At its core, Civil Discourse offers fresh and thought-provoking content via our blog, which delves into one of the richest and most significant eras in American history: the 19th-century.
Examining the era via a range of perspectives and lenses (political, cultural, social, gender, and military, among others), Civil Discourse invites you to read our thoughts and share your own.
While we at Civil Discourse strive to present a wide variety of topics and viewpoints, our content is ultimately a product of our own experiences. Learn more about Civil Discourse by checking out our mission statement and authors' bios.
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Zac Cowsert’s series on the interactions between soldiers and civilians, politics and press in the Civil War continues with this post on censorship and the arrest of democratic editors in Wheeling, WV.
Counting down the top ten posts of 2018!
In this panel presented at the 2018 Southern Historical Association meeting in Birmingham, AL the panelists focused on the experiences of northern civilians who traveled south into the Confederacy during the Civil War. The panelists were Paul E. Teed (Saginaw Valley State University) and Frank J. Cirillo (New-York Historical Society) with Caroline E. Janney (University of Virginia) presiding. Comments were provided by Michael T. Bernath (University of Miami) ad Paul A. Cimbala (Fordham University).
Historians had long analyzed the context of Confederate defeat during Reconstruction and the creation of the Lost Cause in the years after Reconstruction ended. This panel at the 2018 Southern Historical Association demonstrated that there are more avenues for historians to unpack the meanings of Confederate defeat and the building of the Lost Cause. The panelists were Amy L. Fluker (University of Mississippi), Ann L. Tucker (University of North Georgia), and Sarah K. Bowman (Columbus State University).
As moderator Megan Kate Nelson (Writer) suggested, there are many ways to utilize animal studies to further the study of the Civil War Era, including as means of transportation, food, and on the battlefields of the war. In fact, any historians that starts to look at the logistics of the conflict automatically needs to be interested in animals. This session was set up as a roundtable with Joan E. Cashin (Ohio State University), Kenneth Noe (Auburn University), and Paula Tarankow (Indiana University) as panelists.
The 14th Amendment was a part of Reconstruction history, but its effects and interpretations are still being debated. It was meant to engage the four million formerly enslaved people with its prevailing morality – the language of equal justice after the Civil War. This was quite meaningful to the people of New Orleans who brought some of the first suits in the nation to uphold the rights of African descendants.
On Saturday, July 9th, 1864, Captain Ewald Over of the 6th West Virginia Infantry received an order originating from Major General David Hunter. The order directed Capt. Ewald—the military commander of Wheeling, West Virginia—to arrest the editors of the Wheeling Daily Register and shut the newspaper’s offices down. At three o’clock in the afternoon, Captain Ewald and a small cadre of soldiers entered the offices of the Wheeling Daily Register and placed editors Lewis Baker and O.S. Long under arrest. A soldier was posted outside the Register’s office, and the two prisoners were escorted to Athenaeum on the corner of 16th and Market Streets. A small military prison that housed upwards of one hundred Confederate prisoners, the Athenaeum (christened “Lincoln’s Bastille” by the locals) now confined two United States citizens as well…
Historians have held many conversations over the past months about the state of the profession, particularly in academia, as scholars wrestle with an increasingly difficult job market and a prominent role in public debates about the place of history in our modern world. In addition, conversations about the role of adjuncts in academia are happening in the larger university setting, whether over the job market, the transition of colleges using adjuncts rather than full time faculty, or the situation of adjuncts lacking proper pay and benefits.
Central to the concept of total war is the full mobilization of resources and a more intense experience of warfare. While the technologies and material goods of warfare have changed drastically over time, the most basic resource of warfare has changed very little—the men (and now women) who fight. As a battle of minds, warfare is constantly requiring full mobilization of a soldier’s own personal resources, thus reflecting elements of total war within the singular unit of the soldier.
Kentucky and Missouri were divided border states. Pro-Confederate governments within both states declared secession and issued formal documents, but neither state officially left the Union and remained with the United States during the war. The divided nature of the border states caused conflict within their borders and men from Kentucky and Missouri fought for both sides of the Civil War.
Five of the Confederate states did not write elaborate explanations of secession, issuing only the legal documents dissolving their connection to the United States.