Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Booknotes: Contested Loyalty

New Arrival:
Contested Loyalty: Debates over Patriotism in the Civil War North edited by Robert M. Sandow (Fordham UP, 2018).

In their wide-ranging exploration of the topic, the essays contained in Contested Loyalty move beyond partisan wrestling between northern Democrats and Republicans. Edited by Robert Sandow, the volume "examines the significance of loyalty across fault lines of gender, social class, and education, race and ethnicity, and political or religious affiliation. These differing vantage points reveal the complicated ways in which loyalties were defined, prioritized, acted upon, and related."

"While most of the scholarly work on Civil War Era nationalism has focused on southern identity and Confederate nationhood, the essays in Contested Loyalty examine the variable, fluid constructions of these concepts in the north. Essays explore the limitations and incomplete nature of national loyalty and how disparate groups struggled to control its meaning." Chapters discuss disparate views on duty to the nation; the constitutional ideology of Connecticut "Copperheads;" how loyalty was factored into compensating Pennsylvanians harmed by Confederate raids; loyalty rhetoric in courtship; politics and the pulpit; the viewpoints of college-educated men; women and loyalty in Philadelphia; the purge of disloyal workers at the Allegheny Arsenal; and perspectives on loyalty among Irish citizens and USCT soldiers.

More: "The Union cause was a powerful ideology committing millions of citizens, in the ranks and at home, to a long and bloody war. But loyalty to the Union cause imperfectly explains how citizens reacted to the traumas of war or the ways in which conflicting loyalties played out in everyday life. The essays in this collection point us down the path of greater understanding."

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