Virginia debated ending slavery after Nat Turner’s revolt »

One of the reasons I check out every small-town paper’s Civil War related stories is that you occasionally find some delicious wheat amongst the “round table meets tonight” or “Lincoln impersonator to speak at library” chaff. This article is one of the kernels that makes it worthwhile. A surprisingly in-depth look at some radical proposals […]

Montana’s reaction to news of Lincoln’s death »

I was on the fence about this link, as the article it leads to is rife with ads, and won’t let anyone with an adblocker access it before the adblocker is disabled. But it’s beautifully designed, and I like that the newspaper is making use of its archives to give citizens a glimpse of their […]

How Abraham Lincoln helped rig the Senate for Republicans  »

The modern conclusions drawn here are very questionable, but the Civil War history was pretty edifying: I knew that Lincoln had pushed through the statehood for a couple of states, but the political impact had never been fully clear until reading this. This largely forgotten act of line-drawing enabled one of the most consequential gerrymanders […]

Utah’s state constitution bans slavery — mostly »

So it turns out Utah’s constitution still allows for slavery, “Except as a punishment for a crime.” This legal loophole was explored in great depth in the excellent Douglas Blackmon book, Slavery By Another Name. (The book was the basis of a PBS documentary, too.) A hundred and fifty plus years after the war ended, it’s amazing […]

Minnesota’s Battle »

There’s a battle going on at the Minnesota state capitol: Turns out some really beautiful canvasses were removed for restoration, and the discussion is now ongoing over whether to replace them with more modern and inclusive artwork. I am a little torn; I am all for modernizing and inclusive-izing the artwork, but one of the […]

Kauai and the American Civil War »

I do love the ripples in the pond effect of the war across the globe. Here’s a ripple I hadn’t considered before, though: The war’s influence on Hawaii. Turns out there were soldiers from there, and sectional arguments as well. With Union-impressed ships and Confederate privateers on the prowl, the war diminished Hawaii’s trade. Two […]

‘Dixie’s loss is Montana’s gain’ »

I’ve always been fascinated by the westward expansion after the war, though my focus was always on the Missouri guerrillas and how they laid the shaky foundations of the Wild West. The more sedate yet lasting effects regular immigrants caused hadn’t much occurred to me. Among those profiled were James, William and Charles Conrad from […]

Southern Unionist Strongholds »

I’ve started my Civil War year by listening to Gary Gallagher’s excellent Teaching Company lectures (more about these later). One of the themes he emphasizes is how the border states were dragged into the Confederacy by their richer, more extremist Deep South cousins.  Every Confederate state would have at least some Unionist supporters, and some had […]

King Cotton »

Here’s a quick look at South Carolina’s addiction to cotton.  Like other kinds of junkies, its love of the white stuff led it to make rash decisions and sacrifice its future.  By the looks of it, the effects of the Civil War are still plaguing the state. “The story of cotton itself is as interesting […]

Unfriendly Fires »

Like Wisconsin, Indiana was a Union-heavy state that contributed much in the way of men to the cause. They didn’t contribute many colored troops, though, because according to this article Indiana was quite hostile to blacks.  There is even the rumor of native black troops being poisoned. The young Townsend, from Putnam County, bought a […]