The nineteenth-century German political theorist, Heinrich von Treitschke, concluded that it was war 'which turns a people into a nation.' His opinion has been reiterated by scholars over the years, many of whom concur with Michael Howard's assertion that from 'the very beginning, the principle of nationalism was almost indissolubly linked, both in t
The massacres of Indians in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, by the Paxton Boys in December 1763, have long been a notorious event in that part of the globe. A glance at Kevin Kenny’s bibliography provides a sense of the continuous interest in the killings since the 19th century.
Confederate Reckoning is a ‘political history of the unfranchised’ (p. 7). It joins a significant body of scholarship that has sought to expand the category of ‘the political’ by taking into account the behaviour and ideas of those who, in formal terms, were excluded from politics.
The War of 1812 has the unfortunate fate of being wedged between two of the most greatly studied events of modern world history, the American Revolution and Civil War. Indeed, the looming bicentennial of the 1812 conflict promises to be overshadowed by year two of the Civil War sesquicentennial.
James Dickerson should be commended for tracing the theme of American concentration camps through from the 17th to the 21st century. It is all too easy to slip into the comfortable approach of examining events in isolation, when they are in fact but one more example of how a nation has failed to learn from the mistakes of its past.
Compared with the Civil War centennial of 1961–5, the sesquicentennial celebration of the American Civil War has been a muted affair. President Barack Obama, mindful of the political trouble the Centennial Commission caused another Democrat, President John F. Kennedy, has steadfastly refused to appoint a successor to preside over the 150th anniversary.
This is an updated version (December 2014) of a piece originally published in 2013, which extends the coverage of the review to include some more recent works on 1812.
Paul A. Gilje, Professor of United States History at the University of Oklahoma and renowned expert on the history of common people on the waterfront in early America (1), argues in his recently published book on the War of 1812 that the U.S. declared war against Great Britain in 1812 in defense of neutral rights and the safety of American sailors.
John Murray, fourth earl of Dunmore, the last royal governor of Virginia, features briefly in most accounts of the American Revolution. White slave-holders, in Dunmore’s colony and elsewhere, regarded him as a malign threat. George Washington, Virginia gentleman and planter, as well as commander of the Continental army, was among the many who denounced the governor as the devil incarnate.
Most canonical interpretations of the American Civil War revolve around some facet of the great national contest over the status and future of slavery in the western territories.