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In 1850 Abraham Lincoln’s most celebrated rival, Stephen Douglas of Illinois, delivered an impassioned speech in the United States Senate.
One of the oldest and most familiar tropes in the historiography of the American Civil War argues that the conflict posed an urban industrial Union against a rural agricultural Confederacy.
‘We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies’.(1) These famous lines from Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address serve as a stark point of contrast in the introduction of Damn Yankees! Demonization and Defiance in the Confederate South. For whilst Lincoln implored the nation to avoid violent confrontation, the war of words had already begun.
As Antoinette Burton points out in the introduction to her newest work, The Trouble with Empire: Challenges to Modern British Imperialism, there has been no shortage of blockbusters about the British Empire to be found on the shelves of local booksellers. Many of these take for granted the rise and fall narrative of Empire.
As Matthew McCormack makes clear right from the first line of this work, the militia was one of Georgian Britain’s most important institutions. The militia’s reform in 1757, whereby it became the New Militia, and subsequent mobilisation in the French wars of 1756–1815 were an essential component of the defence of Britain.
It was hardly to be expected that the sesquicentennial might come and go without the Civil War’s most preeminent historian offering his thoughts on the subject, and James McPherson has not let us down. Not that The War that Forged a Nation is in any direct sense a comment on or reaction to the sesquicentennial; it is neither.
Just over a quarter of a century ago, it seemed, you couldn’t buy interest in the international history of the American Civil War. American scholars appeared especially uninterested in a subject that, as Don Doyle’s splendid new book reveals, is ripe with possibility.
Heather Andrea Williams’ American Slavery: A Very Short Introduction is the latest work in a series designed to make subjects accessible for all readers, examining the nature of slavery in North America, looking at its development, consolidation, and eventual decline.
The literature surrounding British attitudes toward the American Civil War has a long history extending almost back to the conflict itself, in part because it speaks to a question that has long intrigued academic and popular readers alike; namely, how might the outcome of the conflict been different if the British government had extended diplomatic recognition to the Confederacy or even interve
Book compilations can be a difficult genre. Comprised of varied essays and authorial voices, it takes a clear and well-defined theme, and a sure editorial hand to maintain focus and quality.