There has been particularly revealing work on the sometimes complementary but often conflicting relationship between ethnic and national identity, especially among Irish and German Americans. Still others have examined the different manifestations and outlets of Confederate nationalism, be they economic, cultural, generational, familial, religious, literary, or military.. Instead, for the past thirty years, the strong versus weak debate has shaped the fieldâa central component of the even larger internal versus external causes of Confederate defeat debateâand nearly every monograph on Confederate politics, leaders, soldiers, guerrillas, the home front, slavery and race, gender, class, ethnicity, religion, economics, individual communities, unionism, loyalty, dissension, and resistance has weighed in, at least in part. For instance, there is the problem of definition, which in the past has often been too narrowly conceived.  The literature on nationalism is immense, but the most influential figures remain Benedict Anderson, Eric Hobsbawm, Ernest Gellner, and Anthony Smith. Confederate Nationalism and Union War Aims Elite southerners began conceiving of the South as distinct from the rest of the United States long before secession. The regional conflict over slavery that culminated in the American Civil War forced them to confront difficult problems of nationalism, allegiance, and identity. That Confederate nationalism was both strong and weak, depending on where, when, and among whom you look, and that its strength fluctuated greatly depending on the fortunes of war, proximity of the enemy, conditions and hardships at home, and the ability of the Confederate and state governments to respond to them has been well-established, and unless the issue is to be decided by the size of the stack of books in each camp, it is not clear how this overall picture is likely to change significantly. But these are not the only questions we can ask, nor is this the only context within which to view the activities of American nationalistsâbe they northern or southernâand new questions and new contexts are some of the areas that recent studies have pursued or at least suggested. endstream Nationalism in the Civil War Introduction. Setting familiar events in an international context, Fleche enlarges our understanding of nationalism in the nineteenth century, with startling implications for our understanding of the Civil War.  The sectional nature of the antebellum northern vision of American nationalism has yet to be fully rectified with the narrower, but more specifically and politically defined, Union nationalism that was plainly evident during the war and at other moments of political crisis. – History Mods, The War of the Rebellion a European-style War? The formation of the Confederacy and the established Confederate Constitution in February 1861, nationalism validated their status as an independent country. The Coming of the American Civil War, 1789â1859 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008). Recent work has also tried to extricate itself from some of the questions that so dominated the past scholarship on the subject. When Jefferson and his Republican Party unseated the Federalists in the election of 1800, the work of the Federalists was done: the American nationalism they had fostered would survive until it was threatened by Civil War. Yet, we often seem to apply these standards to Civil War Americans, and this has allowed us to draw lines too readily. Following Drew Gilpin Faustâs urging that we take Confederate nationalist ideology seriously, they have explored the substance, ideas, symbols, dissemination, duration, emotional touchstones, and concurrent resonances of Confederate nationalism without necessarily framing their studies within a strong versus weak dichotomy.  To track how these ideas were disseminated and interpreted and the extent to which they were accepted, absorbed and/or reflected by ordinary Americans, historians must resist, at least in part, the seductive sirenâs song of Lincolnâs language. Thus, my prediction, my hope, is that in addition to looking at nationalism within the context of the Civil War (as has been the dominant approach), historians will seek to explore and analyze the Civil War within the context of nationalismânot simply to use nationalism as a tool for explaining the onset and outcome of the war but to ask what the Civil War experience can teach us about the workings of nationalism itself. endobj They knew, or they thought they knew, what they were doing. It takes no great powers of prediction to venture that scholarly interest in Civil War nationalism will persist, for two basic reasons. Elite antebellum southerners feared that abolitionism would threaten slavery, leading southern politicians to advance the position of … Far from an exclusively domestic conflict, the Civil War had profound implications for the evolving nineteenth-century Atlantic World ideas of freedom, rights, citizenship, and nationalism. How a legacy of violent nationalism haunts the republic in the age of Trump.  John M. Murrin, âA Roof without Walls: The Dilemma of American National Identity,â in Beyond Confederation: Origins of the Constitution and American National Identity, ed.  