John Ashworth on Confederate Errors

17 02 2011

In a post on the NYT’s Disunion blog, Professor John Ashworth  explores the critical errors that led the Confederacy into a disastrous war with the Union.  Ashworth is a professor of American history at the University of Nottingham and the author of Slavery, Capitalism, and Politics in the Antebellum Republic.

Ashworth’s post, which makes some great points about pro-slavery propaganda, contains some great images, such as this one from the image collection of the Library of Congress:

Choctaw Confederates

10 02 2011

I have been following the New York Times’s live blogging of the Civil War. Today’s blog post, the Choctaw Confederates, is about those First Nations who supported the Confederacy in the Civil War.

20,000 or so Choctaws – especially those whose families had intermarried with whites – now considered themselves not just Native Americans, but also Southerners. A significant number of tribal leaders owned black slaves.

For more, see here.

The contributor of this post is Adam Goodheart is the author of the forthcoming book “1861: The Civil War Awakening.” He lives in Washington, D.C., and on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where he is the Hodson Trust-Griswold Director of Washington College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience.

Why South Carolina Was the First Southern State to Leave the Union

8 02 2011

The New York Times is live blogging the Civil War, albeit with a 150 year delay. In effect, the paper is carrying stories about key events in the conflict 150 years to the day after they happened. The blog posts are rich in images and material drawn from the paper’s archives. (The NYT was established in 1851). They also include insights from academic historians.

150 years ago this week, the actual Civil War had not yet broken out: the United States was still in a political crisis caused by the secession of the Southern States. Lincoln, who was President elect, had not yet assumed office. Nobody was clear about what he would do once he took the reins of power.

South Carolina was the first southern state to secede from the union. Its declaration of independence triggered a wave of secession votes throughout the Deep South. On Sunday, the NYT’s Disunion blog carried an essay by Manisha Sinha explaining why this particular state took the lead. Sinha is an associate professor of Afro-American studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and the author of “The Counterrevolution of Slavery: Politics and Ideology in Antebellum South Carolina.” She is writing a history of abolition.