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The Second American Revolution: The Civil War–Era Struggle over Cuba and the Rebirth of the American Republic by Gregory P. Downs (review)

The Second American Revolution: The Civil War–Era Struggle over Cuba and the Rebirth of the... The Confederacy’s rejoinder to emancipation, and particularly the Union’s enlistment of African American soldiers, grew from similar prem- ises. For American slaveholders, nothing defied the civilized laws of nature of war more than formerly enslaved people shouldering muskets and shat- tering the institution of human bondage. Their hostile presence stoked deep-seated white fears of enslaved insurrection, leading Confederates to formulate and perform policies that held African American troops as unlawful enemies of the state, subject to execution or reenslavement. But in showing the full scope of his argument, Sheehan-Dean documents how African Americans themselves rejected excessive, illegal, but no doubt justified reprisals against slaveholders or even the nation that had once enslaved them. Instead, their restrained participation in Federal institu- tions—rather than unrestrained and unlawful insurrection—underscored the moral authority of emancipation and signaled the Confederacy as an unjust slaveholding nation that the world had passed by. The Calculus of Violence is a brilliant standard-bearer for understand- ing the nature of Civil War military conduct and the contemporary mean- ing, use, and limits of belligerent violence, as well as a meditation on nineteenth-century American values and culture. The scholarly profession will long owe Aaron Sheehan-Dean a debt of gratitude for http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of the Civil War Era University of North Carolina Press

The Second American Revolution: The Civil War–Era Struggle over Cuba and the Rebirth of the American Republic by Gregory P. Downs (review)

The Journal of the Civil War Era , Volume 10 (3) – Aug 28, 2020

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright @ The University of North Carolina Press
ISSN
2159-9807

Abstract

The Confederacy’s rejoinder to emancipation, and particularly the Union’s enlistment of African American soldiers, grew from similar prem- ises. For American slaveholders, nothing defied the civilized laws of nature of war more than formerly enslaved people shouldering muskets and shat- tering the institution of human bondage. Their hostile presence stoked deep-seated white fears of enslaved insurrection, leading Confederates to formulate and perform policies that held African American troops as unlawful enemies of the state, subject to execution or reenslavement. But in showing the full scope of his argument, Sheehan-Dean documents how African Americans themselves rejected excessive, illegal, but no doubt justified reprisals against slaveholders or even the nation that had once enslaved them. Instead, their restrained participation in Federal institu- tions—rather than unrestrained and unlawful insurrection—underscored the moral authority of emancipation and signaled the Confederacy as an unjust slaveholding nation that the world had passed by. The Calculus of Violence is a brilliant standard-bearer for understand- ing the nature of Civil War military conduct and the contemporary mean- ing, use, and limits of belligerent violence, as well as a meditation on nineteenth-century American values and culture. The scholarly profession will long owe Aaron Sheehan-Dean a debt of gratitude for

Journal

The Journal of the Civil War EraUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Aug 28, 2020

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