Lincoln and the Triumph of the Nation: Constitutional Conflict in the American Civil War

Overview

The Civil War placed the U.S. Constitution under unprecedented--and, to this day, still unmatched--strain. In Lincoln and the Triumph of the Nation, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Mark Neely examines for the first time in one book the U.S. Constitution and its often overlooked cousin, the Confederate Constitution, and the ways the documents shaped the struggle for national survival.

Previous scholars have examined wartime challenges to civil liberties and questions of ...

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Lincoln and the Triumph of the Nation: Constitutional Conflict in the American Civil War

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Overview

The Civil War placed the U.S. Constitution under unprecedented--and, to this day, still unmatched--strain. In Lincoln and the Triumph of the Nation, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Mark Neely examines for the first time in one book the U.S. Constitution and its often overlooked cousin, the Confederate Constitution, and the ways the documents shaped the struggle for national survival.

Previous scholars have examined wartime challenges to civil liberties and questions of presidential power, but Neely argues that the constitutional conflict extended to the largest questions of national existence. Drawing on judicial opinions, presidential state papers, and political pamphlets spiced with the everyday immediacy of the partisan press, Neely reveals how judges, lawyers, editors, politicians, and government officials, both North and South, used their constitutions to fight the war and save, or create, their nation.

Lincoln and the Triumph of the Nation illuminates how the U.S. Constitution not only survived its greatest test but emerged stronger after the war. That this happened at a time when the nation's very existence was threatened, Neely argues, speaks ultimately to the wisdom of the Union leadership, notably President Lincoln and his vision of the American nation.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Noteworthy for originality of argument, breadth of subject matter, and felicity of prose . . . it will undoubtedly stimulate further inquiry into the constitutional history of the Civil War and other American wars.--The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

"Neely has laid bare a new foundation for all future scholarship of Civil War constitutionalism.--The Review of Politics

The profound insights of Neely's research, together with his sharp questioning of conventional and modern interpretations of Civil War constitutionalism, should spur debate and further inquiry about the essence of American nationalism, which even today continues to remain elusive.--American Historical Review

An important book. . . . Neely's account of constitutional matters in the Confederate States is his most important contribution to our knowledge of the Civil War.--North Carolina Historical Review

A meditation on the relationship between nationalism and constitutionalism in war, one that is intended to inspire a certain love for constitutional history in the Civil War period, a woefully understudied area.--The Historian

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781469621845
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 1/15/2015
  • Series: Littlefield History of the Civil War Era Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 1,430,488
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark E. Neely Jr. is McCabe-Greer Professor of Civil War History at Pennsylvania State University. He has written several books, including The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties, which won the Pulitzer Prize for History.
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