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The Confederate Nation 1861-1865 (1979)

by Emory M. Thomas

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The New American Nation (2.2)

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270271,173 (3.61)1
"The Confederate Nation has yet to be superseded as the standard title on the subject. " --Journal of Southern History, 2007 "Incisive and insightful.... As good a short history of the Southern war effort was we have." --T. Harry Williams, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Lincoln and His Generals Emory M. Thomas's critically acclaimed chronicle of the Confederacy remains widely recognized as the standard history of the South during the Civil War. Now with a new introduction by the author, The Confederate Nation presents a high readable, highly personal portrait of the Southern experience during the Civil War. Thomas, renowned for his illuminating biographies of Robert E. Lee and other Southern generals, here delivers the definitive account of the political and military events that defined the nation during its period of greatest turmoil.… (more)

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This is an even-handed study by a then Universityof Georgia professor, published in 1979. It studies the Confederacy from its beginning till April 1865. It is well-researched and was good to read. And as all books on the Civil War do, it ends right. It even includes the text of the Confederate Constituion, written much more quickly than the U.S. Constituiton--because they mostly copied the U.S. Constitution ( )
1 vote Schmerguls | Aug 10, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Emory M. Thomasprimary authorall editionscalculated
Commager, Henry SteeleEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnson, AdamCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Malkin, RobinCover designsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morris, Richard M.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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STILL FOR FRANK E. VANDIVER

and also for
John C. Inscoe, Lesley J. Gordon, Russell Duncan, Jennifer Lund Smith, William C. Davis, David H. McGee, Brian S. Wills, Frank J. Byrne, James M. McPherson, Keith S. Bohannon, Rod Andrew Jr., Christopher Phillips, Jean E. Friedman, Jennifer Lynn Gross, Joseph T. Glatthaar, Clarence L. Mohr, Thomas G. Dyer, Philip D. Dillard, Glenna R. Schroeder-Lein, Nina Silber, and William S. McFeely
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This book was published in 1979, which seems a long time ago now.  (Introduction to the 2011 edition, published on the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War)
At some early point in our correspondence about this book, Professor Henry Steele Commager stated that a new history of the Confederacy needs “not so much new information as new and fresh ideas.”  (Preface)
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When in 1859 North Carolinian Hinton Rowan Helper wrote his Impending Crisis in the South, he tried to tell his fellow plain folk how the planters were “using” them, and he tried to show how the slave system worked to keep rich people rich and poor people poor.   Helper contended that slavery was a class weapon in that the system allowed planters to work their extensive acreage and barred others from access to both land and labor.   His case was convincing – in the abstract.   Certainly the violent response of the planter leadership in suppressing the book indicated that it had struck an exposed nerve.   [p. 11.,Chapter 1, “The Social Economy of the Old South,” The Confederate Nation 1861-1865 (2011, c.1979)]
More subtly, the hellfire-and-damnation of Southern Protestantism served as a kind of inverse support for the hedonistic aspects of the Southern lifestyle. […] Perhaps of practice of their fundamentalist faith satisfied the need for confession and purgation.  Hearing their sins exposed and denounced from the pulpit of a church or the stump of a camp meeting, Southern sinners were sufficiently freed from guilt to thank the preacher for a fine sermon and go and sin some more.  In short, if all were wrong, then none were guilty.  [p. 22, Chapter 2, “Cultural Nationalism in the Pre-Confederate South,” The Confederate Nation 1861-1865 (2011, c.1979)]
Like Southern writers, Southern political thinkers ultimately saw a romantic vision: the reincarnation of Greek democracy in the nineteenth-century South.  Again Calhoun led the way.  To Americans already conditioned by their recent struggle for independence to admire the Greeks, he offered the South as a replica of Greece in its golden age.  Like ancient Athenians, Southerners held slaves; like the Greeks, Southerners lauded the equality of free people in who in terms of wealth and status were anything but equal.  [p. 31, Chapter 2, “Cultural Nationalism in the Pre-Confederate South,”The Confederate Nation 1861-1865 (2011, c.1979)]
Thus secessionist leadership feared not only threats from Northerners without; it became increasingly alarmed over apostasy within.  Should the border South fall away from the Southern world view and convert to Yankeeism, then the deep South would be an ever smaller fraction of the American body politic.  In 1860 and 1861, for reasons both positive and negative, Southerners made their break.  Secessionists hope their nation would prosper and feared that this was their last chance to save a lifestyle that had become sacred.   [p. 34-35, Chapter 2, “Cultural Nationalism in the Pre-Confederate South,” The Confederate Nation 1861-1865 (2011, c.1979)]
Thus could the first unquestionably Southern President of the United States since 1865 state that his favorite motion picture was Gone with the Wind. Jimmy Carter then added that he may have seen a “different version” of the film in his native Georgia.  “My favorite scene was the burning of Schenectady, N.Y., and President Grant surrendering to Robert T. Lee.”  p. 306, Chapter 12, “The Death of the Nation,” The Confederate Nation 1861-1865 (2011, c.1979)]
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"The Confederate Nation has yet to be superseded as the standard title on the subject. " --Journal of Southern History, 2007 "Incisive and insightful.... As good a short history of the Southern war effort was we have." --T. Harry Williams, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Lincoln and His Generals Emory M. Thomas's critically acclaimed chronicle of the Confederacy remains widely recognized as the standard history of the South during the Civil War. Now with a new introduction by the author, The Confederate Nation presents a high readable, highly personal portrait of the Southern experience during the Civil War. Thomas, renowned for his illuminating biographies of Robert E. Lee and other Southern generals, here delivers the definitive account of the political and military events that defined the nation during its period of greatest turmoil.

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Book description
Contents:

Introduction to the 2011 edition p.IX
Preface p.XV


1. The Social Economy of the Old South   p.1
2. Cultural Nationalism in the Pre-Confederate South p.17
3. Foundations of the Southern Nation  p.37
4. Southern Nationality Established  p.67
5. Southern Nationality Confirmed  p.98
6. Confederate Nationality Confounded  p. 120
7. Origins of the Revolutionary South  p.145
8. Foreign Relations of a Nascent Nation  p.167
9. The Development of the Confederate South  p.190
10. The Confederate South at Full Tide  p.215
11. The Disintegration of Southern Nationalism  p.245
12. Death of the Nation p.278

Appendix: The Constitution of the Confederate States of America   p.307
Bibliography  p.323
Index p.373
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