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Though much has been written about the Civil War and the making of the political and economic American nation, this is the first comprehensive study of the role that the war played in the shaping of the cultural and ideological nation-state. In Patriot Fires, Lawson explains how, when threatened by the rebellious South, the North came together as a nation and mobilized its populace for war.
With no formal government office to rally citizens, the job of defining the war in patriotic terms fell largely to private individuals or associations, each with their own motives and methods. Lawson explores how these "interpreters" of the war helped instill in Americans a new understanding of loyalty to country. Through efforts such as sanitary fairs to promote the welfare of soldiers, the war bond drives of Jay Cooke, and the establishment of Union Leagues, Northerners cultivated a new sense of patriotism rooted not just in the subjective American idea, but in existing religious, political, and cultural values. Moreover, Democrats and Republicans, Abolitionists, and Abraham Lincoln created their own understandings of American patriotism and national identity, raising debates over the meaning of the American "idea" to new heights.
Examining speeches, pamphlets, pageants, sermons, and assemblies, Lawson shows how citizens and organizations constructed a new kind of nationalism based on a nation of Americans rather than a union of states—a European-styled nationalism grounded in history and tradition and celebrating the preeminence of the nation-state.
Original in its insights and innovative in its approach, Patriot Fires is an impressive work of cultural and intellectual history.
This book is part of the American Political Thought series.
Author Biography: Melinda Lawson is visiting assistant professor at Union College in Schenectady, New York.
|1||"A union love feast" : the sanitary fairs, Civil War patriotism, and national identity||14|
|2||Let the nation be your bank : Jay Cooke and the war bond drives||40|
|3||"From democracy to loyalty" : the partisan construction of national identity||65|
|4||"A profound national devotion" : the metropolitan union leagues||98|
|5||"Until the ideas of Massachusetts kiss the Gulf of Mexico," : the abolitionist vision of nation and patriotism||129|
|6||Abraham Lincoln and the construction of national patriotism||160|