But if the initial imagining of the American community has benefited from this larger perspective (call it comparative, transatlantic, or transnational), so too does the reimagining of the American community or, rather, communities in the mid-nineteenth century. Rather, they consciously created, cultivated, and constructed it. For comparative and transnational approaches to Civil Warâera nationalism (in addition to the excellent essays in the above cited volumes), see James M. McPherson, Is Blood Thicker than Water? Comparative nationalism studies are nothing new, but until very recently, most of those that have included the United States have focused on initial American independence. More generally, a danger of Civil War nationalism scholarship has always been (and will always be) determinism. Learn how your comment data is processed. (Redirected from Southern nationalism) Neo-Confederates are groups and individuals who portray the Confederate States of America and its actions during the American Civil War in a positive light. Civil war was the result. We are looking for roots and origins, as well as continuities. Brian Tongier, "Imagined Community or Communities? Indeed, such debates, such conflicts, are intrinsic to all nationalist projects, and flexibility within nationalist thought and ideology is as important as its constraints. The war was a crisis of nationalism, and this has encouraged historians to view nationalism in overly stark terms. The current conflict began in the 20th century (Vox 2018). Recent studies of nationalism in the Civil War North (ironically, a field less developed than its Confederate counterpart) have also endeavored to show the different ways nationalism was constructed, explain the complicated relationship between northern and national identity, and reveal the different engines that drove its dissemination.  There are notable exceptions. In our own lives, of course, we understand that one need not support the current administration or the political party in power to have a nationalist outlook. Nineteenth-century Americans spoke and understood the language of nationalism even if they did not often use the wordâpreferring ânationhood,â ânationality,â or ânational character.â This was something they shared with others around the globe, and these commonalities, these common understandings and methods of nation-making and legitimization, are significant. Given the focus of the dominant models on the rise of print culture, the spread of literacy, the role of popular politics, and the âvoluntaristicâ nature by which people chose to ârecognize each other as belonging to the same nationâ in the construction of modern nationalism, Civil War America would seem a good testing ground. See Susan-Mary Grant, ââThe Charter of Its Birthrightâ: The Civil War and American Nationalism,â in Legacy of Disunion: The Enduring Significance of the American Civil War, ed. Second, at the same time, no one seems to be able to agree on what nationalism is or, rather, how we should go about identifying, measuring, or mapping it. Recent studies have explored Confederate nationalismâs deep intellectual roots within antebellum American nationalism and challenged us to rethink the relationship between sectionalism and southern nationalism. Modern white nationalism, which has spread across the world, first emerged in America after the civil war. Structural Factors. Scott A. Ofsdahl, MajorNATIONALISM AS A CONTRIBUTING FACTOR IN THE AMERICAN CIVIL WARACSC Indeed, the main reason historians have been interested in Confederate nationalism is to explain Confederate defeat, or, the more positive view, to explain how the Confederacy lasted as long as it did. While we must engage more directly with the contemporary theoretical models of nationalism, we need not be beholden to them. First, there is consensus, or near consensus, on the Civil Warâs vital role in the formation, reconfiguration or, at least, reinvigoration of American nationalism and national identity. (New York: Routledge, 2010), 295â316; Grant, ââHow a Free People Conduct a Long Warâ: Sustaining Opposition to Secession in the American Civil War,â in Secession as an International Phenomenon: From Americaâs Civil War to Contemporary Separatist Movements, ed. Others have pushed the chronology in a different direction to show how Confederate identity persisted beyond the war. ed.  Peter J. Parish, âAn Exception to Most of the Rules: What Made American Nationalism Different in the Mid-Nineteenth Century?â Prologue: Quarterly of the National Archives 27 (Fall 1995): 219â29. Topics: Abraham Lincoln, American Civil War, Civil War, Crime, Nationalism, United States, War. : Latin American Comparisons, The Most Heroic Day Youâve Never Heard Of, A Crashing Monument and the Echoes of War. Nationalism as a Contributing Factor in the American Civil War Crises of Nationalism in the Modern World (New York: Vintage, 1998); Nicholas Onuf and Peter Onuf, Nations, Markets, and War: Modern History and the American Civil War (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2006); and Quigley, Shifting Grounds. Your email address will not be published. The Civil war of 1861-1865 is a central event in America’s historical conscience. Required fields are marked *. Post was not sent - check your email addresses!  The broader scholarship on Civil Warâera nationalism is discussed in the notes that follow, but here I am especially thinking about the work of Robert Bonner, Susan-Mary Grant, Anne Sarah Rubin, Paul Quigley, Melinda Lawson, Don Doyle, and John Majewski, as well as my own book. American nationalism? The nineteenth century was an age of nationalism. See also Elizabeth R. Varon, Disunion!  