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From the Rhine to the Mississippi: Property, Democracy, and Socialism in the American Civil War

From the Rhine to the Mississippi: Property, Democracy, and Socialism in the American Civil War andrew zimmerman From within the common national, gradualist, and liberal narrative of emancipation, Maj. Gen. John C. Frémont's August 30, 1861, proclamation freeing all the slaves of disloyal Missourians appears as a recklessly premature step threatening to derail the progress of freedom in the United States.1 Frémont's proclamation, however, was not simply a misstep in the national process of legislating emancipation. Rather, it reflected, and perhaps attempted to justify, extralegal processes of emancipation already taking place in the trans-Mississippi West. These were the self-emancipatory efforts of slaves, the ongoing antislavery guerrilla warfare of Kansas Jayhawkers, and the military strategies of European, especially German, revolutionary socialists. This essay focuses only on the last group, the European socialists, to highlight how the Civil War, arguably the central turning point in U.S. history, was also an important episode in a larger revolutionary drama pitting plebian proponents of democracy against concentrations of wealth, whether of slaveholders or of capitalists, and also against concentrations of elite power in the limited, liberal state. Revolutionary émigrés gave Frémont's command much of its political character. Anyone taking command in Missouri in 1861 would have had to work with foreign-born soldiers and officers, but Frémont sought out http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of the Civil War Era University of North Carolina Press

From the Rhine to the Mississippi: Property, Democracy, and Socialism in the American Civil War

The Journal of the Civil War Era , Volume 5 (1) – Feb 5, 2015

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University of North Carolina Press
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Copyright @ The University of North Carolina Press
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2159-9807
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Abstract

andrew zimmerman From within the common national, gradualist, and liberal narrative of emancipation, Maj. Gen. John C. Frémont's August 30, 1861, proclamation freeing all the slaves of disloyal Missourians appears as a recklessly premature step threatening to derail the progress of freedom in the United States.1 Frémont's proclamation, however, was not simply a misstep in the national process of legislating emancipation. Rather, it reflected, and perhaps attempted to justify, extralegal processes of emancipation already taking place in the trans-Mississippi West. These were the self-emancipatory efforts of slaves, the ongoing antislavery guerrilla warfare of Kansas Jayhawkers, and the military strategies of European, especially German, revolutionary socialists. This essay focuses only on the last group, the European socialists, to highlight how the Civil War, arguably the central turning point in U.S. history, was also an important episode in a larger revolutionary drama pitting plebian proponents of democracy against concentrations of wealth, whether of slaveholders or of capitalists, and also against concentrations of elite power in the limited, liberal state. Revolutionary émigrés gave Frémont's command much of its political character. Anyone taking command in Missouri in 1861 would have had to work with foreign-born soldiers and officers, but Frémont sought out

Journal

The Journal of the Civil War EraUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Feb 5, 2015

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