Secession Documents: Texas

Secession Documents: Texas

Texas was the seventh state to secede on February 1, 1861, the last of the first phase of secession and the final of the seven states to formally declare the Confederacy on February 8, 1861.

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Secession Documents: Georgia

Secession Documents: Georgia

Georgia was the fifth state to secede on January 19, 1861. It was one of the original seven states to declare the Confederate States of America on February 8, 1861. Georgia gives one of the longest explanations for its secession from the Union. 

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Secession Documents: Mississippi

Secession Documents: Mississippi

Mississippi was the second state to secede from the United States on January 9, 1861 and one of the states to declare the formation of the Confederacy on February 8, 1861. The state's declaration of secession provides one of the clearest connections between secession and slavery.

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Secession Documents: South Carolina

Secession Documents: South Carolina

South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union on December 20, 1860. Because they were the first to leave they needed to explain to the rest of the states and the world why they were dissolving the Union and defend the legality of secession. South Carolina's declaration of secession includes a defense of states’ rights as the foundation of the legality of secession as well as the grievances with the North that sparked that action.

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Secession Documents: Introduction

Secession Documents: Introduction

While secession and the lead up to the Civil War were very complex, conflict over slavery was certainly central to the South’s decision to leave the Union. This is evident from the Southern states’ own words as they issued the ordinances of secession and documents of explanation as they each left the United States to form the Confederacy.

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Reporting from the SCWH: Plenary Session on Monuments and Memory at Gettysburg NMP

Reporting from the SCWH: Plenary Session on Monuments and Memory at Gettysburg NMP

Using Gettysburg as a focus, these five historians engaged in the complicated question of what to do with Confederate memory and the role historians must play in the conversations happening all over the country. The answer to the question of Confederate monuments and commemoration is not clear. The fact that there have been several plenary sessions at conferences over the past few years, all of which asked a lot of questions and posed a lot of suggestions but could not offer clear solutions, reflects how complex the conversation can be.

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Reporting from the OAH: The Future of Civil War Scholarship Outside US Borders

Reporting from the OAH: The Future of Civil War Scholarship Outside US Borders

Recent scholarship starts to reimagine the boundaries of Civil War scholarship in continental or international terms and reexamines the role of the West in both the antebellum and wartime periods. The opportunities of this new scholarship were evident in two panels presented at the Organization of American Historians conference in April 2018.

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Civil War Tourism as City Revitalization: Helena, Arkansas

Civil War Tourism as City Revitalization: Helena, Arkansas

But our guide also expressed great optimism for the future of Helena and a blooming revitalization of the area, including work planned for that Main Street area to renovate some of the empty buildings into new stores and hotels. A key part of this revitalization, I could tell by the end of the day, was the use of historic tourism and highlighting the history (particularly the Civil War history) of the area.

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Hamilton: A Review and Thoughts on Revisionism

Hamilton: A Review and Thoughts on Revisionism

As a spectator I found it masterfully done; as a historian I found it thought-provoking and intriguing. Hamilton is not a historically accurate portrayal of the life of Alexander Hamilton (although the historical context was pretty spot on in most places), and it was never meant to be. The choices made by the writers, production team, and performers sends many layers of meaning about history, race, diversity, and the relationships between people both then and now.

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The Confederate Monument Controversy….in the 1890s

The Confederate Monument Controversy….in the 1890s

Confederate monuments are at the forefront of politics and national debate these days as American society grapples with the legacy of the Civil War and its aftermath. While this debate seems new and is situated in a modern society that is opening many meaningful, and sometimes divisive, conversations about history, race, and society, controversy over Confederate monuments is not necessarily new.

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Historic Site Review: Frogmore Cotton Plantation, Natchez, MS

Historic Site Review: Frogmore Cotton Plantation, Natchez, MS

In the midst of conversation and debate about how to best interpret slavery at historic sites, I recently visited Frogmore Plantation in Natchez, Mississippi. When my family signed up to take a tour of this working cotton plantation as part of our Mississippi River cruise, I was admittedly excited but with some trepidation. Viewing the experience through the historian’s lens, it could have been enlightening or terrible.

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Mississippi Finally “Bans” Slavery

Mississippi Finally “Bans” Slavery

In February 2013 headlines announced that the state of Mississippi had finally banned slavery.  Now this is not to say that the state had been stuck in an Antebellum/Civil War timewarp for the past century and a half.  But apparently there were a few oversights along the way.

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Material Culture and the Confederate Monument Debate

Material Culture and the Confederate Monument Debate

Thus we also need to remember that the monuments we build, the sites we preserve, and the places we name are never just about history.  They are and have always been about who we imagine ourselves to be in the present and what we want to be, as a community, in the future.

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Top 5 Civil Discourse Posts of 2017!

Top 5 Civil Discourse Posts of 2017!

It's a new year, which means (after a undeniable autumnal hiatus) a fresh round of Civil Discourse posts rests just around the corner. Yet it's also an opportune time to look back at pieces that have resonated with our readers over the past year, several of which caused quite a stir. Without further ado, here are the five most popular Civil Discourse posts of 2017!

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The South Needs to Commemorate Its Southern Unionists

The South Needs to Commemorate Its Southern Unionists

The historical amnesia of the South regarding its black and white Union soldiers should be rectified. By choosing to selectively remember and honor Confederate soldiers while simultaneously ignoring the many Southerners who fought for the Union, Southerners send clear message that loyalty to region, protection of white supremacy, and veneration of the Confederacy are the only legacies of the Civil War worth remembering. If Confederate monuments continue to be torn down, new ones should go up, celebrating those Southerners--black and white--who remained loyal to the Union and brought about “a new birth of freedom.”

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Flying Dutchmen: The XI Corps at Chancellorsville

Flying Dutchmen: The XI Corps at Chancellorsville

In the aftermath of defeat at Chancellorsville, the XI Corps received the bulk of the blame.  They had run, had crumbled under Jackson’s attack without resistance.  They were labeled cowards and forevermore known as the “Flying Dutchmen.”  The nickname was earned within a short period of time on the battlefield but the series of events that caused the XI Corps’ flight was put into action long before that moment, even before the armies knew they would meet in the Wilderness west of Fredericksburg.

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