I especially liked his analysis of the words to "Battle Cry of Freedom," and the way he sorts out the evidence by continually coming back to how people actually saw events at the time. If we think that the war for Union became a war to end slavery, we set ourselves up for historical disappointment. We then are at a loss to explain why, after expending all this blood and money over the war for emancipation, the U. The truth is that in the minds of most Northerners, the war was not "about" slavery in the first place; the abolitionists were a minority.
Prejudice against blacks was just as great in the North as it was in the South, and there was never any clear plan for what to "do" with the blacks when the war ended.
The North was against slavery to a great extent just because the slaves were competition for "free labor," and also for exactly the reasons Lincoln spelled out in the Emancipation Proclamation, because slavery propped up the slave republic that was dividing the country.
So slavery was a key issue, no doubt about it; but in the minds of the people, the war was really about whether we were going to be one nation or two, and whether we were or ever had been a nation at all. It was about the Union. Nov 12, Anthony rated it really liked it. In this well researched, scholarly book, Gary Gallagher makes a compelling case for the fact that it wasn't the abolition of slavery that gave the North the will to fight, and win, the Civil War, but the desire to maintain the Union.
He cites numerous speeches, articles and letters from Northern soldiers all focusing on the need to preserve the Union. He goes on to make the argument that Emancipation was seen as a weapon of war to weaken the South and bring down what Northerners referred to as t In this well researched, scholarly book, Gary Gallagher makes a compelling case for the fact that it wasn't the abolition of slavery that gave the North the will to fight, and win, the Civil War, but the desire to maintain the Union.
He goes on to make the argument that Emancipation was seen as a weapon of war to weaken the South and bring down what Northerners referred to as the "Southern Oligarchy. He cautions against a common mistake that we all make.
That is, we apply our 20th Century morals and thinking to the past. So, while we'd like to say the Civil War was about abolishing the inhumane practice of slavery, during that time, most Northerners couldn't care less about that and were more focused on preserving the Union. Gallagher also points out that the make-up of the Union Army was unique in the world at that time. Unlike the rest of the world, especially Europe, the Northern Army consisted of citizen soldiers, and not professional soldiers.
After the war, the vast majority of Union Army soldiers returned to their pre-war civilian lives as farmers, tradesmen, merchants, et al. Gallagher that was a great source of pride among Americans at that time. I highly recommend this book and would have given it five stars except for the fact that, while Mr. Gallagher's research and citings are quite comprehensive, his writing style leaves a little to be desired.
It does read like a term paper.
But if you are a Civil War buff, this book provides an insight and perspective that is not too well known. I'm looking forward to reading his companion piece, "The Confederate War. Dec 28, Nathan rated it really liked it Shelves: A thoughtful, concise, and thorough analysis of the reasons why the North fought the Civil War. Each chapter covers a different aspect of the "Union War.
From there, he goes on to examine the idea of Union, the reasons for emancipation, and the role of the military in directing the war. There are quite a A thoughtful, concise, and thorough analysis of the reasons why the North fought the Civil War. There are quite a few things to say in favor of Gallagher's book.
Although it can be dense at times, it is still enjoyable--if slow--reading. In addition, Gallagher backs up each of his points with a large number of primary sources. He is also careful to never overstep the bounds of the evidence, making it clear when certain points are unclear or controversial. For example, when analyzing letters sent from the front, he discusses the problems of cherrypicking evidence to support a preconceived viewpoint, and how this causes problems for historians. If Gallagher has a fault, it is the lack of a central thesis or argument.
Without a clear thread running throughout, it can be difficult to follow his train of thought. Partly, this is due to the nature of his writing--the causes of the Civil War are complex, and any attempt to boil them down to a single statement will necessarily be an oversimplification. In a similar vein, this is more an academic work than a popular one. Gallagher assumes that the reader is already familiar with the Civil War, and this would be difficult reading for anyone who does not already have a good understanding of the important battles, events, and figures before picking up the book.
Mar 23, Don rated it liked it Shelves: It is so simple to answer these questions today: What caused the Civil War?
Why did the North fight? That answer is revisionist history, which is the point of this book. It is much more nuanced and complex than the knee-jerk answer of, "to end slavery. A strong account of what motivated Union soldiers to fi It is so simple to answer these questions today: A strong account of what motivated Union soldiers to fight. Gallagher offers exhaustive evidence that while the Confederacy was fighting to preserve slavery and -- sigh -- its 'right' to decide its states like to have slavery , the Union soldiers really were not fighting for emancipation This isn't as nice of a story, or as altruistic of a motivation.
