Civil War CitizensRace, Ethnicity, and Identity in America's Bloodiest Conflict

Civil War CitizensRace, Ethnicity, and Identity in America's Bloodiest Conflict

Susannah J. Ural

Print publication date: 2016

ISBN: 9780814785690

Publisher: NYU Press

Abstract

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, this is the first book to collectively analyze the wartime experiences of those who lived outside the dominant white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant citizenry of nineteenth-century America. The chapters 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.