Book of the Week


Belligerent Muse: Five Northern Writers and How They Shaped Our Understanding of the Civil War
by Stephen Cushman
foreword by Gary W. Gallagher

"From the lilt of Lincoln’s language to the barbs of Bierce and the pageantry of Chamberlain, Belligerent Muse takes readers into the complicated literary history of how the war was spun and how a national bloodletting transformed the writing of history and the history of writing in the United States."
--Stephen Berry, University of Georgia
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Journal of the Civil War Era Special Issue: Proclaiming Emancipation at 150

New from The Journal of the Civil War Era: a special issue dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. This issue draws from the “Proclaiming Emancipation” exhibit and conference at the University of Michigan Law School and completes a suite of outstanding multimedia educational tools. [...]

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. [...]

Excerpt: The Peninsula Campaign & the Necessity of Emancipation, by Glenn David Brasher

Turning to the war, Davis confirmed reports that some slaves were armed and fighting for the South, but he assured his audience that it “was done solely on compulsion.” Having been a slave foreman, he perceptively compared their plight to that of slaves who “were often made to fill the place of whipping-master.” He maintained that the best way to prevent the South from continually taking military advantage of the enslaved community was to free the slaves so they could “go forth conquering.” [...]

Was Freedom Enough? Gregory Downs at NY Times Disunion

An excerpt from Gregory Downs’s blog at the NY Times Disunion Series concerning the livelihood of newly emancipated slaves. [...]