This is a missed opportunity not simply to bring parity to the American side of the story but to advance the overall discussion about the workings of nationalism in the nineteenth century generally. Some neo-Confederate organizations such as the League of the South continue to advocate the secession of the former Confederate States. That Lincolnâs vision of the nation and Union as presented in the Gettysburg Address, Second Inaugural, and elsewhere has wielded tremendous influence on subsequent generations is undeniable, but we must be careful not to assume a too direct and easy transference between Lincolnâs pen and the minds of Civil War Americans. Civil War History XLVIII (2002): 16 25.  However, while the subject is by no means exhausted and each new study deepens our understanding of the complexities and varieties of life in the Confederate States, the debate, as a debate, seems to have reached a point of diminishing returns. Don H. Doyle, Nations Divided: America, Italy, and the Southern Question (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2002); Doyle and Marco Antonio Pamplona, eds., Nationalism in the New World (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2006); Doyle, ed., Secession as an International Phenomenon: From Americaâs Civil War to Contemporary Separatist Movements (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2010). This type of rigid categorization sometimes has led to the conflation of nationalism with political affiliation and supportâsupport for the government, support for a party, support for particular political leaders (presidents), and so forth. ... a film that glorified the rise of the Ku Klux Klan in the American South after the end of the Civil War. A central contention of Confederate nationalism, as it emerged in 1861, was that the South’s effort represented a continuation of the struggle of 1776. Nineteenth-century American nationalism has always held an awkward place for the scholars and theorists of nationalism.  Thanks to the work of Don Doyle and others, the internationalization of Civil Warâera nationalism is well underway.  We have lots of walls, not all of them load-bearing, and two different roofs to deal with. 1 (1996): 105â29; Frances Clarke, ââLet All Nations Seeâ: Civil War Nationalism and the Memorialization of Wartime Voluntarism,â Civil War History 52 (March 2006): 66â93. In fact, some of Davisâs most vociferous critics were also the most ardent of Confederate nationalists, and their opposition to him did not mean that they did not desire a separate and independent southern nationâthey just didnât think that Davis was doing a good job of bringing it about. Rather than treating nationalism as an either/or position, these scholars see a spectrum, involving clusters of beliefs, symbols, ideas, and attachments (often conflicting) whose saliencies shifted and changed over time. We all know that we are supposed to cite Benedict Anderson when talking about nationalism (and we almost always do in our introductions), and our working definitions of nationalism are certainly informed by, and even directly derived from, the work of the nationalism theorists, but relatively few Civil Warâera historians have undertaken the task of engaging and challenging these models and theories.  For the purposes of this essay I discuss nationalism scholarship specifically as it pertains to the Civil War. The civil war began primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people. The war itself is seen rightly as a crisis of nationalism, indeed of two nationalisms, and out of the fires and transformations of this war would emerge the modern conception and institutional framework of the American nation. Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Louisiana State University Press. Nationalism was not something that happened to nineteenth-century Americans, not some inexorable force in which they found themselves passively caught. He is the author of Confederate Minds: The Struggle for Intellectual Independence in the Civil War South (University of North Carolina Press, 2010). In short, everyone agrees that nationalism is important and no one can agree on what we are really talking about. Either way, they have been concerned primarily with the outcome of the conflict. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1987), 333â48.  While historians of nationalism in the North have not been wedded to the same strong versus weak dichotomy of Confederate nationalism, they have been confronted with a different challenge: what to call it? Similar assumptions (albeit not so explicit) inform our thinking about nationalism in the North, but here we are also always looking for what American nationalism will become. Don H. Doyle (Athens: University of Georgia, 2010), 132â50; Grant, âWhen Is a Nation not a Nation? The Crisis of American Nationality in the Mid-Nineteenth Century,â Nations and Nationalism 2, no. See also Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Revolution, 1789â1848 (1962; repr., New York: Vintage, 1996); David Armitage, The Declaration of Independence: A Global History (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2007); Armitage and Sanjay Subrahmanyam, eds., The Age of Revolutions in Global Context, c. 1760â1840 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010); David Brion Davis, The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution, 1770â1823, 2nd ed. Readers can comment on this article in the dialog box at the bottom of this page.Â Right click this linkÂ to download a pdf of this essay. NATIONALISM AS A CONTRIBUTING FACTOR IN THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR by Scott A. Ofsdahl, Major, USAF A Research Report Submitted to the Faculty In Partial Fulfillment of the Graduation Requirements Elective Instructor(s): Doctor Howard Hensel Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama April 2000.  