praying, deciding where to stay. Belonging to groups of colonized colonizers, these white women questioned their sense of self as they were torn between the United States, Canada, France, Great Britain and the Confederacy.

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Erika Pani

Law, Allegiance, and Sovereignty in Civil War Mexico, 1857-1867

This essay explores the ways in which, during the turbulent decade of 1857-1867, the bonds between the Mexican state and its citizens were refashioned, in the midst of a constitutional overhaul, the establishment of a monarchical regime, civil war and a foreign invasion. It focuses on how rival governments conceived and implemented the laws that were to constitute political community, ensure loyalty, mobilize men and resources, and demarcate civil and religious jurisdiction. It examines how citizens navigated the ambiguities of the laws of war, and the ways in which the triumphant Republicans used them to punish, exclude and delegitimize their former rivals, but also to reconcile a divided nation.

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Andrés Reséndez

North American Peonage

Debt peonage flourished both in northern Mexico and the U.S. Southwest in the 1850s and 1860s.  Free labor politicians who came to power in Mexico during the Restored Republic and in the United States after the Civil War attempted to curb this system of coerced labor.  However, these efforts met with only mixed results.  In Mexico debt peonage remained a vibrant institution in the years leading up to the Mexican Revolution.  In the United States peonage actually spread from the Southwest to the reconstructed South.  This essay examines how these two North American nations dealt with this form of bondage in the 1860s as a way to highlight the shared labor institutions and the flow of ideas across the international border.

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Jay Sexton

Steam Transport, Sovereignty, and Empire in North America, 1850-1885

The mid-nineteenth century witnessed a revolution in steam transportation. This essay considers how innovations in transport transformed North America’s politics and economics, with special focus given to the imperial formations and structures that accompanied the introduction of new systems of steam infrastructure. The essay also considers opposition to steam transport, arguing that conflicts over infrastructure left their mark on the era’s national and transnational politics.

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