The Collapse of the Confederacy

Overview

In 1937, in his groundbreaking The Collapse of the Confederacy, the African American historian Charles H. Wesley (1891-1987) took a bold step in rewriting the history of the Confederate South by asserting that the new nation failed because of underlying internal and social factors. Looking beyond military events to explain the Confederacy's demise, Wesley challenged conventional interpretations and argued that, by 1865, the supposedly unified South had "lost its will to fight." Though neglected today by scholars ...
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Overview

In 1937, in his groundbreaking The Collapse of the Confederacy, the African American historian Charles H. Wesley (1891-1987) took a bold step in rewriting the history of the Confederate South by asserting that the new nation failed because of underlying internal and social factors. Looking beyond military events to explain the Confederacy's demise, Wesley challenged conventional interpretations and argued that, by 1865, the supposedly unified South had "lost its will to fight." Though neglected today by scholars and students of the Civil War, Wesley ranked as one of the leading African American historians, educational administrators, and public speakers of the first half of the twentieth century.

This edition of Wesley's The Collapse of the Confederacy includes a new introduction by John David Smith that examines Wesley's interpretation of Confederate defeat, contextualizes it within contemporary writings, and analyzes its significance for modern scholarship on the experiences of African Americans in the Civil War.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
This reprint of the classic 1937 text looks at internal and social factors which led to the demise of the Confederate South. African American historian Wesley argues that the Confederacy lost the war not because of Northern military superiority, but because the South lost its will to fight. The new introduction by John David Smith (history, North Carolina State U.) examines Wesley's ideas within the context of contemporary scholarship. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781570034107
  • Publisher: University of South Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2001
  • Series: Southern Classics Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 270
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Table of Contents

General Editor's Preface
Introduction
Preface to the First Edition
Introduction to the First Edition
I The Resources of War 1
Food for Army and People
The Effects of Confederate Financial Plans
War Supplies and Manufactures
Systems of Transportation
Numbers
II Politics and Society 47
The Cabinet
The Congress
Popular Opposition to Administrative Measures
States Rights Controversy
Speculation
Social Evils
III Popular Morale 74
The Decline of Enthusiasm
Desertions
"Rich Man's War"
The Effects of Death
The Will to Fight
Movements for Peace
Southern Women
IV Cotton and Slavery 105
Cotton is King
Limitation of Cotton
The Failure of Cotton
The Refusal to Abandon Slavery
Emancipation
V The Last Desperate Measure 134
The Free Negro Population
The Military Employment of Free Negroes
The Impressment of Slaves for War Purposes
Negro Soldiers
Postscript 167
Appendix 172
Bibliography 195
Index 213
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