Civil War as Global Conflict

Civil War as Global Conflict

Transnational Meanings of the American Civil War

In an attempt to counter the insular narratives of much of the sesquicentennial commemorations of the Civil War in the United States, editors David T. Gleeson and Simon Lewis present this collection of essays that examine the war as more than a North American conflict, one with transnational concerns. The book, while addressing the origins of the Civil War, places the struggle over slavery and sovereignty in the United States in the context of other conflicts in the Western hemisphere. Additionally Gleeson and Lewis offer an analysis of the impact of the war and its results overseas.

Although the Civil War was the bloodiest conflict in U.S. history and arguably its single most defining event, this work underscores the reality that the war was by no means the only conflict that ensnared the global imperial powers in the mid-nineteenth century. In some ways the Civil War was just another part of contemporary conflicts over the definitions of liberty, democracy, and nationhood.

The editors have successfully linked numerous provocative themes and convergences of time and space to make the work both coherent and cogent. Subjects include such disparate topics as Florence Nightingale, Gone with the Wind, war crimes and racial violence, and choices of allegiance made by immigrants to the United States. While we now take for granted the nation's values of freedom and democracy, we cannot understand the impact of the Civil War and the victorious "new birth of freedom" without thinking globally.

The contributors to The Civil War as Global Conflict reveal that Civil War-era attitudes toward citizenship and democracy were far from fixed or stable. Race, ethnicity, nationhood, and slavery were subjects of fierce controversy. Examining the Civil War in a global context requires us to see the conflict as a seminal event in the continuous struggles of people to achieve liberty and fulfill the potential of human freedom. The book concludes with a coda that reconnects the global with the local and provides ways for Americans to discuss the war and its legacy more productively.

O. Vernon Burton
Edmund L. Drago
Hugh Dubrulle
Niels Eichhorn
W. Eric Emerson
Amanda Foreman
David T. Gleeson
Matthew Karp
Simon Lewis
Aaron W. Marrs
Lesley Marx
Joseph McGill
James M. McPherson
Alexander Noonan
Theodore N. Rosengarten
Edward B. Rugemer
Jane E. Schultz
Aaron Sheehan-Dean
Christopher Wilkins

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • Contents
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Why Civil War? The Politics of Slavery in Comparative Perspective: The United States, Cuba, and Brazil
  • King Cotton, Emperor Slavery: Antebellum Slaveholders and the World Economy
  • “If it is still impossible . . . to advocate slavery. . . it has . . . become a habit persistently to write down freedom”: Britain, the Civil War, and Race
  • “Two irreconcilable peoples”? Ethnic Nationalism in the Confederacy
  • Proving Their Loyalty to the Republic: English Immigrants and the American Civil War
  • “A new expression of that entente cordiale?” Russian-American Relations and the “Fleet Episode” of 1863
  • The Rhine River: The Impact of the German States on Transatlantic Diplomacy
  • Lex Talionis in the U.S. Civil War: Retaliation and the Limits of Atrocity
  • Fulfilling “The president’s duty to communicate”: The Civil War and the Creation of the Foreign Relations of the United States Series
  • “They had heard of emancipation and the enfranchisement of their race”: The African American Colonists of Samaná, Reconstruction, and the State of Santo Domingo
  • Nurse as Icon: Florence Nightingale’s Impact on Women in the American Civil War
  • Race, Romance, and “The spectacle of unknowing” in Gone with the Wind: A South African Response
  • Coda: Roundtable on Memory
  • Contributors
  • Index
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    • M
    • N
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