In the early morning of April 12, 1861, Captain George S. James ordered the bombardment of Fort Sumter, beginning a war that would last four horrific years and claim a staggering number of lives. Since that fateful day, the debate over the causes of the American Civil War has never ceased. What events were instrumental in bringing it about? How did individuals and institutions function? What did Northerners and Southerners believe in the decades of strife preceding the war? What steps did they take to avoid war? Indeed, was the great armed conflict avoidable at all?
Why the Civil War Came brings a talented chorus of voices together to recapture the feel of a very different time and place, helping the reader to grasp more fully the commencement of our bloodiest war. From William W. Freehling's discussion of the peculiarities of North American slavery to Charles Royster's disturbing piece on the combatants' savage readiness to fight, the contributors bring to life the climate of a country on the brink of disaster. Mark Summers, for instance, depicts the tragically jubilant first weeks of Northern recruitment, when Americans on both sides were as yet unaware of the hellish slaughter that awaited them. Glenna Matthews underscores the important war-catalyzing role played by extraordinary public women, who proved that neither side of the Mason-Dixon line was as patriarchal as is thought. David Blight reveals an African-American world that "knew what time it was," and welcomed war. And Gabor Boritt examines the struggle's central figure, Lincoln himself, illuminating in the years leading up to the war a blindness on the future president's part, an unwillingness to confront the looming calamity that was about to smash the nation asunder.
William E. Gienapp notes perhaps the most unsettling fact about the Civil War, that democratic institutions could not resolve the slavery issue without resorting to violence on an epic scale. With gripping detail, Why the Civil War Came takes readers back to a country fraught with bitterness, confusion, and hatred--a country ripe for a war of unprecedented bloodshed--to show why democracy failed, and violence reigned.
"The war's origin here reveals its many reflections."--Booklist "Certain to breathe new life into an old subject."--Eric Foner, author of Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution and Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men "Elegant, provocative, edifying."--Kenneth Stampp, author of And the War Came and America in 1857: A Nation on the Brink "These essays are designed to reveal and teach. they are not laden with academic jargon. The writing is spritely, filled with intimate glimpses of an era whose people and beliefs seem almost exotic to us today. Why the Civil War Came revives the politics and beliefs of the time and teaches how the complex thread of events led to the inevitable conflict."--The Herald "The war's origin here reveals its many reflections."--Booklist "A scintillating look at an historical question that won't go away. The answers, in this collection of seven essays, are fresh and evocative, as seven of the leading scholars in the field offer new perspectives on the role of blacks, women, Lincoln, and the nation's democratic procedures in the coming of the Civil War. The result is 'must' reading for all students of the period."--Jean H. Baker, Todd Professor, Goucher College, author of Mary Todd Lincoln and Affairs of Party: The Political Culture of Northern Democrats in the Mid-Nineteenth Century "Certain to breathe new life into an old subject."--Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor, Columbia University, author of Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution and Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men "A fine addition to the distinguished series of Gettysburg Civil War Institute books."--Richard Nelson Current, Distinguished Professor, Emeritus, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, author of Lincoln and the First Shot "Why the Civil War Came is an invaluable collection of essays exploring a variety of aspects of the war's origins. The book provides the fullest portrait yet available about the relationship of different groups of American society to the coming of war, for it examines the actions and attitudes of women, of African Americans, of Northerners, of Southerners, of politicians, and of ordinary citizens. Highly readable, it offers new approaches to traditional questions and will stimulate fresh discussion about one of the most important problems in American history. It will also be an excellent book for use in undergraduate teaching."--Drew Gilpin Faust, Annenberg Professor, University of Pennsylvania, author of Mothers of Invention: women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War "These always stimulating and sometimes quirky essays explore new dimensions of this endlessly fascinating, yet formative, event in American history."--Michael Perman, Professor of History, University of Illinois at Chicago, author of Emancipation and Reconstruction, 1862-1879 "Elegant, provocative, edifying."--Kenneth Stampp, Morrison Professor, Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley, author of And the War Came and America in 1857: A Nation on the Brink
|Gettysburg Civil War Institute Books||p. ii|
|And the War Came? Abraham Lincoln and the Question of Individual Responsibility||p. 3|
|Little Women Who Helped Make This Great War||p. 31|
|They Knew What Time It Was African-Americans and the Coming of the Civil War||p. 51|
|The Crisis of American Democracy the Political System and the Coming of the Civil War||p. 79|
|The Divided South, Democracy's Limitations, and the Causes of the Peculiarly North American Civil War||p. 125|
|Freedom and Law Must Die Ere They Sever the North and the Coming of the Civil War||p. 177|
|Fort Sumter at Last the War||p. 201|
|For Further Reading||p. 239|
|Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.|
Series: Gettysburg Civil War Institute Books
Number Of Pages: 272
Published: 1st September 1997
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 20.35 x 13.61 x 1.42
Weight (kg): 0.24
Edition Number: 1