At its core, the Civil War was a conflict over the meaning of citizenship. Most famously, it became a struggle over whether or not to grant rights to a group that stood outside the pale of civil-society: African Americans. But other groups--namely Jews, Germans, the Irish, and Native Americans--also became part of this struggle to exercise rights stripped from them by legislation, court rulings, and the prejudices that defined the age.
Grounded in extensive research by experts in their respective fields, Civil War Citizens is the first volume to collectively analyze the wartime experiences of those who lived outside the dominant white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant citizenry of nineteenth-century America. The essays examine the momentous decisions made by these communities in the face of war, their desire for full citizenship, the complex loyalties that shaped their actions, and the inspiring and heartbreaking results of their choices-- choices that still echo through the United States today.
Contributors: Stephen D. Engle, William McKee Evans, David T. Gleeson, Andrea Mehrländer, Joseph P. Reidy, Robert N. Rosen, and Susannah J. Ural.
Brand: NYU Press
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The seven essays in this collection look at the ways in which the Civil War determined the citizenship and identity of German, Irish, and Jewish immigrants, marginalized Native Americans as citizens, and incompletely "naturalized" freed slaves.
Germans made the largest contribution by an ethnic minority to winning the war for the Union. The 200,000 German-born troops outnumbered soldiers all of the other "minority" groups.
There were as many as 145 units in the Union Army composed entirely of German immigrants, units in which orders and reports were issued in German. The concept of America as a monolingual "English-Only" country was foreign to Lincoln's generation. Military and political leaders understood that loyal, brave, patriotic soldiers came from all backgrounds and spoke many languages.
New York, with 24, contributed the most German units to the war effort, but Missouri's 18 German units played a major role in keeping that slave state in the...
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