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The Civil War and the Transformation of American Citizenship

Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War

256 pages / 6.00 x 9.00 inches / no illustrations

ebook available

Civil War

  Hardcover / 9780807168639 / June 2018

What did citizenship mean to Americans during the Civil War? At its most simple, it was a legal status acquired through birth or naturalization, and a status that offered certain rights in exchange for specific obligations. Yet throughout the Civil War era, the deeper meanings of citizenship were in flux. The very boundaries of the citizenry were unclear. Americans also disagreed over the specific nature of citizens’ rights and obligations: whether political privileges were most important, or economic opportunity, or cultural belonging, or perhaps all three. Together, the contributors to The Civil War and the Transformation of American Citizenship reveal surprising changes and variations in the meanings and practices of citizenship in American life. Adopting a variety of different perspectives—from prominent lawmakers in Washington, D.C. to enslaved women, from black firemen in southern cities to Confederate émigrés in Latin America—the volume offers a uniquely wide-ranging exploration of citizenship’s transformation amid the extended crises of war and emancipation.

Paul Quigley is James I. Robertson, Jr., associate professor of Civil War Studies at Virginia Tech and the author of Shifting Grounds: Nationalism and the American South, 1848-1865.

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