Liberty, Virtue, and Progress: Northerners and the War for the Union

Liberty, Virtue, and Progress: Northerners and the War for the Union

by Earl J. Hess
     
 

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Earl Hess has constructed the first comprehensive study of its kind to deal with Northern soldiers and civilians, with intellectual and social elites and with the masses. Drawing on published and unpublished sources including letters, diaries, and memoirs, he asserts that Northerners used ideology as a tool to retain their faith in their ideas. Northern values -… See more details below

Overview

Earl Hess has constructed the first comprehensive study of its kind to deal with Northern soldiers and civilians, with intellectual and social elites and with the masses. Drawing on published and unpublished sources including letters, diaries, and memoirs, he asserts that Northerners used ideology as a tool to retain their faith in their ideas. Northern values - self-government, democracy, individualism, egalitarianism, and self-control - were at the basis of American society. These values, shared by citizens both in and out of uniform, were instrumental in promoting a consensus and provided a commonly understood language that served to explain the Southern rebellion and why it was important for Unionists to crush it. Hess contends that, contrary to commonly held interpretations of war as disruptive of prewar ideals - that war produces disillusionment, cynicism, and bitterness - the Northerners' determination resulted in little change in ideology throughout even the worst of the war. He also suggests that the real change in ideology occurred after the war, due to changes in the economy and society.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814734636
Publisher:
New York University Press
Publication date:
10/15/1990
Series:
American Social Experience Series
Pages:
168

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