The American Civil War

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004 - History - 185 pages


The Civil War is the central event in U.S. history. More than any other event, the war defined the United States as a nation and as a people. What the United States is today, how it views the role of its national government in its daily life, how it interprets its relations within its diverse population, and how it has evolved as a world power are largely the results of the cataclysmic struggle that shook the American republic in the mid-19th century. For better or worse, the irrepressible conflict that gripped the United States nearly 150 years ago has also formed its national character.

Kingseed gives a thoroughly readable, learned overview of the Civil War before offering stimulating chapters on the Myth of Southern Martial Superiority, The Transformation of Abraham Lincoln, Could the South Have Won the War?, Anatomy of Defeat: Why Lee Lost the Battle of Gettysburg, and finally, Consequences of the War: A Contemporary Perspective. Eighteen biographical sketches of key civilian, military, and political figures such as Clara Barton, Matthew Brady, J.E.B. Stuart, Ulysses S. Grant, and Frederick Douglass personalize the momentous events of the Civil War, while 16 annotated primary documents, ranging from Lincoln's House Divided against Itself Speech to Jefferson Davis's Inagural Speech on his swearing in as the first, and last, President of the C.S.A., to a bluejacket's remembrances of the horrors witnessed during and after the Battle of Antietam. Ten illustrations, a map of the major campaigns, chronology of events, glossary, annotated bibliography, and index complete this one-stop research resource on the American Civil War.

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Contents

IV
1
V
31
VI
45
VII
59
VIII
73
IX
89
X
101
XII
127
XIII
163
XIV
167
XV
177
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Page 128 - Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new, North as well as South.
Page 136 - seem to be pursuing," as you say, I have not meant to leave any one in doubt. I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored, the nearer the Union will be — "the Union as it was.
Page 136 - My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.
Page 128 - Of strange, discordant, and even hostile elements, we gathered from the four winds, and formed and fought the battle through, under the constant hot fire of a disciplined, proud and pampered enemy Did we brave all then, to falter now? — now, when that same enemy is wavering, dissevered and belligerent? The result is not doubtful. We shall not fail — if we stand firm, we shall not fad. Wise counsels may accelerate, or mistakes delay it, but, sooner or later, the victory is sure to come.
Page 48 - I therefore consider that in view of the Constitution and the laws the Union is unbroken, and to the extent of my ability I shall take care, as the Constitution itself expressly enjoins upon me, that the laws of the Union be faithfully executed in all the States.
Page 136 - I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty, and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men, every-where, could be free.
Page 49 - And this issue embraces more than the fate of these United States. It presents to the whole family of man the question whether a constitutional republic or democracy — a government of the people by the same people — can or cannot maintain its territorial integrity against its own domestic foes.
Page 150 - You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it ; and those who brought war on our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out.

About the author (2004)

COLE C. KINGSEED (Col. USA, ret.) is Professor Emeritus of History at the United States Military Academy, West Point. He is the author of Eisenhower and the Suez Crisis of 1956 (1995).

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