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! You can read further by clicking on the post's title.
"Several sessions at this year’s meeting of the American Historical Association focused on the job market, and how to successfully land your first job in academia. Here are tips from historians on how to nail your interview and transition to your first job..."
#4-"'Come and Go With Us': Legacies of Union, Freedom, and Civil War at Yorktown" by Becca Capobianco
"Thomas Osborn, of the 1st US Artillery, reflected as the Union army waited to advance along the Virginia Peninsula, “We are occupying the same ground which Washington and Lafayette occupied 81 years ago...Washington captured the Army then in Yorktown. Shall we capture the one now in it? We shall see.” In his observation, Osborn illustrated the irony that was surely on the minds of many soldiers as they expectantly looked for the outcome of the Union’s siege at Yorktown in the spring of 1862. The Confederate Army held the town that had long been canonized as the place Washington won the American Revolution. Less than one hundred years later, the country the Continental Army had fought for was at risk of irrevocably falling apart. When the Confederate Army retreated from Yorktown under the cover of night, the answer to Osborn’s question became clear, though the final outcome of the war far less so. et with their retreat, and the subsequent Union occupation of Yorktown for the rest of the war, the success of this siege had far more deep implications for the legacies of Yorktown and the Revolution..."
"'I say dam the DUTCH. Gen. Hooker soon ordered the 12th corps to kill every man that run in the 11th. I saw a number of Officers and privates shot trying to break thriugh the guard. It served them right. A coward will soon play out here. We had one in our Battery. The Capt soon ordered charges made out against him. I hope they will shoot him. If I ever run I am willing to have them shoot me.' -Darwin D. Cody of Battery I, 1st Ohio Artillery
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..."
"In the past years, months, and particularly in the past few days in the wake of the violence at Charlottesville, debates have swirled around the removal of Confederate monuments. These removals are occurring at a heightened pace. I won’t linger too long on my thoughts on these removals. To put it simply, I don’t have a problem with Confederate monuments coming down (a sentiment I've expressed previously). In fact, I’m glad the nation is reevaluating its very flawed understanding of the Confederacy within public memory and challenging the assumption that the Confederacy deserves to be honored.
With that said, I want to set aside the issue of monument destruction and instead advocate the we raise more monuments celebrating Civil War Southerners, forgotten in public memory and yet deeply deserving of a place of honor in Southern communities, parks, and courthouse lawns: Southern Unionists..."
"The perception about the United States in the period before the Civil War is that the North was “free” and the South was “slave.” Now, in some senses this division is accurate; certainly the two regions would end up going to war against each other for issues very related to this debate over slavery. However, the demise of slavery in the North was far more complicated that usually presented. It is certainly not the oversimplified story of slavery ending in the North after the Revolution, leading to a “free” region, as we sometimes see presented in classrooms..."