Here is a conflict fought explicitly over competing visions of American nationalism, by members of the most literate and politicized society (or societies) in the world, involving the raising of massive volunteer armies and the mass mobilization of civilian agricultural and industrial capacities, requiring the âimaginingâ of national communities of common causes and common interests across enormous distances and dispersed populations knitted together by modern mass communications and transportation networks. , One way historians of Confederate nationalism have attempted to move beyond this binary discussion has been to focus on analyzing the content rather than trying to measure the strength of nationalist sentiment in the southern states. Confederate nationalism gave Confederates a coherent set of ideas to explain and justify their independence. On the centrality of âprint capitalismâ in the construction of national consciousness, see Anderson, Imagined Communities. Grant and Peter J. Parish (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2003), 188â206; Grant, âWhen Is a Nation not a Nation?â; Parish, âAn Exception to Most of the Rules.â. Recent work, to its credit, has taken a broader, more inclusive, more nuanced view of Civil War nationalism. Civil Warâera Americans had their own theories about nationalism, and these deserve to be taken seriously. Religion and Nationalism in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict There is no doubt that religion plays a role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Nationalism and the Confederate States of America." Excellent work has been done comparing independence movements and the rise of nationalism across the Western Hemisphere. Like their counterparts elsewhere in the world, American nationalists were convinced of the centrality and modality of nationhood and that shared conviction demands our attention. The Civil War and the Development of American Nationalism,â in Themes of the American Civil War: The War between the States, ed.  It has never quite seemed to fit the dominant models, remaining âan exception to most of the rules.â But as recent studies of Civil War Era nationalism have become more nuanced, it enables us to more fully engage in broader historical discussions about nineteenth-century conceptions of nationhood, to see the connections, similarities, and differences between what was happening in the United States and what was going on in the rest of the world. Throughout the Western world, this impulse to nationality, vaguely perceived, imprecisely defined, and imperfectly comprehended, was nonetheless strong and pervasive. H|VMoÔ0½çWÌqhâ$N$Ômq@B4ZBÖÛ5ÚMVÛÂ¿Ç?âl µty~óæÍ¸Ùgxó&ûtóñ¼}»½½Iù`d_ø±UâßÇAWRt E}¸Cð8&Û&Éfà, NATIONALISM AS A CONTRIBUTING FACTOR IN THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR. Between 1848 and 1865 white southerners felt the grounds of nationhood shift beneath their feet. Some …  Indeed, the commonalities and parallels between U.S. nationalism and nationalism elsewhere in the world are even clearer and perhaps more instructive in the nineteenth century than during that earlier period. The United States was fully a part of this process. MICHAEL T. BERNATH is assistant professor of history at the University of Miami. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. On the Road to Total War: The American Civil War and the German Wars of Unification, 1861–1871 (Cambridge, Eng., 1997).  For instance, see Christian B. Keller, Chancellorsville and the Germans: Nativism, Ethnicity, and Civil War Memory (New York: Fordham University Press, 2007); Stephen D. Engle, âYankee Dutchmen: Germans, the Union, and the Construction of Wartime Identity,â in Civil War Citizens: Race, Ethnicity, and Identity in Americaâs Bloodiest Conflict, ed. It has recognized that there are different conceptions and means of expression of nationalist sentiment. <>/ProcSet[/PDF/Text]/ColorSpace<>/Font<>>>/MediaBox[0 0 612 792]/Thumb 12 0 R/StructParents 2/Rotate 0>> His paper was written for Dr. Hubbard's Civil War graduate class. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999); Eliga H. Gould, The Persistence of Empire: British Political Culture in the Age of the American Revolution (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000); Gould and Peter S. Onuf, eds., Empire and Nation: The American Revolution in the Atlantic World (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005); Andrew Jackson OâShaughnessy, An Empire Divided: The American Revolution and the British Caribbean (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000); Wim Klooster, Revolutions in the Atlantic World: A Comparative History (New York: New York University Press, 2009); Peter S. Onuf, Jeffersonâs Empire: The Language of American Nationhood (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 2000); David Waldstreicher, In the Midst of Perpetual Fetes: The Making of American Nationalism, 1776â1820 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997). Essentially, it indicates the aspects that characterize and distinguish the United States as an autonomous political community. Other important works on nationalism in the North include Peter J. Parish, The North and the Nation in the Era of the Civil War, ed. There is nothing wrong with this, and these questions will certainly continue to drive our interest in Civil War nationalism. As a result, our understanding of Civil War nationalism has become much fuzzier and harder to quantify, but at the same time more dynamic, more true to life, and more human. Thus, we have taken a primarily instrumentalist approach to nationalism. 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