But just because we now know that the North won, and "Lincoln freed the slaves" sort of , and that it was the right thing to do, Gallagher writes clearly that these are just so many comforting thoughts. For me, the result is a more honest understanding of history -- that I can add those comforting thoughts onto the deeper truths -- which lead to a more meaningful understanding of the real history of the United States.
I found the book to be well written, convincing, and interesting. One problem I had with the book, though, was that it seemed to be written for other historians -- almost as part of an inside-baseball argument. He readily acknowledges that ALL his research is in primary sources, which is somewhat limiting in terms of "telling the story" that would make this a more accessible read.
View all 3 comments. Jun 27, Ron Tenney rated it it was ok. Gallagher is a great lecturer Listen to his lectures on the Teaching Company series This book makes a simple point, really.
Modern interpretations have morphed this into a primary battle for freedom and equality. Other historians insist that in reality, the blacks freed themselves by desertion and aiding the Union cause. Some downplay the role of the military in the outcome of the war. Galla Gallagher is a great lecturer Listen to his lectures on the Teaching Company series This book makes a simple point, really.
Gallagher takes to task all of these and many more misguided assertions. He is best in defending his claims against all-comers. He has the credentials and background to make his claims stick. But that does make this book a very interesting read.
“This exceptionally fine book is in effect a companion piece to its author's The Confederate War, published in Now, in The Union War, Gallagher is back . The Union War [Gary W. Gallagher] on uzotoqadoh.tk *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Even one hundred and fifty years later, we are haunted by the Civil.
Citing journals, memoirs, diaries and other contemporary documents, over and again he drives home his point. But really, can one find an equal number of diaries to refute his points and make counter arguments? I think my complaint about this book is that I feel it could have been condensed into a well written though long essay.
I found part of the book to drag on, repeating over and again his point. I love alternative points of view and realize that all history is colored by the historian himself. We moderns are used to understanding the American Civil War as the gateway to the death of slavery and the impetus for ushering in that later civil contest, the Civil Rights Movement. The Yankees, as much as, if not more than, their southern counterparts, were quite bellicose in their racism and dreamed of a white American republic without black labor, free or enslaved. Despite limited abolitionist war measures and the overblown narratives of modern revisionist historians, the Federals fought a war to safeguard the American Union for a white national populace.
Although there was a demonstrable abolitionist voice in the North, it was a vocal minority and had almost zero effect on northern war efforts. Northern war aims always remained the restoration of the union of the states and the preservation of the Federal republic and were never intended or fought as an anti-slavery crusade.
According to Gallagher, abolition and emancipation can at best be savored as fruits of a war to safeguard the union, preserve northern ideals, and protect federal power. Mar 13, Eric rated it really liked it. Gallagher has done well to give us more to think about in the rationale for why people went to war in the s.
There was, I think, a telling vignette in the last few dozen pages 40 minutes or so where he contrasts the thinking of W. DuBois on African-Americans rising up, and that of McPherson on slaves being liberated at the muzzles of Union weaponry. I keep Gallagher has done well to give us more to think about in the rationale for why people went to war in the s.
I keep meaning to visit Gettysburg, but always seem to be on the way to somewhere else. However, buff or not, it is awe-inspiring to contemplate the thousands of men whether important or not, they were after all mostly men who marched into to the face of artillery and musketry to be mowed down in the cause of the side for which they fought. And in the final pages, Gallagher points out that from the hundreds of thousands 1.?
No single word in our contemporary vocabulary shoulders so much historical, political, and ideological meaning; none can stir deep emotional currents so easily.
Devotion to the Union functioned as a bonding agent among Americans who believed, as a citizenry and a nation under the Constitution, they were destined for greatness on the world stage. Gallagher, who holds a distinguished professorship in history at the University of Virginia, is far more interested in pursuing historical truth than in massaging whatever praiseworthy sentiments he may harbor on race, gender, class or anything else.
He knows that for the historian the central obligation is to understand and interpret the past, not to judge it. Fighting for its preservation was a noble thing, in and of itself.
The words of Daniel Webster, spoken on the Senate floor in March , became fighting words for the North: The loyal American citizenry fought a war for Union that also killed slavery. The digital Loeb Classical Library loebclassics. Our recent titles are available via Edelweiss. Visit our multimedia page for video about recent projects and interviews with HUP authors. Join Our Mailing List: Subscribe to receive information about forthcoming books, seasonal catalogs, and more, in newsletters tailored to your interests. The Union War Gary W.
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