Book of the Week


Confederate Slave Impressment in the Upper South
by Jaime Amanda Martinez

"Martinez challenges the standard critiques of slave impressment with fresh and substantial evidence. An original contribution to Civil War scholarship."
--George Rable
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Glenn David Brasher: Historians’ Approach to “Lincoln”

At the Civil War Monitor, historian Glenn David Brasher reviews Steven Spielberg’s film Lincoln and argues that the film should be judged based on what it was meant to be, not what historians would like to see. [...]

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Elizabeth Keckley in Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln”

Spielberg based more than 40 of his characters on historical figures; included in this group is Elizabeth Keckley, an enslaved woman whose 1868 book (Behind the Scenes, Or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House) UNC Press and the UNC Library republished last year through the DocSouth Books program. [...]

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Kate Masur on Lincoln’s emigration proposal and the views of African American delegates

For all the attention to Lincoln’s ideas and motivations, however, there has been very little focus on the delegates’ side of the story. For decades no one even knew who they were, much less what they stood for. Drawing on the work of the historian Benjamin Quarles, many believed that four of the five delegates were uneducated former slaves, hand-picked by Lincoln and his colonization commissioner, James Mitchell, to be pliable and subservient. In fact, all five of the men who listened to Lincoln’s case for colonization were members of Washington’s free black elite, chosen by a formal meeting of representatives from Washington’s independent black churches. [...]

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Video: Mark E. Neely Jr. on the advantage of the U.S. Constitution during the Civil War

“Because the Civil War, by chance, began right at the beginning of an administration, that part of the Constitution that gave the president a four-year term and made the president the commander-in-chief was extremely important. That meant that, barring impeachment or assassination, there would be a determined Republican in the White House fighting the South until March of 1865.”—Mark E. Neely Jr. [...]

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Mark E. Neely Jr: Lincoln and the Triumph of the Nation – An Excerpt

NEELY

Much has been lost by this failure to consider both of the American constitutions in the Civil War. Since the constitutions were markedly similar in content, the historian has the opportunity to see the document tested in two different societies at the same time. The opportunity for comparisons is unequaled in history. And ultimately our judgments on the role of the Constitution in war should appear doubly sound. [...]

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