March 2018 (Vol. 8, No. 1)

March 2018 (Vol. 8, No. 1)


Volume 8, Number 1
March 2018


Judith Giesberg

Editor’s Note

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Patrick J. Doyle

Replacement Rebels: Confederate Substitution and the Issue of Citizenship

This article sheds new light on the Confederacy’s policy of military substitution. This policy, which allowed those eligible for conscription to provide a substitute who was not eligible in their place, has typically been construed through the lens of loyalty. The author seeks to move beyond this paradigm by contemplating the ways in which substitution fit with contemporary southern attitudes surrounding citizenship and its inherent duties. As the article contends, substitution became a discarded policy not simply because it caused class discontent, was subject to abuse, or was an impediment to the Confederacy’s pressing military manpower needs; it was discarded because it also grew to be increasingly incompatible with Confederate understandings of manhood and citizenship.

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Elizabeth Belanger

“A Perfect Nuisance”: Working-Class Women and Neighborhood Development in Civil War St. Louis

In the years between 1861 and 1864, working-class women became central players in St. Louis’s neighborhood based political conflicts.  While previous scholars have examined Civil War conflicts within the city, few, if any, have examined these conflicts through the lens of neighborhood development.  Integrating records from the Union Provost Marshal Papers, newspaper accounts, and personal narratives, this paper traces citizen’s efforts to rid their neighborhood of women who sympathized with the confederate government.  Maps are used to visualize the presence of women in the urban landscape and illuminate connections between women’s experiences and the material and spatial changes of neighborhood development.

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William R. Black

How Watermelons Became Black: Emancipation and the Origins of a Racist Trope

This article explicates the origins of the racist watermelon trope and its relationship to white Americans’ attitudes toward emancipation. The trope had antecedents in Orientalist depictions of the growing, selling, and eating of watermelons, but the fruit was not associated with African Americans until after emancipation. Freedpeople used watermelons to enact and celebrate their freedom, especially their newfound property rights. This provoked a backlash among white Americans, who then made the fruit a symbol of African Americans’ supposed uncleanliness, childishness, idleness, and unfitness for the public square. The trope spread in U.S. print culture throughout the late 1860s and supported the post-emancipation argument that African Americans were unsuited for citizenship.

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Nimrod Tal

Putting Out the “Embers of This Resentment”: Anglo-American Relations and the Rewriting of the British Response to the American Civil War, 1914-1925

The article uncovers a major shift in the memory of the British reaction to the American Civil War. It argues that between the mid-1910s and mid-1920s, Britons and Americans who wanted to advance a closer Anglo-American alliance during and immediately after the Great War tried to foster a new memory of the British response to the Civil War, one which downplayed the tensions between the countries that had developed during and because of the historical American conflict. The article traces the generation of this new memory and demonstrates its impact on both Anglo-American relations and on early historical writing on the British reaction to the Civil War.

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Catherine A. Jones

Women, Gender, and the Boundaries of Reconstruction

This essay surveys Reconstruction scholarship centrally concerned with women and gender published in the 1990s. By drawing on gender theory, particularly the insights of intersectional analysis, women’s historians advanced a redefinition of politics that has transformed Reconstruction historiography over the past twenty-five years. This essay examines the tension between scholarship that emphasizes the importance of gendered exclusions in grounding Reconstruction’s civil rights gains and research that foregrounds women’s engagement in the era’s radically pluralistic politics. The western turn in Reconstruction scholarship raises new questions about emancipation’s impact on women’s lives and the connections between women’s suffrage and white supremacy. This essay contends that gender remains an essential analytical category for historians seeking to integrate regional strands of Reconstruction scholarship; at the same time, it argues that recognizing women’s agency in advancing and curtailing the era’s equalitarian potential is essential to developing comprehensive new narratives of the postwar era.

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