Tag: slavery

Mudsills vs. Chivalry

Mudsills vs. Chivalry

Writing home from Alabama in November 1863, an Ohio cavalryman celebrated the overthrow of the Southern aristocracy: “The mud sills of the North roam at will over the plantations, burn rails, forage on the country, and the negroes flock into our camps, leaving their lordly masters helpless and dependent,” he ...
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The Mystery of William Jones, An Enslaved Man Owned by Ulysses S. Grant

The Mystery of William Jones, An Enslaved Man Owned by Ulysses S. Grant

On March 29, 1859, Ulysses S. Grant went to the St. Louis Courthouse to attend to a pressing legal matter. That day Grant signed a manumission paper freeing William Jones, an enslaved African American man that he had previously acquired from his father-in-law, "Colonel" Frederick F. Dent. Described as being ...
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<i>Lincoln in the Bardo</i>

Lincoln in the Bardo

Our final review for this week's roundtable comes from Nina Silber, Professor of History and American Studies at Boston University. You can read all of the roundtable contributions by clicking on the links in the guest editor's introduction. In this imaginative and deeply moving book, George Saunders has re-envisioned the ...
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A New “Alternative” History: Ben Winters’s <i>Underground Airlines</i>

A New “Alternative” History: Ben Winters’s Underground Airlines

Because most are poorly-plotted, barely-disguised apologies for the Lost Cause, many historians have a low tolerance for “alternative histories” of the Civil War. Whether in the form of Confederate memorials like Silent Sam or Harry Turtledove novels, folks love to fantasize about what the United States would have been like if ...
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James McBride’s Reimagining of John Brown and His Legacy

James McBride’s Reimagining of John Brown and His Legacy

Below you will find the third review in our Civil War fiction roundtable, from Hilary Green, an associate professor at the University of Alabama. Previous and subsequent reviews in the series are available by following the links in the guest editor's introduction. The controversial figure of John Brown--and his connections ...
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Slavery and the Historical Imagination: A Review of Patrick Chamoiseau’s <i>Slave Old Man</i>

Slavery and the Historical Imagination: A Review of Patrick Chamoiseau’s Slave Old Man

Today's contribution to our fiction roundtable comes from Timothy J. Williams, assistant professor of history at the University of Oregon. You can read previous and subsequent entries by using the links here. In 1997, Patrick Chamoiseau, author of a dozen works about his native home of Martinique, published Slave Old Man ...
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Confederate Widow Confidential: Varina Tells (Almost!) All

Confederate Widow Confidential: Varina Tells (Almost!) All

Today we share the first post in our roundtable on recent Civil War fiction. The guest editor's introduction, by Sarah E. Gardner, includes links to all the posts and can be found here. The cover of Charles Frazier’s Varina: A Novel identifies its author as the “bestselling author of Cold ...
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“The Most Potent Money Power”: Slave Traders, Dark Money, and Elections

“The Most Potent Money Power”: Slave Traders, Dark Money, and Elections

With the 2018 midterm elections approaching, the role of money in politics once again looms large in American political discourse. For many, shadowy super PACs, mega-donors, and dark money stand in stark contrast to the sanctity of the individual voter. Political actors recognize and deploy this, with politicians going to ...
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Utilizing Film in Our Courses on Slavery and the Enslaved

Utilizing Film in Our Courses on Slavery and the Enslaved

Teaching the history of slavery in the United States well, like teaching any complex topic mired in historical mythologies and mixed public interests, is a daunting task. Pedagogical approaches to slavery have to face off against centuries of public misconceptions and avoidance. I constantly try to engage and inform students ...
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Editor’s Note: September 2018 Issue

The September issue of The Journal of the Civil War Era will soon be arriving in your mailboxes. For a preview of the excellent work within its pages, see our editor's note reprinted below. This volume combines exciting new work in the military history of the Civil War with essays ...
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A Recap of 2018 CLAW’s “Freedoms Gained and Lost” Conference

The 2018 Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World (CLAW) conference is in the books. Reconstruction-era scholars, museum professionals, and non-academics converged on the city of Charleston for an insightful and productive conference. Though the chronology debate remains unresolved, the 2018 CLAW conference was one of the most important conferences on Reconstruction ...
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Editor’s Note: June 2018 Issue

When Judy Giesberg asked me to guest edit a special issue on abolition and solicit essays that would showcase new directions in abolition studies, I welcomed the opportunity. For a field that has been ploughed thoroughly—from global syntheses of the transition from slavery to freedom in the western world by ...
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Looking West at the OAH: New Views on Southern Expansion, Slavery, and Imperialism

This week, we are publishing reports on the recent meeting of the Organization of American Historians (OAH) in Sacramento. We are highlighting panels and roundtables that intersect with the Civil War era and that we believe will be of great interest to our readers. Our first comes from Kathleen Logothetis ...
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Calls to Action: The Civil War Era Songs of Joseph R. Winters

Calls to Action: The Civil War Era Songs of Joseph R. Winters

Black History Month is currently underway. The 2018 Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) theme for this year’s celebration, “African Americans in Times of War,” offers the perfect opportunity for scholars to showcase the diverse African American experiences during the Civil War. This post examines ...
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Legal History's Debt to Frederick Douglass

Legal History’s Debt to Frederick Douglass

Marking his 200th birthday this week, I want to acknowledge the debt legal historians owe to Frederick Douglass. When Chief Justice Roger Taney denied that free black Americans were citizens of the United States in the 1857 Dred Scott decision, Douglass immediately opposed him. Then, across his lifetime, Douglass never forget ...
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Abolitionists’ Radical Empathy: A Message for Today

Abolitionists’ Radical Empathy: A Message for Today

We live in weird times. Our president delivers policy statements by midnight tweet, and the opposing political party seems poised, at least this week, to recruit their own TV star to run against him in the next election. Recreational marijuana use is now at least partly legal in twenty-nine states, ...
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